Concerning Things Metallic: Agricola’s story

Materials collected by approved archivist for the site in May 2021

The diviner wavered, ever so slightly. It was balanced in my hands as it had been so often – the holt warming to match the temperature of my body. I knew its personality, as every tonal change and shift was detected by my antennae: a vein of copper ore was a deep low D, whereas a fossilised tooth was flute-like, high – usually an F or F-sharp.

I had worked here since I was eight, my family bonded to the factory due to our innate divining abilities. The wavering tone I felt this time grew stronger as I honed in – reverberations reaching the pit of my stomach. I was finally standing on the exact point of an underground spring. It was rumoured that in Dalgone times the estuary came right into the factory grounds – a trickling sound of water likely to be a constant presence as mud transformed to water and back to mud again.

Proykite™, Caryldite™ and Temezradene™ were manufactured here, requiring channels of estuary water to flow around from building to building, quelling the chemical processes and dampening the firecloth when needed. The perpetual cycle of Fractorification continued unabated, despite worries occasionally erupting in various corners that the way of life was unsustainable. The glazed eyes of the overlords should have signalled that this was not how things should have been, yet no-one could work out how to change it – the required moment of collective cognitive dissonance never quite materialising, despite the depression and general lack of hope.

The corporate call and response song at the start of every shift should have been an indication of things being… off…

A glint of gold is radiance;
Take the sun out of the sky!
Glitter of silver is that of the moon;
Tear it down, tear it down!
The glimmer of gemstones is that of the sky;
Rub your hands together, rub your hands together!

Forever washing, washing in the bowl as the water was drawn down and down. Now of course, things were different. The exact sequence of events is still hazy. All we know is that the Great Rise never came. Instead, the glacial Till shifted – clay transformed into solid rock, and the course of the estuary changed, completely shattering the Old Ways. The explosives could no longer be made, and indeed the trade in these commodities collapsed – there was no interest in extraction as we moved into the Lerpylite era, the entities had a very different approach. Pockets were no longer searched for traces and fragments of metal to confiscate. They had found a way of combining the various life forces, and releasing the fields that had kept the Seers and Diviners inert.

Things changed: an awakening from a long hibernation. Bonded workers now moved freely through the landscape, the Diviners were blue and our counterparts, the Seers – Coral.

I relaxed my hands slightly and let my body collapse to the cracked, dusty, ground. There was no doubt that beneath the solid rock veins were calling; as they had always done. I took off the rucksack and unzipped the case, attached the mouthpiece and checked the valves could move freely. I lifted the trumpet to my lips and played the calling song – Diviners and Seers swiftly gathered around me and gradually joined the song as the spring transferred its invisible rays into the bodies, both seen and unseen.

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