The Rich Man's Gold

Two beggars happened to pass by the estate of a wealthy and powerful man.
      The first beggar looked at the beautiful mansion that was the rich man's home, and said bitterly, "He must have so much gold. I wonder where he keeps it all."
     The second beggar looked at the tall iron fence, topped with razor wire, that surrounded the rich man's house and said, "I don't know where he keeps his gold, but I have a pretty good idea where his gold keeps him."

-- from The Kantar


One of the little-understood dangers of the Perilous Realm is the storyshard. A storyshard is a fragment of a story that keeps repeating itself over and over. A traveler who stumbles into a storyshard will get caught up in its endless repetition and will eventually forget everything that happened in her life before the moment she entered the shard. She may not even notice that she is repeating the same actions over and over again. It is said that there are storyshards in the “real” world, too, and that people here stumble into them all the time and don’t notice. If you’ve ever felt yourself to be acting out the same tired old script day after day and wishing you could escape it, maybe you’ve been caught in a storyshard. There are ways out, though. Sometimes it’s enough to just stop in the middle of whatever you’re doing and do something that is the absolute opposite of what you think you should do.

Where did storyshards come from? One theory has it that they came about in the time of the Great Unweaving, when the vast and harmonious tapestry of Story was torn and warped, and became riddled with gaps and tangled knots.

Some say that storyshards are simply stories that have become so old that they’ve eroded, like mountains breaking down into hills, and most of what the story once was is worn away. As for why these ancient stories would keep repeating themselves, it may be that they are so old and so deeply embedded in the tapestry (and in people’s minds) that they become like unbreakable habits. Or like DNA, perhaps, self-replicating scripts that make use of hosts like you and me to pass themselves on.