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Pearl sketch

This is a different type of sketch.  As was the case for almost all of these very early sketches, I drew the imagery from music that I was listening to.  This one started to form during "Serenity", by Godsmack.  There have since been many other tunes that have inspired other Pearl images too, but this one defined how I viewed the Realm.
This draft explored a few ideas about what Pearls are, and what they are capable of.  I know that there is much more about these enigmatic people, but I'll address that as I get closer to that story.



     Once his eyes had adjusted to the blazing golden light, his jaw dropped. A new world greeted him, but not in any friendly way. Dry, hot air blew from the ancient hover vehicle’s opened door. The desert beyond the battered and paint-scraped door extended off to the horizon in unbroken waves of tan and umber. The copper sky only hinted at blue a little. Sapphire had been oceans, Peridot had sub-tropical. Most recently for him, the Ruby realm had been rocky and volcanic. This world was barren, desolate, more so even than his own destroyed home world. Dunes rippled into the distance, dotted here and there with patchesn of dark grey gravel, the odd rock pile here and there. He rose from his seat and gathered his survival gear from stowage rack above his head. The fitted protective goggles stayed in his pocket, since the glare really posed no threat to someone who could control the light with topaz powers..

     “Out, now.” crackled the speaker beside the door. Topaz blinked, then nodded. He shouldered his small pack and stepped through the door, and out onto the ground. The sun had risen while they had been traveling from the Onyx capital, not having gained it’s full strength yet.

     The air shimmered as the rising sun bathed the landscape. Small clouds of dun colored dust rose from where his booted feet landed. The breeze that had cooled him the night before was long gone, and the hiss of the warming sands rose all around him. A hot prickly sweat jumped crawled across his neck quickly before he could call on his recently acquired ruby powers to moderate the heat that he felt. He stepped away from the vehicle, and the door hissed shut. He stepped up the cockpit area, and rapped on the hull twice, signaling the driver. The woman nodded and revved the engine. The Opal started walking away, turning his head to watch the hovering vehicle lift quietly from the ground. It moved off and turned back the way it had come. In no time, it had sped off and merged with the dancing air currents on the horizon.

     Topaz sat down on the ground, and set his satchel on the ground in front of him. He started exploring it’s contents, and grinned. A sealed metal flask of water, a few dried rations of meat, a fire starting kit, all the tools that he was told he would need to commune with the mythical Pearl Council. . He had no fear of heat. Having survived training on the Ruby home world, only stellar levels of heat posed any kind of real threat to him

     “If you are to be found at all, heart of Pearl, then I would find you,” he said to the dry air. Nothing answered him, not insect nor breeze. Topaz sighed, and pulled out his guidebook again. He reread the Pearl section.

    In the Realm of the Pearls, the first challenge is to find them in the first place. Sit where the Onyx tribe brings you. Stay in place, and immobile. Do not let anything disturb you. That’s the only way to find them. When you do find them, they will understand.
     He closed the booklet, and put it back into the satchel. He opened the flask, and took a tiny sip of water. The Sapphire world had given him the ability to revive himself with only a drop or two of water. From a survival point of view, that would help him here. He closed the satchel, and crossed his legs. He put his hands on his knees, and waited.

. . . and waited.

. . . and waited.


     “What is it?”

     “There’s an Academy Student in the Waiting Place.”

      “Really? The actual Waiting Place? Not that mock up that was established by the Invaders? You know how happy the Journeying Students are when they find it.”

     “No mock up. He’s seated exactly where they left him..”

     “Well, that’s refreshing. So be it. Do you think he’ll actually succeed?”

     “Don’t know. Can’t tell yet.”

     “Keep watching. If he figures it out, let us know.”

     “Will do. One thing...”


     “He presents like a topaz, but he’s using Ruby power to channel the heat away, and Sapphire power to keep from drying out. Both are being used at the instinctive level too. He may reek of the topaz Realm, but he is, in fact, an Opal.”

     “Oh. . .oh! really? Ah, this could be very interesting, then...”


     The blistering heat shimmered on the horizon, like a waterfall. There was no distinct sky, no distinct ground, just a haze of color that flowed back and forth. Topaz had lost sense of time quite a while ago. He knew that a tiny trickle of power flowing from his shoulder crystal, but he wasn’t worried about it. There was a calmness that filled his entire being. He couldn’t feel his stiff back, his knotted cramped legs; his arms were immobile and leaden and his head floated of it’s own accord. He recognized the meditative state he was in; he’d done exercises in the Academy labs, with relaxing sounds and darkened rooms; with cushions and instructors supervising. The fact that he was in this state here, in the middle of the desert, was oddly reassuring to him. This showed that his ability to concentrate was improving. He was able to expand his consciousness more easily now.

     He was no longer seeing anything now. His partly lidded eyes were not what Topaz was using to see at this point. To him, he was surrounded by clouds. He could ‘see’ them clearly now. Soft, billowy clouds floated all around him. He wasn’t sure what he was seeing, but the imagery was very interesting to him. He could see what looked like brief flashes of scenes from movies all around him. Most of them were of him, at various points in his life. Some showed moments of happiness, some showed different perspectives of scenes he’d lived. None of them stayed longer than a second. This is an interesting way to explore the inside of your own head, he thought to himself. If he continued in this state, he might just find some deep hidden parts of himself. He figured that it was an important thing to get to know oneself.

     “That’s true,” said a voice from one of the clouds. “Knowing yourself is the key to knowing the universe.” A figure drifted towards Topaz from the formlessness of the background.

     Uh, hello? thought Topaz. This is a new wrinkle. Part of my mind is talking directly to me, now.

     “Well, no, not quite, young Opal. I’m a person, the same as you, and my name is Pesch.. I exist here, in this higher dimensional state, because I am an adept of the Pearl Realm.” A short person with long flowing white hair and an equally flowing white robe that matched the surrounding clouds, drifted forward and came to rest in front of Topaz. “I was born on that hot barren rock you started your Dreamtime journey from, but I migrated here when the Necromancers began their campaign.”. Grinning, he said. “You are the first student to enter the true Pearl Realm in many years. Welcome.” The voice was just high enough that Topaz had to look closely to ascertain that it was a man speaking to him. He blinked, and absorbed what the person was telling him.

     “Thank you, sir,” he said. “I was beginning to wonder if I would ever find you.” He extended his hand. “I greet you, in the name of the Academy.” This was the formal greeting. The Pearl grinned, and bowed at the waist, then shook hands with the student..

     “I am well greeted, then. I will be your guide and host during your stay with us.” said the Pearl. “Since you are an Opal, it’s possible for you to enter our realm physically, as well. If you wish. It will prevent you getting a nasty sunburn.”

     “Ah? That would be nice.” Topaz said, smiling. “Not sure quite how.”

     “All you need to do is to pull your physicality through the dimensional curtain to where your mentality is now. You are an opal. That means that you can do this. You bear powers of dimensional travel. That resembles our abilities sufficiently that you can exist here too. Give it a try. Call to your physical form, using your Opal powers. It should materialize here, when you call for it.”

      Oh, is that all, Topaz thought dubiously. It was simple enough to summon the opal energies around him. However, when the aura of opal colours came to him, it caused the entire area around him to shimmer and shift rapidly. Tiny cracks appeared all around him, revealing scenes and images that shifted continuously. It was as if the Pearl Realm responded directly to Opal energy.

     “Yes, our realm is aware of and respects the dimension bending powers of the Opal people. We are cousins, after all.” Pesch said, with a small grin.

     He could see a vague silvery line coming from him and passing through one of the cracks in the air. Through it, he could see his physical body. It was immobile, cross-legged, and connected to the other end of the silver line. There was a vitality to that line. If he squinted sightly, he could feel that he was in that physical body, as well as looking at it through a rift in the dimensions. This new out-of-body sensation felt perfectly natural here. So he mentally told his body to join him in the true Pearl Realm. Thought equaling action, and his physical body shimmer and phase out of sight. A tiny bright spark traveled up the shimmering line and joined with him. The line reeled itself in, and he could feel substantiality return to him.


     The observers in the Onyx capital noted that the Academy student that they had been watching for the past 4 hours slowly faded from their viewers. After a moment, all that remained of him was footprints in the sand. The black skinned technician turned the monitor off, and rose from his chair.

     “Where did he go?” said the helmeted and faceplated soldier, in an irritated voice. “What just happened?” The technician finished shutting down the observation post and started moving towards the door.

     “That’s all. If they choose to visit the ‘core’ that your commander set up, then they leave, only just a little disappointed. This one’s the first one to choose to go the old way in a long time. Any student who actually chooses to enter the Dreamtime is never seen from or heard from again, and that’s how it’s supposed to be. He’s gone now. If he is seen again, then that’ll be different than any time before.”

     The soldier listened, jaw going slack by the end. Then he let out a series of angry sounds, ending with his kicking the stool where the technician had been sitting. The Onyx man shrugged, then walked out the door in to the sunlight, his escorting job completed. He blended into the bustle of the busy street.

     This clearly frustrated the soldier grabbed up his weapon from the table and started to follow the Onyx out the door. Once they were in street, he pulled out his communicator and switched it on.

     “This is control. Report.” said a tiny voice from the tiny speaker.

     “Connect me with the General.”

     “Stand by.” it said, then a different voice spoke. “Cargl, what is it?”

     “Bad news, sir.”


     “He vanished.”

     “He...vanished? That’s no answer from you. I know that you’re a better tracker than that.”

     “Well, sir, one minute he’s sitting in the sand, eyes closed. Then, for no good reason, he simply dissappears. He didn’t teleport, he didn’t use any transport device, he didn’t fall through a trap door.”

     “What did your guide say about it?”

     “Not much. He said something about Dreaming, or something like that.”

     A stony silence answered him, then “That’s all, then. Report back to our check point. There’s not much sense in waiting around. If he’s the one that’s caused all the trouble on Sapphire and Ruby, then he’s gone now, and not likely to return. Out of our reach, in any event.”


     Pesch? Are you still here?” Topaz asked verbally. “I think I’ve succeeded here.”

     “Indeed you have, young Opal.” Pesch replied, clasping the opal by the shoulder affectionately. “Is this the first time you’ve summoned you physical form through a dimensional barrier like this?”

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