Roland Jovic - Elliot P


Roland Jovic is a friendly and well known face to those well-to-do in the city, having done business with many of them. He is the head of the College of Transport, an organisation with close ties to the Glorious Equation, which provides effective and efficient methods of getting round the city to those who can afford it. His College is one of the less controversial associates of the Equation as it is, relatively speaking, one of the most safe and low risk endeavours undertaken by the faction, though this may not always be true of the man himself, who occasionally ends up causing ripples in high society due to his slight reputation for debauchery.

Despite this, however, if you, dear member of the city, no matter who you may be, need a way of making your travels around the city, or those of your associates, more efficient, pleasant and swift, Roland is the man to see.


Akal appears claiming to have resurrected the people who died in the incident at Roland's home, and presents him with a few newborn children, claiming that they contain the spirits of those who have died. Akal leaves while he looks on, slightly confused. In the end Roland arranges for the children to be brought up, and indeed in many years they do again become the people he knows and recognises. For now Roland steps down from his position as head of the College of Transport, being replaced by one of his students, to devote his time in setting up the Vogontia-Jovic Travelling Peripatetic University. Roland helps oversee the building and uses his influence to gather a few notable lecturers, while Madison does likewise. In the coming months, Roland recreates the dimension hopping device, this time attaching it to the University, and together they prepare for their first voyage. After scouting ahead for a reasonable site, using Roland's ship, the University appeared in Madison's home world of Plagaria, home of the most hideous fashions Roland had ever seen. It is a wonder how he survived those days. Then they took to the rest of the multiverse to explore and teach, experiencing wonder and adventures. After a Century or so it became apparent that something, or someone, was chasing the university - shutting down the worlds where it had been, collapsing the dimensions and trapping them in a way similar to the way the City had been trapped. Those who went into these dimensions afterwards, using the knowledge gained from unlocking the City to re-open these dimensions, reported no survivors. Only a world where the skies burnt and the land was left barren, deep lines left carved into the rock by some great machine.

The University continued to travel however, spreading knowledge across the university, its pursuer never quite catching up to it. Four hundred years after leaving the City, Madison and Roland had a child. A daughter who rumour says was literate from the moment she was born and, when she finally did speak, her first word was ‘Dragonfly’. Her name was Emilia.


He was not expecting this. I mean, Roland Jovic is a man who should be prepared for anything, and indeed had tried to think of every possible threat beforehand. This is a man who has stood up to barbarians, gods and empires, but even he is unprepared for this. He stands atop his airship, equipped with enough fire power to go to war, yet knowing it is useless here. Surely there must be some mistake? Perhaps he has gone mad or is being brainwashed, something, anything. The people here can't, they just can't dress like that. With a cry of “My eyes!” Roland rushes off the deck of his ship, to his lab to design a device to protect him from these horrible visions. Though he does manage to make himself temporarily colour-blind, Roland will never forget the first time he had to scout out a new world, and indeed occasionally he still has nightmares of the world with no fashion sense.

An Eternity Is Just Beginning

As my rage slowly subsided as I sipped at the scalding hot, deep black beverage clasped in my hands, sat next to the calm influence of Dolly, an idea, fully formed, rushed all at once to my head. If the house could be restored (for which I had my wife to thank, though it was now decorated internally in a thoroughly Plagarian fashion, which the inhabitants surely weren’t likely to thank me for), why could those who I lost in the explosion not be? For that matter, why could those of my staff who perished working valiantly working for the good of the College and the City not all be restored? I stood up suddenly, almost toppling the table, made my excuses to Dolly, and rushed off to see if I could find Akal.

Fortunately, he was one of the stragglers slowly making their way from the final Riette Convention, it having been formally drawn to a close – something I was greatly saddened to have missed, them having become an important part of my lift, though perhaps it was beneficial that I did, lest I truly lose it and end up having my limbs shattered by Engine – and I managed to get his attention as he was leaving.

Panting, I managed to exhale my request in bursts, still recovering from rushing back to the convention, but it seemed to me that he understood my request, nodding solemnly and delivering, in his slow, methodical way of speaking, that he would help me with such matters, for which I thanked him profusely.

My coffee was cold by the time I returned to it, and as I smiled at Dolly, she beamed back at me, glad that all would be returned to how it should be.

When I attended the reincarnation ceremony, it was as primitive as I had come to expect from Akal, though by no means do I say that as a slander upon his person, for he had undoubtedly one of the most unique, potent and above all useful forms of magic of all the City’s mages. There were bones, circles drawn in the dirt, the lighting of candles and incense, muttered chants, and the world around us seemed to darken, save for a spark of bright light at the centre of the mud circle, where slowly, what looked like several adult bodies were materialising from the air around them. This went on for about three minutes, and once they were fully formed (around six of them in all – I have no doubt it would have been more, but my staff were given limited protection from harm by Mad’s power), they immediately ceased hovering in mid air, falling to the floor with a weighty thud, as the world around us once again brightened, and they looked around confusingly. I ran towards my “uncle”, more a good friend of my parents who I had stayed friends with myself for many years now, and embraced him. Once he recognised who I was, he reciprocated the gesture.

After a good ten seconds of this touching scene, it occurred to me that none of these men had any clothes on, Akal’s magic clearly dealing with flesh and blood only in this instance, so I sent someone to fetch some, and I explained what had happened to them all as we caught the tram to the College – I talked the whole journey and barely scratched the surface of what had happened since they had been… Indisposed. I must admit that I hadn’t laughed so hard in a very long time when one of them, Chris, looked up, his jaw almost fell to the floor, and he tapped the others and pointed, their expressions soon mirroring him. It was a joyous reunion, and once we reached the College I prepared them a hearty meal and gave them all the offer of accompanying me on my voyage across the multiverse, which, I am flattered to tell you, they did.

As for my travel arrangements, Dolly had requested that I build a similar teleporter device to the one on my ship inside the University, so that it might move independently between dimensions. I took to the challenge eagerly, putting my best efforts into not only duplicating the device I had built already, but surpassing it in terms of elegance and efficiency. It took me and my men a good three months or so, but once it was finished, it was unrivalled – allowing transportation between dimensions seamlessly with only seconds to recharge and be ready to use again, integrating so well with the University that it was almost invisible.

Normally, with one of Dolly’s ordinary designs, them being garishly bright and colourful with little flair to them, I would’ve just left the bloody great pillars of the device on show, it having somewhere between no impact and a positive impact on the aesthetic of the thing, but as with the Library, and, as I would come to learn, anything she created when she was overflowing with power, it had a grace and elegance to it that was decidedly ethereal – it was in my eyes the most beautiful building in the entire City, including my own College, and as such I could never bring myself to scar the face of it with great mechanical columns.

After the completion of this, I was faced with one of the toughest decisions I have ever had to make – that of giving up my seat on the City Council, the Council of the Glorious Equation and worst of all, the honourable position of Researcher In Chief at the College of Transport. Fortunately, this project had let me get closer to my staff than I had ever managed before, so that I knew them all by first name, and they I, we knew about each other’s lives, families, origins, hopes and desires. It was touching, getting to know these wonderful people who had been so loyal to me for many years, despite many of them being older than me, and this made me feel equipped to choose my successor.

Though I was close to all 200 or so of them, having spent so much time with them, there was none I was closer to than Erdyn. She was so similar to me in many regards – our taste in literature, our hobbies, interests, views, our senses of humour, that we had grown to be the closest of friends. I must note here, that we were strictly friends, for much as it may surprise you to know, I respected her far to much to objectify her in the way I had done to many others, and saw her instead as an indispensable ally of myself, the College and the City. She was the obvious choice.

As much as I tried to keep myself collected and my emotions in check at the handing over ceremony, where the grand hall of the College was lined with two hundred men and women, all dressed in their finest black robes, the crest of the College of Transport emblazoned proudly on the front, their hands clasped in front of them as a mark of respect, utterly silent but all smiling with genuine warmth – well, those that weren’t half asleep, being usually given free reign to work when they please and so forming a nocturnal lifestyle from which they were being rudely interrupted, though even they were still pleased, just a little rough around the edges – as the lady herself walked between them, up to the head of the table where I was standing. We shook hands, and as I shrugged off my robes, blood red in strong contrast to the black all around, and draped them around her shoulder, I could not escape any longer from tears rolling down my face, and I quickly buried my head in her shoulder to hide this. She let out a curious chortle, being entirely unused to this sort of thing from me, and moved my head so that I was looking at her.

“You’ll come and visit, won’t you, Rolly?”

“Of course I will, Erdyn. I promise you.”

Applause rang out from those assembled, and as we sat down at the colossal table to dine, enthusiastic chatter broke out, everyone eager to congratulate their new boss on her promotion. She was sat in what used to be my place, at the very head of the table, and I was sat beside her, the hallowed position of the guest of honour. I couldn’t have been any happier.

From then on, my ties to the City almost all severed, I started work on piecing together my course for the University. Dolly was rather ahead of me on this matter, so we were setting off before I was quite finished, but it didn’t take me long to catch up.

There was a most strange of days somewhere in this timeline, though I forget quite where, when breakfasting together one morning, Dolly declared that she thought that in a few decades when the University had really hit its stride, that it would be an interesting experiment to try for a child, though she confessed she had no idea how this might work. I thought that it was a delightful idea, and have ever since been pondering its many repercussions. I am eager to be a father.

As it turned out, the idea of an interdimensionary place of higher learning was a rather popular one, as after only a few short years, word had spread and despite the exponential increase in the number of courses on offer, they were all booked up. It was always a pleasant surprise to see someone I had known from the City coming to learn with us. As I taught, we moved, and I got to see the many wonders of the multiverse – before too long I had seen Plagaria, though fortunately I had found a way to temporarily inflict myself with colour-blindness, so that the aural discomfort was minimised, along with so many indescribably beautiful and fascinating places that I could write entire books about each of them. This story, however, is about the City and me, and I’m afraid that this story is drawing to a close.

Being now immortal and eternally young, I could regale you of the many tales I had in the City over the course of the years when I returned to it time after time, the ways in which it changed, the ways in which it stayed the same, the people that came and went, and what became of it, but my story must halt somewhere. I cannot think of a sweeter or more appropriate place to part with you, dear reader, than the time, after a little under ten years of absence, that I first returned there.

I did not mean for it to be a ceremonial occasion, having not notified anyone that I would be there, and wishing to not draw excess attention to myself, I took one of my smaller craft and slipped in using Lucien’s portal network, now greatly expanded, to do so. However, it seemed that someone from the University had sent word ahead, and upon arrival I was almost instantly mobbed by a huge gaggle of people, many of whom I knew personally, but many of whom I did not, who had somehow managed to throw together a parade. It was only then that it hit me as to what an impact I had made on this little dimension of mine in my short time there, of how many people’s lives I had managed to touch, and my legacy was still managing to better, that for the first time in almost ten years, I found myself positively blubbing – and yes, before you asked, Erdyn did mock me profusely for this, as she well should have - and as I was shown around this familiar but oh-so-foreign place, and was introduced to just how much better a place it was already, I realised that I was, immodest as it sounds for me to say it, a hero of the realm.

I was a Light in the City.

bio/roland_jovic.txt · Last modified: 2012/03/06 00:08 by harryh
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