The Wheel of Fortune. An intriguing name yet it is so much more than that. Tucked away on a hidden plane, far from the sight of any limited mortal magic, far even from those who consider themselves immortal. The wheel exists in a place harbouring the mechanisms and the systems that balance and dictate the universal laws of which everything living or not must abide.
Its custodian is the goddess Fortuna, even she is not privy to the enormity of power presented by such an instrument. She has been given responsibility over its workings but is little more than a caretaker in actuality. Ensuring its continued turning and maintenance, organising and recording every piece of information pertaining to the wheel’s influence on the worlds.
Fortuna herself is an enigmatic character, her motivations, her personality, her hopes and fears are all hidden from the casual observer. Should her impassive body language not be enough to conceal such things she also wears a veil and long sweeping garments that accentuate her beauty while shrouding her appearance.
As a goddess, with inherent supernatural capabilities, Fortuna does not go about her daily task with a clipboard in hand. No, instead she dances. Moving her feet and swaying her arms to the silent beat of the universe’s rhythm. Her dance dictates the wheel’s management, the speed, acceleration and deceleration of its turning and the insurance of entropic occurrences.
Her graceful dance is carried out on the topmost wheel, simple known as The Wheel. It is the largest and most coherent wheel of the contraption collectively known as The Wheel of Fortune. It lies horizontal, that its enormous width can be more easily managed as well as minimising the effect that stray gravitational forces might have on fortune. The Wheel fills a space that, to mortal eyes, is the approximate size of a square acre field.
Said to be carved of precious metals, the exposed areas of The Wheel are covered in intricate, gold filigree. The rest of The Wheel is bound tightly in a woven tapestry. Careful observation shows that the tapestry depicts scenes of common fortune and misfortune. A man losing his wealth, a woman giving birth to a healthy child, lovers meeting, lovers parting and so on. Thousands of scenes are squeezed onto tapestry and above them Fortuna dances with the turning of The Wheel.
The whole thing is housed within an enormous tower comprised mostly of stain glass windows that obscure views of the outside world but throw a dazzling array of colours over the mechanism.
Slipping down beneath the lip of Fortuna’s dance floor reveals the rest of the Wheel of Fortune in its entirety. It is an enormous mechanism composed of uncountable cogs and wheels spinning and turning at every possible speed reminiscent of the inner workings of a clock tower. Made of gold and platinum, iron and steel each cog from the minute to the grand is worth more than a nation’s wealth.
The entire space is suffused with a cacophonous racket, clinking metal and whirring gears, steam jets spew forth from unseen nooks and pendulums swing amid the mechanism whistling the wind all accompanied by the hushed murmurs of Fortuna’s workers. Despite the noise there is a rhythm to it, a sound of harmonious symbiosis, each element of the machine working in its designed role towards infinitely fine detail.
Each gear serves a purpose, molded, carved and positioned within the framework. They dictate the path fortune will follow, whether health or wealth will be affected, when, and where, and how. Some cogs are employed to predict how desire and intent might affect the fortune bestowed or removed. Each is carved or painted or bound with depictions of what it affects. But to understand the myriad possibilities of even one wheel lies beyond mortal imagining.
Somewhere, hidden deep within the centre of the elaborate device, is the original wheel still spinning, still serving its purpose. Conceived in the beginnings of the universe, a precursor to true entropy, the wheel is made half of blackest obsidian and half of purest white marble. By these this one wheel dictates whether fortune or misfortune will be doled out. The wheel revolves on its axis at an alarming rate, blurring its own image.
It spins so rapidly as to appear as a perfectly smooth and stationary, grey disk. In this way good luck and bad luck are distributed. The rest of the mechanism eliminates the clear-cut distinction between that original piece of good and bad. More cogs and gears shape the fortune across many levels of ‘good’ and ‘bad’.
Amidst the ever turning mechanism are host of mythical creatures tasked with daily maintenance, record keeping and leading them are the four symbolic creatures of the apostles upon whom it is especially tasked to deal with requests, wishes and prayers.
Sphinxes bolster the majority of the workforce, employed for their great intelligence combined with patience and a disinclination towards hubris. Their slender feline forms provide them with the athletic grace necessary to traverse the dangerous industrial locale.
The four creatures of the apostles, all winged, fly about the construct supervising the running of the wheel, subservient to the silent Fortuna and empathically carrying out her will.
The first, a golden lion, holds lordship over the others, though they are equal in nature. It is responsible for the protection of the Wheel of Fortune from those few beings that can reach this fundamental plane. It watches with unblinking eyes and marshals the workforce whenever necessary.
The second is an ox, wielding its strength it is responsible for the maintenance of the wheel and the construction and assemblage of new additions. It works tirelessly, spurring on those in its employ through example.
The third is a man, his mission is to record all that which passes through the wheel. He is able to understand all of the intricacies of the wheel on an individual level.
The fourth and final creature is an eagle, it soars higher than the other creatures and watches over them with its keen eyes. The eagle sees the enormity of the wheel’s role and can trace the overall affect on the worlds it has.
Together all of these combine, merging into a perfect machine capable of impossible feats. It is the arbiter not of fate but of the fortunes of the many worlds. Eternally Fortuna will dance and the Wheel of Fortune will forever turn and, in a sense, breathe life and excitement into the universe.