Wednesday, July 30, 2008

I sought refuge in a house on fire

I had just finished pushing the body off the edge of the skybox. As the once-danger vanished below the cloud layer, my entire psyche suddenly...shook. I nearly fell off the edge of the box myself. Luckily, I slipped in the right direction and fell through the trap door back into the living space.

I crawled to the bathroom, fighting my structure's urge to shut down immediately before the damage got worse. I stared blearily into the mirror. I reached behind my new hairdo and detached my cranial latches. The mass of curls and the bone-china beneath it rolled into the sink. I stared in the mirror at the mass of whirling gears jutting over my brow, searching for some scrap of plating that fell loose, or foreign particulate that needed dislodging in my higher functions.

I saw nothing. I closed my eyes and focused on the colors and shapes that symbolized my essense. My once-glorious Spheres were replaced by a cacophany of whirling gears, locking the circles that used to bask in free-will.

[Disturbance Location: Mind Sphere...Localizing...]

Gears within gears, rotating unevenly, pushing slightly back and forth...

[Localized: Psychic Essense trapped between Ego and Superego]

A Passenger! The LAST thing I needed! I couldn't feed, I couldn't even contact Master lest I give away his location.

I tried to "push", but it felt like my psyche was ready to tear apart. Friction. So much friction! And Master had just recalibrated me after my outburst so I would run smoothly...

I lost perspective. Memories spat out of metaphorical file cabinets in a flurry of images. The aether chatter I actively avoided seemed like thunder.

(Fire in Baltimore...Spreading through City...Request Assistance)

It's not my problem...not...

[Memories of winding passages, blades and bullets piercing heartbeasts. Beware the Hydra...]

I looked in the mirror again. I felt...powerful. I hurriedly locked by cranium back on, letting my curls fall where they may. Daintiness suddenly felt inconsequential. tuned to a frequency I had relegated to the store of obselete memories.

[Opening hailing frequences....]

[Captain Projects to CVFB! Captain Projects to CVFB!]

[Hwat?? Hoo iz ziss?]

[Captain Qlippothic Proj...]

[No, zat can't be! She's right here vit us!!]

[I mean Qlippothic Stee...Qli-thr...Gematri...IT'S *ME* GODDAMMIT!!]

[Sister?!? It really is you! But I thought you had...]

[Can the bloody travelogue drama! We have a Level One Distress Call! Ready me a helmet and the Nitrogen-Bubble projector under the Stairs! Qli-2! Prepare CIRRUS airships and turbine-boats for mass-GT passage to incoming coordinates! We have a FIRE to FIGHT!!]

Monday, July 28, 2008

now the woods will never tell what sleeps beneath the trees

Poor, poor young Darien. He had no idea how much danger he was in and how vulnerable he truly was. This was a rare opportunity to meet him on safer ground without draing attention to myself. The locals were busy skeet shooting for flying salmon, which meant the constabulary was watching the skies for falling groceries and listening for fishing accidents. A ticking doll could wander under their notice.

I thrust the picture in his face again. "Yes, Darien" I said. "this is your brother. You saw the four gestation chambers in Jeremiah's lair. Well, you weren't the only one to survive."

"But..." he stammered. "I don't remember..."

"Jeremiah wiped his memory from your mind, Darien. Marcus was Jeremiah's other hand-raised clone, another attempt to harness Bloodwing's power with a malleable host."

"What happened to him?"

I took a deep breath. "Before your father left for Sumatra to collect the Bloodfruit and their guardians..."

He gave me a cross look and pulled the lever on his jetpack. The poor fool didn't realize that while he was caught in my parasol my spare hand crawled on his back and pulled a few levers. Kerosene began to pour from the jetpack, soaking across his pants. I couldn't help but giggle. "I thought you were past that stage!"

Oh, he had some rude words for me. I need to find a Yiddish phrasebook for later. Another swat from my parasol and he was lying down again. "Now what I was trying to say is Marcus had it all over you. His Spark emerged before your trauma with Lucian."


"Whatever. He was also learning magic from your mother musch faster than you did. You didn't even realize she was teaching you magic until you got the whole picture at Miskatonic. And on top of that, his psychic powers were off the charts."

"So why did Bloodwing choose me over him?"

I tapped his forehead lightly with my finger. "You have that one thing that Marcus lacks. The same thing Jeremiah couldn't get with all the money or power or secrets in the world."

He started to tremble, possibly from the wet kerosene chilling and biting his skin. "A conscience?"

"That's right! In fact when Grand...when Number Six performed the summoning ceremony...he cast in on Marcus, but Bloodwing went to you instead. He didn't know because you weren't even in the room!"

"How do you know all this!?"

"Master sees everything, past, present and future. He even sees what's been undone." I leaned closer. "He showed me. Oh, Number Six was so mad...he thought the spell failed! He tried to kill Marcus right then and there, but that was one Heck of a battle!"

Darien rubbed under his nose. He was trying to stroke his mustache like he did when he was Sparking, but he stopped when he felt nothing there. "Was that the wine cellar fire he had when I was ten?"

I smiled wide. "Shmott One, hyu!" I pinched his cheek, I couldn't help it. "That's when he lost his stash and decided to go back to the source to find more."

"So what happened to him?"

"It was a stalemate...Number Six packed up for Sumatra to recover his secret ingredient, and left his butler to do the dirty work...which he did..."

"But he's been revived?"

I nodded. "This can only mean there's no Jeremiahs left to clone. This his way of punishing the world that was supposed to grovel at his feet. Now do you know why you can't become an adult again yet, especially without your 'zombie juice?'"

"He'll think I'm Jeremiah and splatter me first and scan me later?"

"Exactly. Now, I go have to warn that nosy telepath who's been prodding at my psyche before his brain gets turned to oatmeal." I stood up and straightened out my skirts.

"Who else knows about this?" He pulled off his rocketpack and started fiddling with it while I turned to go. Rude child...what kind of goodbye is that?

"The City of Baltimore! He's already trashed half the city before checking the library and finding out there was a Bloodwing Foundation in Steelhead!"


I licked my lips. I felt myself getting thirsty. Luckily the smell of kerosene was no longer appetizing to me.

"Gotta run! Watch the Sparks!"

I tesseracted as he jumped back and ran like a crybaby towards the Consulate.

Monday, July 21, 2008

i don't understand myself anymore

she shies from the light, but hesitantly faced the camera again, staring back with clockwork eyes

This not easy. My old life was one centered on helping others. In a sense I still do. In a very narrow sense. Or perhaps it's their prey I protect by being a wolf in sheep's clothing. And a disguise like this...all too easy.

Their primary habitat has been laid waste. I know of secondary sites. But as a herd, they are migrating. And I cannot stray too far from the Maker.

I am not looking forward to a change of prey. But the Hunger is only surpassed by the desire to serve.

*wipes a crimson tear from her eye*

Damn you Founder! Why didn't you let me die with honor??? I've become a mockery of everything I...

*turns her head at the sound of a wooden door creaking, and shuts off the camera*

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

a stranger here reborn it seems

It was a simple matter for Aleister to install my second eye. He avoided answering my questions about his past as he stretched a dermal layer across my face and fastened it down.

When I asked him where this workshop was located, he only said "a forgotten place."

He lifted my head in his hands and carried me gently to another table. My face was pointed upwards, and I felt a pressure under my base. The was a snap followed by a cascade of clicks. Renewed sensations of a physical form joyously greeted my longing receptors. Peering down at me, his pale, thin-lipped smile mirrored my own. "Und now you haff a body again." He wrapped his arms around my shoulders and pulled my torso up to a sitting position. I was suspended silently against the threadbare ruffles and brass buttons of his jerkin. He felt as cold as I was, but he smelled of machine oil and polished wood, and a trace of that wonderful vintage that made my palate tingle just at the thought of it.

One hand left my shoulder. I felt the rod extending into my back when he gripped the key. His fingers I still felt cued me not to tense my shoulder blades when I felt the rod rotating in slow intervals. I felt my energy building with each series of ratcheting turns. My small synthetic hands that seemed to mimic both hard porcelain and human skin when needed for flexible joints, raised gently to reach as best they could around his sides.

He stepped back, supporting me by my upper arms and slid back to my hands as I proved I retained balance. His delicate fingertips brushed mine as he withdrew a step.

"Step down, und valk."

I turned to look behind me for a moment, The table had a square latch in the center where an open panel hinged down, allowing me to lie on my back with the key in place. My knees trembled when my bare feet pressed down on the cold wooden planks. Over the meager protest of my ankles and hip joints, I straightened my posture. I looked up to him, fangs exposed as he grinned and nodded almost imperceptibly in approval. He was very tall...twice my size. Or was it...I was the one who was small.

He gestured with a ruffled sleeve towards a full-length standing mirror in the corner of the workshop. With one hesitant step after another I stood before the mirror. I saw my own face, white as porcelain with painted first I thought I looked like the Founder's visage of the Dragon, but then I recognized it as the pattern adorn a child's doll. My eyes were a deep green. My black hair was cut short, above the neckline. (I remembered from my first incarnation that getting one's hair caught in one's own machinery was never a good idea.) It desperately needed to be styled.

I scanned lower to what Aleister had wrapped my new body in. I wore a ruffled black and maroon dress with matching gloves. The color scheme which immediately reminded me of what was now my favorite food, and favorite color. My delicate feet were bare.

"Do you like it?" I turned my head to gaze back at him as he broke my distraction. "Ze hair und ze shoes..." he shrugged. "I cannot keep up vit two hundred years of fashion. I vill brink you a catalog."

I ran to him, and he knelt to accept my embrace. "Vat is your name now?" I stepped back, hinged eyelids blinking.

"My name is Qli..." I shook my head. It just didn't seem to fit me anymore. I tried to imagine myself as a taller construct, but all I saw was my sister in the modifications she made to my old form. "I...I need a new name."

"Close your eyes" he said, "tell me vat you feel."

I explored the darkness. I felt the hundreds of gears and miles of springs, and envisioned them. Neither of my first Creators ever built something this dazzlingly coomplex and must have taken a century to draft this clockwork geometry...

"Geomet..." My lips processed a responce. "Gem...Gematria!" The vampire smiled.

"Vunderbar! A perfect name! Und now, Gematria, you vill serve me as your new Creator."

There was a slight pang of regret as I nodded. He noticed my expression.

"Ze Founder is gone, mein daughter. Zere is only one of ze bloodline older than me. But ze Firstborn is defiant, and vill ,nezer take ze role as ze new Founder." I whispered the name of the being he referred to that had ever so briefly been reborn as my brother.


"Und after him, I am ze oldest...surviving...member of ze Mason line."

My eyes widened as his placid demeanor parted like the clouds to reveal the burning desire beneath.

"I AM ZE NEW FOUNDER!!" He roared with fangs bared.

I took several paces back until my key made contact with the table. I responded with a supplicative "Yes, Sir" as his bloodshot gaze turned back to me.

"After you pick out your shoes," said Aleister, "you vill return to Doctor Mason. You shall say nussink of zis. You vill be summoned vhen ze time is right."

He advanced upon me again, and ran his fingers through my hair as he looked down.

"Follow my directions...und you vill be a Princess of Hell...just as he promised you..."


Wednesday, July 2, 2008

but intro for what's to come

From my single eye I beheld the one rebuilding me. As his hands already told, his face was thin and white as alabaster. He wore a copper headband with a series of lenses projecting from his left side of his face that magnified one of his blood red eyes to immense proportions. The angles of the nose and the jaw...yes, he had Mason blood. There was no doubt in my mind of that. His thin lips were faded, and the tips of fangs displayed from his gentle smile. His hair was long and tied back...the same dark, deep red shade Dr. Mason had when Bloodwing controlled him,the color of pomegranate. His clothes were immaculately clean, though faded and threadbare in places, in remarkable shape for what would have been smart fashion when the Sun King still ruled from Versailles.

"I see you too." He grinned slightly, bearing a bit more of his fangs as he lifted the array of lenses upwards. "I am Aleister Louis Mason...former Host of the demon Bludvink." I stifled a laugh. "It sounds different vhen you say it, ja? I prefer to call him by his first name, Hmanaftera."

I gasped. When reading the Founders convoluted volumes of biography, only quotations from the earliest Histories referred to that name, sources engraved in cuneiform.

"You...are the vampire that bit my brother?" I stammered.

He shook his head, and pulled back his plush red velvet chair and stood. Old floorboards creaked as lifted a candle and leaned towards one of the many ornate wooden clocks lining the walls of the room.

"Zat never happened, you see? Zis clock, it tells me where zee time vas lost." I could not even begin to guess which of the several dozen arms, gears and pendulums he was referring to behind the glass. "Every time someone changes zee Loom of Fate, I see it here." He tapped one of the panels, and it opened. A round copper plate chimed and glowed with a strange energy. A distorted vision of sepia in a slowly rising haze of mist began to take shape.

It was Koen. From what must have been Herr Aleister's view the neko smashed one rococo timepiece after another with a clawed bracer as he brandished a glowing ankh in another. His growls were tinny and distant and laden with hisses and pops. With a sudden chime the presentation ceased, and the panel ratcheted back into the clock.

"Ja, I vanted zee time device under zee Foundation. But you see why, Ja?"

As experienced as I was with time travel, even I was having trouble understanding. "You...knew Koen was coming to destroy you, so you wanted to neutralize him first...but Bloodwing sensed this and alerted my family...which led to you being staked, as you had sought to avoid?" He only shrugged.

"Vun does not survive for over a century vizzout learnink to be proactif. all for moot now, Ja?"

I would have taken a deep breath, had I torso attached. "How did a former Host of Bloodwing become a vampire, may I ask?"

Aleister lowered himself to his seat again as the floor creaked. He stretched his arm to a shelf behind me, and presented a green eye of glass in his palm.

"Vhile I vurk on you a bit more," he said as he lowered the magnifiers back over his eye, "I vill tell you a story..."

It was an interesting one at that.

As he pulled back and I adjusted my binocular vision, a finally responded. "You were one of those ancient warriors?"

He chuckled, a measured imitation of short unnecessary breaths in an imitation of a human reaction.

"Nein. Zee original bloodline, it vas lost gradually, vhen zee plants lost zeir special soil."

"Then how did you become...?"

He lifted a bottle of wine from under the table and placed it beside me. It wa an old, dusty bottle with a yellowed parchment label. What I could barely discern in the candlelight was fanciful and meticulous script.

1708 - Sumatra

"I found zee last plant, still cared for as zee Founder commanded."

"In the temple of the Bloodtail it starts fit together..."

"Like clockvurk ja?" He pulled the cork. A sweet, heady aroma filled the air. It was exactly the flavor that had graced my tongue as it first began to taste. He produced a small, delicate glass, which I would guess was used by wine connoisseurs for tasting rare vintages. It took him several minutes to slowly tilt that bottle, and a single drop of thick red liquid trailed from the mouth of the bottle, leaving little crimson dots down the inside of the glass to where the fluid collected in the bottom. I looked up at him.

"Do you vant anuzzer taste, Ja?"

Without hesitation I found myself saying Yes, Please. He lifted the glass and delicately pressed it to my lips.