I was still bereft from the shock of my Firstborn's death. Of all the souls I expected to see come to dark shores of the Styx, I did not expect to see my dear Qlippothic as well. Not this soon. She stood before me, her shade still weeping not from her destruction, but from the circuitry drilled and woven through her essence, ever after death. I did my best to soothe her, and painstakingly unthreaded the corruption from her synthetic soul.
As she did so, she explained how this all went wrong when she tried to undo the death of Dr. Darien Mason, who had perished in one of his mad experiments. The device I designed did work, but with unexpected side effects. She was displaced to a realm of Nothingness with a gathering of duplicates, hundreds all from splintered histories made counterfactual by my invention.
A light did shine in the darkness, a floating city of grandeur. It was of Avarian build as she recognized from my archives. Their Sparkfather, Dr. Mason, welcomed each and every one of them when they arrived. He explained he was displaced himself from fighting the Hydra, and found this lost masterpiece of a fallen race. They would make the best of things as a family, in the spirit of my Heartsong, to make this Hell a Heaven.
It was all lies. That was the Sixth Son, Jerimiah, not his cloned son Darien. Each Qli innocently followed the signs to the maintenance bay, only to be deactivated and sealed in Replicator pods to re-emerge as helpless drones for his infernal plans!
What was worse was my Seventh Son was now at his father's mercy...and I knew the Sixth Son was always cursed to be born without any such trait. She heard Koen's death wail as well, and could only scream inside at the cruelties surrounding her. She said she met her end by a hybrid Qlippothic untouched by the Replicator virus that crushed her soul chip to set her free.
Then...another Qlippothic arrived, reconfigured in the guise of a neko, but just as ravaged by defacement by that madman, with five more catlike Qlis in tow. The one I had just cured assisted me in untangling the others as they related their demise at the hands of a clockwork rat that transformed into a sandblasting cat-dragon.
Could that be Kira, I thought? Not even I can change from one guise straight to another without returning to my old shape first. That is the gift of a true Shifter...or perhaps...the dragon was her true form?
Charon's boat drifted from the mists, beckoning my daughters to dwell in the kingdom to which I could never return.
"Charon, those are Princesses of Erebus, and they shall be treated as such! Tell the guards to escort them to the Obsidian King's court immediately!"
He did not respond, but my daughters thanked me as they faded beyond my sight.
"New Erebus", I muttered. "Hades will not be pleased to hear of a mortal impostor."
I was just starting to sit down by the riverbank again to continue my wait as I heard more calls of "Demonfather!" growing louder in the distance.
At least I'll be kept busy.