Friday, August 29


spinning the clock forwards

The drink was horrid. I'll spare you the description in case you're eating at the moment. I doubled over from growing pains as my bones began to lengthen. But my mind was in worse shape.

Being aged a dozen years in a matter of minutes was like someone ripping open the picture album of my mind and flipping through the pages blindingly fast and buffeting your face with them. The good memories leave barely a kiss before you can savor them. The traumas assault you before you have time to dread.

My senses recalled everything like stacatto succession as my nerve endings continued to grow and spread. My father's withering rebukes drilled my ears along with the sting of wood and leather. There was a momentary respite from the feel of soft fur withing to the harsh chemicals and smell of electrical burns. A brief cloistering from the past with the musty aroma of forbidden books and the cloying scent of formaldehyde. This gave way to the (even sorer) muscles of basic training and the smell of cordite, accented by the taste of cheap beer and cigarettes gilded with a touch of perfume and powder.

Ash helped me to my feet. "Darien. You have aged. You seem to be twenty-four or twenty-five."

An odd age. Halfway to my true birthdate. Last time I was like this, I had graduated early from Miskatonic with my M.D. and served as a medic with the Capper Brigade. Hurriedly I readjusted the clothes I borrwed from Ash.

"Interesting. Now let's get Marcus."

Thursday, August 28

Room Service

After I strapped on Ash's field outfit we decided that it was pointless to hide as a bear mascot if there was only one demon left on the ship. I was still woozy from the spa treatment and tried to form a strategy with Ash. My first goal was to rescue Gematria.

"Rescuing Gematria is no longer a prioprity. She is not aboard this vessel. My directive is now to resue you."

I held my tongue on that one. Yes, I was still 25 years younger than I was supposed to be. Yes, I wanted out of this Dollhouse-boat, this Cruise Ship to Cootieville.

"Neither of us have wings anymore. We either hide and wait for a Wulfenbach rescue or find a couple jetpacks. I can't believe how lucky you were to survive that fall."

"The trampoline survived the explosion and broke my fall. That reminds me, why did Novem keep a trampoline upstairs?"

"You got me, Ash. I'm just a kid, remember?"

"Room Service!"

We both suddenly turned as we heard the clank of metal. A large serving platter and a covered dish was pushed by a blue claw from the cover of a concealed trap door neatly amidst the ripped blankets, lace and gears. The claw snatched the bear costume and pulled it into the crawlspace. Then it clamped down on the head of the costume by the nose. There was grunting below as it took a few pulls to squeeze it through the aperture. We barely noticed a trapdoor closing to blend with the carpet of the spa chamber.

"Ash? Is that a trap?"

"That was the Sommelier."

"The Smiler?"

"No, the Sommelier. He manages the wine cellar, including the Bloodwine casks. He helped me escape from the Lounge on the Tantalus Deck. He warned of dire consquences if Marcus consumed the Ereb'ai bloodwine."

"Shouldn't that be our mission?"

I stooped over and lifted the silver cover. There was a can of oil for Ash and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for me with a glass of...bubbling green fluid.
There was also a rolled-up map of the ship, with a note written in immaculate handwriting on the back.

Master Darien, Please Drink. It will put hair on your chest. Loosen your belt first. I can mix you more when the ship is secure. Stop Marcus, in the Penthouse Suite any way you can. Time is of the Essence.

I lifted the glass, carefully. The smell from it was worse than the trash chute.

"Should I?"

"I'm not versed in Alchemy, Sir. He seems to be trustworthy as far as Demons go."


Tuesday, August 26

OOC: On the Doctor's Bookshelf

I found this in Miss Bettye Dugan's journal and couldn't resist.

Look at the list and bold those we have read.
Italicize those we intend to read.
Underline the books we LOVE

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell

9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (I did read The Brothers Karamozov)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis

37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov (Stop looking at me like that! :P)
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker

73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (I read Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man then tried this one. Failed after the first few pages.)
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (isn't this redundant with the Complete Works?)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (abriged)

Monday, August 25

secrets beneath the foundation

Bloodwing's crimson eyes glimmered a deeper red; his tears ran dry long ago. The Tapestry of the Fates revealed the dawn of New Steelhead in centuries to come after his own kin had brought the glory of the Age of Steam to a screeching halt. Another Pyrrhic victory in his eyes.

"Even in Ascension you mourn where your own loose tongue lead to your banishment", spoke the Fates in one voice. "You have this entire orb to yourself."

"It is not the same!" He roared. "Is there NOTHING I can do to save the save the werewolf?"

"We bade you to stitch closed the tears you had already made, which you did. We offered your daughter the chance to unwind her thread from the thread of another cloth, and she refused. The Sheriff is not your family."

"He was my brother-in-arms! Ask any Spartan that marched into Erebus if their fellow soldiers are not family! The Son of Hades does not..."

"You speak your belief, but not the Truth. You are not the Son of Hades."


"We shall not show you. It is unseemly to show one their origins..."

"This is my Kingdom and my Court! SHOW ME!!!"

The tapestry shimmers, and the flash of whirling blades cut through the absolute darkness of the Underworld sky. Great birds shriek and bloody feathers circle in angry winds. Sparks erupt high into the air as a white neko hacks away at the link of a chain so massive she could walk through it as a gate.

The iron crashes against the jagged rocks of the mountain. The neko leaps over the sliding metal effortlessly as a silhouette the size of the mountain itself rises from where it had lay outstretched.

The shape rose, to the size of a tower, perfectly proportioned as a human male. Bloodwing saw burning red eyes open to illuminate a pale visage and unkempt locks of crimson hair, and facial features reflecting his own on a scale that made his own powerful new form seem small. A deep voice, calm and compassionate, echoed through the barren ravine.

"Who are you challenges the wrath of Hades to free me?"

"I am Persephone...and by his will I come to..."

"WHAT MADNESS IS THIS?" bellowed the demon.

Sunday, August 24

We now return to the Legacy of Bloodwing, already in progress

It resembled a childhood memory twisted into a trauma, this shambling mound of shaggy brown fur. What sort of primal fear did it tap within me that caused me to tap magical energies that had laid buried within me for decades?

The air around me rippled as I spoke syllables that Reality tried to hide. Pulses of kinetic energy erupted from my open palms and sent the beast tumbling over the bench where I had almost been lulled into the Embrace. Its head flew clear of its body. I dropped my guard as I stared in disbelief. "Ash? What are you doing dressed like a mascot?" My creation quickly rose to his feet.

"In a word, Darien...disguise." He scooped the head up with a clumsy-looking paw. "And where are your clothes?" He stepped over the bench that had fallen apart due to inferior construction. That's when I realized...

"[EXPLETIVE!] peri just saw me...!"


"One of Qli's old friends, she was working undercover for Dr. Steel and rescued me." I pointed to the destroyed Doll at his furry feet. He scanned the destroyed construct, then turned back to me.

"Where are your clothes? And the bloodwine sample we concocted?" I covered my mouth in shock. We blew up one of my venues for that formula, it better still be here! I dashed to the cabinet that peri had just rifled through before she jumped out of the thrash chute. I found my briefs and my leather satchel...but the vial that was securely padded inside was missing. I bit my tongue and slipped on what little clothing I had before I launched into another tirade unbecoming my tender age. "You are lucky," Ash continued as she pulled some ruffled squares of colored fabric and lace from inside his suit. "I just destroyed three Blood Dolls after I accidentally spilled some of the house vintage. I felt guilty smashing them without a chance to defend themselves, but as long as they were distracted by lapping up the fluid from the bar, the bar stool and the floor..." He stacked a slightly stained collection of pink, violet and black Doll outfits in my arms. "Now we can both travel in disguise." He planted a blond wig with pink ribbons and lace on my head and began to adjust it. I looked at him in stunned silence.

"I...I have an idea. Howabout I wear the bear suit..."

"This bear suit is far too big for you, Darien. Furthermore, I would need to find a construct built from a Loli-Oni to recover a dress big enough..."

"Let's...just not go there, Ash. You're still wearing clothes under that suit, right?"

"Correct. But they would still be too large for..."

"The outfit is from Bare Rose, right?"

"Yes Darien, it was your gift from..." I tossed the dresses over my shoulder.

"Then it's transferrable and adjustable. And to be honest, you don't even need clothes. Now hand. It. OVER!"

Friday, August 15

OOC: Vacation, Holiday, Withdrawl, call it what you will...

The deva will be off to the beach for a week starting tomorrow, for the period of a week, with only a handheld device and spotty aether connections save for the oasis of the occasional cafe'. He will be receiving therapeutic doses of sunlight and salt water and extensive research into beings known as "family". We must maintain vigilance against greasy foods, alcohol, and centrifugal torture devices disguised as entertainment.

In the meantime I'll be writing up a long wishlist for my rezday, and concocting dramatic escapes, along with situations in which to deploy them.

I would also like to take the opportunity to thank all of my new friends from Babbage who have made life much more interesting as of late.

Gracious thanks to the ruler of Wintefell and her Court, who offer safe port to Pirate Muses.

One cannot forget one's tried and true companions either...the Caledonians, the Steelheaders and the Wulfenbachs who offered the Foundation survivors safe port in the storm.

Thank you Qli/Nova for coming back to the story. It has not been the same without you.

And I can never forget the one who watches from behind the glass. Your help shall never be refused, should it be in your will to offer.

Thursday, August 14

I'll make your heart smile

I felt the back or the recliner slowly bring ratcheted up until I was almost upright. A doll voice whispered sweetly in my ear, rousing me partway to consciousness. "Daaarieeen...are you comfortable?" I barely lifted my eyelids to see one of the dolls coddling me. I nodded slightly. "Would you like to stay this way forever?" I groaned quietly in response.

I felt the cold rim of a glass pressed to my lips. "You and your handsome...just drink this, and you will stay young forever..." I felt the glass tilt slowly, and my nostrils took in the tannic aroma of the Bloodwine.

That is until a blade sliced the doll's arm away, splattering the crimson across my blanket and scattering bits of wood, metal and porcelain across my face. I fell to the ground, groggily trying to get to all fours as I heard the sounds of cracking ceramic and gears ripped out of alignment. The Blood Doll fell before me, the face that never showed life cracked in two, revealing the shattered mechanisms beneath.

Bright lights destroyed the dark ambiance of the spa chamber, blinding me for a moment. A blocky, blue velvet mary jane shoe with a flowery silver buckle stepped in the space between me and the wrecked doll.

"Gem?" I asked as my vision focused upwards past the matching blue dress and laces.

"No, Doctor Mason, this one is peri. You do remember peri?" She lifted her arm, and the blade slid quietly back into her forearm beneath the lace.

Yes, the round painted face and her girlish voice were familiar, as well as her curls of blue-black hair. She hooked her hands under my arms and sat upright in the chair. I shivered in the cold, and she wrapped one of the clean blankets around me.

"perizada Strangelove? Yes, you've come to me for repairs before. You were one of Qlippothic's friends." I furrowed my brow. "Who are you working for?"

"After Aleister captured Qlippothic, he started catching other Dolls as well and reworking them to be his minions. But peri serves ONE Dollmaker and ONE ALONE!" She stood to attention and clenched her right fist against her left shoulder. I recognized the Straitjacket Salute.

"Doctor Steel." I wrapped the blanket around my waist for modesty and carefully sat up. "So he wants the Grid he plans to conquer to be full of his Toy Soldiers, not Aleister's Blood Dolls. Send him my thanks...but I hope he remembers my warning."

"peri remembers the message. Don't conquer the Victorian lands."

"Did he ever give a response?"

Miss Strangelove opened a cabinet and pulled a white backpack from the shelf. "Dr. Steel laughed for a very long time."

I just shrugged, and started rummaging through the drawers for anything that could work as a belt, or a weapon. She fastened the backpack to herself securely.

"peri must go. Goodbye Dr. Mason." With that, she skipped to the far end of the chamber and opened the hatchway I had been pulled out of, and jumped down.

On the opposite end of the chamber, something large, brown and furry burst open the door and started shambling towards me.

Monday, August 11

comfortably numb

*OK, I wasn't wearing the jetpack in this scene. Artistic license, OK?

Bodies. I was being pummeled by falling bodies. The ones that didn't pound me like sack of potatoes tumbled past me as I struggled to avoid the flailing spikes and claws and spines of lifeless demons. I struggled to maintain control of my improvised wing, thankful that I my ridiculously over-padded helmet (thanks Frau Lowey) and flight suit were absorbing the heaviest impacts. Suddenly, I found myself of the bodies must have severed the wire to the wing! I dropped my wing and reached out, and both my hands found a metal rim. My fingers screamed in pain as I hoisted myself up.

I heard the sliding of metal, and light surrounded me. My night goggles were overpowered again. I turned my head, wondering if it would be safer to let myself fall. That's when when I felt several pairs of small but strong hands grip me by the shoulders and pull me out of the cramped tube.

“What the…?!" I stopped suddenly as my helmet and goggles were unceremoniously ripped off my head. I turned quickly only to feel the metal hatch slam shut on my nose. “OW!” As my eyes tried to adjust, I heard that sort of avalanche of ticking one hears when entering a store of antique clocks. I focused, and took a deep breath. "Dolls..."

They stared blankly at me, blinking only because it was in their gears to do so. The bruises beneath my suit began to throb, and I leaned against the hatch for support. My gaze darted from one painted face to the next, trying to discern their intentions. They just looked at each other and, without a word, two of them took me by the elbows and dragged me off, the other dolls following close behind.

“Let’s give him a treatment!” one squealed as they bounded into a dimly-lit rooms back-lit with reflections of pale blue. They tossed me down on a cushioned recliner and flipped me face-up. I sighed in relief that my ribs didn't land on something hard.

There were soothing sounds, first I thought they sounded like the bubbling of water from a stream in an underground cave, then realized it was a bass string instrument. The scent of eucalyptus infiltrated my nostrils. I breathed in slowly, I felt grateful that the smells of garbage and gear oil were being replaced with something more soothing. My eyes closed.

I'm letting my guard down. I can't help it. Everything hurts. So exhausted...

The pain was slowly draining from my body, along with my strength. I sensed it was more than just eucalyptus having an effect on me. I heard the ticking sounds orbit around me. The rustling of cloth and careful tearing of paper. I smelled something that reminded me of the Bay...seaweed. I heard the hushed whispers of the dolls around me.

“He’s so pretty...”

“I think it’s her cousin...” I felt a small hand run through my hair, and then heard the sharp slap that almost sounded like ceramic.

“DON’T TOUCH HIM!” Commanded a sharp voice in an angry whisper. I stirred, trying to regain awareness of my surroundings. Just then a warm, wet, fragrant towel was placed over my face, quickly rendering any judgment of mine useless. I felt my clothing tugged at gently, sliced down the seems, and peeled away. I shivered from the exposure to cold air until I was covered with warm blankets, one after the other. The weight of the blankets became heavy, to the point where I had to fight the weight to draw breath. I tried to struggle, but my body seemed to forget how to move. I was rendered blind and immobile, and almost past caring.

Special thanks to MissLily Nightfire for this entry.

Friday, August 8

up the hatch

After Ash was ripped out of the jammed exit bay by that spider-demon clinging to the hull, I was trapped in absolute darkness. I was still shaken from seeing that, and before that from Ash cursing me out. I used to remove Qli's soul chip all the time. Why couldn't he? I felt some metal roll by my boots as I felt for a foothold. I lowered my flight goggles over my eyes and flipped on the heat sensor.

I was the only living being in the tunnel. I could make out the outline of Ash's wings next to me. One was twisted and shredded into shrapnel, but the other one was largely intact except for where it snapped off from his flightpack rather cleanly.

I heard thumping from the other side of the hatch. It had to be the spider. If there was a way to open it from the outside, he was probably working on it. I had to climb up somehow, but the sides of the tunnel were too smooth.

I looked at the wings. The shredded one was too dangerous for me to pick up, much less use as a weapon or a climbing instrument. The other one...mostly intact. I felt the winding of gears in my brain. I saw ghost images of every object on the floor spinning madly and trying to connect, detach and reconnect with every other piece. My Spark was trying break through. My head started to throb. I wasn't ready for this yet. Too many possibilities!

My hand rested on the spare battery pack strapped to my waist. It was part of the Junior Wulfenbach Spark Scouts Package, or whatever Frau Lowey called it. I examined the wing socket, the wiring was intact. I fumbled through the bundle of wires, screws, nuts, bolts and other stuff I had been pocketing. When I was a child, Father never gave me toys. These construction leftovers made up my toybox. I made my own toys.

I plugged the socket of the wing to my battery by a length of wrapped wire. One final click and the cavorite membrane of the wings began to glow and lift upwards. I held the frame with both arms and bent it to be as symmetrical as possible as my boots dangled. I grinned. This was actually WORKING!

The tunnel flooded with light from below as the hatch groaned open. My vision was a blur of green, and I was holding on too tightly to the wing to risk falling by turning the heat sensor off.

"I SEE YE, CHILD! SOMEONE'S GONNA BE MY APPETIZER!" I looked down quickly to see him scuttling after me. "I GOT A JAR OF MANGO SALSA GLAZE WITH YOUR NAME ON IT!"

"Don't you know the Masons taste better in mole' sauce?" I shouted back. Of all the times for my sense of humor to come back...

"Mason? MASON? I..."

I couldn't hear the rest of it as I heard the quick rise of a rumbling sound above me.

"Oh PLEASE don't tell me sombody flushed..."

Thursday, August 7

The Midas Touch

Outside the ship, Ash was hovering over Babbage, holding Darien securely. They were both staring upwards at the hull of the Midas when a bound, furry humanoid fell through a hatch.


Darien looked down and watched the figure vanish into the smoldering remains of the Muses Playhouse. "You know what this means, Ash?"

"Family rescue time?"

"Right. Let's do this!"

Ash soared upwards towards the hatch, pushing Darien through. Ash began to slip his arms inside when the hatch promptly snapped upwards, his wings crumpled with a loud crunch. His legs hung from the hull of the ship. Darien tried to press against the smooth metal passage for traction as his feet found footing on Ash's shoulders. "ASH! Are you alright?"

"I believe this situation is commonly referred to as a cliffhanger, Master Darien!"

"Yeah? Well I've got a few other words for it!"

Tuesday, August 5

Any experiment you can walk away from...

I'll give Ash credit, he kept on my tail the whole flight, even when I threw a couple stunts in he followed my lead. After we touched down I had Ash help me set up the experiment. After I secured my jetpack.

I still had some samples of the Founder's ichor from before he was irradiated, for golem creation and such. He drank the Ereb'ai Bloodwine throughout his entire existance, for thousands of years. I could almost see that distinctive color in the black fluid even before I began heating it to filtrate.

I watched nervously as the pure juice slowly spiraled down the tubes into the smaller beaker. A line printer squealed as it scrawled out the purity of the Bloodwine. We both looked on curiously at the results of purified ichor. Ash read the results directly from the feed.

"50% Neko hemoglobin. 50% Unidentified, positive for anti-aging and regenerative elements...cross-referencing...Ichor positive for trace elements found in Immortals of Olympian...conclusion rejected...proportions incorrect for ambrosia...refining analysis..."

"Wow" I said, "so Bloodwing's Mom really was a neko. I guess that explains the whole Vortex thing too..." I watched as the ichor, now turned from black to red, began to glow.


"Fascinating! Self-contained catalysts requiring neither ambrosia nor bloodwine substitute..."

Flames began erupting from the larger beaker.


"Sir! This is a discovery of paradigm-cracking proportions!"

I jumped up and grabbed his jacket by his epaulets, pulling him down. "DAMMIT ASH! STOP SPARKING! THIS IS A NO-MONOLOGUE ZONE! THE ICHOR IS ON FIRE!"

"But of course, Sir! Purified Titan blood is known to..."

I grabbed the vial of reconstituted bloodwine. "Follow me! Heed your Maker!"

That snapped him back to attention. Suddenly he scooped me up and kicked the secret door of rotating stones, smashing it. His metal bat-wings extended with a slicing sound and we were airborne. I covered the bottle with my hand as a stopper, even though my hands were staring to blister from the heat. I saw a flash below and looked down to see a column of smoke where Novem once stood.


"For once I have to agree with you, Darien. We seem to have destroyed your commercial venture."

"What do you mean WE, Tin Man? You should have beenpaying attention!"

"I was Sparking, Master Darien! You should have followed basic procedures and..."

"Basic Procedures? I've only been in Europan Day School for what, two weeks? Cut me some slack! Miss Viv and Miss Lily are gonna SCRAP you for this!"

"US, Darien. You blew it up as well."


"You did, too."

"DID NOT! And you owe me a new jet..."

A shadow fell over us both, and Ash stopped to hover as we stared at the underbelly of the largest Black Trireme we had ever seen.

"Ash? Didn't we just see this somewhere?"

"It does strike me as derivative, yes..."

Monday, August 4

sailing on a ship of fools

"This is a cruise ship?"

"Aye, Sir!" replied the Captain. "At least it was before we were impressed into the war with New Erebus. We were the Sisyphus of the Seas! Touring the Obsidian King, His Court, and visiting dignitaries along the Styx, the Lethe, and all the shores of the Underworld!"

The boy frowned as he walked past the assembled crew, every biological variation putting the laws of Natural Selection (as it applies to the Underworld)in question. Each crewman was more doubtfully suited for combat than the next.

"No military training of any kind?"

"I'm afraid not, Sir. Your crew is made of the finest concierges, interior decorators, fashion designers, sommeliers, lounge singers..."

"I can't believe this...keep the ship cloaked until the Middlesea Fleet stops looking for us..."

Marcus stopped at the sommelier. He was a blue crustacean creature, his tapered head resembling a lobster. Hanging from his carapace was the metal ring on a chain, indicative of his station. Draped over one claw was a towel, and clutched in the other was a bottle.

The Captain stared at the flightless bird who had loped behind him nervously.

"Wait, sommeliers? What sort of wine?"

The lobster cleared his throat. His antennae flailed as his mandibles made a noble attempt at human speech. "Gud Suhr. Wee hef zeh finest bludwines from zeh prehvet rezehrv..."

His eyes narrowed. "A taste, please."

The lobster sniffed nervously, and bent down. His extra legs scratched nervously under his apron. "Arh you feeling ull reht, Suhr?"

Marcus nodded. "Pour, please."

The claw pulled the cork from the bottle effortlessly. The pop ehoed throughout the deck.

Far below, as Gematria swings her axe at the Blood Dolls swarming about her small airship on wooden wings, all of the clockworks suddenly look up...

A glass emerges from beneath the sommelier's apron by one of a row of vestigial limbs beneath. The neck tilts gracefully, and dark red liquid flows. The pungent aroma causes all of the demon except the server to sigh.

The dolls forget the combat and hover, necks craned straight over head. including the one in the fireship, collectively sigh and lick their lips. Colonel O'Toole watches fromthe deck of his ironclad through a spyglass, and motions for his ships to hold their fire.

The sommelier's eyestalks swerve nervously as he stands in place towards the Captain, the First Mate, and the rest of the crew. The creature holds the glass in front of what passes for his face, and inhales. Marcus rubs his nose, noticing the smell of the sea the crewman carries with him. The claw lowers the glass for Marcus to hold. The boy touches the blue claw as the crewmen gasp.

"Thank you." He puts the rim of the glass to his lips.

"NO SIR!" The Captain snatches the glass from the boy, who stares up angrily. "Don't ye know this vintage ain't for mortals, Boy? Ye want ta be a vampire like yer Granpa Aleister?" Without giving him the time to react, the Captain opens a portal with a furry claw and tosses the entire glass overboard.

The Blood Dolls shriek at the sight of droplets of bloodwine falling like rain, and immediately climb upwards. Gematria trembles as she hold onto her port bow, staring upwards.

"I am not a Blood Doll...I am Captain of the Caledon Volunteer Fire...DAMMIT WAIT FOR ME!!!" Gematria throws her helmet overboard as she straps on a set of Emergency Flight Wings to her back and abandons ship as the bewildered Middlesea Fleet looks on.

The Colonel turns to his crew, lowering his spyglass. "Somethings up there, that's for sure! CLIMB!"

Saturday, August 2

OOC: If only IT meant a steady career!

You may not realize it from the sprinkling of errors throughout this journal, but the deva is a Technical Writer by trade. (He is "off the clock" in the blogosphere.) By hobby, he is a Creative Writer, Second Life and the blogosphere being his current outlets of choice.

The deva is now sending out copies of his resumes. His current position ends with this month. Should any of you know of an opportunity for a Senior Documentation Specialist either in the Capital area or in the Virtual sphere, your help would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to contact me inworld.


Darien's player

Friday, August 1

this is why I find myself awake

I couldn't sleep. I was rolling through my memories. Once they were smooth and sequential. Now they were as jumbled as a collapsed house of cards. I slipped out of my cot and adjusted my nightgown. I was still sore on point of pride for being stripped and hosed down behind the Consulate. I could still catch the faintest whiff of kerosene in my squeaky-clean hair.

I adjusted the oil lamp in the Reading Room and squinted at the spines of leatherbound volumes of The Bloodwing Foundation Chronicles, their ziggurat symbols emblazoned on the front covers made it easy to to pick them out from the overwhelming collection of the Heterodyne novels.

I found the tome that compiled the stories from the Autumn of last year. I jotted down my own recollections on a blank sheet of paper, then wrote lines of the revised history beneath them.

1.Darien became infected by the Hydra possessing Jeremiah, and used the parasite to pull the remaining snake from Jeremiah, killing him.

Jeremiah's snakes kill Darien.

2. Bloodwing uses Qlippothic's Galvanic Tesseractor to catapult Darien into the past Jeremiah into Otherspace, where the physics of the Tesseractor age him to dust. Bloodwing assumes Jeremiah's clone machine activates once the active Jeremiah is no longer detected in this world.

3. Qlippothic reanimates the body of Jeremiah, incurring Bloodwing's wrath, but Bloodwing discovers Qlippothic's suspicion was true: that Jeremiah was truly Darien in disguise. Darien. Qlippothic rages against Bloodwing, saying "it was not supposed to be this way!"

Interesting, I thought. The time traveller senses that History was being changed around her. She had secretly conspired with timelost Darien in the bowels of the Mason Plantation before. She had never disclosed what was said for obvious reasons, but she and Koen must have coordinated their escape with him. I'll have to ask Koen what he remebered versus what the chronicles now tell.