Thursday, September 25

inheritance within reach

The figment of Jeremiah noted looked up from his research at the sound of buzzing equipment at the opposite side of the chamber.

"Mendelson. We have uninvited guests. Use the Deathwhisper...we don't want to alarm present company upstairs."

The assistant nodded, and loaded the sleek black weapon he pulled from one of the cabinets.

Marcus began screaming telepathically. [Mendelson! I trusted you! Why did you kill me! Why?]

I tried to console him as the servant climbed the stairs and slipped through the metal door that shut quietly behind him. [He can't hear you, Marcus. In fact, they're only memories.]

Jeremiah slipped into another corridor, retreating deeper into the labyrinth of his underground lair. As we started to master the dreamscape environment, we willed our bodies to develop faster. Marcus's memories hit me with a jolt. Our thoughts and memories were starting to permeate each other's minds.

[Darien...what are these parameters you have?]


[This instinct? Not to exert control over others, even if you are certain they would be better off under your control? To expect civilized behavior until proven otherwise, event at the cost of potential betrayal?]

As toddlers we were able to push open the lids of the gestation jars and draw breath.

[ what I call my conscience, Marcus. It is something our Father never had. At best he only mimicked the behavior in others, until he could catch them off guard. This meant he could never control Bloodwing. He tried to get around it by building clones of himself that could, that he would then control.]

We crawled out of the tubes, green fluid spilling from the jars and down Jeremiah's desk, spreading ink stains across notes of scientific diagrams and hermetic figures.

[He called me a demon?]

[Yes...apparently you are an attempt to clone Bloodwing himself. But he never exposed you to the Bloodwine to complete the change.]

We both hopped down the desk as we gained strength and coordination along with our height. I switched to the appearance of speech. "Perhaps he wanted a more Human version of the Founder. Just as Hades wanted a Demon child to present as his heir."

"What is happening to us now?" He pulled down a coat rack of white lab coats. After hesitating for a moment, he passed a coat to me as well.

"He created his own Bloodwing and Seventh Son to merge with in a laboratory setting. When you started the psychic combat, the process was set in motion."

As children we draped ourselves in the adult-sized coats, which from our perspective began to shrink.

"How do we stop it? Should we?" He asked as his voice croaked.

We stared at each other. My eyes turned to the coat rack as I resisted the urge to scratch my face while my mustache filled in. "You have a conscience now."


"Do you like it?"

Before he could answer, the hidden door that Mendelson exited was ripped open by two pale arms with clenched fists. Without ripping the flesh on the shredded metal, the arms ripped the door from its hinges, tossing it down to the stone floor at our feet with an impact that made the mansion shudder. We looked up in alarm as a spectre of the Founder himself looked down on us, descending the stairs slowly.

Was this the Founder returned, or an embodiment of the memories of his reign of terror over me? Marcus and I acted as one on the first instinct was self-defense, and began to concentrate our now-shared power to will the apparition out of existence.

Monday, September 22


Much thanks to Her Grace the Seneschelf, Serra Anansi for her assistance in adding a greater sense of mystique to my public journal!

~Dr. Mason

the haunting

Onboard the Midas, Darien and his brother Marcus were locked in physical and psychic combat. However, something unexpected had occurred. The brothers now struggled to free themselves from the arena of their own minds, even as their essences continued to merge. In the psychic realm they were both reliving their first moments of awareness in the gestation machines of their diabolical father, Jeremiah Mason, in a chamber hidden beneath the sprawling Mason estate.

Darien's creation, Ash, sensed both Masons were in distress and transferred his spirit from his own soul chip into the mindscape of the Mason plantation.

With all three combatants now oblivious to the status of the abandoned vessel, the crystals in the chandelier of the ruined ballroom several decks above began to glow and tremble. One of the crystals throbbed in time to the disembodied voice of Jeremiah Mason as the drone of a multitude of voices began to rise.

"CONCENTRATE, my brethren! Breach just one crystal and they shall ALL shatter!"

One shards of crystal shattered and rained down upon one of the upturned tables. Immediately the galaxy of glowing lights surrounding it exploded as well, raining shards of soul-crystals over the once-grand chamber, burying the crushed Blood dolls in a layer of glittering snow. As the energy of the explosion faded the chamber continued to glow from the throng of spirits howling triumphantly. One voice rose above the rest. As the spirits floated downwards to coalesce into semblances of their living forms.

"Prison ship! Pleasure yacht! Supply ship! Battle cruiser! We have endured incarceration through every rechristening of this vessel!" Jeremiah's transparent form stood, or more precisely floated, on top of the piano where the demonic lounge singer had met his end. Other humanoid figures materialized on top of the bar and tables or continued to float in the air. Jeremiah watched them take the forms of humans, demons, neko and other forms he could not discern.

"We, the direct descendants of the Founder, were promised an afterlife of both purpose and pleasure in service to Prince Bloodwing in his estate, protected from the cruelty of his father outside the castle walls! But Hades mangled that pact and harnessed us as slaves, chaining us to crystals to feed off our misery to power this ship!"

A towering figure clad in plate armor with the crest of Bloodwing on his helm gestured a gauntlet towards the ceiling as he bellowed. "Jeremiah! What is keeping this ship afloat with our souls freed from these crystals?"

The Spark's spirit grinned. "A fair question, your Lordship!"

Below deck, wires hidden behind panels in the passageways pried themselves out of the plating and began to entwine around Ash, slithering between his joints.

"My sons have been so kind as to provide me with a golem constructed from the remains of the Founder himself! I know from experience this plodding hulk is far more useful as a power generator than the pathetic imitation of the Regent they built him to be!"

"BLASPHEMY!" The frail man in the tunic and sandals clenched his fist. "Your survivors must pay desecrating the body of..."

"Peace to you, Senator! I shall punish them myself! But the fact remains that if I destroy the golem now this ship would crash into the Realm of the Roses! Now, as per our agreement, I proclaim myself Captain of this vessel, the Erebus III!"

Friday, September 19

in the beginning

I awoke in darkness and the muffled sound of machinery. No physical sensations but warmth and weightlessness. The sound of metal scraping against glass sent shivers down my spine.

"Test Subject A: Human/Demon Hybrid. Nonviable. Remove for dissection."

That was Jeremiah's voice.

"Test Subject B: Human/Demon Hybrid. Nonviable. Remove for dissection."

I struggled, but could find nothing to grab onto. I could barely move my limbs.

"Test Subject C: Demon Control. Viable, but no demonic traits evident in fetal stage. Continue observation."

Then the sound of scraping metal was deafening as red light flooded my vision. Once I was able to focus, I was horrified to see Jeremiah's begoggled face staring back at me through the distortion of glass. This had to be a projection...he seemed a giant to me!

"Test Subject D: Human Control. Physical attributes normal. Brainwave activity elevated. Remove for..."

"Doctor Mason? Should we not keep the human for further experiments?"

Jermiah's face turned and he stepped out of my direct line of sight. I could make out the setup of the laboratory through the glass.

"Are you questioning my judgement, Mendelson?"

"No's just that I have pledged to serve you...and your clone, for all intents and purposes, is you..."

"Mendelson, I appreciate your loyalty as always. But with three adult clones now on standby I fail to see why..."

A buzzing sound interrupted the discussion.

"Jeremiah? The Dogsbodys and Dr. Obolensky have arrived. I've offered them tea, but more guests will be arriving soon..."

I heard that ever-present growl in his tone as he raised his voice to shout at my mother.

"Rachel! How many times have I told you not to interrupt me in the laboratory except in an emergency! I'll be up in a moment!" He took a deep breath. "That woman needs a hobby..."

"Like a child to raise, Doctor?"

He returned to peer cloely at me. I could see the bones and blood vessels in my still-forming limbs.

"Yes, Mendelson...another good idea. We must keep up appearances, musn't we? By the time I'm eighty, dyeing my hair grey will simply not be enough. That vampire in the family tree learned that the hard way...yes...and I can devise a method to integrate the control subjects. If I can't bind the Bloodwing to my will, I can still breed my own! You will raise the demon, Mendelson. And Rachel shall care for my 'son'. Now, what to name them...the future Emperor...I shall call him Marcus, after Marcus Aurelius. Now this one here...D. Mason...David? No...she'll give him a Hebrew name herself I'm sure..."

"Perhaps Darien, sir?"

"Hmmm...Darien..." He laughed. "The marble columns for the mansion come from a town by that name in New England! Yes! A delightful metaphor for a Foundation..."

"It's also a Greek word for gift, Doctor..."

"Indeed it is, Mendelson. Your suggestions always make life more interesting."

[Is this why you brought me here, Marcus, to the one time we were closest to each other? You want to absorb me into you? You won't be Marcus anymore...and I won't be Darien. The only winner would be our Father.]

[I did not bring you here! I've been trying to break the psychic link, but I can't!]

I felt his panic match my own.

[Marcus! Listen to me carefully! Ash is still out there...we have to contact him!]

Tuesday, September 16

don't bring a knife to a chainsaw fight

I gulped hard. The roar of Ramsey's saw grew deafeningly louder as she dove towards me. The sunlight hit the diamond edges of her blade as the chain rotated, making it painful to watch as I evaded her. If only I was armed!

"Dammit Ramsey!" I shouted over the buzz of the engine as the weapon missed my helmet by inches. "Don't rip the medic!"

"IVERSOOOON!" she shrieked.

Oh yes, how could I forget. Jeff Iverson, her fiancee whom she would never shut up about. The same Jeff who sent her a Dear Jane letter just before that last mission. Fuzz, MeQal and I had a long talk over whether she should have stayed at the helicarrier when we were preparing to stop that mad Spark over Hong Kong. As the medic they finally deferred to me.

I kept forgetting I was lost in memories. I screamed for Fuzz into the Marconi wired into my breathing apparatus.

"Black Hat to Gray! Black Hat to Gray! Ramsey's got the ripper on my tail!"

I winced from the scream of the blade as it dug into the rim of my helmet. The regulation Dominion headgear felt a cymbal being played by a jazz musician on my skull. The strap of my helmet felt like it was trying to garrote me before it gave way. The helmet tumbled out of sight below me as she raised her chainsaw over head with both hands.

"Take that thing off." She hissed.

"What thing?"

"On your head!" I felt the top of my head...which luckily was still there. The ice crystals were already gathering in my hair.

"My yarmulke? No! Especially not now!" I was much more observant back then. Especially after those incidents at Miskatonic a few years before. It was why they made my call sign Black Hat. It had a Star of David woven in blue on top.

Was she Jewish? I never asked. I knew she was from New York...

"Darien!" Yet another voice out of sequence in the dreamscape. My best friend from college*. Officially he had been my fencing instructor, but in our half-crazed clique we were the Miskatonic Freestyle Meelee Club.

"Remember that kendo move you nailed Chaz with?"

My eyes widened. Ah yes. The day he and Chaz and Brent appointed me the team kendo instructor we laughed so hard they threw us out of the cafeteria.

I had a utility knife strapped to my arm for cutting the cords of my parachute should I land in the trees after my jetpack failed.

"Alright...I can't get these gloves off so I need to use..." I reached for the knife. She had the reach advantage. I would have been torn in half if I went for a lunge.

Instead I hurled the blade. She reeled backwards as blood droplets erupted is a cloud around her and she lost her grip on the blade. I turned away before the chainsaw fell blade first through her...

And in the blink of an eye I found myself floating in a void.

*My friend whose name we shan't mention until he picks an avatar name later this week. -Deva

Monday, September 15

No surprise here, move along...

Your result for The Steampunk Style Test...

The Gadgeteer

36% Elegant, 66% Technological, 7% Historical, 36% Adventurous and 43% Playful!

You are the Gadgeteer, the embodiment of steampunk technology. Ironically, many of the things that most define your style are probably too large to easily carry about, but given the opportunity you would prefer to be seen surrounded by boiler engines, gear-driven calculators, and incredible automata. Of all the steampunk fashion styles, you place the greatest emphasis on technological accessories, and you are the most likely to create elaborate gadgets that are as much a part of your outfit as your clothes. You probably have goggles, but unlike most people you consider them to be for more than decoration. Whereas most people might look odd carrying a satchel of tools around, for you they may well be essential. Above all, you remind everyone that what sets the genre apart from Victoriana is simply the level of technology.

Try our other Steampunk test here.

Take The Steampunk Style Test at HelloQuizzy

Sunday, September 14

New Opportunities and a Wonderful Rezday!

First, I paid a visit to friend I've been out of touch with as of late, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who from te last time we met relocated to New Toulouse. I have been eager to visit that part of the country myself, having only stopped by once since the region's Grand Opening. He was proud to give me a tour of his ongoing project, Yottabyte University, an SL institution designed for the benefit of showing professional educators the usefulness of Second Life as a learning tool.

Not only was I welcome to visit as a Guest Lecturer, but he even offered to clear some space on campus for a Caledon Red Cross sponsored clinic, as he did back in New Babbage!

A few days later it was time to celebrate my third year of existence in the Grid. I know I sound old when I say it, but so much has changed. The Grid is a much bigger place and more wonderfully diverse. I've seen women rejoice with their first flexi dresses, and builders gleefully manipulate their first sculpties. I've seen the lukewarm reaction to the merging of Voice functions with the Grid. I've seen the Neo-Victorian sims grow from small experiments to thriving communities. I've seen child avatars fret over panic-button policies written in vague language. Gambling and amateur banking have vanished. And finally the Lindens seem to care about cleaning up the flashing and spinning litter on the Mainland!

After a quick visit to the Steelhead Ball to say Hello to old friends, I was pulled to Port Novem where I (and fellow rezday celebrant Miss Weatherwax) danced in the company of friends new and old to the varied choons of Nova Sakigake.

*ahem* No Comment.

Thursday, September 11

America's Gunpowder Plot

Remember, remember Eleven September

Al Qaeda's act of Jihad

A suicide martyr

Can never be farther

From knowing the True Word of God

Osama bin Laden, as we are told

Struck at the heart of America's soul

Four hijacked planes seized from the skies

To claim false glory and innocent lives

By the People's will he didn't succeed

In bringing America to its knees

Do not let the fires consume us in Hate

Our secret of strength: One People, All Faiths!

Written by the player upon this tragic anniversary

Wednesday, September 10

dreams that kill

"Bow to me! Bow to your new Regent!" Marcus's eyes were glowing red with rage as he advanced toward Ash and I. Ash stepped forward to shield me, but I ordered him to stand aside.

"I'll handle this, Ash." I turned to Marcus and walked towards him. My voice, like his echoes through the tunnel in the bowels of the Midas. "You've been dead for a dozen years! What thinks you can waltz and plop yourself down in Bloodwing's place?"

With that, he shouted words of a forbidden tome, and he hurled the orb of flame in his hands towards me. Tapping some hidden well of energy held out my outstrecthed palm, and with arcance runes floating around my arm a thick barrier of ice coalesced from a latticework of frost crystals. A fraction of a second later it disintegrated from the impact, enveloping the tunnel in billowing steam. I could barley make out the glowing runes surrounding me, much less my opponent.

"His spirit was MY legacy that you stole from me!" He roared, his voice rising in intensity as he closed in. "The only man I ever trusted in this world put me down like a dog because you..."

"Father wanted the Bloodwing for himself!" I shouted back as I broke into a run. My visian took on a blood-red hue as I waited for some clue of his position through the veil of scalding mist. "When he couldn't harness the demon himself he conceived us as pawns! How stupid were you not to realize that..."

His arm stetched from the nothingness and latched around my throat. Even more painful was the psychic attack. I lost focus of the outer world as I was drown to the danger of inner space. His anger and jealousy inundating my awareness like a tidal wave.

[a raft of reason]

Instead of drowning in that wave, I rose above it and pushed that rage back to him.

[You want to fight in the mindscape, do you?] My brother mocked me as his anger lashed at me in the image of tentacles of a kraken surrounding the raft.

[Mocking? Here's a symbol of what you'll never have.] Crimson wings erupted from my back as I darted skyward before the pseudopods smashed my bastion of calm. I'd rode in the back of the Founder's mind long enough to remember how he wore his wings on my body.

[And here's what you'll never recover!] A rip across my arm as I dodges the gatling gun fire a fraction too late. A memory of the first Qlippothic in her steam armor trying to circle me in a dogfight like I was a Martian invader.

[You don't remember war.] The whistle of incoming artillery shattered the image of Qli-1 in a burst of flame and shrapnel. I was watching a memory as the foolhardy souls of the Capper Brigade raced past in their open-hatched skyships, shouting and laughing like the reckless fools they were.

[I remember DEATH!] The shriek of the Deadly Ringer. I didn't think about donning my uniform, it was on me the moment I heard that horrible frequency. I was in my old flightpack again, and I bolted out of the way as a skyship dove in a trail of black smoke. Captain Widget's mayday call sputtering through the static in my receiver, followed by a maddening scream and a mechanical roar.

[Oh no...that can't be...]

Captain Ramsey. Her uniform scorched and torn, her disheveled red hair writhing in the wind and eyes lost to the madness of the Deadly Ringer's frequency as she dove towards me on her own flightpack, shrieking incoherently even above the drone of her diamond-encrusted combat chainsaw. She could rip open an enemy skyship with that thing like a lobster at a New England banquet. But now it was aimed at me. Again.

Tuesday, September 9

Loyal to the end

Aleister had seen his share of bad years. But this one was particularly bad. He sat at his desk, the wood worn bare from centuries of use. He adjusted his spectacles as he examined the leaves of parchment, and shook his head. He lifted the black glass bottle to his lips and took a swig, and puckered as he set it down slowly. He turned the bottle to examine the label. "Ach. A Suicide. 1832. A very bad year." He shook his head as he held the bottle to his chest. "Lean times, mein sad friend. Tavern fare. Mein stocks are low...zee Dolls...zee Ogres...zee Reanimator...ein more year like zis und I vill have to hunt..."

He was unaccustomed to the silence. Normally his servants would keep his clocks wound for him. But to do it himself would mean less time caring for what little stock he had left. Was that the buzzing of wings his preternatural senses heard?

A knock. He most definitely heard a knock. It continued in an uneven pattern. Yes, it was yet another Ereb'ai ritual. Begging forgiveness of the local Lord for a necessary intrusion. Did his descendant come to quibble with him over the quality of the last cask? Or was it about the lost drone? He grumbled as he shuffled across the hall to flip open and unhook dozens of locks. None of his ornithopters would ever veer off course..

It was a blue lobster. Most unexpected. He recognized the ring of the Sommelier immediately. His bloodshot eyes grew wide as he gazed at the sapling in the beast's claw.

"Beg paahdon, Suhr," croaked the demon. "Boot thees tree does need a beet mauhr wharmth..."

"ACH! Come in! Quickly!" He hurriedly gestured the demon to enter and slammed the door behind him and latching the largest bolt. "It is rare to meet a fellow connoisseur! Und here you haff a whole tree! Am I correct in assumink you vish me to kepp zis in a safe place for you?" He rubbed his nose having caught the scent of the crustacean's blue ichor, which was as palatable to any vampiric creature as, say, turpentine.

The crustacean gave a few slight bows, being as close as it could do to nodding without a neck. "Gut Suhr, as you know, zee entire stockpile of zee Midas is lost..." Aleister nodded sadly. The whole Northern reach of Winterfell was now littered with shattered casks, bottles and half-obliterated dolls. "Save feur zees tree, und zees bottle of zee Obsidian King's Special Reserve!" The demon reached into his apron with his free claw and drew out a blood-red bottle with a gilded seal and parchment glowing with runes wrapped around the cork.

Aleister covered his mouth in amazement. "Zee First Press!"

"Indeed Suhr. Zees are zee remains of my life's vork...Zees tree is like mah child..." His antannae began to flail as he held back a long whimper.

Gently, Aleister wrapped a his pale hand around the trunk of the sapling under the claw. "Of course, mein Herr, I vill treat zis vit zee utmost care! Und zis prized bottle.." He extracted the bottle from the demon's grip. He felt a tingle in his arm as he realized that the bottle's seal was made from a human soul. "Zees vill bring zee tree to full bloom! Vee shall recover zee art of Bloodwine fermentation from extinction! Together vee vill..."

The lobster's prodigious waist rotated from side to side in an approximation of shaking his head NO. "Mah work ees for an errand at behest of zee late Blootvink himzelf!"

Aleister bowed in a sweeping motion, setting the First Press on the floor as he did so. "Herr Sommelier! Hyu are a demon of great honor und dedication! Hyu haff mein eternal respect!"

The blue-shelled one bowed in return. "Before ah take mah leave, hwould you bee so kahnd ahz to pwoint mee zee way to Schteelhead?"

He felt the excruciating crunch of silver and steel between the joints in his carapace. The man in black with the facial hair who had claimed to be the Sheriff gloated at him as he fell to the ground and his shell cracked further under the weight of his boot. He was dangling the amulet over his eyestalks, laughing maniacally at his failure. He took one last sigh and his world went black.

Monday, September 8

we are the children of the night - we want your blood

I received an urgent summons from Kira, that she had been bitten by a nefarious Cato Quan. I packed my medicine bag with two of the aether-dart guns I had used in New Babbage and all the Reanimation Serum I had synthesized following the my peace agreement with Aleister. While en route by ornithopter, I remotely reprogrammed one of the flying drones I had built to scoop up the bloodwine cask Aleister had prepared and left at the appointed area. Had he been there waiting for the drone I am sure he would have wondered why it changed course for Illyria instead of towards the tavern in Laudanum.

By the time I reached the Duchess Kira on her island, the vampirism had taken hold. She was clearly struggling with her bloodlust, and her will was starting to crumble. I suggested she use her shapeshifting skills to turn into "something not undead."

A dangerous move in retrospect. Her first shift was into a Blood Doll form. Without a circulatory system the innoculation gun was useless on her. I pleaded with her to change into something else. In desperation I summoned the new Regent. The light she emmanated gave me a clearer view of this island of eternal night and it sent Kira screaming to the cover of a tree. From there I saw her shadow enlarge into something far more dangerous.

I fired an entire "clip" of aether-darts at the Bast dragon. Her scales only dispersed the aether waves, dissapating the serum into a harmless mist. I adjusted my transmitter to the Baron's frequency and called for backup. As I waited for his dirigible to arrive I could tell by the sudden change in wind currents that Kira was preparing a sandstorm blast. To protect Lumina, I ran out of the range of her protective aura. I barely had time to slip my pilot's mask back on before the sand tore at my clothing and sent me tumbling end over end.

As I struggled to my feet I felt the monstrous tail slap against my midsection. I felt my ribs crack, and passed out momentarily. I woke at the sound of the Baron yelling "Red Fire!" My memories immediately afterwards are hazy, but I do rmember the Baron armed with a crossbow and armored for heavy combat. We heard the drone overhead and watched as the barrel of bloodwine floated down by parachute to the ground.

She turned back into neko form, sniffing the cask dubiously. I slipped the Baron my spare innoculator as we tried to reason with her. She let down her guard as I explained how I was very nearly able to cure Koen's vampirism, and that I had now perfected the therapy. The Baron took the opportunity to fire an entire load of serum into Kira. As she struggled to maintain her balance, I fired another full dose at point-blank range.

The Baron and I monitored her carefully as her undead physiology collapsed and her tissues resumed the work of living organisms. This had been a very risky venture. But the fact that we arrived immediately after her bite meant that her body was still ready to resume living again.

Considering how close we were to Aleister's hidden lair I could not help but wonder if he was involved in this crisis. True, the cask was at the appointed time and place. But did the vampire lure Cato to his lair? Or was that foolish Minion trying to steal the cask for his own profit and ran into the former Regent, or even a rogue Doll that survived the fall from the Midas?

Koen, I am sure, will have another chat with him. In the meantime we must all be on guard against Cato, and find out who else he may have bitten. We must check up on Miss Alter and Cato's gumbo kitchen in Taloo.

UPDATES: Cato has apparently sought forgiveness for his attack on the Duchess and received it. He claims the lady who Embraced him was not in Winterfell. Further, Aleister has sent a letter vehemently denying any involvement in this matter:

"I am not the only hidden noble in the Realm of Eternal Night."

Sunday, September 7

Orbit - n.

1. the curved path, usually elliptical, described by a planet, satellite, spaceship, etc., around a celestial body, as the sun.
2. the usual course of one's life or range of one's activities.
3. the sphere of power or influence, as of a nation or person: a small nation in the Russian orbit.

It is the second definition I write about in this instance. Last evening I met a new arrival from Europa that was the center of the orbit of other beings known as Geisterdamen, yet she had no understanding of why this was so and urgently wished for a solution.

So devoid of freewill are they that they can't choose a flavor of ice cream without consulting her first.

My son Ash has been drawn closer into the orbit of Baron Wulfenbach. At a recent meeting he was appointed Liason to Steeltopia.

I am proud of him. He is an excellent choice. He is always direct in his dealings. The hidden temptations that Humans deal with every day are simply beyond his understanding, making him all but incorruptible. He is only beginning to understand concepts such as subtext and sarcasm, so any messages between rulers will be delivered without the distortion of personal interpretation.

Then there is my daughter Gematria. Her orbit has broken free of the vampire Aleister, yet she remains in Winterfell. Her orbit has stabilized. She has a reliable source of nourishment that no longer involves hunting live prey. As Hostess and Bartender she has become literally the Doll of Novem. She gets the most interesting customers.

EH? What's this? An emergency transmission? *sigh* I'll continue later.

Friday, September 5

putting away the dolls

Ash and I wound our way to the lowest deck where the Sommelier guarded the Bloodwine casks and the source tree itself. As we came closer we heard laughter and screams. We discerned movement behind the glassteel wall that was stained with dark red.

I can only compare the revelry of the writhing silhouettes to the descriptions of the Bacchae. All propriety and decorum were abandoned as they wrestled each other over unstopped casks, construct or no, these Dolls were in full vampiric Frenzy. I found a small section of glass not splattered with translucent spirits. And peered inside. All I can tell you is I am glad I was no longer in the mind of a child!

It the far corner of the madness there was a still blue shape. The Sommelier. Even now he stood with calm and dignity as his life's work was ravaged before his eyestalks. In one of his claws he held a sapling by the trunk. The roots were carefully wrapped in canvas and rope. The fabric was stained that unavoidable crimson. He turned slightly to look straight at me, and bowed. He clenched his other claw on a nearby lever. He shouted three last words. "FOR THE FOUNDER!"

I recoiled in fright as a face of half-exposed clockwork drenched in red and wild, shredded hair slammed her face against my view through the glass and hissed, baring her fangs at me.

There was another lurch in the ship that was already dead in the air and starting to list. And suddenly, they were gone.

The glassteel wall immediately frosted over.

"He opened the airlock," Ash said. "He jettisoned the Dolls and the entire stock, as well as himself." Ash stood straight and gave a Wulfenbach salute.

"Martyred like a true Bloodwing," I said bitterly.

"And indeed, so shall you BOTH be!"

Marcus stood in the entrance to the hallway, blocking passage back to the rest of the ship. He had aged as well, and torn away the bishoen uniform. His chest was bare. His brown hair trailed down past his shoulders. An orb of flame began to curl around his fist, that illuminated the rage carved into his face. I looked back at the airlock to the winery. We were easily a mile higher than when Ash had his fortunate landing. Now our only escape was a straight drop - without wings - to our doom!

Thursday, September 4

The Wake - a postscript

A hundred thousand Thank-Yous to Baron Wulfenbach for transcribing the happenings at the wake. I show my appreciation to Mrs. Kelley as well for providing music before and during the gathering. Much thanks to AliceWendy Bookmite, Lulu Seetan, and MissLily Nightfire for letting the Mason clan use the Novem facilities for this event. And especially my thanks to all who came to show their respects or sent their condolences. It was a fitting remembrance for a being that walked a fine line between Good and Evil for millenia, but finished by making the greatest sacrifice of all.

~Darien and the Mason Family

Wednesday, September 3

The Wake

Bloodwing shall be remembered tonight at a gathering at Port Novem at Winterfell Laudanum at 8pm SLT. AliceWendy Bookmite has volunteered to be the Funeral Director. Please be so kind as to forward any pictures of Bloodwing (in any of his incarnations) you may have to her for presentation. You may wish to share any amusing stories you have of him on a notecard as well. Members of the Mason family will be present to receive condolences. We will also officially announce the selection of the new Founder.

There will be an after-party next door at the residence of MissLily Nightfire.


Tuesday, September 2

The Death of Bloodwing


In the dilation of Singularity I have delayed my demise ad absurdium. My reign of New Erebus has involved pleading and bargaining with the Fates and being assaulted with one revelation after another.

The Fates do not lie. My true Father was the Titan, Prometheus. My very reason for existence was kept hidden from me. A need so compelling that Hades raised me as his own with full knowledge that I could never inherit his Kingdom, yet still he poisoned me so I would pass among gods and demons as his kin.

Even now I hear Hades cursing at me as New Erebus burns like a jade sun over his domain. He sends every beast with wings to destroy me, but they are burned to dust as Wormwood looms closer. I was never meant to seize my Father's throne. But I can destroy it. This is my revenge, and my last boon to you, Humanity. Wormwood will not destroy Earth.

It will destroy Erebus.

I can no longer control the descent of this celestial body. Had I known the Truth beforehand I would never have taken this course. But the Fates...and the Deva...have decreed. By the time you hear this, Erebus and New Erebus have collided and both shall be destroyed along with their Kings. The gates to Tarterus beneath shall be blown open. The Hydra, when it rouses from the shock and digs from beneath mountains of rubble, shall escape.

The Hydra has done what even the gods could not do. It destroyed the other Titans. It consumed them and made them extensions of itself. It is a fact as old as the Universe itself. Only a Titan can destroy another Titan.

That is why I was brought into being. Like my true Father I have Ascended and no longer have in me what is needed to destroy the Hydra. If a successor is not found, the Serpent will consume everyone and everything!!