My children conspiring against me. Flying off in a clockwork galleon. My vampiric ancestor Aleister has to be involved. Has he cast his tainted cloak of undeath over my son yet again? Is he again reprogramming Qlippothic into a murder-doll? Why is Ash abetting them? This will not do at all. I may not be Regent, but someone must maintain order in this family!
As long as I'm in the bayou of New Tolouse, I should seek help from the forces here. Baroness Amber presented me with a small effigy of Poppa Legba and a copy of Momma Amber's Guide to Voodoo for Tourists.
Poppa Legba is the go-between of the loa, the Voodoo pantheon. I found a secluded location by the water where the song of the calling frogs was almost deafening. The night mist was pungent with the muck of rotting plant life.
I constructed an altar there. I lit a very rare cigar as an offering (I recognized the brand as my father's favorite) and poured a glass of premium dark rum to the brim as I invoked him.
Immediately the chirping of the frogs died out. Even the ever-present buzzing of the insects seemed to fade. As I waited, the ember of the cigar pulsed between cherry red and white hot, puffing thick tobacco into the night mist. The glass of rum lowered visibly until it emptied. Staring at the...for lack of a better word doll fashioned in his image, I beseeched him for a favor.
"Poppa Legba. If you please, I must speak with the Vortex."
I heard the sound of distant thunder rolling across the marshes. Vague orbs of greenish light hovered in the darkness between the trees. I stepped back as a rift opened above the altar, curling red and black borders spreading like a cigar burn in the fabric of space.
"A call from whom? Darien? Yes, yes, I know him. Fine. I'll accept."
On the other side, I saw a neko with majestic horns arcing from his temples. He sat in a throne forged of metal ribbons, pondering a black box he held in his hands. Crimson gazed up at me in surprise as his ears twitched.
"Well surprise surprise! What do you want?"
Judging from the informal greeting, I decided to skip the lengthy exaltations expected of the ruler of Erebus.
"Vortex. Aleister has kidnapped Qlippothic and Koen..."
The neko lifted his head back and cackled, baring his fangs.
"Why should any of that matter to us? We don't need that cowardly kitten any more, nor that brass toy of yours!
Demon-Prince or no, I felt my fist clench at such disrespect. But wait...that maniacal laughter was so familiar...
...from the prison of my brain jar I screamed in helpless silence as the body that was rightfully mine pressed its face against my glass prison, cackling in unbridled madness...
I gasped in disbelief. "MARCUS!"