Thursday, May 27

the time has come to galvanize

(Continued from my Father's journal, Dear Reader.)

I was alive. Barely. The stream of eternal life that had coursed through my blood was completely drained. Before I even had the chance to adjust, I felt as if something else was ripping itself from the core of my being. It was excruciating yet at the same instance exhilarating, a wrenching of body and spirit I have not felt since my demonic ancestor was exorcised from his complete control of my body, allowing me to again pursue my own destiny.

My eyelids refused to open. My ears caught fragments of Qlippothic's distress call, shocking me to a limited form of awareness. My ears, however, continued to deceive me. Familiar voices in impossible father Jeremiah and the Founder conversation?

"Jeremiah! We have no time! Your son always carries an extra set of clothes on his expeditions."

If I could move, I would have at the very least scowled at the sound of my possessions being ransacked. "No boots...I can't trudge through this swamp in patent leather shoes!"

"You will not need footwear. We must take wing."

"Did he get here by ornithopter? I don't see a seaplane..."

"You do not understand, Sixth Son. I am now a spirit only. I need a host, and Darien does not have time to recover."

"Are you suggesting...? NO! I nearly destroyed the world just to..."

"Because you had lost your conscience, Sixth Son! Which you have now regained!"

There was a short silence that seemed to dilate time by its very weight. " I get a choice on this?"

"Not if you wish to save your grandchildren, and the Captain and the ship upon which he raised you."

Now that was a bit jarring. I would have dismissed it off-hand as part of my delusions but that it did explain the missing chapters for his early biography, and his obsession for the antiquated styles of airships.

I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck rise as Bloodwing drew magical energy from the bayou around us for the ancient rite. The Founder spoke again. "It is tradition for the Host to recite the Mason's Oath before the merge."

"Founder...after you cured me, my heartsong...changed. This is what I must recite...

And I believe that we'll conceive
to bring this Earth closer to Heaven
Restore the world - the Promised Land
a Paradise of hearts and minds
until I see this Kingdom's time
I'll turn from Darkness to the Light
I'll heal the blind
God's will be done
until the day I see His Kingdom
has now come.

The shattering crack of lightning around us came with an avalanche of light so great that my eyelids did nothing to deaden the pain of its brilliance. My eyes finally blinked and opened wide to see Jeremiah lifted in a spiral of primal energy, overlaid with the image of the Founder himself. Bloodwing's somber tone suddenly dissolved to jubilant laughter.

"Your soul remembers, Sixth Son! It remembers my vow with the Fallen Angel! The Matron of our line!"

Jeremiah's features flowed like wax, growing in musculature and weaving tattoos recalling ancient scars across now-pallid flesh. He shuddered in the air from which he was suspended as wings erupted from his back. His nails stretched to black claws in his shaking fists, and upon his head where his hair now fell about him in a crimson mane, horns spiraled outwards from his skull with the sound of sharp cracking of bone.

At that final phase of transformation, his scream rolled across the bayou, striking more terror in my heart than the lightning. The trauma of my own first transformation was revived within me, and seized my brain, snatching me with its talons and scarlet wings back into the realm of nightmares.

Thursday, May 13

The Stranger in Shanghai

A small boy in a dirty blue tunic squinted, looking about nervously as the Westerner in the suit and hat lead him through the narrow alleyways of Steelhead Shanghai. The man's white glove held his his grubby little hand gently but firmly. Leather boots splashed through ankle-deep puddles, and the boy did his best to jump over the pools in his sandals. The man waved his cane at the cluster of rats swarming over a pile of garbage, dispersing them as they passed.

He spoke in a halting Mandarin, the tones slightly off. "Is this near your home?" He pointed with his cane. "That way? Maybe that way?"

"You! Stop there!"

The pair froze in place as three burly men in black silk stood shoulder to shoulder, blocking their way.

"You think you can steal our children?"

He stammered "Nyet..." as he looked behind him to see another squad of men blocking the way they came "No! He was lost! I was bringing him back!"

Knives and cleavers glimmered in the trace of moonlight that leaked through from between the crumbling buildings.

"How much money," the man said in a louder tone, "how much?"

They only chuckled. "The tong doesn't take money from scum like you! Give us the boy!"

"So you can ransom him?" He raised his defensively, and beckoned with his other hand in a gesture he knew they would find offensive. "I think not."

The tong surged towards him from both sides. The man pushed the boy against the wall before he slammed the hook of his cane down on the first man's wrist, twisting his arm and making him scream in pain and drop his blade. He then snapped the cane back down and jabbed the hook of his cane between the leader's eyes, just as he planted his boot squarely in the chest of the man charging him from behind. The other two thugs in back pressed themselves to the walls as the thug fell backwards into a murky puddle.

As the ring leader collapsed, his two assistants grabbed him under his arms before he could sink in the alley filth. The tong lurched backwards instinctively as they heard the ring of steel being drawn from the length of the cane. The gentleman kept the tip of his sword-cane leveled at the eyes of the criminals in front, and cast a quick glance backwards at the other two still standing, waving the shaft of his cane threateningly.

"You fight like a monk! But you won't leave here alive! There's no way out of here!"

"You're where else to go..."

White wings unfurled through slits in the man's jacket. The darkness of the alley was shattered by a brilliant white light. Rats screeched and fled as the thugs covered their eyes.

"...but up."

The boy, unlike the members of the tong, did not look away. He stared, mouth agape, and brushed his hand lightly along the white feathers.


The tong retreated around the corners and into the safety of the darkness they knew.

"Do you see your home, child?"

The boy pointed forwards. "Yes! Just like day! Four doors down on the right!" He ran ahead, the winged man following steadily behind as he sheathed his blade back in his cane. The boy pounded on the door. "Mama!"

The tattered door swung open on protesting rusted hinges as the woman rushed to scoop him up in his arms. She shut her eyes tight, stunned from the unexpected light. The boy tried to bow as best he could while being squeezed by his mother.

"Thank you Mister Angel! Thank you!"

The boy craned his neck upwards as he watched the winged man hoist himself to a fire escape, leap across to another other and clamber to the rooftop.

"You are welcome!" He shouted. "Do not get lost again!"

After a momentary snap of flapping wings, the slums were again enveloped in darkness, but the excited chatter of the residents quickly rose and spread to every corner.

Thursday, May 6

My website to the tune of...

I thought I would sound like VNV Nation, but it reminds me more of Westminster Chimes. Since I do a lot of clockwork I'd say it's appropriate.

Qlippothic's site sounds like a military horn section, rather heroic. I approve.

Koen's site sounds like a Cure song. No, not Lovecats. But I'm still jealous of the boy for that.

Tuesday, May 4

Who would want me as a Game Master?

Well, let's find out, shall we? A lot of my online friends have asked about roleplaying with me, even though they don't use Second Life. I've conjured up an alternate Earth with zombies and kraken, where the Romans built factories and Da Vinci built airships. Now imagine a Victorian London in this world with a Blade Runner-esque feel. The story will advance by email and wiki, much like my New Erebus adventure and Hotspur's Black Pearl epic.

I'm accepting humans, cat-people (Kadis), and constructs as player characters. There are occultists and alchemists, but no magic in the high fantasy sense. Once I get enough committed players I'll design a plot appropriate to their skills.

The link is here:

Monday, May 3

something takes a part of me

I could only manage a defiant hiss as I desperately to pry off disembodied hand that was cutting off the circulation in my neck. I could still hear the Vortex howling with laughter behind the hellgate.

"Hey wait", interrupted the prince as he pressed his face to the portal. "Is that hand growing?"

I was barely able loosen the grip enough for me to breathe. My eyes widened as I watched a forearm weave itself of bones and vessels and flesh from the wrist. A new form of weakness overcame me.

The shocking realization came to me. This was my father's hand...the man from whom my brother and I were made as clones. The reanimation serum my body was producing recognized the hand as part of my body and would not stop until it completely restored our shared pattern! Of course, I could not explain this to the Vortex even if I wished to, since I soon had half a torso weighing down the arm that throttled me.

"Okayyy...I did not expect this...fascinating though from a scientific perspective I must admit..."

My eyes darted across the night-shrouded mist for anything...the altar...there was still a blade...even the lit cigar...

Vortex stared down at me through the portal as he continued to converse with (I must assume) Papa Legba. "Oh this is amazing! Actually this sort of thing does happen a lot in my family..."

I was so close to reaching the blade with my fingertips when I was jerked violently backwards. My last moments of consciousness were face-to-face with my father, his skin and hair knitting themselves to completion across his face, contorted in the same breathless expression of panic as my own.