Sunday, June 26


A flock of crimson wings flutters to the roof of a workshop. They gather into formation of what they once once were, and release their enchantment, falling again into components unmoving, but still harboring the the demon’s essence.

Fresh from a timeless time studying at the decaying knee of Mater Motley, Fauve gathers her spider silk and golden needle and, closing her round eyes with a sigh, dreams a terrible dream of a Demon, reanimated into the ghastly flesh. Humming a dissonant,wordless tune, her needle dances and flashes through the very sinews re-creating what should have never been to begin with...he lives again...the old one...

Bloodwing accepted the leathers offered from over the edge of the screen...made from the same material as his new wings. "Your work is flawless, Lady Fauve. I was right to seek your aid. I see you have left a proof-mark..."

"To ensure you remember my favor, Lost Prince."

"Fair enough. I..."

He was distracted a shower of sparks at his feet. He watched a roll of parchment reverse-burn its way into existence, complete with the glowing seal of Erebus. He claimed it, and stepped out from behind the screen.

"What is it?" Asked Fauve.

The demon opened the scroll. "A message from the Sixth Son. It is a week old...the magic could not find me until I was intact." He lowered the parchment and furrowed his brow. "Another Wasp Queen has been spotted. The directions to the world it escaped to are listed here...Qlippothic will need this."

Stand by, Devoted Readers, as Mason Labs prepares to enter the world of The Clockwork Dolls for a special CROSSOVER FAN-FICTION EVENT!

Thursday, June 16

First priority

The flock of homunculi that spread across the desert sands resembled the Elder, if he had been crossbred with something avian. The outlines of dozens of shadows that crossed over Koen and I revealed that much. The talons in place of feet and hands were the most obvious. Add to that the reptilian tails and extended fangs. The two that landed by us seemed to be unsure whether to hop like birds or crawl across the sands like a lizard, and seemed to settle for something in between.

One member of the flock landed on my shoulder. If sniffed at me, and I winced as its talons sank through my jacket and pierced the skin...

"Sorry," it croaked, and loosened its grip and leaned from one talon to the other.

"Did you find...?"


A fourth creature fluttered to my feet and released Ash's soul-shard. It stared up at me as it nudged the bone towards my boots.

"Build?" It cocked its head and looked up at me with beady red eyes.

I stared at the glowing sigils flickering across the bone. The oscillations seemed to be correct. The Elder...this projection of him at least seemed to carry him with no trouble...

I removed a glove and grasped the shard.

Marcus fled as the rocket approached.

"Typical. Off to seize the next body."

"Going", chirped the crowd of small Bloodwings around me, as if coming to a spontaneous and unanimous decision. "Fauve."

They rose as one, and drifted off towards the horizon.

He is off to be rebuilt.

"He doesn't want me healing him again. He's afraid I'll...go too far again." An awkward moment, as I was speaking to the result of said effort telepathically.

The Cala refugees must be our first priority. If the local Consulate still stands, leave me there. They will deliver me to Steeltopia. My spare frame is stored there. The Baron will be asking for a report.

"Do you still want to be a Jager, Ash?"

A long pause. Observe my current state.

"You'd be dead now. There would probably be not enough left of you to reanimate."

The smell of smoke flared in my nostrils as flakes of grey floated past me.

First priority.

Thursday, June 9


As Koen and I turned over Ash's shattered frame we noticed something unusual.

"Dad...there's an open compartment in his back that goes into where his hard drive was s'posed ta be! And his magic bone ain't here!"

"Bloody're right!"

I pulled out my binoculars and began scanning the desert wastes, which were strewn with the wrecks of Baba Yaga's fleet. Some of the Digital Knights were injured. The damage on the isomorphs resembled neither the wounds of flesh-born, nor of the shrapnel of damaged automata that I create. Their forms, where disrupted, revealed they were made of tiny cubes! The undamaged ones were helping their comrades-in-arms by collecting the shattered bits. My view froze when I saw Qli staring at me through her sniper scope. Her finger was off the trigger, I assumed. The poor dear. She desperately needed to know.

"You hit the chest," I mouthed. "Soul shard is missing..."

She lowered her scope before I could finish. She tossed her weapon aside. Even with a frozen mask for a face, I can still read the actions of my own creation. The poor girl! She thought just killed her brother!

"Qli! Pick up your scope! You brother is..."

And that is just when the power plant at Cala Mondrago exploded. First I saw the flash, then seconds later felt a boom that nearly knocked me off my feet.

"Dad!" Koen screamed over the roar of the vengeful spirits bathing the oasis is lightning. "Did those attack ships get past us?"

I shook my head. "That's their power source! Constructs of pure energy like these Digital Knights! And they are breaking free!"

"So do we look for Ash...or help the city?"

"A wrenching decision, that one. But the needs of the many..."

Koen pointed towards what appeared to be a flock of birds spreading over the horizon. Or were they bats? I adjusted my lenses.

"It''s Bloodwing!"

"Which one?"

"All of them!"

Koen yanked the binoculars from my hands, nearly breaking my neck in the process.

"It's a flock of...little Bloodwings?"



Wednesday, June 1

Always carry a spare wrench.

It can save your life. Such as in this instance, when I was able to reach my tool belt with my free hand and hurl the tool into the Tesla coils of my wayward sandskimmer, breaking the connection long enough for Koen's darkforce tendril to snap free. The force behind the release sent me hurtling over and into the sand with an unbecoming thud.

Without our weight holding down the sandskimmer, the bow pointed skyward and the craft shot upwards at a steep angle. I counted a full thirty seconds before the craft exploded in a blossom of ball lightning high above Cala Mondrago, gratefully a safe distance from the various airships that coasted over the oasis.

"I'll ask how you knew that was Marcus later. Let's check on Ash."

I allowed myself to be lifted again by one of Koen's tendril of pure shadow, and again he raced over the dunes, with me as a passenger. I could discern by the flashes of vivid colors and accompanying thunderclaps on the horizon that the battle between the Founder's Digital Knights and the old witch's fleet continued to rage. My boots touched the sand again as we drew close to where Ash lay prone. Koen's red-tipped ears perked in alarm.

"He's changin' he s'posed ta be doin' that?"

A valid question indeed. When he first emerged from the aperture, the glowing circuitry of his uniform burned a deep crimson, matching the Founder's namesake wings. But now, his luminescence seemed to be giving way to an angry shade of orange. I kept a safe distance as I addressed him.

"Ash? Ash! Can you hear me? Commence self-diagnosis!"

His body twitched as his uniform continued to change.

"Auto-repairs in progress...damage recov...virus detected!"

He unsteadily rose to his feet, the mutation of shade nearly complete.

"Virus? Ash, diagnose!"

"Scanning...virus identified!" He abruptly reached behind him, pulling a disc free from where it was attached to his back. It still radiated the original shade of crimson.

"Virus identified..." Wait, was that a smirk spreading across his expressionless face? His deep modulated voice suddenly shifted into a frightening cackle of a sort only heard from one's deepest nightmares.


With a savage arc of his shoulder he hurled his disc at us. I dove headfirst into the sand as the projectile missed my crown by mere centimeters! Koen roared in pain as the disc tore a scarlet swath through his aura of darkness. With acute angles defying known aerodynamics the discuss returned to its owners grasp, leaving a trail of solid light behind it.

"Fascinating! A mere shard of the Founder's bone wields so much POWER! Surely when I overcome the Founder himself..." Ash/Marcus waved his weapon towards the battlefield in the distance. "...I shall be INVINCIBLE!"

Before I could intervene, Koen leaped on all fours like an enraged tiger towards the android, his compromised aura of Vortex energy "bleeding" a trail of floating shadows behind him. I had but a moment to feel a sharp sting of horror in my soul as Ash twisted his body and raised his weapon to strike...