Sunday, November 16, 2008

Steelhead Adventures: Journey to Fusang Part Twelve Thirteen

Heh. My lucky number!

The Dungeon of Fusang Castle

"WAIT" the first guard called out, stopping the second from punching Purdie "We shall try a different measure."

A door opened and two more guards walked in, dragging Koen behind. They threw Koen up against a wall. The first guard turned to Purdie and smiled.

"Now," he said "tell us what we want to know.....or we torture him."

"No" Purdie whispered as the guards moved closer to Koen.

Oh no you don't.

The guards looked to each other in bewilderment as the neko vanished from their grip like smoke. His shackles clattered to the ground.

I should have killed them all, but Time Lords are squeamish about that sort of thing and I'd need the ride home.

Koen landed on the shoulders of the two henchmen, his red paws balancing himself effortlessly and flexing, digging in claws just enough of a grip to slam their heads together.

I've been tortured and killed enough times. I'm not falling to these goons. Not to anyone.

As the men fell, he released his grip and sprung towards the guards that held Purdie with a roar. One of them turned to face him, reaching for the sword in his belt.

I may not be the Vortex any more. But I still know magic. And in this life? I have these.

Curved claws extended from his fingertips. One hand gripped the swordsman's wrist, sinking deep into the flesh. He howled in pain as Koen threw him across the room onto the other two guards.

Hotspur risked his life to save me. Of course I'll return the favor. After what Father did to me? That's another story.

Koen growled long and deep before flashing his fangs at the trembling guard, who now held Purdie in front of him as a shield.

"You have a choice," Koen said as he advanced slowly. "You can give me the keys, or you can give me your heart..."

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mrrrf...

So the Novem thing didn't work out last night. Oh well. At least I got to talk to Kira for a while. I breezed through Steelhead and felt real hungry, so I fell into an old habit. Unfortunately the rat I caught was clockwork. I know Emilly's store sells them, but there's something familiar about this gear setup. I'm not a Spark so I gave it to Lunar for Tensai to look over. (Back from the future already, apparently.)

Purdie gave Fuzz a mini-Tardis that almost protects him from bullets. Which it did. Personally? I'd take a mirage maker that makes the bullets miss you completely. So what if it makes you look like you're dancing out of sync? The laws of physics are so screwed up in this realm it looks like you and your partner are dancing with ghosts instead of each other half the time anyway!

Meanwhile that magic poison-proof cup thing is still missing. And if you assume I'm probably the only one looking for it, I've got a bridge in Steelhead to sell you.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

sinking, thinking and drinking

Ash and I took it upon ourselves to give that lobster-demon a decent burial. Ash got a lot of funny looks as we carried that coffin through town with the Foundation flag on it, especially from the SWAT team. To be honest he gave me a start myself when I saw him. (I'm not gonna steal his thunder. You just have see him for yourself.)

We both knew enough about Ereb'ai customs. An aquatic species like his would want a burial at sea. The Styx is a ways off, so the Pacific will have to do. We had time for small talk. Ash and I talked a lot as he stuck his propeller hand in the water at the back of the rowboat and pushed us out of sight of land. We talked about deep, personal stuff. I told him it's every person's mission to figure out who he is. And since he's my brother I'll support him every step of the way. He told me it's only logical that I make time for myself and those I care about.

We both admitted we felt that Instinct before Aunt Lumina took the title of Regent. Yes, I thought about become Regent myself. But the brilliant part is giving it to someone who won't abuse the title like Demonfather did. Yes, she's got that glow that stops evil in its tracks, but is a figurehead enough to keep the family together?

We did agree on something. We can't let Qlippothic and Nova hang out together. With that eye of Yogga-Wogga or whatever it is and them both hearing the call of the Old Ones...well no campsongs around the fire for them.

We found a good spot, and Ash found a dedication (what passes among in Hell for "prayers" aren't repeatable topside) for the most loyal of fallen servants. The coffin slid past the flag as we tilted the coffin. There was a quick splash we lost sight of it under the waves.

I mentioned how Tensai had a time-travel accident. There wasn't much we could do with the GT still crippled, except for Qlippothic and her Eye. But that might be risky in itself.

We tried to figure out what lobster-boy was doing in Steelhead to begin with. Ash tells me he was the Sommelier, the winemaster on board that demon-ship. He should have been wearing a tastevin, a small cup on a necklace chain that they use to take a good look at wine before they pour it for the King. He said with his station in the Court, his tastevin would have been enchanted to protect him from poison...in the court of Erebus, spiking each others' bottles was a common pastime.

I think this is starting to make sense now.

~K the K

Friday, September 5, 2008

A funny thing happened on the way to the wake

Gem called me crying to ask me to take over as she was winding down. As I'm creepin' down Laudanum I see none other that Aleister himself! Out in the open. I step out of the shadows and have a chat.

"I am here to pay my respects to the Founder. I have no threats or deceptions this night." He says this in his Swiss/Belgian accent that I'm too lazy to write out.

"Fair enough" I say. "You've had some staffing problems lately haven't you?"

He rolled his eyes at me. "For that reason I have abandoned my plans to take Winterfell by force. And now with the Hydra freed, we have a common enemy far more dangerous than we are to each other. I wish to arrange a d├ętente."

Then he tells me that he still supplies most of Winterfell with bloodwine which is why a sparsely populated region like this is crawling with vampires and the human population is neither dying off nor constantly anemic. If we kill him off, the vamps might get hungry and wander south into Caledon for midnight snacks before they find new suppliers. Furthermore he'll start supplying Dr. Mason again for his Reanimation Serum ingredient as long as he leaves him alone.

"You mean I didn't have to hunt game for blood??"

"You staked me before I could tell you."

Grrrr...

He couldn't come in when he saw Lumina's glow through the window. It's that sunlight thing.

"An excellent choice...for you. I have one warning before I leave. Your sister, Qlippothic. She is in league with the Old Ones. She uses the Eye of Yog Sothoth to circumvent the Edict on the Masons against time travel! Mark my words! She must be purged of her madness or she will unleash horrors upon us far more dangerous than the Hydra!"

Before I could voice my opinion he vanished in the mist. Such Drama.

Oh, I updated the Heroes and Villains entries. Look down.

~K the K

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Founder is Dead...

I never moved so fast in any of my lives. I kept both hands on my sachel. I kept to the shadows, past where I'd seen the Sheriff fall. I saw Jobias and Dr. O in the saloon, crouched over a table gloating in the over a couple glasses of red. I could have slit both their throats right then and there, but there were bigger things at stake.

I should have realized it before, why the Hydra kidnapped Lumina. Why an ancient creature was so scared of one woman as to imprison her with magic, but unwilling...unable to kill her outright.

I straightened up and rang my Aunt's doorbell. I smiled weakly, squinting at first from her glow. She hugged me and told me to come in. I asked to sit down with her.

We needed to talk.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

clones clones clones clones....

So I drop this lady off in Steelhead and it's drama central. Jobias is strutting around and Dr. O is complaining about the rain on his joints. No sign of Malegatto though. I was hoping for her autograph.

What I can figure out Genie was in heat and built a clone of the Baron that's now in the hooskow. I thought he already was a clone to be honest. How can he be hanging out in Steelhead and arguing with New Babbage's Ann Coulter/Paris Hilton fur on the Ning when there's all that craziness going on in Europa?

I also heard St. Kitt blew up. Too bad, I used to go on vacation there with Mom back when the neko ruled the island. We had so much fun setting up those moai...then the humans cam and put lawn chairs all over them! *sniff!* Well, that's one prophesy off the list. Too bad the Middlesea Fleet was busy with it, they had to break off chasing the Midas...

Aw crap, the Midas! It's over Winterfell? Darien and Ash are still on it? Gem and Ama are fighting Loli Ogre Ninjas? *sigh* I should get over there...

Monday, August 11, 2008

I'm out standing in my field

In Steelhead I saw the priestesses (Oh, you call them nuns? Whatever...)pounding on door after door looking for silver bars. I also saw them cordon off the old Lighthouse before Tensai demolished it. I felt a lump in my throat, and a tightness in the air like the Universe was holding its breath...

I visited Kira. I told her best I could what happened to us up there. She told me best she could what's changed down here.



So...I'm waiting in Victoria City for...something...important?















What's with all these mushrooms, anyway? And what's wrong with that bunny? Why is it red? Is it ready to catch on fire or something? I'm not used to standing out in the open like this! Daylight doesn't match my coat at all...

Friday, August 8, 2008

Scorecard II: The Villains

Hades (R.I.P.?)
Greek God of the Underworld. aka Ruler of Erebus aka the Obsidian King. I always was told he was the father of Bloodwing, but we found out Bloodwing's real dad (and my Grandpa) was Prometheus. He exiled Bloodwing for helping Persephone escape the Underworld permanently, then sent the Hydra to kill them both. The details are scribbled down here. Hades was last seem screaming at Bloodwing as New Erebus slammed into the old one.

The Hydra
One of the Titans and enemy of the gods. You may have read it was killed by Hercules. Apparently one head survived. The Hydra is more of a hive-mind of snake-headed demons than one big creature, but Hades had the main body caged under his palace. We're talking mountainous huge here. The Hydra can send its heads across dimensions to bite people and inject them with venom that turns them into Hydra Heads...snake demons. The one barrier the Hydra can't pass through is the time barrier. That's how Dr. Mason killed the whole Hydra before, by going back in time while he was infected and severing the colony link. But now, History's been changed so it wasn't killed.

Now I hear Dad may have freed the main body of the Hydra when he destroyed Erebus? Ummm THAT WAS SMART! NOT!

Aleister Mason
The last Mason to be possessed by Bloodwing over a century ago. He found a secret from Bloodwing's past and became a vampire to escape being Bloodwing's Host. Is it a fair trade? You tell me. He's got a stock of Bloodwine that's so concentrated one sip will feed a vamp for a week. It's also the base ingredient for Darien's Reanimation Serum. He's a Spark and way into clockwork...vampire doll constructs, time window clocks, all kinds of stuff.

He lost control of his Dolls, so he threw in the towel when a new Regent was chosen and called a truce. Do I think he's still got something up his sleeve? Of course. He hasn't survived as long as he has without knowing when to retreat and regroup.

Jeremiah Mason
Don't get me started! This guy's a first class Spark as well as a Mage. He's also Darien's Dad. And by "Dad" I mean "make a couple clones of myself and not put my memories in them and see if either of them turn into Bloodwing". He had extra copies of himself stored all over the place. Yeah. He's evil. He had a plan to raise Nekos as slaves and become President of the United States. Then when that didn't work he built an army of Qlippothic copies on a stolen space station to use them to invade Earth. He tried to use me as a fuel source for his space station, and I lost a life. I'm still sore about that. We think he ran out of clones because of this transmission (assuming its legit), and the fact that his other son Marcus just showed up.

Marcus Mason
Darien's brother. Twelve years old Adult Spark + Mage + Telekinetic = Big Trouble. So much trouble Jeremiah had his butler murder him because he was too powerful to control. Marcus was just reanimated, either as revenge by that disgruntled butler or as a failsafe when Jermiah lost his last life. Either way, something ain't right about this kid. Judging from the pictures he's not an exact clone of Jeremiah. In fact I'm not even sure he's human.

Jobias Barthelmess
He's Sheriff Fuzzball Ortega's arch-enemy. He's one of those obnoxious Human Supremacists. He's been in Steampunk Land for a couple years now, just looming over people and taking notes. I think he's finally making his move. He's not a Spark or a Mage as far as I can tell, but he probably has silver bullets. Somehow he scored an Ambassadorship with Steeltopia. Now he waves his passport around and gloats at everyone. Sorry Jobie, I'm a chat sans frontiers so don't even try it.

Malegatto Alter and Cato Quan
Evil Tiny Kitty and Clueless Minion. Dressing like Santa in August to tell Lunar he's been drafted by the workshop? GET A CLUE! You're an embarassment to the species!

Dr. Obolensky
The kind of villain you see in the moving pictures. Top hat, cape, cane, twirly stache, the whole nine deal. Not-so-secret lair? Check. Submarine? Check. Big Statue of himself? Check. Can't handle his cavorite? Check. Rumor has it he's powerless without his bran muffins in the morning.

EXPLAIN!

That's what Ash said as I stepped out of that bear suit. "How did you survive that fall?"

I rolled my eyes. "No, you idiot. I didn't survive that fall." I tossed him his shins.

"You lost one of your lives?" He used his fingertorch to start welding them back on.

"NO. Listen. Mr. Bear fell out of the ship. I found Mr. Bear. I cleaned off the fur."

"What about the person who was in it?"

"It was empty."

"Congratulations, Koen. You have succeeded utterly confusing me."

I crouched next to him and gave him a crash course in Demon Psychology 101.

"Look, I've been to Erebus before. Their society is like a wolfpack. One huge pecking order. And on a cramped ship someone has to be the..."

"Ahem?"

"The Omega Wolf. And that Omega keeps from getting killed by being funny. He's the Court Jester, the chew toy..."

"Like Keenly the Clown?"

"EXACTLY! You met that guy?"

"I've read about him."

As I lectured him I helped him get to his feet. "So the thing about the Bear is he's anonymous. Because no one would submit to be the Bear if they knew they couldn't assume their own station again at some point without being blackmailed. As for throwing the Bear off the ship? That's just not done. That's like throwing the rum off a pirate ship!"

"So that would have been a decision by Marcus?"

"Right. And the crew is too afraid to correct him. Most likely they just let the guy slip out and threw out the costume!"

Ash picked up the mask.

"But I heard it cry out as it fell."

I reached in the mask and pressed a button in the muzzle. A voice roared from the device.

"MOARRRRR!! SAUUUUUCE!! LOL..." I clicked it off.

There was one of those long awkward silences. I could hear Ash's gears spinning double-time.

"I see why the Founder could never adjust to Human society."

"So here's the plan, Stan" I continued, "YOU put on this Bear and slip back on the ship. No one will ask who you are, in fact they'll be relieved that someone had an extra Bear on the ship. You just crawl and wobble around, act obnoxious like a Mainlan..."

"Koen!"

"Like Keenly. People will kick you around a bit, pour drinks on you, but you can take it. You can even pull some pranks back on them so they don't forget you're there. If they miss the Bear too long they'll start turning on each other, or those Dolls."

"I can't get back to the ship. My wings are destroyed."

I heard something. I pointed up to the small craft floating down. "Quick. Put this on. Act crazy and they'll take you back to the ship. I've gotta get back to Pretty Ugly's Super Happy Fun Time Cabinet. Later!"

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Introductions and a Scorecard (revised)

So, Hi. I'm that catboy in the Mason family that died in the New Erebus adventure. But I got better. I was staying with my Mom for a while in Helopolis before these time ripples happened and she turned back into Sekhmet and...well let's just say I plan to stay here for a while.

I know what you're thinking. OH GAWD NOT ANOTHER MASON! I CAN'T KEEP UP! Well, half the time we can't either. So...let me give you the rundown.

Bloodwing (R.I.P.)
Son of Persephone and raised by Hades as his own, but actually sired by the Titan Prometheus. Founder of the Mason bloodline (that's why we call him the Founder, also because we just get tired of hearing his name all the time.) He also built the Bloodwing Temple in Sumatra where my ancestors worshipped him, until they double-crossed him. Something to do with the Tree of Death.

He took over the comet/space-station I was trapped on (New Erebus) and claimed himself King, which by the ancient rulebook made him a god of the Greco-Roman pantheon. He spent his short reign growing buildings and arguing with the Fates who made him clean up most of the Family's time-rips. His last act was crashing New Erebus into the old Erebus, leaving a huge crater in the Underworld and destroying himself and Hades (we think) in the process.

Lumina Elvejhem
Bloodwing's twin sister. My Aunt. She's an artist. Clothes, buildings, gardening, bodyshaping, you name it. She just happened to be Bloodwing's neighbor when he moved to Steelhead. Small Grid. After Bloodwing died we had to find a new Regent fast, or those demon instincts would have kicked kick in and we'd all be at each other's throats. Trust me, nobody wants to see that. We sometimes slip and call her Founder, even though she wasn't the first, but it's the most literal translation from the ancient rites. You could say she's Founding something new. So there.

Dr. Darien James Mason
My dear old Dad. Well, I thought he was a bastard for ditching my Mom in the streets of New Babbage, but later I found out he was told she was dead. I wish someone told me that before I ripped his face off that time. But that's all under the bridge. He graduated from Miskatonic U. and now he runs Caledon Regency Hospital. He also likes to build constructs if you haven't noticed. He's built a lot of wacky inventions too that sometimes work right. And then there's that whole Reanimation Serum deal...

Qlippothic Projects
My android sister, or sisters. There were three of her, actually. Qli-1 was built by Dr. Mason and Bloodwing, when they were sharing bodies. Later Qli-1 tried to rescue her friend Nova Sakigake and their circuits got mixed together. No Qli-2 has Nova's memories and Qli-3 had the memories of the original Qlippothic. There's a quiz on this later.
Qli came back after Bloodwing's death. She's been adventuring, getting past the failure of the family's time-travel tech with something called the Eye of Yog... (What? It's too dangerous to say? Fine.) We're a bit concerned that she's turning into one of those Mythos Cultists like the other Nova Sakigake running around. To put it mildly.

Gematria is what the original Qlippothic's spirit is calling herself these days. She's become a Blood Doll - a creepy mechanical dolly that bites necks for blood like a vampire - apparently it's better lubricant than oil. OK she's not as creepy now, I'm getting to know her again. She's working as a Tavern Wench at Port Novem in Winterfell Laudanum, working for tips and a glass of cheap bloodwine a night. It's a living.

Ash Mason aka Tumim
Another android made from a shard of Bloodwing's bone and infected by Qli-3's magic circuitry that came to life. (Hey, I'm just reading the Histories, here.) Ash "grew" in Bloodwing's dying body and took it over when the Founder's soul was taken. When he tried to rescue me from my grandfather Jeremiah, he got zapped and Bloodwing's body disintegreated except for his shard. Now he's almost all metal, which is fine for me since he doesn't look so much like the Founder anymore except for that new set of wings he just got. He's got a job with the Europan Consulate acting as a mouthpiece in Steeltopia.

I'm glad I finally got to meet him. He seems to be a genius, and he's really nice too, but he still has stuff to learn about how living people act. He's starting to assert himself and telling people when he has emotions. Good work, bro. Keep it up.

Amarantis
I haven't met her yet, but she's a demon formed from mental echoes of the survivors (including Dr. Mason) of the trip they took to rescue me. We know she's legit because Bloodwing meeting a descendant in the future named Amarantis. Not that many in the aetherphone book.