Wednesday, December 29, 2010

caught in between

Qli's tremors started this morning. Then her body started shifting between human and construct, one piece at a time. Ash tried to help her, but the last time she shifted to metal it damaged Ash's neural network. Now I'm the one holding her down in the null-suit Doc Mason built for me for the Steal Head raid just to keep from getting electrocuted.

Doc tossed his monitor console into the sand bucket as it started to smoke and catch fire.

"I'm afraid my theory is correct, Koen. By turning human she's lost control of the nanobytes that remained with her body. She's caught in a vicious cycle..."

Qli screamed as electricity wrapped around her arm.

"...the more human she gets, the harder her nanobytes work to change her back into a form they can recognize..."

Her arm turned to brass. Luckily she didn't thrash when she was metal.

"...and when she turns back into a construct they fall back to their last command to rebuild her as human. And now they're all completely out of sync!"

"What happened to Ash?"

"The nanobytes started stealing the silicon in his nervous system, it very nearly damaged the circuitry in his soul chip."

"Can you fix this, Doc? ... Dad? Come on!"

"This is far beyond Steamlands technology, Son. She must have added this to her system in one of her trips forward. This is Nova's territory."

"So where the HELL is...?"

"She and Six skipped town in their own ship to get replacement parts for the Revenge. They could be anywhere or anywhen by now."

Qli whimpered as she fell asleep in a rare painless moment of stability.

He rolled down a map of the Steamlands on the Consulate wall.

"Her pain comes from the nanobytes craving silicon. They literally tear her apart to rebuild her. Steelhead's humidity only makes it worse. She needs to rest somewhere dry and sandy..."

He tapped on a spot in a desert, far west of Caledon.

"There's an oasis of Steam technology's region called Cala Mondrago..."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

connections in low places

I'd figured out how to use the Time Window to contact New Erebus. Sure enough we found a signal. Jeremiah had a smaller model in his Steelhead workshop, I figured he'd use the same frequency. Some minor focusing, and there he was, clear and crisp, direct from Hell. Sitting in the new improved Throne of Hades, dressed in the scarlet robes.

"Congratulations, Grandpa. Are you getting the crown resized?"

"I'm not wearing a crown, Koen. At the self-coronation, instead of holding the sword up high, I raised a rolled-up copy of the Constitution. Erebus is now a republic."

Wow. I had to sit down for that one. This really isn't the madman that ripped me apart on that arco.

"And you got away with it?"

"There was some consternation at first, of course. But with a promise of only two century-long terms of office, that should convince the noble houses to wait out my reign. Pardon...administration."

"Riiight...about that sword? The Sword of the Blood Wing Knight? We've got an Elder Thing eating people's heads up here in Steelhead..."

"And you need the sword, something powerful enough to slay something before Death, like the Titans. Yes, well unfortunately it broke during the final battle with the Hydra. We're still searching the entire empire for the last fragment."

I pulled the knife from my boot, the one I made a handle for in New Babbage from an umbrella handle and twine, with the jagged dull grey rock for a blade.

"You mean this?"

Thursday, September 9, 2010

dis is de briefin'

For all the power that Regent version of me had, All he really wanted to do was laze around with Kira in Kittyswitch. This is for you, old man. And for me.

Mmmm... that's good tea. You don't mind if I jaw you for a while, do ya? Cool. Try the cucumber sandwiches, they're delish!

Well, as you can see, being in the center of that collapsing hellgate jumbled my lifecode. I've got red fur and black stripes now. It's growing on me. Qli was certain that BW got sucked into the hellgate and the Wasp Queen's jaws, but I was right there on the rim of the portal! It shut on the Queen before BW made contact with her! The Founder must have got caught in a flux wave from the collapse. He could be anywhere in the omniverse now. Don't count him out just yet.

So there's a new family member of a sort, Xavael. This bishy angel that popped out of nowhere to fight the wasps by Bloodwing's side. I'm not sure what gender it is, don't think I wanna know. Talks stilted worse than BW. Said something about being the creator of Qli's spheres? I'm not going there right now, my head's still spinning as it is.

Bloodwing was in Grandpa Jeremiah for the battle. And apparently this was a good thing. He's got some broken bones, but he'll live. It's pretty tense when he and Xavael are in the same room. Yeah, I can imagine. So Xavael's in a mortal host too, someone in Steelhead? Did offer me a family discount at the store. But between you and me I'm gonna wait til they catch that critter that's chomping people's heads like brussel sprouts first.

Did they ever catch that guy with the sack eating kids? I think I was dead when all that went down. Bast sakes, glad I'm not an urchin anymore.

My littermates are all accounted for. Getting them all in one place to send them home is gonna be difficult. Assuming they want to go home. They were Crown Prince weren't they?

We're not sure what happened to Uncle Marcus. We know he got a fatal wound and fell into the ocean, but one of Jeremiah's submersibles, the Illuminautilus (Seriously, what kinda name is that? Oh yeah I forgot he was in his crazy evil phase) stole the body. Jeremiah says he had a clone on the ship that would have activated after he died on New Erebus, and that when that clone went down with the ship that activated the machines that reanimated Marcus in the first place. Damn, these Sparks have backups for everything don't they?

Ash saw the ship all the way up in the orbiting Caravel and he flipped on the Pandorus alarm. So the the machinery tried to reanimate grandpa's clone and went overboard? Not good. And whateveritis is running that kraken-ship? Very not good. And it's got Marcus, who was bred to steal control of other people's bodies? SO VERY VERY NOT GOOD!

So, here's some pictures of the new me. That first one I...found the last one of Wren's traps. (I'm OK, really! Steel-toed boots this time!)

And here's the obligatory "Oh look at me I'm so Steampunk!" pose. For The Ladies. Muahahaha!

And here's me fixing the Time Window after the Regent drew that portal energy through it. I wonder what he did with all that extra power?

Could you pass me another crumpet? Thanks.

Say, do I smell catnip?

Saturday, September 4, 2010

the other side


Air raid sirens wail over Seraph City as a circle of absolute darkness widens in all directions overhead, blocking out the sun and plunging the city into starless night.

Atop the tallest building, a grayed old neko in a shimmering robe stares upwards, laughing in jubilation dancing across the border to madness. He bares his remaining fangs as his half-blind crescent pupils stretch across crimson. His silvered ears twitch as he tries to ignore the panic of the masses far below.

"It's so beautiful!" he shrieks. "Total Oblivion, all the way across the sky!"

The urchin with the gaslamp heart clutches his leg, her expression of terror betraying her smoky glasses reserved for the blind.

"What does it mean, Regent? What does it MEAN?"

"I'll tell you what it means, Wren! It means my plan WORKED! That lucky young bastard SUCCEEDED! It means...we're saved! WE'RE SAVED! WE'RE SAAAAVED!! HAHAHAHA...."

From the vantage of space, one would see the moon and slowly the Earth itself disappear through the Void's diameter.

Shortly thereafter, everything else - the Sun and the stars and nebulae blur and fade into nothingness.

Elsewhere...there is a universe very much like our own. Except there is a yellow sun missing a blue planet. And exactly where that orbit is missing is where a portal of lightless Void expands from an atom's width to the point where a planet and its moon slides through.

The Regent stares up at the new sun in silence, his knees buckle and he collapses to the concrete. Wren props up his head as the shadow of angel's wings cross over them both.

"Xavael." The Regent chuckles as he gasps for breath.

"Yes, Regent." A pale hand takes his gnarled paw as the white-robed angel kneels beside him.

"The Sephiroth?" The neko's ears perk anxiously.

Shimmering lights begin to glow through the angel's robes.

"The Tree of Life that your sister carried was connected to the greater. It's destruction hastened the End of All Things. That is why the Void became so powerful in you."

The Regent nodded in solemn agreement. "That's why...the Time Lords..."

"Yes. They taught you well. Here, the Spheres are in harmony again. Now Qlippothic can be rebuilt, and I may awaken her with this gift again. And perhaps...Ash may be rebuilt as well."

The Regent smiled. He looked beyond Xavael's face, and saw fresh grass and boughs gently swaying with springtime's blossoms. He recognized the face of the one sitting there reading a book, ,then standing and running towards him with arms oustretched.

"It''s Kira!"

"Yes, Koen." The angel closed his eyes and swallowed. "Go to her. She is waiting. The Void burdens you no more."

The frail old cat's chest rattled sharply a few times. Then he shut his eyes and breathed his last.

Xavael whispered a prayer over him as he nodded to the urchin. "The Regent is dead..."

Koen's body shuddered as the Gallifreyan lifecode woven into his cells began the rejuvenation process. His features flowed like wax. The sleek paw of a young neko with snowy fur squeezed the angel's hand. Xavael smiled warmly down at jade eyes marveling at the world.

"Long live the Regent!"

Later that night and across town, a young boy, shoeless, clad in castoff rags and his face covered in grime, stares at his reflection in the plate glass window of an abandoned storefront. Under the flickering streetlight he watches in astonishment as his scalp bulges and separates, and a pair of horns stretch from his temples. He whimpers from the pressure beneath his shoulder blades as two red shapes rip out from under his shirt...


one-way ticket

Qli and I navigated hypertime back to the Steamlands. I made the final adjustments on the Time Window and unstrapped myself to pull down the stairs above deck. As she was making small talk with Hassanov I secured the ether-tether that created a weightless energy stream from the base of the Regent's staff to the Time Window. I took final look at this...thing my futureself gave me. I'm supposed to stab the edge of the portal like a can opener. I recognize the gray blade at the top. It's the tip of that Blood Wing Knight's sword that snapped off while Marcus and my sibs were fighting the Hydra. I still have mine, that I fastened a knife handle to strapped to my leg.

I was back to full strength so I can use my Void Alchemy to control my fall. Here I go...

Where's the Wasp Queen? I could hear her...

Nova's silver ship flies over me, machine-guns blazing and driving the Queen off.

This portal is huge, but the edge? I can't see it! I can tell where it is from this angle from the red light it gives off on the entrance! This is gonna be...wait! There it is! Steady...steady!

Got it! GAH! Enough with the explosions already! What the Hell's going on? I'm stuck here! I can't get my paws of the damn staff! And all the drones are...flying back into the portal! No, not flying...pulled back! Ah yes the Reverse Polarity trick, works every time!

Aaaand here comes the Wasp Queen...yep, she's flailing, probably screaming unspeakable curses in Vespriumese or whatever the Hell she speaks. WATCH THE CLAWS LADY!

Wait, my littermates are fromt he underworld, too! I hope they're out of range by now! Boy that Queen sure is putting up a fight! She's almost through...

What the...Oh NO! Bloodwing's being pulled towards the portal! And the big bug's still snapping her jaws! FIGHT IT, DEMONFATHER! FIGHT IT!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

time may change me

What was it that made me and the frozen urchin stand there slack-jawed like a Japanese tourist who stumbled into a Caledonian Burns Supper?

"'Oh hell no?' Is that any way to treat your Regent, Koen?"

Floating in the air. Gold and crimson robes. Red demon wings. The crest of House Bloodwing on the chest.

"Would you expect any less from me?"

An exquisitely decorated staff from an estate sale at the other side of the galaxy.

He descended as quiet as a thought in sleep.

"Yes, Koen. This is my doing."

A gold headdress of a bent circle perched on his shoulders and fanning out behind his head.

I cautiously padded forward. "When did you decide to become Regent?"

Gray fur with traces of black. Bags under his scarlet eyes. Slightly trembling paws with overgrown claws. I won't even think about the teeth.

He let me come close enough to scent him. I lurched back. He ignored my response as he ambled towards Wren. "I had no choice. A construct can't become Regent..." He lay his paw on her shoulder, and her flame danced again. She looked up at him with a quivering lip and frightened eyes.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Regent. He chased me..."

"It's alright, Wren. He's unharmed. That's what matters."

I scratched the back of my head, trying to wrap my head around what he was telling me. I couldn't even put together the words. I was afraid to.

"You understand now, don't you Koen? Why a reconsolidated version of your Qli-Nova just happened to be right under you when you arrived from a fifty-year jump?"

"That was you..."

"Yes. Yes it was."

He scratched the back of his head. Looks like he never quit that habit. Still a bit of red on those silver ears.

"In this timeline..." He leaned over on his staff. Was he exhausted from the giant Void bubble? Or was the headdress or his wings the heavier burden? "The Bloodwing's Revenge crashed before it got to Babbage. It didn't get to Qlippothic in time..."

"Yes, Koen. You saw how it ended. No one was there when the Vesprium broke through. No one to hold them back at the hellgate. No one to raise the alarm..."

Wren embraced him while he sank to his knees, leaning on his staff for support.

"I miss Father..." Wren whimpered.

"We didn't even have time to finish mourning and rebuild the Foundation before we realized the Steamlands were being overrun!"

I knelt down next to him, whispering as I shook my head. "Why? Why are you telling me all this? We're not supposed to change..."

"You already changed it when you watched this world through the Time Window! The first thing I did after becoming a Time Lord was to trace those energies back to your ship and devise a rescue! LISTEN TO ME BOY!"

He gripped my shoulder with his other paw.

"Don't end up like me! Trapped with a legacy on your shoulders and nobody left to pass it to!" He looked up at me, trembling with bitterness growing in his eyes. "Look at you, aging yourself in a timejump! You can get those years back with the turn of a dial! I'd give up my last moments just to spend a do-nothing day in Kittiswitch one last..."

"FOR THE LOVE OF BAST WILL YOU JUST STOP!" I broke his grip and leaped to my feet. The bunnies at the other side of the building snapped back into land-piranha mode, converging on the space where I had been cowering moments ago. Theirs ears perked and I saw a hundred pair of green beady eyes staring at us. I assume it was the sight of the Regent that made them leap down to the fire escape.

I felt my back arching and the fur on my neck standing on end. "What do you want me to do?", I snarled.

The old, sad, bitter, weary version of me rose and tilted his staff towards me. I looked down at Wren as she pulled a yellow and tattered old newspaper from under her jacket....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


There's a giant fuzzy tidalwave of serious bionic pain bearing down on me. I spin and run like hell (on all fours no less!) back towards the fire escape, but there's a line of gaslamp bunnies already waiting for me haunched up in a row, all fuzzy wuzzy cute except for those steel uppers and beady radioactive eyes staring at me like I'm a giant carrot. These lop-eared rodents are hopping circles around me! I draw on what little magic I already recovered and hurl a Void bubble as they stretch out their shiny claws and...

...freeze in midair?

Yeah. All of them. Just floating. Lines of bunny drool trailing from their carnivorous bunny mouths. Even their gas flames in their little glass tummies are frozen in place. Except for the one that was caught in a Void bubble the size of a Caledon football. It's scratching furiously at the inside of the bubble, trying to get out.

"What the...?" If I had Qli pouring time-energy into me maybe I could pull something like this off. But my powers don't work that way!

So I carefully slip out from under the bunny-avalanche and look around. I still see the neon signs of Seraph City blinking in the distance. I look up and the stars are twinkling, probably from the clouds of exhaust from the airships. At least I know I didn't freeze this whole freakin' dieselpunk world.

Ah, there's Wren. She's frozen too, just like her pets. She's pointing towards where I was. But she's got this surprised look on her face? She's not looking towards me at all. She's looking up at...


Monday, July 12, 2010


I kinda like this Seraph City, once you get over the exhaust fumes. But you really gotta watch your step. It seems anybody who's anybody has a horseless carriage and drives like a maniac! But the clubs! They got these crazy new kinda sounds called jazz and, how do I even describe them to a Caledonian?

But anyway, at dusk I was struttin' down the street in my new black pinstripe suit and matching fedora en route to the next juke joint when I hear this girl shouting,


Aw man, what a letdown. Of course, they would still have urchins in the future. Just look at her in her white blind-glasses and blonde ponytails and her smock glowing from the light in her...WAIT A GODDAM MINUTE!!!

She saw me alright! She ripped off her glasses and smock and dashed for the alley. I bolted after her. Yeah, she's still small and probably knows this city like the back of her hand. But I'm a neko. She covers her light, but I can still see in the dark. She hurls garbage cans at me (note to self: Mason hydraulics) and I leap over 'em.

"You almost cut my FOOT off you psycho little BRAT!"

"That was FIFTY YEARS ago! Get over it!"

"For YOU it's fifty years! I've still got the STITCHES!"

I turn the corner and it's a dead end. She's not there. Then I hear the clatter of the fire escape above. She's zigzagging from one level to the next. I'm jumping from railing to railing. I reach for her ankle as she hoists herself over the rooftop. I grab her ratty old shoe which slips off in my hand.

"WREN! I got a nine letter word for what I'm gonna lay on..."

I land on the gravel of the rooftop. She's standing there, her heart burning under the night sky, her beady eyes glowing a reanimation wait, that's the bunny on her shoulder. And a bunny on her other shoulder. And the dozen at her feet. And another twenty behind her. Here comes another hrair of them. She's surrounded by what, a hundred...gaslamp bunnies?

They've got shiny teeth. Razor-sharp steel I must assume. Aw crap, the claws too?

"Hey..." I chuckle, "Y'know...fifty years is a long time..."

She just points at me.

"GET 'IM!"

Now if I was Doc Mason I'd write something like, "as one, the leaping legion of lepuses advanced upon me" but really the only words that came to mind were "OH SHI--"

Monday, June 14, 2010


It was a perfect jump! Why the HELL did the deck explode? The decompression sucked me clean out of the ship, and now I'm headed straight downwards.

Alright, don't panic...magic? Nope. I'm spent. Okay, I just have to land on all fours. I'm a cat. I can do this. I can do this. I can...


Well that was unexpected. I've landed on the deck of another airship, in the arms a female android who is certainly not my sister. She had a windup key. How very retro.

"Well hello, kitty!"

"Hi. My name's Koen, but thanks for the catch. And you are?"

"I'm pleasure unit SX-069, but you can call me Six."

" I said, I'm glad to meet you, but would you mind moving your hand please?"

"Why certainly!"

My fur bristled.

"I meant the other hand!"

"SIX!" Shouted a familiar voice from the helm. "Stop groping my brother and secure the tethers on this wreck!"

"Wait, I...Qli-2? Is that you?"

"I was Qli-2, yes, but I'm calling myself Nova Sakigake again. We merged."

I shrugged. This is pretty run-of-the-mill for reunions in my family. I peeked behind Six's shoulder and saw the smoldering shell of the Revenge sitting in some sort of steel mesh attached to this ship (SIXES AND SEVENS according to the paint job on the deck.)

And there's the original Qli at the bow. She must have finally disconnected from the Revenge, what's left of it.

"KOEN" She shouted. I waved back with a relieved smile. "KOEN! YOU'VE AGED!"

Yep. My black fur was back. "Puberty was bad enough the first time! I arranged a controlled leak in the zero chamber! I've got from fifteen to thirty, give or take a few months!"

I'm sure she was gonna give me hell for it later. But I knew exactly what I was doing. I'm getting better at this time travel thing. I could make a career out of it?

I tapped Six on her flesh-painted chin. "Speaking of puberty, I asked you to stop..."

She didn't move.

"Oh wound down didn't you? ANYBODY GOT A CROWBAR? MINERAL OIL MAYBE?"

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

nowhere to go but...

Damn wasps. Demon wasps. Demon airship-flying wasps. And the Bloodwing's Revenge just popped up in the middle of a damn fleet of these bastards! Everywhere I turn the periscope, there's more of them!

I'm below deck. We're too high up for me to be on the bridge without insulation and a rebreather, which the airship-pirate vampire who owns this clockwork antique doesn't need. He's got a deep-sea diver suit in the closet, but I can't even lift the brass helmet!

Speaking of whom, Aleister is manning the weapons cockpit upstairs. It sounds like he's got some rotating cannons blazing from all sides of the ship. Look at that smoke. Black powder? Really? Please tell me you don't expect me to reload all of those myself?

Qlippothic's fused herself to the helm. I've got my toeclaws digging into the dusty old carpet with each step because she's got the ship jerking around every which way. Is she trying to shake more wasps off the ship?

I hear buzzing outside the porthole. BAST! That yellow-striped buzzer tried to stab me through the glass! Why is he holding a plank of rotted...oh BAST that's part of the damn HULL!

I turn on the intercom. "Guys! They're trying to rip open the ship down here!"

Qli responds. "I'm trying to keep them of off the main airbag! We've lost half our ropes already! I can barely manage a controlled descent..."

"Deploy the side balloons?"

"Not yet. They will block the chain cannons. Beginning distress signal. Mayday-mayday, invasion fleet intercepted at following coordinates..."

There has to be something I can do...wait...all this machinery...why is this so familiar? I've got it! The Time Window!

I hope Aleister doesn't mind that I'm scratching sigils through his moth-eaten plumes of energy spreading through and around the ship...

"KOEN! Vat are you doink down zere?"

"I'm using my Void Alchemy to negate the weight of the ship! That will keep us from crashing long enough for us to tesseract the ship to safety!

"KOEN! I do not have the energy to tesseract this entire ship! Even if I wasn't busy with evasive maneuvers..."

"You shake off the bugs! I'll use the Time Window to find a safe timestream to jump into and the void-aura will negate the mass of the ship for you to carry us through!"

"You are turnink mein vessel into a TARDIS?"

Operating the dials...not enough energy for anti-paradox to make a back-jump...has to be the future...

"Und you zink you are some kind of TIME LORD?"

A future full of giant steel hives dotting the landscape? Not good...

"SCHTOP zis instant! I declare it VERBOTEN..."

"Pipe down you bloodwyne-swilling old coot! I can't build Mason techno-magic but I can sure as Hell use it! I figured out my Dad's Retroactive Continuity thing before, didn't I? Sort of? And I've been a Companion for Purdie Uggleh and Professor B!"

There's a city...too much static! Is that a demon with six wings on the tower? Still too blurry! Fine-tuning the fateline axis. No, not a demon...

"Ammunition depleted! Ejecting cannons! Deploying siderail balloons!"

Not a demon... That looks like...

"I've got a lock! Qli! Prepare to jump! Fifty-two-years-one-month-twelve-hours-thirty-six-seconds!"

"Koen! You can't! You'll age squared to the jump!"


I've got that angel in my sights...

"Explosions off der pert und starboard! Balloon rails destroyed!"


The ship is pulled through a swirling nimbus of Nothing laced with galvanic torrents of liquefied time. Currents in directions I can't point to tugging at my insides. The Void protects me like a cloak. My personal zero chamber. My black fur is growing back in. My nails are growing longer and sharper. Some currents are getting through, enough for me to see the light of that gleaming metropolis that is hopefully not full of wasps.

Next stop...Seraph City.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

this whole bloody ship is a huge creaking wreck

I woke up tied down someplace dark. Could be worse I suppose. Smells musty in here.

"You are very lucky I vas en route, Koen. You vould have bled to death uzzervise."

"So now I'm bit to undeath?"

"Ach! Nein! I haff no need for an apprentice!"

"Then why am i tied up?"

"So you don't roll off. Zee gyrostabilizers are still a bit vobbly. Vat are you feeding on anyvay? Your blood smells terrible!"

"Canned fish, mostly. Gyro-WHA? We're on that flying jalope of yours?"

He ripped off the ropes on me. My ankle was bandaged up. Still a little sore.

"Ja, I finally got the Bludving's Revenge out of mottballz! It's all I haff left really, aside from some stores of bloodvyne..."

"Why did you save me, Aleister?"

I heard some clicking and a circle of light blinked on. I could see a guy in goggles and a labcoat working on a boatload of machinery. There was also a little girl in a black dress pushing more machinery around. BIG machinery.

"Ach! Too bright! Let me adjust...there...the Consulate."


"Ja, your vader."

"My what? Oh, my Dad. I'm starting to remember...hey is that girl on FIRE?"

"Another vun of his Dolls. A gas powered innovation. If she vas clockvurk I could readjust..."

I snuck for the exit.

"Zat's zee clozet. Pleez hear me out first? Zen I vill let you go."


Thursday, March 11, 2010


I can't believe I stepped in one of those fucking claw traps I didn't even fucking see it oh shit I can't get this off I'm bleeding all over this roof I can't pry this off this isn't fair I just wanted one life without demons and mad scientists poking and prodding me do I cut my foot off with this knife no I just dropped it too weak...

Staring up at the beautiful sliver moon. Mom? I'm ready.

Oh will you get that fucking sky-galleon piece of museum shit out of the way! I don't wanna die with that ticking in my ears!

Damn. That's a huge fucking bat crouching over me. Turning into...

Oh crap. Not you again.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The six letter word

Begins with "I". Means "unhinged". INSANE.

That's what's going on. I realized that as I filled out the crossword puzzle someone left for me on the roof. The almost dead rat was a nice gesture. Didn't smell any poison on it. But who knows where that turkey leg's been. There was a fresh drop of machine oil on the roof. I smelled rabbit fur too, and...BAST! I KNOW that smell! Something chemical...medicinal. Like I was someplace that reeked of the stuff that I kept coming back to...

I know this is New Babbage. But I still don't know who I am. I feel like I've been here before when I wander the oldest part of town, but I sense a lot of stuff is wear it shouldn't be. I must be older than I look.

This knife I have, I don't remember where I got it. But it's got a strange symbol on it. It must mean something.

I found places were they serve free food to urchins. But I still enjoy hunting rats.

I found a big house made of glass filled with plants, it was very warm. It felt more familiar than the town outside. They had pictures on the walls of giant reptiles.

I stared at them. This one's is painted wrong. the scales should be redder. The meat on the flank tastes better...

For a moment I was jumping from a tree landing on something huge with a large stick...then I was back in the museum. I ran out of the building, grabbing someone else's umbrella from the stand on the way out. I sharpened the end into a spear. Never go anywhere without a spear. That I remember. Even in this jungle. The handle is good for pulling food out of traps too. You can even keep the rain off with it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

grist for the mill

I'm trying desperately to escape the Vortex and Erebus. I'll save you the epic and give you the rundown. The other Koen was actually Uncle Marcus...the magic sword Grandpa Jeremiah (Am I really saying this?) whacked him with disintegrated his human DNA and left only the dormant Bloodtail DNA, which made him regenerate.

I told Vortex I don't CARE if he merges Marcus with the rest of his Nine Lives instead of me so he'll be strong enough to slay the Hydra once and for all *coughfatchancecough* and rule Erebus with an Iron Paw.

These Ereb'ai demons glorify Honor and Duty and Well-Done Treachery in the same damn breath. It's like Washington City got subbed out by the Aztecs. So they think I'm batshit crazy because I DON'T WANT TO BE KING. I left Marcus and Vortex arguing so they can work out. But the natives are waving shredded banners and chasing me through the streets and howling. I just want ONE NORMAL LIFE.

So now I'm at hiding out at a hangout that used to be big with the tourists. (Yes, Hell has tourists.) Since the place is almost empty I gave them all my inherited jewelry and they're not only keeping their traps shut, they're giving me VIP treatment.

This place is called the Rumor Mill. Down here metaphors are sometimes taken way too literally. You probably knew people ate souls as food down here. Well the "foodies" down here use parts of souls as ingredients for fancier fare. This here Rumor Mill that grinds people's deepest secrets into the best bread in Erebus. I was stooped over circling this huge freakin' grindstone for hours talking into it like it's one of Doc Mason's tiwttergraph machines. People used to crowd around this thing confessing their secrets into it, hoping for some bread in return. Some poor bastards got shoved too hard and squished into it. That makes for courser bread, of course.

Business has been piss-poor for the Mill since the Founder blew up the Capital Sector, so I don't have to fight anyone for a bit of bread in return. This is no ordinary bread, mind you. It's made from thousands of secrets ground to a powder, risen with Lethe-water and baked in hellfire. After I eat this, I will lose my memory and have it replaced with one that's totally reconstituted. That way the Imperial Guard can't track my soul down by scent again. And I'll get one more chance at something resembling a normal life.

I'm using that amulet I stole on the way to open a Siege Perilous to New Babbage. I won't be the same person coming out as I was going in. That's they're easy to steal.

Yep. This is Babbage alright. Damn, it's cold. Anything's colder than Hell, except for the icecaps of course. I asked the baker for bread from Steamlands secrets so I'll fit back in. Hmmm. Tastes a bit sooty, though. Oh! It's Babbage Pumpernickel! No wonder it tastes familiar...


I know where am, but...

Who am I?