Volume

Blackthorn Imaginarium - 12th October - Evening

Tate stared down at the box his sister had just handed him. Beneath the blood stains it was intricately carved in strange symbols which he vaguely recognised.

"It's Elesian." Emily gasped as she stared over his shoulder.

"Open it." Diana urged. At her feet that damn dog of hers had started worrying at the severed arm again and Tate did his best to ignore the sound of chewed flesh. He glanced at Emily and she gave him a nod of encouragement.

He flicked open the box and started down at what it contained.

"What is it?" Diana asked as she too stared down at the smooth white disk that sat within the container. Tate did not answer. Instead he plucked the disk out and saw that on its reverse side were several looped cords designed to hook over his thumb and fingers leaving the disk nestled in the palm of his hand. He felt a tingle up and down his arm and the disk began to vibrate softly.

"What is it?" Emily asked now. Tate stared down at the disk and then to the chewed arm. He saw the tattered rags of an Elesium uniform and then with some searching saw the body it had been torn from. An Elesium aid to the Regent. Gods he was holding the weapon she had used to kill councilor Spink when she had arrived at the Peoples Palace.

"Tate if you do not tell me..." Emilys words were cut off as she screamed out in pain. A savage roar sounded behind her as she fell forward and Tate stood eye to eye with the raging mutant. Somehow it had broken free and... he looked down at Emily and saw the bloody gashes across the back of her dress.

The creature moved and Tate dove out of its reach. He dragged Diana back with him and then without thinking he roared into the white disk, his arm shaken to the bone from the sudden vibrations that came from it. He held his fist closed allowing the energy to build before opening it in the face of Lucas Eli.

"NOOOOOOOO" the deafening sound of Tates amplified voice came from the sound stone and tore into the mutant. All around people clutched their ears in pain. Only the Tin Men remained unaffected.

The mutant that was Lucas Eli stumbled back, his mouth agape and his eyes wide. Blood poured from his ears and his limbs convulsed. Tate wasted no time scooping Emily up in his arms and carrying her towards one of the exits. He motioned for Diana to follow and they made a headlong rush for one of the doors that was not heavily guarded. Reaching the door he held up his hand once more towards the soldier that stood there.

"MOVE!" the sound burst from the stone towards the Elesian and the man dropped to his kneed holding his head. Other Elesians and a few Tin Men had focused on them now and started to race headlong towards them.

"Quickly we need to get out of here." Tate cried out as the Elesians converged on them, but just as it seemed they would be overtaken there came another wild roar from the creature and suddenly it was amongst the soldiers and screaming onlookers tearing into flesh and bone with its blackened claws. Tate and Diana made it out of the hall and soon found themselves bursting though a side exit into the snow laden grounds.

"What? what is that thing?" Diana asked looking down at the device Tate still held.

"It belongs to the Regent." he explained, "remember she was wearing it in the palace that day. I think it reacts to sound and..."

"Kills people." Diana finished for him. Tate struggled to remove the device without dropping Emily. Carefully he handed it over to his sister.

"Take care of this. I need to find a doctor for Emily and then we are getting out of here." He gave the disk over to Diana and frowned as the sound of Major chewing away drew his attention. He glanced down at the severed arm, which was now somewhat worse for wear, "and for gods sake take that thing away from your dog."

***

Eris stepped from the shadows to stand in front of the two women. Nichola and Lucia stopped dead in their tracks at the sight of the shorter woman and Eris smiled as she noticed Nicholas ready stance. Good, she was no stranger to violence and would answer the call at need. She glanced at Lucia and considered the woman for a moment before speaking.

"You have ruined my plans this evening." she said simply as she drew to long blades from her belt.

"Who are you?" asked Lucia backing away slightly.

"Me? I am nobody, you need not concern yourself with me, but my master... well let's just say that your little show at the theater this evening caught his attention."

"I do not know that you are talking about." Lucia snapped back. Eris noticed with satisfaction that Nichola had said nothing, she was waiting, watching. Good, very good. Eris took a smooth step forward.

"We had plans this evening, plans to kill the Regent. The creature was to take care of it, she came especially to see it and... lets just say that we had arranged for a close encounter that she would not survive."

"We are leaving." Nichola said in a flat careful voice.

"Yes you are," Eris agreed, "You are leaving with me and together we will visit my master."

"And who is that?" Lucia asked, but it was Nichola that answered, her eyes flashing in sudden realisation.

"The Clockwork King." she whispered and Eris smiled. With a flick of her wrists she sheathed her blades,

"Ladies, if you would follow me."

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