A Date

Lucia cursed under her breath, yet another cog in their plans. Ironic seeing as how they were going to meet this Clockwork King.
Nichola stayed close to Lucia, shivering from her fright and trying desperately to calm her nerves.
"By the storm I miss Tezla, I could go with some insanity right now."
Despite the dark events of the night, Lucia found a chuckle at the thought.
"How do you stay with a loon, eh? You have to get sick of the gibberish."
"He is...focused when he wants to be and he genuinely cares for his followers. He just needs someone weigh him down, bring him out of the Maelstrom."
"Hush!"
Eris silenced the two, they had been walking in the alleys and had to cross the open street. All seemed calm, but her eyes found movement in the darkness. A Tin Man, left to guard the streets was busy searching through the garbage.
"We need to move fast, Tin Man down the street, but we can rush past."
The metal man stopped his rummaging to turn towards a new sound. His eyes scanned the empty street, finding a rat scurrying into its home.
The sounds of the Imaginarium had grown distant, a gift to Nichola and Lucia. They couldn't process much of the trip until they came upon a warehouse. Eris halted them so she could check their surroundings before ushering them into the shadows. Nichola was surprised at the location.
"I have passed here so many times, where is there to hide?"

Eris motioned for them to enter and they soon found themselves standing next to a small iron hatch built into the floor. There was no discernible way to open it from the outside and the two women looked down at it for a moment in confusion. Their guide crouched down and placed her hand upon the cold iron and closed her eyes. A few seconds later there was a snapping sound and the hatch slowly withdrew to reveal a ladder leading downwards.

They climbed down with Eris leading the way and once they reached the ground beneath the hatch slowly scraped shut above them and they were plunged into darkness. There came a soft click and Eris appeared bathed in the green light of a gas lamp.

"Follow me." she said simply and turned to walk down what appeared to be an old sewage tunnel. Soon they started to angle downwards and there came turns to the right and left, some of which they took and some of which they passed by.

At one point Lucia gasped and scrambled back as glowing red eyes blinked open in the darkness. There came a skittering sound from another direction and Eris raised a hand to call them to a halt. She drew her blades and waited as the sound moved away and then at last she motioned for them to continue. She did not put away the blades.

"What is down here?" Nichola asked once she sensed the danger had passed.

"Death and disease." was the only answer that Eris gave and both Lucia and Nichola exchanged a worried glance.

At last they came to what looked like a dead end. Eris stopped and placed the palm of her hand on the damp stone wall. There came a rumbling sound as the stone began to shift and they stepped back as a large doorway opened before them to reveal a caged elevator lit from within by twin gas lamps. Eris doused her own lamp and stepped inside.

They two Rising Star agents followed and the elevator began to descend. "What is this place?" Lucia mused almost to herself and Eris turned to look at the woman with a studied expression.

"A City beneath the City." she said simple, "This is what is left of the time before, a buried ruin."

"Before? what do you mean before? before what?" Lucia asked.

"Before the Maelstrom." Eris replied as the lift came to a jarring halt. The doors opened and Eris led them out into an empty corridor. There were doors along either wall and a set of large double doors at then end and it was to these doors that they walked. Eris pushed against them and they opened easily.

They stepped into a wide round hall then with several doors leading off in different directions. A glowing green circle was set into the centre of the stone floor and they walked towards it. Lucia looked down as they reached the circle and stepped back. A few feet of glass separated them from what looked like molten flagesium.

Around the hall the doors opened and dark clad figures began to walk into the room. Eris took her place among them, blending into their ranks. They all appeared to be women of a similar height and build to Eris. Here and there the glint of metal limbs could be seen and some of them wore partial masks that seemed to hide inhuman faces. They continued to enter until Lucia and Nichola were surrounded by the black clad women.

WELCOME

Came a voice from above.

WELCOME TO MY HOME

Lucia and Nichola looked up into the shadows of the hall. There was something up there, a shift of movement and a glint of steal. Something enormous.

YOU WILL KNOW ME AS THE CLOCKWORK KING... AN AMUSING NAME

"That is not your name?" Lucia asked

IT WILL SUFFICE, the words were accompanied by a chuckled of mirth IT WILL SERVE

"Why have you brought us here?" Nichola demanded

ALLIANCE boomed the voice and the words hung heavy in the air, pregnant with possibility

THE RISING STAR AND THE CHILDREN OF THE DARK WILL UNITE AND BRING ORDER TO THE WORLD ABOVE

JP with Lucien and LH (TBC)

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