Friday, August 12, 2016
#TheCrux #Sciencefiction you deserve #Dreamcast
From The Crux
Chapter 7: Vanity, Shadow, & Flame
“Etheria and a felon named Vanity, who was deliberately released for just such an occasion,” she answers.
“Never heard of her,” I admit.
“No, I am sure you haven’t,” she assures. “She was here long before your arrival. In fact, Vanity has been around since the early empires of the mortal world, part of a collective known as the Voyagers. They were commissioned to covertly and periodically visit the Fleshworld and report on the progress of their cultures and civilizations. There were eleven of them, varying species, some alien, others were Citizens. Instead of fulfilling their duties they chose to use their unique and miraculous powers to influence those civilizations and did so, unmolested, for some time.”
“How could they have done that without the Controller catching on?” I immediately question.
“That is the third question I cannot answer,” she admits. “The prevalent theory is that Fate allowed it as some sort of experiment and kept the Controller in the dark.”
“It seems our flawless padrone isn’t so immaculate, after all,” I snide.
“He does have an Achilles heel when it comes to his dealings with the mysterious and inauspicious lady of kismet,” she playfully concurs. “All the hieroglyphs depicting hybrid deities, fabled mythologies of impish, arrogant divinity, and ancient chronicles of alien creators emanated from their antics and meddling. In the process, they interminably defined an impressive gauntlet of mortal history, not to mention, spawned faulty religions and ever evolving conspiracies. The damage had been so extensive and ingrained that the Controller forewent repairing it as the cure for their deceptive disease would be more debilitating than the ailment itself. I assume that is what he convinced himself of anyway.”
“So was there a consequence for their actions?” I inquire.
“Yes,” she journeys on. “Fate abandoned them as the Controller acted acutely and expeditiously, rounding up the charlatans. When Vanity realized she had been betrayed, she exterminated her cohorts and attempted to escape. You see, Miss Vanity’s skill is a unique one. She is able to steal the energy of a being’s life matrix with a single touch, expiring the poor soul, and turning their defunct corpse into solid stone. For Citizens, she is able to drain their energies and store them. She can use them to mimic her victims’ abilities, enhance her own, or transfer them to another Citizen
to make them even more powerful. It is called Exchanging and she is the only being who possess its frightening attributes. The Controller assured that after her imprisonment. If any Citizen even exhibits a slight perchance of such a gift he instantaneously and remorselessly expires them.”
“Using the ArgaMax I assume,” I conjecture.
“Absolutely right!” She gleefully praises providing me a brief, maniacal applause. “You have been listening! I must say, I was worried, as I have covered a good bit of ground.”
“Covered a good bit, huh,” I interrupt. “That may be the understatement of the millennium!”
“But there is so much more!” she gleefully shrills. “Vanity was imprisoned; a request by Fate herself, for our Controller, was, again, unaware of her complicity. Fate convinced him that she wanted to study her so she might provide an understanding of her bizarre powers to assist them in identifying any future threats. He agreed with her logic, he had no reason to doubt her.”
“So he let her out to punish Kalos?” I puzzle.
“At Fate’s recommendation, as the story goes,” her tale ensues. “To rob him of his Shadow Force without expiring him and her deadly beauty made it an easy chore.”
“Why, what does she look like?” I press.
“She is a true chameleon,” she playfully explains, her bizarre ecstasy deeply concerning.
Is she losing her grip as we go on? Are we moving steadily away from fact into the realms of her own, internalized distorted fantasies? I have to take each statement with a grain of salt, but if she starts to shift into dementia, it will become pounds per sentence.
“She can change based on her agenda,” she eagerly describes. “When she wishes to seduce the foolish lusts of mortal men, and women, she becomes the embodiment of all they think they desire. She is the personification of passion, able to transform herself in a fraction of the blink of any eye, cloaking the reality of her hellish true identity. A living she-demon, her actuality is humanoid, but far more unfamiliar and terrifying. Long flowing golden locks absurdly contradict the coarse sharp serpentine scales that make up her epidermis. Her pupil-less eyes burn blood red perfectly matched against her crimson lips, concealing rows of jagged, barbed teeth. Claw like hands accentuated with talon-like nails can effortlessly tear at flesh and muscle. She carries a protracted whip as her weapon of choice, wrapped in the hides of her most prized sufferers, the frays of its tips grasping an array of fang and bone. Her only companion is a psychic python that manifests itself at her whim and then dissolves just as quickly into an unknown void to await her next command. That is the creature called Vanity, aptly named as she is the archetype and punishment of its iniquity.”
“Well, now we know where those legends come from,” I jest. “Does the snake hide in her hair or did the mortals just reinvent and distort that one too?”
“An unfortunate consistency when Citizens visibly interact with the Fleshworld,” she concedes. “The mortal minds’ way of interpreting the horrors and wonders they are incapable of understanding with such limited perspective and experience.”
“So now that I know she’ll never make Playboys Ladies of the Crux, I have to ask, how the hell did she assist the Fate and Reeperella in stealing Kalos’ shadow?”
“Simple!” She reveals. “She did what she does best; she carefully and conclusively seduced him. They met by design, unbeknownst to him, and had a whirlwind passion filled courtship that had him thoroughly engrossed in her irresistible enticements. Then she led him into a trap where he was ambushed by Etheria. While they battled, she unveiled her proper self and snatched his shadow away before he could counter. Then Etheria easily subdued him, apprehending him in the name of the Fate. He was cast into the most remote cell while his shadow was placed in a small, inescapable, and featureless chest manufactured from the same divine materials that contain the Construct’s energy to assure it would never escape. For you see, no matter how far you divide a Shadow Master from his spectral companion, they are connected, and able to communicate and function. They will reunite no matter what manner of obstacle you insert between their paths. So, the connection had to be fully broken, not via space and time, but everlasting confinement.”
“Where is the box now?” I query.
“Locked away deep inside the Controller’s vault,” she quickly identifies.
“Where, I assume, no one knows about or can access it?” I press.
“That is correct,” she affirms. “There are things in that place that represent the greatest achievements of creation, and the darkest and vilest evil that was used to attempt its extinction.”