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clockwork2 [2012/11/05 01:56] (current)
doan created
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 +“Your honesty pleases me,” said Lord Wizeman, “Now heal up and rest.”
 +
 +Exhaling a sigh of relief, the General of the Nightmaren lifted his arms up and began a slightly awkward flight out of the exit that only existed the second ago that his Lord had created it, in the face of the exact parody of Twin Seeds clock tower, around which untamed elements raged and antediluvian wisdom was inscribed on stone tablets (actually Wizeman’s rather outdated filing system), just above the ornately engraved number twelve. He shuddered briefly when he looked at the clock, then shook his head, instantly composing himself. He bore his injuries well, considering their scope and gravity.
 +
 +In his haste to reach Lord Wizeman with the news, he hadn’t even noticed he had incurred the injuries until Jackle, meeting him at the landing strip as he sped past on a cargo run, pointed them out with a note of concern. He had taken burns where he flew too low across the landscape and came into contact with the raw white substance, and his arms were more seriously burned where one of the clocks he tackled had managed to briefly expose him to their death ray. The pure white scars were deep, jagged, angry and would probably never fully heal. Medics weren’t in great need in the Nightmaren ranks. An average battle wound for a Nightmaren could be simply patched over with creative magic as though it were just another unwanted aspect of a dream, as long as he retreated before his form could be completely destroyed.
 +The fact that these wounds existed at all was ample hard evidence to back up Reala’s eye-witness account.
 +
 +Lord Wizeman was already aware of the existence of rogue Egg Clocks. He was aware that they were now openly attacking sectors and that the damage they did increased with every new sighting, but he hadn’t realised exactly how rapidly the problem had escalated. He hadn’t even realised they could work in groups, never mind how much destruction they could wreak if they co-operated. Of all the phenomena in the dreamlands, the Egg Clocks were something he had the least control over. Elemental magic had no effect on them at all; as far as he could tell, they were of no element. They couldn’t be reshaped with dream-magic, probably for the same reason that they could attack dreams at the very root – they existed at too fundamental a level, or maybe from outside the dreamlands entirely. Wizeman had been leaning towards the theory that they weren’t really part of a dream. Now that Reala, his most reliable and trustworthy creation, had reported seeing them make a portal with their rays (which Wizeman always thought were purely weapons) and disappear through it, escaping to somewhere Reala instinctively knew he would be destroyed if he followed.
 +
 +The grand overlord and creator of the entire Nightmaren race, a being venerated almost as a God, hadn’t been able to give any new advice at a time when morale had taken a serious blow, when they had discovered a new threat that could destroy them easily and they knew almost nothing about. Wizeman new nothing about them either, that was the problem. He had been using the Egg Clocks as guard dogs for his realms for millennia, assuming they were simply another kind of vicious animal with insufficient intelligence to follow orders but who could be manipulated into doing his will if it was also something that came instinctively to them. He thought they were solitary, never seeing them in packs before. He knew they could wake up dreamers before they were mentally ready to wake up, when they were in the middle of Nightopia, when they were dualised with a Nightmaren and even when they had no Ideya, in all likelihood killing them. He didn’t realise they were slowly waking up other things with that deafening clamour they made. He didn’t even think that was logically possible. No, he knew virtually nothing about the giant, spiteful alarm clocks and he had made a lot of very foolish assumptions.
 +
 +“What’s the matter, Weissman, did another of your toys turn out to have sharp edges?”
 +
 +Wizeman hissed in irritation at the familiar but highly unexpected voice. It sounded like his own – a fact that in itself made it unique – except that it was obviously that of a mature female. The voice had a mocking tone to it that bordered upon seductive. This element was wasted upon Wizeman. He had created, repaired and reconstructed his own physical shell, and those of thousands of Nightmaren of all classes, too many times in a row for a body to hold any interest for him. As three of his enormous hands, each of which had an eye in the middle of it, turned around and hovered over to observe the uninvited guest, he confirmed that her body was as abstractly shaped as his own. They were obviously based around the same design but, whereas his form was bulky and heavily armoured under his midnight-blue robe and red sash of office with a gold clasp, her silvery metallic frame was long, slender and sharp-edged, with a lighter robe in various shades of purple that wrapped around her form like a veil, looking like it shouldn’t really be staying on. This was not a particularly surprising fact: this intruder was equal in power to Wizeman himself, as evidenced by her ability to appear in his realm without his permission and without him even noticing, and this was the dreamlands, where the laws of gravity only existed if someone remembered that they did. 
 +
 +“I discarded my old name with my membership of your lost cause. I am Wizeman now,” he told her irritably. She did it to annoy him; he reminded her every single time they met and she still called him by that old, worthless name of his.
 +
 +“An interesting choice of name for the stupidest member of our organisation,” she replied bluntly, “But you are still one of us. I believe this and so does Hauptmann. He is offering you another chance to return to us. He believes that this is a good opportunity for us to work together, now that we have mutual enemies.”
 +
 +“For me to obey their orders, you mean, not for us to ‘work together’,” he scoffed, “Do not demand my surrender and pretend to offer an alliance. Our goals have never been mutual and no amount of killer alarm clocks will change that. Hauptmann does not truly believe I will return, anyway. Why did he send an intermediary instead of himself if he thought it was at all important?”
 +
 +“Do you appear in person on diplomatic missions? Hauptmann is very busy – defending us from the same threat that you have completely failed to defend your people from, if you must know.”
 +
 +“And I suppose your resounding victories will be sung of across the dreamlands,” he replied.
 +
 +“We haven’t lost an entire sector yet, and we now have a vague idea of what we’re up against,” she replied, one of her eight slender hands, each ending in fingernails that were more like claws, brushing the end of her robe away from her face, which looked like Wizeman’s but smaller with more feminine features, “We would be willing to share some of our information with you, of course - in the interests of your end of the dreamlands not completely falling into ruin. We won’t even ask for your co-operation in return. We only want you to come home, just so we can talk.”
 +
 +“A likely story. I’m not walking straight into the Nightmaren version of an Ideya cage!”
 +
 +“Who would be so uncivilised as to build such a barbaric thing? Just come back, Weissmann. It’s your decision, although I’d strongly recommend you accept the invitation. Oh, and, Weissmann?” her voice suddenly sounded a lot more serious, so that even Wizeman, who was mildly bored of the whole farce and irritated that it had come at such a trying time, opened all eight eyes in surprise, “I know you well, and I know you will be tempted to try and turn this situation to your advantage. It has probably occurred to you that a mass awakening of the dreamlands might open up a portal to the waking world. For your own sake as well as ours, I advise you not to try this. The portals don’t lead to or from the waking world. Anything that is pulled into them and isn’t an Egg Clock is destroyed. The portals can’t be stabilised to allow travel to the waking world. Do you know why? Because they at no point lead anywhere near the waking world. We managed to intercept a dreamer, so we have first hand evidence.”
 +
 +“Wait, but that doesn’t make sense…”
 +
 +“I strongly recommend you accept our invitation, Weissmann, I think we have information for each other that will be useful in solving this little mystery. I’ll be waiting. I even found your old chair for you.”
 +
 +Before Wizeman could think up a suitable retort, she disappeared through the outside wall in a twirl of veils, ignoring the fact that said wall was a sheer curtain of lightning that was constantly being bombarded by boulders the size of the clock tower, and that the other side of the wall didn’t actually lead anywhere.
 +
 +Snapping his fingers, Wizeman summoned a throne that was an almost exact replica of his old chair. He sat and pondered the news. It was possible that Kaufmann was making all of it up, a lie fabricated on the spot to tempt him into coming home to what he knew would be a short farce of a trial, a lengthy imprisonment, maybe even a memory-wipe or some form of personality readjustment. They were no different to himself, no matter how much they pretended to act upon the greater good of the dreamscape, which of course they knew the best interests of, even if it conflicted with what they wanted for themselves. That very attitude of theirs made them capable of much more horrific acts without even believing their actions to be reprehensible. He hated people who could commit atrocities with a sympathetic smile on their face.
 +
 +Kaufmann was the worst of all. Wizeman would never understand why they sent her on diplomatic missions, or why they thought she was somehow closer to him or that he was more likely to open up to her. He knew her well enough to know exactly what she was like, which was how he knew that he should never, ever let his guard down around her.
 +
 +Mostly, he wished they would stop sending emissaries of any description altogether.
 +
 +A nagging part of him said, what are you going to do if everything she said is true?
 +
 
clockwork2.txt · Last modified: 2012/11/05 01:56 by doan
 
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