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clockwork6 [2012/11/12 20:43] (current)
doan created
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 +When he awoke, Purrfidy’s sister was corralling the younger kittens to wash and brush their fur until they looked at least vaguely presentable. She gave Cass a comb as well and he wrestled with his hair until it submitted and stayed down while he tied it back. He doubted it would stay that way for even as long as it took to get to wherever they were going.
 +
 +“Big sister is wasting her time over nothing,” complained Purrfidy, whose fur didn’t take well to attempts to civilise it and looked more as though someone had tried to drown him, “Only you and AdvoCat are going in to see the Council. We’re just coming along until the edge of the sector, for security.”
 +
 +“We still might be seen by a Council member! What will they think if they see a gang of bedraggled kittens on their front lawn?”
 +
 +“That they need to rescue the poor little kitties and give them good homes and feed them rare steak and saucers of milk every day?” asked Purrfidy hopefully. His sister cuffed him around the ear with extended claws. He yelped and hid behind Cass. She shook her head and went back to yowling orders at all the kittens so that they formed lines for inspection, then filed towards the gates.
 +
 +“We’ll go first,” said the AdvoCat, immaculately dressed as usual and in no need of bullying to improve his appearance, “The others will go on foot, so they can’t travel as fast as us. They can back us up.”
 +
 +“How are we travelling?” asked Cass. In answer, the AdvoKitten unfurled his grey umbrella and sprang into the air, where he began floating gently in the breeze. He extended a paw to Cass, who took it, then lifted off himself.
 +
 +“That way,” said the AdvoCat, pointing to the horizon. Cass could have sworn there wasn’t anything there before except sky, but now he saw the outline of a city, with countless dots of orange light, Church steeples, the tops of skyscrapers full of business people doing business things, the majestic spires of a University and, most prominently, a clock tower lit up in blue and yellow. Cass immediately recognised Twin Seeds Tower, his home town’s most important landmark, and wondered whether it was his own influence that meant everything was Twin Seeds themed, if the kittens were altering it to something he was familiar with in a futile attempt to cheer him, or if the land of dreams happened to look a lot like Twin Seeds. They reached the town fairly quickly, the rest of the kittens running along below them, occasionally chasing down strange creatures that looked like gaudily-coloured floating lions, fish, saber-tooth sheep and a tadpole on stilts, all of which the AdvoCat helpfully explained were low-level Nightmaren. They mostly chased them away although Purrfidy’s sister had to discourage them from trying to eat the fish and the sheep. When they came to the courtyard of the Tower, they all found hiding places and waited outside while watching all the exits carefully. The AdvoCat alighted on the clock face and tapped on the six. There was a mechanical whine and a panel opened up where the number had been, revealing a circular opening. Cass climbed through after the AdvoCat and walked carefully across a narrow walkway. He admired the giant cogs and gears turning all around him that were the inner workings of the clock tower. He felt dwarfed by the power and grandeur of the machine that was the spirit of the town, just as the Tower was both the seat of Government and the cultural centre of Twin Seeds, where their world-famous singer Claris Sinclair once performed.
 +
 +After walking across the wooden beam from which the great bells of the Clock Tower hung, a feat that took a surprising amount of time as the dimensions of the Tower were enlarged to gargantuan proportions, the AdvoCat jumped down from the middle of the beam, shimmying down the chains and bell-pulls and jumping from cog to cog. Cass followed him, laughing at the exhiliration of making such death-defying jumps. However dangerous and terrifying it was to be in a dream, he enjoyed being in a spritely, agile body that could defy gravity as though he were a character in a platform game where the programmers couldn't afford falling damage on their budget. While it was dark up on the rafters, the stained glass windows washed the light of the sunrise over them in bright vivid colours, their scenes stretched over the walls in a shroud. Twin Seeds was not a particularly religious city and the Tower was not a Church, so the scenes were mostly of famous achievements, or celebrations of general concepts such as art and science, patterns from different cultures to show diversity and a round mosaic in the ceiling designed for purely aesthetic reasons. Some of the scenes in the dream version of Twin Seeds Tower were more bizarre, bordering upon disturbing in places, of fantastical creatures with too many tentacles and geometrically impossible cities.
 +
 +They reached a point where they could find no platforms within easy reach, so they jumped down. Cass hung onto the AdvoCat while he unfurled his umbrella and floated down to the unseen lower levels of the Tower. After a short time in freefall, he pressed the clasp on his umbrella, instantly folding it up, and they dropped down to land in the middle of an enormous star-shaped table, where he made a theatrical bow and stowed away the umbrella.
 +
 +That was when Cass saw what had inspired the things depicted in the stained glass windows. The eight figures around the table, each sitting on a floating chair at the points of the star, were the oddest creatures he had ever seen. He blinked in confusion, even though he had learnt by now to entirely expect things like human-sized talking cats that could float using umbrellas and giant rooms and eternal night. This was beyond his ability to even put into words. The clock gears were turning – not just around in circles to trigger each other into motions, but shifting into each other and around each other in some kind of mechanical dance that slowly proceeded down, intertwining around the stained glass windows, which blazed into life as the machines activated some kind of blazing light. Shapes were projected from the windows, shapes with life of their own. Abstract shapes placed together, more like an outline of a model of something than an actual thing, their bodies cones or cylinders twisted at the ends, with no discernable limbs apart from spikes or horns that might function as simple proboscis. Their bodies were metallic, with the suggestion of machines beyond human technology, and the clothes they wore looked like they served more as robes of office, or maybe just aesthetics in their own right, than to cover anything that could possibly be there. They all hovered above the ground and had extensions of themselves, some like disembodied claws, some more abstract shapes like diamonds or like mechanical drones. It was difficult to tell how they moved or spoke or manipulated the world, as they were very silent and moved very slowly.
 +
 +One of them glared at the AdvoCat when he saw the intrusion. Their faces were frozen in alien but somehow evocative expressions, and this one looked arrogant, domineering, outraged that anyone would not obey him. His eyeless and mouthless face had horns, his blue-robed body the suggestion of a large armoured frame. He (it seemed incredibly masculine - they had the suggestions of gender, to differing extents) raised three of his six metal hands that floated around him, and the eyes set in them opened in unison, then gouts of flame poured from the eyes, streaming like a swarm of bees towards the AdvoCat. He shoved Cass behind him, then opened his umbrella again. The flames hit the umbrella and washed over it before cascading harmlessly to the floor as though they were a shower of rain or a mild wind.
 +
 +"May I remind you, Wizeman, that I am still protected under celestial law as a necessary agent of the Universe?" he commented almost precociously, "You will not harm me or my client in this place."
 +
 +"Then, in another place, at another time," said the one addressed as Wizeman, "Or maybe you will fall from favour. You are still my creature. No, the creature of my creature. You will serve me again, once the Universe has finished with you."
 +
 +"I see how much you care about the Universe," commented the AdvoCat, "No wonder the Council kicked you out. Anyway, your appointment is over, so would you mind leaving so you don't waste my client's time? This has nothing to do with you."
 +
 +"No, you are right, your trivial concerns do not interest me," he said, "How I shall enjoy enacting justice upon you, once you return to your rightful place, though."
 +
 +"Leave, then, although you ought to book another appointment with us," said another voice, one that was less human and more mechanical, and somehow more commanding despite not holding the same force behind it, "The matter at hand may concern both of you, as well as all of us. This is about the dreamer, isn't it?"
 
clockwork6.txt · Last modified: 2012/11/12 20:43 by doan
 
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