Beyond the veils, her daughters wrap themselves in robes woven from the dark tendrils of a malevolent power seeking escape from the farthest reaches of the ‘verse. Imalia lends them her assistance, coaxing the tendrils to form, deftly sewing them through one another and around the slender, shrunken bones of her beautiful daughters. When they are finished, her daughters will be able to break through and stand at her side, bringing with them the power entwined in their robes. Freeing it from its prison. Then there will be the ruin to end all ruin.
It can’t come too soon. The fallen angel put his half twisted magic to work somewhere on this godforsaken welt of a world. He made another such as he, more powerful and far more dangerous, out of that pint-sized aberrance who caused her so much trouble on the desert veil. Oh she should have killed that bitch. Dragged her through the veils and eaten her whole, magic and all. But that newborn angel-whore has with her the Seraphim, and where he is the Cherubim who stole her finest daughter can’t be far behind.
How she will punish that stray when she takes her back into their little family. How her daughter will wail and moan, begging for mercy. But this Mother has no mercy. She is old as the veils and as wicked as the black power wound into the robes of her daughters. There is no forgiveness from this Mother and no love when a daughter strays, only punishment and eternal suffering.
Imalia draws herself back to the world within the veils. Once a cancerous wart stuck within the weft it grows self-aware, and hungry. Almost now a being in its own right, it cries out for birth, its agony resonating through her ribcage. She savours those growing pains like wine. Like sweet meats. They’re so delicious. When this hungry little world has become real it will do anything to remain so. She can use that, bend it to her will and make this world her slave. Through it, she can infect all the veils, bringing them to their knees before her. It’s extraordinary how one failure can lead to the possibility of matchless power.
He stands on the lip of a precipice. Beneath him the rock is carved into elaborate shelves rolling downwards like some staircase for giants from a bygone age. They reach so far into the abyss that they disappear into darkness despite the soft, source-less light casting yellow radiance upon and into them. Ranged along the shelves, frozen in time, are ranks of buildings, continents, varied flora and fauna, both inane and bizarre. Everything that can be imagined existing anywhere is represented here, ranked in order along the endless, spiralling shelves.
Vespesian smiles satisfaction, he has spent a long time searching for this place. He sensed it hidden somewhere beneath the world long before he knew where to look. The magicks he stole from Cholmondley tell him that this place occurred as a by-product from the creation of Cholmondley’s unnatural world made of patches and rags, of scraps and off-cuts. Here is where everything that didn’t or couldn’t fit ended up. Where anything that comes to this place but has no place within it will end up eventually. A storehouse of sorts that thinks it has existed forever. It is known as the Libraryrinth.
He steps from the lip and begins to walk down along the edges of the giant shelves. Somewhere below in that unnatural darkness, the Libraryrinth becomes a maze and, at the centre of the maze, he will find the Librarian. He who catalogues the endless supply of lost things that have found and will find their way into this storehouse. The Librarian will tell him where to find what he’s looking for, an object that could never fit into this world, though it’s of no great size. This small, almost insignificant looking item holds the means to bring down the house of cards Imalia imagines to be a fortress. The Radiance.
The opposite number to that which resides within her and lends her power, the Radiance is all as dangerous, all as fickle. It will be like unleashing a hurricane to halt a tornado, but those who had forgotten themselves remember and he hasn’t time for playing games. If he wishes to win and be free to seek his revenge upon the shades of Cholmondley, he needs an advantage, a game changer. A game ender.
The Radiance is all of the above and more. With it he can reduce this world to ashes and blood. He can command the ‘verse itself. Stand above all the worlds and scour every last flaw from the stone of creation, bringing it to perfection. He’ll do all of this and far worse, far greater, following the decree of the words written in a forgotten language around the base of its otherwise humble container.
Translated to his current, Germanic-borne tongue, they read: Do As Thou Wilt
Rolf cracks his whips and then his neck, his teeth showing in a grin so feral it seems ready to leap from his face and devour all in its path.
‘I’m ready,’ he says to Margo.
‘Of course you are, darling, and I’m raring to go,’ she says, flicking a nail across his cheek. ‘I just can’t decide what to wear!’
Busy polishing one of his katana blades, Moe uses it to lightly slap her arse, currently bare. ‘A little more than this I think.’
Margo gives him a dignified look. ‘I’m thinking.’
‘What? You think best naked now?’
She beams at him, a big, innocent beam. ‘No, I think best having a piss, but I’m worried about ants getting in the cracks.’
Moe makes a face. ‘I don’t want to think about ants in your cracks.’
Margo makes a sad face and shares it with Leek. ‘Total conversion. We’ve lost him to him to the dick side.’
Rolf chuckles and flings an arm around Moe’s shoulders. ‘Better believe it, bitch. Now get those fucking tits covered before they form their own weather front.’
Sticking out her chest, Margo shouts, ‘Thunderheads!’ Then her eyes widen. ‘I’ve got it!’
Dark bruises bloom across her soft, white flesh. Bruises with reflective surfaces, catching and refracting the light. Bruises that grow across the full length of her body, a skin of steel encasing her from head to toe, flexible and impregnable. At her back, glowing blue, sits her AM blade, attached to her spine by seemingly nothing more than will. She shakes her hair, a perfectly serviceable auburn, and bright red spills from the roots to the end, blushing each strand to the colour of fresh blood, the same shade she wears on her lips. Margo licks those juicy lips and concentrates for a moment. From behind each shoulder, either side of her blade, burst wings formed of feathery white light.
Armed only with her Matrix, threads of black and gold in her hair, Leek applauds. ‘Oh I do like that!’
‘Are we finally ready?’ asks Kitty, flexing his claws.
Margo draws her blade. ‘We’re ready,’ she says. ‘Let’s go get fucking biblical on those Sleathes.’
© Ren Warom 2012