Welcome to the space where I experiment, my weekly serial. It is written raw, not edited at all, and mostly unplanned.
The world is partly based on the background of an unpublished Steampunk game that I worked on with a few friends, which has grown in my mind over the last couple of years. The story is a take on those ultra-violent revenge epics of the eighties where a man’s family is abused and killed, but he survives and seeks vengeance. Needless to say it is a grim, bloody tale, that deals with bad people doing bad things, so be warned.
Past and present collide as Stethrey, a boy of ten years steps forward to face his father’s killer just as Rose’s own son, Gared, had tried to protect his own family that day on the road to Avalain.
“I will kill you, villain!” snarls little Stethrey, brandishing a small rapier.
Where he found the sword, Rose can not say, but he holds it well and even though there are tears in his eyes as he advances toward her, there is steel in them as well. She can see his father in the set of his jaw and nimble footwork, but the look in his eyes reminds her of his grandfather.
“Heed you mother and walk away, boy,” she says coldly, pointing the tip of her coilsword at him. “My blade still thirsts.”
“Never!” he says, hesitating only briefly.
“Nooo!” screams Amelia, a wrenching sound that seems directed at reality itself as much as her son.
By now their drama has gone on long enough that it has even disturbed even the cynical denizens of the city called The Scab; Rose can here the sound of booted feet running behind her. She does not bother turning, it will be over before they can intervene.
“Come at me then, boy,” she says, taking up a stance that is familiar to them both, circling so she can see both sides of the bridge. “Give the depths their due.”
He obliges. Stethrey’s thrust is surprisingly good, even to Rose. It reminds her of another little boy, so long ago, trying in vain to save his family, somehow striking a true villain. She smiles behind her silver skull mask as the tip pierces her jerkin; her nephew’s eyes are wide as his blade pulls free, stained crimson. Rose plays her role well and she feels no pain as she falls back against the railing where the last name on her list was crossed off moments ago. Her body slumps over the cold stone barrier and then plunges into the waiting abyss. As the shadows take her, Rose closes her eyes, picturing the little boy returning to his crying mother, a hero now, relief washing over them both.
She does not scream on the way down and her body is lost to the depths.
Later, Geb will be standing by the gate with Scarab. He will have heard of of all that has passed, but faith and loyalty will keep him waiting.
He will catch sight of a face in the crowd that is both familiar and yet strange to him, bereft of both the outward ruin and the brooding weight of vengeance. He will call out.
And if I told you then that it was Rotblossom Rose and that she came to him and they laughed and embraced, would you believe me then? Or would you just tell me that I was seeing what I wanted to see?
Thank you for reading. Let me know what you think!