21 Red Twilight Worldwalkers chapter 21
On a world lost from the memories of the living long ago Visstle has constructed herself a hiding place, on a wetlands, in a whole in the ground, ling with bone and clay , cemented with viscose sludge. Under the watchful eye of the necromantic witch Harm draws a blade across the chest of a melting body, he cracks the ribs then reaches inside, he pulls form the cavity a monster that is something between a snake and a millipede with a tick for a head.
Harm holds the abomination in his arms like a newborn baby he has just delivered. "is this the lifeform you had told me about? The one that will cure my worshipers of fear?"
Visstle places her hands on the vampire's back and points down the body of the cadaver, "she is the host, what you are looking for is down only lightly more, you will need to cut around the placenta, move slowly, you don't want to damage the interwall or it will take a year to harvest another batch."
"how does it work?" Harm ask
"Simply enough, once the larva is in the body of your victim it will cut the brainstem, crawl into the lower brain and eat it out. Then the bug is in charge"
"I am impressed my ghoulish companion. Where did you find such a magical creature?"
"Zion, Arwon told me about them." Visstle Explains
Seeker drops form the roof landing silently behind the two ghouls "I am impressed also." Seeker shifts one arm into in axe and cuts down Visstle's back pulling her spine from her body. Visstle dosnt make a sound before grumbling to the ground.
Harm turns to face Seeker his lips dripping with vengeance "what have you done? You dare strike a child of chaos?"
Seeker thrust one hand out a needle twelve feet long launching form her forearm, the needle stabs into harms chest to see to it he can't run away from her this time. "that was not Fiona Visstle, that was nothing more than a zombie. That worm tide around your arm is Visstle. She is a cousin of Krain queen of Zzuragg. Now, your services are required." Seeker picks up the bug that is Visstle's trust form, she places it inside her chest cavity. A moment later an armor of Celverant appears to drag Harm away.
The sky roars, the voice of gods fills the air "Seeker of Inferno, humble yourself for I am Cravixs, God of Hunger, I am the Void, I am the Nothingness! Your focus, your efficiency and brutality make you truly beautiful. Of all the shadows you cast across all the worlds you could have been born onto, this one is more breathtaking than the others. You seek truths beyond truth, and power like that which humbles worlds. You feel a thirst that cannot be filled. Fallow me and I will lead you to your dreams."
Seeker looks for the sources of the voice "Inquiry, what need does a lifeform with the power I seek for a lifeform so incomplete as myself, unless in all your perfection you are still incomplete yourself?"
Charlie Belmond falls thought his gate landing back in the garden of the Steel Rose. His head lifts looking around at the changes that have been made to this alien home. The grass is gone replaces with hard iron floor, the trees have been uprooted and strange blue glass pillers have been erected, lighting jumping between 'trees' and a harsh low hum burns though the air in waves vibrating Charlies body as the soundwaves pass though him. The courthouse and barracks have been wrapped in a mirror like glaze and covered with an aluminum like finish.
As Charlie takes in the changes to the Steel Rose a swirling nexus of wind and ice converges before him. A humanoid shape drifts from the ice; red eyes, silver skin, black veins, crystals plugged into the flesh in all sorts of strange ways, large hunks of flesh have clearly been pealed away and new metal components have been fused over the missing bites. The monster before Charlie was once Jloose but now more so resembles a zombie out of some cyberpunk's faintly.
The corrupted Jloose speak "we have been waiting for you Belmond." With his voice a choir of repeats the statement.
Charlie reaches for his whip, Souleater, but as he draws it a flash of rainbow light streaks by and Charlie is thrown onto his back. A clockwork winged unicorn (also called in Alacorn) stands over Charlie. Charlie can see past the armor and can see the true horror of what this monster is. Locked inside this suit of copper and steel there are the eyes of a living animal. This thing was once a Worldwalker Charlie encountered in a past life, Dash Prismknight.
The Creature that was once Dash lowers its head to touch it's horn to Charlies chest. "do not fight. It is better when you don't fight." The order comes from Dash and Jloose in union. Dash electrifies his body and the mass kilowatt blast blacks out Charlie.
Charlie awakens an unknow amount of time later. He is in the throne room laying on a stretcher, Harm across from him, Seeker standing over Harm. Seeker has cut open Harms chest and has hallowed out much of his torso, she seems to be installing new hardware.
Seeker noticing Charlie has regained alertness speaks to him "I am pleased you have recovered so swiftly lab rat. I have questions that I questions that I believe you know the answers to." She doesn't bother waiting to see how responsive Charlie is "after fusing with Celverant I became many times more sensitive to the movements of the stars and space, both internal and external. Have you ever heard the term's Quantum Entanglement or Quantum Immortality?"
Charlie blinks a few times to try to clear is mind and vision "No."
"Are you Charlie Belmond RT-1223?"
"I don't know."
"I have deduced that you are one of the Charlie Belmonds form the RT chain of worlds. I have yet to pin down which link you had been born onto. The problem I am having is the same one Celverant encountered after meeting you. RT is too far away from the mana stream to allow a Worldwalker to be born on it. The probability of a worldwalker being born on any of the RT worlds is so remote as to be incalculable. So, I have begun postulating as to the nature of your existence…"
Charlie rubs his eyes then rolls onto his side looking around "and what have you determined?"
"Temporal Replication. The world on which you were crafted has been removed form tangential space in order to freeze time and allow for a suspension of the Law of Absolutes. Then you, a replicant human, had been sent to an adjacent timespace as part of some form of sandbox program. But how, why? Is time fluid? Can space be molded in such a way?"
"I have no idea."
Seeker nods inn understanding "I suspected that would be the case, you are nothing more than an EXE, you have no way of interacting with the OS or the user."
Charlie take the lead of the questioning "what are you doing?"
"Evolving. I am gathering the Worldwalker and disassembling them in search of a code hidden within our bodies that will lead me to a perfect lifeform. I have spoken to Cravixs, he has given me some useful information."
Charlie leaps to attention "No Seeker, you don't want to talk to Cravixs about anything."
"much to the contrary, he has informed me that of the multitude of creatures I could have become, this version of me is the one with the most opportunity for growth. More-so then that he has outlined for me a path that will lead me to a most favorable transmutation in a matter of days at my present rate of growth."
Charlie observes Dash and Jloose laying-in-wait in the corners of the room. "you are hunting them? how are you tracking the Worldwalkers?"
"simple enough. Celverant had created an algorithm that predicted the time and place where a worldwalker would be born. Using a similar program, I was able to determine probable flightpaths that they would fallow. Once on the correct chain of worlds it is no complicated task to trace magical patterns." Seeker overly proud of herself points at a tablet computer sitting on the desk near her "I was even able to make a portable version of the same program."
Charlie plays off Seeker's vanity "How accrete have your predictions been so far?"
"I currently have to allow for a 30% deviation."
Charlie thinks to himself '2/3's I can live with odds like that.'
Seeker reaches into her breast withdrawing the bug that was Visstle, now lined with electric prods, see places the bug inside Harm's body, Harm starts growing new organs intertwin flesh and metal.
Charlie jumps to his feet and steals the computer form the desk. He make a run for it pushing his way past Jloose. Knowing well that Seeker will chase him, Charlie must come up with in escape plan on the run. He turns on the computer in his hand and opens the search program Seeker had talked about. Using the translation program Seeker had given him he intently learns how to read in the Esper langue Seeker had set as the default. He quickly types in the names of; Sigh, Keyor, and Cinder looking for any realms they have all visited.
Charlie calls out to the Steel Rose "Ali, are you still on line?"
The Rose replies "Gest services and visitor courtesy are always available"
Doors start springing open from all sides as cyber zombies, and clockwork horrors start to fill the halls of the court building. Charlie calls out "How would a Worldwalker get to a planet they have never visited?"
The ship computer Ali responds. "the simplest way would be to have another Worldwalker open the door for them. if this option is not readily available the Steel Rose comes equipped with seven Plainshifting vehicles including; Shuttles, Fargates, and Matterstreams. Any of these require a seven-key planetary address."
Charlie looks up and down from the computer as he is reading and running "Yea, I can do that." Charlie ducks and weaves between a par of Simi human crab-men. Charlie looks at one of the walls reading the map on one of the walls at a glance "Ali, activate fire containment protocol on block-B." Charlie jumps though a door as fire shutters start dropping around the floor he is on. With the utmost of heist, he makes of the basement leaping down flights of stairs.
Making surprisingly good time Charlie finds his way to a room with a massive portal generating device in it. In a moment of panic Charlie runs around the room looking for an on switch before thinking to use the voice commands to activate the mechanism.
Ali turns on the Portal at Charlie's request then speaks up as he is dialing the code for the planet he wants to visit "you didn't need to run. If you had asked I would have let you go."
As the gate opens Charlie tosses the computer away assuming it to be in some way controld by Seeker. Charlie jumps into the watery door that now floats before him.
Unfortunately, Charlie's luck in not that grate, he escapes with no sign of pursuit, but he lands no where near any of the Worldwalkers as far as he can tell and is left for several days jumping planets indiscriminately. When traversing alone he finds himself to be fairly skilled and can jump a number of times a day before he is to hungry and tiered to try again.
Charlie lost and disheartened comes to rest on a world at the dawn of the Paleozoic era. Water and salt hang thick in the air, buzzing and chirping of prehistoric exomorphic lifeforms echo for miles around. Trees reach miles high and have branches so thick at to allow a full grown man to lay across one conferrable, the canopies snare around each other darkening the sky and insolating the ground beneath in a damp marsh like ecosystem. Moss hangs thick off the sides of woodlands accommodating a web in which each and every lifeform seems to cradle and feed off every other lifeform, the large eat the small, the smallest eats the largest. Perfect balance, perfect neutrality.
Despair setting in Charlie places his hands on the back of his head thrust himself at a tree sliding into a kneeling stance "I don't know what to do! Eden and the Steel Rose are the only places I know how to get to dependable! I can't even get back to Glyph or the Kami without stopping at the Rose first."
In the fit of rage Charlie shouts at the sky "Louis-dayO! What I'm a supposed to do now!" Exhaustion setting in Charlie rolls over into a sitting position his hand finding his face to hide him from the world hunger ready to bring him to tears. Darkness creeps into Charlie's in the approach of unprovoked sleep.
A voice calls out from one side snapping him back to attention "If that were directed at me I would say 'Find a place to call home, eat to much, and fuck something till you fall asleep and do it again when you wake up.' But I have always been a fan of the simpler things." Krain walks around to the other side of the tree standing before Charlie. "A human, lost and confused, Maybe I'll get lucky and you are who I came her looking for." Wings and a tail sprout from Krain's body fallowed by a stinger and four extra legs "Are you Belmond son of Belmond?"
Charlie takes a deep breath then pushes himself to his feet grabbing his whip. "that is what people tell me."
Krain's tail and wings suck back into her body givning her the gray green almost human zombie look again. "I'm happy to hear that. Cinder, Keyor, and myself have been running circuits around our native and sister worlds looking for you."
Charlie Jumps at Krain hugging her "Thank god."
Krain lowers her head to his neck hugging back, her hands finding his shoulder and lower back "God has nothing to do with it." Her hands rub up and down his body waiting for the warrior to calm himself. "but I understand the sentiment."