Friday, September 2, 2016

"Ever pining for an end that is never to come"


Golden rays stabbed and tore through amber air, followed by a tinkling explosion. Scion strode out of its epicenter and into a mob of alders, hollies, and mournful firs. Each held a jaundice luster as they caught the light from a baleful sun. She scanned the horizon and the voice that accompanied her in her helm informed her, "By the Core's reckoning that sun has yet to set in the last millennia."

"Ever pining for an end that is never to come," she mused.

She brushed her metal fingers across a branch and noticed the trees' brittle limbs moved like arthritic fingers. The suit examined the cells and told her what she instinctively knew: every ounce of every living thing existed in perpetual torture. The audio-radio enhancers strained out to nearly a kilometer. It only registered the stifling silence of this living mortuary.

"Liv, do you have his signal?" She asked.

"There is a trace of his imago within a 30 hectare region of this dismal forest," the suit replied.

"Dismal is a proper description for this place," Scion quipped.

Liv's matter-of-fact voice answered, "Dismal Forest is its proper name. Long ago is was Forêt de Désir, 'an emerald in the midst of a beautiful realm.' Or so the travel logs declare."

"That was a long time ago," Scion mused. "And that is a long distance to cover."

"If we sustain a five kilometer rate, we will reach the signal within three to five days," Liv answered.

Flaxen fabric billowed in Scion's periphery. Her hand strayed to her holster. She knew no wind blew and yet she did not hear a sound in her sensors. She switched to a different spectrum and the world lit up with energies. Rich yellow waves flowed in lazy currents toward and away from their source. She turned toward their center and gasped.

Thirty meters away stood a fell figure with a crown of horns extending from his scalp, one set of ivory like a rhinos in a radial like sunbeams. Another stretched out on either side like starched stag antlers that smouldered on their tips. These bone branches all rooted in a smooth face that appeared to shift and writhe in an unsettling manner. Long, noble fingers stretched out of bony hands and ended in talons. Liv identified the energies even as waves of it swelled within Scion's stout heart.

"Panic."

The warrior woman turned and ran. She shattered limbs off sympathetic trees in her flight. The weeping garden closed in as if to shield her from the following terror. Wisps of yellow traced after her like banners on a breeze. The seasoned hunter felt what she assumed her prey usually did. In the shrinking logical part of her brain, she wrestled to regain control. The best she could do was latch onto the breadcrumbs Liv provided: The distress beacon.

Somewhere in the fog Scion heard the suit say, "At our current rate, we will arrive at Deep Six's location in two days if you don't die of exhaustion."

Simultaneously she heard a song plucked on her very ligaments like a bone fiddle, accompanied by a dreadful melodic voice:

Suits of iron in a wooded glen
Should not have gone,
King upon blood-soaked lawn
Should never have been,
Death welcomes you both to
Lost Carcosa

Art Source: "The King in Yellow" by Grivetart
Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship, King in Yellow (c) Robert W. Chambers

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