[Indie Release] Ars Magna #7
apothecarydragoon at gmail.com
Wed Jan 28 20:29:51 PST 2009
Abducted by an unseen force, forced to pilot a warship that has the
ability to reconfigure itself into a massive humanoid form, Schezerade
now finds herself confronted by the creator of the vessel. The
architect, a former Imperial Officer gilded from head to toe in a
halcyon colored skinsuit, was allowed entry into the Seraphim Wing's
cockpit by the ship's Navigational Computer, or what Rade thought was
The artificial intelligence guided the woman all the way to the
control cabin against Rade's wishes and now she hovered about an inch
off the cockpit's equally golden interior in complete silence. Wisps
of bright energy wafted about like miniature tongues from the very
surface of her skinsuit, dancing to an unheard rhythm.
And all Rade could think was, 'I'M GONNA DIE...'
Ars Magna #7
"Take A Bow"
(Wicked Game Act III)
By Ashley Corgan
[12 year old Sheila Torrance came into possession of a pair of
creatures called Talismans. In the span of a year her entire life was
turned upside down by different events: mentored by Johann Weisz, a
young American practitioner of magic; the revelation that a childhood
history of abuse stemmed from her Father's secret affair with her
Mother; the deaths of all she loved; and marriage to a dark being
named British Rule, the Lord of Shadows. Now 18 years old, she is
thrust into a position of power in a pocket dimension populated by
creatures both deadly and fantastic.
A young woman named Schezerade Pucelle, born into a lower class on
a world that served under the banner of the Imperial Magistrate, found
herself in exile. Forced to fend for herself she began a solo salvage
expedition to recover a pair of mechanical suits. On the brink of a
watery death she was forced into the role of Pilot to a powerful
weapon called 'The Seraphim Wing', a vessel able to take the form of
the angelic visage of the Imperial Magistrate herself.
Former child bride of the creature calling itself British Rule,
Cheryl was given to the Imperial Magistrate to lead a secret cabal to
oversee the development of a powerful new star-ship to lead the forces
of the Imperial Navy. With The Seraphim Wing's mysterious
disappearance after its initial launch, Cheryl was inexplicably
stripped of her powers as the Lady of Shadows. Coupled with the news
of the Death of the Imperial Magistrate and the quick dissolution of
the Empire, Cheryl bound herself to a Talisman creation of her design
and left the Imperial home-world in search of the wayward weapon.]
It was very much an out of body experience for Sheila, the cold of the
Arctic winds that rent the dark swirling miasma that shielded her
contrasted to the cool touch of the shadows she commanded. Her feet
never touching the piling banks of snow and ice, cushioned by dark
forces given physical form. Vapors danced in her vision with every
breath. She had no idea why she ventured out of the facility that once
housed her for several years.Curiosity of a morbid sort? She found it
surprising that the darkened, icy environment that raged about her
seemed more at peace than the sterile, white laboratory walls she only
recently left behind.
Deep beneath the snow drifts, below the icy tundra her feet dared not
tread upon awaited the creature Enoch or rather Liebowitz.
Liebowitz drew the facial structure of his newborn body into a sneer.
Dr. Christmas looked up from the workbench and spied a monitor bank on
the south wall, "Yes, yes my little girl has returned."
"She's not like you is she?"
"None at all, more like Mother, and thus all the more reason for you
to bring her home to me."
"Her presence reeks of - 'Them'."
"Exactly, she was meant to infiltrate that rabble," Christmas pulled a
silvery pistol from his pocket.
"Ah, thats more like my style, Doc."
Gregor handed the bruise-fleshed creature the weapon.
"Yes, take it. Works almost the same way as it looks-"
"Wait, wait, 2 things. One, its bleedin' cold to the touch and two, no
trigger," the Liebowitz creature stated matter of factly.
Gregor nodded his head before ushering his creation onto an elevated
"Just aim it and squeeze the grip, I assure you it works, too well."
"Right, get on with it."
Dr. Gregor Christmas gave the creature a knowing nod before mashing
the platform's lift button.
What was left of the Sun's rays faded from the sky. Sheila was alone
in the dark, cold wasteland. This was her world now.
"Tut, tut little Christmas..."
She spun around on a heel of shadow.
"A there we are," Liebowitz bowed and the ocher-skin flexed and pulled
across the bony internal structure of the creature's body.
"Whoever-whatever you are keep back," the young woman eyed the invader
while she stepped back into a fighting posture.
"Your Father sent me," and with that he aimed the strange weapon at
her and squeezed.
Cheryl blared into Rade's ear as she gestured at the holographic
display with an exploded view of the North American continent floated
in the air before the duo.
"Ow, dammit", Rade cried aloud, her newly arrived cabin-mate equally
scared and now very much irritated her.
"Hold our position here", the former Imperial Officer commanded,
ignoring Schezerade's retort.
"Wha- what is it?"
"My son... he's there. I swear it."
The Omnipresent Navicomp's voice quietly intoned, "Occupant
Quietly Rade's luminescent captor faded from sight.
Sheila stared at the creature as it shook and banged on the smooth
device it clutched.
"You're seriously wasting my time here, I suggest leaving now."
Liebowitz cast the weapon into the snow drifts, spat ichor from its
maw in disgust.
Volumes of strength coursed through his Biorg form, every strike,
block, and parry traded with the young woman was effortless. It took
him one moment too long before he realized he was striking no actual
part of her small frame but rather the dark shroud that covered her.
In that spare moment a tendril of darkness bound his wrists together
before he could connect with a rather punishing haymaker.
a shriek his body registered multiple barbs piercing his chest,
abdomen, and throat. His body's syrupy contents spur free from his
fresh wounds discoloring the slow below them. His body lurched as it
was held aloft by his wrists and the tendrils that violently drove
themselves deep into his newborn flesh. A gurgling laugh issued from
the Liebowitz creature.
"You're," he hacked, "-terrible at this."
An arc of light severed the tendrils, his body dropping into the
"What the-", Sheila turned and witnessed the newly materialized figure
hover before her very eyes.
Cheryl was absolutely radiant, the heat of her very presence turned
the powdered landscape in her immediate vicinity to slush.
"Stop this - just stop. You're hurting him."
"Who are you, people? Honestly, this is too much."
"Nothing", the Liebowitz creature spoke as he picked himself up.
"She's nothing to me."
"But I swear! I can feel it! You're my child-"
"Again", he paused and spat another dollop, "I"m not your anything.
I'm just using this body until I come through with my end of the
bargain. After that - this husk - it's all yours. Now step aside and
let me bring this girl home."
Taken aback at the creature's words, Cheryl's golden halo blazed with
heat and light and the area of vanishing snow expanded at a rapid rate
enveloping her small audience, and her eternal cry filled the silence
of the Arctic wasteland.
As the light ebbed, the night retook the landscape, and Sheila felt
her strength return as the shadows washed over her body. Spots danced
before her eyes but she could no longer sense the Liebowitz creature.
Sheila let her words probe the world about her.
"Rule? As in British Rule?"
Silence was the reply she received. Standing before Sheila was a
mirror image of herself, except this woman was entirely nude and
covered from head to toe in a golden metal material.
"You've never had to watch your sisters - friends - yourself die over
and over again. You've never had to witness the light fade from your
own eyes, hear yourself sob for a mother's love. I have - dozens upon
dozens of times. I watched everything I worked so hard on for the past
few years fall apart. Everything that gave my life meaning torn
asunder", Cheryl said.
Sheila circled the woman before her, the glint reflecting off the
golden skin pained the current Lady of Shadow's eyes.
"Ch-Cheryl?" a scant memory broke free of the darkness of her past.
A sliver of light erupted from Cheryl's gilded form. Sheila screamed
as it parted the shadowy armor that once coated her bare flesh. The
light seared the pale tissue and ripe red muscle that strained to
remain on her bones.
Cheryl watched as the current Lady of Shadows touched the cauterized
wound, probing the freshly scarred meat in disbelief.
"That'll smart for a few hours, I'm sure."
Sheila grimaced as she willed dozens of shadowy tendrils to all
converge on Cheryl. Each one dissipated as Cheryl's body exploded in a
ball of light engulfing the two warriors for a brief moment.
The scream, deafening.
"I knew he'd give you his power, and like you I know its weaknesses.
Tungsten. Halogen. Even Magnesium flares can't harm the dark like the
power of the Sun."
The current Lady of Shadows stumbled about, trying to maintain a
semblance of her battle stance.
"I was there when Rule unlocked the Shadow Wraith's inner darkness.
That pitiful excuse for a monster almost finished you're precious
Manly, but failed. The Light versus The Dark. Its always the same."
Sheila's knees collapsed inward and her legs splayed open as she fell
hard on her bottom to the hard earth. She was now prostrate before an
equally nude Cheryl. The Talisman hybrid all but exhausted her own
energy reserves temporarily.
"You can't win, Sheila."
"No, you're just Sheila Torrance."
Sheila felt cool hands grab her burnt skin, helped her up off the hard
ground and lead her to what felt like a snowbank. The soft snow
quickly becoming slush beneath her blind, tortured form.
"I'm a twin", Cheryl began speaking again although this time softly,
"Sheila, or what was going to be Sheila was still-born, and I
survived. Mother was... despondent. Gave me up to adoption and Rule
took me in years later. Convinced me he loved me, wormed his words
right into my mind with his dark power. His gift. I thought I was
loved and when I proved as fragile as our - my Mother in bearing him a
still-born son he gave me to Victoria Burke. The Imperial Magistrate,
as you may have come to know her."
More snow soothed her burns, wet sigils drawn in crisp, dead skin
flakes further expedited the healing.
"Rule told her about more like me - my sisters - the Variants of her
across the multi-verse. The winged-whore made me train some and
enslave the rest. Made us her own personal gestapo and workforce in
our own little dark corner of the Empire."
"The universal misery of Sheila Torrance is inexorably linked to
Mother. I convinced myself this was a better life for you - the
Shapes began swimming into Sheila's vision, gilded hands with fingers
splayed hovered over her face.
"The Imperial Magistrate died in battle here on your world. I came
only because that bastard gave my son's body life somehow. Reanimated
its power, its bond to me and that goddamn Lord of Shadows."
"The creature?", Sheila managed to rasp.
"Yes, it was created from Talisman Materia - a hybrid, like myself."
"The joining of Master and Talisman - Siechrung Magie."
Sheila attempted an understanding nod. She knew of Siechrung Magie
from her grandmother's lessons of Ars Magna, 'the fusion magic'.
"I created 'Sun Tears', a skinsuit entirely made up of nano-machines
infused with Talisman particles that allow me to tap into the Sun's
Just the surface of The Sun's power.
"Millennial Girl?", Sheila offered weakly.
Cheryl laughed softly, "No, no delusions of grandeur for me. Those are
your dreams and yours alone."
Shadows crept up out of the snow and swaddled Sheila once again only
this time in loose robes.
"You love me... don't you?", Sheila asked hesitantly.
And the two hugged for the very first time.
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