Monday, December 20, 2010

Tales of the Rancid Blade: Part thirty six: His primary creditor

Burgoful had seen the body.  His crew had carried it, dripping, from the streets of the old city back to the oubliettes of Archimedes.  It was here that the old Homunculus had begun his cruel work.  His lonesome work.  It was here that the old Archon was reborn.  There were so many deals that the old one had made.  So many plans and schemes and bargains.  None of the partners on the other end of the deals, and the plans, and the schemes were prepared to let Actev Nu get away from their bargains through something as easily as being shot through the skull and having his heart cut out and stolen.  They paid in saves and in dark favors to make sure the old Homunculus brought the Archon back from the dead.  Despite what Burgoful knew about the dark ways he was still amazed when watched the Archon walk through the crescent door into the dank light of the antechamber.  It was him.  It was the man grown young.  

The Grand Archon, as he was known, had been the lord of the Chalice Pit, the Nightmare of the Chill Worlds, and the curse of a thousand million brothers.  He who had once been the old Archon of the once mighty Cabal Rancid Blade and lord of the Screaming Dragon Cult, now stood before Burgoful as a young man.  His head was shaved clean and the fine princely features of one of the sculpted class now only held a shadow of the old man’s face~ but a shadow was enough.  He wore a long dark robe, a dank green, and held a white cloth in his hand.  His eyes were the color of a glacier~ cold and blue.  They met the Sybarite’s and Burgoful saw the old man deep down.  Behind the Archon shuffled the form of Archimedes.  His long leathery head moved mechanically as the horror merchant stepped into view.  His hand curling out, from within long blue robes, two of the six fingers were scalpels.  

“My old steward” Actev said revealing a grim of evil energy “I see you are surprised.  You should not be.  Death and time have made me stronger.  Stronger than I have felt in an age.”

The Sybarite nodded. “You look young”.

“I feel it.  I feel as though a metal grip were released from me.  I feel as though I am as young as when I was in the elder days.”

“You are younger...” Hissed the Haemonculi “Your body and heart is that of a Trueborn who sacrificed himself for his master.  The form of your old body has been...” the creature thought of an adequate term. “... retired”.  Actev held out his hand, stretching his fingers, inspecting his nails.  

“It feels as though these are my own fingers.  My own hands.”

“It should.  The body hasn’t changed.  Just the brain.  All that remains of your old self is your brain”

“Then why does he look so similar to the man he was?  I mean his foes will know it’s him”.  Burgoful asked.  The horror merchant turned away  snarling at the question.  

“Do not ask of that which you choose not to experience”.  The sybarite was silenced.  “The lord of the Rancid Blade has many friends...  and they have paid well to see he has been restored to his former greatness.”  

Actev looked into the crimson darkness the surrounded them.  He knew he had no friends.  There were none who had friends in the dark city.  

“Tell me Archimedes,  what to I owe thee for this service?”

Silence for a moment and then: “Nothing great one...  nothing today... ”

Nothing today.  The Archon nodded.  He mentally added this item to a new list he was forming in his head.  Nothing to be paid to the Homunculus Archimedes.  He was sure that he would find out what compound interest would be paid to his creditors.  Those who would not let him be slain by a human’s pistol.  Those who would not let deals be undone and plans unravel so easily.  He nodded to himself in confidence.  

“Burgoful, what of my domains?” he asked as he began walking confidently from the Homunculus’ door.  Their footfalls echoing through the dark passageway before them.  The old leather face watched them leave with an evil smile on his maw.  He listened to their footfalls.  “What of the Lady Hosphel?”  

“She has been watching over your domains my lord.” The Sybarite replied  “She has secured your realms during your... convalensence”

Actev Nu nodded again considering the wych.  For a moment he was glad of her loyalty and then he reconsidered.  She, it seemed, was now his primary creditor. 

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