Blood and Rust Redux

“The Master summons you.”

A cacophony of voices, each one almost identical. A slithering sensation across his skin.

“The Master summons you.”

Their heads are smooth, their faces almost identical save for the markings. Not that the blood pouring from their ruined eye sockets allows for much view of the markings. Nor do the shredded stumps of their necks seem to have vocal chords. Yet still they speak, repeating the summons endlessly, from where they are bolted to the wall.

“The Master summons you.”

He rises from the pit, his new brothers and sisters sliding off of him, wriggling away through the slurry. They do not talk with him like his old siblings, but it is no matter. There are no words to describe what they share now. Nor does he need any guidance to the Master; it is like a song in his heart, pulling him forward without mercy or respite. How joyous the song!

“The Master summons you.”

Through the dark warrens, lit only by the dying embers of smothered boreholes, filled with the sweet tang of copper and iron, he marches in his staggering gait. His new siblings dance along with him, crawling and scuttling and slithering in sweet unison, all hearing the song! His old siblings never heard it, couldn’t be made to hear it, but he heard for them. He carries them with him still, closer than ever before.

“The Master summons you.”

Yes, yes! He can see the Master’s throne now, a shifting mass of brothers and sisters, favored ones who are allowed to stay close to the Master at all times. They writhe around, heedless of everything but another glancing touch, as the Master gazes out over the horizon. He longs to join them, but it is not where the song leads him. And so he mounts the dais, turns his back to the distant vista, and kneels at the Master’s feet.

“I have summoned you.”

The honor sends a shudder through him, and he clutches an unbreakable adamant hand to his breast. He cannot speak. There are no words. Also no tongue, only a jaw of unyielding soulsteel. The Master’s song bids him rise, and he does so; moonsilver sinews let him uncoil gracefully. The Master’s song bids him to look up, and he does so; starmetal eyes, ever precise, recalibrate to better bask in the glory. So beautiful!

“We’ve come very far, you and I.”

The Master reclines, eyes still fixed on the horizon. She stretches languidly, all her children sloughing off of her as she sits up, leaving trails of reds and browns and blacks. Only her oldest pet remains, coiled around her shoulders, its black, arm-thick segments rattling contentedly. She reaches out a hand to caress her servant’s shoulder, her warm fingers finding holes in his threadbare skin, finding the cool white jade plating underneath.

“Our family has grown so much! And now our purpose will be fulfilled.”

The Master’s voice is filled with laughter, for what else would you call such a sound? A wonderful noise that is at once sobbing with eternal pain and horror, but also reveling in the suffering of this world. Bloody tears of rapture stream from her face as she digs dirty nails into his golden cheeks. The pain is bliss! She wrenches his head to make him look out, towards the distant crystal structure on the horizon. It shimmers with burning light, diffracted and occluded by clouds of desperate defenders, new brothers-and-sisters-to-be. The last harvest before the end.

“This isn’t the end of the world, Tex. But you can see it from here.”

Blood and Rust Redux

Reintegration Protocol Redford_Blade