The monowheel’s revolutions came to stop with a last well oiled ‘click-clack-clack’. The smooth iris shell surrounding the vehicle folded into itself revealing the passenger within. Dr. Cyberusfaustus stepped out and brushed off his trousers and tails. The ease of his habitual movements as he unloaded the vehicle, extracted his cane and, after looking around for a second, the familiar waving gesture of his cane as the vehicle ‘snap-popped’ out of sight would make for a rather typical Clockhaven home-coming. Only his tightly held jaw and the smolder in his eyes belied the true level of concern brewing within the man. He turned and walked briskly into his shop, glancing briefly at the orrery.
“Nothing tonight. Good, we don’t need extra trouble.”
The doors to my private residence swoosh-clicked opened and locked behind me with their typical combination of aetheric and metal mechanics. The crucifix hung undisturbed against the wall. I finally let out the anxious breath I had not realized I had been holding since disembarking.
My feet fell heavily on the steps to my chamber. I was tired. Despite aeons of experience, tonight had been difficult. It always is. Walking over to my desk, I removed the gold lame wrapped aether glass from my coat pocket. The lame had remained in place… hopefully that would mean the images were not too distorted. It had been a longer return trip than I had expected. I carefully placed the dully glittering package on the desk and unwrapped it. Even my breath over the glass made it emit the strange flame like clouds which they would someday call plasma and signaled dissipation of what I had tried to capture. The Holy Water was pooled in a perfect ring between the convex glass and the gold band it was set in. There it was… alas.
Faintly floating like a ghost above the optically distorted surface of my desk was the image of Metier. The image of his body appeared to be covered in flaming lacerations. I knew better… those wounds were not on his body… at least, not only on his body. The greatest number of them were centered on his chest and his back… the entry wound was at the back, but the most damage was within. There, within his sternum, was what looked like a writhing, mass of wrought iron thorns. Between the stems and the sharp thorns oozed the dull red plasma-like clouds from innumerable wounds. But I already knew all this.
My eyes refocused to the area around the man’s image… even now the whole was beginning to fade. Yet, I could still clearly see them. The cruel willo-the-wisps dancing about his head. They were impossible to count as they continued to fade in and out, but I guessed about a dozen of them in varying intensity. The one solace was that they were still circling around him. It was possible they were some of the voices he heard in his madness, joining to those of his fractured psyche. Fortunately, the had not yet penetrated into him. In the very least his madness had led him to invite in some of Them.
But they were not the source of his Madness… no, those wounds were made by human hands. The hands of a father.
Once I could no longer see the image clearly, I wiped off the glass and wrapped it back in its lame, placing it in my case. I immediately wrote down these observations.
There remained one thing to do this night. I had spoken with the man as a brother. I had spoken Maddox as a sister. It was now time to seek guidance from our Father
Pater noster, qui es in caelis: sanctificetur Nomen Tuum
How could a father have done that to a son? But I had seen it too many times before. The wounds we make in those closest to us. From what I knew of the families history, the father may well have been acting in reaction to wounds made by his father. Dear Father, comfort the child within Mr. Metier. Bring him peace. Teach him the true love of a father.
adveniat Regnum Tuum
Speaking to the innocent child you had made, the man heard… he did not harm me, your servant. Your dominion kept in check even those who tried to influence him. Your love still whispers to him in his heart. He knows now, this is why he is reluctant to kill Maddox. Now he has seen another way. May he follow it.
fiât voluntas Tua, sicut in caelo, et in terra.
we shall do your will. Please help us to find the healing Good in it, however it plays out. There is a path to Good, to healing here. – for both Mr. Metier and for Maddox.
Panem nostrum cotianum da nobis hodie
She will truly need sustenance to provide her strength through the ordeal to come. Help us to lay a bountiful table of support before her, in all the hours of her need.
et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris;
and here is the only Good conclusion. If either kills the other, all will be lost. Since that person will be the last in this terrible business, he or she will become heir to the terrible debt laid up by both families. This will destroy them… and both families will be eternally forsaken. The only way to end this is for one or both to give up the debt they have held against the other.
et ne nos inducas in tentationem;
we must safeguard Maddox. She is our friend and our ward in this… help us to save her from her family, from herself.
sed libera nos a Malo.