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Nov. 10 – Battle with a Horror (Part 3)

Canergak had followed Mr. Footman outside, and the urchins began peppering the two of them with questions. Lisa wasn’t able to follow most of it–something about portals, and stabilizing and destabilizing them, and the creatures being afraid of fire. But something Canergak said caught her attention. “The creature was expelling energy in order to access this world, and it had help from this side somewhere.”

“Who would help something like that?” she asked in astonishment.

“There are always weak-minded individuals who instead of hating aetheric entities choose to bow and worship,” Canergak replied portentously.

Mr. Footman nodded. “Remaining Dagonites?” he speculated. “Nathaniel Effingham? Moundshroud?”

Lisa looked over at him. “Moundshroud is dead, sir.”

Canergak and Mr. Footman returned inside and began mounting the stairs. The group of urchins followed, some listening intently as Canergak told Mr. Footman about what had happened to Moundshroud, the others still speculating about who might have helped the monster appear. The overlapping conversations continued until they reached the balcony, where they were all struck silent by the sight of the cage, its door now hanging open. There was no sign of the fish-creature that it had housed.

The two men kept up a calm front, but to Lisa, at least, it was apparent they were at a loss to explain what had happened to their captive. Canergak finally shook his head and said, “I have my own work to do. Do not summon any more aetheric beasts in the next few minutes. We are unprepared now.” With that, he disappeared through the door.

“We weren’t really prepared the first time either,” Myrtil muttered.

Lisa lingered for a moment, but the thought of Jane working without her help began weighing on her. So finally, she said, “I should probably go back, too.”

“Ok, Lisa,” said Myrtil with a wave and a smile.

“Keep yer eyes open,” advised Jimmy. Lisa nodded, and hurried back inside and down the stairs, emerging from the observatory to retrace her steps back to the asylum.

Either she was faster than she’d realized, or Canergak had walked slower than she expected, for she caught up with him just inside the asylum’s door. She bobbed a bit of a curtsey and tried to hurry past him, but he called her name, bringing her to an abrupt halt. Turning around, she said, “Sir?”

“Are you all right?”

She blinked, startled by the question. “I… think so, sir.”

“You were not harmed–physically, or… mentally–by the attack?”

She paused, remembering the thin thread of something that had touched her mind as she fled the observatory. But she didn’t feel any different–certainly, she had no desire to loudly proclaim her loyalty to any dark master, nor to throw up squid. “No, I think we were far enough away,” she replied.

“Good.” Canergak paused. “A… friend of mine lost her mind, battling a creature such as this.”

“I–I’m sorry,” Lisa stammered, surprised at such a revelation coming from him.

He nodded once, acknowledging her expression of sympathy. “Her name was Murgam.” With that, he turned and left the entrance hall, heading toward his underground office.

Lisa stared after him. Once again, she could almost feel sorry for him, though any sympathy she felt was tempered by the certainty that then, as now, they’d probably been meddling with something they shouldn’t have. ‘You can’t tweak the dog’s tail without expecting it to fight,’ she thought wryly.

She was about to head to the kitchen to grab a quick bite to eat when a sudden realization rocked her. ‘He was *concerned* for me!’ she thought with exaltation. ‘I don’t think he would have *ever* expressed that if he thought I was anything less than fully human–not even to try to trick me!’ So that meant…

That meant that, though Canergak’s strange eyes could see spirits, and see through walls, it couldn’t see into the heart–or the brain–of her own body. And so long as she was careful, she didn’t have to worry about her employment position changing from ‘maid-of-all-work’ to ‘specimen.’ The relief she felt made her so giddy, she actually danced a few steps in place before she dashed off to the kitchen for her delayed supper, ready to tell the cook and Martha that the danger was over, at least for now.

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  1. M. Canergak M. Canergak November 16, 2013

    Dancing gidly in the hallways?  Perhaps we should give her a through examination to be sure.

  2. Grendel Footman Grendel Footman November 16, 2013

    It’s Babbage, I still am withholding beleif in Moudshrouds death .  I’ve been exploded many times and I’m still fine afterall

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