She was trapped. In this breaking apart falling apart body. Living fine china. Homouniculs. Porcelin doll. Unlike the nanite puppets, she was animated everything attached to her through pure force of will. Feh, she scoffed at those who needed fancy technology to get around Now her? She was oldschool. She, a Fae of the Ramshackle House of Sewn Back Together Wrong did not believe in newfangled wiresd shiny silicon micro whatevers.
Whatever worked in the past will work today. She believed. She was born from the mess of the old world and honored it. One could call her a trash elemental of sorts. She kept scalaffling through the ruins of the Old City where the Ramshackled Houses lived. The dead rat flesh that made up her left hand itched and squeaked unhappily whenever she scratched it. Her sewn on lip, painted red with neverfading blood from the Bleeding Tower, curved upside down in frustration. The rat pelts would not stop squirming, the tails that usually drooped and flopped were now pointing in many directions.
The rat flesh was her scavenger compass, after all rats were great at finding trash. Particularly edible things. The magpie feathers glued on to her left trashbag wing served as her guide to valuable things, this close to the Bleeding Towers, or the Shiny Mess of Crap that Trickled Mensutral Blood as she liked to call it, was dangerous. The anal king over there did not like it when unauthorized fae traveled this close to his terrority.
But hey, what could he do? The stories were most likely exaggerated. She was hungry and had to eat. The pickings here were good, killed by security drones.
The security drones were zombie like things. Pale clammy skin of corpses. Rotting flesh. Cybernetic parts. The nanites were cheaply manufactured, doing just enough work to keep them from falling apart.
Taelia, the trash elemental knew that the nanites purposely kept the drones fearsome looking for intimidation and to strike fear into intruders, invaders, trespassers, and passers-by alike. A rogue nanite swarm, using humanity as merely cattle. Taelia shuddered. They were not owned by Mr. Anal Oh-Look-At-Me, I Am- So Powerful And Old. Mooooooooooo. He merely tolerated their presence because the rogue nanite swarms of zombieification lent to another obstacle, a ghastly barrier between the riff raffs inhabiting the ruins and his oh-so-precious city.
The City of Black Analness split off from the lands of the Ramshackle Houses by a sea of flesh devouring zombification nanites.
To the nanites, this tech-ridden wasteland was their terrority and theirs alone. The tech added to their numbers and unlike the rest of the fae, the Ramshackle Houses bred often and profusely. After all, when you live in a wrecked armpit of a city, a giant trashheap. There wasn,t much to do other then scavenge and fuck. Oh, and selling of merchandise.
All these little fae were prey for the nanite swarms, which led to the Ramshackle House,s distaste for modern soul destroying technology.
Oh look, Taelia watched as another poor soul got devoured by the drones. This how the process went.
First, some idiot wandered into the great swarmlands. What are the swarmlands you ask, you giant ninny? This is Taelia by the way, of the Great Ignoble Ramshackle House of Sewn Back Together Wrong. They are lands, of great Scrapers that rise against the sky. Great patchwork steel demons, their insides and shells eaten away as though by some giant moth. Rumor has it, boy. That people, can you believe it? Humans lived in those things. Us Ramschakle Hauses live there now, we live in the highest reaches where the swarms can not get us. See? My wings these are what they are for. Powerful magic, pure will is lets me fly. Oh, and this book.
She throws you a book titled Aerodynamics for Dummies. We learn from books, boy. Science. Human science is what drives us. We actually teach humanity our craft ninny. But let me steel myself, wandering human.
And get back to topic. The swarmlands are surrounding us. See that giant pipe over there, chronicler of stories? That black maw with encrusted rusty lips that wants to swallow you right up into its stomach of ages old sewers?
Those are the drones stay when they are not shambling after us fae. They groundwalkers, human. Just like you. Our wings propel us beyond their reach. Them fleshcrafting bits and pieces don,t know what do beyond their reach, human. The bits, the pieces. All they know is how to devour and multiply. Like them rats on my arm.
She thrusts her left arm towards you, Taelia,s blue dead doll eyes are full of malicious glee, the porcelain cracks in her face are creaking as she talks. You can hear the chipping, grinding sounds of her porcelain skin, and her clear aethyr-infused blood slightly glows like an old caution traffick light as she keeps telling her story. Her teeth are blood-encrusted, broken shards of china. You can hear the gnashing and smashing of her speech with each word.
And her beautiful full red painted porcelain lips are smiling. With the emotions of desperation and cruelty behind them. What looks like to be drool or…is it bile? Or maybe blood? Or a mix of all her humors trickle down from the corner of her mouth.
Her left arm is a slim feminine arm of porcelain that creaks and the plates grinds against each other every time she moves. Dainty fingers. Clean nails. On her left arm is a nice well maintained patch of fur. So soft that you want to pet it. Her smirk only grows when your hand get close to it. You touch it.
Her smile is a now a hideous grin of broken china. Broken innocence from a lost age. Her right arm swooshes over to her left arm and tears off a glowing…something. What looks like a misty glowing veil of fireflies and leds flies off into the air.
See now human, what I truly mean?
Rats, human come and watch. Enthralled by both her horror and her beauty, the fur on her left arm is a now a squirming mass of dead rats loosely stitched together. They squirm and squeal in terror and horror, her tails are wriggling everywhere. Like a mating ball of snakes. Or perhaps a mess of worms crawling through the earth.
You find this hideous and want to flee. You can,t you are rooted to the ground. The rats, thread hold them in place.
Now human, she askes you? You wish to enter the Black Silent City of Lord Rook? I can lead you the safe way, the rats always know. She gets close to you, whispers in your ear, her breath, the smell, reeking of rotten tea and motheaten doll hair.
But human, I have a price. Nothing is free out here, boy. She traces what is broken poreclin finger down your chest, two of her fingers sliding across the groove where there once has a flesh and blood heart. But where now sits an iron heart beating out steam.
Tell me human, what is your purpose. Don,t tell me, I can always…eat you.
Tell me a story. And you tell her. Of how how you were the the last survivor of an tank envoy to an human enclave bearing supplies, information, and most important of all, Incarnates. Freshly born Incarnates from the Vats, their spirits wiped clean. And of course fleshdrives, for the ones who wish to Masque themselves with the minds and bodies of those who died.
And how, that angel, killed everyone. Of how she slaughtered everyone and flung the tanks in the air as though they were playthings. And worst of all, shot spears into the sky. The dozens foot long javelin spearing through the tanks as it crashed back to earth. Killing everyone inside. And of how she collected the souls of the dead. To who knows where, treating the freshly killed humans like mannequins.
An oversized repressed child who was enjoying herself during playtime. Your knees buckle and collapse as you go down to the earth crying. Tears becoming rivulets, streams of sorrow down your face.
All of this is too much.
Of you have an urgent message for Lord Rook, the closest Great Lord to the envoy,s place. Of how you heard the people there are happy, you wish to be happy if not for a little bit. Your enclave is miles away. You will never survive alone, and you have precious, precious cargo.
You wonder if you can bargain for a stay and maybe, if not maybe an escort. In your wildest dreams, you wish for a great black bird to ride on. Safer but not safe. Nowhere is.
Taelia knows of the King,s search. All of the Ramshackle Hauses do, and must search at least every once in a while. It is a small price for living in his lands. Why waste time warring when you can ecke out a simple agreement.
She wishes for you to show her the cargo. You refuse. She threatens to leave you to the drones, after all you are in your dwelling at the moment. Several hundred feet high above the dying earth, the swarms devouring everything. It is only up here that plants grow in niches and in pots.
She dangles you above the ground, below you see nothing but swarms. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.
You agree. And open your jacket. Inside are deaddrives, bearing the minds of the dead.and Copies of those killed in the slaughter. Human and Eldritch alike. And most vulnerable and precious of all, are life support vials.
Inside are the embryos of freshly revived and reborn Incarnates. All they need is either a fresh womb or more preferred a Vat to accelerate their growth.
Taelia knows that if she drops you, she,ll lose your cargo. She lets you regain their footing. After a short rest and stay, the long journey to Lord Rook,s Black Silent City of the Bleeding Towers begins.