temporal parallels

<3

aristocrat > rationalize

The machine was taking you back to a lair. You see doors open and multiple more war machine go out, open their back and get ready to take flight

How many of them were there? One hundred, perhaps more? You ask where you are. And, who is this.

It’s probably just an automaton, without any sentience. And then, as you pounded and asked again, you hear someone answering you

"NO OnE ImportanT. IT’S BetteR FoR YoU TO GO AnD StaY QuieT, NoW"

He…he didn’t have the triumphant voice one would have expected. No, he sounded so…defeated…so…like he didn’t really care anymore…so jaded and yet…probably still young and…

You ask him why he did it

MY MasteR AskeD ME TO RaiD ThE TowN AnD MasteR IS AlwayS RighT”

Orders. Just like in the military, just like everywhere else. He didn’t think for himself…he was…oh my god.

He was a servant, nothing more.

AT ThiS PoinT, I AM NO LongeR ExpectinG TO LivE BeyonD ThiS MissioN. AS SooN AS MY MasteR SucceeD, OR FailS, I WilL BE DisposeD OF”

You are horrified. Even more than when you saw the hundreds of automaton get out. This fate…this ending was terrible, and…what you were hoping to never be. You were hoping to never be the troll to get rid of others once they stopped being useful.

"i’m s0rry"

DoN’T LiE TO PleasE ME. NO OnE IS EveR SorrY FoR ME”

But you were. You were sorry for this poor guy…probably that at one time, he was someone like you…someone with ideals…

And now, he told you…that he was a slave. And…as the machine took flight, he just went and told you

TheY AlL HatE ME”

…you were flabberghasted to see someone thinking so…lowly of themselves.

Even if…even if this guy was responsible for the destruction of your machine, the failure of your plans, the…end of your dreams…you didn’t hate him. Sure, you were upset, angry, you tried to destroy the automaton but…you were unaware he was there.

"i d0n’t hate y0u"

For a moment, the machines stopped moving. They dropped a little, but thankfully, they managed to take flight once more. Seems like they had a little technical mishap. You smile

You hear him think to himself a little bit

ThaT MakeS NO SensE…YouR LogiC MakeS NO SensE”

"h0w c0me?"

YoU HavE AlL OF ThE ReasonS IN ThE WorlD TO HatE ME. I DestroyeD…WhateveR WaS ThE ThinG OuT TherE. I DestroyeD IT WillinglY TO…TO SpitE YoU”

You take your time.

"y0u destr0yed it, sure. but bef0re, y0u made sure that the blacksmith g0t 0ut 0f y0ur way bef0re y0u attacked. when y0u 0verheard that there were pe0ple inside the hive after y0u blasted it, y0u did n0t try t0 attack them, n0r did y0u hurt them when they were leaving. and, bef0re blasting the machine away, y0u made sure i w0uld be 0ut 0f danger.

y0u respect life. y0u all0wed pe0ple that y0u th0ught hated y0u t0 get t0 safety. y0u all0wed them t0 survive.

and this is why i cann0t hate y0u. because y0u are g00d.”

You feel the machine fall on the ground, landing safely. After this, you hear things being pushed and your cockpit open.

He looked at you, but you dreadfully looked at him.

The troll was in a worst shape that you imagined. Thin, way too thin. You could see his broken bones through his pale, sickly skin.  He was covered in dried blood in several places. Bruises all over his legs and arms. A couple missing teeth, and some more that were broken.

Dressed up with rags with more holes than cloth. And, the cloth left was once again, coated in teal blood.

You looked at him and you see his eyes lower. You carefully move his chin upward so that you can look closer at these teal eyes.

He was so…pitiful.

So very pitiful.

"y0ur master did this t0 y0u?" you whispered, as you let your fingers move down one of his scars.

"YeS. HE DiD."

You sadly look back into his eyes

"are y0u g0ing t0 g0 back t0 him?"

He shook his head

I DoN’T KnoW WhaT I’LL DO, NoW. I’M NoT SurE IF PeoplE ArE GoinG TO UnderstanD…UnderstanD WhaT I DiD AnD WhY I DiD IT

"y0u c0ntr0l these things. y0u can help us. y0u can help us free the city fr0m y0ur…0ld master"

"AnD AfteR?"

"we’ll see"

He smiled, a warm, sincere smile and put you back into the back cockpit

I CommandeD TheM TO GO TO ThE MarketplacE, BuT TherE ArE SO ManY, TheY WoN’T BE TherE FoR A WhilE. WE WilL HavE ThE OpportunitY TO CatcH UP TO TheM PrettY QuicK”

"very well. by the way, what is y0ur name?"

He hesitated for a while

IT’S ShamefuL TO SaY, BuT HE CalL ME NamelesS.”

"h0w c0me?"

MylloI DidN’T ThinK I DeserveD A NamE”

"that’s y0ur 0ld master?"

"YeS"

"d0n’t w0rry. we’ll get y0u a new name. we’ll get y0u a new life"

He commandered the robot to take flight once more

"WhaT’S YourS?"

"i’m Laikas"

"PleaseD TO MeeT YoU, TheN"

aristocrat : fight

The war machines got up to the hive. They managed to blow a hole in the wall and enter the backyard…and as soon as they came in…you felt like they had an interest for your machine.

You cannot let them take it, no.

You see the Blacksmith being pushed out of the way by one of the machine’s claws. You…you cannot let him be hurt.

You withdraw your wand from your sylladex and you manage to zap the metal claw away.

"MOVE OUT OF THE WAY" the machines roared.

"never" you replied

"WE WILL MAKE YOU MOVE OUT OF THE WAY, ARISTOCRAT"

You use your wand to zap one again. It was briefly dazed but it landed a couple feet away from you and started creeping toward you. Another shot a beam of something from its cannon. Part of the hive collapsed

"aristoqrat, there are people inside. i got to resque them!" the Blacksmith said, as he rushed to his hive.

You were afraid that this revelation would cause the machines to attack the hive instead of you, but they targetted their cannons back to you. You use your wand once more to successfully disarm one, but you let your guard down and a blast narrowly misses you.

You keep on using your body to shield the machine but, you feel a claw grab you and take you away

You were powerless when you saw three of the machines open their cannons

And blast the machine away to pieces

Your dream…

Your dream is gone.

All you got now is fury. You escape from the claws and you are ready to fight back, to get back what you just lost.

You concentrate on the power of your wand and in a single swing, you managed to obliterate two of the machines. Another one falls swiftly after.

There…there cannot be many of them left, right?

You feel the claws over your arms again. They lift you feet away from the ground and you see the backpart of the automaton open. The arms drop you inside and you’re sealed within the last remaining automaton.

You were captured. 

The hope is gone.

The last thing you see is the Blacksmith, having successfully saved everyone from the collapsing hive.

And the machine takes flight.

aristocrat > talk to the blacksmith

You went to see the young limeblood in his workshop. The blueprints were on the table, covered in notes and a couple coffee stains, but nothing major

"lady, i am pleased to see you!"

He bowed and looked at you

"i must thank you for having faith in us. thanks to the engineer…we managed to figure out what was wrong with the maqhine. to make a short story, the stabilisators wer not optimised enough to allow the machine to travel, due to its massive weight.

as i said, the engineer managed to find a solution and the machine qan now…i ran tests and…it’s working”

It…it is working. At last. Your dream came true.

Your dream to go and rebuild the Alternian civilization from Scratch. Not by going in the distant past and change things to the way it is run but rather…

Going in the future, after your species goes extinct. Rebuild a new world, a better world, on the ashes of the previous one. Live again, after your descendants would have come and gone. Going several hundreds thousands sweeps in the future…

This is your goal.

It would have been easy to go in the past and squish the Condesce before she crawled away, but manipulating the Past always has consequences in the present, consequences that you would like to avoid. This is why you chose to build the world of Tomorrow, and not the world of Yesterday.

To create equal chances for all. This was not originally planned but…someone insinuated that…that it would be a good idea to disregard blood color for that new world. To try something new.

He is a wise troll and you’d be the fool to not consider his idea.

There might be consequences to your decision as well…but soon…they will no longer be a problem.

"y0u are amazing." you say, as you kiss the limeblood on the cheek. He blushes a lot and replies

"one thing i’d like to add is that i’d rather have the machine outside. it generates a lot of power, sure, but also a lot of smoke and steam and…i’d rather not have to qlean this up…"

"sure, sure, as y0u wish"

"if i qan request one thing, qan you assist me in its moving"

"0f c0urse"

You grab one side of the machine and help the Blacksmith out, leaving the intricate machine in the yard

"thanks, madam. i appreqiate it"

"it’s n0thing c0mpared t0 what the tw0 0f y0u have d0ne f0r me"

You stop to think a little

"and, what are y0u g0ing t0 d0, n0w?"

"err, you’re asking me if i’m qoming with you for the ride? i’m not really sure, not if i don’t know what i’m getting into"

You explain him your plans, all of them, in detail. At first, he looked quite surprised, thinking you were crazy but…

"now, i qan see why her qondesqsion finds you an heretiq. you are qrazy, lady, but i’ll be glad to tag along for the ride, for this better world you have promised us"

"g00d. i wish that all 0f the 0nes that ch0se t0 f0ll0w me make the same decisi0n y0u did. i want the 0nes that believed in me by my side…"

"we’ll see, eh…what about…"

He stopped midsentence, pointing something in the distance. Shiny points. He uncaptchalogued a looking glass and looked at the points

"war automatons, my lady. headed for the marketplaqe"

aristocrat > confront

The Admiral was gone. You let him go. It took you a while to realise it.

As you went back to your quarters, you notice the Blacksmith’s mechanical brick gate opening up, and you saw the jadeblood you expelled coming back in the hive

"yes?"

I’m afraid I’m not the guest of honor. I’m merely her…guide.”

Let me show her in.”

"sure thing"


At least, he was polite enough to ask you, and tell you his reasons to be here. That’s a plus.



He quickly comes back…with Her Imperious Condescension herself.


Do I have to introduce you two, or do you already know each other?”


You’re slightly dissapointed. Granted, you sorta expect people you dissapointed go back to the Empire…but…after what he told you…it was heartbreaking that, maybe an hour later, he guides the Condesce to you.


Truly dissapointing. And, the most puzzling is, he didn’t look like he wanted to backstab you at all.


Either he was the most hypocritical troll there was…either he…


Anyway


it will be unnecessary. what can i d0 f0r y0u?”

0r did the tw0 0f y0u just came 0ver f0r tea and crumpets?”


You smile


Give him back, Aristocrat”

"y0ur admiral, y0ur c0ndescensi0n?"


i’m afraid a gifted advis0r t0ld me that it was savage 0f me t0 keep him impris0ned”

"he t0ld me that it w0uld put me t0 y0ur level"


Actually, this is not what he actually said. Not about imprisonment But, he did say a lot of things that made you think that about yourself. Same thing.


You’d ask him, but he seemt mesmerized by the platter of crumpets your Blacksmith brought him. Later, maybe.


)^(here is he”
"i d0 n0t kn0w."


"we d0 n0t use the same tactics and he t0ld me that i sh0uldn’t use a mutant f0r my 0wn desires. so, i let him g0.”


/)^(here is he/”

"again, i d0 n0t kn0w. surely y0u sh0uld kn0w what y0ur 0wn servants are d0ing”

You smile some more, like your moirail taught you. Be elegant and arrogant at the same time. Never give them the satisfaction to have them take control.

anything else?”

"I’m not going to let you succeed"

"i’m n0t planning t0 let y0u succeed either"

"And don’t you /dare/ put your hands on him again"


You had your hands on him far, far before she cared.


if he ch00ses t0 c0me back 0n his 0wn terms, i will accept him”

"unlike y0u, i d0 n0t wish t0 c0ntr0l 0thers"


I do not /control/ him”


Oh, so she thought you were only referring to him? You weren’t


"y0u c0ntr0l a l0t 0f pe0ple with y0ur empire."

"the seadweller massacres.the repressi0n 0f my pe0ple. this is things that are under y0ur c0ntr0l"

"i d0 rule, but i d0 n0t hurt…i may be empress 0f n0thing t0 y0u….and it d0esn’t matter”


You have no right to judge me. Not )^(ith that /thing/ you’re making”


You knew you just hit a weak point. Time for the killing blow.

You knew that the Admiral was her moirail. You heard it from the soldier you had upstairs, that it has been something going around the army for a while.


"y0u kn0w wh0 planned this thing we’re making?"

"wh0 drew the blueprints f0r them?"

"wh0 is the great architect?"

"it’s y0ur 0wn m0irail"


In the same evening, you told two trolls the secret you have been keeping for several sweeps and it felt good.


he came t0 me, f0ur sweeps ag0 with visi0ns”

he came t0 me 0ne night with the 0riginal plans 0f the machine. i cann0t c0unt the number 0f nights he spent al0ne, building it.”

"we were just the tw0 0f us, there was n0 0ne else inv0lved"


She was stunned…perhaps you should keep on telling her everything


0ne night, he had an0ther visi0n 0f d00m and despair.”

"he t0ld me ab0ut it and…he destr0yed m0st 0f what he had made and he left…and he went t0 y0u t0 tell y0u ab0ut it"

y0u must have listened t0 him, since y0u made him part 0f y0ur inner circle”



”)^(hy…did he never tell me.”

"shame. and, the fear 0f being culled, pr0bably”


"I )^(ould never kill my o)^(n moirail!"

tell him, d0n’t tell me” you just reply.

As you tell her he would come back to her eventually, you see her crying and running to the door. Probably going to look for him.


Well then. That was somethin’”


You forgot he was there. Time to see what he…


y0u have 0dd standards, i must say”

"How’s that?"

"y0u helped the c0ndesce"


"Helped? My help left her running outta here in tears.”

You decide to go and ask him if you took the right decision in doing what you’ve done.


"Nah. She had t’ know. A moirailleigance based on lies ain’t a relationship at all."

"glad we see eye t0 eye 0n this specific matter"

i might disagree with her p0litics but i w0uldn’t have lied t0 her ab0ut this situati0n”


And then….you’re unsure how to word things

…So did I really affect you that much?”

"y0u have. few are brave en0ugh t0 challenge my w0rds

Does an aristocrat some good to come down t’ th’ commoners every now and again”

y0u are n0where near a c0mm0ner. a c0mm0ner w0uldn’t have d0ne what y0u had d0ne”


No, a commoner would just have sucked it up and not challenge the autority. Just follow what they have been told all their life.

Perhaps you were the commoner, after all.


And I guess a commoner would have two arms a flesh, too.”


That…that wasn’t the point. It didn’t matter to you. He was a brave troll. Bravery isn’t a highblood thing, it isn’t a lowblood thing either.


He was not a common troll, mechnical arms or not. Even before this happened…he must have been…quite the challenge to the Empire if they went down to this to punish him.


"i’m s0rry. f0r judging y0u"

…So’m I. I was right at th’ beginning. You are different.”

"…n0t that much"

You listened t’ what I had t’ say.”

i need pe0ple rash en0ugh t0 help me change.”

"y0u made sense, i had n0 reas0n n0t t0 listen…i had been f00lish and y0u…y0u sh0wed me i was wr0ng"


…If you’ll have me, my lady, I would like to rejoin your cause.”

if y0u wish, my l0rd”

The wording surprised him at first, you could feel it, but there was no other way you could say it. It just felt natural to you.

You felt…pity for him. Not…not red pity. But…probably…that he would be a better influence, be able to bring you back to your roots, more than…keep on inflating your ego.

You need more people like that in your clan.


aristocrat > interrogate

Quiet night. You have been walking around the sentry posts. Nothing to report.

rep0rt”

"My lady. The prisoner attempted to escape.”

Surprising. When you left him, he was begging to die…it was something surprising, but he might have tried to fool you.

Oh well. At least, he was still safe here.

"dissap0inting. but expected."

The guard tells you that an engineer noticed the lock was broken. You tell him to thank the engineer as well.

he is capital f0r 0ur plan and he must n0t be harmed in any way, 0therwise, he might be unwilling t0 c0llab0rate with us”

You cannot repeat this too much. At the end of the day, the mutant-blood was probably your last hope to fix the machine.

And, if he gets maimed, he will be useless. What if he lost his memories due to a nasty blow to the head? What if he died?

"My lady…"
"yes?"
I already doled out the punishment. Five strikes.”


Absurd. Didn’t that guy listen to you when you explained?

"y0u did what?

“we are trying n0t t0 ret0rt t0 their vi0lence.

we are trying t0 make a better w0rld and y0u are telling me that y0u beat him up f0r s0mething an engineer had already fixed?”


He’s just…looking at the floor. Rightfully so, as you do not want to deal with underlings that follow their own agendas, rather than your orders.

You are at the top for a reason, to lead.


why did y0u j0in 0ur f0rces?”


He raised both his sleeves, revealing his mechanical arms. Good reason to hate the Empire, if they did that to him, but not good enough to disobey you. Was he expecting you to pity him on the spot?


You tell him if he knew what you were doing. Why you were here.

He told you he didn’t know


this is n0t a way f0r y0u t0 achieve revenge”


Beating up Empire representatives? That would give you a reason to be arrested. Yes, the Condesce hated you, but she had no reason to arrest you *yet*


Selfish, selfish lowbloods. You hated thinking that way, but you were told you were better than them since your youth. Everyone told you you were better than them.


"y0u dr0pped the ball."

"but again, fr0m 0ne 0f y0ur class, i’m n0t surprised. leave"


You notice him getting upset. He didn’t like the mention to his lower status, didn’t he?

Few people ever did, but you had to remind them *who* was in charge, and it isn’t the jadeblood.


"Yes, my lady" he said, with what you thought was a look of contempt on his face


"leave. bef0re i decide t0 make y0u pay. f0r ruining 0ur 0bjectives. f0r y0ur selfishness”


I thought you stood for something greater.You’re just another aristocrat. Playing power games.”


You laugh a little.


i am indeed an arist0crat. when did i claim t0 be s0mething else?”

"just because i fell fr0m grace…d0esnt change i need t0 guide my pe0ple"


"Guide? More like enslave"


Red, yellow, green, blue, violet. What does it matter?”


You repeat him the same things you have been taught since birth. That someone, somewhere has to lead. However, he retorts, calling it exploitation


Time to tell him the truth about this project of yours. Tell him who really is behind that.


the man that i f0ll0wed… the 0ne that lit the fire in me….d0 y0u kn0w where 0n the spectrum he was?”


He didn’t answer


"n0where. he was a mutant"


And what happened to him?”

d0 y0u want the truth? even my 0wn m0irail is unaware 0f it”

Do I seem like I desire any less?”


the man that started the rev0luti0n is l0cked d0wnstairs”


There you go. The truth. As there is a single prisoner right now, surely he must understand who he is. That he beat up that troll earlier.


"So, how does that disprove me? A mutant, one unbound by the system, created an idea. And you took it and imprisoned him."

You…you didn’t imprison him for his idea. That would have been…

"y0u beat him up, remember?"

He told you he didn’t do it for fun. You had a hard time believing it, though.

y0u kn0w why he was impris0ned”

But you did steal his idea, and now he’s locked up.”


y0u want me t0 free him? t0 ride him back t0 the c0ndesce?”

He’s going to die in the Empire eventually. Once they find out his mutation.”


They probably will…but again, it should have been done already. Robyrn probably proved himself more than useful, after all. His power was indeed useful.


"n0. i need him still"


Useful…was it all you were thinking about people, now?

That they were *useful* to you?


…Was the jadeblood right? The simple thought is…


"All I see is one redblood, you, fighting over a mutant with another highblood, the Condesce."

what were y0u expecting exactly?”

Hell if I know now.”

You take a couple seconds to think about the way you would be wording this. To tell him that, with the way he treated you, with the “My Lady” and all that stuff, he submitted to the order he hated so much

i d0 n0t kn0w what y0u were expecting”

"i never demanded t0 be gl0rified. t0 be treated like a lady"

"y0u did this 0n y0ur 0wn. y0u submitted t0 this 0rder 0n y0ur 0wn"


For you, it had always been proof that this natural order was right. You and your peers at the top and the ones you were protecting at the bottom. The lower classes.


I suppose I just expected you to be better than the Empire you fought against. Enemy of my enemy…”


Simplistic train of thought. Not everything is black and white, good or evil,  fair or unfair.


You ask him what he’s going to do. Of course, you don’t expect him to tell you his actual plans.


I expect we won’t see each other again except on a battlefield.”


Foolish. You rule by diplomacy, not by bloodshed. You didn’t raise an army to destroy the Empire.

Your plan will cause no death, no suffering. 


If he was looking for war, he was in the wrong place, and it was his time to go.

It was a shame, he was a smart troll, and a brave troll. But, he was not in his proper place.


"i d0 n0t fight"

"Of course."


"y0u are a brave tr0ll, it’s a shame f0r 0ur ways t0 part"

"The shame can be yours. I’m only ashamed I feel for your tricks.”


You take a moment to think


"i never lied t0 y0u"

"g00d luck, i still wish you well…"


Another moment of silence from your end


"and i’m s0rry f0r dissap0inting y0u. i’m s0rry y0u expected better"


He probably didn’t hear you.


You’re headed downstairs to do something bold. something dangerous.

But, you’re going to do it.


> laikas : wake up

It has been a long day, most of it spent in the hospital.

It started with a small sneezing fit, which degenerated into coughs. Then, you started to spit blood and at this moment, you started to worry.

But, that was not it. It kept on being worst

You were starting to forget things. And quickly. You passed out from exhaustion and…when you woke up…the only thing you could do was scream.

Scream nonsensical things

Handmaids were not made to stay somewhere forever, unless the somewhere was Central Office. But, you couldn’t leave Nirvas…you never told him, because you never expected it to be that fast.

You didn’t expect him to be alive…but, what you thought would take over a hundred sweeps…took a little under one.

You don’t know why.

You didn’t want to know why.

You felt something painful. While at first, you didn’t understand what it was, the horrified screams of His Lordship alarmed you to what he just did.

You open your eyes…and you see the large gap on your chest. He destroyed your link. It’s gone.

And you hear…you hear people talking to you, now. In your head. You…you don’t even remember them being here but for a reason, you understood that they have always been here. That the powers you had been granted by His Lordship muffled them.

Without the interference of a green demon, they were free to do as they please.

The pleasant ones. (Should you say pteasant?)

AND THE UNPLEASANT ONES. yes, these ones.

…..

You look around to see and you see him. Nirvas. He looked so pale, so weak, so…fragile.

After all, assassins know way too well how life works. And you also know that Nirvas knows how unfair it can be.

He already lost a matesprit. He didn’t want to lose a second one and…you were glad he did what he did. That he asked His Lordship to go and sever the link.

You have…an amazingly brave matesprit.

<3

You move and hold him in your arms. You don’t care about the blood you’re losing, you just want to have him close, and you smile when you feel his arms aroung your waist.

You have…no idea what you’ll do, now. But, you know he’ll be there for you and you find this extremely pitiable.

And extremely kind.

aristocrat > remember

It…it happened three or four sweeps ago.

The Empire already had you in its spotlight. You were already a free-spirit, not willing to be bound by Her Imperious Condescension’s rules

You were researching time-travel already…mostly out of curiosity. People already saw you as a oddball.

People said the fabric of time was governed by a huge green monster and…you didn’t really believe these tales. You wanted to discover how it worked on your own.

You don’t really know why. Perhaps it was just…curiosity indeed.

This is what you thought, until someone banged on your door, during a really stormy night.

A mutantblood.

He told you his name was Robyrn and that he got a vision. A vision of things to come for you.

He told you your destiny was to control time itself, and that he’d help you achieve that.

He was eight sweeps old and had all the hopes in the world in his eyes.

You were providing him with hopes and dreams.

…………..

You let him sit at your table and he explained his projects. A time machine,powered by steam.

He drew the blueprints in three nights, relying solely on what he saw.

He was your Architect and the first time, he just laughed and blushed a little bit.

Over the next few weeks, he started to build it on his own. The Architect needed no one, but his visions and his memories.

He needed no one but you and…one night, he confessed his love for you. That he…wanted to stay by you, and he pitied you, the poor disgraced royal.

And you told him…that it was impossible.

This changed everything.

…………………….

He tried to pretend it didn’t matter, but…he was starting to lose hope. His hands were shaky, his eyes were not as keen, even his visions were blurrier.

One night, he came to you, rather concerned.

"I think we are about to destroy the world…we should stop. I will destroy everything…"

You tried to convince him otherwise but…he tore the blueprints apart and ran away that night, leaving you with the unreadable pieces.

The next you knew is that he turned himself to the Empire, to join them.

That he would do anything to stop you now.

That the 8rchitect was dead.

He started to gather men and women to stop you, and you did the same. Surrounding yourself with others, starting with your moirail.

…………………………….

As you go down the steps to see him, you really wished you handled him a little more carefully.

Took care of his broken heart.

You know…you know he only persue you in black because you wouldn’t have him in red but…for all the annoyance he brings you, with all of his arrogance…you know that…

He’s the one who gave you hope in the first place.

And you could never hate him for that.

aristocrat > reach and contact

While your Footmaid carries the young soldier in her arms, you follow the road to the Blacksmith’s den. It was a unsafe path, filled with lowblooded criminals but none of them would touch you.

Because they knew what you were doing and they believed in you.

The Admiral had a point, you were the torchbearer, the beacon for a new hope for them. And, if you died, so would their hopes.

Turn left, left, right, left, keep going…

And, there it is.A dead end. For innocent bystanders, that is.

You grab your trusty wand and you push some of the bricks. You hear the gears and mechanisms opening the door to the Blacksmith’s den. As the passage opens up, you see a cloud of greyish-smoke come out.

The antechamber of the Blacksmith’s den.

A small green-blooded troll looks at you, holding a brass welding torch menacingly

"oh, it’s you. i was expeqting someone else…greetings Footmaid and…"

The Blacksmith put the torch down and examined the soldier. He looked worried for a moment but he quickly opened the

"you’re luqky. the Apprentiqe is here. perhaps she qan look at this girl"

That was a relief. You were hoping to talk to her. After all, she is skilled with all kinds of repairs, not just mechanical ones.

The Blacksmith guides you around the long corridors and finally get to a door

"it’s me. open up."

And then, the four of you walk in the forge.

What do you do?

aristocrat > travel

After entrusting the keys of your hive to your beloved moirail, you pack up your stuff and leave with your Footmaid.

"What Did The Admiral Want This Time, My Lady?"

You take a couple seconds to think

"the same thing as usual. trying to cull me, once more."

Your Footmaid facepalms internally, you can feel it.

"He Never Gives Up, Does He?"

The Admiral? Of course not. If you knew him as much as you thought you knew, you knew that he was like a rhinoceros, once he had an objective in mind, he would charge in a straight line to get it.

It had been useful for you in the past, but now? It’s starting to get bothersome, because he’s getting closer to his objectives.

Awfully closer.

The lack of results is starting to get to you, but of course, you will never admit it to anyone. Especially not your closest collaborators.

They believe in you. They believe that your steam-powered time-travel machine is going to change the world, for the better.

But, the more you listen to the Admiral’s venom-laced speeches, the more you start to believe him.

He was always the persuasive kind…even when…

You’d rather not think about it.

"Aristocrat! Aristocrat! There Is Someone Injured Here!"

You get closer. Apparently, it was a empire soldier, who had been attacked by…you believe several opposants. The poor troll must have been isolated from the unit he was attached to.

"What Shall We Do…We Cannot…"

You grab the troll by the wrists. You hear a faint moan from the body, indicating that the soldier was still alive. Not well, but still alive

"excuse me. are you alright?"

By examining the soldier, you notice it was a young jadeblooded female.

"Aristocrat?" the Footmaid asked

"we will need to bring her with us. she is badly injured."

You could feel the dissaproving gaze of your servant but, you wouldn’t leave the soldier in danger. Other trolls could take advantage of her misery but…you didn’t want to sink to this.

"Help…help Me, please…"

Yes. You would help her.

"who are you, miss? what happened?"

"They…they…It was A trap…We…"

She quickly fainted from the toll her injuries did on her body.

You order your footmaid to grab her.

You know someone able to help her.

But…would she accept?

aristocrat > talk to the admiral

He is a bothersome lad, this Admiral.

The arrogance of youth, combined the the pretentious attitude of the highbloods. Unpleasant fellow indeed, but he’s much more bark than bite.

You think

"please sit, admiral" you say.

As usual, he is surprised by your proper hostess skills.

Your moirail always told you that being a proper host was an important thing, even if you did not like the ones you were recieving. You always had to give a good impression.

Even if they were…well…

"it seems like y0u came t0 attempt t0 cull me, 0nce again"

"Indeed. YΩur madness has tΩ be stΩpped.”

You laugh. A cheerful, aerial laugh.

"y0u are naive. by n0w, y0u sh0uld be aware that even if i die, the pr0ject will live 0n."

“YΩu are the tΩrchbearer. But, by killing yΩu, I am killing their hΩpes, AristΩcrat. The hΩpeless never win.

"y0u kn0w ab0ut this, right?"

Touche. You know you went a little far but…he deserved it.

"i 0nly fund the pr0ject. i am n0t the 0ne y0u need t0 st0p, n0 matter what y0ur visi0ns are telling y0u"

You could feel his glare now.

"i wish it c0uld have been different between the tw0 0f us, y0u kn0w"

"Silence."

Another touchy subject.

"I am dΩne with yΩu. Next time yΩu’ll see me, it’s when I’ll have crushed and destrΩyed all hΩpes yΩu had fΩr yΩur machine. And yΩu will be alΩne.”

He moved closer to you and you could feel his arms around your waist. You move your hand to his neck and you just…you just wanted to…

No. Not again.

It’s over and you knew it’s over. You cannot…just…no. He wouldn’t let you do it.

"fine. g00dbye. and g00d luck"

> You are now someone else. What do you do?