Tales of the Demon Lord
Under the rags, a beautiful child-sized clockwork
No one looked at the small rag-covered figure standing on the side of the street. Beggars were most often ignored, though this one had no outstretched hand, made no cries for help. Even if it had, the crowds would have given this one a wide berth. Most associated the the mummy-complete wrapping on the form with the leper’s affliction. That was exactly what she wanted.
When light in the street reflected just right, the barest hint of green eyes sparked from under the rags and tattered hood. The small figure stood still. Watching.
Two weeks ago she had arrived in town through the eastern gate. She had hid above the axle of a potato wagon and had walked around aimlessly for the first few days. The city was different. Some of it was the same or similar, namely the five white nail-like towers stretching to the skies. But, there was so much new. New being a subjective interpretation. Since the last time she was here, the city had grown, died or changed in many areas.
Three weeks ago she had been dead. Nothing. How long, she did not know. The last memory she had from before was being in her maker’s keep. Grathion, Drake’s Bane. The first memory she had was opening her eyes on his workbench and looking into his piercing eyes. A wizard to most. A sage to some. A conspirator in heart.
She had been built for one purpose and one purpose alone, to kill Lord Durmot Desdin. It was widely know that Lord Desdon was extremely powerful and extremely corrupt. It was also known that Lord Desdon had lost his young daughter to the weeping measles just months before. Grathion’s plan was simple. Through a third and third party he would have the spectacular clockwork given to Desdon as a gift in memory of his lovely Dresele. Grathion had spent nearly every waking hour for months working on his masterpiece. Her form was intensely human-like, covered in flourishes of etching and smooth sweeps of metals, all accentuated with semi-precious gemstones. She was breathtaking to behold.
Upon her initial awakening, Grathion had immediately began her instruction. Reading, writing, etiquette, and killing. Within her right forearm were hidden a spring-loaded blade and a poison reservoir. The grieving Desdon would of course take to the beautiful clockwork and would easily fall prey to the poisoned blade or would have, had the world not fallen apart.
Her last memory before the nothing, was of sitting on the bed in her room. Grathion had insisted she get accustomed to behaving like a young girl. She was waiting for someone to come secure her for delivery. She had first heard the horse’s baying in the courtyard, and then their screams and then the sound and feel of the keep coming down around her. The bed had folded up like a clam and swallowed her as everything came down.
Her next memory had been of looking up at a scruffy figure trying to pry gems out of her face. The wild lust in his eyes and the feel of his fingers on her face had filled her with fear. In a split second, she struck forward with her palm, from whence her hidden blade sprung forward and pierced his heart, the blade’s tip just coming fully through his back. She had then climbed out from the hole in the rubble he had made. From the look of his campsite he had been there for weeks, hiding or perhaps scavenging in the rubble for something valuable. It was his misfortune to find it. He must have turned the dial between her shoulder blades while trying to get her out. More lucky for her she thought, at first.
She had left him where he lay but had taken his tattered clothes and the rotting pieces of mattress she had been wrapped in to cover herself. He would not be the only one tempted to harm her for her gems and it was never intended that anyone but Desdon see her.
Now, she had no idea what had happened to Desdon or to Grathion. She knew much time had passed. She had no way of knowing it had been one hundred and four years. She knew however that she would do her best not to become the weapon that Grathion meant her to be. When she thought of doing that, she saw the boys eyes as he slipped into nothing on her blade.
A shadow stirred her from her revere. Before her stood an imposing figure of a man. He was wealthy from the look of his clothes. From their cut and his accessories she suspected him to be a wizard. Of this she was familiar. He loomed powerfully before her but his eyes held a spark of something. Kindness? Recognition? He leaned over to look her in the eyes and at the hints of ‘skin’ showing through her rags. She did not stop him when he reached over and exposed part of her face. He spoke, “We thought you were lost to time. Welcome home, child.”