The Twist of Mind
The Brass Automaton Saga Part VII
This saga was started by Mark Gardner over at Article 94. He explains the origins of this Snow White / Terminator mashup as a preface to Part I, “The Brass Automaton.” I would recommend starting there. I contributed Parts III and IV before Mark took over again adding Parts V and VI.
|| Ceridwen looked down on the broken form of the Tenyks. He had been nearly perfect once. Once. Except that there were some things which her brass legs simply did not allow, now matter how strong the desire still burned. Her rage was slightly assuaged by the Tenyks harsh death to her bare hands.
She turned again to the prisoner. What the eyes couldn’t see, the mind visually improvised. She knew he had heard much, smelled much, and she was certain from the splatter, felt much too. But smell, smell was primal. It tapped into depths of fear beyond vision. People who woke from vivid nightmares could tell themselves it was “just a dream.” A mere figment of fancy conjured by the mind in the dark of the night. To wake in terror without the vision was fear itself. Not an illusion of fear diluted by the staid limits of experience and imagination, but pure, harsh Fear. “Blinding fear” may have been bandied about by generations of Old Wives, but they certainly didn’t create it.
So now, my blind rebel, let us see what you know…
Snow sat in her thrown. At first glance it looked a poor mess of polished sticks wickered together in a rush, but he more one studied it the more intricate, interwoven patterns emerged. Snow found it relaxing to lose herself in thought while mentally tracing its complex lines. Today though was all about business. She regretted that, though, since for all of its subtle beauty, it was startlingly uncomfortable. At least she never worried of ever looking less than fully alert while enthroned, let alone sleepy!
“They are here, my Queen,” Sky announced gravely.
“Yes, yes we’re here. Not like you’d mistake us for anyone else would you Queenie?” said the first of seven short men with long beards and round bellies. “Since we’re the only Damned Dwarfs for a hundred leagues or more.”
“Of course King Odc. And, thank you for attending me.”
“Attending you? We’re not your subjects! These are our caves, whatever cockamamie title you call yourself!” raged a Dwarf clad all in red.
“Now, now, Prymgu, have you looked around? It’s not like the humans have a lot of “royalty” to choose from,” laughed a dwarf all in Silver.
“Manners Pypha! You done insulted her!” said King Odc, shooing them to silence before turning back to Snow. “Right. You called us. So. What do you want?”
“Very well, King Odc, I called upon you because I have considered your offer and I consent to your plan.”
King Odc glared at the dwarfs again, Pypha had taken to burying his face in his arm and was unsuccessfully trying to hide his laughing behind the brown clad Lubfash, who now found himself uncomfortably at the front of the Dwarven contingent. With his men now, marginally, quiet, Odc addressed Snow, “As much as I, we, appreciate that Queenie, we weren’t really asking permission.”
“Nope. Nope. Nope,” interrupted Poedy, who was wearing more patches than clothes, none of which matched.
Odc gave up glaring, “As I was saying, we are not your subjects Queen White. Much like we’re letting you use our caves for the time being, our talking to you about our plan was merely a polite courtesy. We started sapping the same night we spoke.”
Snow said nothing for a moment, but gripped the chair hard enough that some of the branches shook. She looked past the Dwarfs trying to calm herself before she spoke. Slowly, ever so slowly she regained control, and was happy to see the Dwarfs had taken a step back from her throne.
“If I lose, Master Dwarfs, we all lose. Yes, all of you. That’s why I keep urging caution. And I’m sorry but IS THIS BORING!?” she shouted at a dwarf dressed all in blue yawning into his hands.
“Sorry Queen,” Pelyse said, “Long night sapping.”
Done, Snow stood up. “Enough with you. Come with me now and brief my Generals. They need to hear this immediately.” They trooped out of the thrown room in a twisting line headed to the Warroom with Snow at their front. The last Dwarf hung back to inspect the throne’s workmanship more carefully when he violently sneezed.
“Clean it up, Zesnye!” shouted King Odc without turning around.
“Oh, you poor thing you’re trembling. Here, let me help you take this wet shirt off,” Ceridwen said to the speechless rebel. “It’s OK, you don’t need to speak. Yet.”
She smiled at him even as the shirt was lifted over his head. Even though he couldn’t see it, she knew he could feel it. Primally. “You can tell me what I want to know, my dear blind man, or… Or, you can please me.” She gently ran her hand along his smooth face, pulling it closer to hers, to where he could smell the sweet traces of tea on her breath.
“Nothing to say, my blinded rebel? Are you mute too?” She smiled again as he shook his head no, taking his hand and running it across her face.
“Do you like my skin? I’m sure you do,” she added with a sulky chuckle before running his hand down her back and along her side, pausing before slowly bringing it up and moving his hand to cup her breast.
“Squeeze me, my blind man,” she whispered, squeezing his hand for him, “please me and I shall I release you.”
She sighed as he squeezed again without her guidance. Then, inhaling deeply and taking his hand, she slowly moved it down her stomach to where her brass legs began. She laughed at his confusion, then cackled at the horror on his face as she snapped her legs together, breaking his hand.
“Where there is no pleasure, Rebel, there is only pain.”
The Brass Automaton Saga continues with Part VIII