I see that there has been quite a bit going on in my absence. Now, you may wonder what was happening to me for me to be gone for such a stretch. You are probably disappointed that it was really nothing that will be very interesting to describe. We shall come to that in due course. However, for the brief period that I have been back there have been some remarkable occurrences taking place, one in fact I have only just returned from. These also we shall get to at the proper moment.
Where do we begin? Ah right, after Ridley arrived and blew up my room at the inn. Should I perhaps refresh your memory? It was a while ago for you all was it not? Well, there I was just enjoying a good book when that girl informs me that Ridley is outside. Now we had not seen much of him since his little falling into madness way back when. He had been possessed by Lucifer, who, it seems, has lost his own body and currently exists purely as a thought construct. I am pleased to say that this is my doing, although that is why he was coming after me. Wanted to get control of me, for revenge of course, but he also thought it would allow him to get closer enough to the Master to do... well, something. We are still not yet very clear on that aspect of the situation.
So I was transported to Lucifer's domain for 'processing'. Or to be more accurate, to be tortured for three weeks while he attempted to break into my mind. He seemed to have forgotten that he tried that once before and it did not work, and did nothing to attempt to gain better results. I am quite sorry to say that this is all the detail I can give you. I am sure you were expecting a bit more with my being away so long. If you like, I suppose I could go into great detail about how I was tortured during the three weeks. Should any of my dear readers be into such things.
Eventually he realized that I would not break and so tired of me, dumping me back here at the house. Intact I may be, but three weeks of persecution at the hands of a madman with delusions of godhood does take its toll on one. Weakened as I was I would be unable to open a Gateway and a trip on foot would do nothing to help my condition; as such I contacted the Ark for some assistance and was told it would be forthcoming. In the meantime I was informed of these recent developments. This mostly confirmed some things which have been written on my blog in the last month, but there were some more recent happenings of which all of you out there are unaware. I am also troubled by those last two posts Ridley made. But, updates first.
I learned from Phantasm that the girl, Madison, had disappeared from the Ark, though with as much attention as they were paying her, I wondered that she had not simply walked out all on her own. Secondly, there was the little issue of the Black Eyed Children. There had been increased activity ever since my little encounter last month and they appeared to be acting aggressively towards the Disciples, many had disappeared or wound up dead somehow, though nothing like what happened to Knuckles, it had been the Children's more standard methods. Suddenly it had ceased altogether. Dropped below even normal levels of activity, almost nothing. Given some past experience I would say that this has me even more worried. The Children must hunt. If they are not, then it means they are frightened of something. I will have to consult with the Master...
I digress. I was still speaking with Phantasm, she was filling me in on Ridley and Maalik's little trip back here where they had encountered the Manifestation, when I heard a noise outside. Just a slight noise it may have been, but it was off somehow. Not a usual outdoors noise. I would have investigated but that soon proved unnecessary; the source of the disturbance drew attention to itself. From the next room I heard the sound glass shattering and repeated once or twice as someone, clearly, was breaking out the window. I removed my pistol from the desk drawer and set out to confront who or whatever it was that had just broken in.
Cautiously I peered around the corner with my pistol at the ready for the first sign of an attack; there I saw that an old shovel had been used to destroy the lovely front window. Not a second later I was shown the face of the trespasser and who should it be but my dear old friend Davey. Yes, that blasphemer whose mind I had had such fun screwing around with before other matters took precedent. I had already learned of his presence here when Ridley escaped from the labyrinth. He appeared to be alone, without his dear sister and I was greatly disappointed. I had hoped I might be able to fix some... problems which had arisen. Nevertheless one must allow themselves to be discouraged, a gift is a gift after all.
As the boy climbed inside I took aim with my pistol, then fired a shot at his knee. Somehow he dodged it; appearing quite surprised to see me there he speedily recovered himself and found cover before I could fire again. It was then that I was put on the defensive as he revealed his own firearm and took a couple shots in my direction, forcing me to duck back around the corner. We were both covered then, either one of us tries to come out the other ones going to shoot. Well, this was a right fine situation we had going on here, so perhaps it would be an opportune moment to tempt fate a bit. Somebody had to do something to get this thing rolling, and naturally it would have to be me. The boy was peering through his barrier just enough to see me should I attempt anything, I do not think he was expecting me to suddenly leap out and rush across the room. He raised himself, ready to fire a shot, and I did the same.
There was but a moment of pain as the bullet cut into my shoulder. Nevermind, such things are trivial in the service of our Master. But I saw the boy fall backwards and knew I had also managed to hit my target. Dammit, I was still weakened from the weeks trapped in Lucifer's realm, a bullet wound was not helping matters any; I would have to end this quickly. I leapt over the couch that the boy had been ducked behind; he lay on the ground, one arm lying limp as the blood oozed out. There was another crack. Must have switched hands, under better circumstances I would have realized; he shot me again. It was starting to get to me now, with the state I was in already even the Master's powers were taking a while to patch things up. But I would not be bested this day and was able to land on my prey exactly as I had planned. Needed to work quickly now.
I knocked his gun out of his hand before he could try anything more and, holding my pistol with my good arm, attempted at knocking him out with the butt. To no avail, as it seemed he would be having none of that. So I caught him off guard a tad with a blow to the jaw using my bad arm. This made the pain spread faster so I knew I would need to hurry. Quickly, while my dear friend had not a moment to recover, I took another shot; it was clear though that I was out of it, my blows were not having the desired effect, my first one did so only because of surprise. Getting his one arm free he was able to deliver a punch right in my face. Had I been merely human I have no doubt my nose would have been broken. The pain from this attack coupled with two gunshot wounds and the fatigue my entire body had been feeling since my return were making me dizzy. He took the opportunity to throw me off and attempted to find his gun. The idea that this might be the end for me did cross my mind, but I try to never dwell on such thoughts. There was blood in my mouth and the taste of it, well, it makes me feel alive. I would not be dying without a fight. Of course, you can see that I did not die.
Of course, there also was no fight. By me, at any rate. Oh, I was all ready for a nice little battle to the death, as my dear friend had rather unsportingly retrieved his firearm. Well, another bullet was unlikely to act favorably for me, thus my only course of action at that point would have to be swift and decisive. Then I heard the Leaves. Yes, the Black Leaves. The boy heard them also and stopped cold. My escort had arrived, better late than never.
The boy turned and made a mad sprint for the window. He nearly got outside too when there was a band and there he goes flying out onto the lawn. I look back and who should be there but my old friend Ridley, of course. He turned to me and grinned.
"Sup Archy. Enjoy your vacation much?"
Crazy idiot, but he returned his focus to business in an instant and rushed to the window. I could not quite make out what he was yelling but it was soon followed by him emptying the rest of his gun outside. Luckily, we are fairly isolated here, Fisk would not be pleased to have to deal with this after what happened with that other situation. Oh, did I tell you, the Master's plans for that are proceeding quite smoothly. In fact, it should be quite soon that...
No no, must stay on topic, there is little... we do not have long until we must go. Davey boy managed to escape from the house, but Ridley is a persistent one and decided to follow along, forgetting all about me there of course. I pulled myself to up and into a chair, only to be greeted by still more surprises. One of the Children was there, a boy who appeared to be about ten years old. From his face I could see that he was very confused and there hung about him a feeling of temporal displacement. He did not quite seem to know where he was; the Children are also known to react negatively in such situations, but being that I had little chance of escape at the present moment I thought there could be little harm in striking up some conversation to pass the seconds until Ridley should report back. So I asked him why he was there.
"It is him, sir; he has driven us all apart. He is going to devour us."
Of course, in reply I inquired as to whom he was referring. The Child only said that he was trying to drive them towards the Bleeding. He wanted to purge the Children from the light. Nothing further was I able to gather from the Black-Eyed boy, all further inquiries were either given nonsense answers or ignored all together. He never moved, merely stood there staring into space with that perplexed look on his face.
About an hour later, there we were still: the Black-Eyed boy continually refusing to move in any way, myself bleeding in an armchair, though by this point in somewhat better shape than I had been previously. I heard some noise outside and, being now able to rise, I went to see. Yes, clearly I remembered what had happened on the last occasion I had done that. Outside it was just beginning to get dark out; the sky was a lovely dark shade of orange to one side and to the other it was just turning violet. There was a faint breeze blowing through the trees, rustling the leaves. Such a soothing sound is it not. I can think of few more relaxing.
At any rate, as I exited the house I could see a figure emerging from out of the trees. The figure appeared to be carrying something. Soon I could see that it was Ridley returning, with a knife cut across his face and his favorite jacket in shreds. He looked quite agitated. What he carried was the girl, but not Madison, or rather, not the one of her we had had before. The past version, I believe I called her Sarah before, I see no reason not to continue doing so. In a rather ungentlemanlike manner (but I suppose there is no reason for me to expect otherwise) Ridley dumped her onto the seat on the porch. She was in a quite deep sleep certainly, for no one could have continued sleeping while being handled by Ridley.
Apologies, this moment is passing, we must go. Yet I have but little remaining to speak of. Some other day it seems, we must be off.
Another Game has begun. There are those that shall fight on both fronts, yet many are unaware that the Player is moving pieces on a second board.
Something... no I cannot-- not yet.