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About Gnomezilla

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    Construct Handler

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    Austin, TX

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  1. Wargamevault lists the individual cards in each arsenal deck, and the faction general upgrades are listed first for the decks I checked. If you know the names of a few master-specific upgrades then you can tell where the list changes from general upgrades to master-specific, and add together the general upgrades from arsenal decks one and two.
  2. I want to get a standard Joss off of someone who upgrades to the limited edition and thus complete the Ramos box I was foolish enough to split up back in the day. "Hoffman won't need spiders," I said. "Hoffman won't need a weapon which ignores defenses," I said.
  3. *twitch* DON'T GIVE THEM IDEAS!!!! I use Johan!
  4. Lazarus has it in for me, personally, no matter what the crew. There's a WANTED poster in his quarters with my photo and the caption: Known Guild Construct Princess Red Joker with Extreme Prejudice Oathkeeper Lazarus. Retribution's Eye Lazarus. Dirty Cheater Lazarus. Gods forbid I assimilate his grenade launcher because I'll flip a black joker on the damage.
  5. I'm starting to think there aren't soulstones enough to mix two themes in a crew, so no guardsmen bubble alongside a marshal bubble, but that the tricks come in giving a single theme to a master you wouldn't expect. Take the journalists away from Nellie (Phiona and reporters) and give them to McCabe or Lucius who will be bringing the thralls and going bonkers whenever journalists drop schemes. Give Nellie the marshals (Judge and recruiter) so she can multiply the number of attacks they lay down and defend them against second attacks of a charge, and they defend her and themselves against a killing blow. Run constructs alongside Lady Justice defending her (guardian), working as her off-flank (Ryle and peacekeeper), getting bonuses from her killing things (hunters and wardens). Place a single well-chosen Family member in a Hoffman construct bubble for companion fun, and for bonus points boxaport it with the emissary so it pops out in base-to-base to give the emissary a Family unique buff when it chain activates. Fill out McMourning's poison crew with witch hunters so the enemy is both poisoned and burning and won't be clearing everything with one shot of condition removal. That sort of thing. Which reminds me, how does Nellie move upfield with any rapidity? Does a journo poke her with a pen for a scheme marker for a push on turn one? I fiddle with the guardsmen with McCabe or Lucius since they're mostly minions and those are the minion masters. Lucius' new superior aura of positive flips for same is good for a mass of guardsmen, McCabe's toys better for a smaller quantity. When it comes time to test Dade she'll go with them, taking the experimental slot alloted to either Dashel or a sergeant at the moment alongside Lucius, and possibly bringing transparency if thralls are also around. She'd better be pretty good to justify losing (0) focus for three or four guardsmen, though. A focused warden is a sleeper threat, in melee or ranged. The only thing I want her to do on the table is to once hang around when a multiple-attacks-per-AP melee model activates, and slowly bleed it.... One thing the death marshal recruiter does that we generally don't is attack buried models. If I otherwise was running the theme of witch hunters, and guessed I was facing one of the local Tara infestation, I might season that with a witchling handler, set up 'burn them all' and have the recruiter set her precious buried models on fire.
  6. Totems aren't sold separately any more, but there's at least one business that breaks apart crew boxes and sells the minis separately. If you're in the US, I happily give my recommendation to Gadzooks Gaming for selling me single figures from crew boxes. People are trying to get a conversion-culture going here so there's some scope for getting your greenstuff out and trying to make your own, too. Wargamevault will sell you individual stat cards and (again) I recommend Gadzooks to get some Wyrd-made, tournament-legal bits if you want to try that out.
  7. It was turn two, thanks to corner deployment to start with, but it was indeed fun! Sonnia wasn't as thrilled with five hits from the dueling sword (and it wasn't even with Hoffman for min4 on some of them). As before, he took his revenge in giving the emissary overkill amounts of burning from the remaining witch hunters, lighting up the middle of the board like a Rammstein concert, all metal wings and fire. Unfortunately for his score, he didn't also burn Francisco to death and so yielded up Frame for Murder points. I have got to stop testing these things against the resident Guildie when there's plenty of Neverborn and/or Tara (there's four people experimenting with Tara in the past month, out of a pool of maybe ten players!?!) to be guinea pigs. One of the Taras kept stealing the emissary for her own use, six-gun trigger and all. I did warn him...repeatedly...to not do that until I'd had to use my own activation with said emissary.
  8. "Only" 21 players? I haven't ever seen that many players, not even at a tournament! (I saw 19, once.)
  9. Twisting Fates, the story "Because I Could Not Stop for Death", but it's more implied than written out altogether. Needs the visual of his avatar to come together. Now if I could just find where I put my second edition books...
  10. Malifaux books are released annually (at GenCon in August) before the minis within it arrive at stores, so the stats and some holiday pre-orders of the models exist before then. [insert Fetid Strumpet's ninja posting here ] As a rule of thumb, Wyrd releases on the last week of any given month, so April releases will become available the week before May, and so on. I don't remember many people talking about the potential of Reva with gaki--she's rather independent of her crew, as I understand it, so the gaki are better used to synergize with something else you hire. Not to say her box is bad. It's excellent and you will probably field the entire contents of it for a long while (the general rule of thumb is that you needn't field three copies of a hire-able minion, but shieldbearers and a few other Resser minions break that rule). Just that your local Resser will have a better idea how Reva and gaki go together. They aren't my specialty.
  11. Definitely improved the contest over last year's by giving us all a prompt. The stories are part of a cohesive whole in style, all better fit within the Malifaux setting, and they compete against one another more than the motley mix of last year--the authors' individual styles count for more this year. We were lucky to get the full spread of factions (and one Other Side allegiance) within these constraints. Again, I say, eek! long-form fiction! I struggled to hit 5000 words exactly. Also, remind me never again to rewrite the entire thing three days before it's due, even if it's much improved by the rewrite.
  12. Well, it will be an 8/8 emissary by then. As two of those matchups were Guild vs. Guild, I suppose I have to add my opponent's high point of stacking Burning 9 onto said emissary after getting really rather exasperated at its refusal to die. After it fanned the hammer and shot Samael, and then the stalker, which exploded and finished off the watcher. After using all of Samael's and Sonnia's shots to shoot Howard Langston after he nimble-walked himself into engagement with the handler and two stalkers and let them randomize very poorly indeed. After the turn one rush relieved Sonnia's player of four stones and his entire hand (watching that 13 go into the discard pile was sweet) before Sonnia activated. I felt dirty--and slightly aroused--but dirty nonetheless. It may well be a lesson for the ages that it was an interact scheme pool (Headhunter etc.) and that all this homicidal glory didn't score a single point for either side. My hunter, performer, and metal gamin, and his (rapidly increasing quantity of) stalkers, were meanwhile scoring points unmolested for a 9-9 tie that, had I not forgotten to pick up a head one turn, should have gone slightly better for myself. But still, sometimes you just have to wash the board in blood. Sadly, the Perdita player had no points of glory to report. Related: McCabe and a reactivated nimble performer is naughtier than a warden with a glowing saber. She made Nino leap to his death and paralyzed Perdita in the same turn.
  13. Defensive (and fast, slow, paralyze--all from the general rules) persist until the model is entering its own activation, but the more specific buffs (such as The Rage Builds) generally don't boost anything outside of the model's own activation unless it explicitly says otherwise. You are going to be a very scary Collodi player.
  14. I've been playing with the emissary in every game for the last month. Loads of fun ideas have been checked off the list. McMourning severe poison blast? Check. (Not impressive otherwise, sadly. Going to try boxaporting a nurse upfield ((see also: McMourning and excessive nurses)) before I retire it entirely, but I want to bounce around the board with McMourning and co. and the 50mm base literally doesn't fit with that.) McCabe's extra item? Check. (The Elixir of Life, into Extraction. Six-gunned the unlife out of a Molly cluster, and then regenerated from elixir and Destined. Molly got tunnel vision trying to shift the forever-healing emissary, and let McCabe, Luna, and the performer up the backfield into a Leave Your Mark/Covert Breakthrough pool.) Hoffman's stompybot delivery system? Check and mate. (Maybe he can't chain activate anything--note to self: test Family delivery system for Companion fun--but there's something to be said for fast+nimble+walking the backfield just a touch further upfield and knowing the other side has one activation only to brace for impact. Quicker than the Yasunori launch. Also: in your face, Rusty Alyce's snares! Walking up and putting her down turn one was delicious.)
  15. Magpie Ah. That's Malifaux all over. Took some work gettin' that in my mouth with no hands left and here yah just pick it out? Rude. Yah could've lit it and let me take a puff, first. No respect for the dying. Wouldn't've tried that with my da, sure as roses are roses, he'd've thrashed yah legs red for wearing those clothes, never mind for-- --roses ain't roses, here, are they? They go crawlin' down yah on all their little legs. Maybe yah would've. "Uck. I hate how these things smell." Toss it away?! Girl, yah pain me. Yah don't know what a treasure is, Treasure. Ahhh, I'm not even talkin' out loud am I? To th'Neverborn with yah, then. I'll turn my face to the real treasure, and die that way. Don't frown, light o' my eye, little flower. Treasure shouldn't ever smile and yah shouldn't ever frown. Ah, why'd I have t'lose my arms? I've got to hug yah and tell yah I'll be fine, put the smile back on yah face. Doesn't matter how young yah are, now. I'm dying. Yah teacher can stop staring, tell him that. Tell him to take yah back to yah da. I ain't fooled. Ain't fooled at all. Don't let her call yah trash, girl. Make her call yah by yah name. I wish I'd guessed yah name, but I ain't got the time to, now. Busy dying. I'm sorry. That was a good game, but yah win. It's that yah were starin', to start with. Weren't the first nor the last to stare when I handed over th'fish hot from the fryer. All those starvin' little kids and only one scoop out the bottom of the oil at the end of the day. But I knew yah were different, lookin' at the wrapper and the words on it. Told myself I wasn't green as the garden any more and I wouldn't be fooled by it. Yah have to understand, light o' my eye, it was years I was in the darkness before yah. I thought everything everywhere was dark. I ran away to Malifaux, yah understand? Better to stand half in the river in Malifaux and fish than to sail on the everliving seas. I never lied to yah. I hated th'sea and every day I spent on it! Hated the stinking soaked prison walls of it, hated turning the rats out of the hammock when I got in and when I got out again, hated every man on it no matter whether 'twas rope or whip in his hand...never lied. Yah change me, light o' my eye. Tellin' yah about it now, all I see's the sunrise sparklin' in the wet hangin' off the rigging, all I smell's the way the salt air got deep down my insides like I was nothin' inside but air. I got nothin' to breathe with, now. Tryin' to grab onto the air and there's plenty of it but my heart ain't gettin' hold of any of it, somehow. Do yah need hands for that? Don't fuss about it, don't frown. Say it to me again, the first words yah said t'me-- "Excuse me? May I read the old newspaper please, before you use it to wrap up the fish?" Read! A poor little lost girl in Malifaux wanting to read! Not that yah little. I know. I was one o' them kids my own self. Ma called me a little colt, all arms an' legs an' a nose to match. I hope that was yah da's nose, or else yah ma has had an accursed life. But yah won't, light o' my eye, not with yah powers. There yah go. Smile. Like yah did when I let yah sit on the barrel and gave yah that whole Tattler not three days old and yah read it right out loud. " 'Tat-teh-ler?' It ain't tau-ler like the candles?" I said. "Tattler is from telling tales and tallow is from boiled tails," yah told me. I was wrong for it, but I got mad. I thought yah were makin' fun o'me and that's why I went to push yah off that barrel. And that's the first time I saw yah smile. When yah put them hands up and held me back from shovin' yah, and it happened. "Teacher told me that rhymes aid the memory." It started to hurt before yah smiled, where yah grabbed hold of me. After that I didn't care none. Didn't expect yah to come back after that, after I treated yah so rough. Not the very next day and askin' after th'next paper. Yah remember, little flower? "Didn't yah read that yesterday?" "I didn't get to finish! There's going to be a new part of the story." "News ain't really new. It's th'same stories every day, just with the names all painted over." I 'most told yah about the ship right then, and only knew yah that little! "Not the news, the story!" I can still see yah moppin' up the fish juices with that rag 'fore yah opened up the paper on that barrel. "Yesterday the last of Dashing Dan Drummer's company was wounded by the dastardly Darlists--he was called...I've got to remember!--he was called Magpie, because he stole and wore the margravine's two-headed ring. Magpie threw the ring to Dashing Dan and told him to run! The next part's today. I wonder when the margravine is going to get her ring back. He can't keep it. He's the hero." See, I thought yah were makin' it all up as yah went along, so where was the trouble in playin' along. "I've got fish t'clean, but why don't yah read that story out to me? I got no time to read!" And off yah went, never missin' a word, and me with my innards goin' to slush rememberin' the very things yah were readin' off that paper, 'til yah read somethin' which didn't happen. I weren't raised to interrupt, but I thought I was dyin' of shame, and I said, "That ain't right." Yah didn't tell me not to, either, like no teacher. "How's it wrong? I mustn't get anything wrong." "She weren't no Margret, and there weren't no faces on them rings. 'Twas just her wedding ring and her man's, and the faces in them were th'memories back on their wedding day. Margret were sixty if she were a day. Magpie, he were black'n'white with ink long 'fore he stole...that ring." Bless me if yah didn't take out a pencil and write that down soon as I said it! "Let me write that down and send it to the Tattler! The story will be much better once every bit of it is true." And yah smiled, and it felt like I wasn't dyin' by pieces, with my feet in river muck. I heard ma and da singin' 'round me when yah smiled, and they were happy to see me. "And you'll have your name in the paper." Yah got so sad, then, Lookin' back on it, I don't think yah heard yah ma and da sing, the way I did. If they treated yah wrong, I'll find them and flay them. I got to live long enough for that. But right then, I had to try an' make yah smile again. "It'll be yah name in the paper! Yah writin'." "Teacher doesn't encourage me to share my name with strangers...." Please don't laugh, little flower, but I didn't know how else to cheer yah up. "How about I guess it, then, and yah won't get in trouble. We'll play hot an' cold with yah name." That was the very first time. "Yah name is...Nellie. Like the one who writes the paper. I can read that much." "But then you'd be Mister Fisher, because you catch fish!" It felt wrong, then, the next time I dipped into the river to haul out a bottom-feeder. The river sucked at me, somehow, them great cold gills slappin' on my arms, though I weren't cut nowhere. Right where yah stopped me pushin' yah away. Think that was the first time I thought about wantin' to go under. So I heaved the fish into th'barrel, clapped the top back on, rolled it up to the dock, and that's when I stuck my head under th'water. Didn't do nothin'. Then I came up for air and stuck my arms in instead. Felt like they got washed away, and I was light and clean, like I never been since the first time I had to wash myself in the sea. I'm dyin', now, but I never thought about dyin' 'fore then. Good girl. Yes, let me have a sip. Bleedin's thirsty work. Dyin' man's got no arms to reach out, may as well croak himself hoarse. Write it down, like yah did before, every word. Magpie's got one good story left in him, for yah. I was Mister Fisher to yah then, and yah were a mystery t'me. Yah weren't Nellie or Frances ("Colder", yah said) or Mary-star-o'-the-sea ("Hotter", yah said), though I recollect yah liked that one. Said it was a good name for a treasure. I don't like Treasure, though she's prettier as the world reckons things. They ain't seen her smile. She had no call to follow yah and none t'snatch that paper from yah. Not to read it first, not to shred it and throw th'shreddings back at yah laughin' 'bout the train time-table. My da taught me not t'hit a lady, but she tempted me, I vow. She ain't yah real sister, is she? Not even with those pretty dark eyes yah both got. Hers ain't warm. Every day'd be cold as the fishes' bellies an' stinkin' of river muck until yah came by for yah paper and bringin' the sunshine with yah eyes. Then I didn't care none. Yah'd read out the stories of Dashing Dan Drummer while I was drummin' the fish flat, 'til they turned into the stories of Fierce Phinn Fisher. How'd yah know how da spelled it different than plain old Finn? Did I tell yah how he dreamed o'being a learned man, with our name on the covers of a big fancy bound book? "No! Tell me about the book. How big was it? What kind of fancy binding did it have? What did it smell like? Tell me. I have to learn everything." Of course, little flower! Everything for yah! I found it in th'captain's quarters, once. Weren't even smellin' of the wet. Can't show yah how big it was, not havin' my hands, but back when I had them it was as wide as both of them and about as long. About two fingers thick and the first part o' four filled with strange drawings. I drew yah a picture of the drawings, then, and bless me if yah couldn't read that just as easy as print! "This looks like a star chart for Earthside. This circle is supposed to be the moon because it's got a slice of the dark part of the moon inside it, see? But the rest of the stars aren't in their right places. There's never supposed to be a cross touching the moon and Jupiter's nowhere..." Why'd yah ask me then what kind of coins we found? How did yah know about them? They weren't worth nothing. "Teacher taught me languages we don't write with letters...." Yah got sad, again, then. Such shining eyes yah got, little flower. Let me up from here, I'll strip off a piece of his skin for every tear he made yah cry. And I'll thrash Treasure twice for every one. My da, he would've thrashed a woman who put herself forward like that, never mind how I saw yah flinch when she sneaked up on us. I didn't mean t'forget that. I never lied to yah. I only forgot. Yah can take all my shirt, don't need to just cut off the sleeves. I won't mind bein' half-dressed at the funeral. Ink's as good as cloth. Ah, thank yah, sewin' me up all neat like that. Don't guess I would need armholes any more, neither, now I got them flaps of skin sewn down smooth. "...If I bring this map back to him, I hope Teacher will be happy. Also one of the coins if you have any of them still. May I?" Nobody'd buy them, too heavy as they were, so we kept them all for tokens at card games. I lost all but that one, but I was happy to give it to yah. I wasn't so happy to let yah go so soon that day. Was all fired up t'hurt them. I suppose it was all right because yah had my star chart and coin to give yah hope. Yah said things were lookin' up that day, as I had--yah said it so fancy--brought yah th'light of new knowledge. "Don't go yet! I didn't get my guess today. Yah name is Hope!" And yah shook yah head, no. "Colder," yah told me. I didn't want to let yah go without finishing our story that day, but yah said "I must, right away, when there's new knowledge to gain," and yah didn't leave laughin'. It was colder that night alright. That cold got into my arms 'round where yah grabbed me. Kept walkin' along the dock hugging myself trying to find heat to hold in. Then I'd rub down past my elbows and found out I was cold and scaly as the dyin' fish, and I'd think I wouldn't mind dyin' except I hadn't heard the end of t'story today. It weren't over and that weren't right. Back and forth I went. Gettin' dizzy from how many times I walked it. Everything was goin' dim an' foggy. And when it stopped being dim I was endin' the story, droppin' coins into a charity box. There's a door under th'docks, light o'my eye, with five holes over the door. Here's some o' that new knowledge yah were lookin' for. It ain't wrong, exactly, but it's hidden from the Guild on account of they like to take more'n a tithe's worth, on top of not much likin' an authority that ain't theirs. I didn't used t'believe, but I was raised that way. Remember that, when I'm not here any more for yah to run to. I paid coins there for yah. And I'd talked, light o'my eye. I told him every thing we said. Not the way I told yah, easy an' joyful. He dragged it out o'me with a barbed net. How yah got a light to yah that takes the pain out o'living in Malifaux. How yah are so smart and know such long words and strange ways of writin'. How yah take a story out of the paper and turn it into my own story that I never yet told yah. How Treasure chases yah around th'city smilin' all wicked and how yah got a teacher I never yet met. I hadn't, then. Ah, he didn't like that at all! He hasn't met yah. He don't understand. He stood up in my face and lectured me. "She may be an immature one," he told me, and wagged a finger in my face like he was the teacher o'me, "but I did not welcome you in from the cold to send you out again to a belle's embrace!" Did yah know, he had a ram's-head charm same as the guardsmen's, hangin' there on the same chain, and he held that up in my face swingin' off that finger? "By my authority, you will not leave here without a blessed symbol," he boomed. Proper ship captain's voice he had, all of a moment, and I wilted down inside. Not th'way yah turned me to slush. Yah took away my shame. He just took away my fight. I couldn't shout him down. "You will show it to her and it will burn away her unliving powers. "We know of this...'treasure' and the company she keeps. They are unholy. Once you have shown the immature one authority, you will be able to do what you must do. Once you have done that, return here, quickly as you can." He backed off a little before he gave th'last order. "The older one isn't unliving and she bears us a grudge for 'breaking her toys'. She will shoot to kill. Dodge with every step you run, and don't stop dodging until I can slam the door shut behind you. Don't leave your blood on my hands." Can yah imagine it, light o'my eye? The man was afraid of dyin' and it wasn't even his own dyin' he was afraid of! Yah best go visit him after I'm done dyin'. He needs yah, and I already paid. Yah knew, didn't yah, little flower? The very next day, when yah didn't start readin' from the story of Fierce Phineas MacCool Coulihan right away (I heard ma and da cryin' with happiness when yah said 'Coulihan' for th'first time--our name, in print at last!) but folded up the paper all neat and watched me flatten fish for th'fryin' pan? I didn't like the way yah were drinkin' everything in everything yah looked at, like it was the first day all over again and we were strangers. "What's th'trouble? If it's the name game we can stop it." And yah looked right in my eyes. "No. I like the guessing game." Yah smiled. I'd do anything to see yah smile, did I ever tell yah that? Ah. It's th'blood loss makin' me forget, I guess. Magpies shouldn't ever forget. "Give me a guess and then I'll tell you the news. Not the paper's news. Mine!" "I haven't got anything to guess with yet, for today. And I don't want yah to wait. Tell me," and I set down the mallet to listen better. And also to get ready to grab the charm. Yah could've knocked me over with th'fish itself when yah pulled out a charm of yah own! 'Twas wooden like mine, wasn't it? A perfect little coffin like the ones the death marshals carry on th'posters, on a string around yah neck. "My news is this. I learned what people mean when they talk about a Malifaux handshake and they aren't talking about smuggling soulstones. It's got a meaning that isn't corrupt. Have you got an amulet as well?" I didn't know 'bout Malifaux handshakes with stones or without, but I showed yah the little wooden ship the dock exorcist made. He carves every one different and lets th'sailor pick. Before I met yah I might've lied and picked a Malifaux riverboat. But yah are here with me now and I picked the ship I sailed on all those years. I had him glue on some paper with black an' gold for our banner. I'm dyin'. It doesn't matter now, who knows about it. Yah reached up an' tapped the charms together. "There," yah said, playin' the teacher yahself. "That's a Malifaux handshake. Any time people can show an amulet and prove they're not something hostile. It doesn't mean proving you are human. Teacher says I'll never be ready for learning whether I can do that as long as Treasure lives. It means proving you are not inhuman. I must be precise in all my speech and acts. Especially here. Teacher told me that Malifaux is the land of unintended consequences." So solemn yah got, and put yah charm away. Looked right in my eyes again. "I'm sorry I felt it was necessary to challenge you." I swear, little flower, until that moment I'd forgotten I had been wantin' to challenge yah myself! I was so ashamed. Didn't look up again 'til yah hugged me. Yah got quite a grip with them long arms. Felt like yah cut my arms off short where yah hugged me. Exactly where yah held me back, that first time, it was. I was wigglin' my fingers tryin' t'feel whether they were still stuck on me or not. "Don't yah feel bad! Let's forget we ever did. Let's go back to guessin' names. Yah name is...Winnie!" Yah giggled. I love how that sounds. "That's the coldest one yet!" "Yah better read a story and warm things up, then. I've got t'heat the fryin' pan. Where did it leave off? Fierce Phinn slit the throat of the giant fish which'd leaped on deck with the waves...." The paper crackled and so did the fat in the pan. Different kinds o' crackles though. "How's a fish have a throat to slit? They have gills. The giant fish swept its strong tail around as its lifeblood burst from the great vein--oh I see, the blood flows the same direction under the skin...." They don't flow the same, little flower, but I didn't want t'interrupt. It's time. I can't hold off of it any longer, little flower. Listen close. Maybe I'll get th'time to finish. I took the charm back to the exorcist and told him yah weren't no undead. Yah didn't flinch. He took the ship and floated it in the fountain o'holy water. It didn't sink none. He watched it for awhile. It still wasn't sinking or listing or sailing around backwards or anything strange. He watched me watchin' the ship. I wasn't sinking or listing neither. Then he said t'me, straight as yah look into my eyes, "Fisher, if fisher you are, dip yourself in the holy water." I reached out my hands and went into the fountain same as if there was a fish waitin' for me, and same as th' first time, I felt light and clean and free o' my arms altogether. And I heard them clearer than ever before, ma and da and all the voices alongside them. I'm not ashamed t'say it, little flower. I cried, I was so happy. Da never cared for nothin' but gettin' his name in print and ma died of a broken heart after he broke her back. It didn't matter none. Ma and da and the fish o' Malifaux and the fish o' the sea, they're all swimmin' together in happiness, and I was swimmin' a little bit with them and a little bit still here in Malifaux. I cried more when he pulled my arms free o' the holy water and I stopped swimmin' alongside all o' them dead people. He didn't look very happy. I don't think he ever heard them voices. He fished the ship out and put it back under my hand and made me wrap my fingers 'round it. "...Fisher. Folk don't live very long after receiving such a...visitation, here. Not in Malifaux. Let this be the last command I have to give to you: keep that with you, and pray it's enough protection that the doom which is coming to you doesn't raise you from the grave. If it isn't--I'll have to command you again, and it will be irredeemable." I looked down at the ship and the black an' gold hanging off of it. "It's got somethin' special in it?" "It has coin enough inside it to pay your spiritual debts. Not the worldly ones. If that isn't a sign of a spiritual debt in your eyes, then you'd best pray on its meaning again. Goodbye, Fisher." He turned my hand over so I had to look at the bottoms of my arms and went away while I kept on lookin'. They weren't scales no more on my skin. They'd grown up thicker an' higher an' curled around on themselves. Yah set flowers on my arms, little flower. Roses, I think. Big wild roses growin' out of my skin an' meat. I know it's a long thread o' story but it's almost done. Hold on awhile, Magpie. Don't fly away. I was all afire for th'next day, to show yah. I thought yah might be proud of what yah done. I was proud t'be marked by yah. "Let me guess yah name," I told yah, almost before yah said hello. "Yah name is...Rose, and I have th'proof!" Could've knocked me over with th'fish when yah shook yah head no! "Hotter. But I'm not named Rose. What proof?" So I peeled back my sleeves and showed yah. Light o'my eye, I'm so sorry, whatever I did in my life, it was nothin' next to the look on yah face. But yah didn't flinch. Surprised me when yah tried to sniff the flowers like they was real, and surprised me worse when it got quiet as my grave in my head. They never stopped singin' to me after I put my hands in th'holy water, yah see. Not until then, when yah got close to yah work. "I think," yah told me all quiet like, "that we need to go see Teacher. Now." My heart went out from me a little bit, light o'my eye, when yah let go my hand and went into the back of that trash-pile of a building, and when yah voice came twistin' back all high an' echoey, "It's only me". Turned my insides to slush to hear yah voice twisted around wordless, and Teacher clumping around and talking just as wordless. But they froze right up again when Treasure leaped out from behind somethin' and shouted "Boo!" right in my face. My life ain't hers to scare almost out o'me. Then yah came back and grabbed onto my wrist, right onto the rose, and all th'fear melted away. It won't never come back so long as yah's close to me. Stay here. I'm almost done dyin' and ain't felt no fear. How many in Malifaux ever get to say that? Didn't like that table yah all made me stretch out on. Didn't like Teacher's cold old hand twistin' mine around to see yah roses. Didn't like Treasure bein' told t'look, and hated how she looked all smug at yah while yah told Teacher about us. Almost didn't like the tellin', light o'my eye. "I messed it up. It didn't form properly. I don't know what to do." "You certainly don't," he told yah, all curious like. "You're supposed to detach flesh before you strip the soul out and consign it to the aether. How you managed to cleave the soul and only partially send it onward I do not know." Didn't like how that made the hairs on th'back o'my neck stand up straight. Yah were still holdin' onto my other hand so I wasn't screaming. Thought I might've started, though, if yah wasn't. "So, what, he's part unmade? You can't do that." Treasure's got ugly eyes. They flash. "You helped her!" "I amplified the entropic backlash, yes. But tell me, where did the excess go, if it isn't grounded here?" And he looked at yah, light o'my eye, like he'd caught yah picking the lock to the captain's quarters. But why'd he still look so stern when yah dolly climbed up the table and sat itself along with th'roses? "She made a doll and didn't unmake all of the man. Now, given those results, what did she fail to do?" And he looked at Treasure instead, like he knew she stole the captain's treasure and he wanted his share. Is that why she's Treasure? Treasure shouldn't never smile! Teeth from ear to ear and th'flash in her eyes ain't no light at all. "And I'm going to show her how to do it right." And that's when she started takin' us to pieces, me an' the roses an' the doll all mixed up. That weren't right. Roses're yah writin' and they're showing that I belong to yah! They weren't her roses to pick! Not to tear them off with them metal fingers o'hers, not t'knot them together with doll strings with legs hangin' off the sides. I would've screamed, light o'my eye, if yah weren't there watching all quiet like, movin' yah touch up when she kept tearin' off the pieces where yah were holdin' onto my arm before. And yah weren't smiling none. Look at that man, who's no more yah da than I am. What's he know of the land of joy everlastin' to hold onto that kind of crooked smile? Is that yah name? Joy? Joy, will yah stop that abominable rose o'yahs crawlin' up my leg? It ain't mine!...and that ain't yah name or yah would've done it. See. I sneaked in one more good guess. Hot or cold? There yah go. There ain't no sin anywhere when yah smile. That's why he made himself Teacher to yah, ain't it? Needin' to be washed clean in th'light of yah smile. Never yah mind him--I need it! Every time yah left me they weighed me down again. All the fish whose throats I slit on the sea, all them I told yah about, them weren't the kind with scales and fins. They were plain people, in plain boats with plain flags, and just plain not enough guns. I did bad things, light o'my eye, and 'fore I met yah I thought they weighed on my everlastin'. I know better now. Yah will come to my funeral? Just to see me off to th'sea of happiness? But, light o'my eye...shouldn't I already've been dead long before now? Magpie's been chattering an' bleeding for so long. Burnt through half a cigarette 'fore Treasure stole it, and now yah most sewn yahself a new doll from them sleeves I don't need no more. Were yah holdin' me here so's I could tell yah all my story before I left? Were yah holdin' me back from th'sea o'happiness? I love yah, light o'my eye, little flower, and I'd've waited all th'years yah needed. But if yah can put yah hand out and hold folk back from th'sea of happiness...ahhhh, yah may be th'most evil creature here an' Earthside both.