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Betty Bludwine - a short Malifaux tale.


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  Hi all, 


  This is my first attempt at a bit of Malifaux fiction (other than my battle reports, which I like to embellish a little with some prose) although I've been writing speculative fiction for many years now. This is a tale about a Malifaux legend, inspired by one line in GMort's unboxing article about my favourite Malifaux character. I did look into making it an Iron Quill entry, but I just couldn't twist it into the format enough.


Betty Bludwine.


Children sing the song out loud, but the adults of Malifaux know the words too. And they heed them, for to not do so is tantamount to suicide.


'Don't let a drop spill

upon the earthen floor,

She hears the blood calling,

and doesn't need a door.


Don't call Betty Bludwine,

Her knives are sharp and long

You hardly feel them cut your throat

when Betty sings her song.


Run from Betty Bludwine,

Her blades are sharp and true...'


  The 'cowboy' with the upturned nose and the clean pressed clothes obviously hadn't been through the Breach long enough to learn the folk tales and legends that played a large part in keeping the citizens of Malifaux alive. Sometimes, urban legends are true.


Blood calls.


Blood calls to Blood.


Blood calls to Blood, and She listens.


  She has been under the earth for too long now, unusually long for this city. She is not asleep, she is not resting, she is anxious, and so terribly, terribly hungry. She could feel the anticipation in the ground above her. In one spot, concentrated and hot, although when she was under she was not restricted by such simple concepts of location. She was under everywhere. The whole city of Malifaux lay above her, with its intricately complex map of roads and alleyways, arteries and veins full of the blood that she so craved.


  She is waiting. The cowboy with the upturned nose is currently setting the events in motion that will lead to her freedom, and his demise, although neither of them know this yet. She knows nothing, she only feels. She feels the heat of the warm bodies above her, feels the dull throb of all the hearts beating, and she feels that one of those hearts is about to give her what she wants. She concentrates her consciousness into one spot, under the wooden boards of the Never-Had-A-Chance Saloon, in the rough part of town where the drunkards outnumber the respectable citizens and the wastrels and ne'er-do-wells accumulate to spend their ill-gotten scrip on cheap whiskey and even cheaper entertainment. She knows these boards well. They have been wet with blood many times before, but never enough to placate her, but there has been a drought recently, so she will take what she can get. Death warms her, blood feeds her, and she feels her time is near. The people know it too, and so they have been better behaved than usual. Or at least restricted to blunt instruments and lesser beatings. Unusually for this area of town, nobody wants a death on their hands right now.


  The cowboy with the upturned nose turns to the man next to him, reacting to a slight. His clothes are too clean, his 'cowboy' demeanour is too forced, it's clear to all that he is a rich boy playing in a dangerous playground. But he doesn't realise how dangerous, and so when the burly (and decidedly real) cowboy next to him rises and makes to give him a severe and violent lesson in the reality of Malifaux living, he panics and pulls out his pistol, and with a sharp report the shirt of the burly man flaps in a gust of powdery wind and a hole appears in the centre of his chest. Somebody shouts 'No' and reaches out to grab the falling man, but it's too late. The body drops to the ground, a trickle of heartblood rapidly soaking through the front of his shirt and accumulating on a button, before extending, longer and longer, and breaking free. The blood drop is only tiny, but it is enough. It splashes onto the boards, for a brief second forming a tiny red crown for a sanguine queen, who has heard the call.


  The blood hisses as it comes to rest, and boils away on the boards. The denizens of the Saloon recognize this well and quickly scatter, leaving two bodies in the bar, one cooling, and one warm, his heart beating faster and faster as he realises what he's done. His father will be so mad...


...but it doesn't matter what his father will think, for she has heard the call, and she will answer. Blood calls to blood, and Betty Bludwine begins to sing her song. The terrified cowboy takes a step back as the pool of bubbling blood on the floor pulses upwards. He can hear a distance voice, singing as if in another room, but he can't make out the words.


  But then she's there. Her smile is the most terrifying thing he's ever seen and he almost loses his senses as he stands transfixed. His sense of smell is sharper than ever, though. He can smell the gunsmoke in the air, he can smell the coppery tang of the blood rising up around her, and he can smell the stench of his soiled undergarments.


His vision is blurred, but he can see her lean in close. His hearing is fuzzy, the sound of his own heartbeat almost drowning out the external sounds, but he can make out the words of the song now, as her blades clink together at the base of his throat.


'...sharp and true,

And if you spill a drop of blood,

Bete Noire will come for YOU!'


He can feel the warm blood running over his collarbones, but his last  thought is that he didn't even feel the cut.

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