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Absolution Black: NEW STORY ARC!

Absolution Black

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Something Wicked this way comes…..

Black cursed as he leant back against the side of the coach. They had stopped yet again so the spoilt brat could have a look at some ‘Quaint architecture’ as his parents had called it. Looking across the street at the building they had stopped near, Black hardly thought it appeared quaint. Ugly stone gargoyles adorned the eaves and leering skulls decorated the window ledges and doorways. If anything the place reeked of a horror novel, but he just shrugged. Damn tourists and their weird ideas.

He casually watched as the trio walked back and forth along the old cobbled pavement, every now and then the mother would point out something to the son who would either nod in agreement or simply belittle his mothers attempts at interacting. Black felt like cuffing the kid around the head, but knew if he wanted to take home the paycheck at the end of the day he had to resist the urge. Ever since he had recovered from the beating he had received from Hrothgar, work had been hard to come by. The Guild had all but removed him from their service, and even the Steamfitters Union were becoming more insular.

And now he had an extra mouth to feed, his beautiful daughter Amelia, money was the main thing he needed. He had hired himself out as security for whoever wanted it. One day it may be a high ranking Guild dignitary out on official business, others it was like today: bodyguard for tourists fresh through the breach, all wanting to experience the glorious world of Malifaux. He smiled. Glorious and Malifaux didn’t really go together in his mind, but hey, they paid well and it was only a few hours out of his day.

Of course, interest had heightened since the strange goings on of the last few weeks: the red star in the sky, the quakes that shook the entire continent. You’d have thought it would put people off coming, but the human mind is a perverse one, and hundreds were still flocking to see this strange new world for themselves. Those who had been here a while, himself included, worried more about what all these portents meant, and whether they should be debating leaving anytime soon.

A cough brought him out of his daydream. The little slick haired brat was standing in front of him, the expression on his face one of distaste. Black stood, sighed and opened the door to the coach. He was cursing away inside, what was he? A bloody footman? The father, whom Black could see was where the son got the attitude from, haughtily stepped into the carriage after his insipid offspring. Black offered his hand to the mother, and she smiled back, climbing into the coach after them. He closed the door behind them and pulled himself up alongside the driver. They exchanged a glance that said it all: on to the next ‘attraction’ on their list.


Lydia smiled as she watched her baby sleeping softly in the crib. Although the girl was only a few weeks old, she was already bright and curious. Lydia leant back into the old rocker next to the fire and closed her eyes. The last few weeks had been hard on them all, and the birth of Amelia had added to the strain, though she wouldn’t have it any other way. She opened her eyes briefly and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. A young woman stared back, yet her hair was as white as pure snow, and her eyes had a dull red glint to them. Many a stranger had hastily turned away when she smiled at them in passing, and it hurt her that people thought her a freak. Yet she admitted to herself, she probably was: her powers had seen to that. She closed her eyes again and drifted off.

She was awoken by a knock at the door. It wasn’t the rehearsed knock that Absolution or Abernathy used and she stood up warily, grabbing a pistol from the nearby dresser. She made her way to the door, the gun held tightly behind her back, and pulled it open. A woman, probably in her thirties stood in the hallway outside. Though Lydia had never seen her before she could feel a familiarity with this woman, as if they were connected somehow. She smiled and acknowledged the other.

“Good Afternoon Ma’am,” she nodded, “Can I help you at all?”

The other woman smiled, a flash of white teeth.

“I think you can, my dear…though you can put the gun away, you won’t be needing that”.

Taken aback, Lydia just stood there for a few seconds until she realised she had forgotten her manners. She pulled the door open a little further and indicated for the woman to enter, though she still gripped the pistol. You could never be too sure.

“And this must be your daughter Amelia” The other woman leant over the crib and smiled. “Such a pretty young thing, such a lovely name”.

“Step away from her please”, Lydia said as boldly as she could. She could sense a great power around this woman, and she wasn’t about to put her daughter in any immediate danger. She brandished the pistol threateningly.

The other woman simply smiled and dismissed the gun with a wave of her hand.

“I’ve already said you don’t need that. I’m not here to help you, I’m merely here to tell you about your mother”.

The words stung Lydia like a slap.

“My mother is dead, she died a long time ago, when I was a little girl”

“oh hardly, my dear. I meant your real mother. She is more than alive, and very close”.

Swaying a little at the revelations, Lydia sat in the rocking chair, still holding the pistol towards the other woman.

“She wasn’t my mother?…but….how…but…..”

“Come now dear, it is a shock I know. But surely you should be happy to know your mother is alive and well……and standing before you”

Lydia looked up into the other woman’s face. She laughed. How could this mad woman be her mother, she barely looked older than herself! She found herself lowering the gun.

“I don’t know who you are ma’am, but that is the most crazy thing I’ve heard in weeks! How can you be my mother, you are hardly ten years older than I am!”

The other woman stared at Lydia for a while, as if assessing her. Then she smiled, and for a second Lydia caught sight of her eyes properly for the first time, a slight red gleam catching the firelight.

“Now dear, you may find it hard to believe but I really am your mother. My human name is Annabella, and though I don’t look it, I’m actually almost three hundred years old”.


The stranger stood on the platform taking in the majestic sight of the locomotive. He breathed deeply whilst he watched the passengers embarking, the conductors checking the tickets and directing them to their seats. He was travelling light, just a shoulder bag that he hoisted onto his back and his jacket. He brushed a long strand of black hair behind his ear as he checked the ticket to find the correct carriage. He took one quick look at the platform as he boarded the train, the last view of Earthside he would see for a while, and then showed the ticket to the conductor who pointed to a cabin halfway along the carriage.

He slid the door open and stepped inside. There were already two passengers in the cabin: a young woman and a small boy. He grimaced to himself, he had hoped to be alone for the journey but such was the popularity of his destination, he kind of knew that wouldn’t have been the case. He lifted his shoulder bag onto the rails above him and relaxed into the seat. He adjusted his jacket as he felt his pistol dig into his ribs slightly. He checked to see it still remained hidden within the recess of his overcoat.

It was several minutes before he felt the train lurch forward as it started its journey towards the Breach, towards Malifaux. Several minutes of the small boy simply staring at him. He was uncomfortable around children, having not had much experience, and was trying to ignore the child for as long as possible. The woman looked across at him and smiled.

“Sorry sir, please don’t mind Timmy. He is very excited to be travelling today. We’re being reunited with his father. My name is Michelle”.

Remembering his manners, he accepted the lady’s hand in his and gave it a quick kiss before releasing it. He quickly thought of a false name.

“Enchanted, I’m sure. My name is Gregory Launceston. I’m travelling on business”.

“What do you do?” it was the little boy who had piped up.

“I work in logistics,” the man replied, biting back the urge to snap. The last thing he wanted was to be trapped in an inane conversation for the next hour. “I move things back and forth”.

“That sounds really interesting, doesn’t it Timmy?” Michelle smiled, “ Timmy’s father works in the mines, has done for a year now”.

“Ah, good honest work” he smiled back, hoping that would be the end of it.

“Why aren’t you taking your jacket off?” The darned boy again.

“I find it a little cool in here for my taste, so I shall leave it on for the journey”.

“So, what stuff do you move?”

He was really beginning to get irritating now, and the man bit his tongue, yet smiled sweetly at the child.

“Oh, just things. Nothing special”.

Thankfully that had seemed to kill that conversation dead. He leant back in the seat and looked out of the window. He could see the Breach fast approaching and prepared himself for the odd sensation he always got when he travelled through. As the locomotive passed through the arc of blue, he felt the tingling throughout his body, the feeling of lightness. Then he felt heavy again, the tingling subsided and he opened his eyes. To find that brat looking straight at him.

“Did you feel that Mister?” The boy was really excited now and babbled on for what seemed like ages about the tingles and how it felt. He really had had enough. He leant forward to the boy and beckoned him closer. When he was within whispering distance he spoke softly into the boy’s ear.

“Now listen here brat. I want to spend the rest of this journey in peace. One more question from you and I swear I will gut your mother in front of you and feed you her intestines. Now, lean back, smile and we shall all arrive at Malifaux station safe and sound…Provided you just keep damn quiet”.

He leant back into his chair, smiling. The boy, eyes wide open and pale, looked as if he were about to cry. But to his credit he leant back, smiled up at his mother and settled back on the seat opposite, not daring even to look across at him now. He smiled to himself and closed his eyes. Sure enough, the rest of the journey was made in peace…

To be continued…

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  • 1 month later...

Black jumped down off the coach and waved a half-hearted goodbye to the coachman as he whipped the horses into action, pulling the heavy ornate carriage onto the main street and back to the depot. He watched the coach disappear around the far corner until it was lost in the throng of people making their way through the city streets. He sighed, happy in the fact another day of tedium was over, yet resigned to the fact he would have to do it all over again tomorrow, and the next day. He looked up at the sign swaying gently in the breeze rolling in from the river nearby: The Watchman’s Light. It was a well renowned Guild drinking establishment and, though he knew he wasn’t flavour of the month with the ruling authority, he knew he was safe enough from trouble inside.

He placed his daily wage into his inside jacket pocket and stepped into the inn. Immediately the sound of laughter and raucous behaviour washed over him, along with the unmistakable smell of sweat and alcohol. He saw a man seated at a table in the corner of the main room wave at him and he nodded in return, making his way over through the bustling crowd. Guild uniforms were everywhere, the downtrodden footpads spending their wages on the way to drunken oblivion. He pulled a heavy wooden chair away from the table and sat down on it.

“You look like hell mate” The other man grinned as he raised a heavy metal tankard to his lips.

Black noticed Captain Knoffler had changed a lot over these last few months, then corrected himself. He was no longer a captain of the guild having taken early retirement. How much of that decision was actually Knoffler’s, Black wasn’t sure. After the fiasco that saw almost a hundred men butchered by the Nephilim he was surprised that Knoffler hadn’t been left hanging from Jack Daw’s tree. He felt guilty about that too, as Knoffler hadn’t known a deal had been struck with the mother of monsters that enabled her to seriously damage a rebellion in her ranks. Instead, the guild had paid for his replacement arm, a mechanical device powered by steam and motion plus a very large severance payoff that Black noticed Knoffler seemed to enjoy spending in this establishment.

“I may look like hell, but at least I’m not quickening my journey there. Just how many drinks have you had already?”

“Oh leave off Black, can’t a man actually enjoy his retirement?” Knoffler chuckled and took another swig.

“I’m not saying you can’t, I just pity your poor liver!” Black smiled and leant back in the chair. “So, you made any progress on that new case?”

Knoffler hadn’t really retired after his contract with the guild was terminated. He had decided to put his years of experience to good use, as well as earning a dollar or two, as a Private Detective. After all, there was always someone going missing, or something strange happening in the city of Malifaux.

“No, I seem to have hit a brick wall on that one. People are reluctant to talk about it. You would think that if people are going missing on their doorsteps they’d be all too keen to get it sorted, but no…they’d rather stick their heads in the sand and hope it goes away. Something has spooked them that’s for sure”.

“But someone still wants you to investigate though?”

“Yeah, a couple whose daughter disappeared two months ago. They aren’t short of a penny and just want some closure I guess. I want to give it to them, but at the moment the investigation has just stalled”.

“Well I guess something will turn up soon, someone will come forward with new information, they always do”.

Knoffler nodded agreement and finished his drink. Black watched his mechanical arm in morbid fascination. It still amazed him as to how it worked. Yes, it was slower than a natural arm and noisy to boot, but it was a fine piece of craftsmanship. And the strength it gave the retired captain was unbelievable: he’d seen him crush a metal tankard in its grip with apparent ease. He accepted the offer of a drink from Knoffler as the serving girl came around to take their orders, and relaxed into his chair. He’d just have the one drink before heading home to the people he cared about more than anything, wondering how their day had been…..


Lydia sat down slowly in the chair opposite Annabella, her so-called mother. She cradled Amelia in her arms, not wanting to have her out of her sight for a second. The other woman just sat there watching her every move, intent to let her get settled before she spoke. Lydia was still reeling from the revelations of the last few minutes: Her father had lied to her about her mother; and her mother, so she claimed, was a woman who appeared less than ten years older than her yet professed to be almost three hundred years old! She wanted answers fast, as she felt that what this woman had to say might answer so many questions she had about herself.

“So, you claim to be my mother” she started, “Sitting here now, that seems impossible, so how?”

“Well my dear, it’s a long story, and though I see you are keen for the details I will keep it brief”. The other woman crossed her legs as she relaxed into the chair, her eyes glinting red in the firelight.

“Let me begin by explaining a bit about myself. As you have no doubt discovered, I’m not human….far from it, I ‘m originally from this godforsaken world. I am a Succubus my dear, a creature that draws the living energy from beings to sustain myself. I thought I was content to dwell in this world until one day, the gateway opened. Several of us were brave enough to venture through it and we found a world of delights: your world”.

She paused, her head slightly upturned as she disappeared into some long forgotten memory.

“I was enraptured, a whole world full of people full of energy, drive and lust. I fed well for weeks, draining essence from whomever I chose. I wasn’t fussy, men, women, all were my playthings, powerless to resist my seduction. I used to revel in the terror I saw in their eyes as I sucked their very life from their lungs at the sweet moment of climax. I was a monster, I will admit.”

Lydia was dumbstruck, not knowing what to say. If what this woman was saying was actually true, did that make her a monster, the freak she had hated to admit herself to be? She held Amelia close to her and the thought crossed her mind: Had she made her beautiful daughter a freak too?

“I can see you’re concerned dear,” Annabella continued, “ but hear me out. So, as I said, I wandered the cities and towns of your world helping myself to whomever I pleased, never growing old, never going hungry. Then the breach closed. I had never thought about returning home before that day, but once that opportunity was taken away from me, I realised I wanted to. I was trapped. I began to panic. I needed to blend in, to hide my true self from the world. I fed less often, choosing those who lived on the outskirts of society. Then I met your father and my life changed. He was a drunk and a gambler, and the perfect victim for my feed. Yet as we lay there in his bed together, something changed in me, I no longer wanted to drain him. Yes, I still needed to feed but I felt a yearning inside to be close to him, to want him over and over. I guess its similar to what you humans call love”.

Lydia nodded, encouraging Annabella to continue.

“I restrained myself, taking only small amounts of his essence each time we made love, small enough that he wouldn’t notice yet enough to sustain me until our next meeting. Then the unexpected happened. I became with child, with you Lydia. We decided to live together, to bring you up together. I had never felt anything so strong as the urge to mother you, protect you. I watched you grow into a beautiful young girl, vibrant and full of life. Then they came, the others who had followed me through. They demanded that I return to them, to continue their slaughter of your world, to play with their cattle as they called your people. I refused, but they forced my hand. They said they would kill you and your father if I didn’t return to them, so to protect you both I relented. That was the last I saw of you until just a few months ago.”

She paused. Her face was full of sorrow and tears had formed under her eyes. Lydia had no doubt now that this woman was who she said she was. Her gut feeling was telling her so.

“When the breach re-opened we returned to Malifaux with the first colonists and re-integrated ourselves into our world. I never forgot about you though, and yearned for a time when I could escape and return to find you. Yet you came to me. That day you came through the breach, I felt a pull in my heart and I knew you had come. I found you a few weeks ago, and have been watching you, waiting for the ideal time to come forward. That time is now”.

She finished her tale and Lydia stood slowly, still cradling Amelia in her arms. She walked over to Annabella, who was wiping the tears from her cheeks, and held out the young baby.

“Here mother, would you like a hold of your grand-daughter?” ………….


The train pulled into the ornate station and the man waited for the irritating brat and his mother to leave the compartment before he stood and retrieved his shoulder bag from the rails above. He made his way along the corridor to the exit and stepped down onto the platform. He smiled to himself as he watched the young boy walk away across the platform, occasionally turning his head and then snapping it back as he caught sight of the man.

He took in his surroundings for a few seconds then made his way off the platform and into the main station building. He noticed his welcoming party as soon as he scanned the area, three large men stood by the exit.

As he walked up to them they noticed him and the shorter man at the front smiled, holding out a hand for the stranger to shake. He refused it, and the smaller man lowered it awkwardly, embarrassed.

“Good Afternoon sir, Mr Launceston I presume? Allow me to introduce myself. I am Gunther Heldenbregg, and these are my brothers Heinrich and Waldorf”. His accent was hard to place, Eastern European at a guess.

The stranger smiled.

“Like the salad eh?” he said as he turned to the tall brother identified as Waldorf”.

“I’m sorry, I don’t understand” The blonde-haired man replied, confusion on his face.

“Doesn’t matter. So, I trust you are fully aware of my reasons for being here? “

Gunther nodded, handing him a bundle of papers wrapped in a battered leather case.

“This is all we have on your subject. What they do, where they go, who they know”.

He took the pile of papers, unclasped the case and briefly skimmed through the notes within. To be fair, he thought to himself, they might not look the brightest buttons in the tray, but they had certainly done a thorough job. He re-fastened the case and slipped it into his shoulder bag, before turning to the three men.

“I trust transport has been arranged, and suitable lodgings?”

“Yes Mr Launceston sir, if you will follow us, we have a carriage waiting”.

“Excellent. You came highly recommended, and I haven’t been disappointed yet. I hope that continues”

They began their walk towards the station forecourt and the waiting coach.

“Oh, and I think we can drop the Launceston thing now, can’t we? From now on you can call me Jericho, Jericho Black”….

To be continued..............

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 1 month later...

An interesting continuation of your story my friend. :) Well done as always.

The only quibble I have with it is how quickly Lydia and Annabella are getting along...dunno why, just seems a bit too abrupt. Might just be me. (shrug) Still, looking forward to the next segment!

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Finally got round to reading this new arc, and it doesn't disappoint. I get the impression tht poor Knoffler is going to get dragged into another mess involving both Blacks.

I was surprised at Lydia's mother, it seemed surprisingly simple but I'd guess you have plans for that angle too. It does set up things nicely, and implies some strange bond between blood related succubus-type things that could come into its own...

Now all we need is the next part!

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