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Art Project


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Back again! Apparently I'm going to turn this into a habit.

Gaslight fueled shadows continued their nighttime dance on the cobblestone streets as a single hooded figure ducked from building to building. Thomas’ hands shook with adrenaline as he dodged into the shadows, cinching up his backpack once more before running again. Tonight is the night Thomas thought to himself as his lungs burned.

It had been a week since he had gotten to Malifaux; 5 days since he began working with the city undertaker. As far as anyone was concerned, he was a model citizen, or at least as much of one as was possible in this type of town. But for Thomas, this was all simply routine; a checklist he had to complete to get to what he wanted. Late at night, after everyone was fast asleep, Thomas explored his passion.

His fascination with death had always been with him. The inevitability of it; the insistent entropy was something that called to him like a mystery wanting a solution. It was almost an addiction to pour over that copy of Greys, his mind straining to reach that next plateau. He kept the book under his bed in a box alongside a copy of The Raven. The beauty of finding life through death, the artistry of it all, guided Thomas to the masterpiece he desired: Bringing life back to a dead body.

Thomas finally made it to the city morgue confident no one knew he was there. Thomas had accepted that this art he wanted to bring to the world would be something people wouldn’t understand. His first week in medical school brought to light the contradiction he faced. Most people are concerned with the preservation of life. They focused their craft, their lives on a mad scramble to avoid the unavoidable. But Thomas knew. He felt so powerful because while they fought for answers, he simply changed the question. One final hurdle kept him from his final brush stroke. He couldn’t bring back life. His studies on embalming and slowing the decomposition were above excellence, but that was only one piece to the puzzle. He heard whispered stories of conjurers who made pacts with eldritch creatures to summon life, but Thomas didn’t know where to even begin with that path. But he could ensure the parts of the equation he did know were perfect.

Thomas went to his locker to grab his apron and tools, shaking out the adrenaline and setting his backpack on a small table next to him. Nicodem was a surprisingly pleasant man to work for. Thomas was worried he might learn of Thomas being chased out of school when several students found his work. They found first drafts, so it was understandable they wouldn’t know how to react, but the way they got the police to hound him nearly spoiled what he was working towards. Fortunately the Breach had opened, so if no one on Earthside wanted his talents, he’d take them elsewhere.

As his body finally calmed down, Thomas flipped open his backpack and began pulling out jars of formaldehyde. He had a newer concoction he had wanted to try that would hopefully cut down on the waxy tinge the previous version created on the skin. Thomas panicked when he suddenly heard movement in the other room. His mind went racing on the possibilities, each stopping him from completing the work and keeping him from his goals. Quietly grabbing his scalpel, Thomas inched his way towards the door to the changing room, the fire of adrenaline pumping through his veins once more. He had finally managed to get a pure soulstone to test with, and nothing was going to stop him.

He took his first quick glance into the hallway, seeing no one but hearing a low voice muttering in one of the autopsy rooms. Was it a Guild marshal, searching for some reason to send those accursed Death Marshals down here? They would end his quest for beauty permanently. Their enforcement of the entropy of life would crush him and his dreams. Thomas crouched down low, hardly daring to breathe as he inched his way closer. He would have to kill the marshal before any of the truly dangerous people found out. Then he’d have to figure out how to dump the body in a way that wouldn’t be traced to him. But what if he anticipated that and told his superiors? What if by killing him, Thomas was actually sealing his own fate? He forced his mind to focus as he got closer. Reaction time had to be factored in to the kill, proper vectors where he could maximize damage while minimizing the marshal’s return.

As Thomas approached the door, he could see faint green lights dancing through the cracks in the doorframe. The low voice was clearer now, speaking something similar to Latin. Thomas let out a sigh of tension as the imminent threat of the Guild was temporarily removed from the table, only to be replaced by a much more interesting question: Who WAS in the room?

Thomas pushed the door open inch by fragile inch, mindful of the slight creak the top hinge made as he worked his way into the room. Panic was replaced by a sense of curiosity and alongside it, a sense of hope. When the door was finally open enough for him to slide in, Thomas’ eyes were wide with astonishment. On the autopsy table was Farmer Silas, a man he had embalmed yesterday reaching up to Nicodem. Nicodem finished his chanting, and looked the zombie over as if stepping back from a just finished painting. “I must say you look remarkably well Mr Silas.” Nicodem finally spoke, pulling his glasses from his vest pocket. “Shame about the pitchfork killing you, but with a few days rest, I think you’ll be back to work in no time. Would you agree Mr. Rafkin?” Thomas was entranced by the scene as he rose to his feet,

“Teach me.” Nicodem gave Thomas a half-grin as their eyes met.

“Of course.”

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Another really nice piece. Can we look forward to something from you in the Iron Quill?

I've got three tiny changes, and one suggestion.

Gaslight fueled shadows continued their nighttime dance on the cobblestone streets as a single hooded figure ducked from building to building.

The use of continued suggests that there is some reason why the shadows should become motionless as the figure passes.

their lives on a mad scramble to avoid the unavoidable

I'd drop the a.

You mention a Guild marshal. Would that be better changed to Guard and let the title belong solely to the Deathmarshals? Unless I'm correcting canon, in which case I apologise.

And that suggestion:

I'd be cool to hear the contents of the backpack slosh around before it's revealed what is in there.

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I've been pondering a few Iron Quill stories, nothing's clicked that I'm happy with yet :)

Definitely rework the first sentence a bit. Trying to mark that it's later at night, but I can see where that might throw things. Guardsman would be a good choice, in order to clean up the "danger hierarchy" as it were.

I REALLY like the idea of playing up the backpack a bit more. Rafkin's supposed to be odd, so odd cues on what's in his backpack outs help

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