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Episode Three: Chapter Twelve

Just The Two Of Us

Things had warmed appreciably between the son and his father.  It was as though the youth had taken to baseball after many years of patient exposure, except it hadn’t been baseball that bound them together, or any other sport.  What bound them was a shared enthusiasm for Oblivion.

The rest of the dynamic held.

Up two flights of stairs they have stopped before a wooden door, fitted with an opaque window the color of amber.  The elder Brahe turns his key in the door and steps inside, the son following shortly thereafter.  He has never seen this room before, and wonders why.  It is like the warped geography of a madman’s dream, odds and ends of things real and imagined, the aggregated vomit of an eldritch millenia.

The room and its adjoining chambers - one storage, one nominal “bedroom” without a bed but with an odd, omnipresent tang - defied easy categorization.  Eventually, the son settles on “shithole.”  Did his dad sleep here?

The rigors of the Brahe clan’s purposeful damnation weren’t always predictable; madness was very much a “when” proposition.  Tycho Emeritus Brahe wanted to grant his son the Vault while he still knew he was doing so, to derive the pleasure of it thereby.  Then he says something, the depth of his desire hurdling all of his careful controls.

The young man looks up.  “What?”

The father pauses meaningfully.  “It’s yours.  Everything.”

“All of it?” he says quietly, realizing he should be impressed, and trying to appear so.  He hoists a cool sword.  “I own this?”

“Yes, son,” says the father through a smile.  “Swords are a subset of ‘everything.’”

The young man had been holding something absentmindedly, but now that he apparently owned whatever it was, he pays it closer attention.  A small wooden box with a brass inlay, its hinged top opens to reveal a lock’s most private realms.  A tiny door in the left side allows would-be suitors access, but the mechanism is studded internally with vials and needles, coils and copper.  It smells like a summer storm.  It is entirely too warm.

He puts it down.  Yeah, he thinks.  Maybe down is best.

There are maple leaves pressed in wax paper, captured moonlight still silvering the tips of their blades.  They’re in a scaffold of papers sitting on a worn desk, probably still technically “Property Of The Old Academy,” and the smooth sheets were interleaved with bills addressed to the room they are now in.  He supposes that he own the bills now, too.  Package deal.

Everywhere he looks, now, the shithole reveals the granularity of its accumulated wonder.  He has reached the corner, a corner which holds a sarcophagus leaned on its side, its bands still gleaming insistently beneath the accumulated dust.  His eyes widen, even as his brow descends, approximating an owl as nearly as his human visage will allow.  He swivels his head toward his father with the metered gait of a deck gun.  He tilts his head toward it one time, as if to say: This?

It is important to the elder Brahe not to seem too eager, too supportive; he doesn’t want to spook the boy.  But he is very, very pleased to pass this on, this, more than any other thing in his occult menagerie.

“Yes, yes,” he says, with every effort made to mask the full breadth of his pleasure, punctuated by a dismissive shake of the wrist.  “You may keep the Lightbringer.”

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