Finale – Now Available!
Tycho’s vision was… not vision, as such. That is to say, he could not see. Even that wasn’t entirely true. He could see eight placid faces around him in a circle, and that was all. He could hear, although he didn’t especially want to. He strongly suspects that he is being made to kill Gabriel.
“What’s happening?” he says, his lips brushing against the marble. “Gabriel, why are you screaming?”
“DON’T YOU KNOW?” erupts the reply, which is immediately followed by “AAAAH.”
He could feel the cool mask upon him, reassuring him, while the Society of the Hidden discussed their fate with the casual pace and tone of the immortal deathless. He didn’t know every language they were using, and they switched often. Human languages all, no searing, intricate wisps of Lower or forceful edicts of Recovered Upper. He heard the words in his mind, just as he had heard Elzabet in the strange, impossible width of Hark House. Indeed, he heard her now, with the others. When they deigned to speak in English, it largely concerned how deep (in meters) the two of them should be buried.
He had wondered how a shambolic homunculus like Euripides Hark could possibly be at the yoke of an organization like this, given his hunched-ass stature and propensity to snivel. It was starting to make more sense, now: he was the curator of the cult, just as he was the curator of the museum. He didn’t operate this thing any more than he had created any of those timeless works. He simply mounted them, whether on the wall or a living human being.
The cult was the masks.
“It’s okay to hit me, Gabe,” says Tycho. He wasn’t looking forward to it, but Gabriel wouldn’t do it - couldn’t, in fact - without an invitation. Something Elzabet clearly knew. It wasn’t bad as a stratagem, he supposed, but still. You know? Tacky.
The sensations Tycho was receiving through the membrane of the mask seemed to be coming in late, drawn in ringing, weird clusters through the pinholes of a sieve. These impressions began to run together, knitting into ribbons, becoming rivulets and, ultimately, aggregating into rivers of unstoppable brutality.
He knew that these signals somehow pertained to him; that they were connected to his own fortunes in some way. Even so, the correlations weren’t direct, and there was some room for interpretation. In the moments before the mask flew from his face, he had managed to gin up some measure of pity for the poor soul in recipient of this assault, and took a moment to wish him well.