Twenty-One and Solitaire

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Twenty-One and Solitaire

Post by Sairina » 08/27/16

Bidding her farewells and good-nights, Sairina closed the door to her manse behind her departing guests, unblinking stare boring through the polished mahogany, as if she might watch them all the way to their homes, or wherever it was they were going. She tried to remember every detail of their features, their attire, the sounds of their voices. She struggled to affix reasons and meanings behind every detail, the function of their dress, the manufacture and design of the weapons they wore openly, the attitudes and personalities that caused them to walk in the manners they did. She sought to find some meaning behind their relationships.

Activated less than six months prior, she was a golem crafted through arcane sciences, perhaps the most-advanced example of the art, but flawed, so terribly, terribly flawed. She was not the first of her model line, but may prove to be the last. Twenty-first of her series, she lacked the implanted personality that the previous entries had possessed. Why, she did not know, and for what purpose she had been constructed, she could only guess. Adding to her list of unanswered questions was the question of why she had been wrought in the shape she had? A teenaged Teir’dal girl, with a convoluted history beginning in some filthy back-alley of Freeport to an uncertain fate, replaced at some point by artificial simulacra, rising to a position of wealth and privilege among the political set of the human-led empire. Why?

She found nothing. This was, she reflected, not unexpected. After all, they were not, truly, her friends, but friends of the person whose stolen face she wore, whose stolen life she lived. What she was, revealed to them at last was, perhaps, difficult to understand, difficult to accept. She did not, in the end, blame them. It was far easier to treat her as the person she appeared to be, rather than the thing she was. At last, she spoke, long after they were beyond any hope of hearing her.

“My apologies, friends. I made promises to you I never intended to keep.”

Twenty models had come before her, each believing herself to be the girl known as Sairina G’Ixx, each housing as complete a personality matrix of the original as could be constructed, each tweaked with slight alterations in likes, dislikes, outlooks and temperaments. Each, that is, until Unit Fifteen. That one had, somehow, determined that she was artificial, and had begun investigating her past… her own, and that of the girl who’s life she had stolen. Fifteen, however, had suffered unexpected termination. The fourteen prior to her had also met their end, some killed by assassins, some destroyed in titanic battles with creatures of myth and legend… but Fifteen had been different. She had simply been deactivated at some point, and Sixteen sent in her place.

She turned away from the door, walking slowly through the grand hall that led from the foyer of the estate. She passed through galleries and arcades bearing trophies and treasures from the four corners of Norrath. Wall-mounted swords and shields, stuffed dragon heads, recovered relics and artifacts of eras long past. Near each could be found a small bronze plaque that commemorated the acquisition of each piece.

Sixteen, at first, suspected nothing amiss, but Fifteen had left cryptic clues and hidden journals, revealing the truth of their existence, until Sixteen, too, had come to know what she was, and took up the trail once more, adding to the carefully-concealed journals and clues, in the event that something should befall her, too. So the chain had continued, each one picking up where the previous model had ended, deactivated or destroyed by some agency or another, until Twenty-One. Twenty-One had activated without any of the previous units’ memories or knowledges. Further, it seemed as if someone had gone through the previous incarnations’ investigations and either destroyed whatever clues they had left behind or had gone to great lengths to have their collective history sanitized. Now, reviewing her own history (the political status the previous versions had attained made her life a matter of public record, and the subject of several biographies, both official and otherwise) revealed nothing amiss. Had she been activated with a full set of memories, she would have discovered nothing suspicious… but she hadn’t been, and that only deepened the mystery.

“I am sure much blood, sweat and tears were shed for these things,” she mused aloud. “I wish I could remember it. I am certain Seventeen mentioned getting that mask in a journal of hers, and that resonating orb must be the item Eleven had gone on about. That painting was something Nineteen acquired, I’m sure… she did so like art.”

She drew the god-cursed sword known as Havoc from its scabbard at her back, moving to the Maran display rack that seemed designed for the strange longsword. She settled the twin-bladed sword into the arched arms of the rack, placing her Freeportian shortsword, the badge of an office she had recently vacated, below it. While many perform such rituals with an air of reverence or solemnity, the golem could care less. They were swords, the one representing a goddess who could do nothing for her, nor she for the Divine, the other a useless reminder of an ocean of information she had utterly lost. Havoc, considered by most to be, at least, semi-sentient, seemed to whine as she turned her back on the blades.

“Let whoever comes to take this place wield those. Where I will go, they shan’t be useful.”

With that, she continued her walk through the halls.

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