The Vermilion Garden
Can you hear the wind in the leaves?
I hear it again, the dreaded tapping on the outside of the hull. We are mid flight. What could possibly be tapping with such rhythm. I found the babushka doll this morning as well. She was dressed in black, with a painted skull for a face. I fear for my life. The Dutchman comes for me, and the worst part of it is I don't quite understand why.
Paved with bad intentions
Why did they have to be children? According to the research of Dr. Kines, it is the fact that they are still developing. The Aether exposure could develop immunity and allow the children to develop their abilities further than the use of little trinkets in brass locks. The first batch of subjects came to the facility. Some were willing, homeless and on the streets in the dead of winter. Some were not. Ivan spoke against it. He even punched Kines in the face and knocked him to the ground.
"They're just children." He screamed, spitting on Kines as he tried to recover from the blow. The soldiers didn't even bother. They shot him, and not to kill. They took out a knee, then the other. Working their way up until the man begged for death... They didn't give it. They watched him suffer until his final breath.
We were all scared. We wanted to intervene but sadly there were more bullets in those guns than there were bodies to fight. We do what we can. Taya has started talking to me again. She loves the idea of painting dolls, though she isn't as good as the others. I tell her stories of our people, the brothers of black and white... God Forgive me... Please don't take her too...
Dr. KinesAn enigmatic figure who ran the facility, Dr. Kines was the man responsible for the entire project that the facility sought to complete. The Ghost ships were his idea, as was the insistence on using children. Based on reports, medical records, and journals left behind by the staff, it was clear the operation was more complicated and that those responsible were more than just "more evil Russians."
Based on what the children remember, it is theorized that Kines was, in fact, English.
Production and Industry
Children's GamesThe dolls are a symbol of the horrors they experienced. The dolls were a form of therapy for the subject, who were given a canvas and told to paint what they feel. many of them are still children and retain a strong, if a bit dark, sense of humor.
They often leave these dolls behind as a game. They want to make those who would be their enemy weary of crossing them as well. sometimes the dolls are truly just a gift or a reminder of their existence.
The House of Bones
The First Ghost Ship
By the time that they realized what was growing in The Bone Collector, they condemned the vessel, though they never found the courage to destroy it. The House of bones use The Bone Collector as a support and command vessel. It remains outside of battle, observing enemy tactics and responding in kind.
"Mishka kasa´lapyi..." she sang as the glowing blue haze filled the pipes and funneled into the respirator. The voices were screaming. Of what, she couldn't tell. Some seemed to be warning her, others were enraged.
"Po lisu id´yot" she stammered, her voice cracking as the first deep inhalation of Aether filled her lungs. Her mind was in a panic, between the voices and her ever expanding sense of self, she could barely focus.
"Shishki sabi´rayet" she sang as the metal of the hull became her flesh, her bones. The pipes would serve in circulating her blood, and her human form, the heart. Finally, she gained a single dose of confidence
"Pesinki pa´yot" The engines sprang to live in a rush that would be hard to explain to those who couldn't feel it. She felt the burning of Aether that propelled her forward as most would feel air fill their lungs. She felt the icy wind on the hull as others would feel it on their skin. Under the shroud, she smiled. The ship shot out of the launch bay and into The Red Sky. The mountains disappeared from view and she listened close to the voices. Between their mutterings and raving, there was knowledge to be had. Between their cries of anguish, she could learn the way to bring them peace, justice, and vengeance. She could make out three words: The Flame Chariot, a British ship seen off the border of Ukrainian aerospace. She pushed herself to top speeds, her destination not but an hour away. She listened to the navigation module as it sang its stream of data in her mind. Two degrees north, she heard and adjusted. The Flame Chariot was as magnificent as the stories said. It was a massive Aether Dreadnought, captained by one George Hargreeves, a man who helped finance the Garden. She concentrated, doing her best to stay out of sight. It took mere moments for her to manifest herself on board. It began as a wisp of air that spawned black particles, coalescing into her normal body. She walked unseen by the guardsmen and aristocratic snobs. She entered the captains quarters and saw that it was empty. She placed the nesting doll on his desk and took out the inner most layer. The center of the doll depicted a baby. The smiling face looked up at her with wonder, and Vanya felt a tear fall down her cheek. She brushed it away and hid herself from view, dispersing the physical form, but not leaving in mind. The captain returned to his quarters, half drunk and with a prostitute at his side. She wouldn't stand to watch, and luckily didn't have to. The man saw the wooden baby, and ordered the woman to leave. He gazed about the room and smiled.
"Are you here little dove? It is you again isn't it?" He said, slurring his speech. The room reeked of whiskey just by his breathing, and he stumbled about, fumbling with the pistol at his side. He removed it from its holster and pointed it about the room, intent on finding where she was hiding. She didn't keep him waiting. Vanya stepped forward, materializing in thin air. The man flew back, startled at the sight of the full moon. eyes in her Shroud. He tried to look away but she grabbed his head, almost crushing it as she forced him to look. He gazed deep into the luminous disks, a fear she hopes shed never have to feel cast on his face. The voices were having their way with his mind, ripping him apart from the inside out. The man was completely within his control now. She pushed him back, forcing him to sit in his chair. She placed the doll in his hand and he clenched it. She tilted her head and gave a final command before leaving the vessel behind and returning home. He raised his hand as if to salute, but the gun was loaded and primed to fire. The last thing he felt besides the bullet passing through his skull was the agony if the Marina Shroud and the deaths of the children who's lives it claimed.