Welcome back! We sure left off on a cliffhanger huh? Though if you don't know what we mean: maybe go and check out episode 1: http://www.jameswylder.com/blog/lady-aesculapius-episode-1
Well, we're back, and we're onto a new adventure...so without further adieu, let's get onto a new tale by me, James Wylder.
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If you're into podcasts, you can find Lady Aesc stories as podcasts at: http://ladyaesculapius.libsyn.com
You never forget the first time you die. It happens very early after you’re born, that is if you’re a Firmament. Lady Aesculapius could still remember being born, falling out of her cloning tube, scratching at the skin over her eyes, mouth, nose, ears…she flailed on the cold floor, till the attendant came over and slit her eyelids and mouth open.
“Welcome to the multiverse,” she’d heard someone say, “now let’s get you toweled off, you have to fill out some forms.”
She was guided to a group of other doughy-eyed people, fresh out of their tanks, clothed only in a towel, eyes bright, taking in everything now that they existed, and smiling at each other.
“Hello!” a man said, “Wow, look at all these new faces!”
He stretched his arms out wide, expecting a laugh, though Lady Aesc just smiled and blinked, having never heard a laugh in her life yet.
The man sighed, “Well, as you all can see, the soul-bonding worked spectacularly. You’re the newest members of the Firmament, each of you with a firm (he chuckled) role to play in keeping the 10,000 Dawns running like clockwork. Now, sorry to say this, but even though we’ve been at this for a while, there are still some problems with the creation process, I’m afraid, and your first bodies, like all of ours, have some issues from the soul-bonding process. Hence the whole...face being covered in skin thing. You all looked faceless, and it creeps me out everytime. But look, I’m mainly here from the council to welcome you and apologize. Because well, we’re going to have to transfer you to new bodies right off. So, you know, sorry.”
They stared up at him, smiling and blinking, as the Enforcers of Knives slipped out from the shadows and slit every single one of their throats. Lady Aesc clutched her throat, gasping, crying, and then she died.
She woke up floating in a tank, now with proper eyelids and lips, and found herself sliding out of the tube, coughing onto the floor.
“There you go. We all have a false start there, miss, but welcome to the world for real now…” the man checked a tablet, “Aesculapius.”
It was with more grace and experience that Lady Aesculapius fell coughing to the floor this time, but she still remembered that first death. Her limbs were covered in the artificial amniotic fluid this new body had grown in, and behind her, dozens of her future bodies hung in their own solution, brainless and immobile. Around her, millions of other bodies were just the same, floating in their own jars.
“Hello, fancy seeing you here,” a voice said, and Lady Aesc looked up, the liquid dripping down from her hair blurring her vision. “You came out of there faster than I thought. Too bad.” Then the cudgel came down on her head, and she died again. And she felt her soul, if you can call it a soul, falling, and flying, and she dropped onto the floor again, sputtering fluid, gasping for air, crawling through shards of glass. Why was her tank broken?
“Get Enforcers in here now!” someone yelled, and a figure bolted, vanishing in a flash. Aesc felt held, someone pulling her up, wiping the solution from her eyes, pulling glass from her hands, and wrapping her in a towel. She was surrounded by robed Firmament, the people of her home planet, and they seemed panicked.
“Do you know who attacked you?” one of them asked her.
“There was a box, I opened the box, and it wasn’t a present, at least not a very good present. Honestly they need to take a class on birthdays if that’s their idea of--”
“When you arrived, someone attacked you and killed you again, correct?”
She nodded, “I don’t know who. I didn’t see them. Just heard them...”
“Damn,” the Firmament rubbed her forehead, “I don’t want you to panic, but they smashed your resurrection tanks. The bodies you’ve had in storage are...”
Aesc turned around. They weren’t kidding. The dozens of tanks, stretching far back into the seemingly endless room were all...smashed. The bodies ready to resurrect her upon dead lying scattered. “By the faceless gods,” she gasped.
“I know this has to be a shock, but...we need to know your name. They destroyed the markers on your tanks.”
“My name is...” There was a roar of wind, and the glass and blood on the ground shifted to form perfectly legible words:
Poet, Playwright, Game Designer, Writer, Freelancer for hire.