The Steampunk Empire

The Crossroads of the Aether




Thorne is pulling Laurie through the woods when he jerks and staggers against a tree.  Laurie gives Thorne a cold, mocking smile.



          Did you feel that Krato?  Your

          slaves have paid the price for

          your arrogance and pride, just

          as I did.



          What of it, I can create more

          as I need them…


He grabs her by the shoulders.



          …And I still have you…


He bears his fangs.



          …So all I need to do is this.


He pulls her in for a bite.  Laurie gives him a mocking smile in response.



          Oh, Krato, you arrogant fool…you

          still don't understand.


Laurie opens her mouth wide and ectoplasm flies from it into Thorne's.  For a beat Thorne stands there twitching and gagging as his skin glows and his features become fuzzy as if they are out of focus.


                    PHYRISSA (v.o.)

          …This innocent child is not me

          reborn, though she is also of the

          ancient Blood Imperial, but not

          to her knowledge…


A feminine spirit and a spirit that looks twisted and demonic come struggling halfway out of Thorne's body, and wrestle for a beat with the demonic spirit apparently getting the worst of it.



          …So when you made your ritual,

          I left the Land Of The Dead and

          took possession of my kinswoman

          to protect her from your madness…


The two spirits continue to battle each other for a beat, and sink back inside Thorne. 



          …And now, Krato, it is time to

          to end it.


Thorne, screaming in agony and his body glowing like something radioactive, flies up into the night sky screaming like a banshee.  Blazing like a comet, he tears off over the trees into the horizon.


Laurie collapses to the ground, sobbing and trembling.  John enters and sees her.  He walks over to Laurie, takes her hand and pulls her gently to her feet.  Laurie looks up at him.



          What happened?  The last thing

          I remember is I was in this strange

          room in Thorne’s house…


John slides a comforting arm around her shoulders.



          It’s alright, it’s over…


Ferris watches them from the bushes.  He rises with a bowie knife poised to throw.  Laurie sees him and her eyes widen.



          Look out!


Ferris flings the knife, and it flies towards John and Laurie.  John dives to the ground, pulling the frightened girl down with him.  The bowie knife sails over their heads and sinks quivering into a tree trunk.


Ferris comes out of the bushes, a blazing six-gun in his hand.  John shoves Laurie away as bullets tear into the ground where they were.  John scrambles to his knees pulling at his remaining handgun.


John gets his revolver out but Ferris is on him and tackles John back to the ground, sending the handgun flying into the air.  Snarling like a wild beast Ferris puts the muzzle of his gun into John's face and cocks it.



          You did have to shoot me in the

          same goddamned leg, didn’t you?


A shot rings out o.s. and a blood patch appears on Ferris back.  Ferris grunts and staggers as another shot tears into him.  He turns around to see Laurie holding John's smoking gun.


Ferris tries to rise and Laurie fires again.  The bullet rips into Ferris' left breast.  With an incredulous look on his face Ferris stares at the wound in his chest for a beat and falls heavily to the ground.


For a beat Laurie stands there sobbing, then she drops the gun.  John raises slowly and walks over to her.  He gently wraps the crying girl into his arms, and caresses her soothingly.



          Shhh, it’s alright you only did

          what had to be done.


Frenchy, Jack, and Jim come in with the outlaws close behind.  Frenchy sees Laurie and John holding onto each other, and her expression becomes icy.



          Ohhh, were you about to help the

          fair damsel out of her distress?


John turns and gives Frenchy a sardonic grin and turns back to Laurie.



          I think that you'd better go over

          to your young man and let him do



Laurie nods, and pulls away from John to go over to Jim and embrace him.  John goes over to Frenchy, who's glowering at him dangerously.



          You know what, you're beautiful

          when you're jealous.



          Ohhh, don't flatter your…


John grabs her, pulls her up close, and plants a kiss on her.  She resists briefly, but within a beat she is returning it eagerly.  Donnelly and Blavatsky enter.



          Is it over?  Are we safe from that



Frenchy sighs and gives Donnelly a dirty look.



          Yes, Congressman Donnelly, you're

          safe.  No one's going to stick

          a pin in you and let all the hot

          air out.


Donnelly shrinks back, and Frenchy turns back to John.



          Now, where were we?


She kisses him.  Laurie turns to Jim.



          You know what,I think that they’ve

          got the right idea.


She kisses him, and he returns it eagerly, to the grinning approval of the outlaws.





Laurie and Jim come out of a church and are hit with a shower of rice.  John, and Frenchy help pelt them as they run to a waiting buckboard covered with flowers.  Once Jim drives the buckboard off John turns to Frenchy.



          So, Laurie lost all memory of her

          possession once Phyrissa was gone?



          Yes, and it's all for the best.

          Millennia old ghosts are best left

          in their graves.



          And what about Thorne?



          Who knows, but I doubt he'll bother

          with Prosperity again.  That table

          has definitely grown cold.  Anyway

          Laurie knows what to do…


They walk away from the crowd.



          …Like keeping crosses on the

          walls, and making sure her garden

          is full of garlic and wild roses

          that should keep Thorne away.



          It'll probably keep most people

away.  Including me…


John looks back at Donnelly cheerfully going through the crowd and working it like he's running for reelection.  John wraps a warm arm around Frenchy.



          You think we should tell Congressman

          Donnelly that the Ithacan Foundation

          had more to do with arranging

          the general amnesty than he did?


Frenchy gives him a wry smile.



          What, tell a politician that there's

          someone with more influence than

          he has?  How could you be so cruel?


Jack runs up to them and looks around nervously.



          Quick, can you hide me?



          From what?



          From that Blavatsky woman, she

          thinks I knew her in somethin'

          called a "past life" and she… 


Blavatsky comes out of the crowd.  She spots Jack and waves cheerfully at him.


                    BLAVATSKY (o.s.)

          Yoo hoo, Mr. Trevellyn!



          Hell and damnation!


He takes off like a frightened rabbit with Blavatsky close on his heels.



          Poor Jack, he'll have to wait

          awhile for his happy ending.


John looks into Frenchy’s eyes, and pulls her in closer.



          And what about us?



          Oh, we don't get a happy ending,

          we get another assignment.


John laughs and kisses her.



          We do make a lively team, don't



She laughs and slides her arms around his neck.



          We do work well together.


They kiss again and go into a clinch.





In a cave lit by a small campfire, a disheveled Thorne sits by a large box filled with earth.  Gathered around him is a horde of rats, drawn by the ancient bond between their tribe, and the Undead.


Thorne reaches out and picks up a large rat and strokes it gently, cooing to it like a kitten for a beat or two.  With an almost sad, regretful expression he looks into its face petting it soothingly.



          Sorry, little one…but it must be

          this way.


He bears his fangs and bites into it.  The rat squeals horribly as it dies.



          The blood is the life, after all.


He unceremoniously tosses the dead rat away and reaches for another.



          …And I must live…above all.












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Comment by Saelia Bacon on March 22, 2012 at 7:49pm

Very nice ending, sir! It's got the humor and romance. Above all, Thorne got what he had coming.

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