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The wind roars past. Someone or something is falling, and has been falling for a long time. Somewhere high above — or perhaps below, it was impossible to tell — in the great blue sky, a cloud of ink was plummeting at terminal velocities, globules of pitch-black fluid reaching out for one another desperately. As each feeble droplet connected with another, a fraction of a thought formed, and then was lost as quickly as it had come as the ink was torn asunder by the wind.

It was trying so hard to remain conscious, but it didn't even know what consciousness meant anymore. For the longest time, there had been nothing but the wind and the fragmented parts of its mind. It couldn't even remember how it had gotten here, and it couldn't think for long enough to wonder about it or feel upset. Though it had come to accept its existence, the one thought it had managed to form was that it would never stop trying to join itself back together and become whole again.

It seemed a hopeless endeavor.

As another pair of ink drops briefly link together, the beast uses one of its many disconnected eyes to look at its surrounding — quickly, before it can't anymore. To its surprise, what it sees this time is not merely the endless expanse of the sky.


Lorelei looked at the bowl she was holding before her. A droplet of rain had just fallen into it, and the ink staining the inside of the bowl was beginning to run. She looks up at the sky and tilts her head as she notes the lack of clouds in the sky.

Plop. Drop, drip.

More droplets began to fall, striking the bowl, the ground around her, and Lorelei herself. She looks around, bewildered.

A drop falls right on the bridge of her nose. She wipes it off, and examines the fluid falling from the sky. With a gasp, she drops the bowl, shattering it upon the ground — much to the dismay of the keeper of its display.

This isn't rain at all. she thinks. Rain isn't black. This is…


A massive glob of black fluid strikes the display, shattering the glass case and all of the bowls inside.


As Sinclair rounded the corner from which he had been sheltering from the noise of the Festival, the source of the disturbance became immediately apparent. A downpour of jet-black fluid was coming down from the sky, shattering displays and ruining floats and soaking all of the attendees of the parade.

People were screaming as the substance crashed into things around them. Luckily, it didn't seem to be falling hard enough to kill anyone, or the sight would have been made all the more horrible. Sinclair strode along the crowd, his trench coat swilling in the wind. He soaked himself in the fluid, as his mind raced trying to determine how best to contain the situation.

He approached a podium in the center of the town square through which the parade had been riding, and searched for the microphone. He gave it a few experimental taps and was met with the familiar mic feedback, drawing the attention of the panicked crowd. Fighting against his nerves, he began to speak into the microphone.

"Everyone, take shelter. Your Supervisor will have the situation under control briefly, but for the time being we need to mitigate the damage. Get inside and await further instructions."

He put the mic down and began to walk confidently off of the stage. As he did so, the crowd began to disperse, rushing for shelter from the onslaught of pitch raining from the sky. Sinclair absentmindedly licked his lips, and as he did so he took a few droplets that had fallen onto his face with his tongue.

With curiosity, he noted the taste of the fluid. It was strong, and tasted very bitter. Just like…

He stopped dead in his tracks.


The Chronicler swirled her fork around in her pasta, picking it up and examining it, and setting it back down. Duoca was chowing down happily across the table from her, but she could hardly contain her nerves. The sound of the parade passing by was ruining the experience of a good meal, and despite how her stomach roared she found it difficult to put any of her food into her mouth.

"If only I had brought my earplugs…" she murmured.

Duoca looked up from her plate, and attempted to speak through a mouthful of spaghetti. All that came out was unintelligible and muffled.

The Chronicler sighed. "Don't speak with your mouth full, Duoca."

Duoca swallowed her food. "Sorry. You aren't eating your food?"

"I want to, but it's too loud out here."

"Why would that stop you from eating?"

The Chronicler put her head against her hand and pondered this for a moment.

"I don't really know. It just feels like… if I do anything else right now, I'll overload myself. I'm already almost paralyzed from the noise alone."

"Oh. Do you want to go somewhere more quiet, then?" asked Duoca.

"Yes, please."

The two began to gather their things. Duoca looked around confusedly, but The Chronicler paid her no mind. She was doing her best to drown out the sounds of the outside world at the moment, and hadn't noticed the source of her friend's confusion.

Duoca tapped her on the shoulder, snapping her back to reality. The flood of sound she had been trying to tune out suddenly reached her all at once, but she fought against it.

"What is it?" she asked, a little more aggressively than intended.

"There's people screaming out there." said Duoca.

"Yeah, people are want to do that. It's a celebration, so they don't know how to shut their big mouths." The Chronicler responded.

"It doesn't just sound like celebrating—"

At that moment, the voice of the Head Supervisor came out of the speakers from the nearby town square.

"Everyone, take shelter. Your Supervisor will have the situation under control briefly…"

The Chronicler covered her ears against the additional source of noise, and went back to collecting her things.

Finally, everything seemed to be in order, and the two of them could take their leave and find somewhere more quiet to eat. The Chronicler turned around to pick up her plate of spaghetti…

…and found it covered in something black.

She looked around, bewildered, and called back into the restaurant. "Uh, waiter? I don't remember asking for squid ink in my spaghetti."

The ink monster bubbled in the center of the town square, watching impassively as the crowd dispersed around it and the festivities came to a close. It had only just landed, and had to take some time to get its bearings.

Eyes? Check. Mouths? Check. Roiling mass of ink? Check.

Everything seemed to be in order. It felt good to be back, to be able to think and perceive. Falling high above the sky for who even knows how long, it had been deprived of all sensory stimulation and conscious thought. But here it was, back on the ground, and already its prey was running in terror.

It felt good to be back, indeed.

The beast gathered itself up and lurched forwards, crushing a number of floats underneath its girth and staining them beyond any hope of repair with black ink. The crowd screamed louder as the beast approached, and it delighted in their fear.

Whatever the beast may have been once upon a time, it cared not. Now, all there was the joy of terrorization and the powerful sensation of being an unstoppable monster. Though it may have been temporarily thwarted, the ink monster held itself high with the pride of knowing that despite all odds, it had survived.

To celebrate its return, it toppled itself over on some stragglers and swallowed them up whole. The fun had finally begun.

Lorelei was running now, faster than she had run in over a decade. Panting, she sprints down an alley, carrying a number of bowls stained in ink, her feet pattering against the dry cobblestones.

As she rounds the corner, something horrid surges behind her — something that she thought she had left behind all those years ago. It was a something that cannot be easily described in words, yet she cared not to think too long about what it looked like. All she cared about now was getting away. Behind her, the beast topples over on some straggling citizens, swallowing them whole. And she is aware of this fact.

As she runs down the winding side roads of The Library, the beast wreaking havoc in the town square far behind her, she finds herself wondering in a panic,

How did it end up here?

Sinclair dropped the mic, and surveyed the scene below. He'd remembered the perpetrator from Lorelei's accounts. When she had adopted The Chronicler, she came to him first to ask for help, and told her all that had happened on that night. He had provided her with some financial aid and would watch after The Chronicler if it was needed, all in an effort to help the two move past their trauma and build a better future.

And now the very beast that had changed both Lorelei and The Chronicler's lives was back.

History repeats, thought Sinclair.

As he watched and mused over the scene, he noticed that the ink monster had suddenly sprung into action. Before he had any time to process it, it had already crushed several floats and swallowed up straggling citizens inside of its mass.

Oh, dear. Time to spring into action myself.

He stepped off of the podium and marched diligently towards the invader.

The Chronicler now stood frozen in fear. Having thrown out her plate of spaghetti, now ruined by ink that seemingly fell from the sky, in a huff she had spun around and began to walk dutifully out of the restaurant, trailing Duoca behind, when she saw it.

In the center of the town square, the festivities had come to a stop. The source of the ink that fell from the sky was now identified: a beast made out of roiling and bubbling ink and filled with more eyes and mouths than you could count. It was wreaking havoc on the Festival of the Lost, destroying floats and food carts and stands and stalls and worst of all, crushing people under its own weight and swallowing them whole.

It was her worst nightmare, back from the dead. She stood there, quivering, as she matched the beast before her to the very one that Lorelei had told her stories about. She had figured out she was adopted relatively quickly, as she looked nothing like Lorelei and had no name of her own to go by. When the time had come, she asked Lorelei about who her parents were and why she had been adopted.

And she had been told a horror story — one of a beast that must have killed her parents, and one that was poised to take her with them and would have succeeded had it not been for the intervention of Lorelei, who was drawn by The Chronicler's infantile screams.

That beast had taken everything from her. Though she still had a nice life, and a nice motherly figure, she had never really been able to forget about that story and constantly rued the day that the beast stole her family and her name. In any other person's mind, revenge would have been in order.

But The Chronicler was not a vengeful girl. And so it was that what she might have called "calculations" manifested in her mind, moved further down into her legs, and took hold of them. Before she knew it, she was running.

"Hey— wait! Where are you going?!" shouted Duoca, as she turned and ran after her friend.

"Away from here!" shouted The Chronicler.

"What? Why? They're putting on a nice show out there!" called Duoca.

"No they're not! That's a twisted Figment!"

"Oh, it is?" asked Duoca.

"Yes! It's the one that killed my parents!"

"Oh. It is?" asked Duoca again, stopping in her tracks.

"Yes!! Now get moving!" cried The Chronicler.

Duoca turned back at the beast in the center of the town, thinking.

"I don't care if you're sick… no twisted Figment hurts my friend!"

Duoca turned and ran directly towards the mass of ink.

Now this was an interesting development. The beast paused momentarily in its carnage, and inspected the people below it. Though many of its victims were running away from it, there seemed to be two that were running right for it.

Perhaps they were that excited to meet their doom. Oh well. It took a bit of the fun out of it, but it couldn't say no to a free meal.

The bubbling mass of ink shifted forwards, and then moved its several eyes, analyzing its willing victims. Which one would it go for first?

There was the man in the black trench coat, walking slowly towards it like he knew what he was doing. Such confidence would almost have been scary, were it not for the fact that the monster wasn't sure if it could even feel anything like fear anymore. All that was up there was anger, delight, and hunger.

Then, there was the girl in the blue and red checkered shirt, running right for it with reckless abandon. One would have to be either very courageous or very idiotic to approach a monster with such fervor, and the beast cared not to figure out which.

In the end, the choice was easy enough to make. It came down to the simple matter of: who was closer?

It lurched towards the small girl, and toppled itself onto her.

As Sinclair marched towards the beast, he thought about his course of action. He would need to force the beast to listen to him. But in order to get it to listen, he would have to find what it was at its core. A task that would have been much easier were Altair around.

But he wasn't, and likely had no idea about the calamity at the Festival, so Sinclair would have to make do. He had prepared for a time like this, and managed to pick up a little of the skill himself. This would be the first time he was using it, so he would have to—

His train of thought came to a grinding halt as he noticed another figure out of the corner of his eye. Someone else was heading for the beast. He thought he had told them all to stay inside.

As quickly as it had come to a halt, his train of thought quickly revved back into motion, grinding down a different track entirely. His plan of action as to dealing with the beast itself would have to wait — he now had to figure out what to do about this hapless citizen who was bravely — or stupidly, he never could tell — rushing right at the monster with determination sharp enough to cut steel.

"Stop!" he shouted. "Your Supervisor has it under control, I said. Get back to safety!"

The vigilante ignored his pleas and attempts to restore their security in the face of danger. This was unusual. Most of the time, people would listen to him without question, but he had never faced determination strong enough to ignore him entirely. It was time to shift to a different track.

If this citizen wouldn't listen to him, and would willingly risk their own life in the sake of justice, he would have to resume his original course of action and quickly get the beast under control before it could bring any more harm. He resumed his swift march, picking up the pace and trying to get to the beast before…

It was too late. The ink enveloped the citizen, and lurched back up to its full height.

He shook his head. It was never too late. He didn't know what exactly happened to people when they were swallowed by that beast, but there was a small chance that they could still be alive in there. If he could get to it in time, he might be able to save them.

He stood before the beast, and locked eyes with one of its many sets. Before the beast had a chance to move, he held a hand up and commanded:


And to its surprise, it did.

Sinclair closed his eyes, his hand still held high, and looked deeply into the creature's mind.

This was an interesting dilemma.

For as long as it had known itself to exist, the ink monster had prided itself in the fact that it was owned by no one. It was master of all, and destroyer of all that it could not master. It had never been mastered, until now.

After swallowing the girl, the man in the trench coat had suddenly approached the beast and commanded it to stop. And despite how it willed itself to swallow him as well, it found that it could not move. This distressed it greatly.

Further distressing, was the feeling of someone or something probing around inside of its excuse for a mind shortly thereafter. It heard the man's voice, but it didn't really hear it more than it thought it, or had it thought for it.

Show me who you really are. it said.

Who I really am? the beast thought. Why, I'm just me.

The voice ignored this, and pressed further, forcing the beast to open up walls in its mind that it hadn't even known were there. It hurt to feel your own psyche being torn apart, in a desperate search for something — anything, to grab onto. It was a dragon, and its mind was its hoard, and as far as it thought it should be concerned, this man invading its mind was little more than a hapless knight seeking to steal its treasure.

And like a dragon, it fought back.

In the palace of its mind, the dragon approached the knight, and as it stepped towards him, the walls he had torn through began to heal. He turned back, suddenly scared of what he had found, but the dragon grabbed him by the scruff of his neck and brought him up to eye level.

It puffed its nostrils at him, and he spoke.

I'm sorry, thought Sinclair. I didn't realize that this place was so well guarded. I might have gotten myself into more than I can handle.

The dragon stared at him.

I suppose you're waiting for an explanation… he thought. But you aren't going to get one from me.

In the dragon's grip, Sinclair wriggled himself around, and watched as the last of the walls he had torn through restored itself. He was now really and truly trapped inside of a foreign mind. There was only one way out.

He kicked the dragon in the snout, bringing up a painful memory he had found, and as it clutched at its face and dropped him, he sprinted out of sight and hid.

The knight had had the audacity to fight back. This too, was surprising. The ink monster was finding itself rather out of its element, but it would not allow this transgression to go unpunished. Swiftly, the dragon swooped around, its tail knocking against pillars and collapsing whole shelves of memory, its eyes scanning the ground for the little knight.

It thought it saw a flicker out of the corner of its eye, and with gusto brought its tail down hard, tearing locked-away memories out of the wall and toppling them to the ground. Surely that ought to have taken care of him.

Another flicker of movement. No? It would just have to try again, then.

It whipped its tail repeatedly, at pillars, shelves, and walls, slowly toppling the kingdom of its own psyche. It didn't care very much for these hidden memories regardless; all it needed was the anger, the hunger, and the primal delight of terrorizing innocents. If it had to bring down everything just to get rid of one pesky invader in its mind, that would be just what it would do.

Through all of this, Sinclair darted behind pillars and between shelves, grabbing at memories that fell like debris from the sky as the dragon wreaked havoc on its mind. He hadn't expected things to go quite so poorly when invading the ink monster's mind, but the results he had gained were nevertheless favorable.

He thought idly that perhaps he ought to stop trying to grab memories at all, and just let the creature destroy itself, but curiosity got the better of him. It was better in his mind, to at least know who the creature was before getting rid of it.

As he read the memories falling from all around him, a stunning picture began to build up.

The creature that had killed The Chronicler's parents had originally belonged to them. And what was more, The Chronicler's parents were no less than The Critics, the most infamous and hated pair of muses in the Muses' College some 15 years ago, before the Imagination Wars brought everything related to figmentation to a pause.

The Critics believed that Figments existed not to be guided and allowed to become their own people and form their own beliefs about the world, and rather that Figments should be used. If a Figment could not serve a Librarian a productive purpose, then to The Critics it was a waste of writing and Ebnestra. They were wholehearted believers in using figmentation to create public works, innovations, and newfangled devices, and most grim of all: laborers, who could be worked to degrees much higher than anything a Librarian could handle.

They didn't believe that Figments should be people.

Looking at it now, it was not hard for Sinclair to see how this Figment could have been emboldened by the Imagination Wars and why it would have risen up and become a killer. He almost began to feel sympathy for it—

And then the tail thwapped against the wall right next to him, and he snapped back to reality.

No, the fact remained that in spite of who the ink monster may have been in life, it was now nothing more than a coldblooded killer, and was trying to kill him right now. He pocketed the memories and made a mental note to review them later, then he steeled himself, dodging out of the way of another thwap of the dragon's tail, and darting to the next pillar.

Some tireless hours later, Sinclair found himself back in his own mind, sitting in a daze in the middle of an ink-covered town square.

Next to him, coughing up ink, was the girl in red and blue checkered clothing, the hapless, courageous citizen who had tried despite his warnings to take on the ink monster herself. Further around them, were several other citizens that the ink monster had managed to swallow up.

He stood up, and rubbed his head, surveying the scene around him. Laying all across the Festival grounds were piles of eyes and mouths laying in thick puddles of ink. It seemed that the beast had successfully destroyed its own mind, and with it, itself.

Sinclair leaned down, and addressed the girl who had plunged headfirst into the beast.

"That was a dangerous move, girl." he said. "You could very easily have died, you know that, right?"

Through coughs of ink, Duoca replied. "As long as it meant The Chronicler would be safe."

Sinclair raised an eyebrow. "The Chronicler? Do you know her? Forgive me for my curiosity, but she doesn't have many friends."

"My name is—" she coughed again, "Duoca. I'm The Chronicler's new best friend, and I devoted myself to keeping her happy and safe."

"A valiant motivation," he said. "I commend your courage. I am glad that you did not, in fact, die to that beast."

"Yeah, me too…" she said, looking a little sullen. "I was hoping I could have fought it off myself. But I guess you took care of it."

"It was nothing major," said Sinclair, humbly. "Just a simple invasion of the mind."

And he found himself surprised to find a pair of ink-stained arms hugging his waist.

"Thank you, sir." said Duoca. "Thank you for all of your hard work."

The role of The Head Supervisor was normally a thankless job, as he was a figure meant only to watch and control from behind the scenes. It was a nice change of pace to receive gratitude. He tried not to let it get to his head, but failed, and felt a smile slowly break out across his face.

It had been a job well done.

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