In an effort to preserve the single planet they had the world’s inhabitants had decreed that only thirteen cities could exist for heavy populations. The wilderness was kept intact as much as possible with small villages spotting the continents here and there, each so secluded they were self reliant. The cities themselves had a limit on how far out they could spread but there were no laws against how high they could reach. As time went on the cities built layers upon themselves as the population expanded although the symptoms of the growing pains had side effects most didn’t want to deal with.
The layers had created divisions of classes, four of them to be exact, the hierarchy being High, Upper, Middle, and Lower. There was a fifth class which was considered to be the very depths of social society, far too desperate in body and soul to be mentioned or so society believed. Each class had their own names for each other but they all agreed on one. In the very core of the city, each one had such a place, was a cavern of supports that held up the tiers of the structure. No sunlight reached the cavern nor any semblance of fresh air thus it’s name The Stale, a place that none but a handful wished to be.
It wasn’t easy finding an entrance into The Stale, most of the access ports from when the city was was young had been blocked off, the denizens of the depths relying on half filled pipes for walkways. The village inside of a city was not what most people believed it was, a place of half erected tents and trash used for furniture. There was order in The Stale, the dwellings made of bricks pulled from the walls, furniture a mixture of throwaways and high end pieces stolen from the Upper and High tiers. Floating balls of light illuminated the place like a hazy dusk, the outer areas cultivated for farming plots. It was a secluded haven those in poverty prayed for.
The entire layout had a centered building the rest encircled, the original city hall in all its moss and mushroom covered granite glory. The immediate area around it had a social atmosphere, most of those that called The Stale home keeping about when they finished their daily duties. Couches and chairs were arranged here and there, tables with benches having a mixed collection of partially fresh food and craft materials.
There was but one faction that owned The Stale, an organization the outside world had yet to come to know. The Tesseract had a simple system on which they operated consisting of three ranks, and the only way in was by invitation only. The lowest rank was the Serfs, those that pledged their lives into servitude to support the beliefs of the Tesseract. The middle rank was the Engineers, people skilled in combining technology and magic to create more superior items and spells. Each Engineer had anywhere from one to seven Serfs directly under them who helped in projects, day to day tasks, and did whatever else they were told.
The top rank was the leader of them all and was simply called the Architect. The rank was reserved for the most practiced and powerful Engineer, able to combine technology and magic seamlessly as if it was it’s own element. The only way to attain the rank was by challenging the current Architect, a fight that often ended with the death of one. There was not one Engineer who wished to challenge the current Architect, the last one who had wanted to go toe to toe with him having ended up split into pieces across eighty nine different dimensions.
It was within the old city hall the Architect resided, all but the supporting walls having been knocked down to make room for more workbenches and bookshelves. Magical materials were strewn about just as pieces of tech were, wires crisscrossing along the floor while plants hung from the ceiling in pots. The windows were mostly smashed, broken bits of glass still clinging to the battered frames. In the very back was a hammock along with several mattress on the floor underneath it, piled with pillows and blankets. The Architect himself was seated in the hammock with a book laid out in his lap while his Serfs quite literally laid beneath him, waiting for their next order.
He was a half blood, the elongated and pointed ears adorned with white gold piercings with onyx stone settings. The messy black hair was pulled up in an even more tangled bun, beard somewhere between five o’clock shadow and somewhat trimmed, olive skin stretched over a lithe muscled frame. There was a more remarkable feature than the neck to toe ritual tattoo and his black cybernetic arms with white fingertips. It wasn’t the pupil-less eyes which were a golden yellow either, the glow of them faint enough to be noticed but made them stand out in darkness like a candle flame. Rather it was the black horns coming up through his hair, curving along with his skull a bit before they curled towards each other, which were akin to a dragon’s head dress. It was anyone’s guess to what he truly was but they at least knew his name, Nikolai Sven Wintier of which most called him by his last name.
“Vanilla,” he called out to one of his Serfs while he continued to read, the woman in question an albino and rather short fawn. His voice had a slight accent, hitting the consonants a bit harder than they needed to be, “Can you behave?”
She sat up in an instant, kneeling where she was and folding her hands in her lap. There was a bow of her head as she answered, “I don’t understand, sir.”
“Things did not go as planned, a crucial detail was missed. I need to know you can behave this time,” he stated, not missing a beat while he continued to read page after page, “Katryn will undoubtedly want to know why I killed her daughter. I wish to tell her in person.”
“Yes sir, I promise. Again, I’m so sorry about him,” Vanilla whimpered, hands squeezing each other as she trembled.
The book was closed and blindly handed off to a Serf while Wintier curled a finger at the fawn which had her crawling on her hands and knees to him. Sitting up in the hammock he let his legs dangle on either side, pulling Vanilla into his lap and facing him. One hand snaked up the back of her head, fingers buried into her long white hair while the other arm wrapped around her waist in preparation for what came next.
A faint gasp came from her even though she knew what exactly he was doing, the low rumble of laughter from his chest being the last thing she heard before she slipped into euphoria. Out of his fingertips had come thin needles that sunk into her scalp, releasing a chemical to induce ecstasy before it drew her blood into the vessels inside his arms.
The vampiric act benefited only him, the drawn blood being stored to process through a variety of precious gem lined filters. Immediately he feasted on the endorphins her brain released, the two enraptured in ecstasy without the need of a single sexual act. The second effect was siphoned adrenaline, that too being squirreled away in a separate space in his forearms. The strained blood was released into his own veins little by little every few days to ensure his own vitality. It was the combination of technology and magic that gave him what he needed.
After Wintier drained what he safely claim from Vanilla he let her lay in the hammock alone, pulling himself up to step barefoot towards his work section. The white button down shirt with sleeves rolled up to the elbow had only the two middle buttons done up, overlaying a black long sleeve shirt pushed halfway up his forearms. The baggy army green cargo pants were barely held up by a brown leather belt, a single long necklace of thin titanium chain having a Candarian opal pendant hanging from it.
The thrill of the feed caused him to writhe in pleasure, indulging himself by running his hands through his hair like a lover. A final shiver went down his spine before he pulled it together, standing in the middle of the massive room. With both hands raised a bit at his sides he silently recited a few words, a white glow beginning to cast shadows about as lines formed in thin air. It was a compressed air hologram, a map of the city drawing itself layer by layer before him. A few flicks of his fingers brought the High tier into perspective, details defining themselves with towers rising out of intricate courtyards.
“Gather the Engineers,” Wintier called out to his Serfs, all but Vanilla quickly making their way out to do as they were told, “I want to know who’s responsible for this mess.”
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