Chapter 8 Page 5
Posted November 16, 2022 at 04:17 pm

**EDIT** Taking the week off to spend time with my family for Thanksgiving! See you next week!

It's been a while since we've seen what these little freaks were up to. Thanks for reading!



        A crisp fall breeze blew through the drafty halls of the Slanted Manse, but Doorman didn’t feel it. Without his will focused on the world, it passed beneath him. His shadow stretched an hour or two behind the angle of the sun, and the light of the late afternoon streaming in through the shattered kitchen window hesitated on the brass of his body, uncertain how reflective it should be. Doorman’s thoughts were elsewhere, far away.

        He slid a key into his cufflink’s keyhole, the one belonging to the jewelry box that the angel had brought to life and sent to sneak inside the West Hill Water Tower. With a flash of red energy, a portal replaced his hand, and water streamed into the living teakettle wriggling impatiently on the countertop.

        Doorman let out a weary sigh.

        “You gotta use him,” Nin repeated once again. She was perched upon a ruined cupboard above him, and in the rafters, and on a toppled chair nearby, and several other places besides that. “I was against letting a human hang out here in the first place. Now we finally have a reason for the risk, and you won’t use him??”

        Doorman turned the key with a click, closing the portal, and shook the last trickle of water from his hand. “I will not entangle Isaac in our problems.”

        “Come on,” groaned Nin, rolling about a dozen pairs of eyes. “The whole sphinx litter likely knows this is our base now. Forge is missing. Richard Spender probably ganked him and definitely saw you through your portal—”

        “The briefest glance. And he does not know who I am.” Doorman couldn’t raise the words above a murmur. It wasn’t a lie, but if Richard Spender inquired about what he’d seen, if he described his face and powers to Boss Leader or his mentor Master Guerra...

        Nin threw up her little rabbit hands. “That’s GREAT, Doormy! Two of three disasters potentially delayed

        Another Nin continued where she’d left off, adding “Thank goodness that the STRONGEST SPECTRAL has to sleuth a bit before he blasts us with the beam that beat a WIGHT!”

        Doorman flicked two spindly fingers against each other, and the resulting spark became a gentle flame that slowly enveloped his hand. It was a fraction of Forge’s power, the most the angel could accept and share. There was no getting around it, not with redemption as the blacksmith spirit’s sole stake in her cause... Doorman knew better than many that this could never be a purely selfless goal. He stared at the flickering flame in his palm. This sign of Forge’s faith, meager as it was, couldn’t even prove that he still lived—strength lent to the angel lingered after those that gave it passed. He hoped its absence hadn’t meant the difference between deliverance and defeat.

        The best Doorman could do with it in Forge’s place was boil water. He set his burning hand against the kettle, which purred as its contents began to steam.

        Pop! A brand new Nin appeared on the counter in a puff of black spectral energy. “We need intel, Doormy. I’m not saying you can’t be subtle, but we gotta know what happened on the ghost train. We gotta know if Spender’s on our tail! And we GOTTA know if Isaac’s friend—”

        “Please, Nin. Enough.” The fatigue in Doorman’s voice gave his companion pause. Silence hung between them as Doorman poured hot water into a fidgeting set of teacups.

        He knew why Nin was desperate. In the secret battle that spanned Mayview, they had fallen far behind. It was hard to find spirits willing to work alongside them once they learned the struggle’s prize. Too many wanted it for themselves, or thought it best if it remained unclaimed. And the rest...

        Candlepin, Facade, and Quiz Knight had been eaten by the Witch. Richard Spender and his students had destroyed Fearsay, and now most likely Forge, too, before their strength could make a difference. Muse had betrayed the group and been handily defeated in a duel with Master Guerra. Flipflop, Hiphop, and Switchswatch, the bumbling disciples of Polaris, had promised aid for help finding their teacher... but they were picked off one by one before Doorman could trust them with the truth.

        There were so few left who understood. It had to be her. Not the Witch, not the Great Sphinx rejoined as it once was, and not whatever devil led the Death Cult. Her. The best of the broken, born anew. This was how he’d set it right. This was how Doorman would undo what he’d aided. Before another aspirant could fuel their own ascension, he would see the angel claim the power. She would be the next Great Wight, not any other.

        No matter the stakes, though, Doorman couldn’t let himself treat Isaac as an asset. That had never been his intention, reaching out, but if he involved him now, it would recast every last word that they’d exchanged.

        No. No. Doorman would simply serve him tea and ask him how he’d been.

        Nin cast an apologetic glance up at her friend. “...We could put it to a vote,” she mumbled.

        “That would hardly be fair,” laughed Doorman, looking at all the many duplicates arranged around the room.

        “We don’t all agree about everything!” called out a couple Nins in chorus. Doorman stooped out of the room, trying not to let his chuckling spill the tea.