The five of them met for the first time only after the Technocracy was defeated. Each of them had one of the items. Joan and Bernadette, Children of Ether, had the bracelet and the ring respectively. Adahare, the Romani Vampire, had the necklace. Siobhan, the Ceilican, had the sword. Gremio, the unseelie Sluagh, had the belt buckle. It was nearing midnight, and all of them were exhausted from the events of the day. Each of the items was set with the same kind of coin, and each of them was numbered one through five. None of the group knew from where the items had come. Each of them had acquired them independently. It seemed only chance that they were gathered now, at the World’s Fair Art Pavillion.

When they came together on the steps, an arc of blue light appeared between the objects for a moment. They didn’t have time to speak. The air ripped open in front of them, forming a tear in the fabric of reality. A figure stumbled out into the night air. They could see it was emaciated beneath its green robes, and it wore a mask made of a deer skull.

“You!” Siobhan shouted. The others merely stood there in stunned confusion.

“Fools!” the figure shouted in a woman’s voice, “Scatter!” She waved her finger and Gremio was sent flying, hundreds of yards away.

Behind the woman a giant glass spider appeared. It was entirely transparent, and it reflected light from the gas lamps everywhere around it in stunning patterns.

It let out a series of clicks as it stood there.

The woman in the deer mask held out her hand to Siobhan, “Give me Excalibur!”

“Excalibur?” Siobhan exclaimed.

The spider let out a hiss and a voice resounded, “How are you hiding from me Morgan?”

“Give it to me now!” The woman in the deer mask cried, she clapped her hands together and Siobhan disappeared. Now the sword was in her hand. She slashed at the spider’s terrifying face. Clear liquid poured out of its wounds.

“Why can’t I see you?” the spider hissed, and turned from side to side on its long spindly legs.
Gremio returned, running up the steps, and the spider called out, “There you are!” It shot out silk all over the woman in the deer mask, and she was caught.

“No!” she screamed, as the spider pulled her towards the tear in the fabric of reality. She tried to cut the strands with her sword, but it was also locked up in the sticky web.

Blue light arced out of their objects, and they too were pulled into the tear. Then for a few moments they felt like they were falling through darkness.

When they were able to see, they found themselves on a strange shore. Blue water stretched out before them. Everywhere on the beach, apple trees were growing.

The woman in the skull mask was standing there too.

“You can’t keep me in here forever!” she screamed at the sky, shaking her sword.

“I’ll get out! When the world ends, I’ll get out!”



The 1904 World's Fair sofinisba