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The Nature of the Thing: the Perfect Being.

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The goblins danced their manic dance around the seven Shapers at the slab, singing their loud, rambling, wordless Song of Making. Gnashing teeth and wiry flailing limbs and claws flashed in the sickly green firelight as the shapers, their ringed fingers kneading the shining white clay into shape.

The clay figure was beautiful to the Shapers. Its long limbs and sharp claws and clever teeth were all of them perfectly formed, their clever fingers shaping its muscles over its bronze bones, spreading powdered white marble over it, mixed with all manner of poultice and brackish fluids and even the seed of the grand Goblin king, creating the thing's flesh.

And when the shapers finished forming the thing, the dancers broke into a frenzy, the pierced flesh and stained robes of the Shapers joining the dance as the Song of Making grew louder and more impassioned, eventually the rhythm became almost a thing unto itself.

Then the creature twitched once and the song was brought to a halt as the goblins all turned their dark eyes towards the stark white thing.

It made a few mewling sounds and squirmed on its slab, awkwardly pushing itself to a sitting position. It looked around the cave, at the goblins who made it, at the greenish fire and finally at its body, at its palms and hands and arms and torso and legs and it squealed. And then it screamed, the red ruby of its heart sending a bright red glow out its mouth, a little red flash behind its massive black eyes.

The assembled goblins screamed in response, silencing the creature with the force of their cries, phlegm and spittle spattering onto the creature. It anxiously scraped its clawed fingertips on the slab, pulling its lips back anxiously, half-opening its mouth and carefully tonguing its many needle-thin teeth, hissing at the assemblage. The goblins screamed out again joyously, scraping the filthy floor with their clawed toes. The perfect being cast its marble-white head around slowly, thin black hair falling into its face as it looked around the room, mouth open.

The Shapers approached their creation slowly, cooing to calm it as their brethren began to pick up great handfuls of offal and sputum and unused marble and bronze and clay, smearing themselves with it or tossing it hard at the others, laughing at the wet 'splat' sound as it contacted. Taking its massive six-fingered hand, they led it toward the great, dirty curtain in the back of the chamber. The perfect being stepped awkwardly, broad feet flexing seven clawed toes to try and get purchase on the filthy floor, claws scratching at it to try and dig in for something soft. Tilting its head to one side, it brought its long leg up off the floor, bending down to sniff at the sole of its broad foot before dropping it back to the ground, making a low, disgusted sound.

A great ring had been drawn in gold on the ground, a circle of clean surrounded by muddied water. It took a moment in the water, watching the way the orange brazier light danced on the water, splashing its feet as the Shaper-Goblins gestured it to do, the Shapers' pierced faces seeming pleased with the Perfect Being's progress. Once its feet were clean, it was guided into the circle and the Shapers slipped away. The Perfect Being turned its head back and forth slowly, massive black eyes taking it all in curiously.

The braziers flared brightly suddenly and then went out.

With a click of metal on stone, the braziers lit themselves again, burning a bright purple, long shadows springing out from the Perfect Being. It stepped toward the golden border, yelping as a surge of power pushed it back, sending its marble skin shivering some. For a time it stood in the middle of the circle, slowly turning around before it noticed a new goblin outside the circle. It was a wild-looking creature, violet firelight dancing over the myriad metal rings that had been melted or pushed into the goblin's face, a long tunic covering the goblin's torso, gold thread hanging off it. Mostly, the creature just grinned with its massive maw filled with massive teeth.

And with a barking laugh, the new goblin reached across the golden border and grasped the Perfect Being's face, strong hand holding its jaw as its other hand danced in a series of potent gestures; with a whimper, the Perfect Being found itself immobile.

Its work done, the goblin turned to shadows near the back of the chamber and bowed to them, ringed fingers and toes clacking on the floor as it scrambled away on all fours. Then the shadows parted and a grand figure stepped out of it.

He--even the genderless Being felt the figure's masculinity--was a sharp-featured creature, with pointed, pierced ears; thin lips, also pierced and narrow black eyes that pierced the Perfect Being. He spoke; the Perfect Being tilted its head as he did so, vaguely surprised that it understood him. There was a resonance to his voice, an authority.

"You are perfect. Beautiful, smooth and--I'm told--very strong."

The Perfect Being tried to nod but could not.

Stepping onto the golden barrier, the tall, masculine goblin--with his wild silver hair and his small sharp teeth and his fine, unblemished clothes--touched the Perfect Being's chin. It was then that it noticed the sharpened rock in the goblin's hand, "You are too perfect. You will make my goblins forget me." The Goblin King smiled, "I am their King. You will not take them from me."

And he plunged the blade into the marble skin around its mouth, passionlessly carving away its lips.

The Perfect Being felt the pain perfectly. Even through its marble skin and clay muscles it could feel the stone scraping against its bronzebone skull. The pain stabbed through every fiber of its consciousness, screaming louder than the goblin hordes, louder than its own pain of birth in its pointed ears. The Perfect Being tried to scream, bright red light flaring up through its bloodied mouth.

It was nearly shaking through its immobility. With a slow movement, the Goblin King grasped the flapping pieces of the Being's lip and pulled them from their moorings, tossing them over his shoulder.

"Now there is a smile only a goblin could love." The King smiled beautifully and turned on his heel then and strode into the shadows. The braziers went out again and the Perfect Being fell to the ground, howling, clawing at its face and the stone below.

Panting heavily, the Perfect Being scrambled onto all fours, clawing at the stone circle, nostrils flared wide as its blood dribbled down its chin, down its neck and down its narrow chest. Heaving itself to its feet, shaking and suddenly angered, the Perfect Being looked to the curtain behind which the green flame still burned, where the ring-bearing Shapers and lesser goblins still celebrated its birth.

And it tackled the curtain.

It tackled the creatures beyond.

Its mind was a haze of sound, of goblin flesh against its body and in its jaws, of screams and sounds and more pain. Pain as its torn flesh contacted the filthy air and spattered blood of goblins and its own components. It screamed and bled and battered at its makers until another jolt of power ran through it.

Immobile again.

It whimpered quietly.

And the pain began in earnest as the goblins turned on the Perfect Being, their joy at its birth turned easily to a feeding frenzy and the goblins descended upon it.

When it was done, the Master Shaper gathered his Shapers to him, their long, clever fingers and the many many rings they wore and the others that the Goblin King had allowed them to melt into their skin. In his low, brackish language, the Master Shaper directed the Shapers to gather up the mangled remains of the Perfect Being with its mutilated face and swollen black eyes and long, strong limbs and needle-sharp teeth and clever claws. They gathered the Perfect Being and dragged it downward.

Down to their massive home beneath the ground, farther down than any other goblin dared go. In the massive, muddy warren, the Master Shaper with his strength and wits struck a pair of bronze pikes into the ground. Under the Master Shaper's guidance, the Shapers carefully suspended their creation between the two pikes, leaving the long-limbed Being slumped forward, breathing thinly with its remaining lung, dark eyes staring aimlessly at the ground, thin, bloodied hair falling into its face, its lipless mouth hanging open, a thin trail of drool and blood dribbling down its face.

The Shapers gathered together, watching the last of the Perfect Being's life slip away, its red haze of pain finally wiped away.

In their barking, brackish tongue, the Shapers conferred around the body of the Perfect Being before the Master lit the torches, hissing words of power and turning the flame green.

And, deep in the ground, the Shapers began chanting, dancing around their Perfect Being, howling their wordless Song of Power into its corpse.

Far, far, far from the Goblin King's ears.
Current Music:
Goblin - Suspiria
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