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GM

 

"That is really quite beautiful, sir" replied Miss Longfield, contemplating his words, particularly the last ones. 

 

"I daresay Mr. Fiddle is worth seeing. Even I have heard of his reputation" she added, meekness and curiousity in her contemplation. 

 

"Hurrah hurrah! Lord Rhodes is here!" came a cry, almost like a trumpet. For the first time in a while, Dreanought was not the centre of attention, for Lord Rhodes was indeed pacing towards his wife to be. 

 

He was a fit man in his early fifties, or perhaps a few younger, with an elegant fur coat, thinning but well groomed blonde hair, and a monocle for effect. He was clean shaven and had a big square jaw. All in all he was a fairly handsome man for his age, with one or two small scars to indicate he was a man of action. 

 

"Aha! I have arrived! Thank you ladies, Thank you gentleman! Huzzah!" he roared, egging on the crowd, as his eyes drank in Anna Longfield. 

 

"And what's this? A giant come to steal away my lovely pudding!" he said, almost licking his lips and salivating. "I have a ravenous appetite for my dear beautiful Anna! What a delight she is! She will look quite divine on my arm, what what?" he laughed to the crowd. 

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"Aye, a giant from Liverpool, or a Norwegian troll, if the rumors are to be believed sir; though i would never dream of taking such a delightful young lady captive, people are not possessions after all." he says with a thin smile of disdain as he steps forth once again, thudding across the landscape as he closes the distance between himself and the lord "Tis a pleasure to meet you sir, though i must say i thought you'd be taller...then i'd thought the same of a great many people so i am used to that particular disappointment." he adds as he holds out his hand to the gentleman "You're a brave sort sir, perhaps you'd be willing to shake hands with me?" he says with a hint of challenge "your young lady friend was bold enough to extend the courtesy to me." he adds

 

he didn't intend to injure him of course, though he was tempted, this "gentleman" was a creature enslaved to his appetites and whilst it would be easy to injure him purposefully he simply hoped that he would decline and diminish his standing in the view of the people around him but he had a plan even if he did accept.

Edited by Exaccus

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GM

 

Lord Rhodes could not, of course, refuse. He offered his hand most boldly. Perhaps he was afraid, but in truth, his biggest fear was looking afraid and so in this unpalatable situation he did not delay, his hand (so to speak) was forced by his hubris. 

 

"Why certainly Sir! Why how I would love to have you hacking down the Jungles of Africa or the Amazon, clearing us a path, what what! Or maybe hacking down some of the primitive savages that live there. Why, what filthy brutes they are! Still, nothing a big backhanded slap from the Giant of Liverpool would not sort out har har!" he said, jolly as you like. 

 

At this point, Doctor Armitage interceded. His black eyes were most hard to read, but he seemed to find Lord Rhodes a stupid oaf. 

 

"Why, I did not know you were such an authority on the science of athropology, Sir?" he said, giving a snide look and a snide smile. 

 

"Anthrowhat?" jumped Lord Rhodes, who found Armitage uncomfortable. There was no denying the presence of Armitage, that was sure. "Oh some fancy science or something like that. I sir, am I man of action..." he mumbled, wilting under the presence of Armitage for all his bluster. 

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"ahh, and you sir, must be doctor armitage, i have heard tell of you from Mister fiddler." he says cooly as he turns, giving lord Rhodes a gentle pat on the shoulder , just enough to make his knees tremble slightly as he turns to face "Its good to meet you sir, i feel like you and I will be getting to know each other very well before i depart." he says solemnly

 

He had his theories of course, that rhoads was in love with longfield and that this faustian bargain he was about to make would no doubt be an act of desperation, though in his own way he was similar to rhoades, concerned only with his own desires and wants, willing to consort with the infernal and the inhuman to attain his desires rather than simply convince Ms longfield to elope with him.

 

"Very well indeed."

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GM

 

Doctor Armitage smiled in reply, still studying Dreadnought carefully. Lord Rhodes kind of melted away, trying to shuffle sideways in the face of the titans of wit and brawn in front of him. 

 

He didn't of course like the bruising to his ego, and grabbed Anna Longfield a little roughly, pulling her away. "Come dear! Let us see the fireworks that celebrate my return!" he said, rather loudly and crudely, such that a few brave souls gave a tut at his oafish manner. 

 

"I think you will understand Lord Rhodes is not the finest example of British aristocracy" said Doctor Armitage to Dreadnought. "Lord and Ladies do not thrive on merit, nor wither for lack of it. Unlike, I dare say, you and I, who I would presume, live by it, and for it..."

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"Indeed, I find him...wanting, it is sad that people can be born into such crippling wealth and privilege that it reduces them to creatures of appetites and inflict themselves on others" he says thoughtfully "sadder still when men are driven to acts of dark desperation by systems that would make slaves of them, "

 

Probing at Armitage's defences was going to prove difficult but much like himself, he was merely a man, one who had needs, fears, desires and the like, it was simply a matter of finding one he has less armour on.

 

"That said sir, Such things cannot stand, not forever, the foundations crumble and the walls of jericho fall to thunderous applause."

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GM

 

"Yes..." said Armitage. For a moment, the man showed the faintest chink in his self control. A little greedy smile, a little passion flowing. "And mayhap the walls should crumble sooner rather than later? What say you? Rumblings of discontent at the state of the world, closed minds, closed hearts. Liberty in chains, why it is sometimes enough to make a man wish to push those walls rather than simply wait for time to take action..."

 

He paused and regained a little composure. 

 

"But forgive me. I am a medical man, I see many cases of lunacy, you see. I sometimes let their vexations become my own. Fascinating insights into the nature of the human mind, though, the mad" he said, becoming a little distracted. 

 

"I dare say you have the same problems in....when was it? Liverpool?" he said, letting the word deliberately slip. 

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"all things come in due time, it is merely ours to make the most of that which is given to us, Doctor." he answered plainly "lest the harvest be unripe and spoiled."

 

He had nothing to hide but he was rather enjoying himself sparing with this man, verbally though it may be "Aye, liverpool sir, may she stand for another hundred and fifty years, travelling into ever brighter futures, No offense to norway o' course, but no place is as beautiful as ones home."

 

Turning to regard the sights of the city at night even as he looked for Ms Longfield, now noticing that She'd disappeared With the oaf dragging her along. "what a brute that man is, Like a gorilla in a tweed suit...." he mumbles audiably

 

"But aye sir, change must be cultivated and slowly reared, less the walls crumble onto them that pushes at them."

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GM

 

"Perhaps, Sir" said Doctor Armitage stroking his nearly trimmed beard. "But I am yet to be convinced on the matter. No action is still an action. The mind of man is disposed towards inactivity, for we are more comfortable in taking responsibility for our lack of action than we are towards the reverse. And yet, if one is bold and fearless, it is action that defines us, not the lack of it"

 

He turned to the warmth of the bonfire. 

 

"Do we stand by and drink in the fire's light, and heat? Passive but comfortable, or do we stare into the fury of the combustion, and master it?" he said, greedily. 

 

He turned back to Dreadnought. "You are a man of extraordinary strength and might, I am sure. You have the power to affect change beyond that of twenty normal men. Beyond a hundred, a dare say, or more. Surely you seize this and judiciously impose your will on the world to remake it in accordance with your vision, whatever it might be?" he asked. 

 

"I should ask too what that vision is!" he said, bold again. 

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"my vision sir, is unobtainable by brute strength, in a way it is the antithesis of brute strength." he answers as he turns to stare into the fire and contemplate his own mind as he musters his answers

 

"I dream of a world lead by committee rather than ruled by strength, Where cooler heads prevail and truth and humanity triumph over Comfortable lies and Economic Weight." it was a simplified answer to be sure but it suited for now.

 

"To use my strength to create such a world...to force the world to take the form i desired, i would invite corruption into the heart of my vision and it would never truly come to be, instead i shall patiently wait for it and when necessary, bring my strength to bare in defence of is nascent beginnings."

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GM

 

Armitage contemplated the response; it was not that he was vexed by it, more that a blanket of dissatisfaction had been laid on him. 

 

"I suspect that things are more complex than you say, sir" he said, diplomatically "although your principles are noble, the nature of the world is riddled with the peculiar. As for me, it is stasis of mind and thus culture that is the devil, the ultimate corruption. The seduction of comfort and safety, which, paradoxically, is the least safe of all"

 

"But these speculations on philosophy are to be had over a meal and wine, I think. For now then, we have a practical problem. That oaf, Rhodes, and yes - I know you think him an oaf and so you should - is about to marry Miss Longfield, much to her assured lamentations. Possibly mortal lamentations, if I read correctly, which I must oft do" he said, more confidence than pride. 

 

"It is legal, and voluntarily, but I am sure you will agree, unpalatable. Now, what should you and I do on the matter? Stand back and let the railroad lead her to ruin, or act as we have power to do?"

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"the world is as simple or as complex as we allow it be for ourselves." he states simply as he turns to face Doctor armitage "Indeed, I dare say in another time and place you and I would have been fast friends." it was lamentable that things were going to turn out as they had.

 

"We cannot make decisions for her, Sir." he answered plainly "We can only make known the alternatives; you are a man of great renown, charisma and by no means inconsiderable wealth, You could enable her rather than decide for her." he whispers

 

"You need not bargain with things that care nothing for you, her, or any bystanders in the way; Things that will be indignant and seek every possible corruption or twisting of your noble intentions." he adds humbly.

"Paris is beautiful this time of year, I am told."

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GM

 

"Really?" replied Armitage, turning a hint of cruel colour. 

 

"You would stand back and let this happen? I am not talking about her decisions, which she must own, but her circumstance. A poor family pressurising a girl to marry a man over her twice her age just so they can live? A society that allows this to happen with all but the vaguest whispers of malcontent, and even that is primarily for the purposes of gossip" he said, nastily. 

 

"Respect her decision, by all means. I dare say I do, if I consider the matter. But the circumstance, no, I do not accept. Decisions are redundant without the will to effect them. What, say, if Mr. Rhodes befell a mysterious accident. Would Ms. Longfield's life be better, or worse, do you think? And whom, of the two, do you think is most deserving of life?"

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"And of the person making such a decision?" he asks "What of them and their judgement, where does justice end and vengeance begin?" his last attempt at disuading the course of action that was all be inevitable now, it was honestly exhausting and relieving in equal measures


"You do as you must sir, As Will I"  he states cooly "Though know this, I have never been bested by any being from any time or place, no force has ever injured me beyond inconvinence, no obstacle has withstood me indefinately, not even time and space themselves as you no doubt know, I hope you do not pay too dearly for what you bring upon yourself."

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GM

 

"Everything has a price" answered Armitage, his soul flowing into steel. "It just depends if you are willing to pay it. I have no doubt that you have strength. I have no doubt at all. Little if anything could challenge it. But strength, in itself, is not enough. Do you have the finesse to apply it? Do you have the will to exert it? Can you pay the price?"

 

He turned once again to the bonfire, and closed his eyes. He moved hardly an inch, and he mumbled barely audible words, lost in concentration. 

 

Some strange exotic language, from what Dreadnought could tell. 

 

And in the distance, the fireworks started, to the whooping and yelling and cheering of the crowds. Even Anna Longfield managed a smile despite the tight grip of Lord Rhodes. 

 

But Armitage did not open his eyes, lost in medication and trance...

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"let us find out." Talking as much to himself as doctor armitage as he once again donned his domed helmet and twisted it into its locked position

 

He had to move decisively now giving a firm nod of his head towards mr fiddler and Mr murk to let them know things were kicking off as he prepared for battle.

 

The thick steel bands he wore around his biceps screeching and groaning as the muscles beneath expanded till they at last gave way, a primative method of restraint that helped him measure just how much force he held behind his blows, now removed by their release.

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GM

 

"What ails you, sir? You look like Ares preparing for war" said Mr. Fiddle who was watching the Fireworks with some enjoyment. It waned quickly when he saw the helmet of Dreadnought. The change in appearance had drawn a few impressed and frightened look from the onlookers. 

 

"See! I told you he was from Norway!" whispered one young boy. 

 

"It does not bode well" continued Mr. Fiddle, frowning and casting his eyes around. "I saw you with Doctor Armitage. What foul play is a foot? What did you learn?"

 

Mr Murk, of course, was not looking at the fireworks. His milky eyes gazed at the bonfire. 

 

"Something lurks within..." he said, blindly pointing with uncanny accuracy towards the centre of the blaze. 

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"We talked, We Disagreed, He's begun to chant and has fallen into a trance of some manner, i imagine his attack is beginning if it hasn't begun already, he desires to tear down the walls of Global society and rebuild them to service those he deems worthy." he states calmly and cooly to mr fiddle "we must thus spring into action ourselves sirs! " adrenalin in the face of a battle pounding through his veins.

 

"In the fire Aye?" he says regarding Mr Murk. "then it is as i suspected." he turns once again to acknowledge the people in the park "you must do what you can to help them Sirs without placing yourselves in harms way...I am about to wrestle with a creature  from the ether for the lives and souls of the people around us, i fear it will be barbaric and brutal."

 

"Godspeed and good luck." he says with a feint smile as he once more thunders towards the fire, voice bellowing with his rage and fury.

 

"I know you're in there, Foul Creature! Come and face The Invincible Dreadnought if you dare! Or Cower in the flames and be rooted out!" slamming his great fists together with resounding booms "You have no other choices!"

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GM

 

"It is fire and fury, and without brain" explained Mr. Murk, blind eyes gazing at the bonfire. 

 

And he was not wrong. 

 

For out of the bonfire slithered pure liquid fire, burning the frosted ground, steam arising. Like a flow of lava, the fire streamed, streams of fire oozing this way and that like a cobweb of tendrils. 

 

Screams abounded, and the crowds ran this way and that. "

 

"Who is in charge of that fire!"

 

"Call the brigade!"

 

"This is an outrage! A health and safety disaster!"

 

For, if one knew what to look for, one could discern an oozing bestial mentality in the centre of the flowing pool of fire. Otherwise, it looked like a most peculiar, even unnerving and unnatural, spread of fire. The scientific mind might notice that it was an impossibility of physics, but a panicked mob did not have a scientific mind.

 

And it was full of rage, with great paucity of intellect. An idiot with a tantrum. 

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