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Date Posted: 17:48:27 05/25/04 Tue
Author: Lark
Subject: Part III Re: The tale is re-told -- and the gauntlet is thrown again...
In reply to: Lark 's message, "Part II Re: The tale is re-told -- and the gauntlet is thrown again..." on 17:42:24 05/25/04 Tue

In all the years he had worked for Kenneth Irons, Dr. Immo had seen and heard many odd things, performed many questionable “services”, committed “duties”, all for the price of freedom to test and research freely, to work in a protected environment that would not go away or lose funding—not stifled as he had been when working for Pol Pot, not running for his life as he had from Mao. He would continue, and his work would live on; not only in legend, for he would also benefit, he was certain, from a prolonged life—he would be a living legend. He was not insane enough to think he could be immortal—nor did he truly wish to be—but five or six hundred years, he felt he would enjoy that.

Time was becoming a problem, he was beginning to feel some pangs of age, but, thanks to the progress of his work, not so rapidly as the average man; certainly, he had not had the potential lifespan of his benefactor—not yet, at any rate, perhaps an additional fifty years or so—after all, Irons had the unique experience of wearing that odd bracelet and acquiring an affinity to the bladewielder’s DNA; but though he tried, Irons could not seem to maintain the power it gave him, he did not remain ageless, and the chromosomes Immo had been able to isolate within himself, the pieces which limited his lifespan, oddly enough, while he found them in Irons, they could not be controlled the same way.

Dangerous, that: Irons was certain the issue was the drastic alteration of his DNA by contact with the blade, he maintained that perhaps the necessary molecules had shifted to a different strand, that the typical aging limitations were managed elsewhere, and Immo had directed some of his studies to determine if that was the case, but Irons was also aware that his charge had successfully slowed his own aging process, while he received only temporary respite. And Immo was very much aware of Irons’ power, even after death: he was certain if he did not succeed, his punishment would be meted out regardless.

So, he persevered, his integrity was in his core, he had a goal, he was determined through continued research he would one day break the codes, and as had been promised so many years before by the legendary billionaire, the world would recognize him as the man who prolonged life, who eradicated aging, and debilitating disease—he would be revered, he would be rewarded, he would live a long life of prosperity and joy.

Occasionally, his experiences in this house were distasteful, but this was beyond a mere exception: the creature had been in his lab. For years he had known of this man, this sorcerer, this spinner of fables who had first introduced Mr. Irons to the legend of the Witchblade. The tale Mr. Irons had told him, so many years ago, now, was that he had been a priest, a philosopher, and a teacher, but he had fallen out of favor with the church, for many of his studies followed a blasphemous road, what he taught his students in the seminary had reached beyond Christianity, he had encouraged beliefs in black arts and the supernatural; he maintained that the church had hidden many objects in fear that the power of Christ would be lost in what he professed was the truth, that there were stronger powers than that of God. Ultimately, he had been excommunicated, shunned, and he wandered, a beggar, feared, and hated, but Irons, once his pupil, tracked him down, and continued to learn from him. And as Kenneth Irons rose in the ranks of the military, he brought the man along with him, and thus obsessions with collecting religious artifacts were introduced to many in power.

Now, in the modern world, where genocide was not just condemned for the human factor, but also recognized as supreme foolishness (who would one control if all were dead?), Irons’ ambitions were nothing less than absolute power of the earth and all its people—not their deaths, but their total subservience—and of course, immortality, with a concubine bladewielder at his side to do his bidding, to give birth to his progeny, to adore and worship him. To achieve that end, he would use any means necessary, and so, this fallen priest was here, directing Irons, and he, the apt pupil, followed his lead.

And once, Immo mused, he had been the one accused of being insane.

Bending to the task at hand, he continued the extraction of the necessary components from Elizabeth Bronte’s remains for Irons’ injections. Cleansing the additional samples he had from other “donors”, he had been able to stretch his supply, and ultimately he had been able to lengthen the time between injections by eleven days. He had been disappointed, however, when he was told he was not to use the head brought to his lab earlier. She had been pretty, he could see, with long brown hair and green eyes, but the blood had been drained; he was given permission to use her brain matter in this new project (the priest knew all about it), but for the moment, it was not his priority—Mr. Irons was due.

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