Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Siege

I did say that this has been a busy few days, but I neglected to provide any sort of explanation towards that. I suppose that I should rectify this gross lapse in my chronicling of our, for lack of a better word, adventure.

I arrived back in town without any further sign of any of the Epping AquaTarkus, or any of its brethren. At least, not until I neared the hospital. Then I became conscious of the presence of that ear-piercing shriek that Aqualung's presence produces.

It stood in the middle of an empty lot near the hospital, walking quickly towards another empty lot. Or, more precisely, it stood in the midst of one building that it had already consumed and strode towards another that would soon be taken. I can no longer remember what either of the buildings originally were.

Aqualung is devouring the city.

The hospital is now - has always been - woefully understaffed. The city outside has always been run-down and peppered with empty lots, half-finished buildings, families with nurseries that have never been home to a child, houses where the children die of starvation because they have never known parents.

And yet the hospital stands.

It is a bastion of The Archangel's power. The Howling Dark lays siege to its walls, but it cannot break them. The Archangel, for all that it might be wounded, is still proof against such overt attacks.

Sun Tzu's Art of War states that the siege is the least-efficient form of warfare. An army laying siege to a walled city will exhaust its strength, for the walls can hold indefinitely. It is the limits of the defenders, not of the fortifications, which determine the outcome. When laying siege to a city, one gambles that one's own forces can starve out the defenders before one's own reserves are depleted.

Aqualung has no limits. Even with things as the Epping AquaTarkus claims that they are, I doubt that The Archangel does either. Aqualung is gambling, then - if it is conscious enough to gamble - upon our abandoning the hospital when supplies begin to run low, in order to avoid death by starvation. This would place us once again in the open, and give it another chance to claim me, even if the others of its kind would be making the same attempt.

Eventually, we will be forced to try it. But in the meantime, we are putting what remains of my files to use. We are searching for some means of ending this without granting victory to any of these beings, Aqualung included. So far, there is nothing, but we are not going to surrender just yet.

There must be some way out of this. There must.

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