Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Moreau-Vingian Kings

The Moreau-Vingian Kings are dashing figures of regal splendour about whom numberless vidramas and holotales have been spun. They are that most engaging blend of mystery, tragedy and magnanimity that borders on the sublime and serves to only inflame the imaginations and fervor of the tabloids, gossips, mediots, and their ilk. But who are they really? And what is their actual story? A curious proletariat desires to know and the mediacology is rife with rumor, speculation, manufactured innuendo and assorted historical trivia, so take your pick...

A Brief Bit of History Both Relevant and Dramatic
Since the very earliest days of the Elder Genartists, before there were Genelords in Cathelia and long after the Randomist Plague swept through the Fertile Crescents of Sumjazza, there have been those who have withdrawn from Polite Society to work on private projects in isolated areas, windswept skylands, lonely islands, or similar such locales out past the Perimeter.

One such Elder Genartist was Nicosian.

The name still carries a tinge of disgust and the whiff of unwholesome deviancy, even after all these years since his expulsion and dissolution (both in terms of his estate and his person through legal anathematization and viruxive deliquessants). Those who work with hybrids or who deal in the mingling of animal and human genomic materials are judged always by the unsanctioned, unpardonable excesses of Nicosian. It is a bitter legacy that reminds everyone of the wrongs perpetrated by one lonely old man out on some nondescript island in the middle of nowhere.

Nicosian's databases, journals and registered samples have been remanded to the care of the archivists and few have accessed them in several centuries. His contribution to the Life Vaults remains modestly buried and obscured by discretionary veils and the accumulation of many other people's hard work. Polite Society would prefer for Nicosian to be smothered in obscurity, his reputation used only when merited as a moral injunction against heinously inappropriate behavior or dangerously immoral research into things deemed unsuitable and unfit for Civilization. The Azure Wrath still declares Nicosian as a War Criminal and carries out a ritualized vendetta against any trace of his genomic lineage, for whatever that is worth.

But what did he actually do?

Nicosian was one of the first vivisculptors. He was not satisfied in only comingling human and animal genetic material to fashion urfolk, hybrids, or animal descended parahumans, demihumans or subhumans--Nicosian became obsessed with unlocking the inherent human-ness latent within all so-called lesser species. In the course of his work Nicosian produced some of the most heartbreakingly tragic specimens of pointless amalgamation and chimaeric curiosities to have ever been displayed in galleries, salons or invitation-only showings. It was at just such an event that Lorshal himself lambasted and decried Nicosian's work as being "...monstrously wasteful and a painful conglomeration of surgical excesses that was both shameful and pointless..." The critics took their cue from Lorshal's scathing public rebuke and Nicosian was thoroughly discredited and ruined within a week.

Leaving Devukarsha behind, Nicosian booked passage on a one-way disposable minidirigible and left the world of Riskail in search of some place as far removed as he could find in order to set up shop away from jealous rivals, haters, enemies and fanatics who began to seek him out as a target ever since the collapse of his reputation in the wake of his last showing and the furor that it had stirred up. He had been Red Marked by the Censors and banned from nearly every respectable gallery. The Salons were closed to him and no longer would receive his queries or any further communications from him directly. In the alleys, watchdogs eyed him suspiciously. His inbox was spammed with offers for legal representation by hacks, frauds and charlatans of the lowest order. It was surely only a matter of time before he would have been declared a non-person. So he took matters into his own hands and left before a sentence could be pronounced. He went into self-exile.

It was on an island on the far-side of Sherlassa just past the first Sea Gate that Nicosian's aerovessel crashed during a hurricane. He might have been a skilled surgeon and artist, but he was no pilot and the automatic systems failed in the midst of the dangerous storm. He was very fortunate to have survived. Even moreso in light of all his insurance policies having been rendered null and void and Municipal and Metropolitan Recovery Services were denied to Nicosian in absentia due to the efforts of his many detractors. They never did get him banned from the Extension Services, but by the time that option rolled around, they had pretty much vented their collective spleens and the overall effort had run out of steam. Nicosian was oblivious to all this. He was more concerned with survival and with resuming his work.

Within months of his arrival, Nicosian had a workable faux-Georgian manorhouse under construction, using his personal stores of nanoplasm to develop extruders and fabricators. He also had a small entourage of vivisculpted things that he enslaved and set to work as laborers. Most of the vivisculpted slaves were far less viable or useful than Nicosian had expected. Many died painful, shuddering deaths trying vainly to carry out the increasingly stern and irrational demands of their lord and master.

Something had to be done.

Nicosian ordered his Operating Parlor to be finished immediately, forcing his slaves to work on it day and night, until it was done or they were dead. He was beyond caring.

Once the Parlor was finished, Nicosian set about refabricating the tools of his art, readjusting and recustomizing everything from the templates upwards. Then he set about capturing subjects and decanting his stored germplasm and biosamples.

Carpigs were one of the first new hybrid forms that Nicosian developed in his new Operating Parlor. Tweeters, Sulkers and Jabrats soon followed. He was inspired. The new designs were far from pointless, they fulfilled very specific niches in the island's ecology and had the ability to adapt to circumstances, to explore new biomes or to take on new roles. But these were still urfolk. Protohominids with far more animal than anything truly, recognizably human to them. Nicosian brooded over his new generation of creatures. He became sour and dour, wrathful and hateful. Many attempted to flee. Some found their way to surrounding islands and colonies of these creatures can still be found throughout the sloughlands, sargassic atolls or Southern Archipelagoes of Sherlassa to this day. Nearly all of them carry on a tradition of ritually propitiating a terrible tutelary demon they call Nik-osh-Yan in their broken and pidjin dialects.

The fish-scaled pigthings stayed with their master through it all. They were not loyal, not at all. They were dull things, emotionally inert and lazy, for the most part, but something about the way their master carried on stirred a peculiar hunger within them, so they waited.

Nicosian is believed to have broken down, perhaps even lapsing into a period of depression, but no one is quite sure as all relevant records have been blurred into gibberish by the efforts of several competing animal rights groups. Whatever happened back then on that island, eventually Nicosian recovered, after a fashion and with the help of his increasingly modified carpigs and other servitor things, he began work on his bioart magnum opus.

Several hybrid genocultures can be traced back to this last, golden moment of creative fervor and inspired artistry of a rare talent that all too soon went all too far. Most of the lineages that can be traced back to Nicosian from this point in his career have taken great pains to separate themselves and distance themselves from their legacy both out of shame and from an abiding horror at being connected in any way to such a monstrous progenitor. After the settlement of Nicosian's liquidated estate, most of his heirs and offspring have opted to be officially re-registered as orphan lineages. Except the carpigs. They proudly, if vulgarly proclaim their connection to Nicosian with great relish for how it unsettles everyone around them.

But they are carpigs and one cannot expect much from them. They were designed to be completely devoid of empathy.

The one other lineage to come from out of this now quarantined and cordoned-off island of horrors are the so-called Moreau-Vingian Kings.


Delivered From a Womb of Horror
Graceful, elegant, noble and highly attractive, the Moreau-Vingian Kings are possessed of an incredible sense of presence, making them truly Kings amongst the proles. They have a wide array of animalistic traits sublimated into and just beneath their very, very human beings. Pheromonally fluent and sub-vocally gifted, the Kings are consummate seducers, social manipulators and charismatic demogogues who instill trust, lust or loyalty as easy as taking the next breath. But there is always something vaguely feral about them, just at the very edge of becoming visible or known and this lends a peculiarly alluring quality to them that has made them the heart-throbs and objects of romantic obsession that they have become ever since their discovery on Nicosian's Island.

Originally there were twelve Moreau-Vingian Kings recovered from the island. Three died tragic deaths before they were brought home to Devukarsha. The circumstances surrounding these deaths have been suppressed and closed to most inquiries at the request of the remaining Kings. Another two were slain by jealous suitors while three more were murdered in their sleep by jilted paramours. Two others committed suicide. Tragedy seemed to cling to the Moreau-Vingian Kings, making them all the more terribly attractive to the media and gossip-mongers.

Rising Stars in a Firmament of Nobles
The two surviving Moreau-Vingian Kings have since withdrawn to a recently vacated garden-palais along the Domed-over banks of the Zonges River on Yekkara, where they have been able to achieve recognition as Nobles and sanctioned progenitors of their own lineages. The Investment Rite whereby the Emperor of Saldris-Dome pronounced both of the surviving Moreau-Vingian siblings as Kings in their own right was one of the most highly viewed and commented videvent of its day. The gossips and paparazzi had a field-day and stories, rumors and photos of all kinds and sorts, most of them time-stamped and authenticated, still circulate amongst collectors, well-wishers, and fans across the Connected Territories.

It has become a Tradition amongst the twin Moreau-Vingian Kings of Yekkara that they each take control of the throne for six months while the other travels to the various Core Worlds, visiting the Principalities and Baronies of Aegron, journeying to the high estates of Krauz or even visiting some of the Exocultures such as Seimgress or Imperial Sorrinon and traveling by way of the Moon River to the Cirruspheric Communities of the G-sequence stars. The Moreau-Vingian Kings travel far and wide, leaving swooning fans and dazzled would-be brides everywhere they go. It is now firmly entrenched in the incipient folklore that the two Moreau-Vingian Kings single-handedly drive more than half the gossip that filters across the Known Worlds just by being themselves and moving about their business.

Faery Tales, Rumors and Dark Secrets
They may have arrived destitute paupers rescued from horrors no one can fully appreciate any more, but the Moreau-Vingian Kings have arisen to become princes and powerful, actual Kings in their own right. It is said that they are on the verge of consolidating the rival, feuding petty empires of Yekkara under their own sable and ermine banner. If they manage that feat of diplomacy after all the decades of fighting that have held the world back from fully developing, they will have proven themselves to the populace, to the Nobility, and to themselves. Perhaps.

But not everyone is swayed by these ultra-charismatic smooth-talking Kings from nowhere. There are those who recall all too vividly the true roots of their micro-lineage and where they really come from...and the horrors from which they were derived, designed and developed by a mad man not once given the slightest acknowledgement or recognition by either sibling-King. Those who dig into this matter too deeply run afoul of the gossips, the dilletantes, the paparazzi and others. Corazune-registered public relations agents are known to work on behalf of the Moreau-Vingian Kings, as if they didn't already have enough of a stranglehold on the medicology.

It is interesting to note that the bodies of the slain Moreau-Vingian Kings have been sealed and placed under a total media blackout order as part of Noble Privilege...but the so-called Kings were anything but Noble at the time the deaths took place. One is also tempted to wonder why it was that the negotiations between the twin Kings and the Emperor of Saldris-Dome on Yekkara included discretely obscured provisions for the Moreau-Vingian Kings to gain access to regio blanco nanological transfusions, something rarely done outside of last-ditch attempts to rehabilitate Nobles afflicted with various deepscale forms of war trauma...of course such tranfusions might grant a non-Noble the means to convert their blood into the distinctive blue nanological haemosolution reserved unto the Noble classes. Of course the clause has been censored under war-time privilege and the Emperor of Saldris-Dome does not grant interviews, so this is just one of those lingering little mysteries that swirl about in the gossip-filled wake of the Moreau-Vingian Kings.

What are their aims, their plans, their ambitions? No one really knows, but everyone has ideas or speculations. It seems as though the Moreau-Vingian Kings were almost designed to court, generate and manipulate rumor, gossip and innuendo. There's just something about them, some indefinable animalistic something that hovers on the very brink of absolute fascination and abject revulsion that makes them simply irresistible.

Irresistible they may be, but not to everyone. There are a few stalwart and curmudgeonly inquisitors such as Machen Zenda of Ludengarde who continually raise uncomfortable questions regarding various aspects of the Moreau-Vingian Kings background, dealings, current efforts and so on. There is also the not so small matter of the reknowned Warlord Urslingen who, for some as yet undisclosed reason, has taken a distinctly personal disliking to the Moreau-Vingian Kings. There are rumors that Urslingen may well get involved in matters on Yekkara, possibly ruining the consolidatory schemes of the Moreau-Vingian Kings. Perhaps the oh so blessed golden children of Nicosian have finally met their match. Perhaps...

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