An old char of mine from the City of Villains MMPORG. ”What are you implying, Shiner?” the Lady told him, “that I’ve gone soft?” Shiner saw her hand coming but wasn’t fast enough, the Lady grabbed his throat and lifted him off the floor, as he looked into her single, red eye he trembled. ”F-forgive me, Lady” he stammered, “I was just saying that maybe we shouldn’t have set the hero free, I-…“ “Quiet!” she threw him over the stone table that dominated her chamber, Shiner felt the air being pressed out of his lungs when he hit the floor on the other side. He risked a glance at the Lady, but she was gone. Cold fear gripped Shiners heart, he had heard the stories. If you didn’t see the Lady, she was going to kill you. “No, please, I beg of you Lady! I didn’t mean to speak out of turn! I was-…” He couldn’t talk, nor move. But wait! He was moving, he was falling. No, he was lying on his back on the floor, and it was getting dark outside. But it was only three in the afternoon, maybe it was an eclipse? Then he saw her, oh the terrible, beautiful sight. Coming out of nowhere like Ghost Widow herself, he could fully appreciate her now, without fear. Her white hair framed her beautiful face, the blue star tattoo seemed to glow. Dear Gods how terrifyingly beautiful she was. He tried to tell her so but all that came from his lips was bubbling blood. The Lady put her hand on his brow and closed his eyes, why couldn’t he open them? Then he heard the sound he so often had heard when they had executed traitors or heroes foolish enough to enter her domain, the sound of Death itself, her sword being unsheathed. And then Shiner didn’t worry about the world anymore. Miranda, she still thought of herself as “Miranda”, even though she had been known as Star Skull for years now, sheathed her sword and sighed. Shiner had been a good man, she didn’t even know why she had killed him. Maybe he actually was a liability, or maybe she just had gotten tired of listening to the old man. A high-pitched sound from the com monitor dragged her from her thoughts. She pushed a button on her armour to activate it; the fearsome image of Recluse appeared on the screen. “Ah, Lady Star Skull” his voice was distorted, both from the connection and his helmet, and made it sound threatening, which of course was the point, “I hear you are enjoying your seat of power at Mercy Isle, perhaps a little to much?” Miranda kneeled in front of the screen. “My Lord, I am but your faithful servant, as always.” She raised her head, “and as a matter of fact, I feel cramped on this tiny little island.” Recluse gave a small hiss, his mechanical spider legs clicking as they moved in disdain. “Maybe you would feel better here in Spider City? On my throne maybe?” “What you are suggesting would be treason to you, my lord” Miranda answered, “and I want nothing other than to serve you in any way I can. But your other servants, they are a different matter.” A joyless laughter filled the room, Recluse gestured behind him. “So that is your plan, eh Lady Star Skull? Attack not the one who may destroy you, but attack his servants instead? I think you are beginning to think like an arachnos noble should.” The camera reeled back and showed not only Recluse, but two of his “captains”, Black Scorpion and Mako, as well. Neither of them was happy with her words. A cruel smile played on her lips as she spoke. “Yes, that is exactly what I had in mind, my Lord.” Her blood red armour whined of servo-engines as she rose, “I may not be as powerful as you, but your so-called “right hands” will pose no challenge to my sword.” Again, Recluse laughter filled the room. He leaned forward so that his helmeted face covered the whole screen. “And what will you do then? When they lie before you, defeated and bloodied. I wonder what you will do then. Perhaps turn against your master? You’ve done it before, perhaps…” “You worry needlessly, my lord!” She interrupted, “I will not turn on Arachnos and the lord of the Rouge Isles, AND I AM NOT A TRAITOR!” Seeming pleased with her reaction, Recluse chuckled and nodded. “I believe you, Lady Star Skull, I believe you.” Then he seated himself on his throne-like chair, “And I will not object should you try to aggravate my generals. After all, that’s how they became my generals. Should you succeed you will be given direct control of their territories, should you fail…” He didn’t end his threat, but he didn’t need too. Miranda swallowed and bowed her head. “Thank you, Lord Recluse.” With a gesture, Recluse ended the transmission. In the dark room, Miranda grinned wide. The fool made it easy, so stuck in his ways of the “survival of the fittest” that he allowed his own doom to wage war on him. She seated herself on her own throne and watched the ruins of Mercy Isle, where infected and snakes fought over the small bits and scraps she choose to throw at them. The queen of Lone Tower contemplated.