22. Introductory




Trust. Loyalty. Honor.

Family. Love. Devotion.

The Ransoms. The Merricks. The Hunters.

Three’s always been my favorite number. I can’t explain why, but there’s just a mentally satisfying effect to it. Two or four are even, balanced. Five just seems…redundant. I don’t know, maybe it’s just me.

Legends are tricky. Usually they are the result of death; only after the source has passed away can the legend concept take hold. A legend is a story that lives on and is told repeatedly with mixed tones of pride and wonder. Every so often, the rules are bent. And on a very rare occasion, they are shattered.

The pieces are scattered on the floor, begging to be picked up. And the few that try will get cut. And those cuts will leave permanent scars. The pieces must remain. Only these three are capable of working with the pieces. If they get cut, I doubt they feel it.

Here’s to the Trio of Treason. Reborn.

As Merrick. As Hunter. As Ransom.

“It was all a circus, a three ring circus, that’s all life is. It keeps so much going on at once that you don’t know where to look, but you have to keep going. That’s why the Trio of Treason worked so well. Each of us had our eye on only one ring and we’d explain it to one another slowly. It helped us communicate and understand. We had each other to lean on. Always. The Trio was born of hate and deceit, yet it survived many a cold winter and persevered a desperate existence. We made it work because it was necessary that we have each other. Faith, hope and love, the pillars of true human expression.”

– Volume III: We, the Damned / Part 1: Fiction / Chapter 28: Renewal


That’s where the idea started. Of the three. Of the Trio. That’s where the concept was born. And they took it and ran with it. They ran with it to Hell and back. The originals were nothing like this. And they couldn’t be if they tried. It required a special upbringing for something like this. And the new generation had it.

The wheel turns, the cycle continues, but we’re only returning to where we’ve begun. We were here years ago, with different kids, during different times. Society hasn’t changed much since then, the world’s rotted away that little bit more. Time and oxygen spent, nothing more. This is the beginning of another rotation. And this rotation is merely part of a larger course. Everything is part of something more.

The truth is this. It starts here. Everything up front with as few surprises as possible. My name is Harley Morrow. I’m…in my early 30s now. Time flies…I’m an artist. I’m a writer, a guitarist, a barkeep, a freak…I’m an adopted child to my family of freaks. I’m an outcast, a misfit – different. I’m unique.

Our main players are simple:

Miss Angyl Hunter – Age 19. Works at the Black Dragon tattoo parlor. Up and coming…whatever she was, she had connections. Trouble walking. Child of Entropy Hunter and Elysium Merrick. Parents both killed by Toryn Ransom. Loyalty – to oneself. Family – devoted to. Warning: Rabid.

Miss Maven Merrick – Age 16. Works at the Drowning Raven bar, and my replacement as ringleader of the Gothik-Serkis. Up and coming artist. Trouble walking. Child of Pandora Riddle and Doyle Merrick. Doyle killed by Serkis Solace. Trust – misplaced. Love – abundant lack of. Warning: Subconsciously insane.

Mister Revere Ransom – Also known as Rev. Age 16. Works the streets or at the Gothik-Serkis in his spare time. Up and coming street boss. Trouble walking. Child of Vagrant Ransom and Requiem Draft. Parents killed by Layne and Serkis Solace. Honor – preservation of. Devotion – to family. Warning: Contagious.

And there they are. To better understand who and what they were would require a long explanation of history. To know them is to know where they’ve come from. Putting it into their own words might be more effective in understanding how they perceive themselves and others. I’m just here on the side, telling the story as I see it or hear it. You’d be surprised how much I’ve been able to just…stumble across in my time. All types of information seem to just fall in my lap these days. I work at the bar still. Being with Lucidius, I’m at the tattoo shop often. And I was there as two of the three grew up. I had a hand in helping raise them.

Lucidius was the old street boss, the second to retire since Doyle. Layne’s let him mostly take over things on top, the actual traffic of things. Lucid’s replacement was a kid less insane, but that’s probably what got him killed. Lucid reigned for about half a decade before someone else took charge. They ruled for maybe a year. There was another two or three, and then we got to Rev. He was a natural to take over – he was raised with this.

Maven took over my spot as the ringleader of the circus. It bore its old name, and always would, because that’s what established it. I was glad to be done with it, to be away. She was enjoying it. She hung around the shop or the bar whenever she got bored, knew everyone everywhere. But when they hired that girl at the shop, the family insisted that the kids stay away. And they did as they were told because they were good kids. And we had purpose for our actions. We had good reason for concern.


Miss Angyl Hunter had come into town. She’d always been around, but now she was out in the open, in the free world. And she had a job. Pike and Syn, the owners of the shop, left kids in charge more and more. They probably okayed the hire but never actually met Angyl. They wouldn’t come to meet her for a while. And when they finally did, there wouldn’t be time to regret it. That girl could smile daggers, and you’d still move closer to her for each doubt that crossed your mind. She was something wicked.

And that’s the basic set up, that’s the ranks. That’s how things are to start with. That’s where we come in. The set up. Times are about to change, there’s going to be some shaking up along the way. But here’s the establishment, up front. Here are the facts and from here on in, I’ll be your trustworthy source for the whole truth. When you are led astray by our young friends here who live through lies and deception you can always turn your glance over to me. I’ll always be here.

Lucidius and I. And of course, our daughter – Relic Fallen Mason, her first name inspired by the lost Hunter. Angyl’s departed aunt, killed tragically during her child’s christening. I almost forgot to mention her. She’s almost 13 now. Our own baby girl.

So trust in me.

My word is gold.

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