MOSCOW SLAG ZONES - Amid the vast plain of gently warbling glass where the great city of Moscow once stood, before being scoured from the Earth by nuclear bombardment earlier this year to rid the land of the foul taint of the Queenspawn, figures in hazmat suits scurried back and forth in the distance, slowly piecing together the vast radiation shield dome that will protect the palace of God-Empress Anastasiya Vasilyeva, heroic liberator of the Russian people from that accursed bone heretic and traitor to humanity, the tyrant Vladimir Putin, 61.
These are the Moscow Slag Zones, where God-Empress Anastasiya Vasilyeva, 41, married at long last her girlfriend of seven years, Natalya Voronskaya, 37, once an FSB officer known worldwide as the Terror of Tutayev, now Empress Consort to the most powerful woman in the world. The ceremony was held in sight of the construction work, in a small courtyard carved elegantly into the sea of strange glass that sometimes seems to whisper idle heresies and worthless secrets. It began at dawn. Massed journalists from half the world over filed solemnly into the press pavillions. Not all were to leave alive; several were of course quietly assassinated by men and women with sharp knives and earpieces, as is to be expected from any state wedding.
Next came the assembled dignitaries, foreign and domestic, desperate to retain her Divine Imperial Majesty's favor. The head of the FSB, resplendant in cape of spun gold and ornate personal jetpack. A herd of generals, recently promoted and plainly nervous. A number of ambassadors, including Ambassador-for-Life Simon "the Strangler" Matheson of America, 58, who seized the office in 1999 after a vicious and protracted duel with his predecessor that did over $100,000 in damage to the National Mall. A man slightly taller than the rest, attired in a plain suit, with dark, empty sockets where his eyes should have been. The shadowy figure of the Illuminati's Chief Inquisitor Balġeez Yakšeeš, 7'4", seemingly alone and unarmed, though all present knew better.
The festivities began at seven. Her Majesty's servants, some plainly still fresh from conditioning if the clamp marks on their necks and ears were any indication, brought out trays of selectively poisoned food, and as we began to feast, the court jesters, goaded on by armored men with cattle prods, stumbled out onto the dais. The assembled crowd was soon in hysterics at their antics, enhanced by the many modifications of her Majesty's finest mortifactors. Once brutal generals under the Putin regime, they finally seem to have found their true calling as makers of entertainment.
At eight, the crowd grew silent as Empress Vasilyeva herself, resplendant in a beautiful dress woven of red silk and the hides of her enemies, climbed the dais and asked the crowd to welcome "a very special guest." The crowd parted as a brightly-colored yet somber procession, composed of shackled Putin loyalists, entered the courtyard, bearing their former leader aloft in a tiny cage. Putin squatted defiantly, caked in dirt and blood, clad in the tattered remnants of an expensive Armani suit. The crowd jeered, and the ex-President and bone-heretic scowled, tongueless and voiceless, mouthing curses and heresies that once would have cowed the mightiest of generals. The Putin loyalists were prodded forth to the center of the crowd, where they remained, forced to stand for the duration of the ceremony.
Sofiya Ivanova, 76, head of the FSB, glided to the front of the podium and beckoned, and at once the throng of courtiers on the dais parted, allowing Natalya Voronskaya to join her bride. Voronskaya, the Terror of Tutayev, the Butcher of Budapest, the Scourge of Stockholm, a woman feared and hated the world over, ruthless and remorseless, stood before us, blushing and clad in sequined silver mail and a long, trailing skirt, as the crowd cheered wildly. Ivanova spoke briefly, on the day Voronskaya and Vasilyeva met in the Siberian snow, how they together crushed the Irkutsk rebellion. Five times they had rescued each other from the pitchforks and Kalashnikovs of rampaging peasants, and by the fifth they could not deny they had fallen madly in love. Tears in her eyes, Ivanova described the years the pair had concealed their love, the dozens they had each brutally silenced before their lives and careers could be shattered, how close they had come to losing it all one wild night in Chelyabinsk. "I cannot tell you how much it means to me, to see them finally together in happiness," said the brutal director of the Russian intelligence services, whose name and history strike abject terror in the hearts of millions, her voice shaking with emotion, "because it is classified."
At last, Ivanova uttered the seven traditional words, and all present ritually cowered at the resulting roars and flickering shadows. Voronskaya seized her bride and they kissed, as the crowd roared in terrified adulation. The Forbidden Lands Shadow Council made a surprise appearance, drawing up from behind and entrancing the crowd with the beautiful, yet somehow tragic piping of seven ancient bone flutes, and all present would later speak of how they hearkened back to the fondly-imagined innocence of their childhoods, and expressed a newfound yearning for a life of quiet and simplicity. The brides exchanged rings, each cut from the bones of political dissidents and enlaid with forbidden gems, and as they donned them thunder rolled and a gentle rain began to fall on the Moscow Slag Zones, pattering against the strangely captivating glass that somehow reflected the light of the wrong suns. Many cried, some in hopes of currying the favor of the new Empresses, some from genuine joy, and some from the cattle prods jammed repeatedly into their lower backs to keep them holding Putin's cage upright.
The assembled guests then came up, one at a time, to present gifts to the tearful, happy couple. The generals knelt at their ladies' feet, offering trophies of conquest. Each member of the Forbidden Lands Shadow Council filed past in an ancient order, alternately presenting and taking away onyx carvings of unearthly insects. A tearful Ivanova presented matching jade pendants, each packed with classified surveillance technology. Ambassador Matheson climbed clumsily to the podium lugging a massive suitcase behind him, and opened it to reveal a genuine hellfire missile draped in ornate strangling cords, to the delight of both women. Ambassador Helena Henriks of the Ashen Isles of Pain and Lament offered the brides a matching pair of hand-crafted, beautifully adorned humbling staves, whose use she demonstrated on a cowering manservant to the delight of all present. Chief Inquisitor Yakšeeš, eyes twinkling mischeivously, presented Voronskaya with an aged bronze mechanism, saying only that it would "reveal its true purpose" when "the proper moment arrives." Seeming to understand, Voronskaya nodded solemnly and kissed hir on the cheek. Only the man without eyes bore no gift, regarding the proceedings silently, impenetrably, impossibly.
We filed away slowly into our various limousines, helicopters, jets, teleporters, and longboats, still docile and reeling from what the Shadow Council's brief performance had taught us. Inquisitor Yakšeeš paused for a moment to catch my eye, and before xe dematerialized, presumably vanishing away to the Illuminati's "secret" new headquarters in the Dakota Dreadlands, I almost imagined xe winked at me. The man without eyes melted away into the shadow as quickly as he - or perhaps, it - had arrived.
The otherwise beautiful proceedings were marred only once, when Putin somehow regenerated his missing tongue, and began shouting imprecations from his cramped cage, calling John Kerry a "sand hoarder," and asserting the Secretary of State's relatives were all "exact replicas." Aggrieved secret police descended on the ex-President, gagging him with a large apple, before the ceremony resumed.
Gideon Mandrake is Approved News 6's vengeance correspondent. Born in 894 and kept youthful by secret rituals, Mandrake has studied under the lord excruciators of the Followers of the Faithless Year, mastered the cursed tongue of the salamanders, and destroyed all but one of his many enemies. He lives in his private yacht, forever plying the endless seas in search of the one foe who yet eludes him, with his cat Maurice and army of skeletons.