Here's what happened.
I rented a boat and went out to the coordinates Master gave me. I waited there for an hour before He appeared on the deck.
The Rake appeared a few minutes later.
It looked right at Master, and it smiled at him. Like it had won something. And then it turned its attention to me. Those eyes-- those horrible, pitch black, but perfectly intelligent eyes-- took me in, and I felt something emanate from them. Expectation.
A command floated into my mind. A command from Master. I was to walk to the Rake.
I was tribute.
Whatever deal they'd worked out, my life was part of it. I couldn't even move. Fear held my body rigid.
The command came again, stronger this time, and I found myself stepping forward. Toward that thing.
And then there was gunfire.
The Rake's right eye exploded and reared back in rage and pain. I watched, dumbstruck, as its eye reformed on its face, and it turned to look in the direction of the shots. I followed its gaze and saw another boat approaching us. More gunfire rang out, and more bullets pummeled the Rake's body.
I started to walk toward the other boat, but found that I couldn't. Black tentacles held me back. Master had no intention of letting me get away.
I ducked down-- the tentacles gave me enough leeway to do that, at least-- and watched as bullets began to slam into Master's body. They made little splashes, little ripples like they were going through water, and Master stood there, unharmed, quietly watching as the boat approached.
It must have gotten close enough, because I saw people leaping onto our own boat, brandishing knives and machetes and hatchets... It took me only a moment to figure out who they were. The movement of their limbs gave them away. Dolls.
And then the tentacles were gone, and I saw Master burst into a thousand tendrils of darkness, lashing out at all the dolls near him. One's head flew clean off, another took a slash across his stomach.
But even dead, their bodies continued to move, continued to attack, controlled by invisible strings.
I crawled across the deck and dimly realized that the Rake had fled the scene. Evidently he didn't want to be caught in the chaos it had brought on.
I stood and prepared to leap off the boat.
I felt something cut against my back.
I screamed as a slash of heat arced through me and warm sticky blood seeped down my body. I spun around to face my attacker.
Charlotte stood there, a bloody knife in her hand, grinning at me. "Hey there, Stew-stew. Bye-bye." She slashed at me again, and I ducked to the side. Then I found myself have to scramble away as quickly as I could. The girl was fast. There was no way someone her age could move so quickly, with such accurate strikes.
And abruptly, all sound of battle ceased. Charlotte froze in place, dropped her knife, and fell to her knees. She brought her face to the floor and stayed in that position. I turned to see who she was bowing to.
Just four feet away from where I sat, Master and the Wooden Girl stood face to face with eachother.
The Wooden Girl moved first, striking out with a knife in her right hand. Master deflected it with a humanoid arm that extended from the blackness that comprised his body. The strings around the Wooden Girl unwound themselves and flew at Master, wrapping around what limbs they could and trying to pull Him to the ground.
A futile effort. He merely slid out of the strings as if His body were smoke, and a tentacle lashed out from somewhere deep within His body. This wasn't like the other ones I'd seen. The smoky, inky tendrils of blackness. No, this one looked... it looked like it had actual substance.
It crashed against the Wooden Girl, and wrapped around her. I felt something in my mind, like snarl of rage, and then fire spewed forth from the depths of Master's body and down the length of that tentacle. The fire spread out and consumed the Wooden Girl.
And then she did something I never thought I'd see her do.
The Wooden Girl screamed.
The sound seemed to almost break and tear itself, and for an instant I could see a vast void of nothingness surround the two Entities, and then it was all over, and Master let the charred corpse of his opponent crash to the deck.
I was just beginning to relax when another scream tore through the air. I spun around and saw Charlotte, now in her feet, he back arced and her eyes wide in pain and terror. She screamed and screamed as her flesh began to split apart. And from beneath her skin, wood emerged.
It grew out of her, and it continued to grow, covering all of her. Her screams finally cut off as the wood grew over her mouth. For a moment the wooden shape before me simply stood there, and then shapes began to appear on it, as if painted by an invisible hand.
A puppets face soon looked straight at me, a painted on smile taking me in, and then the Wooden Girl vanished in a burst of power. I was thrown backward, and the last thing I remember before passing out was cold water coming over me.
I woke up on the beach an hour before dawn, and went to the first safehouse I could think of.
I've been running since.