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Tuesday, 2nd December, 2008, 12:45 AM #421
Novice (Lvl 1)
Chapter 8: Devils in the Dark (Continued)
Aramil staggered to his feet, fresh blood spilling onto the floor. He stepped toward the desk covered by dancing tails of flame. His knees wobbled; his eyes darted.
A large platform dominated the center of the room. Wooden stairs hugged the rim of dark stone. Amber runes twinkled along the black edge, drifting rhythmically to oranges and reds before settling again on their original hue. Two pillars of hard wood stood at either end of the device, supporting a number of chains as black as the stone. Nestled in the chains, a few strips of the same hardwood supported a body.
Female, Aramil noted.
DEAD ALREADY, the steel voice whispered into his mind. FRESH, THOUGH. JUST DEAD. PERHAPS IF YOU HAD NOT FALLEN—
YOUNG, TOO, she hissed.
“ENOUGH!” Aramil bellowed.
“Enough, what?” Cassock panted.
Aramil threw a wary glance back and then, pushing the device from his mind, crossed the floor to the burning desk. His sharp eyes caught a few yet undamaged parchments on the burning desk. Barring his mind against more pain, the rogue snatched them.
Cassock grunted when Aramil ignored him. Zayda and Ana were trotting up the last of the stairs. The undead was crawling across the inside walls of the tower, searching for the tell-tale auras of magick. The priest’s eyes settled on the device and the suspended body. He stalked up the staircase, eyes searching every corner of the room.
She was young, too young. Stripped of all clothing, Cassock could only stare in disgust at the purple bruises ringing the bonds that had held her down. She was only nine, maybe ten. Nothing more than a child. A jagged crevasse smiled jaggedly along her breastbone.
Holding his breath, Cassock leaned toward the wound. It pierced her entirely, a deep gouge that revealed the theft of her heart. He shifted away from her absent hazel eyes.
The inside of the device had been worked like a bowl. Some of her blood stained its bottom. At the bottom center, the blood spilled through a hole.
“Found it,” the sharp voice hissed. Cassock glanced toward Rhynos. The abomination held a chalice in his left hand, a chalice rimmed with blood. Blood also covered the lips of the monster. “It tastes fresh, and very, very young,” Rhynos nearly purred.
A roar ripped from Cassock’s lips. His feet hit the floor before he realized he had leapt from the platform. His left arm pressed the vampire into the wall while his right hefted the blade.
Rhynos smirked. “Is this not the chalice you were looking for?” Anger flashed across the priest’s face. “Someone had secured it below a hole, where a stream of blood had filled the cup to its brim. Then, the blood dripped down, and if I’m not mistaken, into and through the wooden chalice your female elf so mistakenly grabbed below.”
Cassock hesitated, lip quivering in anger, in frustration. Taking a breath, he released the monster. It held the chalice toward him. He grabbed it.
“She’s too young for my tastes,” Rhynos hissed with a wicked grin. “I prefer my women to be experienced.”
Under his gauntlet, Cassock felt his knuckles whiten around the hilt of his sword.
Aramil shoved a handful of papers at the priest. “Looks like designs and pieces of a journal,” the half-elf murmured. Cassock only grunted as he sheathed the sword and collected the papers.
“There was someone else here,” the undead teased. “Moments ago.” Everyone turned to regard him. “I have a nose for these things and I know only too well the stink of a priest.” Rhynos glared knowingly at Cassock.
“He slipped away,” Aramil confessed. “He burned me with magicks and made his escape while I was distracted.”
“He did not have to go too far. There is a hole here in the floor. Looks like he used this metal pole to escape.” He took two long, deep breaths. “Yes.” Rhynos glanced around at the unmoving group. “I'll go first; I don’t mind.” He gripped the metal with his slender hands.
“I go first,” Cassock commanded. Rhynos shrugged and smirked, stepping away. “Cael,” Cassock stated low enough so that only Rhynos could hear, “believes undead to be an abomination. An abomination with use. But outlive that use,” his last word hung threateningly between them.
Cassock leapt into the darkness.
Tuesday, 2nd December, 2008, 03:04 AM #422
Waghalter (Lvl 7)
Yeti thinks the guy playing Cassock is a grade A a__hole. Wait a minute...... that's me.
Another good update.
Tuesday, 9th December, 2008, 05:35 AM #423
Novice (Lvl 1)
Chapter 8: Devils in the Dark (concluded)
“Ladies first,” Rhynos cooed. He bowed in mock respect.
Anastrianna wearily paced to the edge of the shaft. Twenty feet below the lip, darkness swallowed the metal shaft entirely. She took a slow breath. Her options were limited.
Rhynos smiled at her. “I am always the gentleman. Chivalry is not entirely dead.” His wicked grin cut through her as easily as a blade would. “Ladies first,” he repeated.
She leapt. Zayda and Aramil followed.
Rhynos watched them vanish one by one. At the bottom of the shaft, an intense, strange magic pulsed. The colors within its aura shimmered and shifted unlike any of the schools he knew.
The vampire breathed deeply, searching for the delicate and overwhelming scent of those four. His preternatural senses found nothing.
“This is probably not the best idea.” He pulled out his wand, tapping it gently against his own body to trigger the magicks. Billowing as if caught by a sudden gust of wind, his clothing resettled about his body, all wrinkles and dirt vanishing from the fabric. He returned the wand to its sheath.
Rhynos gave one last look around before succumbing to his curiosity. He leapt into the pit.
A wave of nausea pummeled his body. An endless darkness smothered him. Time slowed, stretched, and then stopped.
Gravity tugged Rhynos downward.
The scent of fresh blossoms and flesh assaulted Rhynos as the world exploded with light and color. He twisted in agony and shock beneath the bright sun. A blanket of fresh grass caressed his body.
He flailed about, terrified. Details began to collect in his mind like rainwater pooling upon a leaf. His clothing was gone, replaced by a gray robe. He was on a hillock surrounded by a forest. Autumn gripped the trees, despite the fresh scent of flowers. White clouds crawled lazily across the sky.
Six black pillars stood in stark contrast to the grass on the hillock. They stretched no more than ten spans into the sky. Aramil stood near one of the pillars, running his hands across its surface. The half-elf sported a robe identical to Rhynos’.
The sun blazed high above Rhynos but its light did not burn his flesh.
He realized suddenly that he was breathing heavily.
Rhynos stopped thrashing about, fear gripping his body.
The rhythmic pounding filled his body and fueled his fears; his heart beat within his chest.
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