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Metamorphosis: From Dretch to Demon Lord - Ascension Released!

Korgan26

First Post
Awwww man! I saw it on the first page and got excited, so looking forward to next post.
Stupid bumps!!

Z
 
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BLACKDIRGE

Adventurer
Ok, update time. :D

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Part XV

“No! My lord!” Heskara shrieked in anguish as Pyrak sagged to the ground, his upper torso propped up ghoulishly by the spear that transfixed his chest. The marilith saw her own doom, there in the inert form of her liege, and her eyes unerringly found the architect of that destruction, as he stood idly, still stunned by the aftermath of his unlikely victory.

With a clatter of steel Heskara shot toward her enemy, blades whirling about her body in a macabre dance of rage. Hedrenatherax saw her coming, felt the weakness in his body, and knew that she would kill him. His victory over Pyrak would be fleeting, his brutally short reign ended beneath Heskara’s six gleaming swords. Clutching the stump of his severed arm to his chest, Hedrenatherax moved to meet Heskara, intent on at least dying in combat.

Gemnez watched, all but unnoticed by the remaining combatants, as Heskara neared Hedrenatherax. The baatezu’s flabby, red-stained lips were pulled back in a helpless grimace of fear and excitement. “Kill him, Heskara…” He hissed, urging the marilith to the murder he knew she ached for.

Hedrenatherax flared his wings, hunched low and held his remaining hand, talons extended, towards Heskara. The balor’s body flames guttered to life, transforming him into a living pillar of flame. Despite this frightening display, Heskara drove forward, silent as grave and implacable as the engine of destruction that she was.

A mere ten feet separated the two demons, when the entire palace was rocked with a massive tremor, so staggering that Hedrenatherax and Heskara were both hurled to the floor. Both demons lay stunned as the tremor passed, leaving in its wake an eerie silence, and a definite hum of power in the air.

Groggily, the balor climbed to his feet, his eyes casting about for Heskara, whom he located quickly enough, lying in a sprawl not more than ten paces away. Intent on striking at the felled demoness before she could regain her senses, Hedrenatherax saw Fiendbleeder at his feet, gleaming murderously beside the corpse of its former owner. Quick as a snake, the balor snatched the mammoth blade from the ground, balancing its cumbersome weight in his left hand.

Hedrenatherax hadn’t made more than single step towards Heskara, when his mind exploded in a nimbus of pain and light. The pain took on a searing reality, and quickly manifested in a booming voice that filled his head to bursting. “DROP ME, FOOL!

Hedrenatherax sank to his knees, blind with the agony blooming in his brain, and with little choice but to obey, let Fiendbleeder slide from his grasp to clatter against the floor.

Pain receded from Hedrenatherax, following swiftly on the heels of Fiendbleeder’s unmelodious clang as it struck the ground. The balor’s vision cleared, and he saw Heskara before him, the marilith had abandoned all her swords save one, the largest, which she gripped in the topmost of her six sets of hands.

Heskara grinned savagely, her beautiful features twisted and made all but unrecognizable by the wrathful triumph that filled her face. The marilith’s sword swept back and over her head, arms arced to deliver every ounce of strength into the blow that would end Hedrenatherax. The balor closed his eyes and waited, all hope and ambition had fled, he would die on his knees, ignoble and broken.

Seconds whispered past, and Hedrenatherax waited for the bite of the marilith's steel. Another second, and he heard Heskara gasp, followed by the dull clatter of her sword striking the stone floor of the throne room. Hedrenatherax opened his eyes to see the marilith backpedaling, her face cloaked in a rictus of fear. The demoness’s eyes were fixed on a point over Hedrenatherax’s head, and he turned to see what had caused the marilith to abandon her victory.

Gemnez had managed to remain standing through the bizarre tremor that had shaken the palace, and he had watched as both Hedrenatherax and Heskara were thrown to the floor. His mind was a chaos of fear and hope, as he witnesses Fiendbleeder reject Hedrenatherax and momentarily disable the balor. Dread was replaced by glee as Heskara had slithered up to the stricken Hedrenatherax and prepared to end his coup with one swing of her sword, but it was not to be.

From over Hedrenatherax’s shoulder Gemnez saw the corpse of Pyrak suddenly flare brightly, the inert body suffused with a bluish glow. The corpse twitched, jerked spasmodically, and then with the shuddering movements of undeath, Pyrak reached up and grasped Dreadskewer, pulling it from his chest with one titanic jerk.

This is what had caused Heskara to falter, sword poised over her head, mouth slack with fear and awe. When Pyrak lurched to his feet, she had seen enough, and dropped her weapon, fleeing backwards, away from the awful apparition of Pyrak.

Hedrenatherax turned his head, saw Pyrak shambling towards him, and climbed shakily to his feet. Pyrak’s animated body was alive with blue radiance, it burst from his eyes and poured forth in a river of azure flame from his mouth. Despite the power and fury of this manifestation, there was no life in Pyrak, his movements were barely controlled spasms, as if the demon lord was a puppet controlled by the palsied hands of an aged puppeteer.

Hedrenatherax did not flinch as Pyrak stopped not more than five feet from him. The slain demon lord’s mouth opened and a voice boiled forth, a bottomless, hollow sound that smote the minds of the three fiends in the room with unfathomable dread.

“Hedrenatherax…” The balor’s name spilled out from Pyrak’s mouth. “Usurper, do you claim this body’s rank and power?”

Hedrenatherax stared, mute with terror, at the glowing corpse of his former liege. The balor’s mind struggles to make sense of the words that had issued from Pyrak’s slack, open mouth. His fear was great but his desire to rule far exceeded anything so paltry as fear. “Yes, I claim this throne.” Hendrenatherax said at last.

There was a moment of silence, broken only by Heskara’s frantic mumbling, as she attempted a teleportation spell, her third in the last few moments. The spell failed like the two before it. Then, suddenly, Pyrak’s corpse lurched forward, and grasped Hedrenatherax on either side of his face with its taloned hands. The balor struggled to pull away, but the grip that held him was implacable, unbreakable.

“Then accept our blessing, demon.” The voice, an almost disembodied whisper, rushed like an ill wind from Pyrak’s open mouth.

The talons locked about Hedrenatherax’s head, fumbled down towards his mouth, fingers gouging into his lips and gums. The balor whipped his head back and forth frantically, but to no avail. Pyrak’s corpse pried open Hednrenatherax's mouth, spreading the fanged orifice wide. It then drew him close, into an embrace that seemed almost tender, a lovers grip made absurd by the nature of the two beings that shared it.

Hedrenatherax screamed, the mighty tenor of his voice booming from his open mouth. The sound was cut short as the corpse that was Pyrak, placed its own gaping jaws over the balor’s, and vomited forth the blue flames that filled it. A flood of searing pain filled Hedrenatherax, as the power animating Pyrak’s corpse poured into him. His mind clouded with visions of his past, his own life as a mortal, long forgotten in the countless millennia he had been a demon. Blurred images flashed to a slime-choked spawning pool, where a dretch that would one day be Hedrenatherax pulled itself from the muck. Hedrenatherax saw a battlefield, Avernus, where he, now a vrock, rallied to the call of a demon lord named Pazuzu. On and on the visions dragged him, through each phase of his existence, Hezrou, Nalfashnee, Marilith, all the forms of demonic power he had held, each giving way to more powerful forms beyond. Finally, he saw the mighty balor that he had become, there in the throne room of Pyrak, as he on one knee, pledged he allegiance to the demon lord, an allegiance he had shattered on this very day.

The visions suddenly ceased, and Hedrenatherax tumbled to the floor, as the now limp and lifeless body of Pyrak released him, resuming the cold vigilance of true death. Pain unlike anything Hedrenatherax had experienced gripped him, he felt his bones shift beneath his skin, the muscles and tissue stretching, changing. He opened his mouth to scream, but only a thin pathetic mewl escaped his pain wracked body.

Heskara cowered against the huge double doors of the throne room, she had tried in vain to wrench them open, but they were held fast by some unseen force. She saw Gemnez, standing beside one of the pillars that lined the walls, his eyes fixed in glassy horror on the writhing form of Hedrenatherax. “Gemnez!” She shouted. “Help me open the door!”

The great bloated baatezu turned slowly to her, his lips pressed together in a thin smile. “I cannot, I must not interfere.” He said, his voice distant.

“He will kill us both, fool!” Heskara cried.

“Perhaps, but there is naught I can do. We cannot turn aside the course of fate, my dear.”

Enraged, Heskara rushed towards Gemnez, her six hands hooked into talons to tear the fat devil to shreds. A ringing shriek from Hedrenatherax caused her to falter, and almost against her will she turned to look upon the balor’s ascension.

Hedrenatherax was now standing, his red-scaled skin mottled with patches of creeping black, patches that seemed to grow and spread like a disease upon his flesh. His whole body writhed, bulging and contorting with the changes that were taking place beneath his skin. Bones cracked, Heskara watched as the balor’s legs crackled with growth, gaining girth and length, stretching the demon to a new height some six feet above his former stature.

Hedrenatherax had not stopped screaming, his pain filling the throne room with hoarse cries of agony. He stood arms outstretched, his massive chest expanding to accommodate the rapid growth of his internal organs. The balor's skin was now almost completely black, glistening with a mirrored sheen, as if he had been carved from ebony. His right arm, the one that had been truncated by Fiendbleeder, was undergoing a severe transmogrification, the bone sliding, and growing out of the wound like a grotesque, living stiletto. The bone spear reached a length of nearly eight feet before it began to thicken, finally taking the shape of a huge curving blade, a living sickle of bone. The skin covering Hedrenatherax’s upper arm snaked forward, stretching to cover his new limb with shining black flesh.

Hedrenatherax’s head, always a nightmarish visage of demonic power, was undergoing changes a well. His wide fanged mouth, expanded, almost bisecting his head, and two tusks suddenly thrust forward from his lower jaw, growing rapidly into twelve-inch daggers. The balor’s backward curving horns, twisted forward, grinding against his skull, as they moved through the flesh of his head like sculptors knife through clay. They reached their final position, jutting forward from his brow, and lengthened, until they stood like two spears, spiraling four feet above Hedrenatherax’s head. Finally, the balor’s wings, crumpled and fell from his shoulders. Decaying into piles of putrid slime in seconds.

The screaming stopped and a great sigh of relief burst from the new demon lord. He stood, and looked down at his new body, the baleful red glare of Hedrenatherax’s eyes gleaming with delight. He raised his right arm, now a deadly weapon of razored bone, and glanced down the length of the throne room, where Heskara was slamming all of her six fists against the unyielding doors. Hedrenatherax grinned hugely, his twin tusks arcing up over his fanged smile. He snarled incoherently and suddenly burst into a dead run.

The demon lord’s massive frame, half again as large as his former body, thundered towards Heskara, bone sickle cocked back. Heskara saw him coming, terror filled her eyes, and she began frantically waving her hands in the practiced patterns of a spell. The spell flashed completion, and a bolt of silver fire spat forth from her outstretched hand to strike the charging demon lord full in the chest. But the eldritch fire spattered harmlessly off Hedrenatherax, the mirrored black scales that covered his body reflecting the spell’s energy completely.

“No! Wait!” Heskara screamed, throwing her hands up to ward off the unstoppable doom that rushed towards her. “My lord…!” She cried, her words suddenly cut short as Hedrenatherax’s bore down on her, his right arm flashing forward to bring the terrible bone sickle into a single killing stroke. The bone blade bit into Heskara just below her navel, driven by the weight and momentum of the charging Hedrenatherax.. The marilith’s body simply came apart in a spray of ichor and entrails, bisected completely. Her upper torso thudded to the ground, all six arms twitching spasmodically, while her serpentine lower half thrashed wildly in its death throes. She tried to speak, but all that issued from her mouth was a great gout of her own viscous blood. She died quietly, her eyes staring up into the grinning visage of Hedrenatherax, his bestial features filled with hatred and triumph.

Hedrenatherax turned, his bone sickle dripping Heskara’s blood, and saw Gemnez. The Baatezu stood calmly, betraying none of the terror that filled his heart. “And what of you, fat one?” Hedrenatherax said, the voice that issued from his new body was deep and grinding, like two great boulders rubbing together.

In response to Hedrenatherax’s query, Gemnez fell to his knees and bowed his head. “My lord, I am at your service.”

Hedrenatherax chuckled foully, and he strode up to the kneeling baatezu, laying the point of his sickle arm upon the devil’s broad back. “That’s right you great, bloated fool. You serve me now.” Hedrenatherax hissed venomously.

“Yes, my lord. I serve you.” Gemnez agreed quietly.

“Good, now get up, and get back to Gemnez Drak. I want those spawning pits running constantly.” Hedrenatherax lifted his blade arm from Gemnez, turned, and began walking towards the throne. “I have an army to build.” He said over his shoulder.

Gemnez stood. “Of course, my liege, at once.” The baatezu hurried to the throne room doors, stepping over the grisly mess that was all that remained of Heskara. Immense relief flooded through him, as both doors swung silently open to his lightest touch. He stepped through and was gone.

Hedrenatherax had settled into the throne once occupied by his former master, and gazed down at the carnage that filled his throne room. He saw Fiendbleeder gleaming dully on the stone floor, and his face creased in a grimace. It was the very center of Pyrak’s power, and it had rejected him. His gaze traveled over to Dreadskewer, the very weapon that had given him his victory over Pyrak, yet it was created by devils to slay demons. Hednrenatherax chuckled, he doubted that Dreadskewer’s creators had ever dreamed it would be used in the way it had been today, to grant one demon victory over another.


There was so much to do, so much empire to build, but Hedrenatherax pushed these thoughts aside. His gaze lingered upon the corpse of Pyrak, and he allowed himself to savor the triumph he had long yearned for. He would sort out the difficulties of his new domain in time, but today he would simply bask in the glory of his ascension and gloat over the shattered bodies of his enemies.
 
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Zappo

Explorer
Let me be the first to say YEAH! Very cool, and now I'm torn between wanting to see if Hedrenatherax will be dumb enough to get dominated by either weapon, and wanting to know what's going on with the protagonist...
 

Thomas Hobbes

First Post
Another update worth the wait. :)

I hesitate to temper praise with nitpicking, but you refer to H's eternal organs. Which may be what you mean, but I doubt it. :p (I am the immortal spleen!
 

BLACKDIRGE

Adventurer
Thomas Hobbes said:
Another update worth the wait. :)

I hesitate to temper praise with nitpicking, but you refer to H's eternal organs. Which may be what you mean, but I doubt it. :p (I am the immortal spleen!

Stupid spellcheck. :)

Yeah, that shoud read "internal organs".

Thanks for the catch. Fixed it.

Dirge
 


cmnash

First Post
I didn't think I would ever feel sorry for a demon ... but with Heskara, you managed it :eek:

superb work as always Blackdirge!
 
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