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Where Demons Dread



 
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Damian Veron

November, 2011.

"If I was to be the end of you, would you want it any other way?"

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Nine years later...

Sadness croons through the silence, and death quietly weeps.

A sense of dread and gloom cast a pall over the estate like pestilence. A world turned inward, now cold and dark, and empty. A post-apocalyptic nightmare of what was left behind, and dead memories of what used to be. Up above, night bloomed without a spark of light or warmth, not a comfort to spare in this cold, dead silence. Down below, misery had found a new home within these four walls. This was refuge, to the ghosts of despair.

“If you knew what was good for you… you wouldn’t want to be the end of me. You’d keep me locked away; forever.”

His past swallowed him, dragging him deeper into the pit of a terrible ache. A violent sea of melancholia and infinite sadness. It left him so cold, raw to its merciless assault. An arid chill eating compassion and marrow, smile and bone. And there was no feeling in the void; his heart charred to numb by the fires of vengeance, snuffed out long ago in the deluge of loss and remorse. He had become a glutton to his suffering. He had eaten, and devoured, and drowned himself in so much doused grief and liquored wrath; he was lost to himself. To the universe, and the world that long missed his warmth and vibrant touch.

Six months had passed since the events of Strasbourg, though time held no meaning or relevance in perdition. In his own private hell, he was a passenger forgotten, a thing of rot and abandon, neglected to famine. Love was dead. Love was death. Eating him alive; body and mind and soul. And he savored her, even the smallest semblance of her essence left behind to elevate his torment. Her memory, he fed on in the cannibalistic fashion of a doting savage. All those unfortunate ends attempting to relieve the ache, and dissatisfaction. To cure him of his insatiable need for nothing, but her.

The cure, and curse of it all, he drinks to the bottom.

And it is this drunken madness, that has brought him to this stage. The relentless rover in hell's basement, chasing demons and a devil's lament.

"I think I found a way to summon her back," The witch had said to the lion, all those months ago, "it might be possible, if only for a moment.". It was this insight that flamed a flicker of hope his apathy evaded. It revived him, mounting the progression of his unwavering credence in her abilities, invigorating the obsessiveness of his single-minded pursuit. The germ of an idea sowed then, had grown into the ritualistic insanity about to commence.

His exterior held no fire but the vivacity of his inner tumult. His soulless eyes ablaze in a sea of black, glowing and radiating, they spun a lawless tale of a monster beyond reasoning, stripped of all empathy and regard. Virulence spilling forth from a motionless being, who stared at the sight before him, examining its tragic colors and stained piety.

Hanging precariously by the intricate array of barbed wires hooked hungrily deep within her flesh, the scene below held her petrified in terror. Her delicate spindly legs, hung from hooks of chrome malice, tearing into her ankle, calf and thigh. The two twigs on her back were so artistically molded. Splayed limp on either side and nailed to the wall, shattered and ill of use. Broken wings were quite charming upon birds. It was art in full, candid form. Livid with agony; she screamed and wailed, and writhed under his gaze. Crying hollow through the walls of her cavity in voracious zeal.

I swear by my sin-loving soul, I will wear your sins all over me. I see broken angels, with splintered halos; I am the serpent, swallowed by the sun. My ravenous obsession with corrupt nutrition; I can taste the madness, dripping from my tongue.

The stillness of the air within the cavernous basement trembled as he stepped closer. The saber glistening in the sickly glow of candle lights, allowing the gleam to dance across the leather hilt. A skeletal hand – ivory joints curled elegantly in a fist – laid claim to its power. Two empty sockets stared her in the eye; unwavering and cold and black as coal. Icy lips brushed along her cheek to press against her ear, the saber poised at her throat. She flinched at his touch, repulsed at the thought of her virtuosity brushing against such unholy peccadillo. “Hush, little baby… hush, little baby…" Soft were his words, whispered to her and his own aching soul. The blade so cold against her skin, it broke her smooth complexion into a rivulet of goosebumps.

To summon a demon, called for the blood of an angel. A divine sacrifice to unleash the hounds of hell.

The saber danced and a scream ripped through the basement, resonating far into the vacant, hollow spaces of the mansion above. Her voice was hoarse; it was the sound of a dying angel. Her cry driven into the heart of malevolence. The butcher took up her flavor, so beautifully dyed in madder lake. The Egyptians would have ached for such a rich, sanguine coloration – but no. It was his alone to strip across his throat. The crimson scarf flowed down his chest that heaved with each sacred verse of her wailing song, pouring into the golden chalice below.

Unforgiving, his glance and its apathetic composure, as it roved, and slipped past the curtain to look down the throat of a sobbing soul. He was growing tired of her song. Purity resided inside of her, and he wanted it. The treasure of what spared innocence his enmity sought to shatter. He swallowed her gaping scream with his mouth, vile jaws snapping in a violent frenzy. It crushed her teeth from their roots and he spit them out, letting them drop to the floor beneath his feet; the hideous sound clamoring in a cadence of broken notes as he chewed down and savored the sweet morsel of her tongue. Taking pleasure in her destruction; her desecration. Taking justice back for the grief and guilt that had dogged him. And as her song died in his arms, he laughed, and he mocked, and he wept. Dancing music, music sad; both together, sane and mad.

The saber pierced her navel, dragged down slowly, inch by inch, tearing away delicate flesh and sinew, down to her open throat; and then sliced across her breasts, peeling her asunder. An inverted cross in the memory of the fallen, painted upon her tattered virtue. In her flesh, he carved her name. His pain burned into her vein and tenderness. Beneath him, lay debris and tears and blood. Cadaverous digits lovingly caressed the cold flesh, running along the pried open seams of her corpse; she was hung like a bleeding white rose in bitter winter. And it was her soul, he had touched - and broken as all the rest.

Brutality grinding unforgivingly against the tension of his weathered, hot-blooded emotion, his nerves twisted and gnawed as he turned around to set his eyes upon the witch waiting behind him, who had just born witness to the horror. The icy black color vividly unsettling, restless, and haunting; yet uneasily calm. A brooding calamity wavering in the glimmer of his gaze.

"And now we begin."
November 16, 2020 10:59 pm

Shannon Taylor

Plant stained fingers slid over the blood-soaked words. She read the spell for a third time, to be sure she was capable of accurately reciting the sequence of the archaic text. Her soft voice cracked somewhat as she practiced each nuance of the underlined words, striving for the perfect inflection. He has been guiding her in her journey within the treasure trove of dark secrets in the Book of Ancients. It was there she first read the spell and thought just ‘maybe’, they could do this. -SHE- could do this. With each reading, the young sorceress has been feeling the power of the incantations surge and flow within her.

For months now, she has dedicated herself to memorizing this spell, practicing until her body ached, her voice hoarse and her component jars near depleted. Now, determination was set like stone in her features. He was bringing back the last piece she needed, and then they would turn the practice area of the heavily concreted cellar into the portal that would allow Pheenyx to return home. She could still recall the nerves she felt when she first approached his broody figure with the possibility of the spell. He had been ill-tempered, inconsolable, despondent and the tension was becoming increasingly difficult to ignore. Shannon knew that they were only going to have one attempt at success, and she was going to make sure they accomplished their goal.

- Not this soon! I'm not ready! -

She took a deep breath, trying to silence the fringes of doubt that danced around just beneath her surface. Tonight's spell was one she could not afford even the smallest of errors. Too much was at stake. Her fingers shook slightly as she ran them over the words she had been staring at for the last few hours. Blood red glowed up from ancient pages and the letters and symbols were now burned into her mind's eye. She knelt on the concrete floor, carefully drawing the pentagram and protective circles with chalk. Bold, thick lines emerged on the hard surface. She took care to ensure every point touched and there were no breaks or cracks in the intricate symbols and patterns she drew. Occasionally she glanced up at him, trying to show the poise and confidence she was only partially feeling. White candles stood like silent guards at each of the carefully drawn points. A single black taper stood proudly in her protective circle, ready to act as a beacon.

The scent of laurel, myrrh, tobacco and lavender burned from the abalone shell on the altar, bringing in the elements of earth and water to prepare the room for the summoning. She walked to the wall and stood silently behind him, watching the grisly scene play out while she remained detached from what she bore witness to. It was an unfortunate price to pay to achieve their needs and while the wails and cries may have previously hurt her senses, their current goal was of much greater importance. As he turned, she gazed at the tormented figure, the crimson still dripping from the now silenced soul. Her fingertip caressed the plumage softly as she searched for a large snow white plume. Plucking it skillfully, the witch glanced up briefly, silently thanking the spirits for their sacrifice. Using a small band of leather and a series of intricate knots she added the quill to the others in her wand.

-And now we begin-

With slow semi-circles, she began to wave over the incense, forcing the smoke to fill every corner of the cold, dark cellar. She picked up the small bell and rang it four times, once in each of the cardinal directions, ready to call Pheenyx home. Her tongue ran over her lips nervously as she picked up the warm cup of mugwort and chevil tea, drinking deeply, her fingers trembling slightly. The herbs would steady her nerves and free her mind, opening her consciousness to any signals they could be given. Setting down the cup, she took a deep breath, willing her heartbeat to slow. She needed to remain calm. She told Him she could do this.

She lit the white altar candles on either side of the chalice of angels blood, their offering of libation to the spirits. Pulling a locket, Phee’s locket out of her pocket, she palms the antique design, her fingers running over the intricate marcasite pattern. She found the gesture soothing, helping the witchling connect to her friend. Picking up a smaller chalice and her amethyst encrusted dagger, she walked to Him, her shadow dwarfed by his imposing frame. Her voice quickly gathering the confidence she needs for the next crucial step. "I need something from you, to bind her to this place. She is sun to your moon, warmth to your cold. To strengthen the hold, you must spill what you hold precious and dear. Offer your sanguine fluid so we may call her forth, for it is your strength and conviction that will bring her back" Taking a step back, she placed the hilt in his hand and willed her own steady, holding the locket over the small chalice, knowing every drop will be vital to their chance of success.

With the chalice full, she bows to him, taking the dagger and returning it to it’s place of prominence, the red streaks still clinging to the razor sharp point. Nodding, she silently urges him to take his place next to the antique stand up mirror. She will need his eyes and clarity of mind to search for signs Pheenyx is with them. With slow, measured steps she picks up the angel’s blood and moves toward the center of her protective circle, placing both of the vessels down carefully. She then pours the white salt around the edge, sealing her safely within. Dipping the finger of her right hand into the first chalice, she paints protective X’s on either side of a smaller circle within, the crimson glistening in the candlelight. Black salt is poured around that circle’s edge, each granule important as this is where she will hold Phee when she calls her from whatever plane of hell she now resides.

Finally the witchling takes her seat within the circle and lights first the white, then black candle. Her breath has calmed, the incense and the mugwort drawing her in the tranquility she needs to open the channel to make first contact.The words of invocation beginning.

Eelaunya; Earth and standing stone, guard steadfast, protect this home. Afeartia; Fire, blackest coals light the way for those who roam. Matretis; Water from hallowed hand, release the bindings of the damned. Vrondae; Air of breath, of life, we've come to wake the dead tonight.

Reaching into the second vessel with her left hand, she gathers the demon’s ichor and paints a small inverted cross on her forehead, then drapes the blood-coated locket over both. Pressing her palms together, her intentions pure of heart she mixes the two forces and offers herself as a conduit. Her fingers touch, small red bubbles forming into a froth as she gazes within the black candle her soft voice carrying over the stillness.

Akereth Lafeuw; here the briar pricks the veil. Snicks and snags and drags it down. Creates the curtain, unbinds the seam, to let the dead slip inbetween. To Arachsideen we offer blood of the tyrant god's favored son and to Oldrin who stands at her side, the blood of husband bound to wife. Betray the one who binds the dead! And take this as her penance paid. A pound of flesh a pint of blood and the honoring of your sacred name. Let forth the wretched, blackened beasts to feast and occupy themselves. To eat their fill as we then reach to pull the soul from pits of hell.

The words hang in the air. Amber hues look to the candles and see no sign of movement. The chamber silent except for her own breathing and the intense gaze of obsidian eyes boring through her back.

What did she do wrong?



*Invocation and spell courtesy of the amazing Virelai Tylwyth

November 18, 2020 12:45 am

Pheenyx

Hell

Time held no relevance in this place. Where one might’ve said ‘this too shall pass’, there had instead metastasized the bitter understanding that this, the frozen wasteland of a hellscape dedicated singularly to her torment and misery, would never end.

Minutes turned to hours, turned to days, turned to infinite abandon. There was no sun here, no moon or stars. Absolutely no way to gauge how long she had been deserted here. Just the suffocating ever-gray fog that infected the skies, forcing its brittle shards down her throat and into her lungs every time she took a breath. This, her personalized damnation; a demon trapped inside the mortal coil to spend eternity suffering the physical pain and breakdown of a human body amidst a neverending winter. There were no flames here.

She could only see a few radial feet around her at any given moment; a demifrozen lake to her right, and the vast unknown in all three other cardinal directions. Without much choice, the lake, a landmark and safe haven, had become her only guide. So, she walked.

She walked, and she walked, and she walked, a trail of bloody prints left to mark her path along the lake’s endless rocky shore. In the beginning, she told herself just a little bit further. Just keep going. Someone will be there. Even now, the words echoed in her mind, a competing voice opposite the unrelenting roar of gale force winds mounting the shore from the water’s surface.

A human body the demoness would have at one point coveted so, was now the vessel in which she would be agonized. No water for parched lips except for the sulfurous sea. No moisture from the smoky fog to ease her cracking skin. And so with every word, every movement of frail form, wounds reopened and scabs split apart. Desiccated cracks covered every inch of her naked flesh, fresh blood and dried alike decorating her chalky silhouette like crimson tinsel on alabaster pine.

Still, she walked on, for what else does one do in hell?

As oblivion grew to be a familiar friend, her body continued to break down. She scratched and clawed at her weathered skin, trying to peel it away so maybe, just maybe, she could make a blanket and find reprieve from the neverending winter winds. Had it been years now? Months? Hours?

Where are you?

Just keep going.

Ice cracked and snapped in the distance, always just beyond her sight lines, reminding her of the icy companion at her side. Every so often she would hear her name in their cries, calling to her, seeking to embrace her within frozen claws. But every time she contemplated stepping into the liquid and disappearing into nothingness, she would see his face.

And the rage would warm her frozen soul. The desperation would relight a spark deep within and she would find the will to keep pushing forward with renewed vigor, despite the agony. But for the chance to see him again and ask him ...

Why?

Time went on, always there but never within reach. Her mind attached to this shell of a human body; every ache, every cut, every bloody sore reminding her that He had called her from this place in the beginning, and he had been the one to send her back.

She took a lethargic step forward, the bloodied sole of her foot disregarding caution at splintered snowy stones below. But as she did, her foot found a different surface. She looked up, as quickly as one could when a neck refused to cooperate. Eyes caught sight of a billowy shape, sat on the ground of what looked like a basement. But the details were blurry and as quick as it was there, gray winds overtook the mirage and she was cast back to reality. Her reality.

She opened her mouth to sigh; her bottom lip split. Another mirage of visions long passed. Now though, the scent of copper filled her nose. She wiped the back of her hand across her lip haphazardly, creating a deeper fissure on the parched aperture. Pain, compounding pain, compounding pain. Just when she thought she had grown numb, a new piercing agony would shake her from reverie.

How much was too much and when was enough, enough?

She knelt down in excruciatingly slow fashion, and teased the edge of the toxic fluid nearby with a casual fingertip. What if ... ?

But in that moment a vicious and vindictive wind swept a cascading wash of the putrid sea up and over her hand and forearm. She screamed, cried out, bellowed at the sky and sea in pure frustration and misery! The acid peeled away what dried flesh was there, salting the wounds of marble. In that high pitched wail, somewhere, planes of existence away, a mirror absolutely shattered. Just how her mind began to now. This was it. This was how it ended.

It wasn’t fair.

November 24, 2020 11:21 am

Virelai Tylwyth


What monstrosity is this?

Ghostly eyes swept the room buried beneath the ground, encased in stone and scented with herbs and blood, evoking long ago memories that brushed against Virelai's psyche.

This was a gateway to bedlam. The harrowing heart. The soul of divinity ripped from dislocated jaws. A massacre of feathers and blood, the deaths of many contained into one. There was surrender here, in the two brewing calamity, an acceptance that came from desperation. Cold and unfeeling. No, filled with feeling too deep to even be acknowledged. There is only this one thing that they will do or die attempting.

The woman devoured the scene, as a child might be captivated by the movement of insects, she too was caught by this chaos and yearning. This was wretchedness the likes of which she had not seen in a long, long time. Vir did not recognize the woman with shining red hair, pulsing with earthy power. She could almost taste the tang of death amid the herbs and salt and smoke. But she brushed that aside and turned instead towards the one eating the tongue of the child god's messenger.

This one was familiar and she couldn't quite understand what she was seeing when the aurora burst to life and unspooled between them. It wriggled like a great serpent within the room as the blood was decanted into a goblet. The witch, for what else could this be but a ritual performed by such a being, offered a knife to the man and more blood was spilled over a glitter of metal that the redhead held.

Then the woman stepped away and it seemed the ritual was beginning. Virelai's eyes remained on the man, attempting to puzzle out why. Why did it seem like he wasn't a stranger? Why were they connected? Why were they performing this strange ritual? All the while her ghostly gaze bore into that creature.

Until there was a small spark, Samhael, and Virelai remembered.



The snarling bitch with the yellow canary hair spitting venom with a broken face. Wait. The little bird with golden feathers whispering i-love-yous in a bloody cathedral. Stop. A knife severing wings. A sword plunging into a weeping heart. Frenzy and fascination. Adoration and agony. No more. The horrifying scream of a devil. A dying bird. Ashes. Ashes. Ashes. And dust.



Enough!” Her mind howled as Virelai slammed her fists down, collapsing to the floor, creating splintered cracks on the floorboards. Silence descended, the images faded away, the memory becoming hazy. Fists, trembling and sticky with blood, were the first thing that came into focus, followed by her arms rattling skin and bones. Whether that shaking was from weakness and fatigue or the memory she had just experienced, she wasn't sure.

But something had clicked into place at that moment.

Vir's lips twisted into a sharp smile and she pushed up, wet hands slapping prints on the white bedspread as she levered herself to her feet. But the eyes that met the weight of the gazes directed at her – those moss green eyes that looked more gray, color draining from them – were wide and round. Haunted. Exhausted.


How funny. She thought, eyes wandering around the room, pausing briefly on each of the three creatures gathered here. It seems I've some unfinished business. It wasn't hard to see from the way they treated her that one way or another these were her people. She wondered if they would listen to her, though it mattered little if they did or not. In the end, they wouldn't stop her. She wouldn't let them.

You, Tobias, yes?” She turned to the young man nearest her. “Go make preparations to leave. There is something I must do and you will come with me.” She glanced around the room like she had never seen it before, gaze distant, on something far away. “It is time to go back...” She shook her head to clear her thoughts and continued. “And tell the one who is Orla to find me something suitable to wear.”

While the boy conveyed this to the elder woman, Wulrom tried to speak up. “Vaewen, if you are going somewhere I should be the one-”

No. You will stay here.” Virelai didn't explain why she made that decision. Certainly, where she was going might be dangerous. And it would make sense to take the creature who seemed most experienced with danger. However, – her eyes narrowed at the man in question – she did not trust him. And worse, she could not remember why that was. The last thing she wanted some someone she didn't trust assisting her. She refused to argue this and turned to the woman who was already sorting through the drawers of a dresser and pulling out one article of clothing after another.

There was no time to waste.



The shadows released them – two figures dressed warmly to combat the autumn chill – on the doorstep of an, if she had to guess, exquisite manor. Virelai leaned off to the side as soon as they arrived and was violently sick, retching into the withering bushes beside the stoop. Toby steadied her as she drew the back of her hand across her lips. She hadn't thought traveling that way would have such an adverse effect on her. But at least they made it to their destination.

Of that, she was certain. She could feel the pull of that thread she was following unraveling somewhere within the depths of this hollow building. Vir straightened, pushed the hair from her face, and lifted a hand, pressing it against the solid wood surface of the door. Let's at least knock, hmm? The momentary silence was shattered as the door flew open, crashing against the interior walls and the two stepped into the main entrance. A noise that loud was sure to draw their attention.

And Vir started off in the direction of that thread.


November 28, 2020 11:28 pm

Damian Veron

Another knife in my hands, a stain that never comes off the skin.

The composed incantation rose to a crescendo and permeated through the heavy silence of the dark cellar. The soft tendrils of incense smoke sinking and sifting through the dissonance of death and blended agony. Energies, dark and light, crackled through the air and swirled around them in a miasmic whirlpool. Within the maelstrom of intoxicating smells and sound, he stood in cauterized remains of dead memories of nightmares and sweet dreams. His pupils the spiral entrapment of his essence, lacing and dousing and dipping into the private darkness of mind. Of personal vice and virtue, fear and loathing, martyrdom and selfish desire. Beneath the filth and grime that caked his visage, there was an experience of anguished dormancy and untouchable sorrow, the penance and hardship of immortal tribulation.

His peering gaze stared into the infinite emptiness of the mirror that never cast his reflection. The eternal curse, or price of surrender to the shadows for the Lasombra bloodline. Though, there was hope in those eyes, and anticipation, as they silently beckoned through the shimmer of the reflecting void, picking and peeling through any sign of breach in the ether, and kept reaching out, and reaching out, and reaching out to embrace a moment that never came. The swirl of energies slowly simmered down and settled around them to leave behind a suffocating stillness. A deep, clawing silence followed as the witch's song faded into nothingness. There was nothing left, there was nothing. And then, the mirror cracked.

Shattered.

Shimmering pools of black blinked in confusion, and anger, and frustration. How? Why? This was supposed to work. He had deemed it so, so it must be. This was his winter of discontent. Undeniable dissatisfaction and pitiless ache, profane and graphic captured in the scope of his gaze, as attention turned to the witch in the white circle. His countenance was the turbulence of striking a sulphuric match, slowly brimming to a silent fury. And with a savage simplicity, he moves towards her. A creature of chaos and violence stitched in desperation; and it bleeds in the atmosphere. His displeasure overflowed the wrought of his raking anatomy as he stopped before the rim of salt, his towering form casting a dark shadow over her; pouring in a fount of cruel intent.

"Again."

The low, guttural growl was more beast than man, quietly composed in the simple, imperious demand, yet teeming with the undercurrent of danger and severe consequence. They had come too far to fail, it was not an option. They would be here till the witch has breathed her last breath in incantation (or plea for mercy), and he has soaked the ground with the last drop of his blood. It's the hope that kills you, anyway.

A sudden, loud crack of the door against the wall from up above had his gaze snap towards the ceiling. A dull ache slowly pulsed against his temple, a pull along a tether to the one presumed dearly departed. Raven brows furrowed in confusion and intrigue as the pull grew stronger, and stronger, till he could almost feel the vibration of bare feet padding across main hall above him. "I believe we have guests." He murmured softly, as much to himself as to the green witch. It appeared their ritual had actually succeeded in summoning a demon; just not the one they had wished for.

Inquisitive eyes trained on the cellar door in anticipation of her arrival. Obvious questions about her resurrection aside, he would not insult their bond over triviality of how she found him, the question was, why?
February 02, 2021 03:46 am

Virelai Tylwyth


Brocade fabric – depicting fantastical flora and fauna across dark olive cloth – brushed along the floorboards and the tops of Virelai's feet as she moved steadily forward. Within the silence, only Toby's steps beside her could be heard, but the thrum of power pulsing around them was growing heavier, louder in a sense, the further into the building they wandered. It didn't matter to her that she couldn't tell if those vibrations were originating from her or from those deeper within.

Whatever energy the night carried promised to swallow them all, indiscriminately and without mercy.

And though, perhaps, Virelai should have been afraid. She was not. That inescapable pull drew her through the refined interior of the small, country manor so surely that there was no room for fear. Such an insignificant emotion. She thought, heart beating erratically from the tension of that cord coiled tight within her.

The staircase leading to the space beneath the building was tucked behind an unassuming door. Still, she found it with ease, and, gathering the fabric of her dress in her hand, she descended down those steps with a skip in her movements. A strange, childlike giddiness filled her as she slipped into the dark, stone passage and was struck with the metallic scent of blood.

Now her heart was well and truly pounding, a rhythmic drum daring her forwards. It was a sumptuous melody caught in the confines of her chest. And the song blossomed, hummed beneath her breath as the dizziness took over, the daze clouded, and she slipped down the deserted hallway with dancing steps. Tobias, ever vigilant, followed closely behind her – keeping watch out of the corner of his eye for open doorways and an ear to the ground for any sound of someone that might be approaching.

Though Virelai seemed to have not a care in the world, he wasn't foolish enough to believe she was being careless.

And he would be right to believe in her at least that much. Vir's eyes darted side to side at any room they encountered, though she knew none were the one they were after. If the bond hadn't given it away, the scent of blood growing thicker in the air would have.

She stopped short of the second door that needed opening, also unassuming in the way that a row of identical doors would be, and released the grip she had on her dress so that the hem once again swept the ground. Every fiber of her being told her that what was behind this door would reveal the answers she was seeking.

Drawing a deep breath inward Virelai closed her eyes and counted. She knew with certainty that contained within this room was a tragic beast. One. An intriguing witch. Two. And a severe lack of time. Three. Vir's eyes snapped open and she gripped the handle of the door, pushing it open and stepping into the spill of candlelight reflecting gold in her gaze.

A smile blossomed across her lips, though there should have been no cause for smiling, and her voice whipped silently through the aether between them.


Hello, Samhael. You look like a man possessed.”


February 03, 2021 10:12 pm

Shannon Taylor

A sense of failure started to creep up her spine hitting every vertebrae with a quiet chill, causing the hairs on her arm to raise as she held her hands together and breathed in deeply, filling her lungs. Time moved in slow motion as her eyes darted nervously around the darkened room. She could hear the blood dripping down the wall where their sacrifice hung. The red droplets echoing into the small pool forming on the floor. She could feel the air hang in a thick cloud as the candles slowly burned, small wet rivers of wax making their way to the concrete. She could taste the remnants of the tea on her lips leaving a slight tingle as the plant's properties co-mingled in her psyche. She could smell the metallic tinge of the fresh blood sitting in the chalices, too warm still to coagulate. Everything was becoming fuzzy, and yet managed to remain crystal clear as finally she started to exhale.

-AGAIN-

His words ripped through her. She could feel the anger, the frustration, the desperation in the force of his voice as the simple word hung in the air and demanded it be obeyed. Slender fingers dipped into their respective chalices, coating the digits in the sticky crimson. She could feel it glazing her fingers as they curled within, ready to gather as much as she needed to complete her task.Her digits wrapped around each other as she pressed her palms together with a loud clap. The single sound reverberated around the room as the blood mixed and again began to froth more violently this time, Red bubbles of energy oozed from her fingers as the witchling slowly began the incantation again.

Creates the curtain, unbinds the seam, to let the dead slip inbetween…..
the blood of husband bound to wife…. Betray the one who binds the dead!
penance paid….
...eat their fill as we then reach to pull the soul from pits of hell.

Each word gradually became louder as she put more and more force behind it, emphasizing each and every syllable. Her hands mashing together causing more froth to overflow and then

-CRASH-

The sound of glass shards breaking into a million pieces echoed in the room, Tiny glass fragments hitting cold hard stone, scattering their sharp points into every surface. THIS WAS IT!!! This was the sign they had been waiting for!!

Shannon’s heart leapt for a moment and she struggled to remain calm and focused even as she could feel the excitement course through her veins. She is there… Pheenyx is there.. She knew it! So close, she is so close.. She can FEEL her behind the desolate and colorless void. No hellfire but instead she can sense points of ice as a wail for help crept up into her skull. The words of the incantation continued, building into a crescendo as the blood bubbles welled in a puddle beneath her hands.

She heard another crash somewhere in the distance and Damian’s voice. She could sense another presence in the room. It wasn't Pheenyx, but Shannon didn’t have time to dwell on that now. The channel was opening.. She could feel it pulsing through her blood soaked fingers as she reached out to her friend. In her mind’s eye she could feel her hand extending through the concrete, into the icy plane. Frost gathered on her fingers in the frigid temperatures and blood froze in perfect little bubbles. Shannon continued to reach out, calling, trying to help her find her way back to them, to find her way Home.

February 09, 2021 05:48 am

Pheenyx

”Akereth Lafeuw; here the briar pricks the veil. Snicks and snags and drags it down. Creates the curtain, unbinds the seam, to let the dead slip in between. To Arachsideen we offer blood of the tyrant god's favored son and to Oldrin who stands at her side, the blood of husband bound to wife. Betray the one who binds the dead! And take this as her penance paid. A pound of flesh a pint of blood and the honoring of your sacred name. Let forth the wretched, blackened beasts to feast and occupy themselves. To eat their fill as we then reach to pull the soul from pits of hell.”


Whispers, gentle at first and louder then, grew and grew until they overpowered the affront of frigid winds whipping around her.

That voice, she recognized that voice. The tones and inflections of each word, the determination and emphasis of each phrase. It swept along the inside of her mind, silencing the peripheral nightmare surrounding her. But it was not her memory. It was anothers. It was Sarah's. Sarah walking the halls of Sine Metu and then The Red Circle. A woman named Shannon. Sarah's best friend, and in time, her own.

The demon cried out.
The chanting grew louder still.
What was happening?
Home?

The frozen atmosphere faded slowly, and her eyes refocused on the mirage from moments ago. Had it only been moments from the blip? Basement floor, shadowy form nearby. But this time, oasis became reality, and rather than fade into the distance, it focused in for her. Shannon, sitting inside the outer ring of an intricately designed double circle, salt and stone, candles and flames. The warmth. The stillness. The safety.


Do demons dream?
The dread settled in.
This was a new kind of torture.
She wasn't prepared.

Supernatural eyes peered downwards, but she had no form where there had been before. No splintering shell of agony walking a winter wasteland. Instead, the demon's true form, pure red mist, was there, everchanging, evermoving, in the silhouette of whom she once was when she shared the shell with Sarah, the vampire. Her form now was undulating and as alive in the summoning circle as a demon could be.

"Shannon?" The word echoed faintly around the room, barely louder than a whisper. She felt heavy and weightless at the same time. What was happening? Where was the lake? She couldn't remember sleep, let alone dreaming since returning to hell ... so what was this now?

Do demons dream?
The dread saturated deeper.
She wasn't prepared.

As objects sharpened and the room focused, eyes that weren't eyes noticed a figure behind the witch; an acute awareness of another. He came into focus then, as her attention honed in. Damian. Her original summoner, her curator, her eternal love, and finally, her murderer. The red mist solidified more, creating a more distinct shape of her previous self. Her mist glowed, illuminating all objects nearby in a bloody hue. "Why ...." whispered around the room, everywhere and nowhere.

But then there was one more.

Her ruby silhouette compacted more and the neck of the demonic mist twisted abnormally in the direction of the third figure in the room. No. No, this was definitely a nightmare.

Do demons dream?
The dread turned to fury.
She was prepared.

One moment her mist was unmoving, still as stone, calculating ... and then in the next, red mist formed a million tiny crimson daggers, poised towards the woman's form in the doorway. The shards pulled back as if in the string of a bow, before releasing without mercy in her direction.

The ear-splitting crack of splintering objection resounded, as all the glittering shards found obstruction against the invisible barrier of her summoning circle, the salt lines below in perfect formation still, unbroken and unbreaking as Pheenyx assaulted the wall over and over again to get at her.

"No ... " her ethereal voice cried out as the silhouette of the firebird returned, glowing deeper and darker red in the candlelight of the basement.

"No!
What have you done?
All of you.
What have you done … "

Silence then, as the red mist of the demon dispersed to fill the entirety of her cylindrical prison, filtering through the entire confined space, formless and swirling like a tornado of blood. Waiting.

Waiting …
February 23, 2021 01:10 am
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