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06 Oct 2018

Breaking the tempo


A faint glow peeped through her flaccid lids. She could hardly lift them, drained of all motivation, there was no will to return to the waking world. Dull and numbed, there was no need for her chest to expand and fill with air anymore. She undulated softly, just enough to keep a trickle of air stroking her lungs, just enough to keep her barely alive. She was running on autonomic mechanisms. Her concious self had no part in this passion play. Her blood clawed its way around her veins simply of its own volition. Perhaps she made a slight moaning sound as the air raked across her swollen throat? Perhaps it was her diagphram drumming a slow mournal beat? Someone, somewhere asked ’what sort of stasis is this?’. She never registered the sound of their voice. It was a dim light in a dark storm indeed.

If a tear could scream, the room would be full of noise and inaudible now

A dark elf mopped her brow, with a hemp cloth soaked in briarwood sap and dewberry juice. The scented thick fluid etched a sickly trail to her eye socket, and welled up in the corner of her left eye. The concerned elf mopped again, soaking the pool back up and smearing it across her face and then her encircled her neck with it. He concentrated on an area to the side of her neck, a wound of some sort. The sap would certainly provide cleansing for that and the juice would help heal it a little. From behind this worried elf, a tall stately form was massaging the air with his long chestnut coloured fingers. It was as if someones scalp was between his fingers and he was probing it deeply. Small flecks of light appeared between his fingertips and as if from nothing he drew the atoms from the atmosphere and moulded them into luminescent water. The globulous form taking shape would convolute and contort into the shape of a small potion bottle. Then the flecks would change colour, never quite settling on a particular hue, and they would dance around this captivated gob of liquid, until it was sealed in glass forged from the very same air. The balding amber figure leant forward and handed the vial of liquid to the dark elf, as if it were an offering to a God. The elf quickly opened the vial and first poured some of the liquid into her mouth, partly her lips and lifting her head slightly, then he wantonly splashed the remaining liquid around the wound on her neck. Chanting some elvish lyric, where the words would not form clearly, but they barked out like spasms during a fever. After the elf had finished, he turned to the mage behind him, and said ’I’ve done all I can to stem the bleeding, and perhaps the ointments and blessed water can help heal the immediate trauma’. The mage turns his head towards the fallen female and curls his lip to utter ’We have almost nothing at our disposal to tackle such a grave injury and we have even less knowledge than that to remove any internal curse that may have polluted her soul“.

The dark elf palmed his face, and stained his white plumage with berry juice. He was in the throes of despair and he clearly wasn’t up to the job of hiding it. A single tear meandered down his cheek, and rode the hills and valleys of his face and fingers, till it parted company with his body and splashed onto the floor beneath him. If a tear could scream, the room would be full of noise and inaudible now, and he wouldn’t hear the words of comfort the erudite mage spoke. “We must gird ourselves and seek a healer with specific knowledge of this type of wound, we cannot hope to face it with our inadequate skills, the little we have done will have to suffice till we can carry her to a safe place” said the mage with steely emotionless logic. The dark elf stood up, shaking his mournful state free. “You are right Senoa, now is not the time to lament for her life hangs on a scimitars edge, and I fear she is almost cut free from the living world”. He gathers his equipment as best he can, and then carefully lifts her body onto his shoulder, carrying her like a loosely rolled carpet, slung tightly against his neck. “Let us tarry” said the dark elf, determined and focussed. “Yes Lunaril, I shall ease your burden with a few spells of strength and substance on the way, we should head North, through the scrublands and into the Forest via Nektulos gate”.

They journied as best they could, Lunaril hampered with a cold dead weight around his neck, Senoa periodically discharging spells from behind and trying to keep up with the determined beast like speed of the elf. They stopped at a fresh flowing stream to rest and gain some much needed refreshment, the cool water quenching Lunaril’s thirst, filling his aching body with a refreshing wave to dash against the rocks of tiredness and fatigue. Senoa was magically spent, the constant conjuring of the journey had drained his arcane power and a sip or two of stream water would mean he could regenerate without having to summon bottles of water for the others. As Lunaril scooped another handful of water from the stream, she moaned loudly, enough to startle the wildlife nearby and flapping birds skitted away from the surrounding treetops. Lunaril turned to her sharply, he cupped his wet hand to the side of her blue porcelain face. Surprisingly she cupped his hand with her own. Was she awake now? Was she recovering?

No sooner had he felt her soft palm touch the back of his coarse hand, than her hand twisted into a grotesque claw-like shape and grappled with his. She seemed to try and force his hand to her mouth, but Lunaril was startled enough, he recoiled backwards and removed his hand from her feeble grasp. He stood astonished as she fed her hand to herself, she was biting incessantly on the flesh between her finger and thumb. Hard enough to draw blood and tear the flesh into a small wound. Once blood flowed freely from this wound, she began lapping at it, like a cat with a prize saucer of cream. This was needy feeding. Urgent and intense. From her puckered face you could tell it was not satiating her need. With her eyes still tightly closed, the feeding motion gradually passed away, she jerked and shuffled for a few moments, and then seemed to deflate into her previous comatose state. “Our efforts are all for nought. The curse has seized her soul Senoa!” Lunaril yelped in frustration. “It does indeed seem as though she is walking with the tormented spirits”. Lunaril could not contain his anger, he picked up his blade and pressed the hilt against her forehead, breathlessly he screamed in his native tongue “Takata Sanguine Cha’kohk!”. he let his blade rest on her face for a while, as he mumbled those words over and over again, decreasing in volume, until you could hardly hear his whispered plea. He removed the sword, and a cross shaped impression was revealed, almost as if it had been painted on, her blue skin appearing to have darkened beneath the blades hilt. She shuffled and snarled, her jaws gnashing together, until her bite had caused her lower lip to bleed. It was apparent that Lunaril’s makeshift exorcism had not worked. Senoa chirped in with “I really don’t think improvisation is going to help her, we need a holy soul, to leech out the bloodcurse and free her from its malignant grip”. “We must seek someone with the divinity to help her, we must find the Matriarch!”.

Her eyes flashed open. She could feel her body strengthen even as it was being carried, lolling from side to side, her body suddenly found cohesion again. Her senses were acute. Her eyesight seemed tunnelled, focussed almost feral in its nature. She could feel a pulse, beating beneath her, she could hear blood rushing through veins, she could sense the iron in the blood, almost taste it’s metallic goodness. Her head was rolling left to right, near the chest of a man, she could sense his masculine odour and normally that would repulse her, but on this occassion the smell of his red corpuscles pulsing rythmically, almost musically under her body was enough to mask his inferior scent. Gaining overwhelming strength with each stride this man-elf took, She nuzzled tighter into his chest, his heart almost taunting her with its vibrant drumming, the thought of the flow of scarlet nectar was becoming overpowering.

Drinking too quickly, almost choking on its claret pulse.

His armour was linked at the side with a strap and a small buckle. Without any effort, she managed to scoop her hand into position to tear this aside, and reveal his exposed undergarments, the light cloth padding underneath was going to be no match for her wanton ferocity. Kicking her legs she managed to flick him off-balance, he stumbled for one pace and began to correct himeself when she struck. Her legs wrapped around his waist with unusual flexibility. She managed to gain some leverage and dug her teeth into his left side, at the armpit. As she sunk deeper she could feel his hot blood well into her mouth and she guzzled it greedily. Drinking too quickly, almost choking on its claret pulse. Conciously oblivious of her actions, she was following her basal instincts to feed. The elf carrier stumbled sideways as she bit into him, tumbling over his own feet and rolling to the ground with her clamped around his mid-section. Writhing erratically like a trapped snake, he managed to prize her off by grappling her hair and forcing her head and thorax off his shoulder. As she was forcibly disengaged, she took some flesh with her. She swung backwards wildly, her legs refusing to lose their grip around his waist. He knelt to the floor and flailed at her with his arms, he was screaming “Get her off me! I’ve been bitten!”. Senoa had registered the fact that Lunaril had gone down, he mentally sorting through the spells he knew, to see if he had one which would help this situation. “Why had she awoken now? How did she manage to bite through his armour? What have I in my repetoire to help matters?” thought Senoa. His ashen arms performed a complex dance in front of his body and a droning erudite curse seemed to provide the background music. Arcane chains appeared from the sky bolting downwards and coiling around her arms and neck. The chains seemed to consist of ethereal mists and you expect to pass your hands through them, however they had an extreme bond with their victim and the earth below. As the silver bindings tightened she relaxed her leg grip around Lunaril. He quickly scrabbled away from her, kicking and panting, clearly in a state of shock. She flipped forward onto her stomach, the chains of light struggling with her. Her head shot up and her eyes stared intently into the face of the mage. Lunarils blood still trickling from her mouth. The mage could see that her canine teeth had enlarged during the bite. Those teeth now bared in anger and frustration. His captive had quite clearly found the scent of another.

Senoa was struggling to maintain the chain spell, if he could only let go of its hold for a few moments, he would rain down the rocks from the earth on her and that would surely hold her still. He paused, the chains fell and evaporated. Senoa began to chant an earth rending spell that would summon chunks of rock above her head and let them fall, she will be damaged, but they should stun her, hopefully knocking her unconcious, so he could tend to the panicked Lunaril. She pounced like a cat towards the mage, fuelled by Lunaril’s blood, this was now a feeding frenzy. Senoa didn’t manage to finish the summoning before she hit him with a force he could barely believe. It felt like a stampede of undead horses. He fell to the ground and cracked his large brown head on the floor, enough for him to blackout for an instant. He come to, with her sat on his chest, delving to bite his soft exposed neck. Without turning to offer anymore neck than was currently on display, he shifted his eyes over to Lunaril. Much to Senoa’s dismay, Lunaril was still prone, clutching his sides, and shaking feverously. Senoa could feel her panting breath on his neck, he made peace with his Gods…

May hate keep you safe

A mighty conjured claw raised up from the earth and grappled with her, yanking her backwards and down onto the ground. Dark mists encircled her, and the undead climbed from out of the ground around the claws grip. There were two zombies and three skinned hellhounds all barking in their own way at the captive lady. Senoa paddled his feet until he was well away from the claw and the necrotic pack. He scanned around to see who had cast such a foul but welcome spell on her. A small lady in a grey robe walked up to him and helped him rise. “You seem to be having trouble here summoner” she said. “I arrived just in time, perhaps you should help your wounded Teir’Dal friend?” as she gestured over to Lunaril. “Oh yes, my lady, thank you my lady” Senoa hurried over to Lunaril, bowing on the way. The female necromancer replenished the claw and had her minions guard over the troublesome biter, she then walked over to Senoa and Lunaril. “My name is Tristitia Vharcon, and I see you have a companion who has been taken by the sanguine curse”. “Let me see that wound of yours Teir’Dal, perhaps I can cleanse it before the curse takes you”. Tristitia pulled some ointment and a rune from her bag, and placed the rune in the ointment and then onto Lunaril’s bite. She said a few words, but they were almost an ancient hum, and the runestone glowed bright crimson. Blood frothed out of the wound, and squeezed around the sides of the rune, it seemed to evaporate into a black mist and was carried away on the shallowest of breezes. Lunaril’s panic and pain seemed to ebb away, the remaining anguish on his face was for his companion in the clawed prison. Tristitia passed the runestone onto Senoa, “This stone has enveloped the bloodcurse, and it requires immediate destruction in a holy font of water, you’ll need Divine help for that”. Tristitia added “here is the cleansing ointment, be sure to get this blessed and then make sure it is imbibed by the bloodcurse victim. Once in her system, it will keep most of the curse at bay, but true exorcism cannot be performed by potion alone”. As Tristitia walked away, flicking her wrist and releasing her minions back to the earth, she said “I will lay a heavy sleep on her for now, you should get her to a Divine priest as soon as possible, I can only guarentee her stupor for a few hours. Be mindful of her condition, keep her well away from blood, or dark conditions. May hate keep you safe”. As the claw receeded, a black cloud as thick as death itself descended upon the prisoner, her flailing, and snarling stopped immediately. Senoa looked around to bid farewell to the timely necromancer, but she was already long gone.

As they hobbled wearily into the guild house, Lunaril collapsed onto the floor, with the lady slumped on top of him. Senoa managed to drag her off and he told Lunaril to go rest. From the shadows behind out slipped a dark form, almost floating along without effort. “What has befallen one of our Divine Sisters? Tell me Watchman, why is she prone and covered with a thick necrotic mist?” the hooded figure asked impatiently. Senoa stuttered “Sh..She was taken by the bloodcurse Divine Mother, we found her like this. Forgive us Mother, we have tried to keep her safe till she could be seen by you”. The Divine Matriarch, Leisekmeth floated around to the side of the fallen Sister. Senoa passed the runestone and ointment over. Without hesitation, the Matriarch spat on the stone and pocketed it, then she performed some sort of blessing with the ointment, and smeared it on her fingers. She jabbed it into the fallen Sisters mouth and made sure it covered her entire mouth, passing it over her enlarged canine teeth carefully. Another blessed word or two and the blackness lifted from the victim. The Matriarch said “Trill! Trill! wake up!” and she slapped Trill’s blue porcelain face. “By all the hate within Innoruuk you will wake up now girl!” she slapped her much harder.

Trill surfaced, she’d not felt this bad for a long time, her throat was glutinous and greasy. She tasted blood all the time, and her first thought was that there was internal bleeding. As she focussed on the face grimacing in front of her, she saw the Matriarch. Her voice cracked and broken, tried to say “Divine Mother, I must apologise for my present state”, but all she could manage was “Mothhhrr…”. “Rest Vanguard Trill for you have within you the sanguine curse, and we have only kept it at bay. You must seek the Vampiric song hidden deep within the Crypt of Thaen, and you must sing it with all your heart, for only then can you calm the bestial lust for blood that hides within you”. Trill burst into tears and then fatigue took her into a comatose that lasted for several days.

The Vampire curse is upon her. Necromantic salves and Divine blessings can only abate the need for the bloodfeed. Perhaps when the Vampiric song has been found and learned and it is sung it can mesmerise the curse to sleep. For Trill that is her only hope. The tempo of her songs have been altered eternally, and now she must use them to break the tempo of her bloodlust.

Tags: Writing