August 27, 2017 at 8:37 pm #3459
How The Gods Kill
With the assault at its back diminished, the creature shook its head free of Villion, or whoever she was, and speared her through the middle with a fore-claw as long a broadsword. She instinctively wrapped her now blackened hands around it and struggled to free herself as it lifted her overhead. You could see its head fully now, an oblong monstrosity of harsh ridges and crude angles that seemed to collapse in on themselves. It was as if there had once been a human face there that had been stretched and warped by no particular design and then released to fold back on itself, obscuring any recognizable features, just a shapeless mashing of rows and trenches and in the middle two hollow pits with milk white orbs; eyes that had been turned the wrong way round. The folds at the lower end of it’s head suddenly began to unravel, spilling a sword’s length toward it’s belly, like an old spring that would no longer hold tension. A fray of serpentine tongues slithered from the fresh opening and lashed out wildly as the creature gave her a violent jerk, releasing a torrent of dark blood from her wound. What it’s maw did not catch, the tongues grappled for. It suddenly wrapped it’s free claw around her hips then and began to twist her. Bone and sinew snapped, her supple flesh began to rip and she howled as it wrung the vitae from her very bones.
You could only gape in stupefied horror as the Father of Monsters slowly tore the Rose in twain.
Figures began to close in on you in your shock, too mad, too crazed with hunger to understand the sight you beheld, their only thought of blood. A clutch of them suddenly bolted past as you readied to defend, and you thought you saw a glimmer of understanding in their eyes, the ghost of rationale peering out from behind the red glare of the Beast. It was Vykos or what remained of him, the disease of his blood had rebelled against him so fiercely that his flesh bubbled and then collapsed, shifting and reshifting his form, pieces of his flesh sloughing off and burning to the floor. Another was Corazon, his once crisp suit hanging in scraps from his bloody body, the third was Montano, the abyss revolting and fleeing from his command, perhaps one of the few here who could stand against such power. They flung themselves recklessly on to the hideous creature at all sides, their desperate hands clawing for purchase, fangs plunging into the slick of it’s black flesh searching for a vein. It raged at the sudden assault, discarding the Rose in a heap at it’s feet.
You saw others now rushing for the broken form of the Rose, throwing themselves toward the rich vitae that pooled around her. Even in her ruined state something called to you to preserve her, but there was no time before the aggressors were suddenly hurtled across the assembly by an explosion of violet smoke. They slammed into the stones and promptly turned to blood and dust, like packed snow thrown from a child’s hand. The violet cloud hovered over the Rose before swirling in on itself, coiling into the shape of a woman.
Not Luthienne, nor the Eater…not Jane Pennington…only Malkav stood before you.
Certainly, your mind made sense of the features. The cut and bundle of her Victorian gown, her dusty hat clutched in a hand by her hip, her white-blond hair spilling down her shoulders in twisted locs…but her face…you did not recognize this face. The mouth was tight, the lines of her lips too sharp, the bone structure noble, severe, and the eyes…wide, almost lidless, bulging, the irises a scalding purple. Those eyes, they looked like those of a woman who was in the throes of labor, only to find that her bloody child had been ripped dead from her body. She stood still there for what seemed a lifetime, impassive all but for the scream in her eyes, as chaos erupted around her. She regarded you in earnest then, Viviane and Heinricus and then with a sicken crack her mouth sprung open in a wide toothy grin. Just behind the prison of her spiked teeth, in the darkness of her mouth you saw the whites of one after another opening slowly. She dropped her hat, let it fall like a weight to the dust, took her hand and tore away the buttons on the breast of her gown, and with the other ripped the sleeves and cast them away. When her white shoulders were free, she drew them up and dropped her chin and began to shift them up and down…like a beast in the brush preparing to pounce. You saw her tongue flatten, touch her teeth and then her wide grin make a perfect O. She was saying something. A single word. Soft and English but precluding with a terrible low grumble.
Then her head snapped to the direction of where Veddartha had been pulled away, clawed hands leaking a purple ichor, flesh darkening and churning and spreading out around her, hair falling into a dark mane and clinging to her widening shoulders, legs snapping and bending, back raising into a monstrous hill, dark wings exploding from it, a host of rolling eyes bursting to the surface of her vaporous form, shifting before you into the full manifestation of the creature you had glimpsed before. A hulking Griffon of churning ether.
The Kennel Master
You fled into the grotto on weary steps. You did not know if there was a purpose to your escape, as the castle walls shuddered and crumbled above and around you. Rock dust smoldered from the still raging battle above and you knew that at any moment the terrible powers within would carry their assault to the world beyond and all would be lost. You did not know how many others had escaped, or if they were like you…changed. If there would be any others and surely none of such great age. Why were you even running? Where in the world could you go to escape the wrath of the Ancients? As you shuffled along, stumbling with each fresh tremor from above, searching for the hidden exit on the outcropping, the darkness gave way to the bluish light of moonlight from above. The exit! You ran for it and then stopped short as a dark figure rounded the corner.
It looked to be a man, tall and of broad build.
He was cloaked in heavy, thickly woven wool that spilled around his sandaled feet. His arms hung loosely at his sides and he seemed to sag with a weariness that great age demanded. He was old to be sure…but he would never die. He lifted his cowled head and in the bare light you could see a short dark beard, a sad grim mouth, proud arch of a nose and dense brows that crowned a pair of wet brown eyes. Eyes the color of tilled soil, eyes that looked so perfectly human and unremarkable it would have startled you if not for profound intensity you found in them. He had the ruddy coloring of a mortal who spent long days in the sun, he was radiating that telling warmth, the earthy scent of his blood pushing through his body by virtue of a slow but very distinct heartbeat.
He moved forward, turning his head only a moment to truly regard you, on deliberate steps that woke the ground beneath you with a strange pulsing. His footprints left the sodden earth scorched and dry, leaching the small traces of life from it and seeming to take the richness into himself. As he looked at you, he said nothing and in that simple gesture you saw the personification of regret, of loneliness, of an intense longing to simply stop his stride and converse with you. In this brief moment, he looked like a father dragged from his bed, face heavy with sleep, who lumbered towards his noisy children and in this instant cursed that he had ever sired them for the slumber they constantly robbed him of. He cast his eyes downward then and proceeded away, head bent with a silent consternation that drove him upwards toward the world-ending violence above. As he passed you saw he clutched something in his hands.
Two circlets of thick gray wood fastened with a simple clasp, the interior circumference lined with sharp wooden spikes.
Collars for beasts that had slipped their chains.
You watched him…the Kennel Master…go to collect his wayward dogs; his general and his wife.
What would become of his grandchilder, you did not know, you hoped that you never did.
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