13: Digging Your Own Grave
Kyle waited patiently in the house of ill repute, one that he owned. As a noble, his family had many businesses, and his family owned a few of these red-light establishments. He knew that people talked, guards, other lower nobles who used his brothel’s services. Understanding that information is power, he learned this at an early age when he successfully plotted to take his rightful place as head of the family after ensuring his older brother had been removed from his position - forcefully and painfully. The brothel also served as a place where the informants who would report to him would not be suspected as it is a house of physical bliss.
The room Kyle used is sparse compared to his lavish home, and it’s just a small office with no decorations for distractions. Kyle had an enchanter enspell the walls with a sigil for sound damping and divination prevention. Privacy is what he needed here, and he had a small wooden desk and a few chairs brought in, nothing expensive or lavish. He took the minimalist approach here, nothing out of the ordinary or fancy. The word he used would be dull, just the way he wanted the encounters to be remembered.
A scaled volothian guard at the private door knocked, Kyle spoke. “Enter.” The half-scaled Mathew entered the small candle-lit room. Kyle looked up in disgust, and he looked at the unfinished green scales on his bruised body. He could tell his informant had been in a fight. “Rough night?”
Mathew took a seat down at the small wooden desk before him. “Yes. I have some more information for you, more about Shaitar and the crew of the Chimera.”
Kyle reached inside a desk drawer, pulling a small bag and tossing the brown tide pouch on the desk before Mathew. Mathew reached for the bag; feeling the coin’s weight inside, he quickly tucked the coin purse into his pocket. “So what do you have for me tonight, my armored bird.”
Mathew moved his hand to his bruised jaw, feeling the bruised flesh still throbbing from Shaitar’s punch. “Weird is the only way I could describe what I witnessed today. You are Blooded, and your eyes flash when you show your divine powers. The crew, all of my old friends, did the same. Rolland was our ship’s weapon master, and I saw him craft an entire table from scratch in just a few minutes with just a few tools. I know we have used magic to augment our strength in the past, but that only lasts minutes and could only be used sparling. All were displaying feats of amazing strength, and their eyes were flashing with the same power as I have seen other Blooded do.”
Mathew paused as the report was painful to tell; his jaw throbbed with each word spoken. “Then there is the sabuci. She’s their vetting dog, and she will go into your head and pull out your secrets.”
Kyle then understood, “She exposed you. How did you survive?”
Mathew moved his hand down to feel the bag of coin, “My old friend, Shaitar beat me and pushed me off the ship.”
Kyle motioned with his hand, “If that is all, then we are done.”
Mathew nodded, stood up, and left the room. He needed to get drunk and sleep the rest of the night off, or maybe a little companionship while he was here.
Kyle and his two scaled bodyguards headed back to his lavish estate in the inner walls of Dunkir. The city at this time was mostly quiet, save for those few souls who would brave the night; most of the population took this opportunity to sleep and recharge themselves for the next day’s work. Kyle ponders what to do; next, Mathew had just confirmed what his other informants also reported. The crew of the Chimera was all Blooded. His brother was lucky that Shaitar did not want to stir up trouble by just killing his brother or the city guard; both would have started a fight that would end badly, for the city watch trying to take him or his crew. Any new crew he hired would be vetted for any treasonous thoughts, such as being a spy for him. A full assault on his ship is out of the question. He has more Blooded on that one ship than an entire city ever had at one time, all following him. This man is dangerous; hell, they are all a threat to the Spire and his lifestyle.
Passing into the family estate, he continued down the halls with the statues of his family. The door to his sister’s study is open, he peaks in. She is working hard on the day-to-day predictions for what business to invest in. He hears her mumble, “Why? Why can I not see anything? I have had to continually make an educated guess’s the last few weeks. Like my sight has left me? Why can I not see which one of these business ventures are going to be the profit I want!” He slowly closed the door; she did not notice the slow clicking of the latch.
Kyle understood his sister had the gift of sight, a rare gift in his family’s bloodline. She kept the family profitable after taking over their oldest brother’s position as the finance holder. Kyle could now see that his family is in danger. He needed the help of the Gods, and he had a marker he could use, given to him by his father. He could call on a god for a service, and they would have to make good on their promise.
He headed deep into the heart of the manor. Passing columns of polished marble, red-carpeted floors until he found himself in front of a heavy oak door. A golden triangle, representing the City of the Spire, the reversed triangles, and the gods’ mark’s circled the golden symbol. In the center was the twisted fanged snake, representing Voloth. He pushed the door open and entered. The room’s lighting came from a silver and gold chandelier with glowing white crystals hanging high from the ceiling in the room’s center.
The inner shrine looked much like the outer door, a gold triangle set on the marble stone floor with statues of all the forty or so gods ringing in a circle around the center triangle. He bowed with respect to the gods. Kyle lowered himself to one knee and spoke, “I humble myself before the might of the Spire.” Rising, he moved over to one of the statues, and all were towering twelve feet tall. Voloth’s statue, a giant volothian muscular male, stood more elevated than the rest by another three feet.
The statue he went two was that of a beautiful woman. Her leathery demon wings expanded out and wrapped around several chained humans at her feet. The barbed tale circled the base of her statue, and the large ram’s horns protruding from her head gave her the pure demonic form. The statue depicted was of Chizzit, the Queen of the Shadowed Veil.
At the base of the statue is a small golden medallion, the spire’s symbol with a set of rams horns protruding from the sides. This golden medallion was the last marker the family-owned, the one his father and older brother refused to use. Kyle knelt before the statue, picked up the medallion. A family heirloom that Voloth had bestowed for providing service years ago. He looked up at the statue, “Oh, hear me, Queen of the Shadowed Veil. It is time for my family to call on the God’s power. Chizzit hear me and come, and I have a Marker to return to you.”
For a moment, nothing happened. The room began to grow colder, and the lights dimmed. He did not keep his eyes off the statue. In the center of the room, in golden triangles center, a pillar of shadows formed. Sounds of distance please for help, and souls suffering in torment filled the room. The dark purple shadowy material shifted and expanded inside the growing pillar, a figure took shape, and the Demon Queen stepped out of the shroud. Her form was just as beautiful as her statue represented. Her great wings shrouded not in flames but wispy trails of shadow and darkness. Her eyes and lips, blood red and her claws, horns a bright bone white. Her short top and leggings were made of the same shadowy darkness, shifting and moving around her body.
“I have been called to claim the marker. What is that this mortal needs a god for?” Her voice sounded sweet as honey.
Kyle still had not risen to look at the goddess, and he knew she was not the personal type and is a true demon. “I need for a problem to go away. In a week, a ship by the name of the Chimera will be leaving this city. The ship is lead by a Blooded warrior from the fallen Canandance Provence. Had this been just one blooded, I would deal with him with the help of my family. The entire crew of the ship is Blooded. I would have you make the ship disappear, drag the vessel and everyone on board into the Shadowed Veil. Nothing living can survive for long inside the cold, airless void of the Shadow Realm. They will disappear from this world, and along with them any influence they could have.”
Chizzit’s eyes glowed crimson red like hot coals in a burning fire; walking forward, placing her hands onto his shoulder. He tensed up; even turning in a marker does not mean that a price paid may be high. Whisps of shadow worked around and down her arms and wrapped his body, snaking down his chest and legs. Kyle felt cold chills dance around him where the dark shadowy material touched his body. “Simple enough, I will do as you ask. Blooded do not have enough power to resist a God for long. Now for calling me here, I will take a little of you. I am hungry.” She pulled him up, and she felt his heart beating, racing with fear. Placing her red lips next to his ear, she whispered in a seductive sweet voice, “What does your heart desire?”
The Price of Peace
Kyle staggered out of the shrine, and the experience left him extremely tired. His hair had turned white, his skin paled. The goddess gave him a feeling of physical pleasure as she fed on his life essence and cursed him at the same time. He had never tasted a succubus’s pleasures; the stories go from outright misery to the most pleasant one could have, but the experience had a terrible price. He continued down the lavish halls until he made his way to Natasha’s Study. Pushing open the door, he moved to the sizeable luxurious couch and pushed back into the plush seat.
Natasha finally looked up at the man and could hardly tell who he was. “KYLE! What happened!” She quickly jumped up and moved to his side.
Kyle could not look her in the eye. “I have dealt with our Shaitar problem. We will not interfere with them, or their crew is that clear. Tomorrow you will take our little brother to apologize to Shaitar and his crew. I can’t be seen in public for a few days.”
Natasha went to touch his face, and Kyle pushed her back. “No, I can’t.”
Natasha’s voice was concerned and furious, “What happened? Who did this to you! I will make them pay with their lives and their family’s lives as well! Tell me who!”
Kyle stood with his remaining strength, and he could barely look at her. “I made a deal, and I paid the price; that is all you ever need to know. Just do as you are told!”
Natasha was used to his outbursts, but she had never seen him in this shape before. “Brother! Let me help!”
Kyle ignored her, continuing please to help him and made his way back to his room. His lavishly decorated room with lavish red carpet and oversized redwood bed. He plumped down onto the soft silk sheets. His mind was now filled with regret as the goddess had allowed him to have his heart’s desire. A succubus can go into a man’s mind and provide him with the most blissful or painful experience. She asked him what he wanted, and he wanted to have his sister. He did all the things to his sister that he did to the ones they often brought in and played with, after spending what he thought was days, having her beg for mercy as all the other plaything had done before. The goddess then flipped the experience, and he was on the receiving end of his desires. The Queen of the Shadowed Veil showed him the pain and suffering that he had brought others. The emotional and physical wrecks that he left behind left him feeling hollow and empty inside. How many lives had he destroyed and not cared in his pursuit of painful pleasures, he could not count.
Kyle rolled off the bed, clutching the empty nearby chamber pot. He threw up, and the orange and yellow slushy chunks filled the decorative pot. Tears filled his eyes as the wet streams fell from his head to the floor. He could never look at his sister the same again, knowing what he had done to her. He knew the experience with his sister was a fabrication of the goddess, built off of his twisted sinful desires. He could not remove the memory of the encounter, and the events played repeatedly in his head. He now knew why the marker was never used to call Chizzit; her services’ price was too high.