Anacrusis

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Of The Banishing Chant

Of The Banishing Chant


The Hawthorn and the Blackthorn, once inseperable and blooming with sisterly adoration, now set to stay put on their own. A grim fate set in miles of solid rock, and one that would be echoed not five hundred years later by the couple that set in motion their undoing. The Tempest now rages, far out of sight yet everywhere you look, out beyond the stars and far below the world lies the lightning, the thunderous complaints of a Lord’s grave error.

Yet hidden within the scattered particles of Blackthorn, her soul still waits by the water’s edge, her umbrella closed for now, her empty eyes left behind to wait and watch for something to happen. The Tempest is far out of her sight now, still digesting and still raging, her resentment still very much alive. But she has nothing left inside to wish for, and as she throws her final black coin into the water, all she can do is dream for Him.

Father Normonty’s tour had dragged on for hours now through far too many similar halls and ballrooms and lobbies and kitchens, all so bland and empty. The storage room was cool - it was probably the biggest room in the entire hollowed mountain, but the group had never gotten to see even half of it, having only briefly peered in through a hole in its ceiling before being ushered into the next pointlessly large cloakroom.

One would think that the Preist had all these rooms built just so that he could have a large domain to lurk in and boast about, and that the excessive space was mostly pointless and unused. Ink however noticed something quite strange whilst inattentively looking around at the sixth kitchen; a whole baked rhubarb pie sat happily on the cafeteria counter, and it was still warm.

Yet Normonty insisted that he had not been inside the room in years, and the pie was simply the product of a strange phenomenon called ‘the scraping of parallel universes’. Interesting.

Ink was more than a little suspicious. “Don’t you think that’s a tad -”

“Shut up and drink your ketchup, Reaper.” said the agitated Priest.

Parallax swooped down from inspecting a stained glass window that looked out onto absolutely nothing, and by the Hero’s shoulder he waited and guarded. The Hero, Coda, who kept glancing longingly at Father Normonty’s black, glassy eyepatch like a circle of smooth obsidian. She would definitely try it on before the end of the tour.

“I think it’s about time we wrapped this tour up, Father.” Said Rose, “The Automobile Securing Service will be here shortly, and I certainly don’t want to get my taxi towed.”

“I understand, my child. However if you’d care to see just one more room I would be obliged to show you the greatest one of all, and my personal favorite area in this grand house of divinity.”

There was a small murmur of reluctance - or at least, Ink imagined there to be.

“Sure I guess, but it better be an elevator outta here.” Said Coda, “Or some kind of sacrificing room. That would be cool.”

Toven smiled at his friend. He was happy to have met her. He smiled at Ink too, but the Reaper didn’t seem to be in the smiling mood.

“Very well then! Prepare to marvel at the heart of this great structure!” Normonty exclaimed. Pointing a finger to the sky, he led the way down the colossal passage that the other smaller hallways and rooms branched off of. At the very end, they saw a rather sketchy looking small red door, which took more than a couple of minutes to near. When they did however, it was still as red and as sketchy looking as ever though was not as small - for as an infant may happen to do for their estranged mother or father, things tend to grow as you become closer to them. Details become clear - the cracks in the varnish, the delightful way the light glints off the brass hinges, and the way the wispy dark spots in the grain of the wood somewhat resembles a crooked face.

Ink didn’t have a particularly good feeling about this, something in his gut was churning. “sorry, but what did you say this room was?” Ink asked.

“This room? Oh fear not, it’s the last room, child!”

That did not answer Ink’s question, and the man’s unwillingness to tell them was only heightening Ink’s suspicions. Finally they reached the little red door (which may well have been the only door in the Cathedral other than the massive green one that needed repainting) and it opened with a very dramatic and drawn-out creak as Normonty allowed everyone inside. “Behold!” he said, “The final room of your tour!”

Inside was mostly dark, though gleaming stones like anglerfish’s bulbs sat like tonsils on the sides of the roughly carved-out walls. The room was quite shorter than the others, and it’s chiseled walls only about ten meters from the entrance in any direction with no other doors.

“This is an amazing room.” Said Normonty. He was truthful, though it was a little stuffy for his liking.

Ink stayed near the entrance, but as his vision dawned upon the room several other gems appeared in the ragged, uneven walls. They were not as bright as the two white crystals, yet still produced an alluring glow. It was indeed beautiful, the Reaper saw.

“Aw, this is a neat little mine!” complimented Coda, putting a hand to the gem-encrusted walls. “You dig this with a fork?”

Ink wondered, with all these gemstones, why Normonty had never collected and sold them and bought a damned organ. Still, he was too entranced by these things of sheer beauty to question the man. It was… Unlike the Reaper.

Toven stayed by the door with Normonty and Rose, and the Priest seemed a tad confused and even a bit agitated by this. He watched as the other two went to investigate the white crystals that seemed to be glowing brighter than before, as if they were in some sort of trance.

However something else had caught Ink’s eye - the floor.

This was because it had started to glow. Well, perhaps not all of it, but rather strange lines that leaked a white light, forming a bright pattern beneath the Reaper’s feet. A pattern that he happened to recognise. From the history books. A rune long used by the depictions of Angels.

Whilst entranced by the jewels it was difficult to notice, but he bit his own tongue and it soon hit him like an annoyed grandmother’s iron slipper. This was all definitely wrong. In his hypnotised state he had fallen into this one-eyed reptile’s open stone maw.

“E-Excuse me R-Rose. C-Can www-we -”

Toven was cut off by a deathly chanting that echoed between his ears, and as he looked to Rose he saw that both her and the Priest’s eyes were glowing, star white, their arms extended towards the center of the room like zombified sorcerers.

Ink raised a barrier from thin air, preparing for some kind of attack. Coda was still staring at a Shimmering ruby with rainbow, angular bismuth veins trailing through it like beautiful rivers of sunrise. Ink shook her out of it.

Before they knew it, a triangular wall of light erupted from the runic lines in the ground, and the white-eyed couple’s chanting became louder - a nonsense language that even Coda failed to understand.

Toven wasn’t sure what to do, so ran to the Hero’s side, where Parallax awaited. All stood behind Ink’s sheild, though nobody seemed to be attacking them. The triangular wall was unbreakable, with no gaps. It was a pyramidal forcefield that not even the toughest of hammers could break, for it was made from the bent will of a vanished deity with its foundations set in stone. Coda’s fist could not puncture it, no matter how many times she struck it.

The chanting ceased, and the opposer’s eyes returned to normal. Normonty chuckled and advanced upon the trapped trio, though Rose averted her eyes.

“What’s the matter, Reaper?” He said, “I’m afraid your venture is over… Did you have fun?”

Ink grit his teeth. What was this man talking about?

“I’m aware of how desperate your kind have gotten. You think you can just come here, to Ahbon, to reek havoc and curse our world with all your negative energy for a second time? I cannot allow you to exhale any more poison into this realm.”

Ink sighed an exhausted, frustrated sigh and let his barrier down - it was not doing any good whatsoever. He placed a hand on the transparent wall, but they were trapped, well and truly. The Reaper looked to the other two - Toven stood on his left, more confused than anyone for in his mind priests were kind, caring people and weren’t supposed to trap their guests in such forcefields.

“Hey! Now this doesn’t seem like part of the tour!” The Hero objected. Her eyes darted to Rose, who wasn’t looking but felt the gaze like a bitter chill. She blocked it with her hat, lowering it’s rim over her darkened eyes. She had no words.

“Puppets of darkness like you are not allowed in this world.” Normonty sneered, and his gray stubble shifted uneasily.

“But she’s the Hero, damnit!” Ink argued.

To this, Normonty chuckled. “Oh drop the act, She is no messiah. She is but a tool for Him - the One From the Black Magic - a means of carrying out His will. He has taken her eyes, don’t you see?”

Ink clenched his jaw. He really didn’t want to know what this Priest was talking about.

“Besides…” He bowed his tall stature down to their level, and his face phasing straight through the forcefield, “This trap only works on evil and impure spirits such as yourselves.”

Coda slammed a crimson hand against the wall and said, “Oh yeah!? Well leeches like you don’t deserve the luxury of eyepatches!” and proceeded to tear the black, glass disc from the man’s face - it came off with a snap. He let out a pained shout and recoiled back, clutching his eye with one hand and with the other he completed his ritual with a sharp snap of his fingers. There was a flash, and then all disappeared for the Hero and the Reaper.

Toven stood quivering on a gray stone floor, without friends once again, and deep within the heart of the Cathedral. He looked around, but he hadn’t moved from this room - nothing had seemingly happened to him at all, and the walls were gone.

“I told you.” Said Rose softly to Normonty, who’s eye socket leaked a black fluid. The Priest seemed confused at first, but his expression changed to that of dread. The Driver sighed and took off her hat, and its ribbons rested sadly on the floor. She whispered something to the Priest, who’s expression then hardened.

He exhaled, and in a stern, serious tone he said “Forgive me, my child.” he bowed his head, all the while Toven stood in shocked silence. “Come along now, if you will.”

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