Phoenix Feathers: Cult of the Pseudo Phoenix

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Man with the Power

Chapter 23: Man with the Power

Be afraid, there are crazy people out there. And you know it…

“(Tarsa, you backstabbing bastard!),” I tried screaming, but you know how hard it is to speak when your beak-like mouth is sealed shut?

Even a normal Phoenix wouldn’t know what I was saying with this stupid mask on. No matter how hard I struggled or scratched at her, Kenda wasn’t rough. She didn’t want me hurt. As for Jade, she walked silently behind us. Tearing out page after page of that book. Tarsa didn’t seem to notice the ‘breadcrumbs’ that she was leaving behind.

“Finally,” Tarsa exclaimed when we arrived at a clearing in the overgrown forest. It was the only place were trees couldn’t grow. The clearing was made of entirely of solid rock shaped in a perfect circle. There was his one triangle shaped ledge in the northern corner. The ledge was where Tarsa and Jade were to stand to oversee the ritual.

Every part of the main stone circle was covered with a thin layer of moss. There were engravings on the ground. Symbols that I couldn’t recognize were on and around this stone wheel. There were four pedestals on this wheel. One in the center and the other three surrounding it in a perfect triangle formation. The surrounding pedestals were in the shape of leaves. Each of the leaves was big enough for six people to stand on easily. The center circle pedestal was where I was to be placed. It looked like a stone table, barely a foot off the ground, nothing special.

“The other priestesses aren’t here yet,” Kenda was almost in relieved.

“Hand me Lord Pseudo,” Tarsa took me carefully, not that I'd let him do that easily, “I wish to provide some moral support. So please, stand ready for when the others arrive.”

“Yes, sir,” Kenda bowed and left to sit herself down on one of the leaf pedestals.

“Have you gone over all you needed to read,” Tarsa took her by the arm.

“No, I haven’t,” Jade jerked away, “I can’t figure out what this ritual is supposed to do.”

“Provide immortality,” Tarsa grinned as he brought us to the ledge, “Ladies first, I believe.”

“Wait,” Jade stopped, “what?”

“I said that I was a gentleman, did I not?”

“No, before that.”

“Immortality,” Tarsa laughed slightly, “The ritual will grant true immortality.”

“Whoa. This is incredible,” Brandy awed, “I never knew that a place like this existed in Golnar.”

“What is that thing,” Karen asked, scratching my dog ears all wrong.

“It’s an ancient Jufuca Region style ritual site.”

“Jufuca Region,” Karen gasped, “You mean that region that used to do Voodoo all over the place?”

“Yeah, that’s the one,” Brandy nodded, “but they weren’t famous for Voodoo. Mostly, they were famous for being…”

“But they did use Voodoo, right?”

“Karen, there’s no such thing,” Brandy held onto her shoulders, “Voodoo is all just a psychological mind game that they used to play. Like if a black cat crosses your path or spilling salt. No actual magic.”

“Then how do you explain why Tyrone is walking around naked?”

“(Can’t you say anything nice about me?),” I growled, not that there was much else I could do.

“Karen, just because we found his clothes, doesn’t mean that he’s naked right now.”

“(You’d lose that bet.),” I sighed. Brandy pet me between the ears the right way.

“Well, not that it matters,” Karen’s face got angrier as she stared at the stone site, “In Voodoo rituals they sacrifice animals and Yokai.”

“(What!?!),” I blurted out.

“Quiet Leo,” the two of them yelled louder than I did and pounced on top of me.

“What are you trying to do, give us away,” Brandy got my jaws.

“We don’t want them to find us here,” Karen yelled at me.

“Yeah, like we could never find you if you don’t talk loud enough to wake the dead,” the blond priestess laughed.

Now this isn’t something that happened, but it might as well have. Tarsa never told me about his past. At least, not directly. If his brain wasn’t scrambled... I think that he would explain his past like this:

The Phoenix struggled to free himself, but it was all in vain. I decided to taunt him a bit. And what better way to do that than to go on one of those evil monologs that the villains on Saturday morning cartoons do?

“ Struggle all you want,” Tarsa laughed ridiculously loud and obnoxiously cliché, “ You’ll never escape from your fate.”

“ (You’ll never get away with this!),” I’m sure that he tried to yell at me.

“ I’ve been getting away with this for over fifty years,” I grinned as I recalled my past…

Eighty years ago, my mother was taken away from her homeland of Jufuca. She was forced to work for that man that even I had to call Master. I am a bastard. The man who fathered me had forced himself upon my mother. The worst part is that the bastard was never caught, never punished. Even if my mother knew his face, she wouldn’t have been able to complain.

She was raped and yet was still expected to work. Even the day before I was even born, she was expected to work just as hard as she always had. She even was punished for the only crime of going into labor. The following days, months, and then years later; her workload only increased. She was made to suffer every day because of that man. I hated him for it. I cursed every damn Pseudo for it. And that wasn’t even the worse of it.

At the age of ten, I found my mother’s Book of Voodoo. She had power this whole time. She didn’t do anything with it! She just… let it all happen! I swore an oath to take everything from them. I wanted everything that they had.

I started with small spells. I experimented with some of the servants who were treated better than us, slaves. I used a few dolls here and there. I made a few of them perverts and zoophiliacs with love charms. Some I played with their deepest fears with hexes. I scared one so badly that he couldn’t speak properly for the rest of his life. My victims were easily replaceable when my “experiments” reached their climaxes. I even made Master very sick with an elixir that I concocted.

Then, just as I was ready to destroy the first Master Fabulist and bring all of my plans to fruition…

DAMN-IT!!!,” I struck the forest’s tree trunk hard with my fist, “ He died. How dare you go off and die on me! How can I get my revenge on you if you’re dead!”

Now, now child,” a man clapped, “ that’s no way for a Jufucan Witch Doctor to behave. Especially one as powerful as you.

I turned to my taunter. This man stepped out from the shadows still clapping his hands. He wore a black suit and a long top hat. Hair was dark and greasy. His pale face matched colors with the recently deceased Master. His skull-tipped cane floated beside him as he walked forward.

“ Who are you,” I stared intensely at the man. I could see that his nose was clogged with corks for some reason. His grin distracted me from wondering why he put those in there.

I’m surprised that you don’t recognize me from your mother’s book,” he laughed; coughing out smoke as he reached into his inner pocket, “ My card.

He handed me an ordinary playing card.

“ Is this some kind of joke?”

You read that little book or your mother’s,” he stood dignified, “ Take a closer look before you make a vital mistake.

I took another look at the card. There was nothing special about the card. Made of simple paper. Ancient ink was used to draw the image. Again, there was nothing special there. What caught my attention was the specific card that he gave me. The three of spades.

Although, I suppose a more formal introduction is in order,” he tossed his cane into the air and caught it, took off his hat and bowed, “ Greetings and Salutations Tarsa Coiner, First Witchdoctor of Golnar, Master of Deception, and Bastard Son of a Sinner Never Caught. I go by many names but you may know me best as the one and only Baron Samedi.

I tensed up, “ Baron Samedi… God of Death.

Life and death,” he corrected, “ I’ve been watching you.

“ S-stay back!”

Relax child,” standing straight, he placed the hat back on his head, “ I’m not here to harm you. I just finished delivering the object of your scorn to the afterlife.

“ How dare you!?!”

Yes, I understand your hatred better than you can ever hope to imagine,” he grinned, “ And so I wish to help you, shall we say, “vent” your anger in a healthy fashion.

“ Are you going to return Master Pseudo so that I can torture him more properly back to you?”

Yes and no,” Samedi waved his hand in the air and place it over his left eye, “ You could say that I’m rather tired of the position that I’m in.

“ What does this have to do with…?”

Being a god of life and death isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be, child,” he took another step forward, “ So here’s my proposition for you. Do a few tasks for me and you can have my job. You can live for all eternity, will have the powers of a god, and torture all the souls your heart desires.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

“I didn’t accept it at first,” Tarsa explained, “After all, forever and eternity would be a long time.”

Then just as Tarsa finished his stupid evil bad guy monolog, Mom and Da- er Karen and Brandy came rushing in, kicked Tarsa’s butt, then we ran off merrily into the sunset. Mom got remarried, had three more kids, and got over my suicide completely. All the Phoenixes in the world (besides myself) died horrible deaths. Karen killed Eddie with the vengeance of Ten Thousand White Suns.

Tyrone spent the rest of his life as an Inukami. His dog brain took complete and utter control over him, so he enjoys his new life in a mansion owned by some blue haired, bottle cap collecting, pretty boy (with a strange obsession with wearing women’s clothes). Ms. Kay never regained her memory, so she spent the rest of her life as a lonely priestess. Jade was reunited with Louis and have decided to go off to find her mother together.

The Radical Reaper disappeared looking for tacos and so was never seen again. As for Sigma, Sigma spontaneously combusted… Six times and then was eaten alive by starving orphans.

And We all lived happily ever after.

The End

Right about now, there should be someone snorting, “You wish!”

But who in their right mind would wish for that kind of ending, Mr. Snorter?

It’s also not what happened. This is where my hell really begins…

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