Final Sacrifice

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A Forgotten Sin

Beren had remained vigilant for most of the night. In fact the only thing that captivated his attention was the shallow breathing of Ragnar, who himself had not bothered to move an inch from whence the beast threw him into the pile of corpses. His open glazed over eyes and linen facemask made it appear as though he was at deaths embrace, unable to dance with life no more. Beren did not care whether this rouge of a man would survive the night, though he did require information concerning a mage named Covon. His sight lingered briefly to Riken, a beastly abomination that made his very soul shiver and feel cold. A sensation that he had not once felt in his ghastly spirit form. It was a sensation of an erroneous assumption, to believe Vex he was simply an undead raised elk. When in fact it was clearly a wendigo as Ragnar so bluntly stated before putting him into the ground but a day prior.

The yellow light of the sun slowly illuminated the room inching its way to brighten the crypts. The splintered stone door in pieces around the room in large heaps, unable to prevent the trespass of light from occurring. Beren’s eyes wandered to Riken noticing it still sitting on its haunches facing the wall, his tail curled under him unmoving in all response. Vex herself lay sound asleep atop a straw bed her grimoire clutched tightly in her fingers, her nails digging into the gray leather.

Beren’s gaze then fell upon the collapsed tunnel that would have lead further into the crypt. The source of Vex’s testimony and cause to a faction Beren did not fully trust or comprehend. If she were making an army, were they truly for the Scorn or did she still have a vengeful heart as he did. He felt a sense of betrayal hit him as he thought the later, almost making his senses sick and vile to the core. Grimacing he floated over to the wall and gently let his arms phase through. If he wanted answers he would need to trespass further into the crypt. He did not have much time and would need to move quickly to explore the back side of the collapsed crypt. He let his body become fully absorbed into the stone as he slowly inched forward unable to see anything other than rubble in front of his face. It felt claustrophobic and dreary as Beren moved onward hoping for the thickness of the rubble to cease.

His prayers were answered as he found himself enter a wide long corridor. What little light shining through the cracks in the rubble behind him illuminated the cobblestone floor and walls similar to the entrance of the crypt. He possessed no innate ability to perceive the darkness of the room, nor was Beren able to see much further than a few feet. He could deduct however the corridor appeared to slope downward as if being devoured by the very earth. He Floated forward slowly out of the stone and rubble and transcended down the path a few yards before stopping. What captivated his attention was the sound of clanking and muffled moans.

It was rather unsettling as he etched on forward slowly, his levitating feet but inches from the cold forgotten cobblestone. The sound echoed as a faint reminder that something or someone was inhabiting a cell further down. If Beren were able to hold his breath, he would have done so as he slowly came into view of the path leading to three separate hallways. These ones similar to the rest of the crypt, simple gray and vague with wilted carvings on the walls. Yet further past these entrances he could not see for the limited light shining through was inadequate. His curiosity ate at his senses as the rattling of chains and moaning sounded closer more clear this time. Grimacing Beren shrugged as he made his way towards the rubble. Even if he was feeling brave to venture into a necromancer liar he did not have the ability to see it. And that sensation of not seeing what could devour you was in itself terrifying, regardless of an eerie forsaken sound giving away its location.

Seeping back into the rubble he soon found himself on the other side witnessing the sunlight illuminating the room in a pristine yet ancient fashion. His eyes met Riken who appeared to have been waiting for him on the other side. His yellow glowing eyes and dark complexed skeletal face sent chills through Beren. It was not a sensation similar to ice trickling down a spine, but akin to pins and needles dipped in frigid water stinging him all at once. Beren assumed the coldness in the air as the beast opened his toothy jaw open to let warm air out. No sound escaped its throat the only notion of his mortality was the jagged fur standing on end around his neck and shoulders, raised as if threatened. Beren held a grimaced face as he watched the eldritch beast raise its boney claw hand towards Beren only for it to phase through his chest.

Were it not for the vile sight of Riken, Beren would have let out a sigh of relief realizing his impervious nature to the physical realm. He winced lightly as Riken withdrew his hand staring at it looking rather confused despite his rather blank expression. Beren watched as Riken crawled on his hands and feet his bone like tail dragging behind him back towards his corner from whence, he was earlier.

“How far down the crypt did you go?” Vex asked making Beren move his head to the left where he heard the gravelly voice of the pygmy. He met her vibrant yellow eyes as she appeared to be sitting on a table with her face on her hand, the dark circles under her eyes less noticeable from the day prior. Beren remained silent as he stared at her uttering not a word or showing any signs of body language.

“Whether you saw it or not…” Vex began as she turned her attention to Riken who appeared to be staring directly into his corner dragging his boney hands across the stone as if curious. “I suppose I owe you some answers in any regard.” She stated as she leaned back on the table and kicked her legs back and forth as if a bored child. Her eyes averting to the ceiling as if attempting to dictate where to begin. Beren levitated in place eyeing her with an unflinching face, the odd tingling in his soul sated for the time being.

“Once upon the time I served the scorn.” Vex stated as her eyes fell downward to meet Beren, her head still looking upward towards the ceiling, her legs void of rocking back and forth upon uttering the words. Beren squinted his eyes in disgust as he felt a sickening effect take a toll on his soul. A shimmering red aura slowly began to lap over Beren’s body as an all too familiar rage began to burn inside of him. Smiling Vex lowered her head and shook her mangled white hair with her hands letting random leaves and straw fall out onto the cobblestone.

“But that was before I knew who they were. Back then in the great city of Roush.” Vex began as she lifted her head up rubbing her eyes showing signs of minor fatigue. “Roush, also known as the great magi city you heard me talking to Ragnar about, housed a neutral diplomacy to share knowledge and to harbor peace amongst the mortal races. The few Fae who lived there served as overseers and guardians to permit those to enter their lands across the ocean.” She added as she put both her hands down gripping the end of the table moving her lips side to side before letting out a high pitch yawn. “The scorn employed a small research team in their capital in exchange for riches and notoriety in research titles.” Beren raised an eyebrow not understanding the academics but remained quiet as he folded his arms staring intently at Vex feeling more curious, his rage barely subsiding.

“There were a few of us who agreed, me of course needing experience and an income for my tribe back home.” She added before observing Beren with weary eyes. “Back then I specialized with biological mending using nature magic. My job upon reaching the capital of Wemar was to assist with an experiment and to heal any wounds that would occur. Essentially the subject only responded to nature and spirit based magics.” Her eyes slowly moved towards Riken whom continued to claw at the wall as if a confused troubled child.

“The subject was a small child non-human in all respects. He was approximately my height and had a green hue to his skin almost bark like. His eyes sparkled a brilliant green as if an emerald lost in a wide forest.” Beren listened as he watched Vex’s face grow sour and distinct as if regretting telling her story. “He had soft gray fur growing around his neck and shoulders that accommodated his soft face. Even his feathery tail matched his attire proving furthermore I had met a child Fae.” Vex stated as a tear rolled down her cheek as she stared solemnly at Riken in the corner.

Beren felt a wave of depression wash over him as she slowly began to understand the Fae child Vex was speaking of could possibly be the abomination known as Riken. His anger slowly begot him as assumed the worst of Vex experimenting on him with no consent.

“Each day they would bring me into his cell where I would treat his wounds with my nature magic. Each day his wounds growing more grievous than the last. I would be compensated for my efforts but was never allowed to know anything past what was required of my healing.” She added as she sat both her hands to her knees taking in a deep breath in hopes of composing her emotions. The sound of her shaking voice and wet eyes a given proof to her demise.

“This child did not have a name, nor did he understand the written or spoken word of any known race. So, feeling a motherly nature overcome me I taught him each night and comforted him as if he was my own.” Vex bit her lip as she eyed Beren with narrowing eyes. “Fae turn into Wendigos when confronted with high amounts of stress or when consuming the blood of another Fae. There is even a blood magic that can transfer blood from a host to a recipient taking it into their biological system.” Beren unfolded his arms as he could assume the rest of the story.

“The change was slow, and he fought the best he could, but eventually his body began to turn. It began with growth as he grew and matured to an adult. Next his flesh began to rot, and his face pulled back to the bone. Once my magic was unable to heal his wounds the Scorn disbanded me and threw me out of the city, proof their experiment was almost complete.” Vex stated as she lowered her head sniffing slightly trying not to appear weak, before continuing her story.

“I was not going to let them turn Riken into a monster, I had to save what remained of him before he completely turned. Took me a month but I was able to stow away into the research facility of the castle. From there I laid my eyes on Riken and he appeared as you see him there.” She explained as she pointed to the hunched vile creature in the corner. “He no longer looked like his normal self and appeared to have gone feral were it not for my comforting aura when I whispered to him from behind his cage. I broke him out and smuggled him out of the city back to my tribe. He still possessed a child’s mind but grew animalistic instincts akin to his vile kind.”

Beren relaxed slightly as he fully understood the story that escaped Vex’s lips despite her cracking voice and attempts to refrain from sobbing. He was relieved to understand she was in fact a good willed soul who perhaps still had the same vengeance as he did.

“Pygmy’s by nature are rather reclusive and tend to refrain from the politics of the land. Yet my tribe helped me take Riken in where communed with the Fae of the woods for guidance. As his care taker she bestowed upon me a commanding unique language to give Riken direction. She also taught me a spell that would put him to sleep to ease his pain turning him into an elk, though still rather undead looking. It was approximately a week before word got out that the Scorn were trafficking Fae for experiments. The city of Roush closed off all access to the Scorn where it was then laid to siege for three months. The remaining Fae fled to their homeland sealing the ocean with a fog that none could navigate. The magi users who survived were forced into slavery while the remaining escaped to the east possible the free country of Alistair. The rest is history, the scorn killed all those who opposed them and began conquering all in their path spreading their vile cult in the process.” Vex ended as she brought her knees up to her chest and hugged her legs staring intently at Riken.

Beren levitated in place unmoving taking everything said to heart as he felt the sadness emanating off Vex. He still felt rather upset as she lied to him since the beginning but felt better for it since trust was a commodity not easily granted even for her. Were he still human he would have wrapped his arm around Vex and comforted her, but it was to no avail that as a spirit all he could do was observe silently less his words stung and demolished. He assumed the Scorn ransacked her tribe soon after resulting in her path for revenge even a change in faith following a death cult in response. Looking around the crypt once more an odd thought filled his head.

“This”

“Was”

“Home?”

His voiced echoed softly off of the walls rumbling them in response, even startling Riken who bounded back slightly eyeing Beren with interest. His glowing yellow eyes rather sinister in his dark skeletal face. Vex slowly lifted her face to meet Beren’s gaze before simply nodding her head. Nodding to the fact the place they dwelled was a home for her tribe before they got wiped out.

“We built this crypt for our ancestors of old, our abodes were nestled in the clearing outside before they were burnt down and reclaimed by nature herself. I only came back here so I could remain close to the last known Fae. The Fae of the wood.” She stated before sliding off the table grabbing for her grimoire eyeing the body of Ragnar with a sour look, her nose crunching upwards as she rubbed the tips of her blunted horns atop her temple.

She stood there silently for a moment before giving a side glance towards Beren with a half-crooked smile showing some of her pointed teeth. “Suppose it’s time to head out and put Riken back to sleep and reawaken Ragnar” She stated as she slowly padded her way to the abomination before speaking in the quick vile language known only between them. Beren watched with interest as Riken nodded slowly before crouching low and grabbing the body of Ragnar by his leg slowly dragging him as if a ragdoll. Beren caught Vex’s shadowy silhouette from the light shining in. He was unable to see her face due to the light, but noticed a hand waving as if beckoning him to accompany them. Beren felt a sense of belonging despite it being in a band of deranged and forgotten misfits. And there was no better place to belong, as one who did not belong in the world of the living to begin with. Beren grimaced as he levitated towards a corpse upon a table hoping it would suffice his attire in case he needed to speak. For he did have more questions and he felt comforted inhabiting flesh after being bonded to a body he lost so easily. Flesh adjourned into a fleeting form wrought only with tragedy.

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