Beren sat there with a dumbfounded face unclear of what Vex was attempting to explain for the second time. Her eyes quivered into a narrowing stare as if judging a child for sleeping in late. She closed her Grimoir, setting it on her crossed legs as she took in a deep breath, hoping to compose herself.
“Only way to bind your essence to this vessel, we will need ghost glow. And only a ghost or powerful seer can sense it.” She stated as she drummed her fingers on the top of her book looking slightly furious, her nose curling in a demeaning scowl, leaving wrinkles around her closed mouth.
Beren attempted to open his mouth to ask where, but was cut short as she lifted her hand up and pointed at the collapsed corridor behind her. Her yellow eyes glaring back at him in a malevolent glaring stare. If she were able to strike at Beren, she would had taken the effect do have done so. Continuing to drum her fingers on her grimoire she heaved a sigh and threw a blanket over the vessel she had been working on for Beren.
“Vengeful spirit or not, you are in debt to me for trapping my lifes work behind this mess you made.” She insisted as she put her hands on her hips while glaring at the collapsed stones leaving barely room for a rat to enter though a crack. “And yes ghost glow, where, I do not know. I did have some back here though.” She added patting the broken stone blocking the corridor, her hand making a slap sound that echoed around them.
Beren levitated motionless with a surprised look. He wanted to remorse and explain he was sorry, but uttering even one word may make the situation more dire for him. It was frustrating to be unable to talk normally. It was if a hundred voices inside him were screaming at once, and trying to control its volume was attempting to wrestle multiple oxen. He put his hands together in a form of a prayer his red illumination rather dull as he mouthed the words sorry.
The pygmy rolled her eyes with a sigh as she swiftly walked back to her work station and began flipping through her grimoire. Her hands moved quickly as her finger followed the words on the pages, her eyes sifting side to side in a rather unsettling manner. Beren watched her with anticipation but felt better to get any closer should it dampen his chances of gaining a new body.
“Here!” Vex shouted out as her finger stopped half way through a page her eyes transfixed on the words foreign to Beren. “Ghost glow is needed to bind a soul to a vessel, without it the vessel will rot without the use of constant necrotic magic of the caster.” She concluded pointing to herself and eyeing Beren from the corner of her eye. “Sorry bub, but I refuse to be your walking battery. Go outside and find some ghost glow. Take Riken with you, I have a theory that you can perhaps possess his body if you need to pick something up.” She stated as she eyed Riken “Or you may get trapped inside him, I guess we will find out.” She stated with a smirk leaving Beren to question her humor or lack of humanity.
Vex casually walked past Beren as she approached upon a narrow passage leading outside. A giant circular stone slab was before her along with a small handprint set in the middle. Making her hand glow a bright green, she set her hand upon the print mark before her and gave a hefty push. Immediately the stone made a whoosh sound as air entered in, blowing the contents in the room haphazardly. The stone slab itself gave way as it rolled across the floor letting the light shine in upon the crypt.
The limited lantern light did wonders to hide the atrocities of Vex’s little horror workshop. With the given light from outside, Beren could now easily see all the appalling instruments around the front room they shared. He could see they occupied a wide circular room with ancient carvings on the walls of past families and heirs. Crude runes from a foreign language were written above each carving leaving more to the mystery of Vex’s little hovel she called home. The ceiling itself was raised with what appeared to a darker shade of marble. Thus giving the room the look of a long forgotten royalty, removed from time and set aside to be vandalized by nature and all her glory. Moss hung from the ceiling where obvious cracks could be seen, assuming that water had been seeping through. Drifting his eyes towards the floor of the room he noticed it was a gray colored cobblestone. If he had a heart it would had stopped beating, as it instinctively reminded him of the gray tunnel he seen when he died. Ahead of him was a pile of rubble blocking the only passage leading further into the crypt. His voice having caused such an unfortunate change to Vex's abode. Shaking his head his eyes rested on the chains and sharp meat hooks along the walls. His being did not budge, nor did he feel remorse as his eyes rested on a few soldiers dressed in the colors of the Scorn, hanging from said hooks. Their lifeless expressions oblivious to the fact of their missing limbs or removed entrails. A body laid upon a table as it was left standing upright with eyes missing. A jar next to it holding the same presumed removed eyes, as the green necromantic energy kept them moving around in the jar.
Beren moved his gaze back to Vex and knew if he was still alive, and happened upon this sight he would have tried ending her life for a sense of moral right. Things were different now, he found a companion that shared his loss and would sacrifice everything to end those who wronged them. His eyes met hers as she to looked at the room and then back to Beren, as if trying to gauge what he was thinking.
“How far will you go Beren?”
Beren stood there as he gripped his hands still unable to feel the pressure from doing so, his mouth held shut as he felt a burning swell up inside his very soul. A burning fire raging so hot it made the illumination of his spectral form glow a vigorouse, but vibrant shade of red. He managed a wry smile on his lips as he closed his eyes and simply nodded. Their sense of morality and saving grace left them long ago. There were none to right the wrong of this world, wrought by the Scorn. Nor were there any vile enough to sacrifice everything, even their humanity to see this through. This was their cause and their purpose alone to achieve.
“Actions speak louder than words Beren. Thank you for not judging me too harshly, I plan to answer for my sins but now is not the time.” She stated as she trotted over to Riken, untying his leash from a hanging chain up ahead. She turned the tip of her finger green as she set it upon the abominations skull, and mummered a rough foreign language Beren could not understand. The abominations skull holding no emotion, simply lowered its head and faced Beren. Gingerly it approached him in its grotesque limp and stood before him as if waiting a command.
“Riken will follow you. He is of necromantic energy, so in theory you should be able to communicate to him if you put a piece of your soul within him.” She stated as she folded her arms rubbing her chin in interest. “Come to think of it. This is new grounds for research, you might be a proving point to a theory of a spirit called a banshee. Perhaps we will seek my old master after this affair and see what he has to say.” She stated as she turned and waved a hand returning to her table of little horrors. “Be sure to come back before sundown. There are more vile creatures in the forest than you.” She mumbled already becoming engrossed in her work.
Beren nodded as he began making his way out of the crypt. He had grown used to simply levitating and moving forward as a spirit. In fact the sensation felt normal to him as if breathing or blinking. Riken following in suit his hurried limping pace leaving any mortal to witness a shudder of paranoia in their midst. The sun temporarily blinded his sight as he finally left the dark crypt as he took in the scenery of what he assumed was a thick forest. Before him was an entryway of gray cobblestone leading to the entrance of the crypt, that appeared to have been slowly taken over by nature. The grass and moss growing through the cracks of the stone. The trees looked tall and wide while a plethora of ferns were scattered around the base of each. The ground floral of the forest floor had red dirt and random patches of grass where there appeared to be no trees. To his left he noticed a low fenced area of iron spikes jutting out of the ground. In the middle stood small headstones aligned in symmetrical circles, each one encircling the last. The clear advent of weathering and overgrown nature held proof, that this area was a long forgotten graveyard. To his right a small wooden shack with only one door and a wagon outside shown the only sign of use from the pygmy.
Beren looked behind as Riken stood motionless ready to move the moment his target did. Behind him the crypt and Vex standing at the entrance as she waved, the circular stone slab slowly rolling in the front of her cutting off the sight of the crypt from the outside. He focused his gaze upon the abomination and grimaced, the sight of it still made him feel uneasy, even more so now that he had to work with it. His thoughts raced in his head as he attempted to focus and look for ghost glow. A rare herb that only the dead or powerful seers can sense or interact with. He turned back around and began his ascent into the ominous overgrown forest, hoping he would not become lost in its green vastness.
His perception of time felt off once more but not as dramatic as it had been. As if having a directing purpose helped keep his thoughts together and his reality vivid. As if he found a tether to this world that he can cling to when he felt himself start to cease. The sensation felt as though he would begin to drift into sleep with random lapses of forcing himself to stay awake. A fit of fighting your body to push on a little further, regardless of the depleted energy it now possessed. He stopped for a moment as did Riken, his absurd prodding and crunching of twigs echoing in the forest suddenly ending. Beren surveyed his surroundings and noticed a fair amount of floral and mushrooms, but none gave a distinct glow or sensation that he assumed would be ghost glow.
He was never savvy in the finesse of wildlife and the woods, despite his working hand in a forest much like this one. The trees were similar but were much drier and easier to burn for the war machine of the Scorn, that accursed empire of Wemar. Trying to collect his thoughts once more and focus on the task at hand, he eyed the beast before him and made a slight scowl. If he were to find this herb, he would need to work with this creature despite his disdain for its existence.
Extending a hand with caution he slowly approached the abomination, as its skull of green glowing eyes appeared to stare back at him, unmoving or flinching the slightest. His hand was but inches from the skull, having never been this close to the abomination. Only now he could realize the bulk of its strength and the sheer mass of the creature. Any mortal unlucky enough to cross its path or brave enough to vanquish it, would easily be overtaken by its sheer force. If Beren could heave a sigh he would have, as he figuratively held his breath and let his hand enter the skull of the beast hoping to make contact. Much the same way as he did with the soldier, except this time it would be gentle and unprovoked.
It was cold and frigid when he initially put his hand in the skull of the beast. A sensation he had forgotten since he died. Riken during this time however, simply stared back unmoving as If waiting for a command. Beren feeling confident, slowly closed his eyes as he attempted to look inside the beast. It felt unnatural and violating to his senses. A sense of goodwill and obedience emanated from abomination as he envisioned opening his eyes inside the magic of Riken. Though it was fuzzy he noticed a swirling sphere of green energy swirling around itself in a slow ghostly fashion. It appeared to vibrate and simulate a heartbeat as pulsing magic escaped from it and fled to various parts of the body. Green residue subsiding into the corners of the area. Beren took notice of an elk calf beneath the green sphere that appeared to be injured and barely alive, with its quick shallow breaths. Attempting to get closer he felt a sting in his mind as the pain of the elk slowly became his. He felt loss sadness and even anguish. But what transfixed him was love and loyalty. Beren could assume this may only be a copy of Riken as Vex stated, but it still sufficed her loneliness and perhaps her humanity, with the all too real emotions that seemed to escape from within.
Closing his eyes and opening them to his own he felt a connection as green energy wrapped around his hand, lightly creating a loose bond with the abomination. Having never done such a thing he felt bewildered as though he could communicate with it, and possible convey an order. He pictured a dog back in his village and how it would sit and play fetch with him as a kid. Configuring an idea he sent a mental image to Riken telling him to simply sit on his haunches. Removing his hand he waited for the beast to comply.
Riken simply cocked its head to the side and stared back at Beren oblivious to what was needed of him. Scowling he put his hand back to the skull but instead of relaying a message he received a mental image, of Riken simply falling to its side as he appeared to sit down. Astonished he removed his hand realizing he had just received a message as well as successfully sending one to the abomination. Smiling oddly he held his hand there and sent a picture of him making a sound.
In response Riken let out a hiss sound, as he took notice of a pair of large lungs deep within its body inflate and deflate through its ribcage. Nodding his head Beren felt slightly optimistic and knew this task would be easier than he had anticipated. Though he still did not understand how this type of magic worked, he felt bewildered by it and curious. Riken nodded in approval as if understanding what Beren was feeling. His long wide horns menacing with each nod of his elk skull.
“Boss, is that the pygmy’s new creation?”
Beren turned around to the sound of a vile disgusting voice from behind him. Turning around he took sight of a handful of orange skinned goblins with crude spears and mangy fur clothes. They held their weapons forward as a strange liquid dripped from the points obviously poison for hunting, or worse killing. They were all about the same height as Vex but appeared more grotesque and vile. Their orange skin looked rough and with long mangy brown hair held up in a bun. Their eyes were pitch black that let an icy hold in any mortal’s heart. Beren did not hear them approach and was astonished as he found himself encircled by what appeared to be a hunting tribe. The kill of a deer strung up on a rack in the background gave way to this proof.
“I did not know she can command spirits now.” A stout fat goblin stated as he ran up and eyed Beren from head to toe, but feet from his levitating body. “Regardless the chief says she’s not welcome in these parts and her creations are no exception.” The goblin stated as he readied his spear and made a jab at Beren only to realize it phasing through.
“You imbecile he is a ghost, you can’t touch him he can’t touch you. Kill her pet and lets get out of here it’s almost night time. Poor thing should be put out of its misery.” Another goblin stated as he walked forward appearing a few inches taller than the other goblins, his stature and voice gave indications he was leading the troop. Rikan hissed and hunched his head low as he immediately felt threatened and ready to protect himself. Beren felt an image in his head as he seen goblins butchering Rikan tearing him to pieces, and the sight of Vex crying and ultimately losing her sanity. If Beren could bite his lip to feel pain he would have. The sense of a possible loss the beast had, gave way to clear intelligence, either an abomination or not he will stand and fight with him to the bitter end.
The lead gobbling smiled as he pointed onward, the rest of the goblins jumped forward with their spears in hand, completely ignoring Beren in all senses as they snarled ready for combat.