Light was entering through the cracks of the stone door into the crypt. The moss hanging off it on the outside held no sway as a brilliant green light flashed suddenly and held its brilliant illumination for a few seconds before ceasing. Inside the crypt stood a crouched human body trembling on the ground naked and afraid. This was no normal body in the slightest. It was an abomination given upon to by the flesh of human parts. All sacred pacts of humanity were violated as the abomination breathed in deeply, the sounds of gushing air entering its preserved lungs sounding eerie. The pygmy known as Vex stood idly with arms crossed as she observed silently her eyes narrowing and her lips tight. The masked stranger known as Ragnar observed the situation in a nonchalant manner.
The voice was dry and coarse as if leather was being worked by a tan-smith. But it was his voice nonetheless. Beren’s voice. The abomination grabbed for its throat his extremities shuddering as if frightened and confused.
“Take it easy this is new grounds for magic. Nothing like this has ever been attempted.” Vex stated a smile slowly forming over her lips, her long hair flowing over her face in a fit of being overworked. Her hands clasped together dirty from the various ingredients included with the construction of Beren’s new body.
The body itself was a thing to marvel over in an utmost frightening and grotesque fashion. Though the body was naked it possessed no reproductive organs nor a navel to prove it was ever birthed as a human. The torso was of sewn flesh with added bones protruding above the skin arranged over the abdominal muscles as if protecting its user.
Above the pectoral muscles were bone shaped plates separated slightly, so as the chest would expand to breath in air. The lower neck region where his collar bones were located were metal robs protruding through the skin. The shoulders were broad with odd small metal spikes embedded into the skin as if a lizard. The arms themselves were non too human as only the hand held any flesh what so ever. The arms were comprised of the visible muscle tissue but had added bone covering the vital tendons and ligaments. Giving the arms a rather bulkier look but with a light weight incentive. The lower extremities were much the same as the side of the hip bones appeared to be protruding out ward while the thighs appeared to be exposed with the same similar bone platting protecting the vital ligaments and tendons. The knee was modified slightly as it appeared larger than a human and had a metal brand wrapped around the lower portion. The calf’s down to the ankles were the least human as they appeared to sleek backwards from the knee and then curve forward to where the ankles and feet presided. The feet themselves were black and decrepit looking while containing scales. It possessed three large toes that had sharp short talons extending from where a human nail would be located.
Beren slowly controlled his breathing as he took in the sight of his new inhuman body. Eyeing Vex he noticed he felt much more confined as if seeing through the eyes of someone else. Yet the body provided to him felt as though it was where he belonged. Much like the sensation of the ghost glow from whence he touched the night prior.
“Now it may not be perfect, I did the best I could considering the circumstances.” Vex stated sheepishly as she held up a small mirror with a silver handle. Beren nodded as he walked over to the pygmy realizing how tall he was now. In fact, if he were to assume he stood approximant six feet and five inches, approximately ten inches from when he was still alive. Grasping the mirror from Vex he noticed his rather strong grip as he held the mirror up to his face in a quick glance. He was worried as a lump formed at the back of his throat. His thoughts immediately pondered to the boney face of Riken then to a possibly deformed corpse. He was relived however as the first thing that caught his attention were his brown eyes. He still possessed his broad nose and rounded chin along with his tight lips. His cheeks looked rather sunken and dark circles appeared beneath his eyes, but he remained normal despite the situation. Even his hair brown set upon his rather pale skin seemed all too familiar.
“Thank…you.” Beren trembled as the lump in the back of his throat worsened and felt the need to cry and mourn. But no tears came, nor did he feel a hastened heartbeat within his chest. Kneeling down he eyed the small pygmy and did the best he could to smile. It felt real in a rather unsettling manner, but it was his body and it still felt right. He felt emotions slowly slip back to him for an instant as he quickly reached out for Vex and embraced her. She tightened slightly from his touch not returning his advance, but sighed gently as she patted his mangled brown hair letting him hold her for a moment.
“I did not think it would work but you did…somehow.” Ragnar began as he stood but feet away observing the show of affection going on before him. “Even so, if the great magi city of the Fae was not ransacked, you would go down into history books and sit upon their council.” Ragnar began shaking his head. “Alas what you did today was a miracle. Albeit a god forsaken one, worthy for the depths of hell.” He added as he stretched slightly holding his polearm at the ready.
Beren slowly let go of Vex as he looked into her deep yellow eyes and felt true appreciation within him. He mouthed the words thank you once more before standing. Vex raised an eyebrow and simply nodded not having been used to affection aside from her pets. She quickly ran to her bench and threw a few trousers and large burlap stitched shirt toward Beren.
“Get dressed you are still in the presence of a lady mind you!” She retorted returning him with a smile before grabbing her grimoire and walking over to a pile of straw and blanket. “In the meantime, we leave tomorrow morning I will be asleep for the next day or so.” She began as she haphazardly flung her body into the pile of straw. Raising a hand with her face still in the straw she added. “If you wake me I will have Riken eat you, now go play outside or something.”
Beren did not pay her no mind as he walked up to the stone door and pressed his hand on the imprint like Vex would normally do. To his surprise the magical mechanism worked responding to his flesh as the door opened effortlessly. Looking at his hand he was satisfied to see he possessed flesh once more that was not of someone else’s origin.
“If you will have some company spirit, I will accompany you.” Ragnar began as he adjusted his linen face mask and followed in pursuit of Beren who happened to have just excited the crypt. Beren did not respond and simply nodded as he rubbed the trousers that were catching on his knees.
Stumbling out of the crypt he breathed in through his nose and let his lungs expand and deflate quickly as he felt his chest move. He was unable to smell but the sensation of cold air filling his body felt refreshing and calming. Opening his eyes, he was relieved to see the suns rays beat down on his body feeling what he assumed was heat. The sensation was much different when he was alive but similar in all the same.
“Beren, humor me for a moment.” Ragnar began as he sat his hand on Beren’s shoulder his six foot appearance rather intriguing to Beren as he stood a bit taller now. Were he still alive he knew would have marveled at being taller, even enticing a few women at the inn to swoon for the night.
“I do not know any good jokes.” Beren began as he slowly began getting a hand of his voice and throat. Though it felt rough to speak it was still rather natural as if swinging his lumber axe once more. Ragnar simply cocked his head and squinted his eyes as if pretending to be amused by his remark.
“What did you see when you died.”
Beren did not flinch or even return Ragnar’s question abruptly with an emotional outburst as he would have as a mortal. In fact, the sensation of utter rage and hate still fueled him and it was that sensation that he knew kept himself together.
“I saw a black void full of arms reaching out and a small red dot in the center.” Beren eventually added as he closed his eyes feeling the burning hatred fill his being once more as he thought back on that fateful day. He could almost sense his hands around that flighty mage and preachers’ neck.
Ragnar slowly removed his hand from Beren’s shoulder as he rested it on his polearm before taking a seat on a nearby raised hedge stone. Pulling out a cream he pulled his face cloth downwards reveling his boney face and lack of flesh as he rubbed the ointment onto his disfigurement. Beren eyed the vile scene for a moment before turning his gaze away and simply let himself fall backwards into the clump grass beneath his bare feet. He felt no pain as his body collided into the ground, in general it felt exciting as he could feel gravity embrace him fully.
“Were you part of that village just outside this forest?” Ragnar asked, his mouth unmoving but the throat vibrating as the water trickled down mimicking what a natural voice would sound. Beren moved his head to the side as he watched Ragnar return the face mask to its proper position before staring at Beren with his cold blue eyes.
“I have never ventured to far into the woods as a lumber jack. So, I would assume so.” He stated not even sure himself which way his village was located. The folklore told by the villagers warned of vile creatures and monsters that dwelled in the forest. And the further you entered the larger the trees would become. A forgotten realm hidden away from man and its malevolent short comings.
“I had just searched that village for life while looking for your little Vex.” Ragnar responded standing up while rubbing the sides of his face. “If you would be enticed I can guide you there, I left my horse stabled there along with some supplies. Perhaps you can accompany me, I am certain we will make it back before nightfall.” Ragnar implied holding out a hand as he spoke. “Besides It would be good to see what physical limitations your body has.” He added as he put his polearm behind his back strapping it tightly with the cloth strand he had.
Beren eyed Ragnar for a moment unsure of how to respond to such a statement and proposition. The thought of returning to the burnt village and the altar left a stabbing pain inside of him. His heart would have skipped a beat if the body possessed one. Letting out a little of air he sat up right, the bone platting on his abdomen moving in response as typical armor pulled slightly on his burlap shirt.
“Sure.” Beren stated as he slowly rose to his feet, his eyes averting from the strange toe and talons he now possessed. Looking to Ragnar he nodded as he followed behind the strange individual from which he knew nothing about.
Their company within each other was rather silent save for a few questions regarding how his body felt or any limitations from a typical mortal body. Beren would simply grunt or respond with a simple yes or no as he concentrated on his movements. They felt more graceful and deliberate as the muscle fibers twitched almost perfectly in unison.
“So according to what you said Beren, it sounds like you were sacrificed to Scorn.” Ragnar began as he slowly picked up the pace looking over his shoulder to make sure Beren was in pursuit. Beren following behind easily swaying his arms back and forth as he made longer strides easily keeping up with the masked man.
“I am not one to questions gods.” Beren began. “Truly the reason I walk now is to kill that preacher and mage.” He finished as he grabbed onto the trunk of a tree as he heaved himself over a rather large boulder. His thoughts wandered momentarily as he attempted to remember how he accompanied Vex into the forest when they first met. He could not recall how long they traveled that night, only thing he could recall in that fragmented time frame were the size of trees as they ventured further within.
“I to am looking for a mage.” Ragnar began as stopped before a running creek approximately ten feet across, essentially waste deep full of running water. Ragnar gently touched the surface of the creek with a finger before lifting it up quickly as a small fish became entrapped within a tendril of water. Beren watched fascinated as Ragnar caught the fish from the strange magic and quickly cut its head off with a blue whip extending from his fingers.
“Amazing.” Beren declared as his eyes raised not akin to such magic. He remained silent as he watched Ragnar put the fish into a small knapsack on his hip before taking one step back and leaped across the creek effortlessly.
“Your turn, how far can you jump.” Ragnar asked as he eyed Beren with interest.
Beren twitched his mouth feeling amazed at such athleticism. As a mortal he could never have scaled anything greater than five feet. In fact he could have assumed most animals were capable of scaling the length so easily. Looking down at his legs he squinted as he gingerly approached the stream and readied himself taking one step back. His talon like feet digging into the sand bank of the creek, the sensation of cold splashing on his legs as the body of water continued on to a larger river. Taking in a deep breath he crouched down slowly and used every muscle fiber in his legs and lower abdomen to spring himself forward, his hands curled into fists as he felt his feet leave the ground and his body scaling across the water. It was a rather strange motion, but he soon found himself landing on the other side of the creek a few feet further than Ragnar.
“Impressive.” Ragnar stated as he watched Beren raise back up with a cocky smile. The two laughed slightly as if a rivalry was forming before them. “Lets get a move on vengeful spirit, ten miles in this direction lies your village. Let’s run, see if you can keep up.” Ragnar stated as he pulled out his staff and took off running through the forest using his staff to scale over large tree roots and other obstacles as he came across.
Smiling Beren gripped his hands once more as he began running after Ragnar not caring in the slightest how long his body could sustain a long run through a thick forest. Breathing in he filled his lungs as he practiced breathing in and out as he sprinted easily leaping over a bush or dodging a boulder in the process. The sunlight entered through the thick forest canopy helping illuminate the undergrowth of the green landscape. And the further he progressed after Ragnar he noticed it clearing slightly. The bushes seemed more sparse and the green grass less abundant as he continued. Even the trees in their splendor appeared to get slimmer from their typical bulkier trunks further back at the crypt. What he found most transfixing was not the landscape but his body. Typically, after a good distance his legs would feel hot and his breathing would become erratic as it slowly succumbed to fatigue. However, this was not the case as he effortlessly moved on eventually being but twenty yards from Ragnar. The masked mans breathing apparently proving he was mortal after all.
He continued behind Ragnar keeping his pace and realizing it never wavering in fatigue as a normal human. Beren’s thoughts wandered to what magic or training this individual had undergone to become such a potent athletic. He felt his own legs move effortlessly as he continued onward enjoying the feeling of air rushing by his face and the sensation of being alive inside his own body made him feel almost euphoric.
“Here we are.” Ragnar called in front as he slowed down to a jog before stopping using his polearm to rest on as he caught his breath. Beren slowed down his movement as he ran up beside Ragnar to see a clearing before him. Field of burnt wheat and thatched roofs. Not too much further a stone altar atop raised earth. “I tied my horse near that well in the center of the village. You can explore if you wish, I need to catch my breath unlike you.” He stated the wrinkles under his eyes evidence of smiling.
Beren snorted slightly as he felt the vibration in his nasal cavities. Stepping out into the clearing he sat his hands onto his hips where the bones were protruding from. This was where he was born and experienced death. Alas it was also the same location he was given rebirth, returning not too long after with a new body with hints of undeath. His attention faltered slightly as he began walking towards the altar, his gripped hands apparent of his unending anguish. He eyed Ragnar at the corner of his eye as he approached the well and a small stable from where he assumed he hid his belongings. Deciding to visit the altar he approached the wet grass leading upward. Beneath his feet the dew of the grass made the ascent to the top of the hill rather difficult to walk properly. Grimacing he flexed his toes and used the talons to dig into the dirt as he made his way to the top.
Taking in the sight as he walked past rotting extremities and mangled bodies of scorn soldiers he forced a smile upon his face. The grass appeared to have grown a bit taller slowly taking the effects of life back to its cycle. His eyes averted upwards as he took in the sight of the altar, the blood stains from all the sacrifices. Clenching his teeth he strolled forward in a menacing manner and with a gripped hand slammed his fist downward as if a hammer onto the stone table. He did not feel pain but watched as he cracked the stone from the pressure of his strike. Looking at his hand he realized he did not sustain any damage. In fact, the bone platting was perhaps magically reinforced for combat. Beren smiled slightly shaking his head pondering Vex’s true intentions for making such an absurd abomination. Looking behind the altar he felt his being sink slightly as the decomposing bodies shriveled with decay, laying bare to the elements.
His hands gripped tight as he felt the pressure from his unknown strength. Looking around he eyed a shovel before reaching down holding it tightly in his hands. Looking back to the village he could not see Ragnar and pondered if the man would help him cover the rotting bodies of his friends and villagers. Spitting into his hands he held the shovel and began furiously digging into the ground hoping to lay the bodies to rest. Hopping it would slightly remove the sting inside his burning soul. The same sting that originated from his hatred and anguish. The sting of a vengeful spirit.