The door opened, and a beautiful creature came through it. Moving like a ghost in flesh, the figure moved toward the end of the room. The tulani's hair had flattened slightly from the swampy mists. It gave his youthful face an aura of reckless sensuality, despite a weight behind his pupils' dark. He shed his black cloak with a quick motion, and swiftly took a seat, grimacing even before he sat down.
The suspected dark lord Creus was once, like all the dark lords, a resident of a different plane. Creus was a warrior-mage of considerable repute, seen as the protector of his country Avaldia. Born in a time of war, war was all Creus knew. Selected as a child for training, Creus's life was circumscribed by two types of persons--those who were enemies and those who were expendable to ensure the defeat of enemies.
And so it came to pass that the thief (for that was his profession, and he was very good at what he did) found himself sitting besides the paladin (for that was her profession, and she was just as good at it if not better) and watching the sun set fire to the ocean for the hundredth time. And for the hundredth time, the thief said to his friend, lover, and wife:
Sighing slightly Ijien’s dark-skinned hand delicately flipped another of the old, crinkled pages, ever careful not to damage them. She would have been utterly abashed to damage something so old and valuable, no matter how bland its contexts had prove thus far, by simple carelessness, to say nothing of what it would have cost to try and replace such an ancient tome. Carefully her eyes scanned down the page, puzzling out the old runes as she went, and searching for the references she sought, but finding nothing.
“Torture is never about answers. Torture is about the breaking of one will and the triumph of another. It’s a subtle, intimate, erotic interplay of heretic and inquisitor, warden and prisoner, fiend and petitioner, you and I.”A hand brushed delicately across the victim’s cheek, gathering the moisture of a tear on one claw before flicking it away. The fingertips were charred and blackened down to the bone, and that incongruity was paltry compared to the whole.“This is a pity, it truly is. I would have expected more from you.”
Grey.Always grey.I lie still.Colors bleed.Grey.Unending grey.The world turns.The wheel spins.I lie still.Grey.Unending grey.I feel.I felt.I bleed.I bled.The world turns.The wheel spins.Grey.Always grey.I wonder.I pause.I ask.Am I?Are we?Are they?Grey.Unending grey.Crave the cold.Yearn for pain.Beg for sense.Grey.Always grey.Ask for food.Pray for rain.Plead for help.The world turns.
The air was thick, almost like dirty water, and the guests were more than fitting: Demonic creatures, mephits, even a steam elemental. As one of the rare mortals, Alluenith felt like he'd die any moment - whether more probable by suffocating or by being torn apart by one of the demons, he could not say.
At last, he found the person... creature... he was looking for. He gave him a friendly nod, then sat down at the table.
"So... what is it you wanted me to come here for?"
"I have... a story for you. You are one of these newsrag writers, correct?"
This is number 7 or so in my cycle of Baernaloths, and I owe a debt of inspiration on this one to some ideas by Sciborg2 and Rip Van Wormer regarding Anthraxus' self mutilation, Baernaloths as viral hosts of their creations, and Anthraxus being obsessed with what the Night Hags who created him might have also done to him without his knowledge. My thanks goes out to them both. This rides the line of good taste in parts here. I apologize if any of the content offends you in any way, since I do hit upon some touchy subjects.
A warning is in order here for this story. Given the nature and personality of this particular Baernaloth, the level of blatant violence and gore is much higher in this story than in previous ones. So please do keep that in mind before reading this. And also, this story is significantly longer than the previous entries in the Baernaloth cycle.“From time to time I pause before a mirror to draw back my lips and gaze at the truth… Show me your smile and I will show you your fate.” – Matt Cardin, “Teeth”