[Venora] The Weak, Winnowed

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[Venora] The Weak, Winnowed

Postby Alistair » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:08 am

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14th of Saun, Arc 716

"Agh!" A scream. The Necromancer wandered through the halls of the crypt, one the Coven had begun to utilize as a base of operations. The sound of wails had begun to fill the dark depths of this place with utter rancor. No one looked happy, and they all knew the source of each others terror: the Lich. Another scream broke through the hall, with Alistair now standing quietly besides a brazier along the path. He took a breath - as he would be seeing her soon.

The walls were covered with an ill apparel. Some of them had the guts of victims hanging from them. The ceiling of the hallway had the bone of a child as a decoration for each square foot. The madness of the Necromantress and her Liches had intensified, as well as the cruelty and disregard by all those within the Coven. It had truly become the stereotypical nightmarish cult, and Alistair had already acknowledged that he no longer belonged. He had become a talented mage, far better than most in the Coven and certainly the Seekers. But that was not all that was required of a child of Ellasin's ilk.

There had to be more.

"DAMIEN!" she screeched, the sound roaring throughout their base of operations. The Lich quickly ran through the hallway, coming to Ellasin's call and tapping Alistair on the shoulder as he passed him by. The Necromancer felt compelled. He had to see what this was all about - what had led Ellasin to an unnatural state of frenzy. And so he did.

The man followed after Damien and witnessed through the cracks of the door - the woman was on the floor standing above the body of a dead apprentice. She was . . . stabbing him, over and over and over again. "DAMIEN. This was one of YOURS," she yelled. The woman grabbed a hammer from her table and had begun to bludgeon him mercilessly, bashing through his skull. Alistair could only wonder: why?

"Ellasin, what did he do?" Damien asked. He did not freak out or enable her. He merely asked what he had done - the man had always been the calm sort. And she replied, rising from the ground with blood wetting her black cotton clothes, smeared across her body from head to toe. "He touched Orion," she said with a grimace. Alistair almost laughed. Orion was the woman's black cat, one who apparently was something of a familiar. Did she really murder this man over something so trivial?

The Necromantress spat on his corpse. "Damien, this is your bloody fucking mess, you cretin. Allowing a filthy mongrel too great of mobility. He is only a bloody Associate, Damien! Do you not even realize the infantile state of his mind? To allow him away from supervision and even near my Orion is absolutely mind boggling! I should have all of you flayed and replaced with another!"
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[Venora] The Weak, Winnowed

Postby Alistair » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:21 am

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An hour later, the woman had rounded up all of the presently staying members of the Coven. Through the Empathy of one of her Liches, she'd managed to determine that at least one other apprentice had set the man to the task. Apparently, the dead young man, Mathisen Reyloth, had been a competitor with a young woman named Ashadi Ki'haru for the rank of Apprentice. Apprentices were those assigned the tutelage of a Lich - like Alistair had been given Damien - to bolster dramatically the advancement of their magic. The woman, who wished to acquire the Lich Aedan as her mentor, sought to murder Mathisen by informing him of the intrigue behind the familiar Orion. She did not inform him of Ellasin's ownership of him, nor of her bizarre protective nature.

The man investigated the familiar, only to be walked in upon by the Lich and subsequently annihilated. It was a nearly perfect set-up, save for the fact that Ellasin always investigated further, something Alistair and Damien knew all too well, having seen her vicious methodology in the past. Now, Ashadi had been strung up in the large chamber where the primary discourse of the Coven was had. The Necromantress searched the crowd for a face with an inquisitive look, one Alistair hoped was not him.

It was. "Nathaniel!" she called for the nobleman. It was his middle name, but it acted as a cover. The members of the Coven didn't know that he was a descendant of Venora. Most of them were from smaller villages with repressive environments. Many of them had come from poverty and prisons and mental centers. They were simply not in touch with the nobility enough to recognize the young Lord.

The Necromancer nodded to Ellasin. "Yes, mother?" he asked. She gestured for him to come to the center where Ashadi had been bound. And so... he did, already knowing what was to come next.

The woman had dark brown hair, tan skin and colorful eyes. She was clearly a biqaj, and primarily a Gravitation mage by trade. She struggled not while bound, as she knew that struggle would only increase her already high chance of death. Watching Ellasin command others while covered in the blood of their own was almost too wretched a sight for her to pass on with. She did not wish to die today, even though her conscience had been soiled by all this; joining the Coven for power, betraying others to climb the ranks.

It would all be for naught if she was executed now. Alistair recognized that - she had that look on her face, defeated. Winnowed. She was naught but a husk, waiting to be judged. And she would be.
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[Venora] The Weak, Winnowed

Postby Alistair » Thu Sep 01, 2016 6:52 am

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"Nathaniel," she called his name once more. "I am going to speak. By the time I am done, I wish to see her hideous complexion rend from her shoulders." The woman immediately dropped her silence and began to freak out and move erratically, begging for Ellasin to forgive her. "My Queen," she called her. Improper title, Alistair thought. "My Lady, please. I have only done this to test his mental vulnerability - to winnow him from a place of great minds! He was weak!" She screamed and shouted, begging the Necromantress to allow her to live. To forgive her for her impudence. But forgiveness was not an attribute of the Coven, and certainly not of Ellasin. Her impudence was something that would always dwell inside of her, somewhere, Ellasin imagined. She would die for it.

The Lich placed her hand on the woman's mouth and began to rapidly melt through the lower portion of her face. She screamed horrifically as a feeling akin to molten flames ripped through her jaw and annihilated her ability to speak or breathe. Blood began to pour out from her and mounds of her skin and flesh had begun to leak to the floor. Alistair lowered his gaze, and the woman turned to speak.

"What this vapid mongrel did is of little concern to me," Ellasin said. Alistair moved closer to her and looked into her eyes, filled with awe, as her life faded rapidly. She was in a great deal of pain - Ellasin had burned through much of her skin and flesh, enough to come critically close to melting through her and ending her life.

Honestly, this was far too much for the man. It wasn't that he felt guilt or remorse for killing her, but the brutality in which it was done was... unnecessary. Human life was insignificant. Creating or destroying it was of little consequence in this world. But, doing so with such ill intentions was merely pointless sadism. He had always despised Ellasin for her cruelty, for her demonstrations of power that came about if only for her own adornment. She wished for others to see her as this powerful, great entity. While they did, it was for nothing. She would never be loved... only ever feared, and a relationship of fear would result in the deposition by the fearful when finally they had the power to overcome their angst.

"We are rejected by society, young ones. We hide behind masks and false expressions - veils that conceal our cruel nature. We are amorphous things that allow all others merely the vision of our backs, while our true nature represents itself in the darkest dungeons and under the silence of whispers. To kill another of the Coven is to damn its ideals and betray your family. To kill another and be caught is to prove yourself a fool. These two offenses are too great for me to forgive." She continued to speak, though by now Alistair had begun to tune her out.

He focused only on corrosion. He placed his palms around her neck, looking into her eyes as they begged him to refrain. But he just . . . didn't care. With his palms alight with a noxious energy, her neck rapidly began to degrade, melting through flesh and marrow alike. Her skull was disconnected from her body, and the Biqaj's severed head could only roll onto the floor. Ellasin turned and patted Alistair thrice on the shoulder, the blood gushing from her head and staining the stone floor of the gathering area. "Excellent," she commended him.

"Now, Damien," she called upon the Lich who had led this sector of the Coven. The man nodded. "Clean this up."
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[Venora] The Weak, Winnowed

Postby Alistair » Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:02 am

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Some time later, the nobleman found himself seated in his room. One of his minions, William Grayson, led in bed while Alistair maintained his body with his corrosive energies. He removed the onset of rot and allowed for the maintenance of his regular appearance, his pale eyes staring into the ceiling as the Necromancer worked on his flesh. Damien entered the room, sighing as he sat on the bed beside the minion. "Ashadi," he said to Alistair. The Venora nodded, remaining quiet. "Brilliant Gravitation mage. Foolish girl. Her impatience killed her and the boy. I grieve for him especially - I had not seen an Abrogationist with so great of potential since..." The nobleman interjected, "Me?" he asked.

Damien rolled his eyes. "Fuck off," he jeered. Alistair shook his head.

"Her head fucked right off, didn't it? Damn, Damien - my corrosion's gotten pretty good." He could confirm to himself in that moment . . . yep, still a sociopath. He felt nothing but irritation as he'd lopped off her head. Why does it have to be me? he asked himself at the time. It's going to get my hands dirty, and I'll have to go to Duncan with scalded flesh stuck under my fingers.

It seemed that whenever he made progress, he took two steps back. The dangerous thing, the thing he wondered was - was this progress? Learning empathy? Or was it a weakness? Was the secret to Lichdom eternal life, or the loss of crippling human compulsions? He would need to consider these thoughts carefully, and ponder upon one thing especially.

What do I want? he had to ask. Was it that absurdity he called love? He had sought after it passively for some time, but would that bring him joy? Power was a joyous thing, he had acknowledged. To be in power was to be in control of yourself. Maybe it was time for him to abandon these trivial feelings he'd attempted to amass and return to the world of books and meticulous study. At least then he would no longer have to feel so damn disappointed in himself when things like this occurred, and he couldn't shed a single tear at the murder of a young and promising mage by his hands.

The Lich stood up and moved to kneel beside where Alistair had sat. He placed his hand on the young man's lap, sighing as he looked to the door with a disquieting lack of focus in his thoughts. "Do you think that my tolerance of all this can be forgiven by God?" he asked Alistair. God? he thought. He must have meant Ymiden, the one Damien had always had an on-and-off relationship with. "If he can't forgive anything, then he's no God worth following," the Necromancer replied.

"Then, do you forgive me?" Damien asked. Alistair could only give him an odd look. "For what?"
"Everything," he replied. "For all the cruelty I've subjected you to - to the decimation of your empathy. I feel like I'm responsible for it - by bringing you into this . . ." To that, the nobleman shook his head. "No, you're not. I have never been good, or empathetic. I never will be really, I think. So don't worry about it." He faintly smiled, attempting to reassure the Lich.

"But I do worry about it," he said. "I worry about it because I know... I know... I'm not going to be around much longer, Alistair. I'm going to be killed - for being different from the other people here. For knowing to let go of narcissism and search for the beauty in others. I am going to be the next example that you'll be asked to sever from life. Are you ready for that, apprentice? Are you?"

His eyes focused intently on the mage. He could only stare back into his dead gaze, perplexed that he'd even infer such a thing could happen. Alistair would not be able to survive in this world without Damien at his side. He was terribly sloppy, and still weak, and vulnerable yet surrounded by enemies; an equation meant for disaster. This world had forgotten virtue, and Alistair had forgotten clarity. Damien provided all of the things he lacked. He gave him a purpose.

So...

"No," he replied. It was a natural answer; it was true. "If Ellasin ever asks me to kill you, Damien, I will die instead. Remember that."
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[Venora] The Weak, Winnowed

Postby Faith » Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:02 pm

Peer Review Is Underway!
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[Venora] The Weak, Winnowed

Postby Faith » Thu Sep 08, 2016 6:47 pm

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Peer Reviewed: Rewards!

Alistair

Points!:
Story: /5
Collaboration: / 5 (solo thread)
Structure: / 5

Knowledge:
The Coven: It's all just gone too far
Ellasin: killed another apprentice
Ellasin: always investigates further
Ellasin: cruel
Ashadi Ki'haru: a very ambiutious necromancer / coven member
Ashadi Ki'haru: you killed her on Ellasin's order
Damien: sorry that he brought you into this
Damien: more important to you than perhaps even he realises.

Loot: NA
Fame: -2(act of magic). -2 (witness to an act of cruelty), -2(break a city law), -1 general bad deed = -7 total.


Overview:
General comments. Oh, I hope that Ellasin gets her comeuppance! I really enjoyed this thread and she's horrid! Nasty woman! Well written, fun to read.
Story all good - nasty, bu good!
Structure no issues - easy to read.

Please remember to mark this thread as "Reviewed" in the request for review thread.
Please record these in the "Skill Point Ledger" you have in your CS.
PM me if you've got any questions at all!
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
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