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Vigils

Discussion in 'UO White Stag Inn' started by KravenCatskills, Oct 25, 2007.

  1. Orange fires burned in the black shadows, reflected in the shattered
    facets of the shards where they hung in the void, like stars across
    the sky of Darkness.

    In a room made of flesh, the demon Charnadis looked up with golden
    eyes filled with wonder at what he saw unfolding. The walls of his
    house were extensions of the daemon's own body and sweat beaded upon
    them as his breath quickened.

    Brethren of the far lands of Darkness gathered in the void, queuing at
    a hundred gates, ready to emerge into the worlds of light and waking.
    Lesser demons and greater, their flesh made of shadows and smoke and
    sin, the armies of oblivion mustered to take the world of men.

    Charnadis was no warrior. He fought his battles inside human souls and
    reaped the rich rewards of stolen senses, experience unbounded and
    precious to the taste.

    So he waited.

    ##

    The poet jester had sung of the fall of the City of Pride, amidst the
    revelry of the Carnival of Endless Summer, in the streets of Magincia
    where revelers shouted and shoved, a chaos of pleasure, heedless of
    the warning.

    Now Adam wondered if the sense of foreboding, the dreams that woke him
    breathless in the bed beside Alraune, had been foretold by the poet
    jester, if the Carnival had been a harbinger of the clouds that
    gathered over Magincia, if this was yet another manifestation of the
    hidden powers that seemed to swirl and play about the Lady Summer, the
    Elder Arcana's eternal presence in the souls of men.

    Or was this something else?

    He yearned for the warding charms promised him and Alraune by Cherry
    of the Shadow Court, wards against the daemon whose name marked his
    flesh. Their time in Nujelm had been paradise but the shadow of
    Charnadis lay ever upon them, the awareness that the daemon lurked in
    Darkness, waiting for a beacon to call him forth, to bloom within
    Adam's flesh and drive him to unspeakable acts of pleasure and pain.

    Not for the first time, Adam felt the weight of shadows, and he began
    to dread the fall of night.

    ##

    Waking in the abbey, Brother Harlan screamed, waking the row of monks
    who slept nearby.

    He saw the sky afire, felt his own flesh burn with daemon touch,
    whispered the name of the City of Humility, metropolis of dreams, its
    streets in ruins, smoldering hoofprints in the earth.

    The end was coming.

    First to Magincia, then to all things, to the Aegis and the Black
    Roses, to the men and women of Yew and Skara Brae and Britain, slaves
    to daemons and to the darkness of their own desires.

    First flesh would die and then souls.

    Brother Harlan knew these things because the voice inside him
    whispered them, the name cut in his own flesh another little gate that
    Charnadis might come through.

    Again.

    He slipped from the abbey chamber, leaving his brothers and sisters to
    return to their broken sleep, and went to the room of the ankh, taking
    from his pack a leather flail, dropping his robe from his shoulders,
    the leather like black lightning, raised above him, in supplication to
    the virtues, singing the sharp sound of salvation as he struck
    himself, again and again.

    Pain against the fall of night.

    ##

    In his house of flesh, Charnadis was aware of all of them, the men and
    women who bore his name across the worlds, evidence of all the places
    he had walked, the air he had breathed, the lovers he had known.

    Opportunity was astir, each shard open now to daemonkind.

    When the gates were fully open, the hordes unleashed, Charnadis would
    watch and wait. If the demons prevailed, if the City of Humility fell
    beneath the army of terror, he would have new worlds to discover, new
    sensations to tempt him out of Darkness, but if men won and the city
    was saved, then Charnadis might wait, another age or forever, restless
    in Darkness with his own desires.

    Time and the will of men would tell the tale.

    For now, Charnadis waited for dawn to set the worlds of men ablaze.

    ________________________

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