Friday, November 28, 2003

vignette: messiah (amaya, aya and orison) - for forlorn

With a clarity born out of desperation Amaya struggled to remember the Ward of Words, one many-ringed hand staunching the flow of blood from her gutted stomach. The pain did not bother her as much as it used to – her training as an apprentice under the tutelage of Master Needle saw to that. But loss of blood weakened her, and that she could not allow.

In front of her, the Reekreader, one of the inhuman Grotesqueries bent on destroying all of the world of Forlorn, twisted its three heads and laughed in malicious cacophony. From the center of its torso, a razor tongue extruded suddenly, lunging catercorner at its intended victim.

“Whip,” Amaya uttered, releasing power in the form of a spinning white cat-o’-nine-tails that circled her in defense. The whip struck the black tongue thrice in successive violence, forcing it to be retracted by the beast.

“W-warp,” one of the Reekreader heads shrieked.

“W-worms,” the second head shouted.

In a span of an instant, Amaya’s Ward was covered by undulating spiny worms that drew the eldritch energy from it, dispelling the conjuration.

“W-wrath,” the final head crowed, causing a fiery halo to flare into existence over Amaya’s head.

In that moment, Amaya felt a roaring head cascade over her face, setting her hair aflame. She barely had time to cover her eyes, burning her one remaining good hand in the process.

She quickly thought of a candle, of a storm lantern’s flame, of an open blaze, and drew on her memories of touching flame, of being burned. She latched on to the memory of Master Needle and the red-hot iron brand that he used on her breasts, and remembered how she had conquered fire, conquered fear, conquered pain.

The halo discorporated as quickly as it was dweomered into existence.

“So you like playing with fire,” she smiled as ashes of what was once her hair fell around her face. “So do I.”

She empowered a Gesture, the Stroke of Inferno, into the air, thinking how close this encounter was, how she almost died. But before she could complete the compass circuit, the Reekreader’s tongue split into seventeen sections and flayed the defenseless woman, cutting, gouging, ripping and shredding skin as if it were the finest vellum.

Amaya had no thought except for how, in the end, devotion to pain could not save her.


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