In which Rijetta sees Chakrasul for the first time in over a decade. Edginess and psychosis abound.
Chakrasul, Goddess of Corruption
Lieutenant Rijetta Alhazrad, To wo Esityi (Fist of Corruption)
Commander Mjoll Vilandra-Seirath
Surgeon-General Kanivara Sor'Tirivan
Iazamat, the Desert Sun
The setting: The Courtyard of the Shadow Keep
Long and rectangular, this stone courtyard is lined with pointed archways which support a column of upper galleries and walkways, level upon level, opening a channel to the sky. Torches line each of these archways, secured in severe steel mountings fashioned in the shape of gauntleted fists. In the center of the courtyard is a raised dais, wide enough for even the largest Azudim to comfortably stand and see over a gathered crowd. The center of the platform features a stone fountain, though the climate has turned it into little more than a statue, blacked by the elements and slick from ice. Depicting a circle of harsh-faced warriors looking out over the courtyard, the carving highlights the brutality of war, with the stony knights' cleated feet treading on heaped corpses of the fallen. Where water may have once run, the frigid cold of the mountains now only allows for ice-glistening rivulets cling to the gaunt faces of the conquered like frozen tears, while a sheen of frost as misty blue as stolen souls sheathes the warriors' weapons in an icy haze.
A familiar shudder tickles up your spine as you feel Her presence blanket you - pulling at the threads of your very being, plucking at your heart with long, slender, metaphysical fingers. The sensation is both euphoric, and terrifying.
A piercing scream heralds the arrival of a cacophony of duskywing utterflies that quickly coalesce into the form of Chakrasul.
A slender hand dusts across Chakrasul's shoulder as She banishes the last, clinging insect, Her form whole. Slow, and calculated, the Goddess smiles, the curve of Her lips and slant to Her eyes cruel and malicious. Perfectly curved fangs reveal themselves as She speaks, low and alluring, "Carnifex." She draws the word out as Her hand reaches first for you, one, sharp, finger dragging along the mortal's jaw, "How are you all?" The Goddess wonders as Her verdant gaze slides over each of you, pausing on Kanivara briefly which only makes that dangerous smile grow.
Kanivara skitters to stand very close to Mjoll. "More important Gods around," she murmurs, her gaze never leaving Chakrasul.
Asugazio pulls a piece of intestine off the pauldron on his shoulder, sloughing it onto the floor and barking out, "HIYA DARKEST LADY, A GLORIOUS SIGHT TO BEHOLD AND BEAUTY ONLY TO BE SECONDED TO THAT OF YOUR CREATION."
Rijetta opens her mouth to let out a decidedly unbecoming sound of mixed pleasure and terror as the small Goddess' hand brushes her own jaw. She straightens up then, desiring more than all to look upon Chakrasul for for the first time in what feels like a decade. Tears well unbidden to her eyes, and she smiles wide, like a lost child finally finding their home. "Well, Mother. I slaughter in Your name."
Mjoll's grin grows teeth between Chakrasul's greeting and her Squire expiring. "We're absolutely fantastic, as You can see."
"Tell Me, My warrior, whyever would one leave My fold?" Chakrasul asks you, though Her eyes lock on Kanivara in cruel delight as the Goddess obviously seeks to make the mortal squirm - which is only further understood as Her smile grows impossibly wider, practically splitting the demure Goddess' face in half. Even so, She drags Her hand from your jawline, nicking the skin as the digit departs the flesh only to clench in a loose, but formal Carnifex greeting towards Mjoll. "It pleases Me that My hound is still in good health, Commander and that the Carnifex are finding their strength once more. May Might guide you."
Kanivara finally looks away as she steps even closer to Mjoll.
Rijetta winces when the Goddess breaks her skin easier than any blade ever has, but she relishes the drip of blood from her chin, letting it fall into a hand with reverence. She answers as she is bidden, regardless of the rhetorical nature of the question. "Anxiety, My Lady." She picks herself up off the ground now, caring not to brush the snow and detritus from her legs as she follows behind Chakrasul like a loyal hound.
Mjoll salutes the Goddess with ritualistic precision. "Always stronger, Lady." She replies with a sly wink.
"Anxiety," Chakrasul tastes the word on Her mouth, mulling over its meaning for a while. Her smile finally wanes and Her wings pull forward as a shroud to drape lazily around Her small frame as She regards Kanivara, but says to the Carnifex as a whole, "Might comes to those with desires to claim. It graces you when you climb from the pit of despair. It graces you in the cold blade of malice." Her tongue clicks and Her voice lowers, "It plucks at your very coil through promises of avarice." The husky whisper of the Goddess is not harsh, or cruel, but it is pointed. "I am on the Spire for those with the courage to wield, and master, these gifts. Those with desires so dark, they make the weak willed nauseous." The Immortal crooks a finger as She stares at Kanivara, "You will come home eventually." She promises, the words eliciting a shiver of dread down your spine as you watch Her. It lingers still as the Goddess returns Her focus to Her own: you. "Have you a gift for Me, My warrior? Outside your worship."
Kanivara shudders visibly. She closes her eyes and practically hides behind Mjoll. "I am not allowed power," she whispers. "And... I-I -am- home. In the Keep... in Spinesreach."
Rijetta starts suddenly when Chakrasul looks upon her once more, her eyes widening. Her breath catches in her throat as the memory of that promise comes crashing back into her mind. She opens her mouth to speak, but only chokes, then her will returns even in the face of Corruption Herself. She raises one hand, already contorted into a claw of fingers, and pries open her own left eye. "I!" She starts, only to cough and start again. "I have two, My Goddess! My.. me. Myself!" With the hand that isn't scarily close to her own eye, she beats at her chest. "I'm transforming myself, Mother, that you might.. love me. Use me. Become me! I am no Ankyrean, but I can be your body! For war!" Her pupils dilate to pinpricks, and her once-fanged mouth is open wide as she speaks, desperation painted on the face of the Lieutenant. "And I'll prove my dedication! I'll do it here, for all to see!" She digs her fingers into her eyesocket at that, jaw clenching at the sudden intrusion, will to please overcoming instinct to survive.
Iazamat's jaw clenches and he lifts a hand to his mouth, obscuring it from view even as his eyes widen and his brow furrows.
Mjoll stares at you with a mixed look of horror and fascination, "Holy f-" She catches herself, her features turn to stone and she watches with macabre interest.
Chakrasul remains emotionless, although Her lips twitch upwards at the corners. Slightly. The slender Immortal takes a single step towards you and Her hand sweeps through the air, away from Her body, to hover before you expectantly, "And so you continue to climb to be, My warrior." She whispers intimately as a jade miasma begins to leak from between the feathers of Her wings, "Before your Carnifex." She encourages on a gentle, alluring tone as her fingers curl, relaxed, in the air before the mortal.
Kanivara opens her eyes and watches in silence, frowning.
Rijetta doesn't hesitate with a Goddess before her. She grunts in pain, biting down on her lower lip until her teeth shred the flesh and draw blood in rivers, similar rivers rolling from her eye socket as her fingers dig in. Deciding it best to simply get the event over with, she plunges her fingers further in, grips, and yanks. There's a spray of blood, a staccato scream of pain cut off suddenly by a clenched jaw, and a living eyeball, dripping with blood and presented to the Goddess with one trembling hand. "As easily as I master myself.. I master others, with Your gifts. This completes your set, my Lady. My.. Love." Blood runs down from her now-empty, mangled eyesocket like tears, dripping from her chin and mixing with the Goddess-inflicted wound there.
Asugazio lowers his visor as a spray of blood fires out of the plucked socket, painting his armor in crimson, his gauntleted hands clapping together in macabre mirthful glee.
Iazamat's fingers tighten almost imperceptably around his cheeks and jaw as he stares in confused silence.
Mjoll's feral, toothy grin has spread across her face, ear to ear.
With one hand, Chakrasul accepts the fresh eyeball, that dark smile finally claiming Her mouth once again and revealing those perfectly pearly fangs. Even in Her morbid glee, Corruption dotes on you through bestowing a gift of Her own. The jade miasma leaking from Her very being begins to coalesce into what looks like a simple bandage, yet the cloth is covered in verdant runes. "Sightless you may seem to others, you will not be on My Spiral." The Goddess croons as the bandage settles across the palm of Her free hand. One. Two. Three small steps close the distance between Immortal and mortal and Chakrasul, with great care but with the stench of decay clinging to Her, wraps the bandage around your head until She can tuck the free end into itself. "Celebrate, My warrior, for before your comrades, you return to My graces. Ever downwards, My children."
Shattering into thousands of duskywing butterflies, Chakrasul's body unravels and as the last insect leaves, no trace of the Goddess remains.
Kanivara stares at you, her expression blank.
Rijetta drops to her knees, tears mixing with blood streaming from her eyes.
Mjoll's posture snaps rigid as she begins barking orders, "Surgeon General, tend to the Lieutenant. Squire, pick up your mess. Reaper... Yell something fantastically wonderful!"
The bandage in question:
Outside the jade runes that glimmer dully across the surface of this bandage, the cream cloth is relatively normal. Cream threads splay away from the length of material and thick spots of blood contrast the runes of Corruption in a macabre display. The most haunting attribute of this bandage, however, is the verdant glow of the eye behind the fabric and although the mortal wearing this should be sightless, the emerald orb suggests otherwise.
The things we do for love!
A low, sultry voice resounds within the depths of your mind, "I look forward to seeing your descent."