Aelora: Blood and Glory

Home

I hadn’t realized how much I missed home, it has been many years. My chambers have not changed much; a thin layer of dust has settled but the bed is fresh and a fire is burning. I climb into bed and I can tell it has been warmed for me. This is the best welcome I could ask for.

I awaken to an unnatural darkness and a profound silence. I reach for the dagger I keep at the head of the bed but I am not in my bed; reaching for the knife strapped to my leg I realize I am not in my body.
I hear a crackling sound and off in the distance I see the glow of a thousand flickering candles approaching slowly until the world has turned to fire. There are figures in the flames dancing around and through where I perceive myself to be; never noticing my presence. Suddenly a pathway appears directly before me and I see her again. A naga made of flame draws near, a veil obscuring the lower half of her face. Sivanah. She looks into me, sees me as I am, as I was, and as I will be, and I am burning. I can do nothing else but join the dance.

I feel like have revelled for hours in the fire when I see a hearth to take me home. I step through and find myself in the banquet hall; the table full of the highest ranking initiates. It is a banquet to honor a noble guest; the Theurgist who crafted our curse. I saw my former self filling the cup of High Inquisitor Selath when Divine Lerequet amputates his own legs at the knee with a carving knife. The hall stilled as his blood splattered across the table. All at once the Grand Master was missing his head and the High Inquisitor his face. Others disappeared completely while many of my fellow initiates on serving duty began to bleed from their eyes and mouths as their fingernails fell off and their bodies began to rot. I feel the hunger again as I watch a handful of us double over in pain. Lerequet tried to grab my younger self and hold me back from devouring my superiors with the others but I was too strong. Through the carnage the Cursemaker laughed with glee before he spoke some spell into his hand and vanished.

I blink and I am back in the High Inquisitor’s chambers, it is morning and the fire has burnt down. I climb from bed and dress before selecting a handful of books from the Inquisitorial library I wish to take with me. I send an initiate to the Pilgrim’s quarters to provide breakfast for my guests, directions to the library for Rilos and to good hunting grounds for Charrika. I will see to the needs of Pyrus myself before going to the library.

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