[Flashback] The Death of a Monster (Closed)

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

[Flashback] The Death of a Monster (Closed)

Postby Sturlin on April 21st, 2010, 2:23 am

Timestamp: 19th of Spring, 501 AV

This house seemed to sink into the earth around it a full foot, perhaps two. Its wooden siding was sagging and full of gaps like the teeth of an old man. The roof had at least one hole in the tiling, the surrounding tiles hanging inward slightly over the second story. A tarp nailed to the roof covered the gap and kept some of the elements out. Great gaping holes were present in the turf of the surrounding yard, where the grass had been burned away with such severity that nothing remained but a circle of bare dirt and the tangled roots of old tree stumps.

Around the back of the house several sad looking goats and pigs rooted around in a muddy pen. Where windows once overlooked this area there were now only boards nailed up to fill the gaps. The man who lived here did not care about appearances. The men who were his neighbors feared him enough to never mock him. Such was also the case with his family.

An overcast sky rumbled threateningly above the hovel on the outskirts of Sunberth. Fat droplets of rain fell from above, pelting the animals and slipping through the gaps in the windows and tarp. With lightning flashing wildly, Sturlin slipped out through the back door and went to visit the pigs. When his father was in one of his moods, the pigs were always the young boy's first refuge.

Snorting and snuffling the pigs greeted him with enthusiasm. They had come to recognize that his coming usually meant food or treats for them. Something about the goats perturbed him, and his relationship with them was less cordial. Tossing their horns and flicking their tails the goats moved away as he approached. Tough and bristly pig skin met the soft and tender skin of the boy's palm as he stroked their backs and talked to them.

Rain began to mix with earth turning the soil to a sticky mud. Sturlin amused himself by emitting tiny sparks of Res, no larger than a raindrop, and using them to manipulate the mud and thereby draw his name in the squishy substance. His father was much better at it than he was. Father didn't think much about earth though. He seemed to think that the only useful element was fire. Fire was what he always used to punish mother.

Fire was not a wise element to marshal when you lived in a wooden house. Unfortunately father seemed to shift moods more often lately. He didn't care if the water ran in through the roof, or if the mold made his family sneeze. The boy was not even sure if his father realized that the windows were broken. A good night in the household was a night when father sat down in his armchair and drooled lazily, staring out through the wall and muttering the components of one spell or another. A bad night, this night, was a night when father decided that his wife was a rival magician who was trying to steal his secrets. Her whimpering protests were audible even from here.

Sturlin's greatest hope was that his Uncle would come to save them. Uncle Kardeg had promised to take them away last summer, but father had chased him off with a spell which destroyed the trees in the front of the yard. Sunberth was not the sort of town where people would pick a fight with a man like father. Surely if he had money, or owed money, they might knife him in the night to take it. Unfortunately he maintained just enough sanity to avoid provoking the lawless ruffians, and none of them considered any potential profits worth the risk of tangling with a crazy mage.

Smoke began to pour from the back door as flames hit soggy wood. The old man was using his magic again. Laying down on his belly, Sturlin crawled under the fence and hid among the pigs. Shivering in the mud and the water he watched and hoped that the entire house would catch on fire. Through his long brown hair he could see a tongue of flame crawl out from under the gap between porch and door. Maybe his master would burn to death. Then he could get out of here.
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[Flashback] The Death of a Monster (Closed)

Postby Sturlin on April 21st, 2010, 3:17 am

Human flesh smells very similar to pig when charred and burned. One of a hundred interesting facts about the human body that Sturlin's father taught him during his long reign of torture and insanity. The back door flew off its hinges as a frail looking figure was thrown bodily from the house with arms flung overhead toward the sky and mouth gaping open soundlessly. Pain had reached such a level that the figure was no longer able to muster a scream.

A tall and powerfully built man stalked down the steps of the porch with a wild gleam in his eyes. "You've been touching things you shouldn't Bevvie. I see you sneaking around behind my back. Talking to the boy. Turning him against me. Think he'll take my place, don't you? Think he'll save you, don't you? What have you been telling him girl. Why've you been watching me?" The man's heavy fist came down on the top of her head as she tried to stand, and she fell to the earth as if struck by lightning.

Sturlin cowered deeper into the pen, too afraid to interfere and unable to muster the courage to stand up to his father. Part of his mind knew that there was nothing he could do. Father was stronger, bigger, and even insane he was craftier than any eleven year old apprentice. If he stepped forward now the rage would just turn toward him and he might be killed. His mother had told him not to interfere when things were this bad. None of these changed how helpless he felt, how cowardly.

"My uncle won't save you this time. I know what you've been doing. You've been trying to steal my secrets," he said wildly. With each word he drew closer to the injured woman until he had her by the collar and was speaking directly to her face, "My secrets! Well we won't stand for that will we? I told you what would happen if you spied on me again, didn't I? This isn't a surprise, no it isn't. Sometimes I worry about you girl. I worry alot. We won't have to worry anymore now, will we?"

A devious soul can determine any number of ways to violate the body of another person. What came next was nothing short of what Sturlin imagined as the worst invasion possible. It could only be described as a kind of rape. As the old man laughed, a light began to glow within the recesses of his mouth. His wife was stunned and hung limp in his arms, bereft of any resistance. Pigs, goats, and boy all shied back from the familiar presence of magic in their midst.

Thunder boomed out the scream of the child and the squeals of the animals. Lightning lit the scene in stark relief. A cloud of menace had descended upon the realm, and it seemed as if all the good had gone from the world of Mizahar. Only one passerby had noted anything amiss, and his response was to hitch his cloak higher and hurry away before he was noticed by the monster that owned this hovel. The hovel itself appeared to hover over the couple with a dread hunger. Every flash set the windows in stark relief, hungry mouths ready to devour whatever remained of their prey once the master of the house was finished.

A shimmering cloud of Res coalesced in his mouth, and then began to drift toward the woman's open face. Tendrils stretched out from the main cloud of Res under the skilled direction of an expert in his craft: Reimancy. These tendrils wormed their way into her nose and mouth, forcing their way down into her lungs and stomach with a nauseating slowness. As the frail woman's eyes opened wide she began to gag, suddenly realizing what was happening to her.

"It's far too late for that, my sweet. Oh yes, far too late," the wicked mage purred to his victim as she struggled against his powerful arms and the last of his summoned Res entered her body. "This is for your own good you know. There is no point in struggling. Daddy knows what you've done, oh yes he does. It will all be over soon. I promise you won't feel a thing. Oh, well," he added with a coy smile, "You might feel a slight pinch".
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[Flashback] The Death of a Monster (Closed)

Postby Sturlin on April 21st, 2010, 4:06 am

Kardeg was the oldest brother of Eral's father, making him Sturlin's Great-Uncle. Since the day Eral's wife had given birth to a son Kardeg had tried to become more active in their lives. Unfortunately the old hunter had always been possessed of a poor sense of timing. Fatherhood had perhaps been the final strain upon the mind of an already paranoid magician, and for the passed eleven years the man had descended deeper into the madness which was attributed to his kind.

Sturlin had never known the name of his father. Well before the young boy reached an age where speaking was possible Eral had forbidden the utterance of his name. Somehow he had come to believe that knowledge of his name would give rival magicians insight into his thoughts. Jealously he destroyed any evidence of his birth name with the exception of those few family members whom he swore to secrecy.

It was not long before even these once trusted members of his family came under suspicion. During his visit last summer Kardeg had realized the advanced state of dementia which gripped his nephew, and attempted to rescue the young boy and his mother. He had failed, and had sworn to return. He had been too late to realize the failures of his nephew and he was now too late to save the woman he had sworn to protect. If the gods were kind then his grand-nephew would be alive somewhere within the house.

A universal language within Sunberth was that of profit. If enough profit could be had nearly any service could be arranged. Sacrificing what scruples he had, Kardeg, hired the best cutthroats he could muster. The old man's reputation had so far ensured that none of them attempted to slit his throat rather than complete the job. It had taken a lifetime to accumulate the wealth required to convince these bandits that slaying Eral was worth the risk. Ten of them formed a circle around the back of the house, squinting through the heavy rain to make out the figures in the yard.

Raising his arm above his head the snowy haired veteran swiped downward with the signal to charge. As they rushed forward they drew steel and gritted their teeth. There were no battle cries. There were no arrogant flourishes. These were professionals, and professionals knew that surprise was the only hope of surviving the frontal assault of an experienced magician. Those who were pious prayed to their gods, for the price of failure was steep.

Eral's eyes narrowed shrewdly. His voice had just died on the breeze, the coy smile still lit his face from the words he had spoken to his wife. Sturlin would always wonder what his father had noticed, and in spite of all the hatred he felt for the villain the man would never outgrow the sense of awe he felt for what came next. The magician gripped his gagging wife around the shoulder and flipped her body toward a cluster of three warriors who were closing in on him.

It is difficult to say how he accomplished what came next. In the years to come Sturlin would continue to speculate what combination of elements led to what had happened, but it inspired the Shale Storm of the future. Two thin strings of fire shot out of his mother's nostrils, and one large gout of flame billowed out of her open mouth. The woman's body ripped apart in three places as something inside of her detonated. Bits of flesh and bone rained down from the sky, as if the clouds had decided to follow Eral's example. When the world righted itself all three men were gone, as was the woman.

"Proof that she betrayed me! Come and find the death for which you are destined. Pain! Pain! The luckiest of you shall die, and the others shall beg before the end. Fear your lord and master! Upon the wind I am come, and my coming is as the breaking of your world." Froth flecked the mouth of the magician as he spread his arms wide and Res began to form. Rain pelted the warriors as they continued their charge. Two were unmanned by their fear and fled, dropping their weapons after such a cowing display of strength.

Unseen as he slouched from the pig pen, Sturlin gripped the haft of the woodcutter's axe which lay next to a pile of split wood.
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[Flashback] The Death of a Monster (Closed)

Postby Sturlin on April 22nd, 2010, 6:28 pm

As Sturlin approached his father from behind, the magician set a wall of flame between himself and several attackers. The moment it touched the ground it began to flicker and die. The rain was too strong and there was not enough fuel to sustain the flames without his control. It bought him time as they were forced to find another point of attack.

The lone survivor from eastern the line, the line decimated by the explosion of Eral's wife, reached him before the others. The man swung his sword in an arc at the Reimancer's chest. While the steel moved through the air a fountain of Res emerged from the magician's mouth, turning to flame as it reached the warrior's skin. Sword pierced flesh and flame cooked through meat. Eral fell to his knees, one hand clutching the wound and the other mustering the energy for another spell.

Had he not been mad he may have noticed the danger signs approaching. His hands had begun shaking just after he had created the wall of fire. Something of that size was difficult to create as swiftly as he had done. When he had destroyed his most recent attacker he felt all of the hair on his body begin to burn. Onlookers saw what the madman could not. From the hair on his head down to the hair on his legs, all had turned to dancing fire. His clothes turned to dust on his frame, though his skin was safe from the dangerous mutation.

Then his eyes fell upon the object of his hatred. His uncle Kardeg has rounded the wall of flames with the survivors of the assault and were charging forward to slay him. As his anger consumed him he heard the other voices chanting behind him. "You must destroy them." "They killed your wife!" "This scum has been spying on you!" His ears rang with the sweet whispers of his allies, and he forced himself to his feet. "Destroy them all." "Let none survive." "You must use all of your power, Eral."

Unable to control himself, the man mustered more Res than he could master, faster than he could contain. His eyes began to glow with an incandescent light. In spite of themselves the sight forced the hardened warriors to pause and shield their eyes. Every drop of rain for fifty feet in front of Eral was lit for an instant, as if lightning had struck the earth from above. And still the whispers wanted more. "That won't be enough to finish them Eral." "Your enemies were right to call you a coward." "Afraid to cast even the simplest of spells."

Sturlin was shielded from the worst of the heat and the light, as he was still behind his father. This could not go on. For the rest of his life he would remember the strength it took to lift his father's axe. Every muscle in his body cried out in pain as he braced his feet and pulled the handle back. A scream was torn from his mouth as he swung. All of the hatred, all of the resentment, all of the shame he suffered at the hands of his father poured out of him with that scream. The blade flashed.

Yes! End it.These words both echoed through Eral's mind and were spoken involuntarily through his mouth as he unleashed the Res toward his enemies and turned it to flame. And yet, that is not what happened. Too much energy had been expended. He had overtaxed himself. One of the greatest fears of any Reimancer had come to pass. The energy the man had unleashed erupted from inside of him. As the blade of the axe struck the small of his back and severed his spine, molten steel bubbled away from the handle. Flames burst from his eyes, nose, ears, and mouth. Sparks and jets of fire expelled themselves through the long cut in his chest and the cut in his back. A wail of pain and suffering was carried away on the wind of the storm.
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[Flashback] The Death of a Monster (Closed)

Postby Sturlin on April 23rd, 2010, 4:53 am

When Sturlin opened his eyes his uncle was there standing over him. The smell of burned flesh hung heavy on the soggy wood and earth. He was in a bed. It was his parents' bed. The images of recent events replayed in his mind erratically as he tried to make sense of them. His mother was dead. Father was dead. He was free. Sturlin was free. More than all of the horrors the previous day had brought, that was important to him.

"Don't worry boy, I've got you," Kardeg said as his grand-nephew began to tremble. Taking the boy in an awkward hug he consoled him. It was the first of two hugs that the two men would share in their lifetime. Just as the decision to stand up to his father had been a momentous one, so was the moment when he was able to hug his uncle as a free man. When they parted Kardeg made some excuse about needing to check on the horses, in order to give the boy time to put himself together. It would take a lot.

There had not been any clean water to wash him with. When he climbed out of the grimy bed he limped over to the dingy, full-length mirror next to the chest his father kept at the foot of the bed. His hair and clothed were all blackened and singed. He might not grow eyebrows back for some time. The skin all over his body, where it had been exposed to the blast, was bright pink as if sunburned. It peeled over the next few days. Whether because of this harrowing experience or his new lifestyle with his uncle in the wilds, Sturlin was never again the pale young boy. A deep tan touched his skin from that day onward.

He gripped the chest and threw it open. Rooting around through the few valuables possessed by the mad magician, he laid his hand on an old dagger and pulled it free from its sheath. Before his father had taken to using only magic to solve his problems, he had carried this dagger on his belt. Sturlin had only seen it as a small child, but he knew where his father kept it. Gripping his hair by the roots he began to shear it off angrily. His hands were not practiced to the grip of a dagger and he had never cut hair before. Eventually he had removed the lot of it, but blood trickled down his face from several minor cuts.

Shearing off his hair, ragged and painful as it was, had a therapeutic effect upon the boy. When he emerged from the room with a bald scalp, cut in some places, he took a deep breath of the fresh spring air and gagged on the smell of cooked human meat. As his eyes scanned the yard he could tell that one of the men who had died had been a kelvic, but from the state of the corpse it was hard to tell what animal he had been. Four legged was as much detail as could be seen from here.

Fifteen yards away he could see his aged uncle counting Mizas into a man's hand next to a pair of horses. Sturlin began to walk toward them, moving awkwardly in his clothes. The set he had been forced to change into had never fit him properly. They had been stolen second hand from the child of a man his father had murdered. A hole in the small of the back of his shirt reminded him of his father as he left his home behind.

Finished
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The key to focus is calm

The key to calm is peace

The key to peace is power
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[Flashback] The Death of a Monster (Closed)

Postby Book__wyrm on May 4th, 2010, 9:27 pm

Conclusion


XP: 1-Axe
Lore: Overgiving-Consequences

I like character history.
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