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It took me a moment to realise what had happened.  I was awake, certainly, but it was still so dark, so cold; my bones ached and I could feel the cold, damp air in my -

"Why can't I see?  What happened to my eyes?"

Those were my first words in my new life, and the first things I heard were cold comfort; a morbid little chuckle, and a voice like beetles scuttling across a dusty old floor.

"Rotted out.  Lost.  Stolen.  Who knows?  Who cares?  Where you're going, you don't need eyes to see."

I clasped my hands over the sockets as though weeping.  No tears came.  No tears would ever come.  Even with the hands cupped, keeping away from where my eyes had been - force of habit, force of fear - I knew.

My hands went wild, roaming through the scraps of my clothing and what was left of my hair, exploring what had suddenly become a most unfamiliar territory.  Fingers caught in exposed joints, and I'm sure one came away with a crack when I first tried to snap them.

The speaker grabbed my hands and forced them down to my sides.

"Listen.  What you were is gone.  You are Forsaken now.  Accept it.  Let the fear rise, then let it go.  You are what you are - and you have work to do."

His name was Mordo.  He wrapped me up in an old cloak and set me to work - busywork mostly, pawing through mounds of corpses brought to me by the others, pulling out anything that would come away and consigning them to the graves I'd emerged from.  Without the time to care for me, he set a youth named Darnell to watch over me, to bring me fresh bodies. Nice boy.

Later, he guided me out into the woods, pointed me at the herbs we were asked to retrieve and watched over me while I tore them from the ground.  Familiar work.  Comforting work.  Something I was used to, something my hands could do blindly while my mind sat in the back of my skull and wept and shivered.

As my hands worked, pulling and stripping and sorting automatically, my mind began to settle.  It wasn't true.  It didn't have to be true.  And I was starting to remember who I am, what I'm capable of, what I've done and will go on to do.

More importantly, I remembered how to summon the imp.

Quzrot snarled and spat his way into reality at my call - he'd been thinking that death might break the contract I'd bound him under.  Clearly not.  In another life I might have made a note of that.


With his help, with his eyes to guide me, I could slip away from Darnell and run, run into the woods, run and never stop running until this skin fell away and these bones fell apart and there was nothing left of me but shadows and memories, or run until I found a miracle and somehow clawed my way back to true life.




When we came back to the village - Deathknell, Darnell had called it - and Darnell reported in, I stole a cane from some poor soul's discarded effects and told Quzrot to lead me away.


We ran.  We ran blindly through the woods, the imp calling directions and me stumbling to follow them, falling at every unexpected root or stone, bones grinding with every step.


I heard voices up ahead, voices speaking Common, and I rejoiced that the croak and whisper of the Forsaken was not in them.  These people were alive.


And when I stumbled into their camp, they attacked me on sight.


I tried to plead with them, to parley, to explain - nothing but blows for my trouble, the sharp bites of swords and the whack of quarterstaves.  Quzrot leapt to my defence with a word - a burst of fire cleared the nearest from me, and I flailed blindly with the cane, striking one or two, missing most.  In a clear moment, I stretched out my hands and hoped against hope that I hadn't lost all my power in death...

The shadows howled.  Corruption spread.  Death came swiftly.  It had taken much from me, but it had left me my power.  In moments, my attackers were dead.  I dropped to my knees, exhausted, strangely exhilarated, and crawled among the bodies until I found a woman's.  There was a hunger in me that there hadn't been before, a cold, yawning need to consume and defile...


They'd rejected me.  Attacked me.  I was cold and frightened and blind and now there was something in my formerly inviolate soul with me, something for which killing its enemies wasn't enough.


I knelt by my enemy's body and tore at the skin, ripping at the girl's face and hands, wrapping my aching jaws and fingers in her flesh.   Quzrot chattered to himself, watching over me.  When I was done, I had him immolate the remains.


There was no welcome from my people any more.


"What now, mistress?" the imp muttered.  "What indignities would you visit upon yourself next?"


"We find - " the word caught in my throat, and I forced myself to say it - "the other Forsaken."
 

Date: 2010-12-05 07:37 pm (UTC)
gramina: Photo of a stalk of grass; Gramina references the graminae, the grasses (Default)
From: [personal profile] gramina
This is impressive - thank you!

Date: 2010-12-06 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] amethystfirefly
This is wonderful.

February 2011

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