I awaken to find myself back in that red room, naked and staring at those French doors. The blood on the walls seems a bit dryer, and the French doors seem a bit more worn out. Let's just get this over with. Standing up from the couch, I feel that my body is even more sluggish and dragging even. The voices are still there, and this time a bit louder. I hear in the distance my name being called. I touch the doorknob to get them to stop chanting my name, and it works. This dream is fucked up, if it’s a dream… no, this is too vivid, too- ...Hmm, I’m at a loss for words.
Opening the French doors, no sounds of flesh or pleasure flood my senses this time, only statues holding the corpses of the light-red demons in their grasps, held down with a foot on their head. Each statue is accompanied by two shadows in the shape of a bird and a snake. The skeleton that was once on the throne is now a mangled corpse, and it's one golden eye rolling around its rotting socket fixes its gaze on me. A familiar feeling of hunger overcomes me, and I begin to sprint closer to the body, desperate to eat it. Before I could even touch the corpse or the throne, a statue pulls my heart out and crushes it. As my vision fades, the corpse’s eye sheds a tear.
My eyes open to see Marion staring at me, worried and confused.
“Your face… it looked like you were in agony… Are you okay?”
I sit up from the bed and rub my forehead. These dreams can’t just be random, they are telling me something. Is this another trait of [Dhampirism: Type 2]? In certain games and media back in the previous world, certain clans and families of vampires would have strange abilities, like being able to control blood, having prophetic dreams, or telekinesis. I really hope my game’s hijackers didn’t just rip off Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines.
“Yeah, I’m fine, just a weird dream.”
“Wanna talk about it?” Marion puts her hand on my thigh, and looks at me in a cute stare.
“Well, when I fought the vampire, I think he might have cursed me with something.” I lie just to avoid telling her I’m pretty much a half-vampire now, though I’m sure the truth will come out sooner rather than later. “I’ve been having a recurring dream of a red room, and there's this black throne that people are struggling to reach, but they keep getting stopped in strange and gruesome ways.”
Marion looks at me with a tilt in her head, her eyes sharp and thinking. “Uhm, did you say a black throne?”
Maybe I shouldn't have? “Uh, yeah, why do you ask?”
“The supposed burial place of the [Magic God] is called the [Black Throne], and many people have died trying to access it’s chamber. It’s said that the [Magic God] ascended to the heavens after he constructed his chamber, sealing himself inside.”
So it seems those dreams really are prophetic. What does all of this mean, and why me? What do those shadows next to the statues mean?
“Thanks, Marion, I’ll see what the church can provide when we get back, the library is expansive and should have a book on curses.” I lie down onto the down feather pillow, and cover my eyes with my forearm... What a mentally draining dream, this is. Marion smiles, then whispers goodnight into my ear after lying down on my chest. We fall asleep shortly afterwards, and that dream plays out again, and like last time, I awaken when my heart is ripped out. The statue, however, is different from last time, as this time it was sporting a robe instead of being completely nude.
Sarah came by to send us off, telling us she will wait until the next trade caravan scheduled in two days arriving from the city shows up. We bid her farewell, and go on our way to the subjugation zone, a two day travel to the outskirts of the [Jotunhiemr] forest, a giant expanse of massive redwood trees growing at the foot of the western mountains. Supposedly, there used to be a demi-human race of bird-people called ‘Tengu’ that ruled this area as its own city-state, quiet violently as well. Once the empire’s current emperor rose to power, though, the Tengu were easily outclassed by the [Wyvern Riders]. Marion is chock full of knowledge about the world, I guess it comes with being a cleric? I don’t know.
Thumbing through my book while we are on the road, Marion and I talk about the practices of magic. She is trying to teach me the healing spell [Salve] to heal light wounds and minor fractures, and she says if you use it continuously on one lethal wound, you can slowly close it. As it turns out, [Healing Magic] is a completely different beast than [Cardinal Elemental Magic]. I can make the most basic of elemental spells seem like advanced or master class with my level of external magical control, but each time I try to heal myself without chanting I can feel my own mana freak out, and I almost lose consciousness. I have a theory on why this is, and it's mostly based on my pre-existing skill [Mana Implosion]. [Health Magic], as previously explained, allows someone to manipulate someone’s internal mana of the body’s natural processes to achieve certain effects, like focusing on certain areas with increased white blood cell and protein production to repair tissues, overdriving someone’s metabolism to increase regeneration, or blocking the natural flow of mana in certain parts of the body to produce status effects. [Mana Implosion] uses almost the same mana manipulation to create elemental explosions inside people’s bodies, only made possible by a brute force mana attack from external mana manipulation. I can just barely heal a cut on my finger without passing out, as the feeling of [Mana Implosion]’s mana manipulation feels too similar to [Health Magic].
Exhausted, Marion and I fall asleep curled up around the camping equipment… Well, she is sleeping on my chest while I pet her hair. I don’t want to wake her up until the next break; we are getting close to the subjugation area anyways.
The wagon slows to a stop near the edge of a wooded area, just so we can stretch our legs and let the oxen eat some of the grass. Needing to take a piss, I walk up the tree and start watering it. There’s a strange smell in the air, almost like… rotting eggs? I pull my pants up and redo the buttons, and the smell is getting stronger. Why is this smell familiar? It smells like that one time I toured Hawaii’s volcanic regions while in school. It was beautiful, but because of the sulfur in the volcano, it reeked to high hell- WAIT A MINUTE… Sulfur!?
I begin to run to the wagon, and surround it using the medium tier earth spell [Adobe] to create a barrier of hardened clay around us.
“What’s going on, Red?” Jonathan hops off from the front seat, walking to me with a puzzled look on his face. Marion pops her head out of the back of the wagon and asks the same question, with an equally puzzled expression.
“As I was relieving myself at the edge of the woods, I smelt a smell of rotting eggs and sulfur. I’ve only smelt that smell once in my life, and the memory of it is one of my earliest. I will never forget the smell of demon’s blood.”
Jonathan stares at me, shocked. “How do you know what a greater demon’s blood smells like? Lesser and petty demons smell of sewage, but what your describing is the blood of a greater demon.”
Marion stays quiet and looks away; she’s doing well to not say anything. “I’d rather not say that; just believe me when I say that I know, and trust me.”
“It’s not a matter or trust, It’s the matter that there’s something out in the woods strong enough to make a greater demon bleed enough to smell it in the wind.” Jonathan’s face grows grim.
“W-what does that mean?” Marion pipes up from the back, looking a bit worried.
Jonathan gives a worried gulp, while I look away and think to myself... I have a feeling of what he’s going to say, and I don’t like it.
“I think we may be dealing with a grand demon.”
- Northern California
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Not much to say... born and raised in California. Age 28. I'm a fan of painting, sculpting, drawing, and writing. My favorite food is udon or pizza. I like cats and dwarf hamsters, but dogs are cool too. Bugs freak me out. I have a son of 5 years old. I havent played any video games recently, but I'm a fan of Minecraft, Overwatch, and Team Fortress 2.