A Night's Work [OPEN]Started by Warpriest Zorsha at Dec 06, 2019 9:02 pm
Dophn 32, 1201 AB
The voice wasn't much more than a whisper, but Zorsha's eyes opened anyway. While the priestess might've looked to the young whelp that came to wake her like she was sleeping, truly she was wrapped in the embrace of Akor, meditating to right herself and reconcile herself with the events of the day. The warpriest looked over to the side, where the whelp stood. He was eight or ten, old enough for a weapon but too young for the trials of a true warrior. The Blackbloods had given him to her when she got there; said he was called.
She would see.
"T-they need you down at the garrison," the boy said. His name was Grak or Arak, something like that.
"Mmm." Barrows' Watch was down the ramp, the last stop before the city proper gave way to rambling tunnels and cave systems. They'd been having problems recently with bugbears, spiders and other nuisances. "What's the matter at Barrows' Watch?"
"One of the guards was bit by a spider and almost died. A human saved him."
"A human? Where was the priest on duty?"
"Drinking in the Broken Mace," the youth said.
Zorsha drew in a breath through her nose and let it out through her mouth. Such a lapse of duty would never stand in her clan. The loss of a warrior due to a cleric's negligence would get them the skin whipped from their back, if not worse. The young orc watched her expression carefully.
"Fine. Get my bag and let's go."
Their footsteps were whispers against the stone as the pair of them descended the ramp towards Barrows' Watch. The city was dark, but it was always dark this far down. A pair of Blackblood guards glanced at her as they patrolled by, and then looked away. Heretics, the lot of them, she thought. The chieftain was right to send me, but if we'd known just how bad it was, I'd have asked for aid. This is quite a task for one person to do, but he is the Voice of Akor, and where he calls, we answer. The Blackboods were more heretical than Zorsha could have imagined. They spent their days drinking and fucking slave girls and fighting in the arena. There wasn't an ounce of discipline among them. Torchlight flickered, casting little circles of light around the darkening tunnels. Somewhere off to her life, Zorsha heard screaming. It wasn't uncommon down here, but gave the priestess pause.
"Wait." She laid a hand on the young one's shoulder. "Something's there."
Sabeline turned a corner. She was clad in a knee-length pink dress smattered with dirt and what appeared to be blood. She had a top on over it that was blue-black in color and had a hood that she kept over her long, dark hair. To make matters worse, she was entirely barefoot, and her feet looked to be in poor condition, but she pressed on. Shatterspear seemed far enough away from where her troubles began, but she still didn't like the place. Despite disliking the way the place was ran, it was a struggle ever since she arrived not to bite into anyone. She was not acclimating to becoming a vampire very well. Something about the way she was tampered with left her dull and aching, and she was pretty certain she was a vampire. What else could she be? She fed on blood to live, but none of her regenerative abilities had activated yet. It made her wonder. It made her fret.
Her red eyes swept over the space in front of her, a nearby torch chasing the shadows cast by her hood from her face. She was pretty and lanky, but had a haunted look in her eye. She looked like she had been on the receiving end of a multitude of abuse. Still, she stood, staring at the nearest stone wall for a moment and pondering what to do with her ill-gotten freedom.
The screaming snapped her out of her reverie, and she tilted her head to the side like a curious animal. In full view, she takes a few steps toward the sound of the scream before adopting a slow pace toward it. Sabeline would investigate. She had nothing better to do, and unlike others who were trained to be aware of their surroundings, Sabeline had none of that awareness. She had none of those instincts. All she had was a nagging curiosity and a deep thirst that she could not quench. Maybe whatever is doing the screaming could help her with the latter. She could hope.
Zorsha'd heard plenty of screaming throughout her life. Women in labor screamed. Babies in arms screamed, Dying enemies screamed--sometimes, before their throats were slashed and their blood spilled across the blistering sands for Akor. The sound didn't really faze her most of the time, but there was a note in the pitch and tone of this one, a shrillness that suggested complete and utter terror.
The boy was watching her. Zorsha tightened her grasp on the whelp's shoulder. "Stay close." All he could do was nod. If he was frightened, he was smart enough not to show it. The warpriest started forward down the tunnel towards the sound. It was dark, but the warpriest could see just fine. The tunnel branched about fifty feet ahead of her. The screaming echoed from straight ahead, but movement out of the corner of her eye caught Zorsha's attention. The warpriest grasped her spear and stood still as Sabeline approached.
Human, or at least human-looking. Dressed in dirty, bloody clothes and looking haunted. A runaway slave, perhaps? No, she had no marks where a collar would go. Was she armed? The cleric saw no weapons, but wasn't naieve enough to believe she would travel the Barrows defenseless. There were bugbears, goblins, monsters and other ne'er do wells lurking around every corner.
She was also covered in blood.
Zorsha herself was an intimidating figure. She was tall for an orc woman, with graying dark hair braided close against her head and hidden under a red hood. She was sturdily built, dressed in the red robes over armor and clothing worn by all of the warpriests. Were she in the desert, she would wear white, but the other clans wore red, and sometimes it was best to be indistinguishable. Her eyes were gray, hard, watchful, and her face was marked with ritual scarring. "You," she said to Sabeline in orcish. "You coming or not?" She moved forward, closer to Sabeline but not far enough to put the fledgling out of her line of sight.
Up ahead the screaming abruptly ended, but the air was full of a metallic, coppery smell.
Sabeline watched as Zorsha approached, her dark eyes inquisitive the further she came. The girl glanced over the warpriest's figure, paranoid the closer she trailed. The screaming nearby was ceaseless, and it made Sabeline sway in confusion. Something about the negativity in the place seemed to feed her, and she was starting to feel strong as time lurched forward.
The vampire noticed the youth with Zorsha then, and she looked him over with the same kind of silence she'd met Zorsha with. It wasn't predatory, but oddly dull. It was like someone had sucked her soul from her body. The orcish tongue that Zorsha spoke was not recognized by Sabeline, but she got the gist. Her guess was that Zorsha was asking her to come along, and the coppery smell of blood was enough to entice her even without an invitation. She decides to follow after the warpriestess despite looking how she does. Maybe there would be something she could drink from. She hoped.
Sabeline walked along barefoot behind Zorsha, casting a couple of glances at the youth with her. He hadn't said anything, but then again, neither had she. Did he know the common tongue? Did Zorsha? It hurt to think. She had tried to put as much distance between her and the cult as possible. It occurred to her that she probably looked terrible or maybe even frightening. Sabeline glanced down at her clothes then, peppered with flakes of dried blood from her escape. Her feet were tender, but everything else was a deep throbbing of pain instead of something sharp.
The vampire continued to walk after Zorsha then. If it was an ambush, of some sort, somehow, Sabeline would fight to the death to escape again. Last time it served her well. Hopefully if push came to shove again, she would be able to fight with the same tenacity and will to live that she had when she escaped the cult's clutches.
Sabeline clears her throat. "Do you speak the common tongue?" Her voice was raspy from past abuse, and it made the vampire realize how dry she was and how in need of blood she was. It caused her to frown. This wasn't her normal voice, but she figured that wouldn't matter to a stranger.
Zorsha kept in step with Sabeline, unwilling to give her back to the unfamiliar woman. She looked human, and looked mostly harmless, but the warpriest was old enough and experienced enough to not trust vision alone. Akor sent challenges in every shape and size.
"Do you speak the common tongue?"
The words sounded strange to Zorsha. She recognized the language as Ilarian, but little beyond that. The warpriest looked sidelong at Sabeline and shook her head. "No." She knew that word. "Orc." Did the human girl speak Orcish? She was in an orc city, but there were plenty of people in Shatterspear that could speak at least a little Ilarian. Zorsha was the exception here. The only language the Bleeding Sun bothered with besides orcish was draconic, to communicate with the naga at the waystation. They had no use for the human tongue.
"I speak it." The boy spoke up. "Some." He remained in Zorsha's shadow, out of arm's reach of Sabeline.
Something shifted up ahead. Zorsha sensed it more than saw it with the shifting of the air and a sudden, sharp scent of sulphur. It was a large creature, shadowlike in the darkness. At first it looked like a dog, but the closer they came to it the more it's shape changed before her eyes. It had four legs like a dog, and a head like a dog, but it was much too big, with orange eyes that glowed like fire. it was like nothing Zorsha had ever seen, and slumped between its paws was the source of the screaming--a limp corpse with a half-eaten torso. The creature was like nothing Zorsha had ever seen.
"Boy," she said softly. "Run."
The monstrous creature flung itself at them.
Sabeline made herself smile at the boy. It wasn't completely genuine. She had aches and pains, and whatever the cult had done to her back burned every so often. The vampire took note of Zorsha staying in line with her, and Sabeline couldn't blame the orc woman. Given Sabeline's appearance, it was likely necessary to take those precautions. That she even walked beside her showed she was brave. Sabeline didn't think she could show the same strength.
As the trio turned the corner to see the beast, Sabeline stared in awe. She had no idea what this creature was, but she didn't need to know much. The lifeless corpse of the woman it feasted upon told Sabeline all that she needed to know. The creature was a threat, and now it was charging. When the boy ran, Sabeline followed a few feet, trying to put some distance between her and the creature. From beneath her hooded shirt, she procures a notebook with a single piece of paper and a quill pen with magic ink. Only Thorne vampires carry around the magic notebook, and she scrawled a single word with her intentions in mind: blast.
The ink disappears into the paper and the spell winds down her arm so that she can blast the creature with a bolt of kinetic energy. It makes a direct hit, strong, but not devastating to the hell hound. Sabeline doesn't remain stationary however. Instead, she keeps moving, the notebook keeping in front of her in a floating position as she writes the next spell: bind.
She hoped maybe she could tie it up long enough for escape or long enough to see if Zorsha had any ideas. Sabeline remained eerily silent, but her red eyes gleam bright as she utilizes the power of the stolen notebook to channel her Thorne powers.
As ropes of energy rake out to capture the beast to bind it, the bindings will not attach. The roll off and Sabeline grimaces. That idea flies out the window the moment she fails. For a split second she thinks maybe she's just not strong enough, but she shrugs it off, mindful to be on the alert as the creature's attack progresses.
The bolts of kinetic energy slammed into the hellhound's broad chest and stop the creature mid-leap, sending the demon dog flying backwards. Zorsha didn't have time to worry about what Sabeline was doing; Her lips moved in a silent beseechment to Akor for strength while her arms hefted the spear high and thrust it at the demonic creature. The tip glowed red with terrible, holy power as she thrust it forward. Her intent was to stab the creature, but it was swift enough to get only a scratch. The point of the spear grazed its ribcage, and suddenly the air was full of the scent of burning hair. The weapon's blow was glancing at best, but the crimson energy that blossomed from it hissed through the air like something alive--and it was that the demon dog shrank from. It backed away from Zorsha and rushed Sabeline again, jaws snapping.
Sabeline kept moving, but it didn't take much to realize that the beast was still snapping at her heels. All of her pain was consumed by adrenaline, and she wrote down the last spell she used that worked so well. In a scrawl: blast.
The vampire turned only to be met with the creature mowing her down. It hovered over her like a horrible apparition, and she hissed with distress. The spell sank into the pages of her notebook and she felt the power jolt down her arm...and she sticks her hand right into the beasts mouth long enough to blast it away from her again. She looks at her hand, thankful she didn't actually get bitten before raising her notebook again and scrawling another command: incapacitate.
Maybe bind wasn't the right word, but incapacitate was. However, her spell clings to the beast this time as she runs away from it. It was promising until those strands seeking to bind the beast snapped away from its body like brittle twigs. It gave her time to get away but little else. She was still running, unsure of how to neutralize the threat. This wasn't like the cult members she had ripped apart in self defense. This creature had no qualms killing her. This wasn't an experiment.
"What do I do?" She yells at Zorsha, but then remembers that the woman cannot understand much of what she is saying. The next spell she writes in her notebook is: translate. The ink sinks into the pages and in perfect orcish, she says, "I don't know what to do! What do I do? What is this thing?"
Zorsha doesn't have time to wonder about how Sabeline can suddenly speak Orcish. Not with a monster ready and able to rip them to pieces. The hellhound snarls, lips curling back to reveal sharp, jagged teeth. It looks like it's going to snap at her again, but when it's mouth opens a gout of red-gold fire explodes out. It envelopes the vampire like a curtain, leaving Zorsha's eyes to widen in horror. She slams the butt of her spear down hard against the animal's snout and head. The demon creature growls and backs up, only to snap at the priestess instead. The dog's teeth into her arm and bite down, hard.
The pain is immediate and white-hot. She yanks her limb back, and the armor beneath her robe is the only thing that minimizes what damage there is. Blood wells up from the wound and starts to run down. The priestess attempts to cast a spell, but the words dry up in her throat.
"A demon. Inferno creature. We have to kill it." Or it's going to kill us.
Sabeline does not like the answer she is given, but she is unfortunately in no condition to ask more questions. It was a demon, and it was seeking to kill them. That's all she needed to hear. She turns to face the creature, but in that split second vulnerability, she is sudden encased in white hot fire. The vampire screams in agony despite the blast being short lived, and her skin bubbles and peels back in black strings where she is scorched. It's painful, and she knows deep in her heart that if she wasn't mildly vampiric, she would be dead.
Sabeline's notebook floats to her and she scrawls a word: feast. She hugs herself as she rises and the notebook follows. The taste of something coppery hits her tongue and she feels her belly fill with blood. She doesn't know where it is coming from, but she is soon sated, and being full on blood is enough to activate her vampiric ability to right the wrongs of her body. Not only is the damage inflicted by the demon repaired, but everything else that had been ailing her since her escape. She doesn't need to breathe but she inhales anyway, pushing stale air from her long dormant lungs. The vampire is renewed, and when she looks at Zorsha's arm, the blood bubbling up gives her a dark thirst. She looks away, still enamored with the feel of her body in tip-top shape, and she scrawls another spell: wither.
The spell is intended to wither away the demon's strength, and as the ink sinks into the page and disappears, she sends her open palm toward the demon and lets tendril after tendril of deep purple magic wind around it. It feeds off of its energy and begins draining it, but the beast is not down yet. The wither spell seems to only be enough to slow it down, but not stop it completely. That is fine with Sabeline, and she scrawls a final spell in her notebook: amplify.
The vampire wasn't stupid. As many powerful blasts as she had sent toward the demon, and none of them had done any real damage. But Zorsha? Her powers were able to get through to it, so the spell is meant to boost whatever abilities she chooses next. She sends the magic to Zorsha as the ink dries and disappears, but it only serves as a moderate boost. Still, something was better than nothing.