Author Topic: Azazel's Sacrifice  (Read 896 times)

Iridni Ren

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Azazel's Sacrifice
« on: October 27, 2017, 11:25:52 AM »

Prologue

And so I hasten to give back my entrance ticket….It's not God that I don't accept, Alyosha, only I most respectfully return him the ticket.
--The Brothers Karamazov



Do you believe? Do you accept the festival, the city, the joy? No? Then let me describe one more thing. In a basement under one of the beautiful public buildings of Omelas, or perhaps in the cellar of one of its spacious private homes, there is a room. It has one locked door, and no window.
--“The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas”

In the beginning was the Pain. A child’s unimaginable shrieks filled the air like the Word of God commanding light to pierce the void of dark creation.

Stop! Please....Please please...please....Oh please stop!

Then the smell of cauterized flesh...and still the screams continued for the child’s capacity to endure agony was great.

After, the holy omens on her back had all been eviscerated and the gouges covered over through burns and injected ink with new marks to prevent the former from ever returning.

The robe-clothed figures stepped back from their work and observed. The child only moaned and whimpered like some small, wounded animal.

Wiping the bladed tool he held on his dark robe, the taller of the two sniffed critically. “Cover her. There’s a chill, and I prefer not to waste such artistry on a corpse.”

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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The Flayed Hand
« Reply #1 on: October 29, 2017, 11:47:20 PM »
Spoiler: show
Happy Halloween!


When the child awoke, she was wearing a short, black undershirt that left her limbs bare. The monk who had flayed and illustrated the flesh of her back had returned to standing over her, much like a cat over an unmoving mouse. All his visible skin was scarred, marked, and tattooed. His face was, in her short life, the most unattractive she had until then ever seen, as every inch was roughly pierced with numerous jagged barbs, rivets, and hooks.

Her fearful expression pleased him. "Ahh, little one, I have only begun to use you as my latest canvas. But this," he flourished a self-referential gesture, "This is my masterpiece. If you have the ability your bloodline promises, I will take you as my apprentice. Then I will teach you to provide this service for yourself...and others."

He leered with covetousness at the pure and unblemished pearly skin of her lithe arms and legs. His gnarled fingers seemed to itch for the tools at his belt, and he rubbed his yellowed, dingy nails against his palms, licking his lips with a dry, lizard-like tongue. "But first we must re-educate you on the fundamental principles."

She watched him in silent terror, her back still a seething sea of pain from his butchery—and the alchemy he had afterward applied to her wounds.

"Let me show you something," he beckoned with a crooked smile to her, a bony hand waving her to rise from the dais upon which she reclined. Although she wanted nothing more than to run from him, she feared what punishment any disobedience would bring. They passed from the small, windowless room into a larger.

“Do you yet recognize them?”

The child drew back, her face distorted with an inarticulate horror. Stretched out on twin slabs were her mother and father, all the skin below the neck peeled from each of their bodies. They resembled cattle carcasses waiting to be butchered. Flies buzzed and settled on their exposed organs.

As the girl stumbled backward, the man’s arm swept down swiftly to restrain her and twist her again toward the nightmare. “No, you must take it in, my child. Embrace the truth. Do you see through the illusion?”

She began to sob and clenched her small fist to her mouth.

“Are your eyes opened, all deception wiped away? They are nothing more than meat!

She could not loosen herself from his grip.

“Only in transcending the pain do we transcend the prison that is flesh.”

He pulled her hair to snap her head back to meet his gaze. “They...they were not able to transcend. Can you?

“Physical agony—for those who survive it—is a spiritual awakening! We learn to despise this rancid vessel and glorify the manifestation of god that is within each of us!”

She was not listening as she could think of nothing but her parents and her desire to escape from the mad man as quickly as possible. His smell as he clung to her was that of the charnel house.

“Seeing this once is not enough, however,” he chuckled. “Until you absorb the lesson, you must be reminded daily.”

As she struggled, he pushed her effortlessly to the floor and walked to a bloody sheet. “Here is your daily reminder, my dear child.” With another gesture he whipped the sheet back to reveal a pile of leathery garments, stitched in the same size and proportion as she.

“Your new wardrobe awaits!”

She looked from the leathery clothing to the bodies of her parents and then back to the clothing. She knelt on all fours as her stomach erupted.

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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An Unsentimental Education
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 07:54:54 PM »
Shanti Ovion.

That was the child’s true name, and she must not forget it as the cultists took everything else from her. The monk who had draped her in her parents’ hide—he who from that night called her always “apprentice”—was correct in that they used pain as an instrument of her education but did not seem intent on killing her. They refrained, for example, from breaking any of her small bones. They also never paid her any injury that caused her to lose any function. Other than the mutilation of her back that had been necessary to remove the wing buds and feathers, they (for now) did no more permanent damage.

They left her starving for days, however, and then presented her with strange, uncooked flesh to eat and blood to drink. Whenever she resisted their commands or otherwise required discipline, two of them would hold her down while a third rained blows on her torso with a leathery, liquid-filled sack, the size of a man’s forearm. Or they lofted her legs over her head and plunged her face again and again into a bucket of icy, gray water. Or they put her on a carefully calibrated rack that would stretch and stretch her slight form until she felt as though surely she would rend asunder, that her limbs would wrench completely from their sockets—and at that extreme they would leave her. Until she absorbed the lesson and the futility of resisting their curriculum.

In the beginning, she prayed. She begged that someone or something would find and release her from her degradation, terror, and agony. Later, she prayed simply for death. This last prayer was answered, as slowly Shanti began to die.

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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Og-Nedi
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2017, 05:01:18 PM »
"They can't get inside you," she had said. But they could get inside you. "What happens to you here is forever...."

Digging with the point of his barbed kama, Og-Nedi scraped some dried blood from under his yellowed fingernails and frowned, his lizard-like tongue coiled pensively against the tips of his canines. Perverting an Aasimar into an instrument of betrayal and bloodshed was a delicate operation—analogous to the stretching of young Shanti on the rack. Too little pressure, and she might revert like an elastic band to her angelic predisposition; too much and they would snap her. Dead, she was useless to him and his order.

He had to confess he enjoyed the game and challenge of it. Longtime hallmarks of his sadistic prowess—such as removing a living victim’s skin in only one piece—now bored Og-Nedi, which distressed him.

The secret to corrupting Shanti, he knew, lie in rooting in her another emotion toward him besides respect and fear (although both of those were also essential). Consequently and after her initial marking, he removed himself from her subsequent torture. True, he did make her wear the skins of her mother and father, but he would bring the grotesque hides to her only once she had spent many hours alone and shivering in the cold darkness. When he fed her the cult’s blasphemous diet, it was to relieve her starvation.

He also operated her stretching rack, not trusting anyone save himself to have the light touch such meticulous infliction of pain required, but he did so hooded and from the shadows so that Shanti might never suspect. When it was time to release her, he would pretend to enter with great show and command the others to loosen her from her suffering, as though he had not been the agent by which it was ordered. He enjoyed both the cruelty of the first and the exhilarating deception of the second. How he with anticipation relished the moment when he would reveal to his apprentice his treachery! He hoped she would have the capacity to appreciate the genius of it.

He also often hid in the darkness at night and listened to her grieving prayers. He liked to think of her lamentations as petitions to himself because he intended to be—if not her outright god—her prophet and intercessor. He foresaw when she would grow to venerate and perhaps even love him as the physical incarnation of the one the Drow called Vulkoor.

Og-Nedi wiped the kama on his robe, having decided the next treatment in Shanti’s regimen: Daelkyrian tongue worms. When the Aasimar began to pray for her own death, he knew that she was ready.


My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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An Unexpected Journey
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2017, 12:28:34 AM »
Shanti awoke bound, gagged, and with a thick hood pulled tightly against her head. She sensed she was moving, but in some form of fast transport that traversed the terrain more smoothly than would a wheeled wagon. Her last meal must have been laced with a soporific because otherwise she could not have slept through the rough binding that now lacerated her wrists and ankles or the insinuation into her mouth of the knot of cloth that threatened to choke her.

When the earth sled’s motion ceased, she felt a strong arm hoist her without effort, and then she was dangling over someone’s shoulder. The putrid smell of the person’s flesh as her face pressed and jostled against his back penetrated even the suffocating hood so that she was certain who bore her: Og-Nedi. She felt him poise and then make a small leap before landing on what she assumed was either the ground or a platform of some kind. The monk chuckled and exchanged a few words with someone in a language she did not know. Then he began to jaunt, bouncing her along as he did so.

By now, she was no longer surprised at Og-Nedi’s athleticism, despite his likely age and decrepit appearance.

How long had they travelled while she slept? She could not guess, but wherever they were, the climate was pleasant. She could feel sunshine warming her, and this stoked the Aasimar spark within her momentarily as she had not been outdoors since...since the death of her parents. Once she thought she heard the chirrup of some songbird, and she whimpered around her gag.

Og-Nedi slowed, stopped, and set her down with surprising gentleness on what was too flat and even to be the ground. She heard a key turn a latch. Then she was brought upright, and she felt a tug as something knifed through the bonds of her feet.

“Walk, my child.” Guided by the monk, she stepped forward and sensed a door closing behind her, then the latch once more turning.

Abruptly, the hood was off, her eyes blinking as they adjusted to the light of the room around her. It was rustic but charming, with great wooden beams running along the ceiling, a stony fireplace, and walls lined with knotty-pine cabinets. In the middle was a massive oaken table surrounded by sturdy chairs. Diagonal from her a small stairway climbed upward and out of sight.

Og-Nedi grinned at her. “Welcome to your new home, my young apprentice.”

She could only nod.

“Oh…let me take that gag from you. It was necessary I’m afraid to keep you from accidentally alerting your captors when we fled.”

As her stretched jaw felt the obtrusion of the gag expelled, she again nodded, not knowing what to say but fearing that any wrong word would be punished.

“You are likely very confused right now. So let me explain something to you about the nature of the Mockery, which is the religion—nay, principles!—practiced among us at the temple.”

He guided her to a chair as he spoke, not yet releasing her arms. “Our faith—the faith you will soon embrace—is not entirely about pain and suffering. That through agony—experiencing it…and inflicting it---one transcends mortal existence is our highest achievement…the truth that we will in time spread to all mankind. But just as we learn that the physical is insignificant when compared with the spiritual, well, then, what follows?”

She hesitated, lost several places behind his rapid expostulation against all the goodness that had always drawn her, instinctively, like an aery and vulnerable moth to a consuming flame.

“Oh you don’t need to answer, dear. I would be astounded if you already grasped so much this early in your retraining. What follows is that we must also learn how to injure the spiritual. That is the next step in the path to godlike power. When you can disfigure and maim another’s spirit as easily as you can mutilate his body, then, then you will be truly releasing the infernal being that resides shackled in us all!”

She started to shake her head in disbelief at the horror he was describing, but she had learned better than to disagree with anyone from the monastery. Why, though, had he brought her here? After weeks of despair, Shanti could not help but hope that any change in her circumstances might be for the better.

“The Mockery teaches that the supreme method of injuring another spiritually is through betrayal,” Og-Nedi continued. “Nothing else is as effective at establishing your own dominance and crushing any decency in others as returning their naïve trust with treachery. Trust—believing in it, keeping to it—all of that is for the weak who must rely on some craven morality for their protection. The strong do not need to trust, and do not let the bond of trust constrain their own behavior!”

He paused and looked at her, his eyes almost benevolent but yet retaining something predatory. He sighed. “You won’t believe this truth, however, based on my words alone. No one learns through words.”

She heard a movement upstairs, and a door opening.

“You shall have to experience it, my child. I have warned you now, have I not? Are you wise enough yet to heed my warning?” He pursed his lips in a mournful mien and shook his head with exaggerated slowness. “I don’t think you are.”

Her gaze went to the stairs where a shadow fell, followed by the creaking of steps. Someone was coming down.

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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Re: An Unexpected Journey, Part II
« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2017, 10:40:53 PM »
The figure who crept down the stairs and into view was nothing more than an adolescent boy, about the same age as Shanti, perhaps a year or two older. His age was hard to say with certainty, however, as he looked wan and malnourished, but when he saw Shanti his interest suddenly perked up, his round mouth dropping slightly open.

She felt Og-Nedi’s talonlike fingers pressure the sinews of her shoulder as he released the bonds that constricted her. “What do you think of that?”

The Aasimar didn’t know what she thought of the sickly youth, although when he continued to stare at her as though she was something both beautiful and wonderful, she felt her initial reaction give way to a warmer feeling. “He is a boy...A rude boy, to gaze at me like that.”

Og-Nedi chuckled. “He cannot help but look at you, my child. You are somewhat of an amazing creature, you know, and he has not seen many magical or even attractive things in a long time.”

“Oh?” She glanced quickly at Og-Nedi and then back at the tousle-haired boy, who had reached the foot of the stairs but made no further motion toward her. Although Shanti was still a few months from becoming a woman according to the traditions of her people, what stirred within her now had a quality of motherhood in its nature. Regardless of his greater years, the boy seemed wide-eyed and defenseless, not as capable as she to endure what she quickly deduced was their mutual nightmare. She recognized in the boy many of the telltale signs of her own abuse.

“Do you wish to know his name?”

She nodded, and her nascent parenting instinct as well as Og-Nedi’s manner toward her made her feel suddenly superior to this other captive. She said, “Speak, boy, what’s your name?”

“Me? I’m Erix. Erix Brand….Who are you, miss?”

“Go on; tell him.”

“You may call me Shanti.” As a softened afterthought she added, “Erix.” He smiled at her then, in a bashful way, and it occurred to Shanti that with a good scrubbing and some sun he might not be such a fright to look at.

Og-Nedi spoke from behind and over her. “Erix...Erix is your new playmate, my child. And this is your new home.”

The Aasimar could not believe what she was hearing. “What? What do you mean?”

“You can’t very well live here all alone, can you? And sometimes my affairs—my business at the monastery—will take me away from here. You need...you need a companion.”

“But you said my ‘new home.’ Am I not to return with you to the monastery?” She dared not hope.

“That part of your education and training is over now, my child. Provided....” He paused.

She felt as though her heart might burst within her. “Provided?”

“Provided there is no regression. That you continue to advance as my apprentice. Above all, you must without question obey me in every word I say. Without any hesitation.”

“I understand,” she said quietly.

“Because you see, my child, I have brought you here at great risk to myself. I could not bear to watch you continue to suffer like that. The others...the others believe you have died. You were starting to die, you know.”

“They think I’m dead?”

He nodded, looking at the boy. “It’s the same method I used to spirit this one away a couple of months ago. I sewed another body in your bed sheet and had it burned, then tossed in the quicklime.”

Shanti did not wish to think where Og-Nedi might have acquired these two other bodies.

“So the first commandment I give you—the one that should you violate will result in the gravest of consequences—you must not ever, ever try to escape.”

She considered.

“Look around you!” He made a sweeping gesture of the homey cottage. “Isn’t this a paradise compared with where you were? Why would you want to leave such a perfect life?”

She panicked, thinking Og-Nedi was at this very moment withdrawing his gracious offer and preparing to take her back. “Oh, I wouldn’t! I’m so thankful!”

His face grew somber. “Know that if you do, if you somehow succeed, the others will learn of what I’ve done. To gain your freedom you will doom me...and you will doom young Erix here as well.”

Erix looked at Shanti with the most solicitous of expressions so that she felt as though his life were in her hands.

Og-Nedi inhaled quickly. “And that’s if you succeed.”

Shanti nodded with solemnity. “I won’t try to escape, Master." She fell to her knees and placed her shaking hands on his leather boots in supplication. "I am so very, very grateful and will do everything you command me.”
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 10:59:01 PM by Iridni Ren »

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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A Face in the Crowd
« Reply #6 on: March 05, 2018, 10:25:39 AM »
She could not help that she from time to time dreamed of the innocence of her early childhood and even of that somewhat happy interlude with Erix, who would become not only a brother to her but her first lover as well. The two of them grew together under the tutelage of Og-Nedi, who, whatever the outward show of some conventions of a normal "family," ensured always to corrupt and twist them in their thinking--feeding their bodies with pain, suffering, deviancy, and deprivation as necessary for their edification, feeding their souls on occult works and the dogma of the Mockery. Likewise, although a stepfather to her, Og-Nedi from time to time partook of the pleasures her body offered in a far less gentle and consensual manner than did Erix.

Through all of this, she grew wiser and stronger. Her dreams, therefore, did not comfort her but rather represented a backsliding into soft weakness. Shanti Ovion was as dead and meaningless now as that name she no longer used.

She hoped that eventually the dreams would stop visiting her entirely, that she would transcend such frailties as conscience. Uncertainty and remorse did not trouble her during her waking hours; she felt no hesitation but only overwhelming pleasure as she thrust her dagger again and again into the whimpering merchant as he tried to flee from her. She regretted only that he had attempted to escape and that fear of discovery required she not prolong his torment--his education!--longer.

When she slept, the Aasimar blotted the image of Shanti Ovion from her mind with that of her bewildered, terror-stricken victim and the moment of shock and surprise when her blade began to carve his bejeweled rings from his hand.

Far better it was to be the hunter rather than the hunted. This was the first lesson of wisdom.

« Last Edit: March 05, 2018, 10:46:18 AM by Iridni Ren »

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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These Violent Delights
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2018, 09:25:26 PM »
So like the desert's sky, and the sands remote,
Both deaf to mortal suffering and to strife,
Or like the sea-weeds 'neath the waves that float,
Indifferently she moulds her budding life.
Her polished eyes are made of minerals bright,
And in her mien, symbolical and cold,
Wherein an angel mingles with a sphinx of old
Where all is gold, steel, diamonds and light,
Glitters forever, starlike, far, inhuman,
The regal coldness of the sterile woman.

—Charles Baudelaire, Flowers of Evil


The two, Shanti and Erix, grew together in that house, under the watchful eye and malignant guidance of Og-Nedi. Because of his dark arts, not a single word ever passed between their lips to one another that Og-Nedi did not hear, and always he could observe them, even in their most private moments. Although he despised the gentle caresses and soft murmurings they thought were only their own, nonetheless he never turned from scrying the two youths, and so in his voyeurism the mad monk must have received a twisted pleasure nonetheless.

The Aasimar was still called Shanti Ovion when she lay that first time with Erix and arose in the night from the bed of their joining to gaze upon the reflection of her nude form. Truly, in the darkness but yet visible to herself, she was an enchantment of both figure and face, and it thrilled her to possess an instrument so capable of giving ecstasy to this boy for whom she had certitude of love.

The small tattoos of skinless hands with which Og-Nedi had scarred her just above her cheekbones did not detract from the loveliness of her Eladrin heritage now in the spring of her womanhood's first full bloom. She healed quickly, and the Celestial within her transformed what might otherwise have been perceived as ugly or even maiming into twin eye-pleasing highlights. Other than the marks, her form from the front was perfection, her sculpted muscles softened but not obscured by the contours and plateaus of delicate feminine yielding that overlay them.

She was statuesque, and bore her sensuous frame with the regal posture of an athlete confident always of victory.

When she turned to look at the far worse scars on her back, they also were healing into something darkly beautiful. In place of the wings that she presumed she would now never develop, Og-Nedi had inked blackened plumage that traced along the sweep of her shoulder blades and buttocks, accenting the curve of each. Where he had gouged her buds from the rest of her back in unspeakable pain, she had healed; yet within her now the wisdom she had acquired through that agony remained.

The flesh was transient, pain fleeting. By suffering, however, the soul could be improved and strengthened through all eternity. It was purging her of weakness and was forging her into a creature of superior power and beauty to the girl child who could not protect her parents or herself.

The Aasimar gave a prayer of thanks to Vulkoor, the other name she had learned for Og-Nedi’s god. She thanked him for her anguish…and also for her pleasure—the pleasure she had known with Erix.

Her gaze transgressed from her own reflection and to the bed. What within her endured of Shanti Ovion burned in the love she felt for the sleeping figure. 

« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 09:49:52 PM by Iridni Ren »

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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The Tyger and the Lamb
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2018, 11:04:26 AM »
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
—William Blake, "The Tyger"


Why did men always make the same mistake and believe that she sought or needed her validation from them? Were other women really this sad, desperate, and weak that a technique of criticism induced in them a desire to please...to prove the man's initial assessment wrong? An instinct to serve?

Her outward appearance remained as beautiful now as the evening Erix had first worshipped at her bodily shrine and tasted of her garden of delights. She needed no simpering male flattery to affirm what her own eyes told her, however much her inward soul was changed. Og-Nedi destroyed the gentle (and inferior) Shanti Ovion through years of torture both mental and physical, but in doing so he forged Suspiria Ghastor—a more resilient creature with Celestial blood in her veins and hellish vengeance in her heart.

She had not travelled so far and performed all her acts of darkness and betrayal to lick the boots of a new master.

If her employer could not recognize her talents and worth, if he thought she—Eladrin and chosen for power by the Mockery!—would respond to his foolish and false descriptions of her as would a common Barovian bitch, he was...mistaken.

He was also powerful in his own right, however, blending into the shadows and tracking and observing her when she was completely unawares. She had seen him fell a man with one blow. She would be careful, therefore, and wait for her moment. Yet in time, if he persisted in his error, like all the others before him....

He would acquire wisdom.

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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The Fall
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2018, 12:25:54 AM »
O Hell! what do mine eyes with grief behold?
Into our room of bliss thus high advanc'd
Creatures of other mould—Earth-born perhaps,
Not Spirits, yet to Heav'nly Spirits bright
Little inferior—whom my thoughts pursue
With wonder, and could love so lively shines
In them divine resemblance, and such grace
The hand that form'd them on their shape hath pour'd.
Ah! gentle pair, ye little think how nigh
Your change approaches, when all these delights
Will vanish and deliver ye to woe—
More woe, the more your taste is now of joy.

—Satan,
Paradise Lost


Erix was her first.

Although suffering and fear cajoled Shanti Ovion into a sort of blind obedience to Og-Nedi, the mad monk perceived that he had not yet eradicated the Aasimar’s innate goodness to its roots. Just as he had cauterized the flesh of her back and desecrated it with symbols of darkness after eviscerating her budding wings, he must also—as with a free-spirited horse—break her thoroughly so that she would believe herself always beyond redemption. Only then could Og-Nedi be certain that she would never lapse from her unnatural, inseminated faith in the Mockery.

Watching in hatred, impotent lust, and perhaps envy the puerile love-making of the two almost physically perfect youths, the monk felt certain that each day his complete victory drew closer. For indeed, he had stacked the deck to ensure no chance of his losing.

Already he knew Shanti felt some affection for him as the seeming benefactor who had spirited her away from the nightmare of the monastery. He had provided her with sustenance and shelter, and he seemed to Shanti to allow the love between her and Erix to bloom and grow without interference or even notice, when in fact it was exactly what he had desired and foreseen. True, he still disciplined her with painful abuse, but her soul had already been warped enough that she believed this both necessary and just. No voice of sanity told her otherwise.

Even so, Shanti’s love for Erix was a flower of her soul’s original purity in the garden of savage briars and strangling weeds Og-Nedi had sown.

Invisible and silent, he stood watching the two of them sleeping and entwined in one another’s embrace as a storm howled outside, its flashes exposing their naked bliss to his acrid gaze. Soon, very soon, he would twist and manipulate the love they thought so secret to destroy their last resistance to his will.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2018, 08:35:18 AM by Iridni Ren »

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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The Fall, Part 2
« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2018, 08:12:48 PM »


On that final night as the two of them, Shanti and Erix, held each other as closely as the impenetrable border of living flesh would allow, merged together even unto the most sensitive of nerve endings so that the slightest movement of one was felt and reciprocated by the other with a subtle sigh or gasp of pleasure, the common storm raged and thundered, its flashes illuminating Shanti’s voluptuous curves, entwined with the musculature of Erix. She panted against him, quivering in a paradox of contented ecstasy, certain that in heaven nor hell would she ever feel such sublime bliss and muted pain as she possessed within her now. Her arms clung around his thick chest in a posture that signified both her victory and her surrender. In their fitness and exotic size she and he—glimpsed only as still images in their violent coupling through the electrical sparks of nature that dazzled the darkened room—appeared to their hidden observer more two forcené thoroughbreds than human beings.

Watching them and marveling at how little awkwardness with which two magnificent beasts could conjoin themselves as if of one mind or choreographed by an unseen hand, Og-Nedi knew the time had come; the balance was precarious between a passion with which he could twist an Aasimar to deform her to the purposes of the Flayed Hand...and love that would resist all attempts to corrupt it.

Erix, Og-Nedi, knew, was the weaker of the two. And so it was through him that the servant of Vulkoor would strike. Shanti might perish and these years of investment in her be for naught, but, if she proved that weak, so be it; Og-Nedi would still have Erix, and, in slaying the Aasimar, Erix would demonstrate his underestimated worth.



Shanti stirred, feeling Erix nuzzling her, his lips caressing the sensitive skin of her throat. Through lidded eyes, she studied her lover, recalling the night previous, and a smile curled her mouth and exposed her long, white, even teeth.

“Morning. We should get dressed before we are found out,” she whispered. “It was careless of you to fall asleep here.”

The storm had passed, and now bright light was creeping into their chamber, with the chirrups of flocks of pilfinks filling the trees outside. The air would be clear today.

She felt Erix’s hand caress her waist-length hair for a moment, and still he did not speak. She opened her eyes wider to see him staring at her with an odd expression...as though saddened.

“Oh, darling, don’t be that way. We can be together again soon enough.” She lifted her head from the pillow to kiss him.

His hand went underneath her head to offer support, his elbow resting on the bed, and his gaze burrowed into hers. She felt her heart swell within her at how he seemed to wish to savor the moment for as long as he could.

Then he lowered his lips to hers, closing his eyes as he did so. But what began as a gentle kiss she felt grow more forceful, his mouth clamping over hers and then his tongue pushing its way between her willingly yielding lips. She relaxed her jaw, giving him free access to explore her as he would, her own tongue trying to tantalize the intruder in return.

Yet something was wrong. For Shanti felt an enormous, serpentine volume now begin to fill her mouth and even press downward into her throat, blocking her airway. Her eyes opened wide and bulged in surprise, as the sudden choking sensation caused her to react instinctively and to try to push the weight of Erix off her.

He ignored her thrashing and still his tongue expanded...to a size that was not humanly possible. For it was not his tongue Erix now disgorged into Shanti’s violated mouth.

It was the Eberron symbiont known as a tongueworm.


My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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The Fall, Part 3
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2018, 12:49:24 PM »
'I have pressed the first lever,' said O'Brien. 'You understand the construction of this cage. The mask will fit over your head, leaving no exit. When I press this other lever, the door of the cage will slide up. These starving brutes will shoot out of it like bullets. Have you ever seen a rat leap through the air? They will leap on to your face and bore straight into it. Sometimes they attack the eyes first. Sometimes they burrow through the cheeks and devour the tongue.'
!984, George Orwell

Erix had the advantage of surprise and position on Shanti, but the Aasimar was no longer the slight child tortured in her helplessness by an evil cult. She was now taller than the average man, and as she exerted all her strength in a struggle for her own survival, the firmness of her muscles became visible beneath her softer, naked flesh. Her lover had one of her arms pinned under him and immobilized, but her left was free and pitted only against his right.

He tried to grip her wrist and restrain her last limb, but she was quick as well as forceful, and her hand slipped between their two faces, knitted close by his lolling, suffocating symbiont. Her strong fingers and sharp nails found the goo of Erix’s eyes and began to push. Her only thought was she must have air.

Erix tried to pull back from her counterattack, but the tongueworm anchored his head so that he could not retreat fast enough. Shanti felt beneath her thumb one of the twin egg-like orbs yield and pop from its socket, while two of her other fingers clawed into the second. The excruciating pain forced Erix to wrench off her and clutch at his face, falling in a twist of covers from the bed to the floor. His head cracked on oak. His violent motion, however, separated him from the symbiont, which remained lodged in Shanti’s mouth and throat, doing its unrelenting work.

A poison-coated barb shot out of the serpentine creature and penetrated the soft tissue above Shanti’s esophagus. Almost instantly, she could feel her long, athletic limbs stiffening, but she fought off the paralytic effect and moved both her now free hands to grasp the fiend’s body.

“You’ve blinded me, bitch!” Erix gurgled from where he rose to sit on the floor. He fumbled and tried to push his single unruptured eyeball back into the socket; it dangled by his cheek. Shanti’s fingernails had destroyed the other. Blood and gore covered his once Adonic face.

Meanwhile, Shanti strained against the always seeking tongueworm. Although it was collapsed to a length of only about two feet—it could stretch out to five—it had expanded its girth once inside her, making its removal more difficult. And her muscles no longer wanted to respond to her brain's commands, as the numbing poison coursed through her veins.

The room seemed to grow dark, and she could feel herself losing consciousness as her arms weakened against the surging tongueworm and her grip on it softened to a mechanical, futile fluttering that almost resembled a stroking caress.

Suddenly, a hand was on her throat and she felt a sharp jolt. Through dimming eyes, she saw a dagger had plunged into the creature’s circumference and was being used as a skewer to try to draw the worm back out of her. The knife wielder was Og-Nedi, who was not choking her, but holding her down while working the tongueworm out. At last, she expelled the spasming end of it…along with all the contents of her stomach.

She could not speak, however, only wretch and watch her deliverer as he with distaste cast the tongueworm on the floor next to the mewling Erix.

He stood looking at the two of them. “So this is how you return all my kindness, Shanti? By copulating behind my back with your own brother?”

She stared wide-eyed and fearful, not understanding at all what had just happened.

“Have I not told you that your body belongs only to me? Look…look how you’ve soiled your sheets!” He pointed with the tip of the dagger at the many disgusting fluids in which she now lay. “How…how could you?”

Erix spoke. “Father, my eyes…I’ve done as you—“

“Silence!” the mad monk roared. “You are just as disappointing to me as your loathsome sister, who has let her sacred temple be desecrated until I think I should bind her and just leave her to wallow in her own filth. As of old!”

Then Shanti observed a smile pass over his face as his feigned anger passed away. “My child…it was time you learned the second and most important lesson of the Mockery.” He sat down on a clean portion of the bed and gleamed in admiration of the horror his handiwork had created. “You have understood for some time that through suffering one gains wisdom. But…” He idly pushed the blade of the knife against her bare thigh near the pulsing of an artery, not quite hard enough to break the skin.

“But that is a lesson for a child. Easily grasped.” The pressure increased a small increment. “Do you know our god’s full title?”

Shanti shook her head, her throat still ravaged by the recent intruder.

“He Is the Sovereign of Betrayal and Bloodshed.” Og-Nedi looked at the soaked sheets and the ruddy trail that led to Erix. “In your young life you’ve experienced much bloodshed. Now…now it was time for you to understand the power of betrayal.”

The blade broke her skin and a thin trickle of crimson began to run down her inner thigh. She could feel her pulse against the knife’s edge and understood that a wound there would cause her to bleed out in a matter of minutes.

“Shanti, my darling, it is only fools who believe in promises, and vows, and trust. Freedom…true freedom and all that comes with it…that is what being willing—nay, enjoying!—betraying a friend (or a lover) offers.”

She looked into his mad eyes and nodded. “Now, dear, what should I do with this knife? Should I use it to betray you…or your beloved Erix?’

Her voice could only croak, and she had to spit the words. “Do it to Erix. For god’s sake, do it to him!”



My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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Now I Am Become Death
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2018, 07:11:58 PM »
The eternal gates' terrific porter lifted the northern bar:
Thel enter'd in & saw the secrets of the land unknown.
She saw the couches of the dead, & where the fibrous roots
Of every heart on earth infixes deep its restless twists:
A land of sorrows & of tears where never smile was seen.
—William Blake, “The Book of Thel”

Yes, Erix was her first—both her first love and her first kill.

Og-Nedi took the time during which Shanti was recovering from the tongueworm’s paralysis to drag the would-be assassin back onto the bed and strap him naked to its four posts. The loss of eyesight and fractured skull had taken all the fight out of Erix, but even without those injuries, the simple youth would not have had the will to resist Og-Nedi’s dominance.

As best as she was able, Shanti cringed from the bound form that had so often provided her pleasure. Though uncovered and unclothed, the Aasimar did not feel the coldness of the room.

“Get up, wash yourself, and put this on!” Og-Nedi commanded. He offered her a profane robe of the Mockery, made from preserved human skin. “It is time you learn—and practice—the ritual.”

Flaying Erix took more than an hour, and the mad monk used dark drugs to ensure their victim remained alive and conscious until Shanti delivered the coup de grace. Her recent lover alternated between begging to be spared and cursing her to the deepest hell—at least until she cut out his tongue.

Og-Nedi observed that the young woman did not yet relish her work, but he was pleased with her nonetheless. For he knew that in peeling away the skin and meat of Erix—even if compelled by the monk—she was peeling away the innermost layers of the holy celestial she once had been. The last vestiges of her innocence were now stripped from her for she would always bear this atrocity and its guilt within her.

Should Shanti’s conscience ever try to rise from the ashes of Og-Nedi’s pillaging, the unheeded screams of Erix would silence that call. Forevermore she would be too convicted of her own evil to believe herself capable of salvation. The girl she had once been would find the woman she now became unforgivable.

Later, Og-Nedi prepared a toast for the two of them, mixing wine with the blood of Erix. “To better days, my protégé,” he smiled as they touched glasses. “Bottom is up.”

Shanti drank, and the taste was not as unpleasant as she might have expected. The liquid seemed warm and filling, much like the feeling her mother’s apple strudel had once provided her after a day of studying her lessons. In fact, the drink coated the wounds the tongueworm had inflicted, making it easier for her to talk.

“It is also time you learned your new name, young lady.”

She looked with a start at Og-Nedi.

“The old you has passed away, but more importantly, as an Aasimar, names might give someone power over you. It’s better if only I know that name you have been called by before today.”

“I see.” Something in the wine made his words sound to her completely natural.

“Within the congregation of the Mockery, you are henceforth...Suspiria Ghastor.” Og-Nedi’s foul teeth showed between his lips as the syllables hissed off his putrid tongue.

“Suspiria Ghastor.” The name seemed malevolent—one that would have stricken the child Shanti Ovion with fear. She accepted it now with indifference.

He poured more of the blood and wine into each of their glasses. “To Suspiria Ghastor,” he toasted.

She nodded and swallowed the contents all at once, her eyes smiling over the round rim as she did so, the last drops of blood emptying away so that nothing remained but hard, clear glass. She felt drunk. Shanti Ovion had endured pain and suffering until she was no more. How poorly she had exemplified her Aasimar heritage!

Suspiria Ghastor, however, would lay claim to what was her elevated birthright. Watching Og-Nedi, the Aasimar knew that it was he who had liberated her soul from the shackles of conventional morality and views of right and wrong—shackles that had manacled her since birth. She owed him so much.

In due time, she would be certain to repay him.

« Last Edit: March 29, 2018, 07:29:13 PM by Iridni Ren »

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Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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Serrer un Squelette
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2018, 05:07:29 PM »
Almost a year passed, and Suspiria served Og-Nedi in all his evil, returning with him to the sullen monastery where he used her burgeoning skills and desirability to further his treacherous plots and undermine his enemies. Although he was always cold and cruel to her as befitted a master to his slave, he nevertheless had to guard his dark heart from softening toward her, as between the sweet pleasure he enjoyed of her body—both carnal and the brutal beating of her whenever a foul spirit possessed him—and the usefulness she proved, he found it almost difficult to maintain his inhuman reserve. Had the mad monk been any less malevolent or his greatest joys less borne of cruelty, Suspiria’s dutiful nature and surfeit of beauty might have won from him some compassion.

Og-Nedi’s inner life was so rife with cunning and scheming, however, that he never viewed his talented protégé as aught but a valuable resource to exploit. Suspiria held ever greater promise as she matured, and in that he knew lay danger: he must keep her always terrified of him lest she grow ambitious. Only constant fear would paralyze her brain from hatching a single rebellious thought.

He listened to her voice, watched her every facial expression, and continued his secret scrying of her to search for any telltale sign that she might entertain a notion of treachery. Such paranoia was necessarily prudent given the religious order to which they both belonged and the lessons he continually inflicted on her. Because he had made her believe betrayal was more natural than loyalty, to expect the latter from her he knew would be a fatal foolhardiness.

One evening he sat in his great chair nearly dosing, whilst she moved about their shared chambers cleaning and straightening. He rousted himself and commanded, “Suspiria, draw my bath.”

The willowy Aasimar started and hastened into the bathing room to do as she was told. He watched her depart, his drowsy eyes catching the sway of her hips. “Eh…why don’t you join me? My pits could use a good scrubbing and I feel far too lazy to do it myself.”

She passed back through to fill a bucket with hot water from the stove, and this time he took the opportunity to slap her harshly on her rump. Erix had also been a fine physical specimen, Og-Nedi rued the memory, as he felt the firm cheek that lay beneath her thin garment, but Suspiria’s treasures were beyond exceptional—for a woman, at least. And in his long experience no man could ever compare with a woman when it came to receiving pain!

He shuffled in behind her, before dropping his robe to reveal his flabbily growing corpulence. During the time that Suspiria had been blossoming into a statuesque figure of poise and fitness, Og-Nedi had aged and let his physical condition deteriorate. His pasty skin wobbled on his frame like that of a turkey's neck, his gut was soft and fat, and wrinkles disfigured his once fearsome tattoos.

“Oh, you’ve added bubbles! How thoughtful of you!” he chortled. He steadied himself at the edge of the large tub before adding, “Do you have my loofah?”

Suspiria nodded silently, her eyes downcast and her mien otherwise compliant.

He dipped his toe in the water. “Oh, that burns somewhat. I like it hot, but not scalding. Fix it!”

Suspiria winced at his displeasure and then swished her own hand through the bathwater. “It feels fine to me, master. But I’ll add a little more cold.” She reached for the enormous bucket behind her and emptied it into the tub.

Og-Nedi again raised his leg over the water to test it, and as he did so, he was aware of the Aasimar swinging the massive wooden bucket at his head. The room became a spasm of fiery light at the impact, and then Suspiria’s large, athletic form fell against him, and the two toppled together into the bath.

Now he felt everywhere on fire, for it was not heat in the water that had burned him, but an acid. He tried to raise himself out, although the Aasimar bore down on him with all her weight, seeming impervious to the pain now coursing through his body. She was smiling at him with a vicious malignity he had never before seen in her.

“I’m burning!” escaped his lips, the words bubbling from his half-covered face.

“Yes, yes, you are,” Suspiria replied with a hiss. “This acid is diluted and slow acting, and those of celestial blood can endure it indefinitely. You…well, for you…it's going to be very unhealthy.”

He thrashed but could not gain any leverage, and his exertion caused him to swallow some of the burning liquid. The Aasimar’s own muslin gown was becoming threadbare and starting in places to disappear entirely, yet just as she said, she seemed quite comfortable in the toxic brew as the two continued to struggle for a few moments. Try as he might, the monk could not dislodge from him the perfect form he had so often marred with agony and which now weighed him down into his own private vat of hell.

All of Og-Nedi’s complexion was discolored beet red and when he next writhed, a piece of skin floated away from his cheek, slowly dissolving like an ice cube in hot tea. The acid water muffled his agonized screams to gurgling as Suspiria thrust herself violently to push him all the way under. What was left of her garment fell off, and her own skin was now beginning to feel some irritation, but Og-Nedi’s treatment of her had conditioned her to tolerate such pain even beyond that resistance naturally borne in her celestial blood.

Og-Nedi gave one last, titanic twitch and then stopped all movement. Despite her discomfort, Suspiria continued to press on him as the minutes passed by until much of his soft tissue was gone and his bones had begun to feel gelatinous. She then raised herself from the tub and wiped the dripping acid water and last vestiges of the monk from her with the plush towel that hung nearby. She felt cleansed and purified and certain that she had pleased her god.

Before turning to leave, she spied Og-Nedi’s unused loofah and threw it in with the liquefied remains of her one-time mentor. Less than an hour later, she would slip from the monastery and into the Mists.



My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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I wasn't meant to be good
« Reply #14 on: July 07, 2018, 04:04:27 AM »
She kissed him.

And all the pent-up pleasure she repressed through her former lovers--her rapist and the boy of her youthful inexperience--she poured as much as she was able into his open, drowning mouth. She knelt in supplication to express her gratitude and opened herself to him.

Then she carved her brand into him. For that was all she knew as the ultimate expression of the affection others might call love.

Afterward, for a moment she was sated. Yet still...her god called to her. He touched her between her thighs, and she looked upon the sleeping man. For a moment, she caressed his careless hair. If only....



// Language warning:

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.

Iridni Ren

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The Freak of Nature
« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2018, 12:48:09 AM »

Suspiria ran a fair finger that ended in a long, curved nail down the dried blood that coated her ritual dagger. In marking her lover's surprised and upturned face, had her treachery pleased her god? Had the Mockery felt the same shuddering of ecstasy as she in the sudden, betraying agony she had inflicted on her mate?

She sighed, unsatisfied as to the importance of the question. Pleasure taught nothing; only pain and suffering granted wisdom. Bhaltair had much wisdom yet to learn.

Why, now, did the Aasimar again hear that same melancholy note? As she stood naked before the mirror, dagger in hand, why did the urge to self-destruction return to her? Something...in viewing all her external perfection—save for the twin flaws wrought by Og-Nedi on each of her chiseled cheekbones—something troubled her, knowing that inside her exquisite vessel all was rot and filth.

She gazed upon the cast aside hide with which she protected herself. It was dark and corrupted, as was she. The mask she sometimes wore was composed partly of grafted human skin—that which she had sawed from the jeweler's tortured face to prevent his identification before she pushed his dying body into the crocodile pit. Only the techniques of taxidermy she had learned at the monastery kept her mask from reeking with its own decay. She must also slather her soft and pliant flesh with fine soaps and then perfumes to mask the scent of her sordid clothing preferences.

She ran her other hand along the gouges and burns below her shoulder blades. Cosmetic inks disguised with artifice the ugly and violent cruelty that had been the true nature of her maiming.

Og-Nedi taught her to appreciate these intricate, ritual markings, just as he taught her to savor her own strength and the personal power that came from a complete lack of conscience and the mastering of others through the infliction of pain. But Og-Nedi was no more. Without his constant influence, she had begun to hear the murmuring of a long-entombed voice deep within her. She touched the gouges again, and her softened expression mourned in silence the angelic wings that would never rise and unfold from them.

When the monks of the Mockery had tormented her as a babe, she had sought escape in death and begged for its release. Now, she felt as though the ghost of that same helpless girl haunted her, making her despise the strong woman she had become.

Her small nostrils flared. She must find a way to silence Shanti Ovion’s miserable wailing once and for all.

Suspiria poised the point of her knife so close to her own eye that she dared not blink, feeling the edge of its blade against her long, delicate lashes. It would be so easy to drive the steel through her defenseless orb and into the fevered brain behind. Then, then she would still the tiny and weak voice that sought to make her so wretched, despite all her dark conquests. She gripped the dagger tightly in her composed and steady hand.

She listened to her own heart beat several times, celestial blood pulsing through her veins, before dropping the weapon to her side. No, by Vulkoor, no! She would not disfigure her icy beauty further. Nor would she become an apostate from the true faith, weakened by the pangs of long-dead conscience. No gods of grace had protected a weak and innocent girl from the Mockery, yet since her corruption her strong and mighty god had favored her and made her evermore powerful.

Suspiria Ghastor would live. She would destroy the maundering Shanti instead, through ever baser acts of depravity. Thank you, Sovereign of Betrayal and Bloodshed! she breathed, grateful for the renewed clarity of purpose she received into her obeisant body, as she involuntarily knelt in a sudden flush of religious fervor, her breasts heaving, her bright eyes rolling back in her shapely head.

The Mockery then blessed her with evil inspiration. The Tiefling Nyssa: Bhaltair had seemed concerned about the lost girl and her welfare, as though he thought Suspiria meant the little wretch harm. In truth the Aasimar had considered Nyssa as a malleable lackey but not ambitious enough to deserve Suspiria’s high expectations. Now, however, remembering her own girlhood, Suspiria realized that she, too, had once been meek and unassuming, uncertain of her own superiority.

By corrupting Nyssa as she herself had been corrupted and awakening the true nature of the Tiefling, Suspiria could strike at the remaining Aasimar purity in her own being. The prospect of torturing Shanti through the innocent Nyssa caused Suspiria to shiver with delight and put at rest all her thoughts of suicide.

In the mirror, a cruelly beautiful and joyous face smiled back—her even, white teeth looking as hard and perfect as diamonds.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2018, 02:52:15 AM by Iridni Ren »

My windows cracked, but they can be replaced.
Your arm will tire throwing stones my way.