Monday, 12 March 2012

Dangers of Despair

A feeble sun lingered lightly on the horizon, just managing to peep its glowing sphere between the sparsely lingering trees before it dipped away in an ever brief appearance. Deep beneath the snow capped mountain that overlooked the wide glassy expanse of the northern ice planes nestled an intricate cavern system, hollowed out in ancient times by dragons as a safe haven from the bitter winter blizzards. Within the darkest, deepest chamber lay Blaze; broken dazed and forlorn, wondering which vengeful spiteful god had sent her on such a road of despair. Shadows traced across the darkened room, falling upon her still body as she finally gave in to tormented sleep. Hours passed and she did not stir, only her eyelids fluttered slightly with a passing breeze, brought in from the icy tunnels that spiralled up towards the mountains peak until once again the sun completed its cycle and returned weakly once again.

Foggy darkness swam before her eyes, her head heavy with the weight of semi-consciousness. Shapes and shadows flickered, dancing too fast for her blurred gaze to follow. A quiet groan of despair escaped her cracked pale lips as she attempted to heave herself up from the icy ground, limbs numbed and chaotic senses scattered, a dull pain of mind now all too familiar. Her ears were stung by the overbearing silence, just the far off echoes of cracking ice as it melted and refroze in a never ending cycle. As her eyes swam she guessed she was alone, her tormentor gone into the night once more. She recalled his rage as he’d thrown her to the floor; once again he had failed and once more at her cost. Drawing in a shaky breath she found her lungs ached with the strain, as if they had been punctured with many holes through which the air was fast seeping away. Her body felt invaded, overcome and then abandoned, leaving her as a rag doll curled upon the floor.

She lay for what seemed like an eternity willing herself to feel nothing and to block out the pain. But her anguish was far more then the physical. By day break she knew her body would have healed, her vampire blood caressing her wounds together, sewing her up and making her anew. By the time the few shards of light that reached these northern realms cast down feebly upon her prison she would be fresh and ready for him to break her all over again. Never before has she looked on her immortality with such distain. The dark gift that so many craved, that people spent their mortal lives dreaming of obtaining, this curse that drove her to the point of insanity when it was abused in this way.

Her mind turned to her homeland and to her kin. She dared not think of what had become of them, could they possibly have survived? Did the walls of Castle Skaersjborg still stand proud? How many warriors had the Valkyrie claimed as their own, shepherding their lifeless bodies to the other side? She closed her eyes against the chilling shame of her betrayal. She had been their last hope, to find and return their royal son to make one last stand. But she had failed them. By letting her heart rule her head she had left them to their doom and sealed her own fate; an endless life of bitter regret.

Her eyes fluttered upon once more as she felt the tremors of footsteps approaching. At once the terror arose in her, fuelling the anger that he purposely goaded her to express. It was the vicious circle endlessly working against her; he needed the strength of her fury for contained within her immortal malice was the seed he believed would lead to his success. “My forthcoming angel of death” he often called her in his softer moments, on the rare occasions when she saw a fleeting glance of the man Nazar that once charmed and lured her into his trap. The methods behind his madness were unclear to her. Magic was a skill that provoked fear in all of her kin for in all their endless years it was a dark art that they simply failed to master and in most cases even failed to comprehend. Her only knowledge came from his conducted scenes of necromancy in which she was forced to partake. The whispered chanting in complicated tongues, the hazy smoking liquids that he slaved over night and day, his crazed eyes wide as he read aloud from ancient tattered books, his strong grip beneath her chin forced it down her throat at the vital moment and his impatient laughter as he stood back to witness as she fell to her knees gasping and choking, pale fingers clawing at her throat. For the rest she was ignorant, just the defining tool is his great plan and a never ending slave to his passions.

Mixed emotions of fear and loathing forced her to her feet where she stood unsteady, stumbling back against the icy smoothness of the cavern wall. From the shadows he emerged, eyes glaring wickedly beneath his curved brow, striding quickly despite the hessian wrapped bundle that fought and struggled in his arms. Knowing there was no escape she resolved herself in preparation for his onslaught wondering as to what trick he would try next. He drew in front of her, looming like a grotesque gargoyle as she glared back at him with all her fury. The echoing silence was suddenly shattered by a desperate cry from the creature he had snared. With a grunt of laughter he leant down low, drawing his manic face level with her own. She could see from the dark circles beneath his eyes he had been without sleep and the hazy amethyst pools of his eyes glittered with malicious insanity. With his free hand he ground his fist into her throat, knocking out the air once more as he took tight hold, pulling her forward and roughly pressed his lips to hers. Her eyes flew wildly about not wishing to look at him as she felt the stubble of his chin scrape across her own. Sensing her obvious displeasure he attempted to kiss her deeper, a deep wry laughter escaping from deep within him. Disgusted and appalled she alarmingly felt the involuntary exposure of her sharpened fangs and as he dropped the bundled creature to the ground and reached around with his other hand, raking his blackened nails through her tangled hair she could not stop herself from sinking them into his lip. At once he jumped back, hand flying to his mouth where he fingered the steady flow of blood oozing from the puncture wound. She turned her head, spitting his foul bloody taste to the floor then swinging back to glare at him her eyes shone with dark anger before she realised her error and shrank back against the wall preparing for his punishment.

Strangely he merely watched her, casually sucking at his bloody fingers. The absence of his wrath only served to frighten her more as she watched him hawk like, trying to foresee his next move. But nothing could have prepared her for what she was to face. Slowly and expressionless he knelt down and began to unwrap the now still bundle of cloth. Holding her breath she watched with rising panic as a small scaly form was revealed. Exhaling suddenly she looked up at him with wild eyes as he drew into his arms a small dragon, its tiny wings folded inwards. It appeared sedated, its snakelike eyes lolling back in its head, small chest cavity slowly rising and falling in a dysfunctional rhythm. Cradling the dragon he looked back at her, still expressionless, dark eyes boring into her own as she looked from the dragon to him and then to his hand which was fast moving, shifting the weight of the creature onto one arm with ease. The clear cruel glint of a blade sliced through the air as he deftly brought it to the dragons neck, causing her to stagger forward with a cry “NO! Please...Nazar!” she fell to her knees crawling desperately towards him, pale hands outstretched. “ENOUGH!” he hissed pointing the dagger towards her “For too long have I slaved over you, my masterpiece in the making. Too long have I toiled, facing defeat after defeat. Your loathing of me is at its highest my dear, I know that all too well...but this is the time! Like an epiphany it came to me in my waking dreams, the last piece of the puzzle....and this is it!” he gleamed like a mad-mad, his burning eyes staring down at the slumbering dragon with fascination “It took all my strength to capture one but now the deed is almost done” he whispered his excitement growing, suddenly springing towards her, his heavy booted foot catching her shoulder and sending her sprawling. With a fluid motion he turned towards his stone slab, one he often used for assembling his potions, lay the dragon upon it and with a sweeping arc of his blade slit the dragons neck.

For a frozen moment nothing happened and then at last a perfect gash appeared at the throat, pitch blood oozing fast, seeping down its neck and across its crumpled body. Upon the ground Blaze lay helpless, grief caught in her throat at such mindless destruction of a sacred creature. With a heavy sob she raised her head just enough to see that Nazar had stepped away into the shadows, his face concealed by darkness. But even so she knew he was smiling. A rampant fury rose from the depths of her soul as with glistening eyes she saw the blackened blood inch its way across the delicate membrane of the dragons turquoise wing and drip into a pool upon the floor, its inky darkness framed mockingly upon the white icy ground. Pulling herself to her feet she put aside all feelings of pain and desperation and lunged towards him, teeth sharp and protruding, eyes black with malice and a near animalistic growl escaping from her. Making contact with him they both went crashing to the floor, the blade sent skidding across the ice and out of sight. Crawling up his body she tore at his face with her nails, throwing her weight against him and finding his exposed fleshy neck she sunk her fangs into him, gripping so hard that when he finally threw her off she tore out half his throat.

The taste of his blood hit her like a hammer blow, sending her reeling after so long without. She rose like ghost and stood in the centre of the room, arms hanging limp at her side and blood smeared across her porcelain skin, breathing heavy and ragged. Like a rising serpent he stood tall from his fallen place, a dark guttural almost demonic chuckle emanating from his mutilated face. Seemingly oblivious to his injuries he stepped towards her, offering his bloody palm “Ah! My angel of death! At last you are is the time!”

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