Season & Year
The grim canopy surrounding Death-rock Wharf was as dense as the undergrowth, a vast network of life encroaching upon a city which stunk of the grave in it’s atmosphere. A port built upon the history of long forgotten dead, dead religions and the many who had perished in the pursuit of power under the shadow of the monarch of Sloth. Even when you reached the outskirts of the city the ghosts of a long lost settlement could still be found in the form of ruins consumed by the wild woodland. Statues of demons who’s names had not been heard in hundreds or thousands of years, temples and archways of stone so ruined by wrath and decay that they were no longer fit for purpose and so had been surrendered to time and nature’s grasp. Yet in this forest, at a small marshy pond far enough out of town that the sound of civilisation was like a whisper on the wind, stood a strong doorway not yet crumbled beneath the roots of either the warm or the woodland.
Sickly green water sat idle, festering with flies, moss, weeds, it was as teeming with life as it was empty for no animals could be seen drinking from its surface, for most had long since learned the error in such efforts. The doorway itself was the entrance to a crypt, one which dated back far enough to be ancient by the end of the Holy war itself, but whoever built such a tomb was not what made it important, but how it had been used. Rumours, the most interesting currency of all, told stories of a relic, one which belonged to the Gaiyans, most assuming elves but some theorised it was of angelic creation. While not powerful in enchantments, it was culturally important, an heirloom belonging to the family of a powerful sorcerer, one who took part in the grand ritual which ended the Holy war itself. Supposedly, the ones who stole this relic decided to hide it away, hoping they may use it for bargaining if the Gaiyans ever chose to aid humanity, but it was never seen or heard from again.
Rumours alone would not bring most so far into Eldritch territory, so deep behind the border of the outer realm, but it was enough for one, enough to bring a watcher. A trail of pale fog, covered by the misty blanket which hung still in the first air, wove it’s way over roots and under branches. Slithering around bushes and dodging vine covered walls until it reached the edge of the pond. It’s waters lead all the way between the smoke and the staircase which marked he crypt’s entrance, but it had to be sure it was alone before crawling over the top of the water’s surface. With time it did just that, slowly driving at the base of the staircase, and there it began to reform.The smoke landed and dispersed in silence, leaving a hunched figure to rise from the wisps of light, leaving themselves in the dark daylight of a land which had not seen true sunlight in many a lifetime. Clad in a loose black shirt with a collar open to his core, and wrapped in a jacket of purple and turquoise which hung from his powerful shoulders with a mantle of scales akin to a dragon. His skin was dark and his features sharp, rich brown hair ran along his chin, over his top lip, and rolled from his head in a cascade of thick dark curls that obscured much of his face from the sides, but from the front his piercing and bitter eyes were unmistakeable.
Nemarius looked over his shoulder with action as he waited to make his entrance below, his senses searching for any sight, sound or smell which may alert him to another’s arrival. But there was nothing, only the far off echoes of beasts or the further hints at the Wharf. He scratched his exposed chest slightly, itching out of habit as he sensed a place like this would leave him swarming with all kinds of airborne insects before long, but he would not be here for any longer than necessary, only long enough o allow him to retrieve that which was stolen from his people. It was a crime he had chosen, out of the goodness of his holy virtues, to forgive the eldritch people for as a whole. He was not so ignorant as to deem them all criminal for something committed before many were born or turned, but that did little to ease his already warped view of most. They were one of many factors which left the world as poisoned as it was, and it left only a handful of those like himself to pick up the pieces and heal what they could. The angel began his slow walk under the roof of the crypt’s journey down, a deep and dark staircase which bore no light and no comfort. The only illumination coming from the glow of deep red light which flickered from his eyes like orbs of arcane flame.
Word Count; 855
Total Word Count; 855
made bycapt. meows
Total Word Count; 855
made bycapt. meows
Nemarius made his way down the staircase, slow but with confidence as he kept watch for any sign of danger, as who knew what manner of arcane or physical traps the eldritch placed in a crypt, especially one housing stolen artefacts. He only stopped when he reached the first torch, a simple wooden thing, prepped for use implying recent activity but for some reason unburnt. A suspicious piece but one he would make use of, needing better vision than what his red glow provided. He held the torch in front of him, his left grasping the tech while his right hovered to the side of it’s wrapped head. Then, in a momentary beam of light, like sun through glass, the radiant magic sparked ignition on the material and in his grip stood a flaming torch that danced light and shadow across the stone walls to either side of him, and down the many steps before him.
Deeper he continued, estimating he must have been walking for between five and ten minutes when his feet reached the end of the downward trajectory, levelling up into a straight and flat corridor which reached deeper into the crypt. He knew from experience and research that somewhere, deeper into the constructed network, lay a large chamber housing the sarcophagus of the one who first filled this tomb, but along the way he found an open hall, barely a few metres into the path. The walls pushed back either side, stretching the chamber to be eight or so metres in width, and in length it stretched just short of onedhundred he would guess. The walls which were simple bricks of stone became replaced by finely carved ornamentation. Flat smooth stone became a background for grotesque gargoyles, crawling out from the walls and roof, threatening to leap down and tear apart any who should set foot inside their domain. The roof itself still showed flaking signs of paintwork, though barely any of it was legible, instead only the spine like ridging which run down the centre of the roof was recognisable, making the hall feel like the inside of a beast’s chest than a construction. But all of this was merely a distraction from the true purpose of the chamber, rows and rows of Sarcophagus lined his path, two abreast on either side of the central path, and lined up towards the far end as many as could fit. He perhaps would have counted them if he cared, but something told him that perhaps some of those entombed here were by his own hand once upon a time.
A curious idea that the angel thought worth proving, so with cautious steps he approached the closest sarcophagus to his right, holding his torch overhead in order to better read what was carved along the rim of the stone bed of the dead. Though carved in one of the dialects of language spoken primarily by the Eldritch during and before the Holy War, Nemarius could translate it with ease. “Here lies Targon, reaver of Hoptus”. The title was not one he remembered, but by casting his gaze further along the lid he could make out the carved imagery of a face which did ring true to his memory. Like a man’s in shape, though void of hair in any form. Markings along the skin showed the places where black tattoos branched over red skin, and around his head wrapped a crown of thorn like protrusions, horns too small to be at great but enough to inspire dread in his foes. He recalled the fight like it was merely a week ago, the way Targon leapt from the trees as if without weight but overflowing with power and ferocity. But he also remembered the way Aigios carved him in two at the waist, a recollection which made him wonder if it was truly his body resting inside or simply the memories of him. He decided not to find out, especially now that he could sense he was not alone.
Silently, a feint stream of white smoke appeared within his hand, wrapping around itself as it expanded and stretched, beginning to take the form of his mighty spear so that he may wield it in self defence, but whoever watched him from behind clearly recognised whatever it was he was doing. Nemarius dodged and rolled to the side with only a single moment standing between his head and the arrow which shot past him. Two more followed as he dropped the torch and leapt over the first row of sarcophagus, the fiery glow illuminating the centre path but leaving both sides of the room almost in complete darkness, only the faintest shimmer of reflection from Nemarius’s weapon giving away his location. He rolled forward again, bringing himself to the centre of the room once more but now the golden beauty that was Aigios in his hand fully formed. Two arrows quickly emerged from the darkness but he was able to deflect them with the flat of it’s blade, a third however managed to escape his swipe and pierce the material of his jacket, causing him no harm but a single straight hole through the open left side which only made the angel grit his teeth in frustration.
Though Nemarius waited, patiently ready to defend himself against the next volley as he tried to locate the figure, instead he heard only the faintest sound of someone tutting in disapproval. “I take it your kind do not appreciate when others try to reclaim what is theirs?” He challenged into the dark, his elegant and hypnotic voice made almost into a taunting growl by his anger and lower register in the environment. “Surrender yourself now creature, or i will reduce you to ash like i have your brethren laid here.”
As he waited for the mention of slaying other eldritch to enrage the beast, he was socially disarmed by the sound of an all too familiar childlike chuckle playful humour. “Oh come now, if i had more than one brother then that would be something worth asking mother about.” Nemarius let out a slow and heavy sigh as he stood up straight one more, not removing his weapon from his hand by his eyes burning into the shadows till out emerged the form of his attacker.
Dressed in an ornate jacket of deep black. Decorated with golden embroidery and a tall standing collar, he wore it open collared to expose a low cut cleavage of his chest much like Nemarius did. His trousers were a deep black too, with well worn dark almost sailor like boots on his feet. Over his shoulder hung a small cape of bright yellow, and in his hand he grasped a simple but well made wooden bow with a single arrow notched. The ambushers skin was tanned olive, with rich brown hair which was attractively scruffy and wild with a single braid down the side of his face. A cheeky smirk was on his lips and a deep breath broke the momentary silence between them before Nemarius spoke again, to who he now recognised easily as Zathius. “And here i thought my brother was too busy whoring his way across the east coast to bother me this far west.”
Word Count; 1211
Total Word Count; 2066
made bycapt. meows
Total Word Count; 2066
made bycapt. meows
“Oooof, harsh, someone’s just jealous i could afford to.” As the two brothers faced each other it was clear to see that they had different reactions to being within the same room. One, bitter and wary, while the other was grinning and smirking as if they were but kids again. However despite his brother’s poor mood, the younger of the pair approached him and slung his bow over his shoulder, lining up neatly with the quiver on his back. “I see you kept your reflexes sharp.”
“I see you found new toys to play with,” jabbed back Nemarius with a glance at his bow as he let out a slow breath and gradually built up the willingness to open his hand, the spear dropping for only a second before it evaporated into smoke and vanished from sight. “It is good to know you are not dead Zathius.”
“Wow, wait a minute mister, that almost sounded nice.” he teased as he looked his brother in the eye, now standing within reach of an embrace though neither moved for one. They stood there for a moment scoping each other out, eyes searching the other’s as if the right angle would allow for the reading of the other’s mind. The only illumination on either being the warm flicker’s of light reflected off them side on from the torch which still lay burning on the floor. “You’re gonna make me ask, aren’t you?” Zathius asked as he squinted his eyes, pulling back his smile into a slyer and more subtle expression of mocking curiosity.
Nemarius didn’t answer at first, in fact he didn’t even look like he was going to say anything, instead he rolled his eyes and turned to face the doorway which lead deeper into the crypt. Before he walked though he did decide to say one thing for his brother’s ears, looking over his shoulder with a smirk of his own as he simply instructed, “You can carry the light.” An instruction which was answered only by an exaggerated scoff of displeasure as Zathius walked away and back towards the torch. His mind was conflicted in how to feel about his brother being there but he was too experienced with him by that point to risk showing such uncertainty. On the one hand reuniting was always an enjoyable and interesting dynamic, to see that the other yet lived and to tell the other of their respective exploits. But in contrast he knew deep down that one of the only things they agreed on was what they were, brothers, and that beneath this they were men of different goals, different codes and different souls.
Zathius managed to catch his brother up by the time they reached the corridor, and together they walked side by side into the dark with nothing ahead of them bar a void gradually burned away by the light of his torch. “You’re really going to make me ask, aren’t you?” taunted Zathius, looking side on at his older brother as he awaited an explanation.
“But my dear, sweet Zathius, i have no idea what you are implying.” Nemarius teased in response, not even glancing to meet his brother’s eye as he knew full well what was being asked, yet he would wait until the words were spoken into the dead air of the tomb before he would offer any clarification.
“Uhu…” Zathius tried he really did, to resist the taunting and stubbornness of his brother and wait out until he would cave, but such an attempt was futile. Instead he rolled his head back, sighing with the sound of defeat and holding up the torch higher to reveal a larger portion of the path ahead. “Come on! What are you doing here? You can’t expect me to believe your self righteous ass would risk the taint of the Outer Realm just for the sake of a stroll. What do i have to thank for the pleasure of your company?”
“Don’t be a blithering idiot Gadre’el, you know why i’m here and i bet it’s why your thieving paws are groping around inside a tomb also.” Despite the lack of animosity or anger in Nemarius’s words the traces of his feelings were clear as day to anyone used him the way his brother was. In truth, Zathius could tell the other angel had nothing but disappointment and disgust for the life he lived, a hypocritical judgement from one who played the role of a scoundrel himself.
“Oh we’re going there are we?” Chuckled the younger one, genuinely finding it hilarious how easily he could test the other’s patience.
“Apparently so…” The golden archer stopped in his tracks, waiting for his brother to take the hint and follow suit so that they may talk face to face. After a few paces they did, though they were a couple metres apart now.
“Look, i get it, you don’t trust me to recover the artefact, or anyone else for that matter, but don’t you think you can sit this one out for a change rather than crusading off behind enemy lines like this?” As he pestered for approval, Zathius had genuine caution and concern in his eyes. He knew how much anger and trauma still coursed within his sibling’s veins ever since the war, and he knew that if anyone else had been here he likely would have left them skewered for daring to get in his divine path. “They’re not your enemy anymore Shamsiel… And if this thing mattered so much then it would have been handed over like two hundred years ago.”
Much like before Nemarius didn’t answer at first, instead he simply strode towards his brother, his features perfectly reserved and handsome like a painting, no rage to be seen except for deep behind his eyes where it was hidden with a secret code Zathius could read from memory. But as he stood there, inches from his brother’s face and fully lit by the fire of his torch, he spoke. “Playing pickpocket with some little human girl doesn’t mean you know how the world works, so don’t speak to me about a war you didn’t fight in.” He snatched the torch from Zathius’s hand without much resistance, and he turned on his heel to march onwards. Though Zathius caught up again a moment later he couldn’t help but swell with frustration at the ignorance of his sibling. Even if the war were in full swing, grudges against an entire species would serve no one well, to even in satisfying his pain.
As they walked the only sound other than the crackling of the fire was their footsteps, but even this halted before long. The two brothers reached the end of the corridor, and found themselves in the main burial chamber of the crypt. A single sarcophagus stood in the heart of a large open circle, with walls carved to depict scenes from battles long past and a roof showing the faded memories of a painting which he could only guess once showed each of the monarchs of Sin at the time construction. “So… who’s asking the dead guy for our stuff back?”
Word Count; 1187
Total Word Count; 3253
made bycapt. meows
Total Word Count; 3253
made bycapt. meows
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