The Order of St. Abe Huho

Mar 11th, 2016
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  1. >A figure of legend for the past six weeks!
  2. >Saint. Abe! HUHO!
  4. >Stared down a dragon until she paid him to leave!
  5. >Saint. Abe! HUHO!
  7. >Scarred a large jinko by stabbing her cheeks!
  8. >Saint. Abe! HUHO!
  10. >Tortured whole families and left them to grieve!
  11. >Saint. Abe! HUHO!
  13. >Sing at the tavern, Whisper in town,
  14. >“For live monsters they’ll pay, and whatever they do to them is a-okay.”
  16. ---
  18. >Be succubus
  19. >But without a lot of things
  20. >Broken horns, pointed ears carved round, wings ripped off, tail cut away
  21. >But still have blue skin, ha ha ha… ha.
  22. >Bandaged up sloppily
  23. >Bound and gagged in a wagon
  24. >‘Bout to die
  25. >Don't care.
  27. >Pay attention to what you can see for the first time in a long while
  28. >Piles of junk surrounding and pressing down on you obscure the world
  29. >Pale blue sky, greying with the clouds, is the only thing you can see from a narrow tunnel of blankets, barrels, and metallic things you don’t care enough to identify
  30. >Poachers sometimes rob bounty hunters of their targets, so you can imagine why your movement has been restricted by all these bits and bobs
  31. >Painfully does time pass, every stump on your body throbs, the ears in particular
  32. > It’ll end soon though.
  34. >Suddenly, there is darkness, not complete though
  35. >Steep mountains
  36. >So steep that they curve like a wave and at the tips of those waves, the ‘peaks’ of the mountains, there are lights
  37. >Small lights that are enough to tell anyone who sees them that, “Yes, someone lives here.”
  38. >Saint Abe Huho, that’s who’s acolytes you’re being delivered to
  39. >Suddenly it hits you that the end is nowhere in sight
  40. >A tear you didn’t think you had left rolls down your cheek, hot and bitter
  42. >The wagon stops in an almost too dark place
  43. >The junk is all lifted off of you
  44. >There’s no resistance in your body as the bounty hunters haul up and drag you across the dirt and rocks to the tallest stone doors you’ve ever seen set into the face of a mountain
  45. >Tall as all your captors plus yourself stacked atop one another and reliefs are carved into it depicting human-like figures being boiled, beaten while lying on a table, and choking on fumes
  46. > Twenty dim torches lining the doorway only make those images more ominous
  47. >Terribly loud sounds, of stone against stone, herald the unlocking, opening, and banging of those doors
  48. >They’re so loud and deep that the gateway seems like it should collapse in on itself from the sheer weight
  49. > You wish you had the strength to take the flames of those torches, to draw them towards your tired form and burn to death
  51. > Alone, a single person slips out of the yawning darkness beyond the doors, dressed in a simple brown robe covering head to toe with only a single red square of cloth sewn onto the right shoulder as ornamentation
  52. > Awkwardly, you’re handed to the acolyte, stumbling all the way even though you’re being supported by two bounty hunters
  53. > And suddenly you’re swept off your feet, carried almost gently in the arms of the acolyte like a princess… or perhaps like a ritual sacrifice
  54. > Above you is a black mask, a solid piece that betrays no emotion of the face behind it as it flickers between looking at you and your former captors
  55. > Acknowledging your presence and the purpose of the hunters, the hooded person turns and whistles two quick notes at the entrance
  56. > A life, your life, is worth one skull-sized wooden box that muffles the sound of coins barely jangling about as it is carried out by another acolyte. It must be very full indeed.
  57. > The bounty hunters leave, the acolytes reenter, and the doors to your tomb shut with you inside it
  59. ---
  61. > Be acolyte of Saint Abe Huho
  62. > The doors are too loud, the bounty hunters stink too much, your fellow acolyte sped off elsewhere, and this succubus doesn’t look like a lot of fun
  63. > Gotta tell those money grubbing fools to leave us something to work with, I mean, jeez!
  64. > These wounds almost make her look human, the resignation and sadness she reeks of even more so
  65. > A pitiable sight, truly
  67. > The single hall that makes up the temple’s only thoroughfare is carved from the rock of the mountain itself, just like the doors that soundproof everything happening behind them along the way
  68. > Two slabs of stone for every six feet, one on each side, some of them leading into the same room
  69. > In the first on the right, you remove the succubus’ filthy bandages
  70. > There’s no physical reaction at all from the monster, but her breathing is unsteady and ragged with fear
  71. > You suddenly grab her wrist, trying to keep her from running
  72. > … Oh, she isn’t running. Or even looking at me.
  73. > Back to the wounds then
  74. > It looks like that although the stumps still look rather raw and scabby, they won’t reopen without a lot of prodding
  75. > Good, we can take our time with every thing that our acolytes have to offer here
  77. > The succubus is limp in my princess carry again, only lifting her head to stare at the mask on my face
  78. > Mask on my face? I forgot to remove it again
  79. > These are only ceremonial after all so I’m bound to get a scolding if anyone sees me
  80. > I have to twist and press my shoulder against the fourth door on the left, pushing it open with no small effort
  81. > The cleaning waters of St. Abe Huho await
  83. ---
  85. > Be succubus
  86. > Listen to slightly less loud grinding of stone on stone
  87. > Heat creeps over you and your captor as the door is pushed open more and more
  88. > Your eyes are shut and you’ve turned your head away
  89. > You don’t want to see what’s inside
  91. > Even before the door is fully opened, terror comes in the form of sound
  92. > In a single moment, there are shrieks, gasps, and the frantic splashing of water
  93. > This must be the room where monsters are boiled alive
  94. > In your mind, the silence that follows those sounds of fright must be from everyone’s heads being pushed into the water, perhaps not to drown but to suffer in scalding heat
  95. > You feel yourself being lowered, the heat against your back gets warmer and warmer, the anticipation of water scalding you heightens your fear
  96. > Fingers, digits, paws, and what feels like a ghostly claw grope and grip your body, dragging you away from the acolyte and into the waters below
  97. > You wait for the many hands, some of which must be blistering and peeling but all desperate to share their pain, to submerge, to scald, and hopefully you’ll die from the shock
  98. > Warm and wet pressure surrounds you, and it’s surprisingly not unpleasant
  99. > Why is the water not blindingly painful?
  100. > Why is there flesh pressed against you and a hand stroking the back of your head?
  101. > “There, there, you’ll be okay now.”
  102. > Wait, what?
  104. ---
  106. > Be mermaid
  107. > Be member of the Order of St. Abe Huho
  108. > In other words, you’re a bathhouse attendant
  109. > This latest arrival… What could have happened to her?
  110. > She doesn’t seem to realize that she’s safe now, that all the bounty hunters are doing is bringing in monsters to have relaxing baths, massages, and aromatherapy sessions
  111. > The tortuous half-truths on the front doors are technically not lies, sort of. Maybe. Some here find it funny.
  112. > And after all that, there are many scouts studying under this fictional saint, willing to guide monsters back to their homes or help them make a new life on the other side of the mountain range
  113. > Oh, the succubus is crying now. Crying a lot. That’s good. Let it out, let it alllll out now.
  115. ---
  117. > Be acolyte of St. Abe Huho
  118. > Watch your latest patient get group hugged by a mermaid, a half-blind wight, a heavily scarred elf, an antennaless hornet- really, pretty much everyone in the pool which is a lot of people
  119. > Slip out almost unnoticed amidst the sudden calls of how everything will be okay
  120. > As you start to close the noisy stone door, there’s a shout from a voice you’ve never heard before
  121. > “THANK YOU!”
  122. > Today is a good day.
  124. ---
  126. > An imaginary friend to everyone alive!
  127. > Saint. Abe! HUHO!
  129. > Carried a mermaid straight through some woods!
  130. > Saint. Abe! HUHO!
  132. > Made a ghost laugh by performing a dive!
  133. > Saint. Abe! HUHO!
  135. > Escorted whole families and left them with goods!
  136. > Saint. Abe! HUHO!
  138. > Whisper to friends, mutter to gals,
  139. > “If you’re taken north on a very bad day, a bathhouse awaits and you’ll be a-okay.”
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