Stheno

Receiving the Eyes

Nov 21st, 2020 (edited)
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  1. A bloody torture chamber. (indoors)
  2. A noxious, red-hued fog overwhelms the area with a thick, palpable vapour. Sparse candles perched throughout this dank, windowless chamber cast just enough light to scarcely see. Tidy rows of gleaming implements lay conveniently upon tables next to sturdy restraints and threatening devices. Scarlet blood encrusts and smears almost every present surface on the sinister fixtures, its distinctive metallic tang amplified by the lack of ventilation in the chamber. Even the anatomical diagrams plastering the stone walls are unspared this primal anointment, dull crimson spatters occasionally obscuring clinical notes on physical manipulation. An aura of power pulsates from Aznahz, the Haruspex as he stands over the table observing the implements. A black marble table sits at one end of the room, displaying an array of torture implements.
  3. You see exits leading north and northwest.
  4.  
  5. Stheno inclines her head politely to Aznahz, the Haruspex.
  6.  
  7. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says to Aznahz, the Haruspex in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "Painmaster."
  8.  
  9. Orzaansyn makes a strange sign with the fingers of her left hand towards Aznahz, the Haruspex.
  10.  
  11. Aegoth makes a strange sign with the fingers of his left hand towards Aznahz, the Haruspex.
  12.  
  13. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says to Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "If there are any heathens you want to witness this attempt, summon them now. Else we proceed with His faithful."
  14.  
  15. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium says with an urbane Shallamese accent, "None, Tyrannus. I am prepared."
  16.  
  17. Stheno raises a heavily ringed hand for quiet.
  18.  
  19. A hallowed silence falls over the Ziggurat, creeping in from the walls like the dust from an ancient sepulchre.
  20.  
  21. Gleaming scalpels and wickedly sharp thumbscrews glint from a black marble table, arranged alongside other instruments of torture rusty with old blood.
  22.  
  23. Stheno starts to wield an aromatic gold pomander in her left hand.
  24.  
  25. Reyson lets his gaze roam over the instruments arrayed on the table before turning to the pomander in Stheno's hand.
  26.  
  27. Stheno swings the censer in her left hand, speaking through the acrid cloud of smoke that billows from it.
  28.  
  29. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "We are gathered here today because one of His wishes to attain a higher physicality in service to the Lord Malevolent."
  30.  
  31. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata exclaims in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "All hail Lord Sartan!"
  32. Aznahz, the Haruspex says, "I serve the Malevolent One with all of my being. His cruelty is without end, He is enduring agony become perfect strength."
  33.  
  34. Holocaust King Aegoth Aristata, Chronicler of the Damned says in a menacing voice, "Hail, Lord Sartan!"
  35.  
  36. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium exclaims with an urbane Shallamese accent, "Hail Lord Sartan!"
  37.  
  38. Mizik says, "Hail!"
  39.  
  40. Tensei Orzaansyn, Archfiend of the Cathedral exclaims in Mhaldorian in a cold, monotone voice, "All hail Lord Sartan!"
  41.  
  42. Subjugator Ellryn Nithilar exclaims in Mhaldorian in a reserved voice, "All hail Lord Sartan!"
  43.  
  44. Tisiphone says in Mhaldorian, "Hail, Lord Sartan."
  45.  
  46. Saeva says in Mhaldorian, "Hail Lord Sartan!"
  47.  
  48. Nbige, Scrivener of His Legion says in Mhaldorian in a low, rolling voice, "Hail, Lord Sartan."
  49.  
  50. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says to Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "Sir Batista, knight of Evil. Do you come here as a willing servant and subject?"
  51.  
  52. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium says to Stheno with an urbane Shallamese accent, "I do. I have prepared myself for this moment."
  53.  
  54. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium says with an urbane Shallamese accent, "It is an honour to serve."
  55.  
  56. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says to Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "Speak briefly on your preparations for the observers."
  57.  
  58. Batista glances around the room, at the one, united family of Mhaldor.
  59.  
  60. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium says with an urbane Shallamese accent, "I took a trip to the mausoleum of Lord Ekary, the Sinistar, to meditate on the lessons and values of my Infernal brethren of ages past."
  61.  
  62. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium says with an urbane Shallamese accent, "I have stalked the halls of His temple here, and meditated on the Maldaathi motto: Purification through pain."
  63.  
  64. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium says with an urbane Shallamese accent, "It is in these lessons, and with the intent of becoming the noble Predator, the wolf among heathen lambs, that I beseech this blessing - to bear the Eyes."
  65.  
  66. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium says with an urbane Shallamese accent, "You all do me a great honour by being here."
  67.  
  68. Batista nods his head at Stheno.
  69.  
  70. Saeva's gaze remains on Batista as she listens and nods once from the hooded depths of a daemon-skin cloak of the Black Hand.
  71.  
  72. Stheno acknowledges Batista with a slight inclination of her head.
  73.  
  74. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "This ritual procedure is still in its trial phase. Experimental."
  75.  
  76. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says to Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "I will imbue you with the eyes of a true predator, before man built his walls and fires against the dark. I will treat you as one of His wolves and daemons."
  77.  
  78. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says to Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "If your eyes do not take, you may be rendered blind, mad, or in perpetual agony."
  79.  
  80. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says to Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "You will still be expected to serve the Lord in such a state."
  81.  
  82. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata asks Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "Do you accept the price of failure? The vagaries of success?"
  83.  
  84. Batista appears to be unmoved, his breath the only sign of life. He nods gravely in response to the query.
  85.  
  86. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium says with an urbane Shallamese accent, "As befits His Knight, I do."
  87.  
  88. With perfect synchronicity, Stheno raises both hands to her deep hood and doffs it from her head. Her pale face appears wraithlike, her brow blackened with ceremonial ashes.
  89. Stheno carefully lowers the hood on a silken cloak of the Black Hand.
  90.  
  91. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says imperiously to Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "Kneel."
  92.  
  93. Batista drops to one knee.
  94.  
  95. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says grimly to Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "And pray."
  96.  
  97. Stheno gives a subtle nod to Saeva.
  98.  
  99. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says to Saeva in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "Sister, bring the New Eucharist."
  100.  
  101. With her shadowy hood drawn forward, Saeva bows in silent acknowledgement to Stheno, retreating aside but for a moment. She carefully whispers a word of disenchantment and squeezes her daegger within her bare palm, freeing several drops of fresh crimson blood to course into the cracks of the bloodsteel lock. With another quiet word, a sanguine flash and a click echoes through the chamber.
  102.  
  103. Orzaansyn pushes a pair of half-moon glasses higher upon the bridge of her nose.
  104.  
  105. The chest now opens to Saeva's touch and she gingerly withdraws its contents. Saeva caresses the covered orb and gazes at it with a motherly instinct, moving carefully as she turns back to all gathered. Tearing her eyes from the obfuscated item, it is now presented before Stheno in two outstretched hands.
  106.  
  107. Reverently, Stheno takes the concealed offering from Saeva and holds it up to the dim light of the chamber. As she pulls it away from her fellow Sartai, the red cloth covering it falls away to reveal a large, translucent ovoid.
  108.  
  109. A slick yellow membrane serves as the outer layer of the egg in the Autarch's hands, darkening to an ochrous gold in the centre. Beneath the thin shell or skin, something stirs, curled into a scaly ball and still very much alive.
  110.  
  111. The foetal demon within seems to register mortal touch, its spined tail unfurling to press against the slimy eggshell.
  112.  
  113. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata says to Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "Look at me, Mhal'd'Kaalish."
  114.  
  115. Batista turns his eyes upward from his kneeling position to gaze up at the Tyrannus.
  116.  
  117. Stheno grips her rosary in her left hand, grasping it firmly beneath the egg. She begins her prayer over Batista's upturned face, thumbing over a blackened bead per recitation.
  118.  
  119. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata chants in Mhaldorian in an intoning voice, "Benedixitque Deus est, in suo caelo. Ipse enim est acerbissima omnium."
  120.  
  121. Insid'atori Reyson Aristata whispers softly in Mhaldorian in a smooth, drawling voice, "God is blessed in His heaven. He is the cruellest of all."
  122.  
  123. Stheno makes the sign of the Seven above the New Eucharist, blessing it with her curse.
  124.  
  125. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata chants in Mhaldorian in an intoning voice, "Damus nullius misericordiae. Nec misereatur nostri."
  126.  
  127. Insid'atori Reyson Aristata whispers softly in Mhaldorian in a smooth, drawling voice, "We give no mercy. Do not have mercy on us."
  128.  
  129. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata chants in Mhaldorian in an intoning voice, "Nos submittere ipsi Deo."
  130.  
  131. Insid'atori Reyson Aristata whispers softly in Mhaldorian in a smooth, drawling voice, "We submit ourselves to God."
  132.  
  133. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata chants to Batista in Mhaldorian in an intoning voice, "Nos desiderans te videre per oculos Dei."
  134.  
  135. Insid'atori Reyson Aristata whispers softly in Mhaldorian in a smooth, drawling voice, "We yearn to see through the eyes of God."
  136.  
  137. Dangling her black cross over Batista, Stheno fixes him with her unblinking stare.
  138.  
  139. Stheno nods again at Saeva.
  140.  
  141. Saeva approaches the thrumming egg as she gives it one last adoring smile then forcefully stabs at the thick shell with a hideously gnarled claw.
  142.  
  143. The surface protests and bends, eventually giving way to the sharp object as Saeva and Stheno hold it steady, releasing a putrid black fluid which seeps and froths from within.
  144.  
  145. With a fluid-clogged screech, a foetal demon twitches and recoils in nascent pain. Withered wings beat a torturously slow and doomed escape, trapped by the membrane of the egg that encases it.
  146.  
  147. As the smell of sulphur overtakes the sweet scent of the pomander and violently assails your senses, Saeva withdraws the claw from the egg, leaving it to the Tyrannus, and steps eagerly away, wiping the rancid amniotic fluid disdainfully from her pale cheek.
  148.  
  149. Digging his claws into his flesh, Aznahz, the Haruspex tips his fingers in blood and slowly begins to draw dizzying patterns upon the floor, summoning forth a prophecy in blood.
  150.  
  151. Stheno takes the gnarled claw, now an amniotic needle, from Saeva and returns the Eucharist to her. She positions the claw over Batista's left eye, then poises her Ring of Iniquity over it.
  152.  
  153. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata chants fiercely in Mhaldorian in an intoning voice, "Acuero ut visus, Domine. Et receperint dolor."
  154.  
  155. Insid'atori Reyson Aristata whispers softly in Mhaldorian in a smooth, drawling voice, "Sharpen my sight, Lord. I welcome the pain."
  156.  
  157. Stheno hammers the needle home, driving it through Batista's cornea and into the iris surrounding his pupil.
  158.  
  159. Saeva helplessly flinches.
  160.  
  161. Batista sees:
  162. Sickening pain floods through your optic nerves to assault your brainstem. Your body heaves with the intrusion of needle and demon both, the bile rising in your throat as one of your most sensitive organs is pierced through.
  163.  
  164. Batista's usually stoic face gives the subtlest grimace, punctuated by an exhale.
  165.  
  166. Another dull thud from Stheno's ring pierces the needle all the way through the Infernal knight's eye, until it scrapes the retina in its bloody socket.
  167.  
  168. Batista sees:
  169. Blackness clouds your eyes, bringing with it the threat of permanent blindness. You strain through the darkness for something, anything to look at.
  170.  
  171. Ellryn rolls onto her toes, getting a better look at Batista's face.
  172.  
  173. Batista's right hand clenches, his eyes appearing to glance in directions all around the room.
  174.  
  175. Batista sees:
  176. An Infernal legion stands on the precipice of a bottomless cliff, buffeted by a sulphurous wind and the beating of a thousand leathery wings.
  177.  
  178. Batista sees:
  179. "You've failed Me," comes the guttural snarl. The pit of your stomach sinks.
  180.  
  181. Tisiphone presses her lips tightly together, watching subduedly.
  182.  
  183. Batista's face shows a sense of calm, his brow soon raising in a sudden look of dread -- as if the most painful words imaginable were spoken to him.
  184.  
  185. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium says with an urbane Shallamese accent, "My Master..."
  186.  
  187. Her cold face spattered with surgical blood spray, Stheno looks on impassively as Batista roils from visions unseen.
  188.  
  189. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata chants in Mhaldorian in an intoning voice, "Et erit lupus ad ianuam."
  190.  
  191. Reyson continues his whispered interpretation impassively, watching the goings-on with all the detachment of someone observing an everyday happening.
  192.  
  193. Insid'atori Reyson Aristata whispers softly in Mhaldorian in a smooth, drawling voice, "I will be the wolf at the door."
  194.  
  195. Saeva cradles the foul Eucharist gently in the crook of her arm and watches intently.
  196.  
  197. The left eye complete, Stheno moves to drill the blood-soaked needle into Batista's right.
  198.  
  199. Batista's eyes turn in several directions, his fingertips curling as if to grasp something unseen.
  200.  
  201. Soft, wet sounds at first, as the claw enters eye jelly and descends into the kneeling man's cranium. Then the steady click, click, click of the back of his skull.
  202.  
  203. Batista sees:
  204. Disintegration. Destruction. Pain. You watch your brothers melt away before your eyes, the flesh seeping from their bones into gruesome piles of gore at black-booted feet, before their desiccated skeletons crumple to the ground.
  205.  
  206. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata chants in Mhaldorian in an intoning voice, "Intra ad me, pueri de nocte."
  207.  
  208. Insid'atori Reyson Aristata whispers softly in Mhaldorian in a smooth, drawling voice, "Enter me, child of night."
  209.  
  210. Batista gasps suddenly, both at the sudden intrusion of the needle and the horrific vision that accompanies it. Gruesomely, his eyes search out the scene in his mind, despite the needle's presence.
  211.  
  212. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium whispers with an urbane Shallamese accent, "My brothers... my brothers and sisters, where are you...? What have we done...?"
  213.  
  214. Batista sees:
  215. They rise again. Bidden by an unheard voice, an undying command, the corpses get to their feet. Perhaps they hear you. They heft dropped weapons, shamble into battle-torn armour, and howl for their Master, their dead eyes flashing red.
  216.  
  217. Batista sees:
  218. "Do not fail. Be Mine, wholly and utterly."
  219.  
  220. Batista's eyes soften, lids twitching wildly. Pride overcomes his face, studying the scene before his mind's eye. It is a look of grave relief.
  221.  
  222. The suffocating smoke dissipates from around you as the Autarch blows out a long, sulphurous breath through her fangs. A more calming pall of incense fills the torture chamber with unholy scents and prayer.
  223.  
  224. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium whispers with an urbane Shallamese accent, "Aye, master... thy Knights are Yours, and Yours alone. We will not fail."
  225.  
  226. Batista sees:
  227. Blood. Blood. Victory. Blood. You rip through the enemy with blade and tooth and claw, every weapon indistinguishable from yourself, and every soldier an extension of His will.
  228.  
  229. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata chants finally in Mhaldorian in an intoning voice, "Ostende mihi faciem tuam a visiones inferos."
  230.  
  231. Insid'atori Reyson Aristata whispers softly in Mhaldorian in a smooth, drawling voice, "Show me your visions of Hell."
  232.  
  233. Stheno withdraws the needle from Batista's ruined eye, shaking off a few stray blood droplets.
  234.  
  235. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata whispers in Mhaldorian in an intoning voice, "Amen."
  236.  
  237. Batista's dark eyes burn with purpose, his chest heaving as if surveying a battlefield.
  238.  
  239. Insid'atori Reyson Aristata whispers fervently in Mhaldorian in a smooth, drawling voice, "Amen."
  240.  
  241. Tensei Orzaansyn, Archfiend of the Cathedral whispers in Mhaldorian in a cold, monotone voice, "Amen."
  242.  
  243. Saeva says grimly in Mhaldorian, "Amen."
  244.  
  245. Subjugator Ellryn Nithilar says in Mhaldorian in a reserved voice, "Amen."
  246.  
  247. Holocaust King Aegoth Aristata, Chronicler of the Damned says angrily in a menacing voice, "Amen."
  248.  
  249. With a small nod of reverence, Stheno makes a sign with her left hand.
  250.  
  251. Legate Dunn, Lord Marshal of His Army whispers in a deep, hollow voice, "Amen."
  252.  
  253. Batista's eyes flicker close and he bows his head, clutching at his face, as if in severe headache.
  254.  
  255. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium whispers with an urbane Shallamese accent, "Amen..."
  256.  
  257. Saeva says to Batista in Mhaldorian, "Thank you for your sacrifice, Insid'ari."
  258.  
  259. With a small nod of reverence, Saeva makes a sign with her left hand.
  260.  
  261. Saeva says to Stheno in Mhaldorian, "Brilliant retrieval of such a creature."
  262.  
  263. Saeva places the remains of the Eucharist in the box and closes it with a quiet word, locking it into place.
  264.  
  265. Batista turns his face upward to the gathered crowd, a vision of having been through a lifetime of memories in a moment's time. His eyes, now open wide, burn with a dark amber and aureate glow.
  266.  
  267. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata smiles and says to Saeva in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "It was a rare find."
  268.  
  269. With less regard for Batista's obvious pain, Stheno cants her head curiously at him.
  270.  
  271. Tyrannus Stheno Aristata asks Batista in Mhaldorian in a deadened voice, "Well? Can you see?"
  272.  
  273. Batista's burning eyes slowly turn toward the Tyrannus, gazing at her with both blurriness and a new clarity.
  274.  
  275. Sir Batista Wintercross, Insid'ari of His Insidium says with an urbane Shallamese accent, "... more than I can express, Tyrannus."
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