Cassus Phasmatis

Be sure to read Mortuus Monumentum before this.

Darkness surges through me, the power flaring inside me, a flame once lambent in its glow now filling my being to the brim. The dust that was once the monument settles slowly at my feet, the disgusting, decadent thoughts crumbling along with it. I feel cleansed as the dust mixes in with the sand and dirt of the ground, and my thoughts drift to the approaching presence of Yochanan. I clench the Black King’s Sword in my hand in anticipation.

“I see we haven’t caught you at a disadvantage. How sad.”

I whirl around, but meet only open space. I am not surprised; Yochanan is a master of deception and concealment.

“Oh, how mighty you stand; wings spread wide, horns shining like a black lacquer… and those eyes… I shall have to take those from you when we’re done.” As the words exit Yochanan’s grey, dead lips, the ground below me begins to shake. It splits apart in front of me as if eviscerated by some massive, invisible blade, rupturing and shifting until a large ape-like creature rears its head at the epicenter of the split. It pulls itself from the titanic crack in the earth, its huge fists making small craters in the ground. Once it finally emerges completely, its shadow totally covering me, I make out the object it holds in its hand. I stifle a laugh, the sound not unlike a dry, hacking cough.

The White King’s Sword.

TEhaDt wiOllE dDo yIou nEo gSood agSaiUnst mMe EDO.

Yochanan is next to the beast, his smile drawn back farther than human muscles should be able to allow, his teeth unnaturally clean and white. “Oh yes, and that most damned Black King’s Sword. It shall look wonderful in my trophy room! My guest will marvel at it and ask, ‘Is it true? Is that the blade that killed Legion?’ and I will say, ‘No, Mr. Filth, the blade that once so easily dispatched the White King failed to gut the inebriated swine; Legion,’ and my guest will say, ‘Was the wielder flawed? Or the weapon?’ and I will say, ‘Perhaps both.’”

The beast charges, the impacts of its huge feet causing the earth below my feet to vibrate ever so slightly. I can see the muscles in its arms rippling as it brings the White King’s Sword to bear. I can also see how very little substance there is behind the swing. The beast, while fearsome and powerful, lacks finesse. Parrying the strike is hardly a test of strength or skill for me.

IEs tDhOat thiEngD yIour bEesSt figShter, YoUchaMnan EDI? I inquire of Yochanan, who does not seem to be surprised by the ease at which I am able to fend off his cohort. Suddenly, Yochanan vanishes from view and I feel an impact to the back of my head. I fly forward, shoving the Black King’s Sword into the ground to slow myself. I about-face as I come to rest, just in time to see Yochanan charging and feel the lumbering footsteps of the beast behind me.

“Tell me,” Yochanan begins, the words seeming to be said slowly but within an instant, “did those memories make your skin crawl at what you’ve become? Did they burn you and torture you? No? Then why did you send them away? Did you ever think, even for a moment, that you could have used that spark, that hope, to become more than your master? Because you and I both know you could surpass It, but you need an advantage… a certain Je ne sais pas. Or a knife to the head. That works too.” In response, I pivot my torso at the waist, making a horizontal decapitating swing at Yochanan’s head. He ducks, and the beast behind me senses the opening and makes a thrust. To its obvious surprise, I continue my pivot, spinning further than a normal human would be able to. Blood and a roar of pain both fly into the air as the Black King’s Sword opens a gash in the beast’s shoulder. I finish my turn, moving my legs with my body to end in a sort of crouch facing Yochanan. His weapon glances off the Black King’s Sword, and I answer,

I wiEll nDot faOll foEr yoDur tIricks, YocEhanSan. MaSster, heUlp mMe ESSUM.

Edo Edi Essum hears my call, and soon a space in the fabric of reality tears open, my master emerging as though from the surface of water. The beast roars, and I cannot hear the words that Yochanan and my master exchange as I parry the beast’s attacks. I am not interested in it, but I continue to fight out of necessity, not really paying attention. Suddenly, I see something that catches my eye: Yochanan shoves a silver box into my master.

Edo Edi Essum stops for a moment, freezing in place. Suddenly, my limbs feel heavy, far too heavy to move. They drop to my sides against my will, and shudders run through my body. My mouth opens, and a thick black substance I can identify as blood floods through onto the ground in front of me. I fall to my knees, feeling as if I am in the body of someone else. My vision grows hazy, and my eyes cannot focus. I feel as if all my power, all my energy, is drained from me, leaving me nothing but a tattered and broken husk. My eyes close.


To be continued in Resurrectium.

Part of the series Ieiunitas, Infectus, Talius.
Last modified on 2009-05-24 09:22:25Viewed 5882 times

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