Tales of Oscura
The Banshee's Delight
Zach walked into The Banshee's Delight and noticed a few of the patrons sitting around the banshee's cage.
With a certain curiousity, he noticed they all had their eyes closed, some of them were clawing slowly at the arm rests of their chairs, others held on to them with an iron grip.
He had noticed this scene before, but the thought of approaching that cage made him shudder. He had come close only once and the sound he heard had made him jump back and he had gone to great pains to avoid it ever since.
It was then that he noticed one particular girl sitting in front of the cage, red hair, beautiful face even as it was, contorted in a sort of fearful grimace, and a nicely developing body. She was probably no older than seventeen. Zach felt a tingle run through him.
If this girl could sit in front of the cage, hell, so could he. Besides, it would give him a chance to talk to her at least.
Summoning every ounce of valor the merchant had in him he approached the cage and took the seat by the pretty redhead.
The moment he sat down he heard that horrible moan and a cold river of fear ran up his spine. He swallowed dry and thought "fuck..this!" but before he could rise the girl grabbed him by the arm, startling him worse than he would ever admit.
"Don't run, stay, you'll like it if you give it a chance." The girl said.
Zach wanted nothing more than to get away from that damn cage, but looking at the girl allowed him to think with another part of his anatomy entirely. A part that was fearless in a way his mind would never be.
Zach sat back down, closed his eyes, grabbed on to the arm rests of the chair and tensed.
The moan came again, slow, cold, lifeless and filled with pain and sorrow. Every hair on Zach's body stood on end and he almost lost control of his bladder, but he stayed and the feeling passed.
The girl grabbed his hand and squeezed reasurringly. "Hell of a feeling isn't it?"
"You…you like this?" Zach asked incredously.
"Well..you're doing it stone sober...it's a little more intense that way." The girl smiled mischeivously. "I could...give you a little something to soften it up" She raised her eyebrows questioningly.
Gods he wanted her.
"Sure." Zach said and gave her his most charming smile.
"Okay...meet me out back in a minute." She winked at him and left.
Zach wasted no time getting the hell away from that chair. He watched her leave with a smile on his lips and a hand in his pocket to hide his reaction to the sight.
He doubted he had ever been so damn scared in his life, but now that he was away from it...a part of him wanted to sit back down. It was crazy, but he thought he liked it.
Zach left the Banshee's Delight in search of the pretty young thing, the smile never leaving his face.
Emeline the Whore
She focused her mind on happier times, of things from her childhood, before her father was killed and her family lost everything. Emeline tried to recall the smell of her mothers garden after a fresh rainfall and the laughter of her younger sisters as they played with the kittens. The Sailor's pungent smell and load moans and grunts where making it harder for her to focus on such memories, reminding her immediately of her current plite. Closing her eyes Emeline tries to return back to her happy place, but the mans loud grunting brings her back to reality. The Sailor was not such a foul man, he had purchased her time on many occasions now, and he would always leave her some extra coin, for he knew Mother Loren would not be allowing any of the girls to have such, and sometimes he would even bring her scents or pefrumes from the shops in Peltarch. But despire this man's kindness she knew that others were not so kind, she recalls some of the rougher nights she had spent in her tent, under the watchful eye of Mother Loren, Emeline had never know true love, and her innocence was taken from her far too young, she wanted to die for many many years because of this, but now nearing her twenties she had just simply grown numb, she would drink, or partake in other substances when it was availible to her, anything to ease her mind. She hoped this would be her last visitor of the night, it had been a long day and many ships had arrived in Oscura this day, so as Emeline laid on her back, staring past the Sailor, to the top of her tent waiting for the man to finish. A single tear rolls from her eye, quietly hoping to one day find her true love and to find love of her own free will.
The Contract Eternal
::The soldiers body lay upon the cold Obsidian altar, still and breathless. Its wounds long bled out and mended the body seems ready to be put in its final resting place. A hooded figure then enters the room, his face recessed deep within. The hooded man walks a single circle around the fallen soldier before stopping at his head, the man looks down to the fallen.::
"You thought you could break our little contract so easily, refusing my call to return to the living?
::The man chuckles lightly and pulls out a piece of paper, lined in gold and written in blood and holds it before the dead soldiers eyes.::
"You failed to remember our agreement, it says here that you pledge yourself mind, body and soul to the protection of me and my family till none of us draw breath."
::He leans close to the dead soldier and whispers into his ear::
"I still draw breath, and you still serve me."
::The contract is then placed upon the dead soldiers chest, with his arms crossed over top of it. The hooded man takes a step back and draws forth a tiny ceremonial dagger, ornate with dark runes and infernal writings. The cloaked man begins manipulating the dagger in odd ritualistic motions making over top the dead body as he begins to speak the verbal components of his ritual::
"Tenth Lord of Nine, I call on thee to enforce the contract to the letter. A contract which this man signed of his own free will, and yet now refuses to abide by its guidelines. By his own blood he has signed it and by his blood I ask you to force his return to me, in your name this contract will be carried out in full."
::The man whispers a few divine prayers over the corpse, and after some time its lips open and let out a groan. The man smiles beneath his cloak and takes a step back::
"Rise my pet, I've much in-store for you yet."
_The robed man slowly makes his way down the winding staircase that would lead to his personal study. This eve marks a special occasion for him, for it is the Eve of the Feast of the Moon. This night in which the robed man shall once again participate in the Binding, a ritual which will once again renew his eternal Contract with the Tenth Lord of Nine. With each step he takes, tiny balls of red light illuminate giving off just enough light to safely navigate down the tight corridor. From the room below, a series of hushed whispers can be heard. A smirk crosses the mans face as he nears the bottom of the staircase, he pauses at the bottom of the stairs peering into the chamber. Five humanoid silhouettes can be seen, they appear to be evenly spaced out and facing an Altar. The robed man steps forth into the chamber and a series of magical balls immediately light up fully revealing the contents of the chamber. The altar a grand piece indeed, made from Obsidian lies in the center of the chamber. Grooves in the stone floor form channels which follow a pattern similar to a pentagram or star, these channels in turn lead directly to the base of the Obsidian Altar. Each of the humans are then knelt down, seemingly anchored down on the points of the grooves. Each human holds their palms upwards just over the grooved channels. Their expressions marked with that of fear, panic and confusion as they kneel motionlessly around the altar. They each wear white robes. Upon closer inspection, it is clear that each individual is bound securely to their spots, tiny cords dig deeply into their flesh and a few drops of blood can be seen pooling around some of their ankles. In the far corner of the room looms an undead abomination, a revenant of sorts with cold dead eyes and a faded complextion, one would guess this creature the one responsible for the bindings and detainment of the slaves.
“you have all been brought here to witness the Eternal Contract between myself and the Lord Who Watches, you all entered into contracts to serve me, and serve me you shall.”
He slowly walks to a desk and retrieves five sheets of parchment, all with a blood smear at the bottom. Bloody contracts binding these five souls to the robed man. He quickly looks through each contract meticulously and then turns to face the five.
“In my hands, I hold the contracts you each signed when you agreed to come under my employ, signed in each of your own blood” he Smirks as he looks at each of the individuals, sorrow and regret showing on their expressions.
He then steps forward to the Altar and places each contract in a large bowl, within the bowl lies a Silk Sash as well as a heap of various Gold Coins, Gems and Jewelery. He steps away from the altar after placing the contracts within the bowl and begins whispering a few prayers to the lord who watches.
“I Call upon your Cruelty, Corruption and Betrayal to infuse this Altar with your Divine Power” multiple prayers are cast upon the Altar, infusing it with dark energies, it seems to hum with dark energies when the initial prayers come to an end. With a satisfied look the robed man reaches to his belt and unsheathes a wicked looking Ceremonial Dagger and turns toward the nearest human.
“And now we shall begin…”
He takes a few short strides to reach each of the individuals, in one swift slice he cuts open their exposed wrists and watches as blood pours into the channels. The blood pools and then begins to run down the grooved channels leading toward the Obsidian Altar. After the fifth and last wrist is cut the robed man begins to pray once more.
“Tenth Lord of Nine, I come to you this Eve as I have each year to renew our Eternal Contract, I have brought many gifts to you this Eve, the blood of Five soulds whom have fell prey to the cruelty and betrayal of those they trusted, I had their souls over to you. Not only do I give you the blood of these five, but I sacrifice to you portions of my wealth and knowledge, portions of what I have gained the past year in service to you Oh Mighty Tenth Lord.”
The Five who have given blood slowly begin to succumb to their wounds and lie lifelessly, the Bowl on the altar now filled with their blood, the coins, sash and gems all floating throughout. He then mutters a prayer.
“I pray that in exchange for my sacrifices you grant me STRENGTH to conquer those who oppose you” the man whispers a prayer into the altar. “WISDOM to mislead those who must be mislead.”. And the CHARM needed to lead more men down your path and to you Gargauth, In exchange for blessings and power, I give you my absolute Fealty, may our Contract be renewed once more and my servitute to you be absolute and unwavering.”
He then approaches the altar, he then takes the Ceremonial Dagger and pricks the tip of his finger, squeezing out a single drop of blood onto the altar. Enough to sign his Eternal Pact with the Lord who Watches. The second the robed man's blood makes contact with the Altar the pool of blood begins to swirl upwards, like an inverted tornado the contents of the bowl begin to swirl upwards, as they rise they seemingly disappear, the red blood slowly begins to darken to pure black and then falls back onto the silk sash, seemingly absorbing into its fibers giving it an even darker red appearence.
He takes the Sash in his hand and smirks. Before turning to his Undead Pet.
“Remove these husks, I have no use for them any longer.”_
The Abandoned Tomb
Once a rubble strewn cavern used to house the dead, now a marvel of craftsmenship, rumor has it that the construction is entirely Dwarven, but those who witnessed its construction would confirm that the necromancer who renovated used only the labor of undead creations.
There seems to be little to no traffic from the complex nowadays, those who enter the door are confronted with a pair of statues, lifeless and cold, but with glowing beady eyes that seem to monitor their every movement, aside from the statues the room consists of braziers that magically light aflame when life approaches near, as well as a staircase leading down into a deep pool of an acidic substance that burns the skin as well as slowly drives the victim of its burn to madness…
They say a Lich lives within the tomb now, once a woman who was so driven to gain knowledge and success, that she gave herself over to dark forces to achieve her goals, others say she is just a misunderstood wizard, Most people don't say anything for fear that it will attract her attention and that she may appear before them with ill intent...
She stands out by the Well now, her trained gaze taking in every single detail of the confounding structure. Before her stands her easel, patiently awaiting its mistress's first loving strokes. Her paints are mixed and ready in her left hand, but she makes no move towards them.
Instead she reaches into a small pouch on her belt, and retrieves a small pulpy fruit. What Sorien had called, "The forbidden fruit." She eats it slowly, enjoying the rich texture of it, and the quiet rush of warmth into her body, and into her mind.
As the fruit takes affect, she begins to see new colors as her vision cleared, and then went far beyond her normal perception. It was like watching the misty veil that covers the eyes of all humans, slowly part, revieling the both beautiful, and terrible truth of existence.
Her supple hand begins its masterful work, moving the brush over the canvas in slow, perfect strokes. The colors were mixed just right, the tones, the depth, the shadows, they slowly begin to appear and unite, capturing the unique structure before her…and then something happens.
Her focused stare goes blank, and her steady, graceful hand begins to move rapidly from paint to canvas. The carefully mixed colors are forgotten, replaced only by the union of them all, black.
With near ferocity she begins to strike the canvas, slashing more than painting, her black paint splattering all around her. Her tempo increases more and more with time, until her hand finally stops.
She stands there then, staring at the black bulbous head with black writhing tentacles springing from it, and lets out a long, resigned sigh. Every time she has tried to paint the Well, the result has been the same. As much as she tries to capture the feeling, the depth of sadness and oddness about the Well of Souls, she awakens from a sudden trance, only to find this same black blotch on her canvas.
Reluctantly, she rolls up the parchment and picks up her easel, making the short walk of shame towards the Coppers. Tomorrow would be another day.
They move at the very edge of perception, bringing with them an unnatural cold that makes the skin crawl and bones ache. The Well moans, louder than ever, awakening with sudden violence, spewing forth flames from which the screams of dying men and women can be heard.
The very presence of the souls becomes a palpable, dreadful thing, sending any in the vicinity running, screaming. Others simply stare, caught in the gaze of the viper, unable to move.
The nights in Oscura are filled with visions of terror. Spectres of its ancient citizens, running, screaming, dying of fright before the unseen force that chases them.
In every dark corner, after every disturbing vision, the sinister giggling of children is audible somewhere nearby.
Those who dare the Well in its time of fury all report the same sight, hidden behind the tormented faces.
A little girl.
There is a child in the Well.
The night was the same as the rest, cold and damp and dark. Shadows danced around the Well of Souls as it sang its lullaby of mourning. From the dark cornes of the city they came, striding purposefully, the children of war.
Now no longer defenseless, no longer untrained, their bodies developing, their minds sharpening. Boys and girls left alone by a ravaging war and the carelessness of others, stood in their teens now, before the Well of Souls, ready for the final task at hand.
As they gazed upon the well their eyes became as black as pitch, and the Well responded, its light becoming darkness, swallowing the world around it into impenetrable night.
The Well groaned in the darkness. When light could again be seen coming from the pillar, the children were gone.
That evening, every child under the age of thirteen throughout the land of Narfell had a night terror. A city, filled with the ravaged bodies of slain children, all standing in obedience to the will of one.
A little girl, of no color or particular descriptor, except her terrifying presence.
The Terrible Children
Segrus closed his eyes and focused on his breathing, holding the hilt of his knife tightly in his grasp, trying to relax. He pulled the cowl of his cloak over his head, it helped ease him.
Marcus and Paran walked slowly up to the large group of boys, "Gashers" they called themselves, a self proclaimed gang of eight rough edged kids that liked to pick on anyone weaker than themselves. Their leader Attus, was the ripe old age of fourteen and no one wanted to mess with him, until now.
Attus saw them approach and gave his friends a wide grin, whispering to them. "Hey, it's those Little Knives brats. Get ready to give them a swift beating, show'em who's top dog down here."
Marcus wasted no time. "You assholes ganged up on Tillan. We're here to pay you back."
"Oh really?" Attus said approaching the two boys with his friends all closely behind. "So the little songbird went off crying for his little buddies?" He said in a mocking tone. "Guess we'll have to teach you shits a little lesson too!"
"No," Marcus said flatly as he produced a deadly looking morningstar, his eyes suddenly becoming as black as onyx. Attus took a step back and when he looked over at Paran, realized he too had eyes like tar. "Your time here is done."
The world went suddenly black. The boys screamed and scattered. There was the sound of girls chanting from somewhere in the pitch and then two loud screams. Attus froze, hearing the terrible sounds his friends made all around him, and then, there was silence.
As suddenly as it came the darkness broke and all around him were the bodies of his friends, cold and lifeless. Some of the other Knives were around him now. The two girls, Lia and Shala he knew, the boy dressed in black, his face covered by his cowl, he did not.
Tillan limped over to him, still badly bruised from the beating they had given him. He made no sound, did not even look angry with Attus as he unsheathed a fine looking shortsword and plunged it into his gut. Attus grabbed at the boys arms, looked up at him pleadingly, but found no mercy in those black eyes, no pity whatsoever.
Tolg woke up in the middle of the night, his body drenched in sweat and his heart pounding. His scarred face had lost a bit of its color but he did not shout out. He stood from his cot and walked out slowly so to not wake his brother Keltz or the woman with him in the cot next to his.
He closed the door behind him and made his way to their small kitchen, looking for some water to drink. They had just brought some in from the well so there should be plenty.
He heard her before he had even turned the corner. A woman, sobbing miserably. Bracing himself he turned towards the kitchen and saw her there, huddling in a corner like a frightened child, wearing a simple nightgown covered in blood, holding a likewise stained kitchen knife in her red hands. She was deathly afraid, shivering and alone.
Tolg stood quietly and watched, not knowing why this always seemed to bring tears to his eyes, no matter how many times he saw it. The woman raised her head, seeing something, her eyes widening, her mouth opening to an almost perfect O, not a sound escaped her, she simply shivered, dropping the knife in her convulsions, and as Tolg watched, died of sheer fright.
The image of the woman vanished and became thin mist. Tolg stood in the kitchen, tears flowing down his thick cheeks. He wiped at them in annoyance. He had seen a lot of things in his short time here, but they seemed to always effect him, refusing his attempts to become stoic and resistant to them.
This city's history was terrible, that much he knew, but now it was coming back to haunt them. Tolg stood in the dark, not really wanting to move, wishing there was a sunrise he could wait for. He would have no such comfort here, and it hurt his heart to know it.
The Grim Keeper
Darey Marshby walked the foreboding city streets with the ever vigilant Zolkan by his side. The horribly scarred panther had grown used to the old man's walks. The people of Oscura gave the old man and his vicious looking pet plenty of room when they saw him approach.
The owner of the Grim Bottle was not known for his friendly demeanor. He walked the dank streets with his book in hand, stopping at almost every building to jot something down. While on this ritualistic walk he did not take approach kindly, most attempts being met with his cold gaze and a soft warning growl from Zolkan.
What it was he was searching was a mystery to those who saw him, but it was common knowledge he was growing an unhealthy obsession with the Well of Souls. The dark history behind the well made people uneasy about old Darey.
Many believed Nichal had gotten off easy compared to some of the others that had seeked out the well's dark origins. They did not want to think what might happen if the old wizard and his panther suddenly lost their minds to it.
Darey made his last stop of the night, walking by the Well itself and scribbling in his book. There he saw that woman again, staring into the light, her eyes glazed, her skin pale and drawn, and her breathing ragged. He wondered if she had moved at all since last time.
He knew better than to interrupt, only the gods knew what would happen if he did. He would have to speak with this one, if she survived her fascination.
Darey Marshby made his silent way back to the Grim Bottle. He would unveil this mystery, one way or another.
Nilla last edited by
The Crimson Beauty
_A soft whimper escaped her lips as her erratic breathing fogged the air around her. A cold wind had passed through the area surrounding the Soul Well causing her to shiver at first, and then allowed her to refocus her mind.
She had sat in the same spot for nearly two days now. Thankfully the city had been practically deserted lately or many would have noticed the crimson haired beauty constantly gasping for air as her eyes stared blankly into the Soul Well. She could feel this weight deep within her holding her in place, refusing to let her leave.
From time to time she could swear she would hear a screaming or a pleading voice standing above her. Such made her smile. She felt pain, she sensed pain. It was beautiful. It was addicting.
She sat for hours upon hours her half-elven ears perked, straining to hear the voices, knowing they were within her rather than an outward entity. Every muscle ached in her body. She could feel every beat of her heart, which had slowed down immensely to allow her to focus inward. She had quit eating, quit talking, quit everything. She simply listened. Her body weakened, her skin paled, her entire self focused on these souls, their screams, the agony of their pleas…it nearly made her orgasm._
Cartus walked back tiredly through the dark cavern. The heavy box in his pack Jario had sent him for was starting to cause a sharp pain in his lower back. He was glad he was almost home.
The ground shook violently under the man's feet. Cartus spread his legs out to try and keep his balance, his thoughts focused on saving the parcel he carried. He would rather fall on his face to break the box's fall than face Jario with damaged goods.
The shaking ended as suddenly as it had started, leaving the cavern in silence except for the sound of small stones tumbling down the cave walls.
Cartus lifted his torch and peered out in the direction of the chasm. There was nothing there but the softly dancing shadows created by the light of his torch, but something…something was not right. A very real sense of peril creeped up the man's spine. He couldn't hear or see anything near the chasm, but he knew he was in danger.
The feeling was familiar to him, he remembered this feeling from when he was a child, scared of the monster he -knew- was hiding somewhere in his room, waiting, breathing, hoping he would fall asleep so it could devour him. For a moment, Cartus was a child again, with an irrational fear of the dark, and the hidden horrors that lie within.
He felt a certain urge to call out to his mother, but she was long dead and could not come in with a candle to soothe his panic. He was alone, and about to get devoured by the creature that had stalked his room when he was a child.
Cartus dropped the pack that held Jario's goods, not even registering the loud breaking sound it made when it struck the rock at his feet.
Cartus ran for his life. He did not stop until he was back at the Coppers, and even then, without a single word of explanation to anyone, walked into his quarters and drank himself unconscious.
The moment Rob saw them arrive, he knew what he had to do. He ran. He ran right to the Shiney Coppers and let the man at the door know the Network was here.
Helerin, disciple of the Black Lotus faction, was the first to greet them. There were eight of them in all, led by a woman it seemed. All of them were well armed and wearing the Network's signature gold and black colors. One held their banner, a black scepter emitting green rays on a gold disc clutched by a black wyrm.
Only one did not, a towering man who stood at the woman's right. His armor was black as pitch with green highlights and a black fist with green beams being pressed from it displayed proudly on his chest.
"Welcome to Oscura." Helerin said with a respectful half-bow. Truth was Helerin hated the fact that these people were here, hated that the Lotus had decided to deal with them, but these were perilous times.
The woman removed her helm, allowing jet black hair to flow around her shoulders. She was very attractive except for the one cruel scar that ran across her cheek. Her pale blue eyes seemed merciless.
"Thank you." She said almost with a sneer. "I will speak to the inquisitor now. Make the arrangements." She looked around and spotted it, spotted the Well of Souls. An amused smile spread across her lips. "We shall wait there. Come!"
With that she began walking towards the well, her men following without heistation, their armors clanking loudly as they went. Helerin was left alone, frowning, his mind caught in the implications of this arrival. More would come, of that he was sure.
Helerin went to summon the Inquisitor for the meeting, his steps slow and worried.
The Left Behind
Tommy sat at the foot of Drorry's stand to enjoy the small loaf of bread she had given him as payment for bringing her the tankard of ale from the Mithral Mug.
His back hurt and he had bumped himself on the head with the tankard when he put it on his back, but it wasn't anything he wasn't already used to.
Working as a gopher in Oscura was a good way of meeting the strangest people in the land, and getting smacked around by them sometimes too.
It was just something he had gotten used to. It was what kept him from starving to death.
Drorry was busy filling bottles with the ale he'd brought her. He liked Drorry, she was his only friend. He wished the dwarves would let him work with her but they seemed stubborn about having only her sell their ale. Even the butcher, who trusted him with bringing the meat he cut all the way up here, wouldn't give him a job selling it.
He would probably be a gopher all his life…well until he got bigger at least.
"Did you like the bread?" Drorry asked smiling down at him.
"Hmm hmmm" Tommy responded, still working on a mouthful of bread.
Drorry giggled watching her friend smile with a faceful of bread, but her smile soon faded.
A skullcrusher walked right up to the boy and planted a swift kick in the boy's gut, making him spit out the last piece of bread and doubling him over.
"Stop lungin' arund ye little shit! Larpos want's to see ye. Says he's got somethin' fer Darey. Now GIT!" The crusher gave Tommy another kick to the rear to send him on his way. Tommy ran, holding his sore gut and biting back his tears.
Drorry frowned but she didn't dare say anything to the crusher as he walked away. It hurt her to see Tommy when he came back with fresh bruises or a bloody lip. She wondered how long he would keep being the friendly boy he was if this kept up. She was so worried about him. He was her only friend.
The dark cowled man in his purple black robe,
Glides past the display with twitch of his ear lobe,
What's that? He thinks,
That sound, that stink?
A glance to his left,
A gander, a peer,
A man, drinking away due his poor fears.
A smirk, a chuckle, so soft, so distant,
How could this thing's life be so persistant?
A shake of his hood, the same smirk playing his lips,
A shame Nical's sanity seems so eclipsed.
Clayton wanders by, gliding, ever silent, smirking to himself under his dark hooded cowl, keeping a decently safe distance between himself and the diseased man.
Nichal lay huddled in a dark alley, shivering with cold, his head burning from the heat of his sickness. He heard the whispers all around him, the dark promises, the fearful secrets that lay within every wall, behind every door.
He hated it, but as hard as he pressed his grimy hands against his ears and dug his long jagged nails into his lice infested scalp, he could not make the sounds go away.
He could no more make them stop whispering to him than he could stop from seeing "them". The things, the creatures that wrapped their slimy, writhing appendages all around this city.
How tempted he was, how urgent the desire to rip his own eyes out and end this, but he simply couldn't, he was too afraid of the pain. If only they knew, the things that were all around them, the nightmares that lived here, the pain they had caused him by infecting him with this madness!
They knew…they knew he saw them...they knew he listened. They knew he was scared, and in their terrible ungodly voices, they laughed at him.
With one shaking hand Nichal took the small vial he hid in his drawers and shook it a bit, still some left, but he was running out. With quick fingers he uncorked the vial and drank the remainder of its contents.
Slowly the concoction began to take effect and Nichal found the only semblance of peace he was allowed in this dark city.