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The Legend of the Succubus (Short Story)
|First published in||The Dark Ages Website|
The Legend of the Succubus is a short story written by Cliona and based in the Dark Ages role playing game. The original source of this story was in a literature section on that site where users could add tales and legends which relate to the game.
The Legend of the Succubus
|“||In the deepest levels of the ancient burial crypts of Mileth village live the beautiful but deadly Succubi, the minions of Sgrios all too often seen passing by the Pravat caves as the worshippers of Sgrios play their deadly games. But they are not the oldest of the Dubhaimid, no… not old at all.||”|
Prologue - Deoch 1
They found her at twilight, curled in a heap, miles from the ancient castle where she'd last been seen headed. It had been months since the massacre in the village of Finach, ages, it seemed, since the disappearance of the worshippers of the darkest gods. She lay in the forest on the Isle of Man, under the protective branches of the guilseileach tree. Upon returning to the newly-dubbed city of light, under the shiny lampposts they laid her.
Her hair, which had always been raven in color, had taken on the bright crimson hues of blood. Her eyes, once the talk of the town, had always been a clear crystal blue, but were now dark, nearly black in their steely radiance. The dark gold of her skin had faded, gone ashen in the uninterrupted darkness of that tainted castle. Scars of every size and description ran every possible course over her young body.
Strangest, though, was the clothing which covered her. Black satin, it was the courtly dress of a bygone age, she lay tied up in the stately velvet bodice of a lady in waiting. Her face and hair was clean, yet she claimed to remember nothing, not even putting on the garb which covered her.
Over the mountains of Kasmanium the sun sank, and the moon began her stately rise into view. As the sky grew dark, shadows grew long and, eventually, ceased to be seen. The fragments of light, safely encapsulated in their towers of glass, began to glow faintly, then, suddenly, they came ablaze with light, illuminating the streets.
The kindly priests of Rucesion hopped to their feet and stared with amazement at the girl before them. Her eyes burned with the unholy fire of Deoch, her young chest heaved with passion. Her hair gleamed violet in the Light, her mouth opened, revealing white, pointed teeth. She leapt for the nearest priest and tore at his robes, searching hungrily for the young flesh beneath. He clawed desperately at her to no avail, while the other priests pummeled her with flashes of light and fury, eventually clubbing her with their staves, with not a single scratch upon her body. On a whim, one of the priests, a worshipper of Glioca, hidden behind an empty barrel of ale, threw a heal. Immediately, the possessed woman stood, turning furiously to point a daggerlike finger towards him.
"You!" she cried, her voice dark and lusty, her body consumed with shadows. "I will find you! I will see to your destruction in my domain! I will find you in your dreams, where no one may hear you scream!" With that, she lunged for the young priest, who covered his face with his hands, desperately. When her strike never came, he lifted his fingers away, gingerly. She was gone, leaving only the shivering priests to stare in wonder.
I - Legend
She walked slowly, dried leaves crackling beneath her bare feet like the angry orange flames of a hundred wildfires. The wind whipped angrily around her, the tattered remains of her ancient blue dress swirling about her legs, twisting and binding her until every step was a concentrated effort. Still, though, she never faltered in her progress, her thin body, wracked as it was with desperate shivers, continuing forward as if no obstacle stood too great in her way.
Her eyes remained fixed upon the ground, her ice blue gaze following a path which seemed as if it only barely scratched the fine veneer of sanity. Her mind raced behind all this silence, her heart leapt, beat more free than she could ever remember it having beat before. She strode forward, sure of her destination, more sure than she could ever recall having been.
Above her, the trees grew continuously angrier in the ever-increasing gale, their branches beating one another like the angry jabs of punch-drunk brawlers. The clouds blew overhead with unbelievable speed, racing one another towards the open sea on the other side of the Isle of Man.
Before her threatened the darkened haze of Castle Dubhaimid, the perpetual darkness which shades the sheer stone outer walls a deep charcoal gray. As the hour reached mid-day, imperceptible through the overcast clouds and the never-ending darkness, the haunting bells in the greatest tower struck their haunting tune, the ancient dirge which called the dubhaim to their greatest feast, their inhuman voices raised in praise to their creator Chadul and their greatest master, the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep. Not to be forgotten was Sgrios, devourer of souls, who nourished them even as they caught not the Aisling visitors so rare to enter their castle.
On she walked, unaware even as the fat drops of rain began to soak her gowns, and the noxious sulfurous haze enclosed her, welcoming her fully into the territory of the ancient caisteal.
All around her, the drums beat in their ancient rhythm, older than the Earth-Sea itself. The drummers sat cross-legged around their instrument, their dark robes covering all but their hands; some large, some small, some male, some female, some pale, some ruddy. They softly pounded the stretched hide in time to their own heartbeat, each one coming at the same time from the one before it, all perfectly in unison. Around them, in a large circle, stood the remaining worshippers, save one, the high priest, who lifted his arms high into the air, crying out the ancient prayers in a loud voice.
Almost immediately, one of the worshippers dropped to his knees in the circle, throwing his head back and raising his arms in supplication. His black hair streamed back like a satin cape, catching all aspects of the golden torchlight. He cried out in the old tongue like a thing possessed and a young woman with hair as fine and smooth as a raven's breast dropped down elsewhere in the circle. Together they cried out their prayers of glory and might in the name of the dark gods, until the electricity in the room was tangible.
With a loud crackle like the heavens opening, a clear spark like shattered crystal passed between the high priestess and her congregates. Tangible swirls of darkness formed ropelike extensions from the ancient stone floor, twisting and turning and knitting into an inversed tornado, whipping the unconscious woman's ebony hair into a tangled mass.
Slowly, so much so that it was a barely noticeable transition, a mound formed in the center of the whirling dervish, seemingly stretching the ancient stone from its eternal placement until finally it separated into the distinct forms of the dubhaimid. Smaller doglike pupas clawed their way from the stone, heavily armored ghasts scrambled out, and two enormous gargoyles lifted themselves from the stone, their huge wings flapping with the vile sound of taught-strung flesh.
Finally, in a stronger gust of dark athar, srad, creag, and sal separated themselves from the darkness, forming through their dark gifts the huge and imposing form of a deadly Succubus. She stood tall, with her violet hair hanging long down her back, from which two enormous batlike wings sprung. She stepped forward, her long perfectly shaped legs swinging easily, her cold gaze passing over, examining everything around her with coal black eyes, so dark that could not reflect even the brightest light, though they were anything but dull.
The horrified worshippers watched, unmoving, as the first crackle of lightning, the greater power of air, was unleashed upon them.
II - Attack
The moon rose slowly, the long beams slowly peeking over the low humps of the mountains, crescent shaped as the uneven patches of earth sheared off the tops and left them in beautiful ruin. Her slow ascent was nearly imperceptible, yet far too quick. While she made her stately entrance, all the earth continued its course, birth and death, life and love. The waves crashed into the shore with immeasurable fury, white foam leaping from the waves, deep and dark blue as the clear skies above. Overhead, the rain-slicked grass parodied the turbulent seas, which glittered and danced like a rogue's pocket spilled over with newly burnished stone.
Horses, fenced in only by the sea, set their steely gaze upon the distant northern skies, where the faint glow of Kadath with visible to those who still saw with eyes as old as the fae. Sheep, dark and miserable with the rain that soaked through their heavy wool, huddled in mounds beneath the sparse trees, munching on the sodden blades, dark eyes brooding.
On the other side of the hill, unable to be seen by the sea, small cottages, the makings of a healthy-sized village, sat silent sentry. Warm yellow light spilled out, illuminating the fat raindrops as they passed by, splattering into the puddles already forming in the hard-packed dirt streets. From every chimney rose a wisp of smoke, testament to the warm family tucked inside.
Not far away, behind the shelter of mountain, the east woodlands stood empty save for their dark-lined inhabitants and a lone party of Aislings, their swords slicing through wind and rain as easily as they hacked through flesh, sal strengthening, srad petering out in the sudden sloppy deluge. From under the dripping leaves of pink personaca, the fae watched, silken wings tucked close to their lithe bodies, tiny ears pricking up from the honey curls of their hair. Quickly they took to the air, whispering past the Aislings who looked up not from their desperate fighting.
They flew up in a great cloud to the crest of the hill, the rain not finding them, the light of the moon giving their flesh to a soft luminescent glow. Atop the hill they did alight, finding each a perch among the delicate fragrant flowers of betony. Again came the sound, the shrill piercing cry, and another sound, not unlike the blasts of distant trumpeteers, far in the distance, yet echoing sharply over the sea.
Without warning, the horses on the hill began a desperate race for the side of the hill farthest from the sea, and the fae looked nervously at one another, shifting lightly on their feet. Then they, too, made a dash back to the glades, seeking refuge in the valley on the other side of the hills, hiding deep in the cavernous interiors of the trees. The Aislings, finished now with their hunt, driven off by the cold and stinging rain, made their way over the hills to the small town on the other side.
Stopping for a moment to rest a stitch in her side, a female warrior let her sword touch the ground, frowning slightly at the mud which covered her usually gleaming gold armor. Her crimson cape, dark with rain and the black blood of the goblins, hung like a lead weight from her shoulders. As she lifted her sword to continue her journey, she took a long regretful look at the full moon, whose light, had it not been occasionally obscured by the blackened clouds, would have been enough to continue their hunt by.
Surreally, a winged figure passed in front of the darkened shadow of the moon, huge, nearly obscuring it for a moment. From that distance, only a creature of monstrous size could do such a thing. Almost as soon as this permeated the warrior's battle-wearied brain, another creature passed, and another. A great fleet of winged horrors. The warrior turned and shouted to her priest, a young man now frowning at his tattered Zeus. The priest looked up and immediately saw the creatures now flying towards them by the hundreds. He shouted desperately and scrambled down the hill to the town, shrieking and waving his Zeus, waking nearly every Aisling in the small town below.
Angered by the ruckus, they threw open the doors frowning, dressed only in their nightclothes, feet bare, toes scrunching up at the unwelcome feeling of mud. Out of breath, the priest pointed at the unwelcome visitors, now just beginning to crest the final hill and descend upon the town.
The warrior lifted her blade and the two remaining wizards gathered their will for an explosive strike. The first Gargoyle landed with a horrific fluttering of wings, red eyes cut like rubies and twice as bright. A ghast scrambled from its back and ran towards the warrior, falling at once to her blade, only to be replaced by the next, as an entire army of winged Gargoyles began to arrive, with ghasts clinging upon their backs and Succubae bringing up the rear, their purple hair wet with rain, their blackened bodies slick.
Aislings spilled from the houses, swords uplifted and monkish feet pounding, light wielded as deftly as the tiny roguish daggers and great explosive forces of earth. The Dubhaimid fought with all the fury of Chadul, and Aislings with all the passionate fire of Deoch. By morning, half the Aisling population had been felled, but not one had fled, and for each which lay slain, four dubhaimid had joined them.
By morning, there was only one question remaining, the one which sang from Aisling lips like a desperate prayer. "Why?"
The trees reached down their cold bitter branches, clawing at their cloaks as they rustled through the forests with their heavy loads. The stinking bodies of the dubhaimid needed to be disposed of, and the pyre for the fallen had already been lit upon the place of battle. The heavy pupas, with their stony armadillo armor, were loaded onto carts to be taken off to the Kasmanium mines, where they would be burnt in the fiery river which raged below the deepest pits, underneath the earth. The ghasts were quickly turning into mush, shoveled into aged barrels to meet their molten fate. The succubae, too human in their darkness, were burned where they fell, but without the ceremony of their Aisling kin. Bare patches of black earth remain, even now, at the end place of these dark temptresses.
- Cliona Malkier al' Fae
- Spiorad Acair
- Deoch 10