"The desert bears only a scathing sun, and nothing more."
"What about mirages?"

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Prologue: The Taste of Blood.

He screeched in pain, a sound that echoed through the dank halls and empty rooms of Shiro’s neglected palace. It vibrated through old cobwebs draped across everything: They sheeted the gray stone of walls, hung from unused chandeliers, coated lavish chairs and wasted furniture. In some of the older rooms, ripples appeared in pools of once stagnant water. Drops of liquid hammered stone and molding carpet.

Shiro’s lips curled into a dark smile, his eyes gleaming as he forced the knife deeper into the man’s side. The archivist cried out again, his voice weak. He jerked his entire body violently, attempting to wriggle his arms free. It was useless; the bonds that held him to the gore ridden chair stayed tightly clasped around his body. It terrified him, to know he was sitting in more than just his own blood. He felt like this torture had gone on for days, months maybe, though in reality it was a few tremendous hours. Fatigue had set in. He felt crushed, like a mouse caught in a steel trap.

His tormentor’s face was still crumpled into a wicked smile. The man’s eyes bulged from his head, and his lips quivered. He gulped down a hard stone in his throat. “S-stop this,” His breathing felt labored, his chest constricted under tight coils of chain. “Please…”

Eyes of the palest green, cool and full of void, looked down. They bore into the man’s very soul, but showed no sign of sympathy. The surreal smile that had peeled back his lips faltered for a moment, transforming his expression into an ugly grimace. He wrenched the blade out, careful to drag the serrated edge, making the wound larger. Shiro held it close to his pallid face. The contrast of his skin to the blood was vivid, like black and white.

“Beautiful.” His voice was silky, but dangerously sharp. A pink tongue emerged from his mouth, pressed up against the flat of the knife. “Mmmm..”

The man was sobbing now, his entire body shaking with fear and adrenaline. “I h-ha-haven’t done anything!” He wailed. “Why are you doing this?” He twisted his fat wrists again. The attempt was fruitless.

The knife slipped from Shiro’s hand, clattering to the floor. The definite lines of his body blurred as he moved too quickly for the human eye to follow. He brought his face within inches of his victim’s, his half-mast eyes widening intensely. His alabaster fingers clamped down on the man’s pudgy arms.

The tormentor inhaled. He breathed in the stench that lingered over the chair-—it hung in even the dankest corners of his palace-—it seeped from the pores of the pathetic man before him. The scent of Death was like rotten rose petals: sickeningly sweet.

Even when it was fresh, when he’s begun all this, he’d loved the smell. Shiro blinked as he was abruptly caught in a moment of nostalgia. He remembered plowing through damp, worm ridden dirt. He remembered dragging up coffins with the assistance of his uncle, remembered stealing bodies. He remembered his first feeble attempts at the Black Arts. The memory made his lips twitch.

“Tell me what I need to know.” He said softly, dragging his long fingers down the side of the man’s face. The man jerked back at his touch. Shiro sighed contently. Death was so intimate, so romantic. It was all too lovely for him.

The archivist hesitated. His eyes darted from place to place. His lips parted, as if to say something, but closed again. His cheeks were tearstained; blood congregated at each of the corners of his mouth. He coughed suddenly, spewing bits of blood into Shiro’s face. Shiro’s eyelids fluttered, but he did not flinch.

The man was dying.

“Okay, oka—okay.” He sobbed. “There are tw—two.”

“Where, my love?” The tormenter asked, allowing his face to become soft, like that of a love stricken girl. The man shut his mouth again, whimpering.

“WHERE?!?!” Shiro screeched, his expression contorting into a feral snarl.

“In my country. I-in Arael.” He gurgled. “Hitalgiss.”

Shiro narrowed his eyes as he turned away. He felt the man wasn’t lying; no one would want to bring Death into their own country. But both children, in the same place? It was too convenient.

“Please, the-they’re still just children!” The archivist pleaded. “why risk the—“ He hacked up more blood in a fit of coughing. “Why risk them, the fate of out world, to open it?”

Shiro turned away, ignoring the sobbing and beseeching of the grimy man. He wrinkled his nose as he moved to a table pushed up against stone wall. He hated the sound of pleading. It reminded him of greedy children, screaming and grabbing with pudgy little hands.

The table was lined with an array of metallic instruments. He ran his hand along sleek edges and sharp points, before settling on a new blade. It was like a razor, smooth, and with a deadly looking hook at the end. He took in a long breath.

“Sometimes my love, we have to sacrifice the lives of many to achieve perfect utopia.”

He twisted, lashed out.

There was red.

Shiro raised a hand to wipe the gore from his face, though the attempt was useless. He could almost smell the fat in the man’s blood. He threw the knife aside, and listened as it clanged against stone. The sound felt muted to him, distant. He was lost in the dead man’s face.

His eyes and mouth were wide, frozen in a look of terror. The wound at his neck was unruly; the hook had performed like a talented bard lamenting stories of old. Blood gurgled from the slash and soaked what was left of the man’s clothing. It spattered on the floor. Shiro stared a moment longer, thinking the image would make a lovely painting.

“Aqeale,” He called. “Bring me my pipe.”

A shadow flickered in the deepest corner of the chamber. A robed figure emerged and glided forwards, making not the slightest of sounds. Its head dipped down as he approached Shiro.

“My lord.” Aqeale whispered as he handed Shiro a long wooden contraption with a curved end, his head still bowed in respect.

“Rise, my friend.” Shiro said as he took the pipe. He stuck an end in his mouth and chewed on it, thoughts and ideas and plans churning and melding together in his head. “I have a most important errand for you.” Snapping his fingers, he created a small flame on the tip of his index. He lit the pipe and sucked in, savoring the sweet taste of tobacco.

Aqeale straightened, though his features remained masked in shade. Shiro preferred him this way; it made it easier to not become attached to his most trusted weapon.

“What does my lord wish of me?” His servant asked. His voice sounded hollow, like an echo lost in a canyon.

Shiro puffed out wide smoke rings and watched them dance through the moist air. He felt distracted by the success of his interrogation; he was so close, so close to reaching the Divine.

“The children have been under our nose this entire time. Or, should I say, above our heads?” Shiro mused, smiling at his cleverness. “Go to Hitalgiss, find the two, and bring them to me.”

“Alive, my lord?”

“Alive and hearty. They are vital to my plans.” Shiro said. He gave Aqeale a stern look. “I know you will not fail me in this; Do not make me send her.”

Aqeale bristled at the threat; a hint of annoyance touched his voice as he turned to leave.

“I will not fail you, brother.”

- - -

Finally, I know. I think i promised this, what, like a month ago? Alas, here it is! I'm very proud of it, but I know there's still work to be done, parts that need rewriting.

Leave a comment if you find something I should touch up on!

No comments:

Post a Comment

"Write with our backs to the wind and our faces to the hard, bleaching sun."