A Bloody Tale (draft)

Content notes: offering blood to heal a vampire. Christian themes; this story is explicitly set in a church, and the antagonists use christianity to justify their bigotry. One character experiences auditory hallucinations including one where said character is deadnamed, but no one’s deadname is stated within the text.

A self-taught wizard had set up camp with faer familiar on the side of the road. The road itself was deeper than the fields flanking it, for drainage. It had rained all the previous day. And of course, by the time the two of them had set up something of a shelter, the rain had stopped, throwing the wizard into misery. The familiar, not a physical entity but a magical one, was unbothered by the weather; they snuggled their wizard.

“Thanks,” Shiver said, holding faer familiar close.

“Of course!” Shadow of Chaos purred lovingly, rubbing Shiver’s chin with their currently furry, feline forehead. Their cat shape was always best for comforting Shiver, they’d found. Shadow believed it was due in part to it being their first physical manifestation in this world. Shiver also just really liked cats.

The land was still soggy and muddy the next day, and breakfast was a pitiable pair of eggs and a handful of blueberries.  Not nearly enough for someone wielding such power.  Still, it’d been raining too hard to forage the previous night, and their reserves were ever dwindling, so eggs and blueberries it was.

Fatigue and chill teamed up against Shiver. Fae had been about to go back into their tent when an eclipse commenced.

“That’s strange,” Shadow said. “There’s not supposed to be an eclipse today.”

“No?” Shiver asked.

Shadow shook his head.

“We know how tired you are. We’ll keep watch,” Shadow said.

Shiver, too tired to pretend to have any energy, responded very quickly to their suggestion.

Shadow, not having physical eyes, could look directly upon the eclipse. They noticed that the moon seemed to be trying to shift in front of the suns, yet it appeared as if they were pushing it back.

Shadow hummed, head on their hand, when out of the corner of their eyes they spotted the five moons of Redania, fading into the horizon.

Shadow looked back at the eclipse. If none of Redania’s moons were involved in this eclipse, then what was???

Finally, the moon stood in front of the suns. A vat of ink began to spill throughout the sky. Light blue became seeped with a purple so dark, most would call it black.

Shiver emerged from the tent, harried. Seemingly woken up urgently. Fae’s gaze darted back and forth. Fae was scanning the area.

Shadow’s brow rose. They approached Shiver carefully and accessed their sensory data share.

Shadow’s eyes flared wide open. Fae had been hearing the rasps of someone whose every breath brought pain.

Shadow held Shiver as they recalibrated their magical senses.

There was intense magic about!

Some of the ink began to dip down into their campsite. It soon swelled into a disc.

Shiver looked at Shadow, hair frizzling up with static, eyes and fists crystallizing with ice. Fae was expecting a battle to meet them.

Shadow, on the other hand, approached the portal cautiously. Shiver stayed put. Fae was already unnerved from the breathing, and now this thing had appeared.

Shadow materialized their wings and horns, just to be on the safe side, although they kept their claws sheathed for now. Their fangs were already in place.

The portal dripped and leaked a thick, viscous fluid. It was devoid of smell, and made no sound as it fell to the earth.

Shadow cupped their hands to gather the fluid for a closer examination.

The portal swallowed up Shadow. Shiver tried to recall them, but something about this portal must’ve interfered with such things. Shiver panicked and followed after them.

“{Shadow!}” Shiver called out to them, mind blaring with panic.

Fae found them surrounded by skeletons. Bony warriors scuttling forth with moldy, leather-bound books.

Shadow roared, setting their attackers ablaze with heat magic.

The skeletons kept moving towards the, the flames becoming cold and blue.

Shadow’s eyes widened.

Shiver was running towards them as fast as faer cold.

Fae sent forth a thunderstorm. Lightning scattered the bones and books.

“Are you okay!?” Shiver asked, holding Shadow, anxious to have them close, to know they were there.

“I am,” Shadow said, trying to use the more emotional aspects of their link to calm faer. It would’ve been much more effective if the bones weren’t rattling.

Shiver heard them immediately. Fae turned around. As soon as fae saw them, fae hauled ass and Shadow in the first direction where skeletons were not.

They found a church. The walls had once been white, but they had long since decayed into silver. A cross; plain and scorched, albeit polished; sat above the door. The sign out front had missing letters, but Shiver filled them in on faer own.

Sinners are going to hell!

The sign was also scratched. And bloody. Deep, desperate clawing.

With the skeletons on the horizon, and no other shelter to be found, Shadow ferried Shiver into the church.

Once inside, they began to hear a piano. Shadow kept them both hidden in the shadows. They padded along the walls, moving slowly. Shiver’s fear skyrocketed.

There was no one there. The piano was playing itself. The pews’ upholstery was ratty, the ones that still had upholstery. Most of them didn’t any longer. Some of the pews had even collapsed in on themselves.

Skeletons began to file in. As more and more of them arrived, a light began to shine at where a pianist would’ve been sitting. Tendrils poured out from the top of the light. White fabric flowed and rippled along the floor, evoking a bridal train. It slithered out, becoming more and more excessive by the second.

“{Is this a wedding service?}” Shadow asked through their telepathy.

“{I don’t care what it is, I want out!}” Shiver took the quietest deep breaths fae could.

“{What about whoever scratched the sign?}” Shadow asked. “{What if they’re still alive?}”

Shiver remained pointedly silent.

“{I know it’s difficult to be here. I know the harm somewhere just like this did to you. I was there for most of it! But there could be someone just you like trapped here. Let’s save them, if we can. Actually save them,}” at this, Shadow nodded towards the congregation, “{not their idea of saving someone.}”

Shiver looked at Shadow, then grabbed their hand.

Shadow and Shiver crawled along the walls in their dark disguises.

All throughout, the music continued to swell, spurred on by its supernatural musician.  It reminded Shiver of the last song the sound team would play before the pastor arrived.

The skeletons began to sit in the pews, even the collapsed ones.  Those congregants sat right on the floor.

It was a large auditorium.  Shiver thought it would never end.

Shadow squeezed Shiver’s hand three times.

2 thoughts on “A Bloody Tale (draft)

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