Something Wicked This Way Comes....

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Something Wicked This Way Comes....

Post by MannyJabrielle on Sun Feb 02, 2014 10:18 pm

The history and story of Angelica, Witch of the Vale, an Elf Vampire. She is the 2nd character I created on the server, so guess after several years it's about time I put up her bio Razz

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Something Wicked This Way Comes...

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You may have heard of me, you may not.  Life of a shadow-witch does not necessarily call for fame and glory, nor do I seek it.  But even if you have heard whispered rumors of the Witch of the Vale, you still know nothing, and are a fool if you believe half of them.

My name is Angelica.  I was born in the year 124 of the common calendar, on the last day of Autumndawn.

My parents were peaceful, decent elves of the Kingdom of Silver. They traveled, across the lands as modest merchants. I never grew to know them however, and only recall them in the fleeting, misty gauze of a young child's memory; where mother and father were the world, where song and lullaby carried one off into sleep, and sunlight dazzled everything with a golden haze of wonder.

When I could barely walk without clutching onto mother's skirt, the darkness came.  That is how I remember it.  Not the nestled safety of the crib, not the warmth of softly glowing cinders in the hearth.  This darkness was everything my world was not.

There was a tangy smell of copper, and the greasy slick of red.  Screams, so like, but so much more than those I made when I first discovered the bite of a rose's thorn.  Sounds of Mother and Father angry, then pleading, and then.... nothing.

The darkness took me.  It had a face, a terrible face of bleached, yet still filthy bone.  Hands with fingers nothing more than bony claws. A voice bereft of what I had come to know as life.

Gone were the sun dazzled dreams of infancy.  My life turned to darkness, the muddy straw and cold stone of my cell, rank and seething with filth.

I learned to walk on my own, lest I suffer the lash.  My lullabies became the haunted, wretched mutterings of dark spells worked throughout the night.  I was a slave, but how do you understand slavery when you knew nothing else in the world?

My master was once an orc, though the face I grew to know had long shed the grey, leathery skin, and the eyes were shriveled to nothing more than coldly glowing coals. His name was Orgrak, a lich, something foul clinging to the illusion of life.

As I grew older, I fetched for him, I tended to the menial, I suffered the whims of his dark, arcane experiments. I never spoke to him, nor he to me other than to issue a command as if I were one of his golems of bone and flesh. I suppose I was lonely, but I knew little else.

My only companionship was with the lich's familiar. The creature was a scrawny, filthy raven by the name of Poe. His wit and tongue were vicious, and he ridiculed me often, however in his way, he was kind. He was the only friend I knew. And perhaps, in the dark dungeon of Orgrak, the only two beings with a heartbeat had to form some sort of bond.

Poe would summon me for the master.  He would watch over me in my chores, chastise and peck at me should I ere. And sneak scraps of food when I performed well, although what passed as food in Ograk's domain should best be forgotten.

As I grew older yet, the barest hints of maidenhood blossoming beneath the rags of my shirt and my stringy dark red hair growing past my shoulders, the master began teaching me the ways of magic, the reading of arcane runes and scripts, the crafting of raw bones into slender wands. By no means was I an apprentice to that dark creature, however.  What he taught me was simply rudimentary skills, enough to make me useful in assisting him with his darkest experiments.

It was perhaps a sign as well of his descent even further into the darkness of lichdom.  He withdrew from everything, his mutterings and musings becoming ever more demented and crazed.  I knew little of the world, I knew little of anything, but I could sense that whatever faint grip Ograk had on un-life, what little sanity he still possessed, would soon be gone.

It was soon after this change in the master, that another change came.  In the life of a slave girl, changes were frightening, and yet desired above all else.

The change was a being unlike any other I had known.  I could sense much of the same darkness in him as in Orgrak, the same mockery of life, yet he was different.  His flesh, though cold, was still intact.  His voice, though ominous, held a rich, melodic hypnotism, and his eyes! Dark, fathomless abysses, yet alive with a frenzied passion unlike anything I had experienced before.

What his business with the master was, I do not know, but he came often to the dark dungeon that was my world. They conversed for hours on end.  Argued at times, conspired in wicked glee at others.

And when Orgrak would withdraw to his innermost sanctum, the dark stranger would remain, and enjoy the luxury of Ograk's hospitality, peruse dusty tomes the master had brought forth, or simply rest in repose and mused over the fires in the soot covered hearth.

And, he would speak to me.  His words, melodic and flowing entranced me, but I knew not what he said.  I only knew the guttural, harsh words of the master.  When it became apparent that I did not understand him, the dark stranger seemed amused.  In the orcish language of the Master, the stranger explained that he spoke the language of my people, the Elven tongue.  I could not comprehend what he meant by that.  But over days and weeks of his visits, he taught me my own language.

It was different from when the master taught me to read the arcane writings.  There was a joy, a sense of wonder.  I could feel the flow and sensual cadence of the high language as my tongue struggled with it.  It was more than anything I had ever known, it was a thrill, a thing of life within the darkest cave of loneliness and despair.

Between the stranger's visits, when I was locked away in my cell, Poe would sit with me.  I taught him this new language.  We played games with it. Perhaps he was cruel to me at times, but in times such as those, he relished my companionship as much as I did his.  Alone in the dark, we bantered and fenced with each other.

I do not know how much time passed in this manner.  It seemed forever. It seemed far too short.  I was enthralled with the stranger.  I never knew his name, there was never a need for names.  There was Orgrak, there was Poe, there was me, and then, there was him.

The master spent more and more time secluded away in his sanctum, and I, more time in the company of this dark, ravishing being.  He whispered poetry to me, told me of great vasts deserts and skies, skies studded with stars, and the great moons, waxing and waning. He whispered of one day taking me to see such things with my own eyes.

And, he would drink of me.  I was no stranger to pain. And while the prick of his fangs stung, the touch was bliss. The feel of the world spinning around me, the feel of his hands holding me steady, the hot rush of my blood, it overwhelmed me, and I welcomed it.

And I was a fool for it.

In my rapture, I failed to see how weak I had become, both in heart and body. I never had an excess of flesh, a slave does not know such things, but even my slender bones seemed to whither as time passed.  My skin, having not know sunlight since infancy, grew paler yet still. Even a simple act of sweeping the master's floors became exhausting beyond belief.

And yet, the fool child I was, I welcomed it, I reveled in my infatuation.  I wallowed in the lies.  I thought of nothing else than to be in his arms, to see these deserts and stars, and know nothing besides him.

And as withdrawn as he had become, the Master took notice of his slave's lapses.  He did not issue threats. He carried out any retribution he had in mind.  As both my weakness and his paranoia grew, so did the beatings.

The final night of my life in Orgrak's domain would be the worst.

My beloved had come once again, and I yearned for the moment the master would retire to his sanctum so that we may have our time together.  Poe sat on my shoulder, and whispered warnings to me, but I did not listen.  My heart beat fast, I spilled the drinks I poured, I dared a savage beating in my love-struck day-dreamings.

Soon the master withdrew, and as soon as the great iron door to his sanctum shut with it's thunderous boom, I ran to my beloved.  He drank of me, he cooed his lies into my ears, and I knew only the bliss of surrender and the stir of desires new to a young elf maiden.

I knew not how much time passed like that, it was too much, it was never enough. It came to a terrifying end with the howling rage of my master's sepulcher voice.

Perhaps it was his growing paranoia, perhaps it was my growing foolishness, but the master suspected his property was being taken advantage of.  He emerged from his chamber enraged.

I wished for my beloved to take me away, to flee from those dark dungeon cells. A foolish girl hopes for such things.

The master scorned and cursed my beloved, demanded he make payment for his trespass.

And, my beloved simply shrugged and agreed.  His words drifted into my ears at first like a ghost, barely heard, yet at the same time, roared like the fury of a balor, summoned against it's will and howling with the fury of the darkest realms of horror.

"You shall have payment. Such a scrawny thing can't be worth much however, and certainly not worth any of your ire. An enchanted arrow for the skinny cow... no more."

My world shattered, and I collapsed, hollowed and numbed. Barter for the trespass on the scrawny cow, the trespass upon me, was agreed upon, and a single arrow tossed onto the table.

And then, the whole of my world and the whole of my agony left, sauntering out of the dungeon with a wicked laugh. I could not breathe, I revisited the words over and over and over in my mind. The still bleeding pricks upon my neck burned, and the dungeon spun around me.

And then, the skeletal visage of my master hovered above me. The dark, glowing pits of his eyes glared at me, and he uttered the last words I would ever hear with living ears.

"Not even worth that single trinket..."

And then the lich's power washed over me, shattering my weak body, tearing apart the remnants of my broken soul.

***

I remember the dazzle of the sun.  I remember the laughter of an infant.  I remember the haze of gold and white, and the warmth of summer afternoons.

But these were not memories. I walked a great hall, vaulted, with tall windows into a blinding contradiction of light and mist.  And I heard the whispered voices. I looked about, but there was nobody to be seen.

And yet, I felt them. A soft hand brushing the hair from my brow, the strong hand across my shoulder. And the haunting whispers of a life I never knew.

I drew comfort there, I drew in ragged breathes, and tears flowed.  I had never cried since the darkness had taken me. The lifetime of sorrow released, the shock of a young love crushed relieved, the agony of death mourned.

In my grief, I found comfort. I found sense.  I spoke to those I could not see, I spoke to a mother I never knew, I told them of everything, of nothing, I rambled and cried and laughed, overwhelmed. Everything I had ever known or felt came rushing through me.

And then, something else came. It stirred in my chest, like a stray ember disturbed by a draft. The ember grew, a flame, so small, so fragile. And that smallest of flame grew hot, it swelled.

Within that great hall, I knew of what life should have been, what I had been denied. I recognized the sadism of those who robbed me of life. The anger grew. It burned hot, and yet oh so cold. And I could not release it. I could not let it go and walk further into that great hall, to embrace the ghost of what had been.

The fire overwhelmed me.  The shining mists burned away. The stonework, once bright and clean, darkened as claws of soot and smoked crawled along them.  The dazzling sunlight faded away.

The fire burned before me. I lay on the cold stone floor, in a pool of my own blood and filth.

And from that I rose.

***

I knew these cells, I knew every nook and cranny.  Every crevice the roaches nested in, every mold riddled hole the rats nestled in.

But I had never seen Orgrak's inner sanctum. I would see them now. I did not know what drove me, but I knew he had no more power over me.

The arrow on the table glittered in the dying firelight. It dazzled me.  The head of the arrow, a thin shard of crystal, glowed with an inner white light. The shaft, blacker than any darkness, glistened like oil. The fletching rustled in the draft ever so lightly, golden feathers whispering of sunlight and dazzling haze. I took the arrow, it's weight nothing in my cold fingers.

As if possessed, I scoured Ograk's vaults for a bow. I knew of only one within his collection of trinkets and his hordes of treasures.  A simple bow, for a simple task.

Within moments I found it, laying among the remains of an explorer who blundered into the dungeons a month before. She would not need it any more.

I glided towards the door to Orgrak's inner sanctum, a ghost, a spirit of vengeance and spite. As the last ember of the fire in the main hall died, I pushed open the great iron door.

The sanctum was bare, except for a single stone pedestal with a glowing gem affixed within a dragon's mummified claw.  A pile of bones lay just beyond the pedestal, the bones of the lich Orgrak.

Poe rested upon the iron chandelier hanging above the pedestal. No candles burned in the chandelier, nor did it seem any had burned in it for ages.

When the viper-tongued raven saw me, he squawked in alarm.  His mangy black wings flapped hysterically, and his eyes widened in fear.  Were I not set so viciously upon my task, I may have laughed at the sight, a talking bird scared witless of a scrawny, dirty Elven maid with a simple bow and a single arrow.

The commotion stirred the bones, however. A faint wisp of something flowed from the glowing gem on the pedestal and into the bones.  They rose, Orgrak rose.

Poe gave a final squawk and flew out through the great iron door, fleeing the sanctum.  The animated form of Orgrak rattled up. The red gem burned with a fierce ruby light.

And I stood my ground. I watched the lich rise up, towering over me.  His ominous laughter echoed within the stone hall.

"So, little corpse, so soon after finding un-life, you wish to throw it away?"

The lich's taunting laughter grew as shuffled to and fro. With a single arcane utterance, the sanctum fell into absolute darkness. And yet, I could still see. I saw the glowing gem upon the pedestal. I saw the glowing pits of Orgrak's soulless eyes.  And I saw the shimmering crystal head of the single arrow I held in my hand.

The laughter grew, and I could feel the energies of dark magic gathering. And yet, the same energies which agonized me before, now only touched over my skin like a warm draft of air.

Still the lich laughed, and taunted me. The memory of my beloved liar's laughter joined the lich's own laugh. The pinprick holes in my neck burned and pulsed with heat. The glowing ruby upon the pedestal pulsed in rhythm with the heat of my anger.

And time slowed. The lich raised his arms to call forth a spell I would not likely survive, his words drawn out as slow as his movements.  My own arms raised up, slow and sure.

I drew back the bowstring, I aimed the arrow. It's shimmering head sparked with a shining light, peircing the darkness around me.

And then, I released.

***

The Lich's phylactory is a strange thing. So much raw power, so much energy, so much danger.

And yet, so fragile, so delicate, so vulnerable.

As depraved and removed from life as Liches are, perhaps they share with the living that very contradiction. The living are powerful, vibrant, capable or such depth of emotion and feeling.  And yet, that very power is so easily shattered and broken.

I envied Orgrak. I envied his desire to cling to whatever vestige of life he once had. I envied his iron clad will to fight for even the shadow of a life. I met my end laying down, mouth agape like the lack witted little twit I was, unable to raise even a finger to save myself. I let myself be slaughtered like a lamb, mourning the lies of first love. Orgrak, wicked as he was, as foul and depraved, knew no such lack.

And yet, I pitied him. Such a powerful, vibrant being, and yet ended with a single arrow.

The lich's phyactory is a strange thing indeed. So delicate, so vulnerable.  And I ended Orgrak with but one arrow.  The crystal shattered, the single enchanted arrow destroying not just the gem, but the very essense of what was once Orgrak the Orc.

***

I left the sanctum, and the pile of shattered crystal and crumbling bones that had been the whole of my young life.

In the main chambers, I found Poe skittering back and forth across the table, disturbed, frightened an distressed.

I paid him little mind as I rummaged through the varied possessions of Orgrak. I knew not what I was looking for. I only knew I needed something to help me survive, such as I was.

Poe finally worked up enough courage to flap over to a chair near me.  Standing on it's back, he rustled his wings and regarded me curiously.

"It's you, isn't it, scrawny girl?" he asked in halting unsure elvish. I glanced at him, and couldn't help but smile a little. As frightened as he was, he still liked to insult me.

"Yes, mangy chicken, it is me." I pulled a dark leather tome out of one of the many desks and thumbed through it's pages.

Poe flapped over to the desk and peered at me intently. I slammed the tome shut and tossed it to the side, pulling out yet another one, looking for anything I could use, anything I could understand and make use of! Trained by a lich, and barely able to understand anything more than a simple cantrip! I curled my lip in disgust and threw yet another useless tome away.

Poe spread his wings and bobbed his head, laughing as only a crow could.

"Vampy girl all mad. Didn't study enough, can't read, can't write. Throwing tantrums now".

I snarled at the bird, baring my newly grown fangs with a hiss. To his credit, Poe didn't flinch. Instead, he leaned down, and poked his beak at a book partially hidden under a pile of parchments.

I picked up the book, and opened it. The arcane writings were difficult, but I could understand them to a degree. I would not be able to master the spells, but it was a beginning.

"So, looks like the bird is useful enough not to become tonight's supper," I sniped at the raven. "Not that there's much meat to be had there anyway", I finished with a chuckle.

"Look who's talking, vampy girl" the crow retorted. The banter continued that way until I had gathered a small supply of items. I then turned towards the great stone doors at the end of the main chamber.

I had not left those dungeons since I first arrived as a toddler.  I had never known what lay beyond those doors anymore than I knew what lay within Orgrak's inner sanctum.

I slung a small satchel over my shoulder, along with my simple bow, and a ragged threadbare cloak.  Poe flapped over and rested on my shoulder.

I didn't need to take a last look around.  I walked towards the great stone doors. I passed the spot where my last life ended. I passed the table where the arrow of my barter price and my liberation rested.  I walked past the great cushioned chair the Liar preferred, all without a glance.

I pushed open the doors, and strode into the dark caverns and tunnels beyond, searching for something more than the life I knew as a foolish twit of a slave girl in the dark.

****

To be continued.
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MannyJabrielle
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. : Dungeon Master
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Main Character : See the "A-Team" thread in the Biographies forum.
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