A woman is made of her honor, her dignity, her lust for blood. She is made of the love she gives and receives from others. She is made of the love she sustains for herself.
Her mother was one such person.
Kandrade’s heels seemed to split the marble as she stormed down the Salience Corridor of the Manor of Error. She cast her long hair over her shoulder, huffed out the details of her irritations. Little did those twerps back in the chamber know, but she was running low on her abilities to use the Summoner’s Repository. Worse, she had no idea why. She nearly slumped against the wall on her way to her room. In retrospect, wearing heels had been a bad idea for the occasion. In retrospect she didn’t care; they completed her outfit marvelously.
By luck or by will, she made it to her dingy quarters. The shell-white doorframe was marked by sigils and glyphs, each with intricate meanings and connections to one another. She had carved them each by hand, labored at them as if her life had depended on it. She still bore the scars, deep grooves in her hands that made them ugly and undesirable. She wore her gloves to hide them, from herself first and foremost.
“You have arrived later than expected, Madame Kandrade,” said the Manor. It was an eerie thing, hearing that disembodied voice, lacking inflection, yet… Yet there was something so alive about it. The house itself speaking to her as if it had a soul.
Continue reading “Be By Blood #3”
Stellany ducked and rolled behind another crate, this one larger, just as Dons tried to leap for her again. She pressed her palms to the cobbled stone ground and scraped them in one swift move. The blood left behind on the stones began to writhe and wriggle until it became a perfect, albeit tiny, representation of her. She grabbed the token up now that was solid and pressed her other bloody palm against a map point. She had studied the ins and outs of this Architecture since she was a child, and that fact always gave her an upper hand in skirmishes like this.
“Are you trying to dodge me, little woman?” Dons asked. “You’ve gotta know that I don’t tire so easily. I suspect that’s not so much the case for you.”
She pushed her hand and fingers to finely fit the sigil–this one was admittedly not the most well-hidden one in the city. (It was quite literally in the shape of a circle with a handprint crudely etched into it. If she had to venture a guess about which ancestor (most likely purposefully created the masterpiece) she wouldn’t hesitate to say that it was Orlova the Trickster.)
The sigil began to work its magic. She closed her eyes and was suddenly given a bird’s eye view of the entire area they were fighting in. Streets, alleys, crates, corners, and most crucially–rooftops.
Continue reading “Dirge for Damage #3”
“That spell won’t work here,” Halo quipped before anyone could do something they would all come to regret. She was of the opinion that many on her team were self-destructive when desperate, especially to the detriment of everyone else. She glanced over at Tanst. At the determination that lit up the latter’s face. How a girl like that had appeared in her life was still a mystery.
“She’s right,” Gokkoha confirmed. He wiped the blood dripping down his chin with the soiled handkerchief. “That creature is from an entirely different dimension or have you all forgotten?”
“It caught us all off-guard, isn’t that right?” Venxo asked the others rhetorically. He smoothed his hair back and took several bold steps toward the creature in their trap.
It was a woman. Up close, she was a beautiful woman with glowing skin, almost like…
“She’s fae,”Frederis said, with more gravitas in his voice than there usually was. “This is not the demon that we have been hunting for.”
Continue reading “Be By Blood #2”
Stellany paused. “That look of hunger in your eyes…” She dosed herself with excitement that wasn’t there. Put on a face of shock as easily as makeup. “What do you know of the anima?”
Dons put his pipe out and returned it to a very ornate box. He shut it with a soft click. That box held sentimental value for him. Before he replaced it into his suit coat, he held onto it for just a little too long.
“Only little more than the stories they tell us as children,” he responded. “I’ve always been the type to always half-believe anything of that nature. I mean, humans turned out to be real for one thing.”
“But have you seen an anima with your own eyes?”
Continue reading “Dirge for Damage #2”
The aegis web, woven of goblin’s dust and the vitality of homunculi, had ensnared the summoned creature the frightful instant that it left its world and right before it entered the summoners’s own. Fortune had been in their favor however. More than Venxo cared to admit. More than Gokkoha had dared hope for.
The latter heaved a sigh of relief, but perhaps too soon for the humanoid creature thrashed and howled in its trap. It sprayed phlegm-like red spittle in their faces, and Gokkoha was the first to take a step back. He searched his pockets for something to wipe his face with but produced only a used handkerchief–curiously bloodstained.
Venxo moved his left hand and fingers in deliberate patterns–practiced and perfected throughout the years, the movements appeared elegant, graceful. The motions were keys that unlocked certain magics from their summoner’s repository. He had just the one in mind, and so a sinister smirk accompanied his dance.
In response, the creature lurched violently in the web’s sticky grasp. Humanoid as it was, it made the ritual all that more terrifying to watch.
Continue reading “Be By Blood #1”
“What is that you’re smoking there?” Stellany asked the demon standing under the large glowing human heart. The closer she stepped toward him, the more he seemed to tower over her, challenging the size of the glowing post itself. She stopped at the tip of his shimmery shadow. “Did you hear me?”
“Huh? Oh, this?” Flecks of ash fell off the tapered end as he tapped his pipe against his pale palm. The ashes landed on the wet scarphalt of her city street. “Gift from my youngest sister. Forgot I had ’em with me. These are rare, you know.” He held it out for her. “Just stumbled through into this domain. Weirdest thing,” he said, his nervous gaze taking in the bare bones of the Architecture. “How long have you been here?”
Continue reading “Dirge for Damage #1”
Monstrous howls poured into the bloodletting hall from the adjacent summoning chamber. At once, a thick heaviness pulsed in the air. A crushing, inarticulate emotion filled up every ounce of space like disease.
No ordinary human could have survived much less fathomed such an event. But then, the inhabitants of the manor were more like cockroaches in their survival statistics. Human though some of them were, they were a stubborn, determined breed. Never to be underestimated.
One particular, crucial individual (perhaps here most notable for his utter invincibility), held that exact esteemed opinion of his mortal colleagues. Indeed, the howls thundered down the corridor and into the pristine and sterile room of one Mister Terasmonde–floormaster of the Manor of Error. There, standing over his desk with furrowed brow and permanent frown, he had no disillusions about the current summoning.
In the dead of night, on an ominous date nonetheless (the Sanctuarium had made their best attempts to bless every inch of the property), the stern man seemed to find the summoning neither alarming nor out of the ordinary. He looked over his papers, his diagrams and documents, spread out over his circular work desk like pieces of a puzzle, and in his eyes shined not a care nor fright in the world. Only a cockroach-like determination.
Continue reading “Be By Blood #0”