Chapter Eight -|| The Fallen
Hell. Black ash for dirt. Lava running through the land like rivers. Mini-volcanoes that can erupt at any given time. The Blacklands.
It was a place said to have been cursed by the gods long ago. Legend told of how the gods had gathered together all those who had disobeyed them and fallen to darkness and struck the land with huge bolts of lightning, frying the earth, causing the lava to come from itís depths. Thus cursing the land and all who had dwelled on it. From this legend creatures like Vampires, Phantoms, and Werewolves were born. Shadow creatures that were damned by the gods. It was where evil in itsí darkest form began to plague the world, and where daylight began to succumb to the night.
Such a place wouldnít be thought of twice. People would never want to journey into such desolation. Who would wish to evoke the wrath of the gods by traveling on land that had been cursed by their hands? Two of the reasons why it was so surprising that the city of Isis had managed to become as large as it had. It lay a mile or so inside the land, with its own mote of boiling lava surrounding it; making it glow spectacularly at night. That was all that most people came to see when it came to the Blacklands. No curse seemed to effect the people of the city, though they did revel in a lower standard of living. Even so, no one risked any further peril by going further into the cursed lands.
Though, as with many legends, other stories were soon heard. Started by travelers and soon passed from mouth to mouth until then entire realm knew of them. One of these is almost as old as the original legend itself.
Many believe that a group of dark dwellers live deep in the heart of the Blacklands. Known only as The Fallen, it is said to be a group composed of many different races that have fallen into the dark ways and become consumed by them. It is said that they are the ones who were responsible for the fall of the mighty Zendel, which was once capitol of the still wild Western Kingdom. They are blamed for many of the terrible things that happen throughout the realm. Be it mass murder of entire villages or single, gruesome deaths of select people. Fact or fantasy, it is a story that often keeps the young children of Isis awake at night..
"Dred?" A man spoke as he stared out a window that looked into the distance, the view nothing but black ash and molten rivers. His crimson hair came down to his lower back and was pulled into a tail.
"I need you to deliver a message." His voice was soft, almost innocently so. As he turned to face his subject his deep red colored robes flowed gracefully around him.
"Of course, Mílord." An Elf with skin the color of coal, and hair as vibrant as the orange swirls in the lava rivers replied, bowing his head low as his lord turned and laid eyes on him.
"Tell her.." The man paused a moment thinking over his words, as though they meant life and death. "Tell her that I am sorry." He finished and held out a hand to the Elf, producing a tiny clear bottle which held a few drops of a red liquid.
"Yes, Mílord." Dred bowed again taking the bottle, a twisted grin hidden by the shadows that were cast on his face as he did so. He then turned and briskly walked out of the room.
Dredís soul was about as black as his skin, and he reveled in jobs like these. His name was virtually unknown to the rest of society, but the horror stories that had been created by him made even grown men shudder to think about. He was silent, able to move through shadows, swift, moving quicker then most men could hope to follow with their eyes, and beyond deadly with his weapon of choice, a set of maces that he carried on his back.
"New mission I see." Came a feminine voice as he turned a corner. A woman with chocolate colored skin didnít bother looking at him as she spoke "Do play nice, he wonít be happy if you kill her." She added in a tone that was almost condescending, as if she thought him a child.
The Elf let out a low snarl, his pupil less magenta eyes flaring with hatred toward the women. He bit his tongue and said nothing, quickly continuing on his way. How he would have loved to have struck her down and watched her bleed as she begged for her life. However she was favored by his master, and such actions toward her would be fatal. He was ruthless and sadistic; not stupid.
Lifting her gaze the woman watched as he walked away, almost feeling the hate resonating off him like heat from a fire. Her eyes were as dark as her skin, and her robes were a mix of deep red tones and black. She felt the smallest of smiles tug at her lips, satisfied at ticking the Elf off.
"Kryptic." Came a voice from the chamber Dred had just left. The woman turned, after glancing once more down the dark hall. The Elf was gone and from the chill in the air she guessed he had chosen to leave by the way of shadows.
Focusing her attention to other matters she turned and walked into the room from which her lord called. Robes flowing around her gracefully, making her movement appear more fluid and agile.
"Yes, Mílord?" She asked with a respectful bow as she came to a stop a few feet in front of him. The dim light of candles in the room barely showing a black tattoo that swirled its way down the right side of her face like some wicked vine.
"Why do you revile him so?" He was once more looking out the window, out into the barren land. He knew in which direction Isis was, though, even as flat as the land was, he could not see it.
"He is quick to act and slow to think." Kryptic stated flatly. "He is no better then any common murderer."
Kryptic was just as dark in thought as Dred. Her intentions were no better then his, and neither were her goals in life. But she was much different then he, for she did not thrive on the thrill of killing. She was more calculated, more cunning. Where Dred killed and tortured and put his victims through a hellish nightmare, Kryptic seduced, mentally maimed, and took away all her preys dignity, crushing their fortitude before letting them go to suffer the rest of their lives. Two completely different killers, and both monsters in their own right.
"Do you question my judgement?"
"No, of course not, Mílord." She quickly replied. "But he lacks any form of discipline. It is amazing that he even follows your orders."
"The fact that he does is all that counts." The man snapped, and she cringed lightly. "He knows what he is to do, and he knows what the penalty is for not doing as he was told."
"In such a delicate matter though, do you really think it wise to send him?"
"If you continue to question my choice, Kryptic, it will be yourself you will need to be worrying about." He said in a tone that would have ended any conversation and sent a shiver down most peoples spine. Kryptic, however, wasnít most people.
"Yes, Mílord." She said with another bow, though she did not agree in the slightest with his judgement.
"Go. Dred is not the only one with work to do." He commanded, and with that Kryptic turned and left the room.
He stood there for a long while after his servant had left, just staring out into the distance. Growing impatience with the lack of noise he finally spoke a loud to himself, a trait that was common in his family line.
"Dear sister, when will you grow up?" He asked with a slight frown as he turned from the window and stepped over to a table with many candles placed upon it. His face illuminated by the light showed a tattoo similar to the one Kryptic possessed, going down the right side of his face and onto his neck, disappearing beneath his robes. "When will you learn you can not meddle in my affairs and not be found out?"
His blue eyes were calm as he stared into the flickering flame of a candle. They showed no malice or hate; no pain or hidden fear. He seemed nothing like his subjects and he gave off an aura of calm and peace that would have fooled anyone. If you had told someone that he was even more wicked and vile then his two favored minions you would have been laughed at. It just did not seem possible.
"I do not wish to punish you for such things, sister." He continued to talk aloud, his voice soft and low, almost a regretful whisper. "But if you do not learn from passed mistakes then what choice do you leave me? What choice but to teach you a lesson in the harshest of ways?"
He sounded guilty, like the thought of hurting family almost made him feel sick. But, inside, he felt nothing. He felt no guilt or regret for his actions. Inside he knew that this was best, and that he was right, and thus that what he did was not wrong but for the greater good.
"If you will not learn this time, then you will leave me no choice but to end your impiety." His voice trailed into silence as he smiled slightly at his own viscous thoughts of murder. "Dear sister, how you trouble my thoughts so..."