Fellowship of Fear – Chapter 5 continues…

Chapter 5 : From the Beginning…

Scene 3 : How the World Began

“Before anything, there was the Void. The nothingness was infinite and eternal, filled with Demons. All was formless and without change, until suddenly and without warning form and change occurred. The Gods came into being and with awareness came desires. These desires are beyond human ken, they are the needs and wants that our’s are a pale reflection of. They desired to create, to destroy, to love, to hate…and in so doing they willed the World into existence. For without a place to be, they cannot create…or destroy. The Gods did not come into being all at once but in groups, we know them as the various pantheons…Celtic, Norse, Roman, Greek, and Christian. They only created the World in pieces, suspended within the Void. When the Pantheons encountered each other they fought, they warred upon one another using incomprehensible energies to destroy vast expanses of space, time and void. They slowly came to the dawning realization that they were truly eternal, they could not eradicate each other but they could destroy each other’s realms. After eons of this seemingly endless war they had exhausted this desire, to destroy each other. Thus The Great Accord came into being; a pact that brought a lasting peace and also brought the pieces of the World together. The Gods looked down upon what they had wrought and were pleased.
But then they realized this place was without purpose…empty. So each Pantheon set about creating creatures that embodied themselves. The Tuatha De Danaan created the Fey; the Norse created the Dwarves, Alfar, and Svirfneblin; the Greeks created numerous races – the Centaurs, Satyrs, Tritons, Nymphs, etc etc. And God created the Angels. All of these beings were either immortal or close to it and served their Gods faithfully. But even then the Gods became bored, they realized that they had no challenges or challengers. Their existences lacked purpose and so they had nothing to strive for.
The Pantheons met once more and expanded upon the Great Accord. They decided to create mortals, creatures that had free will and could choose which God or Gods to follow of their own accord. They imbued these creatures with a specialness like no other before them. These creatures would increase the power of the God they worshipped, the greater the number that worshipped a God the more power and prestige that deity accrued. They had created Man.”
The three; the Man, the Fey, and the Svirfneblin sat in stunned disbelief. Their view of the world lay shattered by what Gramstaf had already told them.
“My friends, I understand how shocking this must all seem. But it gets worse…”

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Fellowship of Fear – Chapter 5 continues…

Chapter 5 : From the Beginning…

Scene 2 : Explanations at Knifepoint

“Kilabra is correct, EGL is a Demon of the Void. But you have to understand that there are more Demons of the Void than there are stars in the sky. If they ever escaped their prison en masse they would fill the universe up. And because of this sheer number not all of them are truly Evil.”
“Not truly Evil? What, some of them are only a little bit Evil? A smidge Evil perhaps?” Hindral smirked again as she watched Gramstaf shifting uncomfortably on his log.
“You see, dear Hindral, the Demons of the Void have a multiplicity of forms. In all there infinite number there are no two that look alike. But EGL is a member of The Empty. The Empty have no form whatsoever, they are without form or substance, creatures of pure mind and will. They are not Evil, they are cursed.”
The trio watching him had varying degrees of disbelief in their expressions. Still uncertain whether to kill him outright or just leave the poor insane fool here in the middle of the wilderness.
“I can tell by your looks that you don’t believe me. How could ineffable Evil not be Evil but instead be cursed? I know it sounds like the ravings of a madman.'”
“That’s a fair assessment, priest.” Kilabra cracked wise.
“Kilabra, you have to understand one thing about being noncorporeal, the crux of being without form… You cannot touch….or taste…or feel anything….forever. The only means to that end is through possession. They take control of a mortal and ride that body until it gives out, then they move onto the next. They do not hate mortals, they need them.”
“Okay, so they don’t want to end us all. But that doesn’t sound like much of an improvement, being possessed for the rest of your life, unable to control anything you do. Sounds like a form of personal Hell in fact.” Denzred finally spoke up from the depths of his despair, even he was becoming curious about this ridiculous situation.
“But that begs the question, how is it that  you still have control, Prelate?”
“EGL made the mistake of becoming embedded in an ancient Sumerian scroll-trap, laid specifically to pull in a member of The Empty. And since only a powerful member of the Faith could decipher it, he was released into a powerful mind and will…mine. He can never take complete control but he is here with me for the rest of my life. He does not think that will be too long due to my obvious age, so he can be patient. After all, he waited millenia to be released, what’s another 20 years to an immortal such as him?”
“Fair enough, Grammy, but what compelled him to gather us all together?”
“Well, Hindral, he absolutely does not want the World to End. Because that’s where are the mortals live and he can’t have that now can he?”
“Umm, is no the right answer?”
“Exactly! And you see, EGL has been gifted with prescience. He knows what is to come and he has an idea of how to prevent this horrible outcome. For this quest he needs all of us and one more. But first, I have to give you a brief history of the Gods and the Beginning of the World…”

Fellowship of Fear – Chapter 5

Chapter 5 : From the Beginning…

Scene 1 : Negotiating the Beginning

Gramstaf touched the end of his walking staff to the pile of sticks and bark he had collected. With a loud whoomf a merry blaze instantly started. He motioned for them all to take a seat with him around the fire. Dragging noises as a few comfortable logs slid into place around the fire.
“We have much to tell, so much that you do not know or even suspect…”
Kilabra shook off the last of the Spell of Holding as she straightened to her full six feet of height and glared at the priest. Her amber eyes flashing. Gramstaf’s eyes pulsed a bright ice blue as he returned her gaze.
“Kilabra Dalsinien, I ask that you hold you anger at bay until I explain myself. You have every right to kill this man, but I insist that you hear us out first. I pledge my word to Our Lord and Saviour that you may kill him if you still wish afterwards.”
She arched her silver eyebrow and gave a brief nod of assent as she studied the old man, impressed with his power and wondering how he knew her name.
As they took their places around the fire, Gramstaf pulled a small wineskin from within his cassock.
“I have been told by many former students that I was the most boring orator at seminary. I heop this helps.” He held the wineskin up.
“You’re going to get drunk first?” Hindral smirked as she admired the wineskin.
“Hindral you really are quite annoying. If you weren’t so useful….” Gramstaf scowled deeply and handed her the wineskin.
She swigged and passed it along as Gramstaf organized his thoughts.
Kilabra spoke up,”What is Egl? You keep saying that word.” Kilabra watched the old man carefully as she spoke.
His eyes a brilliant shade of azure for an instant and then he returned her gaze.
“I am EGL-Gramstaf… I am Gramstaf-EGL… We are…one. EGL came to be part of me, part of my mind and soul. In so doing, he imparted knoweldge. This knowledge will allow us to save the Gods…and mortals.”
“Yes, but that does not explain what Egl is or how he knows what he tells you. Or even if he is telling the truth.”
“EGL knows all because he is from before time…before space…before life…”
Kilabra’s eyes widened as she recalled a legend of her people. Something told to children to punish them. She instantly drew her swords and placed them at his throat in one mercurial motion.
“I know what you are old man! Egl is a Demon of the Void!”
The other two stumbled backwards as they both stared in wide-eyed shock and fear.
“Hmm, maybe I should explain…” Gramstaf grinned as his eyes twinkled blue as he gazed up at Kilabra.

Fellowship of Fear – Chapter 4 concludes

Apologies for the lateness of this entry but I was having a bit of writer’s block. This is a crucial meeting and wanted it to suit the gravity of the situation and only figured out how to proceed as I was falling asleep last night. In any case, I hope you enjoy it!

Chapter 4 : Kilabra Dalsinien

Scene 3 : Meeting for the First Time, Again

Kilbra stared down at the Man. She examined him,noticing his eyes below his eyelids, obviously vividly dreaming as she watched. His dark hair was a mp on the top of his head, the sides shaved close and showing grey. His creased face held the ghosts of scars from the many battles he had fought and his thin lips quivered as if he was speaking to someone. She leaned close to listen, to coax from him the words he spoke soundlessly. One word…
“Kilabra…”
She gasped and took a step backwards, waking him as his eyes flew open and looked into her amber eyes in confusion. He felt both awake and still dreaming.
“Wait…What…how?”
She regained her composure as she looked down at him and smiled with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
“Welcome to the land of the wakeful, Man. Dreaming of me were you?”
His eyes cleared, confusion fading and regret taking its place.
“Yes, I was. You were across a ravine dripping blood from your hand into a river of blood.”
Kilabra arched a platinum eyebrow and raised her palm to show the seeping wound dripping purple blood.
“Did it look something like this, Man?”
Denzred shivered as his gaze fixated on her hand. He reached out his hand then drew it back as his eyes drifted skyward.
“Yes, exactly like that. Why Lord? What are you trying to tell me?”
Kilabra closed her hand into a fist and chuckled dismissively. She placed her fists on her hips as she looked him over appraisingly.
“Well you seem to know my name, Man. So what is your’s?”
“I am…I was Sir Denzred the Landless. Now I am simply Denzred the Landless.”
Kilabra growled deep in her chest as she drew her twin bronze swords in a single flashing blur. She held them crossed below his chin as she grimace in disgust.
“I know that name, Man. We call you the Butcher of England! Now I understand why the Trions sent me here, and also understand the river of blood, you vile beast! You have slain so many of my brethren….so many fey!’
Translucent green tears rolled down her cheeks as she spoke, disgust and rage thick in her voice. To her shock the human didn’t flinch, his gaze falling as tears rolled down his cheeks in turn.
“Your Trions are wise. Please end my life, for it is a sin to end it myself. I do not deserve to live, I do not deserve mercy. I am beyond redemption and must pay for my crimes in Hell.”
“Any final words before I end your existence and return to my people with your head tucked under my arm, butcher?”
He looked up at her once more as he leaned a little bit forward into the blades, a thin trickle of blood running down his throat as he spoke.
“Only this Kilabra; I did what I thought my Lord and Saviour wished. I was misled and wrong, but I am at peace with you taking my life. I deserve this punishment and so much more….”
He held her gaze as he awaited the final slice that separate his head from his neck…and waited. She stood motionless and then he noticed her eyes looking around in panic. Then he noticed a horse and rider suddenly appear as if from thin air behind her. The rider was very old with bright glowing blue eyes as he pulled his hands from a child’s eyes with an enormous nose. The child has her hands over her mouth and removed them as the old man smiled down at the two figures below him.
“I am so sorry, Kilabra Dalsinien, but Denzred is not allowed to die just yet. The Gods have a plan for both of you and that doesn’t including murdering him. My boy, why don’t you stand off to one side while we wait for the Spell of Holding to wear off and then I shall explain to you both while we await our final member.”
Denzred stumbled to his feet as he stared in wonder at Kilabra stand motionless staring down at the spot where he had knelt.
“Who are you? What is going on here?”
“Denzred, my child, my name is EGL-Gramstaf..hrrm…I mean Gramstaf-EGL, former Prelate of Canterbury.”
Denzred looked confused again as he fell to one knee and bowed his head.
“Don’t worry, he does that quite often. Hello there, I am Hindral Smik!”
“My child, stand up. I cannot claim your obeisance anymore. I did say former Prelate of Canterbury.”
Denzred slowly stood up and cast a glance at the what he had at first thought was a child and with a start realized it was a gnome.
“I bet you think I am a gnome, but you would be wrong. I am a Svirfneblin.”
She challenged him with her small brown eyes under what appeared to be a waxed leather fisherman’s hat as Denzred smiled and nodded.
“Don’t worry, she does that quite often too-”
“Well, you got it wrong when we first met old man. And here I thought you and Egl were supposed to be all-seeing?”
“Now, now, Hindral you know that’s not how this works.”
“Wait, I thought Egl was part of your name, Prelate?”
Gramstaf sighed heavily as he realized this explanation was going to take a bit more time. He noticed that Kilabra’s muscles were beginning to twitch in her neck and hands and decided to chance the subject for now.
“Let us all get comfortable. It looks like the spell is beginning to wear off and then I shall try to explain from the beginning…”
“Really priest? Isn’t that like a few thousand years of history?” Hindral smiled with mischievous in her eyes.
“Hush now, gnome!”
And with that Gramstaf dismounted with surprising ease for a man of his advanced years.
“Let me get a small fire started to warm my old bones, my friends.”

Fellowship of Fear – Chapter 4 continues

Chapter 4 : Kilabra Dalsinien

Scene 2 : Judgement of the Trions

Kargathra had barely had the chance to greet her before she felt the message flow into her mind, Child of Faerie you are summoned before Us. She was filled with a mixture of dread and pleasure. She knew she had performed irresponsibly, and yet she was pleased that her misdeed allowed her to be in the presence of the Trions. Kargathra held her close and kissed her deep purple lips once with love and longing before slipping away like a warm summer breeze. Her words haunting her stil, “Kil, I hope we meet again in your next incarnation my love…my world…” A single bright green tear rolled down Kilabra’s cheek as the weight bore down on her at what she had lost due to a moment of weakness.
The Unseelie Court at least had the courtesy to let her dress in her prized griffin-leathers before dragging her before the Trions. She perfumed her long silvered locks and braided them with gold threads. The kohl purple on her lips and eyelids as she sneered in the mirror contrasted with her glittering amber eyes beautifully.
“This shall not go well, I suspect.”
She turned from the mirror and strode from her emerald-green room of crystal and out into the Hall of Trion. Typical of fae-portals, her door always opened onto whereever she wished to go. She trembled slightly as she approached the three dusky-grey eldritch figures at the center of the room. They hovered a foot off the ground dressed in black and indigo robes of the finest spider silk. The ancient Dauoine Sidhe radiated dark-fae power with every pulse-beat of their vivid hearts. Kilabra felt the blend of pleasure and submission and comfort flow over her as she bowed her head before the almost-gods of the fae-realm. Her judgement was at hand and she would face it happily.
“Child, you were to end the existence of any mortal that passed through our woods….”
“The Man slaughtered the hated Duke of Kent, we all wished this-”
“Child, you were to end the existence of any mortal that passed there! We don’t reward mortals for killing each other, they do that exceptionally well all on their own. And we do not show mercy!”
Kilabra trembled in abject terror in the face of her Progenitors disapproval.
“I am so sorry, there is nothing I can do to make amends-”
“Yessss, you begin to understand now Child. You will leave this place, you are no longer welcome in the Unseelie Court. Your wyrd is in the mortal realm. You must pursue it there…”
“My wyrd? How can that be so soon? I have not passed from the chrysalis…how is that…?”
Kilabra Dalisinien felt her eyelids closing, a moment passing as slow as a treacle as she felt her being shift and shimmer.
Time stands still as the Trions look down upon her, knowing her emotions took over, a first incarnation giving in to her fulsome heart…
Feeling herself falling, slipping away as a sudden pin-prick stabs her left palm. She glances down at her hand as she falls through th Void, sensing subconsciously that she has been consigned to mortality..
Kilabra’s eyelids slide open in slow motion, she finds herself standing in a field of heather next to a horse…with the Man lying sprawled at her feet fast asleep. She smiles to herself grimly at the sick humour of the Trions.

Fellowship of Fear – Chapter 4

Chapter 4 : Kilabra Dalsinien

Scene 1 : Heading Home

Kilabra Dalisinien slipped through the forest silently, no sign of her passage discernable to mortal eyes. She smiled as she inhaled the chilly night air, she smelled the scents of the wildlife that wandered amongst the trees around her. The herd of deer to her right grazing in a field of clover, oblivious to her presence as she contemplated slaughtering one and bringing the prize back to the Fey Court. Then she spotted the eighteen point white stag that stood guard over them. It’s amber eyes glared at her as it snorted out out a cloud of mist. There was something behind it’s eyes that suggested an intelligence unusual for one of it’s kind. She arched an eyebrow, it was unusual in this day and age to spot a member of the Wild Hunt outside of the night of Samhain. Kilabra stood motionless as they sized each other up, lost in each other’s amber eyes. Then a distant horn sounded and the moment was broken. The herd looked in that direction as one then bounded off into the woods.
Kilabra shook her head in annoyance and confusion. The time since she had left the Fey Court to walk the world had been a time of uncertainty and portents aplenty. She still didn’t understand what had compelled her to spare the life of that Man, but it still felt unpleasantly right even now. Her wyrd had been in turmoil and she didn’t enjoy it at all. Even though she was only four hundred years old (practically a child in Fey terms) she knew that her wyrd was not as it should be.
Her reverie was interrupted by the blast from that hunting horn again. She smiled as she suspected it was the bloody English in hot pursuit of the Man she had let slip through the forest. She was mistaken though, it was actually those pursuing the fugitive Gramstaf-EGL and his new companion Hindral Smik. She sensed that their path would intersect her’s if she did not get moving soon, so she continued her gliding progress through the woods on her way back to the Fey Court. She had enough of this mortal world and looked forward to returning to the presence of her people, the Daouine Sidhe. She smiled with a mixture of affection and lust as an image of her current dalliance, Kargathra Klithorien, entered her thoughts. It would be good to see her again after these past five years away.
Kilabra continued on until just before dawn and then searched for the tell-tale signs of her abode. She approached a massive ancient oak and placed her forehead against the trunk as she sighs and inhaled the smells of moss and dew and focussed her mind on an image of an emerald door. The image in her mind slowly became reality as a round five foot tall emerald portal took shape from the bark before her. She smiled again as her amber eyes glittered in the greenish glow and she stepped through into her home, unknown to her the beginnings of her true wyrd waiting on the other side…

Fellowship of Fear – Chapter 3 concludes

Chapter 3 : Cedical Basian

Scene 3 : Coming to Terms

Cedical was slowly coming back to the world of the aware. Just before she opened her green eyes she saw a river of blood flowing at the bottom of a purple-shadowed ravine. A voice echoed in her mind.
“Cedical, My child, wake nowww… You have far to goooo…”
Her eyelids fluttered open and she slowly sat up and surveyed the scene around her. The bodies of the Picts still aly where they had fallen, blood and gore had soaked into the earth. Crows and other scavengers had gathered around the corpses to claim their unearned prizes. She must have been unconscious for hours since the burning buildings were now just smoldering ruins. The place was empty of the living. The few surviving Celts had fled the area, probably to the bailey of the local chieftain or the village of Carn half a day’s walk towards the coast. She felt no malice towards them for her abandonment. She knew they believed her wyrd was cursed. Cedical agreed with them wholeheartedly as her mood became bleak. Fresh tears began to flow, etching rills in the bloody mud upon her cheeks as sobs wracked her slim form. She sat there in the mud, her legs splayed out before her as she gave in to her grief, her inconsolable sense of loss. Then she heard the voice in her head again, feeling chilled and yet strangely comforted by it.
“Cedical, My child, you have worked a wonder… The Picts shall never forget this dayyy…”
“A wonder? I murdered men with a cold heart! Without remorse!”, she screamed in her mind.
“Yesss… You have proven your mettle to Meeee… You are ready to begin your service…”
“Great Oghma, why me? What makes me so special?”
“My child, you are still alive… Only one other in our history accomplished what you have without joing his victimsss… And that was I…”
Cedical’s eyes widened with shocked realization.
“I wielded the Music of the Gods?”
“Yesss, My child, and yet you have so much yet to learn… So far yet to goooo…”
Something insider her hardened, grew cold. Something was lost and something else was found. Cedical’s expression took on a determined cast as she rose to her feet. She brushed as much of the mud from her clothes as she could as she took a deep cleansing breathe.
“Great Oghma, what do you wish of me?”
“For now, My child, you should head towards York. You shall meet your companions on the wayyyy…. Your purpose will become clear soon…”
Cedical slung her dulcimer over her sholder and strode east out of town towards the rising sun. Unbeknownst to her, two sets of eyes followed her progress, one pair of amber and the other pair of glowing red…