The clock counted as seconds became minutes, the silence stretched thin between them. There was a palpable tension to the air, as if time itself held its breath. And perhaps it did.
“You do realize what this means?”
Shazia sighed softly as the silence was broken; it was a man’s voice that spoke, a sibilant hiss that no human tongue could hope to impersonate. It was an unsettling sound, as was the man himself. Shazia dropped her gaze to avoid looking at him, and frowned as she noticed her hands trembling around the teacup. Don’t be a fool, she growled to herself. Pointedly setting aside the cup, she gripped her skirts instead and forced a reply between clenched teeth.
“Yes, Great Lord, but I did – “
“You did nothing.” Shazia flinched despite herself as he cut her off, waving a hand lazily in the air behind him. The doors swung open and in came two dark-robed servants, bearing a large chest between them. He motioned once more and they hastened to lay the chest on the floor at his feet, bowing once before retreating silently from the room. The doors swung shut unaided behind them.
“Do you know what this is?” he asked softly.
Wetting her lips nervously, she glanced at the chest. “No, Great Lord.”
“It is your salvation.”
Heart pounding, she twisted her skirts convulsively. Was she hearing right?
“Yes,” the man continued. There was amusement in his voice now, as though he heard her thoughts, felt every anxious flutter of her heart. “Our knowledge is fractured, lost to time and secrecy. It is time we put an end to it.”
“You aren’t… I’m not to be punished?” she asked. It was too much to hope for, and yet… Glancing at the chest again, she wet her lips fervently. Salvation, he had said. Surely he meant to forgive her?
The man chuckled softly; a sinisterly sound that sent a chill of fear tingling down her spine. “You failed me, Shazia, and that cannot go unpunished – but you have been offered a second chance, a last chance to prove your worthiness.”
Swallowing the rising bile in her throat, Shazia bowed her head, partly in respect and partly in fear, to hide the expression of horror that must be apparent on her face. “Yes, Great Lord,” she whispered again. “I hear and obey.”
A shuffling of cloth indicated him leaning forward in the chair, gloved hands folded over the rounded armrests. His voice was intense, driven by a heated passion, a hunger that could never be satisfied.
“Then obey me, and do not fail again.” He indicated the chest. “You will take this to our laboratory and…”
The words that followed spread quickly like wildfire in summertime, setting tongues alight with rumours of the most atrocious kind. The tales were surely derived from nightmares; for there was no way that anyone could fall so far from the Light as to commit such heinous acts. Yet as the rumours spread, so too did the evidence that began to convince people about the truth of those rumours.
“Heard it from me own brother, I did…”
“And he heard it from his mother’s friend’s husband…”
“He was taken in the night. No warnin’ or nothin’ at all…”
“Her babe was stolen from its crib, bless the poor child.”
“Three years old, the little lad… Ain’t done harm to no one.”
“They woke the next morning and she was gone. Poof, just like that!”
“They found ‘em out in the forest, their bodies torn to pieces, half-eaten by wolves.”
“You see any strange lights at night recently? Could’a sworn I… Ah, who am I kiddin’. Must be losing my mind.”
“There’s something big gonna happen. All these people disappearing, turning up dead? And those lights in the sky... Light help us, it’s them Damned come back.”
I’ll keep this short and sweet: A major RP storyline is about to start up, and we’re inviting you all to participate. How fun! This is a culmination of about four months’ roleplay that has led up to this point. Can’t give away any major details, but if you’d like to be villain, victim, or hero, just drop me a line in-game (Shazia). There are others involved, but they’ll remain anonymous ‘till they announce things for themselves.
This story is not guaranteed to be all age-friendly, so consider yourself warned. XD