The Enmity of Scolrys, Part XVI: Ritual Fury

Left with its Pantheon embroiled in the grasp of Madness Incarnate, the Empire of Bloodloch revisited the site of Godly genesis to empower its Sovereigns of Corruption and Tyranny. At the iron command of the Red Tyrant Maeve, the entirety of the Empire mustered at the Lich Scriptorium’s Abyssal Crucible in a show of unity without exception; as inspiring as it is rare, one and all gathered around the bloodstone altar established at Crucible’s heart. Leading the proceedings was Akarn, Reaver of the Hegemonist; symbolism and worship alike set the scene as the Thronekeeper of Souls united Abhorash’s shrine with an encaged duskywing butterfly so favoured by Chakrasul.

Joining the Sanguine Fist’s sovereigns were the unwilling, the enslaved, the damned; captured Hlugna under armed guard were forced to their knees at the periphery of the ritual gathering. Addressing an Empire assembled, Akarn promised an offering of its enemies before ceding the charge to Paxe, Thronekeeper of Bloodloch’s Apostles. Midnight danced with dusk as the Nocturn let her curse flow free, black vitae spilling unto divine oil of Corruption to baptise the duskywing’s enclosure. Not far behind was Akarn, hilunite claws dragging furrows into his arm as Tyranny’s granted Blood met with its extracted oil, securing the Thronekeeper’s crozier as a conduit to Abhorash.

Then did Akarn call upon the present Empire to invoke the rites of Bone, Blood, and Soul in offering to Progenitor and Lady Corruption. Amidst the growing murmur of Myrnma’s stirring tambourine, the path was laid bare: to stride forward and commit to making the ultimate sacrifice, or to stray backward and escape the ritual’s grasp. Unified was Bloodloch in gathering here; unified was Bloodloch in its march forward, each and every citizen committed to the abyss without reservation.

Blood is the Empire’s Legacy, and Blood was the first offering to be made; thus did a city bleed for its Divine, led by the Dominion. Next came offerings of Soul, given freely, led by the Carnifex. Finally did the Apostles share the gift of Bone, offerings presented of self and prey alike. As the willing completed their tributes, attention shifted to the lot of the unwilling scores of enslaved Hlugna ushered forward and consigned to the abyss with unabated violence; lives forfeit for imperial purpose, Dwarf after Dwarf perished in ritual submission.

The gates of sacrifice thrown open, Akarn and Paxe passed among the gathered now, anointing each with a mixture of blood and Divine oil alike. Marking complete, the climax of the Empire’s ritual came at the point of Akarn’s athame, turned inward as the Reaver plunged it towards his own chest; the instrument burst with a rushing crimson tide that blasted outwards to encompass the entirety of the Lich Scriptorium in glorious purpose and Divine writ. Eldritch energy consumed all present in columns of spectral flame as the offering of their essence marked the completion of ritual sacrifice, scouring the Scriptorium clear; the sudden absence of mortal sound cast a blanket of silence over the area, interrupted only by the weeping of the very fabric of reality.

Then did twin helixes of essence sprout from the depths of the Lich Scriptorium, columns’ base founded upon bone laid bare. As these monstrous pillars stretched towards the sky, pulsing veins of blood perverted pristine white, enclosing each column in a cocoon that thrummed with the steady heartbeat of ritualistic sacrifice. The crackling wail of bound souls spurred each terrible creation upward, their apexes piercing the heavens themselves; where contact was made, reality itself was rent asunder, jagged wounds torn in the increasingly violated membrane that separates Prime from the infinite entropy of Chaos.

Through these festering rips did two Gods become visible, ritual creations now bridging an Empire’s heresy with its faith. The very embodiments of Tyranny and Corruption were They, each an awe-inspiring avatar of Their manifest domains as They carved through seemingly endless waves of Chaos.

Duskywings took fleeting flight around Chakrasul’s flittering form, their funereal wings unfurling like sinister petals as they eagerly devoured the pillar of essence offered up in profane ritual. The ephemeral emerald of these tainted creatures writhed with sickly inner radiances of white, crimson, and smaragdine. Each duskywing burst like a pustule as it gorged, only to have its foulness absorbed back into the Dark Lady’s smouldering corona. The jade flames that wreathed Her figure-frown blazed with blinding tenebrous intensity, Corruption’s insatiable depths drinking deep of the offering’s despoiled essence. Empowered, the Dark Lady’s laughter echoed like rusted knives across shattered stained glass.

Abhorash’s enforced dominion over what stretched towards Him was entirely less elegant. Borne upon tendriled wings of woven Blood, the vampiric Deity wasted no time alighting onto the sacrificial beacon presented to Him. Pearly whites broke through His ivory maw, preceding the ravenous descent of fangs that plunged with a greed untempered unto the sanctified pillar; its essence was eagerly siphoned into the God through long, voracious draws. No glow manifested about Tyranny as He was empowered; instead, the unquenchable aura of night that shrouded Him expanded its remit, a scion of annihilation that consigned all in its reach to the finality of oblivion.

As Bloodloch’s strengthened Divine plunged into the fray anew, the sky stitched itself back together, restoring the frontier of demarcation against the screaming insanity of Chaos.

Penned by my hand on Tisday, the 22nd of Slyphian, in the year 3 AC.