CHAPTER 3: http://www.cstylessims3forum.com/t3857-part-i-the-bloodbather
((WOW THIS IS A LONG ONE!!! I will have to edit this later, halve it, and make the other half of it Chapter 5. Oh, and I wrote this just the other day, so please excuse any poor grammar, spelling or editing lol))
“Thankyou, young one,” the blind, emaciated man said softly as Samathia handed him a bowl of gruel and a gold coin. “Hydeth is proud of you.”
Sam blushed and smiled, nodding in appreciation for the praise. “You’re welcome, H-Harvey. We’ll be back tomorrow with another bowl. Light, love and l-life to you, my friend.”
Harvey ate hastily, hunger consuming him. Jac hated going out on charity stints. He hated to see the less fortunate struggling to make a living on the streets, when he was a murderer and housed comfortably within the Temple. But the Temple attempted to host many homeless from the cold of the streets at night. Most did not wish to tread within Hydeth’s halls, guilt and pride demanding they make their own means. Those like Harvey, blind and starved, kept to their corners of the huge, neglectful city and were forgotten by everyone but the Hydethians, who did what they were permitted by the homeless and infirmed to help. Most refused. It was seen as extremely low and pathetic to receive any charity from the Temple of Light.
Hydethian acolytes wore baggy white robes tied by a golden cord around the waste. Jacelyn hated these also. In fact, the only thing Jac liked about the Temple of Hydeth was the fact that he could not achieve the Redness whilst within its walls. He felt pain without a single hint of Saluken’s Essence. He also enjoyed Sam’s company, although he felt that she had glued herself to him far too readily. He was the only person that she trusted now, apart from Father Nolan. It was something he could not comprehend. She was such an innocent, lovable little thing, nearly two years his junior – far too pure to have to grace his ugly presence. But it had been five years since his arrival at the Temple, and they were still close friends, so he guessed his company could not be so bad.
Every day they woke at dawn and prayed within the Prayer Chamber to a big statuette of Hydeth. They had breakfast, made their beds and then collected the gold for Donation. A member of the Holy Guard, the city’s resident Hydethian warriors, would join them at the Temple door. They would venture out as a group of ten youths and under the watchful eye of the Guard would distribute gold to the homeless on the streets. Most homeless kept to the same parts of the city, so finding them was not difficult. The task took most of the day. When they returned they were all hungry and thirsty, but were not permitted to serve themselves until they had sung the Hymn of Light before the statuette. They then attended the meal hall, after which they would say further prayers to the goddess, and attend a reading of the Book of Light. Father Nolan would then ensure they all went to sleep in their own beds, blessing each youth with a touch upon their forehead. Every day of the week, apart from Sunday, was the same. Come the last day of the week, children over the age of twelve were permitted to leave the Temple and attend venues they wished for the day, as long as they returned by dark.
Naturally, Jacelyn loathed the repetitiveness of the Hydethian world. No wonder the Initiated left the Temple as soon as they could. Most left for the Holy Lands to be trained by Divien’s Trade Temple, where all Hydethian Initiated were given a career that best suited their abilities. Some select few left for Litherice’s Noble Court, where they were trained to become part of the Holy Guard. Although often a menial, underpaid occupation, at least Jac would get a sword, and out of the Temple. He yearned to learn how to fight…
“Jac?” Sam called to him, and he snapped out of his thoughts. The sound of the bustling city around him flooded back into his ears. He looked over at Sam, who was halfway down the street. “C-Come on J-Jac! We have to go!” She was pretty, now. Barely fourteen, but pretty as a spring flower. Perhaps not beautiful, nor attractive, but soft and fair and forever smiling. He could look into her gorgeous emerald eyes forever did she not always look away and blush.
“Coming,” he muttered to himself, and ran to catch up with her. He had grown as well. He was beginning to develop his father’s full, masculine figure. Every time he looked in a mirror he saw his father in his broad face. It was not a sight he enjoyed witnessing. He had not seen his father since he had left him alone with his sisters, so long ago…
“We are finished for the day, Jac!” Sam exclaimed, evidently pleased with herself. Charity always made her grin like an idiot. “Let’s go the m-mar-market. I w-want a s-snack.”
“We don’t earn a wage,” Jac said, confused.
“I… I made a friend… last Sunday. He said if I-I-I came b-back he’d g-give me a scone.”
Jac scowled; “Only if Yade lets us go, and he gives ME some!”
Yade, the Holy Guard escorting them for the day, looked up from the sign he had been inspecting. He smiled at them kindly, although he seemed terribly bored. “I’ll go back to the Temple now and let Nolan know you will be home for dinner, children.”
Jac hated it how he called them ‘children’. As nice as Yade was, Jac often wanted to throw the man into the city river.
“We won’t be long at all!” Sam said quickly, and dashed off with unnatural confidence. Jac ran after her, pushing through throngs of people and keeping a sharp eye on his friend, lest he lose her in the sea of bodies.
Sam’s friend was a tall, darkly handsome youth who attended a bakery stall. He had a sly way of smiling that Jac immediately knew spelt trouble. He greeted Sam warmly, but his hand was far too quick to come around her shoulders and draw her into the shop. Jac was left outside with the other stall attendant, who was a much younger boy, perhaps only eleven. He looked up at Jac with big, black eyes, blasé.
“I don’t want to stay out here and hang out with this kid,” Jac thought, and reached out to open the shop door. To his amazement that it was locked. He frowned in confusion. Why had the youth locked the door after entering?
“Sam?” Jac called into the door, but the sound of the city drowned out his voice. He put his ear to the door and listened.
“No?” he heard Sam’s voice say, almost too soft to hear. There was a shuffling, and a loud crash. He heard Sam’s distinctive cry of fear. Jac was immediately overcome with panic. Whilst he was away from the Temple he had no protection from the Redness. If he became hurt in any way or saw blood he would lose control.
“I have a key,” said a soft voice. Jac looked over to the boy at the stall. His voice was creepy, somehow, as though it carried a hint of something other-worldly. The child rose from his seat behind the stall. He moved so smoothly, as though made of smoke. He held out a silver key, his hand so small and thin it was like a bird claw. “I don’t like what my brother does. You better hurry. If he gets the knife out she’ll get hurt.”
Jac opened the door hastily. Within the shop the brother was holding Sam down on the floor, attempting to strangle her to death. Jac’s eyes flew wide, and for a moment he couldn’t move. But instinct finally hit him like a bolt. He launched himself at the youth and grabbed him off his friend with all his strength. The dark-haired one was much stronger than he, and perhaps a year or two older. The scuffle lasted for only a moment before Jac found himself pinned to the ground with hands around his neck, squeezing tightly.
Sam struggled to her feet and drew the dagger from the youth’s belt. He froze, withdrawing his hands from Jac’s throat slowly. He backed away from Sam, who held the dagger out in front of her shakily, petrified but unyielding.
Jac leapt up and grabbed Sam’s arm. He took the blade from her and pulled her from the shop out onto the streets. They raced out of the marketplace, the dark-haired youth hot on their tail. Jac turned once in the street and told Sam to keep running. She complied. He faced the larger boy, blade in hand, glinting menacingly in the midday sunlight.
“Back off, or I’ll kill you!” Jac lied. He didn’t dare draw blood. It would be the end of him.
The youth hesitated. He glared long and hard at Jac, a large crowd of passers-by gathering to watch the altercation. “Give me back my knife, and I’ll let you go, thief!”
Jac paled. He threw the knife into the dusty ground, pushing through several crowd members as he turned and fled. He made it to the Temple doors just in time for the dinner bell. He struggled to catch his breath in the main foyer. Sam raced up to him from the Prayer Room and hugged into him fiercely.
“Sam…” Jac said once he had regained some breath; “Next time a dark, handsome stranger offers you a scone… go hungry. I don’t want to think what would have happened if I hadn’t been given a key…”
Father Nolan came to greet them, eyes full of evident dismay. “Are you alright… both of you?”
“Jac… Jac…” Sam tried to say, but she was crying too heavily to form a sentence.
“Someone tried to kill Sam,” Jac said carefully, flinching at the shock that drenched Father Nolan’s face; “It’s nothing. It won’t happen again. We’ll never stray from the Holy Guard again… We’ll be home with the group every day.”
“We must report this!” Nolan said sharply.
Nolan began to pace. “Where was it?”
Jac’s eyes followed him as he moved. “The Bakery in the Market Square, the one with the seagull on the sign.”
A strange looked came over Nolan’s face. He stopped pacing and stared at Jac for a moment, before suddenly coming back to his normal countenance. “Off to dinner for the both of you... I must attend the Holy Guard Station and report this... I will return before dark. Light, love and life.” He patted Sam’s head and kissed her brow fondly before sprinting out the Temple doors like a man possessed.
“Did you notice the look in his eyes when I said that?” Jac asked.
Sam’s frowned deeply. “Yes... What do you suppose it means?”
Jac remembered the younger brother who had given him the key. The boy’s eyes had been so dark. Jac wondered if there was any relevance to Father Nolan’s reaction.
He sighed. There was no point dwelling on it further. The outside world was just a luxurious dream for him. “Come on. Let’s go get something to eat. We, after all, never got out scones.”
Hydeth had passed on a message to Nolan quite some time ago about a boy in the Market Square, a baker’s boy who she suspected was practicing Dark Magic. The term Dark Magic pertained to the practice of arcane spells, but the way She had described it to her messenger had been quite different.
“A message for you, Nolan,” Ellenah had said when she had come to visit; “I haven’t even opened it. Been told it’s for your eyes only.” Ellenah was the High Priestess of the Light Temple of Divien, the biggest Hydethian Temple in Unita.
Hydeth seldom passed messages onto her people at all. Hearing from the Goddess in any form was something of true rarity. He had opened it with butterflies in his stomach. It was a personal message. He had not been ready for the words written on the paper. They were not about him, directly, as he had expected. They were concerning a conversation she had overheard between two servants of the Heavens. Apparently, a young boy had been seen naked in the middle of the Market Square one pitch-black night, literally glowing. One might play it down to rumour and superstition, but several people had gone missing in the area. And some stated that they had heard chanting from the bakery in the middle of the night, chanting in a voice so deep that it couldn’t possibly be human.
“What do you think it means?” he had asked Ellenah, who proceeded to read the letter he presented to her.
“It appears to have been transcribed from a mortal hand, perhaps one of her Disciples? These are her direct words, though, to you. She clearly states that she wants you to keep an eye on this boy. Goodness only knows why she has taken such an interest in a mortal person, especially one that is not Hydethian. There should be investigations underway about murders in the area, surely. And Black Magic? What proof is there? Black Magic is what the Sorcerers in Cao practice!”
“It is odd,” he had said; “If this boy is responsible for the missing people he should have been caught by now!”
Presently, Nolan made his way into the Market Square, listening to people talking as he passed by. They were discussing the events of the day with great fervour. The baker’s oldest boy had had his knife stolen by some Hydethian acolyte. And look! There was the Hydethian Father. He should be ashamed of raising his children in such a way, they evidently needed more discipline!
Nolan ignored the gossip and searched for the Seagull Bakery. The outside stall was manned by the father of the bakery himself. Nolan did not know the man’s name and personally used a bakery closer to the Temple. But he recognised him immediately, and approached him quickly.
“Light, love and life to you, sir;” he said briskly, trying his best to smile. “I am Father Nolan from the Hydethian church. I understand that my boy Jacelyn has been accused of stealing a dagger of some kind?”
“He threw it back at my boy,” the baker said, narrowing his eyes dangerously. A small crowd was gathering to behold the spectacle. “My youngest told me that my eldest tried to hurt one of your girls. And your Jacelyn ran off with the dagger to protect himself from my boy. I don’t blame him, he didn’t hurt my boy, he was very brave in what he did. You should be proud. I want him to serve Hydeth’s justice, though.”
Nolan nodded quickly. Goddess be praised, he had an opportunity to investigate the problem personally, just as Hydeth had hoped. “Please, let me see your eldest.”
The baker guided Nolan into his home. He took him up a flight of wooden stairs and opened the door to a bedroom, which Nolan assumed was the eldest boy’s room. The sight that greeted them both was nothing either of them could have predicted.
The eldest boy was lying along the wooden floor, spread out naked in the shape of a star. His hands were stuck into the boards by butcher’s knives, his legs pinned by pitchforks. His mouth was gagged with a bunched up rag. There was blood everywhere. He appeared unconscious.
The situation was made more bizarre by the youngest boy sitting atop his brother, naked also, facing them with deep black eyes. He was unhurt. Not a drop of blood on him. Not a scratch. He was incredibly pale and luminescent, like the moon.
“She told me that I could give anyone I wanted to her,” the youth said as they stood there, horror struck. “I want Thedas to be by her side, close to her, intimate. She will save him from what he has become.”
“Tourad!” the baker found his voice: “You… You killed your brother!”
“He isn’t dead. She must have them alive. But he has to hold still. Or She won’t be able to take all of him, and his soul will be torn apart… Create a bad energy field. I won’t be responsible for that.”
Nolan had seen many things in his life, but this had to be the worst thing he had ever seen. His nightmares were not even as terrible as this. He grabbed the big baker’s arm and said: “Leave. I will handle this. Trust me, in the name of Hydeth.”
True fear had paralyzed the man’s thoughts. He was only able to follow orders. He left the room and ran down the stairs, out the front door and into the streets. Possibly to the Temple of Hydeth to pray.
Nolan stared the little boy down. There was an odd chill to the room. The hairs on the back of his neck were prickly again. He stepped into the room and closed the door softly.
“Child… I am Father Nolan of the Hydethian Temple. Your brother needs to come with me for healing and care.”
Tourad narrowed his black eyes in a dangerous glare. “He failed to deliver the Laneste to Her, so I will deliver him first.”
“You must learn forgiveness… give him another chance…”
“She does not forgive. She must have as many souls as possible if she is to save us.”
“From ourselves. We are unworthy, we must give ourselves over to Her magnificence.”
“Who is She?”
“The Shunned chose a Goddess, a woman of incredible power, to oppose those that believed them evil and unworthy. It is they who are unworthy!”
Nolan froze. The Shunned. He had heard that name before. But where? He scoured his brain for the answer. It was an ancient word. From a time long before the reign of his own Goddess. Thousands upon thousands of years ago.
Something caught his attention. A small carving on table in the corner of the room. It was the Kinjorian Symbol, a naked woman with a blade held high, standing over a dead, naked men. Kinjora was the Goddess of Revenge.
“You are Kinjorian?”
“No. I am not Kinjorian. Kinjora is Her servant. As am I. I am one with Kinjora, as She is with me.”
The sun was setting. Fast. The room was becoming dark. Soon the moon would be flooding light into the window directly above the two boys.
“The Goddess, Kinjora, has a Mistress?” Nolan asked, stunned.
“Yes. She is also my Mistress.”
“What is her name?”
“To ask the question is to be unworthy of the answer. Soon all will know Her name, once the Lord of Death has raped the land. She will usurp the throne!”
Nolan did not understand what the boy was talking about. He tried to think of what to do. The boy was obviously not intent on hurting or killing him, otherwise he would have done that by now.
“Do not be afraid, you unworthy creature,” Tourad muttered, stroking his brother’s skin, which appeared to ripple slightly beneath his touch. “She will show you tonight who She is, and if you leave, you shall die. Your time will come. You will die like the pig you are.”
Nolan stood and watched as the intensity of the full moon became the only light source in the room, pouring down onto the pair of children and lighting Tourad up like an inferno of white light. Moonlight. Beneath him Thedas began to shriek behind the gag in his mouth, his body convulsing in what was obviously pain. The butchers knives held him down to the hilts, and the barbs of the pitchforks were deep into the wood of the floor through his ankles. Nolan suddenly realised the strength it would have taken to bore the weapons into Thedas’ bones. No child with Tourad’s build could have done this. It had to have been possession.
“Tourad… don’t do this to your brother…” Nolan whispered, but it was too late. There was nothing he could do. The Ritual of Sacrifice had already began. The room became so cold that he could not help but tremble. Everything was so bright – so horribly white. Everything but Tourad’s eyes. Pitch black pools of power, glaring into his soul. Tourad looked down at his brother and stroked his face gently with his bone thin hands and whispered: “To you, my Goddess, I give this unworthy, in the hope that he may serve you in a different form, for he has failed in his duties this day…”
Thedas’ flesh began to peel away beneath Tourad’s touch. Nolan could smell burning. The intensity of the moonlight was somehow being magnified and used as a weapon. Black Magic. No. Worse than Black Magic. This was something much more sinister. Something primal, something ancient, something evil.
Nolan watched helplessly as chunks of Thedas’ flesh began to rip off from his body and levitate in the moonlight from the window. Blood floated in the air. Hair. Tourad removed the gag. Thedas’ throat had been ripped out and was floating away, soon joined by his teeth. Thedas could not scream. His bones began to snap and break apart.
Throughout the whole ordeal Tourad remained on top of his brother, staring into Nolan as though he were prey. Nolan had never seen anything so horrible. The room was filled with Thedas’ body, the chunks ripping into smaller and smaller pieces, until the whole room was just white and red. Tourad’s knees sunk to the floor. In what took almost five minutes, Thedas was completely and utterly pulled apart and floated about the air of the room as particles. Nolan was far enough away from the cloud of person to avoid inhaling him.
“I hope he pleases you, my Goddess,” Tourad whispered, and held his hands up into the haze of blood. The window suddenly shattered and the particles of Thedas sped out of the room and into the brightly-lit night. Nolan did not see where the morbid cloud went. His eyes were fixed upon the brightly-glowing boy in the middle of the room.
There was no blood. No trace. Just a naked boy with pitch eyes and an expressionless face.
“Someone told me to give Jacelyn the key, and it was not my Goddess,” Tourad said, eventually, filling an awkward silence that was so deep Nolan could hear his own racing heart.
“Thedas had planned to kill her… like this?”
“Yes. She was to be sacrificed to our Goddess. She wants Samathia. Samathia is special. Samathia must die.”
Nolan was a Disciple of Hydeth for a reason. He possessed a power that few mortal men knew of, and even fewer possessed. He only ever used it when absolutely necessary. He did not take threats towards his fostered daughter well at all.
“You touch her… you go near her… I will kill you. Hydeth will protect her. Hydeth will smite you. You have been warned.”
“Warn the predator, did the prey, but the predator will always find a way.” Tourad stood, the motion akin to rising smoke. He held out a hand and an intense light sparked at his fingers. The moonlight shot into Nolan like a lance. He was not as Tourad had expected, however, and the energy entered into his flesh, not to cause harm, but to become a part of him. It was the most revolting feeling he had ever endured. The energy of Tourad’s Goddess was so appalling that it made him want to vomit. To run. To hide. To die.
He pushed against the energy with his own. His Goddess’ light filled him suddenly, a rush of purity that he welcomed with all his might. The Smiting Light of Hydeth filled every part of him until it was all he was, and he slammed the energy back into Tourad as though it were his own fist. The boy screamed, evidently damaged by the blast of golden light, and turned suddenly and leapt out of the shattered window. A two storey drop into the streets of Litherice.
Nolan dropped to his knees. He knelt there in the moonlit room with two pitch forks and two butchers knives sticking out from the middle of the floor.
Channelling the Light of Hydeth was always hard on him. The amount of him that it had taken to deliver that blow had been incredible. He caught his breath. Stopped himself from passing out. He had to get back to the Temple. He had to pray.
As he regained his strength and stood up he noticed the statuette of Kinjora on the table. He glared at it. “So…” he muttered to the deathly-quiet room; “The War… has begun.” He took the wooden carving into his hands and stared at it for a long time. Kinjora, the Goddess of Revenge. She was serving another Goddess. A greater Goddess. A Goddess that wanted Samathia Etherstar dead. And somehow he knew that Hydeth, and many others, would do their very best to stop that from happening.
“Believe in Fate.” he thought to himself, repeating the words in the letter he had found on her; “It weaves itself strongly in this one.”