My First Time
I know now that not all good intentions can be achieved by pure means. I find myself in my own nightmares, forever to wake in a cold sweat, haunted by the souls of those I curse to feed Asmodeus’s hunger.
It started in a moment of desperation. I’m not sure if I had a chance to go back and change my decision I would, but I might think twice about it. I was the youngest of 3 sisters living on the outskirts with my mother and father. We lived a peaceful enough life on a small farm. Peaceful until they came.
It was after bedtime, and I was sound asleep with my sisters. We all shared the same bed then, more so because we didn’t have the room to put more beds in the house. Father was always working around the farm and part of his project was to add more rooms on. I wonder what it would have looked like finished. He never did get to finish.
The dog’s barking woke me, that warning bark that says I live here, go away. Then he sounded angry, mad. There was growl, and a bark, then nothing. Father came into the room and told us to stay quiet. I was scared before he walked in, but even more so when I saw he was carrying his long sword. A different blade, the center gleamed in the light, but the edges were dark, as if they absorbed the light. That was the last time I saw his sword, or my Father. As he left the room my sisters and I huddled under the blankets. It was quiet for so long, then there was a ringing of steel in the dark. Parried, blocked, grunts outside the window, I cowered under the blankets praying that Father was ok, that his skill would prevail. I wasn’t sure how to feel as I heard the groan of the dying, the fall of the body hitting the dirt. Father?
The silence was worse than anything I had known, until mother screamed. The scream from the front room, the door slamming and then kicked in. My sisters and I crawled to the door, out of fear or just having to know what was happening, I’m not sure. We should have ran. We should have gone out the back and never looked back. It was in that mistake that I learned what the lust and violence of a man could do. My mother, my beautiful mother, nightgown torn, blood running from a gash on her head, her arm hanging down from her shoulder limp. She was laid on her stomach, screaming, kicking, bent over the table while a man held her down with his arms on her back and the other behind her, killing her. As each scream of pain filled my ears I felt myself grow even more paralyzed in fear. As she gave what was to be her last scream, my sisters matched her pitch as we watched the man grab her hair and drag his blade across her throat. Upon hearing the screams of my sisters, the men turned and saw us. The man who was holding my mother down ran for our door. My oldest tried to close it but he was too strong. He grabbed her by her hair and threw her into the wall as the second man came into the bedroom. My oldest sister was laid out on the ground unconscious as the second man grabbed my sister. I crawled under the bed, trying to keep quiet. Hoping that they hadn’t seen me when I heard them tear my sisters clothes. That was when it happened. Time seemed to stop and everything went white. The voice of my father came to me as if he was sitting next to me and said that I had the power to stop this. That I needed to stop being a coward and fight for my sisters. I didn’t understand. I was the youngest, small and if he couldn’t stop them what hope did I have? My Father’s voice said to me, Alexis you have the power to stop them, I will show you how to use it if you promise to help me. I wimpered yes.
Of course Father, anything to save my sisters, and as if in a dream I crawled out from under the bed. I no longer felt fear, but strength of will, the sure endurance that I could make it through what was going to happen next. As I stood and saw what was happening, the first man, the one who had ran his blade to draw the last blood of my mother was tearing at my sisters nightgown, pulling it away from her as he slapped her. Anger as I’ve never felt rose inside me, heating my courage, as if my very blood was boiling, my skin crawling with fire. I raised my hand and watched as I grasped at the air, like the talons of a hawk. The very darkness seemed to wisp around the mans body, mimicking the shape of my hand, then I saw him scream. The darkness gathered, a clawed shape of my hand with great talons formed around him, raking at his have naked body leaving bloody trails on his skin, gripping him and then tossing him like a rag against the wall.
I watched as he fell lifeless, feeling shear joy in his death. I, the smallest, the youngest did have the strength to save my sisters. It was then that the second man turned to me and screamed something. To this day I still remember the look in his eyes. Fear. My skin crawled with a warmth I’d never felt before as I stared him down. He started to back towards the door, and my resolve took hold. He killed my Father, raped and murdered my Mother and was to burn in hell forever for his crimes.
He turned and ran, tripping over my mothers body, stumbling for the door as he grasp the handle and flung the already broken wood aside to escape. I followed and watched for a second as he started across the yard to our fence. There I saw our dog, cut in half on the ground, next to him laid my father in a pool of his own blood. It was then I screamed. The pent up fear, anger and hatred burning my throat as the sound came roaring out of me. I raised my hands above my head and felt the heat of my own blood as I cursed him, calling upon every last ounce of my strength I pushed the air together and watched as drops of fire beaded upon his leather cap. They grew and multiplied cascading over his body causing his shirt, his clothes and his very skin to ignite and burn. He withered to the ground, screaming out his very soul as he burned before my eyes. Even as I watched the beads of liquid fire seep into his skin and continue to eat him alive till the was but a pile of ash I knew from then on, my life was never to be the same. I collapsed onto the ground, tears steaming on my cheeks, as my Father’s voice came to me. That is but one soul, and everything went white again. I was nine years old.
When I came to it was light again, and the horror of what had happened was still in front of me. I got up slowly, and started to walk back into the house to see if my sisters were ok when I saw under the window that the planters were overturned. My curiosity got the better of me and I went to investigate. It didn’t take long to figurer out that there must have been a third man standing watch, or watching us. Shivers ran down my spine as flashes of the events passed through my mind. My sisters!
Running to the front door I came up short, looking upon the splinters that remained, and further into the room where my Mother still laid upon the table, her blood drained upon the floor. I felt a twinge of fear start to creep in, quickly replaced with red hot anger, and again I felt my skin grow warm. Stepping into the main room I avoided the blood and called for my sisters, getting silence in return. I searched the house, calling their names until I could no longer deny that I was along. Falling on my knees I felt the tears start down my cheeks.
It was then, for the second time I heard my Father’s voice calling me. I ran outside to find him and slowing materializing, walking up the walk way was a shadowy image of my Father. He looked down at me, watching me till I slowly dropped to my knees sobbing. When he spoke, the nightmare that began the night before slowly embedded itself into life.
As I quieted down he began to speak, and his words lacked the comfort I longed for. He began by describing the power that I sought out last night, as I hid under the bed. As he spoke to me, visions of the raw power that I used against the men flashed through my head. Each detail of dark shadows forming the massive claw, grabbing the man, watching him flying through the air. My Father continued on I saw myself walking down the very path I was kneeling on, causing the drops of fire to bead, and then consume the second intruder, leaving his remains as a pile of ash. The horror of the events were causing me shake.
He then took me back to the moment under the bed, the moment where I said yes. The moment I accepted whatever fate was to become of me to have the power to stop these men, to destroy them, to rip the life from their bodies and send their very soul to hell. I knew then that my life would never be the same that I had done something terribly wrong, and it would come back to haunt me. My Father told me, I had made a pack with hell and that one day they will come to collect on that pact. Until then, he would be allowed to teach me how to control my powers.
With my sisters gone, I was left to burry my parents. I cleaned up the mess left in the house and tried to make it buy while practicing the new skills I had learned. I also found one of my father’s daggers and started carrying it with me, practicing with it everyday. Father appeared once every moon to teach me how to control my new found power and by the time winter had come I was a master of my beginning.
Eventually I had to leave the farm. I wandered my way to Westreach, where I made myself useful to a local innkeeper there. In return for my work he gave me room and board. This went on for several years, but the longing to find my sisters was starting to get the better of me, and one day, I got my break at the age of 16.
A man came in, not that it’s unusually mind you for people to visit our establishment, but this man was carrying a sword of interesting work. He had it slung on his hip, but not sleeved in a sheath, showing the workmanship of the blade off. The center of the blade gleamed in the light, but the edges were dark, as if they absorbed the light without reflecting it back. It was my Father’s sword, I was sure of it. As with every time I felt my anger rise, my skin crawled with fevered warmth brought on by the powers of hell. I bid my time, waiting till the man left, and then followed him into the night air. The fact that he didn’t get a room left me to believe that he had a camp outside town, and my hopes were rewarded as I followed him just to the outside of town. As I watched him settle down, the slim hope that my sisters may still be with him was crushed as he pulled out a bedroll and made to sleep for the night. Now was my chance.
I was as stealthfull as ever, making not so much as a leaf rustle as I approached the man. Pulling out my dagger I slid in next to him and pulled it against his throat. He woke with a start, and thankfully didn’t slit his own throat as I pressed the blade against him.
A quick story was all it took to remind him of the sins of his dead comrades six years ago, and to inform him that I was the one who sent them to hell. Yes, he had taken my sisters, no he didn’t know where they were, he sold them to a man named Griven, a slave trader in Hawkstone. As I held the blade against his throat, I wondered what to do next. It was then, that the image of my Father appeared again, as it did six years ago. He stood there and reminded me of the evils this man and his friends committed against our family and bade me to send his soul to the fires of hell. With my skin aflame, and my anger raging I pulled the blade, a quick short pull and watched as he gasped, blood pouring from the wound, dying.
I packed my Father’s sword and left him there to be eaten by the wildlife.
After a short trip back to the inn, I collected what little belongings I had, thanked the innkeeper for the wonderful years and made my way to Hawkstone, in hopes of finding a lead to my sisters.
Griven was of little use, and his soul was sent to hell when he could recall nothing of my sisters, saying that he saw too many slave girls pass through that he wouldn’t remember ones from last week let alone six years ago. So my search continues.
Then I Died
After two years of adventuring, following along with different parties looking for fame and fortune, I found myself walking late into Morgil’s Hold. It was there, I found my oldest sister. She was on a corner selling herself! I couldn’t believe my own eyes, even coming from a girl who made a pack with hell. But this was my sister, she had always been so pure in heart. As I started to approach her two men came up to her and started talking. I pulled myself back into the shadows and watched.
There seemed to be some sort of disagreement between my sister and the two men and the next thing I knew they had her mouth covered and were dragging her down the ally. I moved to the opening of the ally and saw that they were trying to have their way with her, against her wishes. As she struggled she managed to push one of the men into the wall and get lose of the other’s hold. As she started to run the second one grabbed her from behind by her hair and pulled her a bit to hard.
I felt it was time to take action, with my skin crawling with the energy of hell I let out a quick breath cursing his soul to the fires of hell, unleashing a bolt of dark, crackling energy upon her aggressor. It fell full upon the man’s chest and he clutched at himself with racking pain. The second man seeing his companion taken by blast pulled a short sword and started down the ally towards me.
My sister seeing me, but not recognizing who I was, screamed for help. It was then the man I had attacked took her by the arm and slammed her into the wall, knocking her unconscious. As the man with the sword came at me, I called the curse of hell upon his soul and stretched my fingers out towards him. Feeling my skin crawl with my anger, I saw the man become scoured in hellish flames. His friend came running past him and caught me off guard with a sharp dagger that struck home. I felt the blade enter my chest and burry itself deep as his friend screamed a second wave of flames hit him and fell him to the ground.
It was then my sister stood up and took in the scene. I called out her name and her eyes grew wide in recognition. She then ran up and grabbed the short sword from the dead man and as the second man twisted the blade, making me gasp with my last breath I saw her run him through from behind. As he fell, I felt my sister pick up my dying body, and looking into my eyes swear that it would all be ok. Darkness came.
It was then I realized where my soul was destined to spend all eternity. The flames of the Nine Hells burned my soul. Take the pain of a burn that still haunts your skin long after the heat has been taken away, multiply that one hundred fold, and you still would fall short of the pain my soul was under. And for what seemed like ages the fires licked at my soul. Me, who had worked so to bring so many deserving souls to hell was condemned to the same fate for all eternity.
As quickly as I felt the flames start to wrack my very soul, the pain stopped.
My back arched as I gasped for air. The cold stone I was laying on felt good, the air I was breathing felt good, my blood boiling through my body, my skin feeling that familiar warmth from the powers of hell felt good. I was alive, but how?
My sister. It turns out she knows a local priest, very well. I was moved to a room, and told to rest.
On the second night I found myself standing in front of my window. The night air softly caressing my nightgown, deep in thought, I was absently touching the scar where the dagger entered into my chest. The past years have left me wondering more than anything what I was doing. I seemed to be wondering aimlessly in this world. It was pure chance that I even found my sister, and our reunion was a haunting evil from the past and a short stop in my own life! Now that I was back, why was I here? Or was there really a purpose for me?
A rap at my door and my sister came in. We embraced.
It seemed there was little to say. I did enquire where our middle sister was, and she told me a brief tale of their sale into slavery, and how they were bought by different buyers. She ended up here by escaping her owner. Her life as a consort was over now, a deal made with the priest who performed the ritual that brought me back from the flames. We really had little to talk about after six years, but it brought a feeling of peace being with her.
After waking the next day I made my way down to thank the priest. I found him in his study deep in reading. He was happy to see that I was well, and accepted my thanks warmly, adding that he was hoping we could talk. I took a seat in front of his desk and waited as he pulled his thoughts together.
After a deep sigh he sent me on my way with this:
“Moradin has saved you from eternal torment, but not without reason. Your destiny is unresolved, and may yet find better purpose. I know what you are, warlock, and the infernal pact that stains your heart. Though you may still summon the hellfire that wreaths your soul, Moradin’s blessing can save you from an eternity bound to the Nine Hells. But this boon does not come without a price.
“He does not ask that you pray, or evangelize, or that you worship as other mortals will. Praise him or curse him if you like, but for Moradin, your deeds will be enough. If you embrace the path of evil, you will be consigned to return to the flames of Avernus, damned in the pits of the Nine Hells forever. But if you work to safeguard the innocent, and destroy the evil that encroaches upon the land, Moradin’s grace will deliver your soul from the grip of the Hells. In this, your methods are up to your own choosing.
“A great, ancient evil has been stirred, and the world must find heroes to battle it, lest civilizations be consumed in fire and chaos. For this you have been chosen, and though it may be a hard, lonely path, you will walk it. The forces of chaos and evil have already begun to gather, and even now, search the ruins of the Malachite Fortress for ways to advance their plans. You must go to thwart them, and you may yet find allies to aid you.
“Go now, and know that while you may not have faith in Moradin, he has put his faith in you. He is the god of protection, and with each evil creature you slay, you make the world a little safer, and thus, reinforce his teachings. Go now, Alexis, and follow the path to the Malachite Fortress, and seek your destiny.”
And so here I am, a Warlock who’s blood burns with the fires of hell, trying to stop evil.