Machi looked on while the spirit orchestrated it’s blasphemous ritual. She could not believe that she was standing here. Her long search for a way to create a kindred spirit had brought her to this point. She wished she could have known the one who made her, but he had fled, leaving her alone and haunted by the spirits. She had wandered looking for others like her.
She had found a few individuals that were similar in state, dead flesh animated by fire, but none that could match her ability to see the invisible. Machi had stayed with those she found, asking what they knew of how soulless wretches like themselves came to be. She had watched hollow men sew corpses together and call lightning to strike their creations, breathing a spark of life’s fire into their patchwork children, but she was unable to recreate their success on her own. She longed for another like her, one who could see the spirits in their shadow realm, but she could neither find one nor figure out how to make a companion.
Her attention was brought back to the spirit Raven as it instructed the possessed inmates. Machi watched as they repeatedly asked the screaming man if he wanted wisdom. His incoherent cries didn’t matter, the possessed would give it to him anyway, exacting the price required in flesh.
She had met the Raven on the road. It had introduced itself as “Huginn and Muninn”, two aspects waring within one being. It claimed it had been looking for her and had the answers Machi sought. While a strange claim for a spirit to make, it told her that if she found an appropriate subject, she should draw a rune in the dirt and it would come to instruct her in the rest of the ritual. It said that the subject would need to be a tall man, with blond hair and a beard. He needed to look paternal and be a mortal with ties to the spirits.
The man’s screams reached a fevered pitch as his captors scraped his left eye out of it’s socket. Machi looked away, knowing that the man’s torment was just beginning. She had found him working as a therapist at a mental institute. He specialized in debunking “possessions” and working people back to health. It was no small irony that he really had some power over spirits. His resolute disbelief was as sure a form of exorcism as anything a priest could manage.
The man’s screams died to whimpers as his previous charges started cutting runes and symbols into his flesh. The Raven had said that the runes would be the basis of his memory when this was complete. Much as the runes Machi had drawn near the patients cells had called the spirits to possess them, so too would these runes call knowledge lost to the ages to fill the empty vessel. The Raven flew to Machi, and inquired if she had brought the required tools for the ritual. Machi answered in the strange tongue of the spirits and pulled the rope and spear from the back of her pickup. The spirit cocked it’s head to examin them, and nodding it’s acceptance, asked her to give the rope to the men.
As she drew closer to the group to do as requested, she could no longer look away from the pitiful man. He was covered in cuts and bleeding freely. Blood from his empty socket matted his beard and hair and she was shocked to see that he was still conscious and watching her approach. His remaining eye grew wide as he saw through the illusion that normally hid her from mortal eyes, and he flailed with his broken body in a futile attempt to get away from her. The bloody runes seemed to dance with a life of their own, and the possessed quickly stepped forward to take rope from Machi. She released it, and they took the man and the rope to the big tree. There they hauled him off the ground and lashed him to a low branch. The man still fought them, but he was weakening, and what would soon be resignation was creeping into his eye.
The possessed gathered in a loose circle under the tree and started a chant in a strange tongue. The Raven came to her once more and asked if she was ready for her part in this ritual. Steeling herself, she nodded her assent and strode forth with the spear to finish what was started. The man’s soul would soon be free, and the body would enter the final preparation; for what Machi hoped would be the birth of something new. The man watched with his good eye, and Machi could not help but to pity him in his final moments. As the chant reached a crescendo, Machi drove the spear into the man’s heart. His final scream of agony pierced the night, and Machi felt the power well up. Her ears popped as the man’s agony ripped a hole in the fabric of the world and his body was pulled into the realm of shadows. Machi looked through the hole and saw a great gathering of spirits. Spirits of war, myth, animals, and weapons descended upon the man’s broken form, tearing it to pieces.
Machi planted the spear in the ground near the tree and stepped back to wait. Piece by piece, the man’s remains were returned to the world. The spirits sated on his suffering, stayed on their side of the veil as it crept closed. Machi new better than to turn her back on the breach before it closed, but once it was sealed, she knelt down among the remains. She arranged them, and drew the stuff of spirits out of herself. She kneaded the the gossamer strands in between the pieces of the man’s body and watched the flesh melt back together. The joining left what looked like ragged burn scars where the pieces came together and the runes turned into intricate patterns over the body. When Machi was sure that all but the eye had been rejoined, she brought forth a spark of the divine fire that animated her. Caressing it’s gentle spark, she placed it into the empty socket. The body shook, and started gasping for breath. After the 9th breath, the spark took, and Machi was driven back by the power that flared forth once more. The man’s flesh screamed as it was reborn to the world, and the earth shook beneath their feet.
Machi shrank back further as her frightening creation staggered to it’s feet. It steadied itself on it’s spear, and after it had it’s balance, drew the weapon from the ground. Machi was startled by the Raven, and saw that it watched the un-man take in it’s bearings. She heard it croak the flesh’s new name, “Woden”, and she trembled with the knowledge of what they had done.
Then with a cry, Woden sprang upon the possessed inmates. He struck them down with his spear, and crushed their skulls under his feet. When he had killed them all, he held out his arm and the Raven lighted upon it’s rightful perch. Woden turned his gaze on Machi, and she saw the spark of her life flickering in his empty eye. He regarded his maker for a moment, then leveled his spear and charged. Shocked, Machi stood rooted to the ground, and her creation descended swiftly upon her…
|Promethean: The Created|
|Promethean Boon||Redeemed Boon||Trait Affinities||athanor|