Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Zozo's Children

"We must! The board commanded it!" She was on the verge of tears, half hunched over with stress, and wide-eyed with terror. The old barn had been abandoned after the plague wiped out half of the animals, and left to rot. In the two years since it had become home to various wild animals, and a frequent place for kids to sneak off to.

"We should never have touched it." Jaren, her boyfriend, snarled. "This is all your fault."

"Mine?!" Keelie screeched.

"You brought us out here, and then didn't want to do anything but kiss me."

She fell to the floor sobbing, pressed forehead to the floor, and twisted her hair in her hands. "I don't want to." she gasped out.

"Don't want to what?" Elrik asked, poking his head through the barn door. "Gods Jared, what did you do to her?"

"It wasn't me, it was this stupid board." Jared picked up the letter covered board, and snapped it over his knee. "There, see? Nothing. It's nothing!" He yelled, tossing the pieces at her prostrate form. Her hands untangled and reached out for the board pieces, and held them together. Instantly, the board was a single piece again.

"No... no Jaren, it isn't nothing. We have to." Her eyes, solidly black looked up at him and Elrik. "We have to kill them all." She then fell limply to the floor.

"Kill who? What? Jaren, what's going on?" Elrik looked on the verge of running.

Zozo is a demon who specializes in trapping older children and getting them to commit horrible acts. He mostly uses intimidation to begin with, threatening them, lying to them, but once they've begun, they're his. Roving bands of them leave a swath of destruction in their wake. They show up in town, talking about the horror they just "escaped" from, and ask to be taken in, whereupon they terrorize those who were trying to help them. They begin slowly, starting with the local teens, getting them to join Zozo's cult.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Those In Yellow

"Let us walk in the woods, and tell sad stories of dead kings and lost princes." The dry leaves and fallen twigs snapped under her sandals, and the hem of her yellow robes dragged in the dirt. "Let us remember those forgotten, long ago turned to dust, names erased from history." The scent of autumn was in the air, of rot and wet and mold, as the world prepared for it's winter slumber. "Today we shall revel and mourn in our life and in our death."

The farmers followed behind the woman, their workday clothing stained with mud and sweat, out beyond their fields and into the woods that they avoided even looking at. The children of the village huddled together in the temple. Locked behind a barred door, and ordered not to open it before the rising of the sun the next morning. None of the farmers knew when that next morning would arrive, as the sky was without sun, and had been the whole day long.

When she came, as she did every year, she brought them through the center of the village, and out into the woods. No one ever saw her arrive, but they could feel her coming. The could feel her approach. They could feel it in their bones. And so they locked their children away and went with her. Most would return, and some of the women would come back pregnant. Some years a child would be born... different. That child would be taken it's first autumn with the adults into the woods. It was never returned...

Some lands are not suitable for people to live on naturally, but there are ways that that can be changed. Rituals, bargains, magics that can be done. Those in Yellow are members of a fertility cult that serve an ancient genius loci who demands a sacrifice every year. They are the descendants of those who made the original bargain, and carry the divine (demonic?) taint of that bargain.

Image Source: The King In Yellow by Dusk-Abomination

Monday, May 2, 2016

Xezbeth the Liar

"How do I know I can trust you?" The sliver of moon shining in the cloudless still night barely illuminated the woman before me, yet she glowed, and I was terrified.

She laughed then, a deep throaty laugh that made my knees weak. "You can't. I'm a demon, silly."

"But... you're so beautiful."

"My dear, you are so young. Beauty is just skin deep, and this" she runs her hands down over the swell of her breasts, across her belly, and rests them on her hips "isn't even my skin. However, as it comes to our agreement, once we settle on the terms, I will be powerless to change them. There are some rules that even I have to follow. If I didn't, no one would ever agree to deal with me."

"Fine. You get my soul when I die, and those things in the valley go away, and everything gets to grow again. Yes?"

"Yes. When you die, or 10 years, whatever comes first."

I nod. She steps toward me and leans in, and I leap back. "What are you doing?"

"Sealing the deal with a kiss."

I blink and get out an "Oh" before her lips are on mine. I don't know how long the kiss lasted, but it was electric. Her hands cupping my face, her lips on mine all burned like she had a fever. When she pulled away she looked me in the eyes, and slipped her hand down to my throat and squeezed. The last thing I heard was the crushing of my neck.

"I never promised I wouldn't kill you myself. Now get up."

My broken body struggled to it's feet. I felt the broken bits of my neck snapping and popping back into place.

"There is a book in the temple in town. I want it. It has a red leather cover. Get it, and bring it to the top of that mountain." She pointed off to a distant peak at the far end of the valley. "There you will find a group waiting for you. Gather them

"What... I thought you wanted my soul? What about the valley?"

"Oh, the hellhounds will leave off, don't worry. And as for your soul, I have it, and you have to do what I say. Now go." 

Xezbeth is one of many crossroads demons, and like all of them, she must abide by whatever deal she makes. However she will always work to twist the deal her way, and rarely does she deliver the souls she's collected straight to hell. At times she's used them to form the core of a cult to get what she wants. Usually when her more persuasive means fail.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Sunday Inspirational Image: May Day

Happy Beltane! I hope your celebrations are as wild and exciting!

Beltane Fire Festival (2009) in Edinburgh

It's also International Workers Day. Sadly for hirelings and henchman, their unions rarely push for 5 day, 8 hours/day, working weeks, and they certainly don't worry about OSHA standards!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

The Wastelanders

His breath billowed white around him in the achingly cold air. The dark landscape felt alien. Shapes and shadows that didn't correspond to anything he thought of as normal. Frozen dirt, jagged rocks, and everything painfully dry.

"It is another 2 weeks before we will see the daystar again." his guide informed him.

With his hands on his knees he gasped, trying to control his body's reaction to this inhospitable place he asked "How can you tell? No sun, no moon, and the clouds have been covering the sky for... what feels like weeks."

"I just can. Come, we must keep moving."

"Where are you dragging me now."

"We must keep moving. This is a bad place."

He stumbled forward behind the guide. "Bad how?"

"There are... people... that live out here. Wild folk that have left civilization."

"Why would anyone want to live in this god-forsaken waste?"

"Because not all of the gods have forsaken it."

God of the Wasteland
This unnamed mad god grants his unfortunate followers the gift of near immortality. They will not die from lack of food or water, or exposure to the inhospitable wastelands that he claims as his own. Anyone who calls out for salvation from hunger, thirst, or cold in the wastelands will be given what they ask for. In return, they will worship him. His tenants are simple, and worship is accomplished through his followers insanity, and they are all insane. Driven mad by the touch of their god, they are like ghouls, forever hungry, forever cold. The hot wet flesh of those unfortunate enough to travel through the wastes will be consumed in a frenzy rending teeth and claw-like fingers.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Virginal Viragos

"There's just one rule: No men!" Callista yells in the torchlight.

"No Men!" The women scream into the night.

"Men are the enemy!"

"Men are the enemy!"

"Tonight we strike at the heart of those who would hold us back. The baron, his knights, his men-at-arms, his squires, his boys will be marching down that road. And when they do, we will be ready, and they... will be ours!"

The cheering rang through the woods, and the revelry lasted well into the night.

The following afternoon, when the baron was her prisoner, Callista leered at him with her tattooed face, her followers hooting and howling at the men on their knees.

The Viragos are a roving band of women who crop up in places where the local lords, sheriffs, and guild-masters use their power to take advantage of women. The power behind them is a warrior goddess, protector of women, who makes a woman so wronged, and turns her into an avatar of vengeance who is always known as Callista.

Thursday, April 28, 2016


"Live fast, die young, and enjoy a beautiful corpse for all eternity!" The party toasted, clinking their glasses together in the book filled study. The furniture had been shoved out of the center of the room, plush chairs lined the walls interspersed with side tables, a globe and even the great desk and tables of ornately carved and highly polished wood.

The revelers were all richly dressed in ornate fashions of yesteryear. Young men and women, barely out of their childhood in clothing out of style when their parents were their age, and all had their faces painted as ornate and somewhat abstract skulls. Smudges of which ended up on their wine glasses after the toast.

Observing them, standing alone in the shadowed corner in clothing that was even more out of style than that of the infants before her was a woman whose face was unpainted, and whose hand held no glass. The partygoers could feel her watching, knew who she was, and yet not one would look directly at her, though she was the entire reason for the gathering. It's difficult to look death in the face. she thought to herself. They still think they're immortal.

Successful vampires are patient. They know they have time on their side. Time to corrupt the children of your enemies, or their grandchildren. They also know how to entice those children with promises of eternal beauty. So it is that the children of the rich and powerful join these clubs of the pre-undead. Sometimes a few of them are even turned into vampires. Most are merely charmed, used, and tied to the vampire for the rest of their lives, acting as the vampire's puppets in the daylight.