Friday, October 1, 2010

[RP] Battle for the Echo Isles, Part 2

Zana’zua shoved his way through the crowd around him. Many of the warriors he fought alongside only moments before now shrank away from the death knight in revulsion.

“Ambika!” His voice rattled hoarsely in his throat.

The priestess hurtled recklessly through the trees, completely oblivious to both the somber celebration of high-loss victory and to the death knight chasing after her. Walloped by branches, she ran desperately towards the fading Loa. Thorns and whip-like vines tore her pristine robes as she ran, nearly knocking her down. As the crowd finally parted enough to let him pass, Zana’zua took off after her. The residual power of battle killed the grass with every step as he trampled over it.

“Ambika?” He called out once more, slapping branches out of his face. The undergrowth was thick and beat at him mercilessly. Her trail was unmistakable, littered with wisps of torn fabric and smeared with traces of blood. He could smell her panic.

In a tiny break in the trees not quite large enough to be called a clearing, he found Ambika standing before the Loa. Bwonsamdi loomed over her, hovering several feet above the ground. Neither of them took any notice of the newcomer.

The trolless bled all over from deep scratches carved into her skin by branches and razor-edged tropical leaves. Blood pooled in the cups of jungle foliage crushed beneath her feet. She dropped to her knees, whether from exhaustion or reverence he couldn’t tell. Perhaps both. She sucked in the hot, still air, speaking in strangled gasps.

“Please, Bwonsamdi, hear me.”

You return, little one. But Bwonsamdi got no time for you.

“Please, don’t go, I beg you--”

Bwonsamdi chuckled humorlessly. So, ya beg now. What makes ya think ya worthy of me blessin’, zufli? Ya no betta than any of me children. Ya hardly betta dan dat worthless Zalazane, even afta all dis time.

“I need--”

Always needin’, you. Makin’ demands of Bwonsamdi..!

Zana’zua shivered as the Loa’s booming voice rose in anger. He shrank back, trying to hide his bent frame behind a wall of glossy leaves. The priestess was completely unaware of his presence, all of her focus set on the Loa. Ambika did not cower or shrivel, but lowered her head, jaw set. Zana’zua was certain that any moment the angry death god would strike her down where she knelt, for her pride.

You be needin’ a lesson in humility, little one. You need MORE dan dat, but Bwonsamdi gonna give ya PLENTY rope, ya dig?

The blue-skinned troll knelt with her hands balled up into fists on her thighs. She was still trying to catch her breath. “Olokun blessed me with a vision. He said you would help me.” Blood dripped unnoticed from her cheek and soaked the front of her robe.

DID he now. The anger in Bwonsamdi’s voice was gone. In its place was a sly amusement that Zana’zua didn’t like one bit.

“I saw you in my dream, I saw us here as we are now, and I felt that great success was at my fingertips. You spoke to me, Bwonsamdi.”

Ambika went silent, her gaze focused intently on the hovering spirit. Zana’zua shifted uncomfortably behind the cover of heavy, fragrant jungle vines. He could sense something unspoken pass between the priestess and Loa, but it was impossible to tell what. After several minutes, she collapsed forward onto the ground, both hands planted in the dirt for support as though resisting an enormous, invisible weight on her back. Bwonsamdi growled, a fearful sound that chilled Zana’zua to the bone.

Ya circumvent me authority too many times, zufli, and ya feel da sting. Don’t ya, little one?

A soft groan was her only response. The invisible weight shifted and so did she, sinking deeper into the earth.

You gonna feel it plenty, little one, if ya continue down dis disappointin’ path. You tink dis a heavy burden, you come see me again without doin’ ya duty.

Zana’zua felt a moment of pure terror as the Loa suddenly turned his attention to the poor soul hidden in the shadows. Bwonsamdi appeared in the form of a ghostly troll, but his eyes were death. They seemed to bore through him where he stood, penetrating to his very core.

Dis one gonna help ya, little one. He owe me BIG, keepin’ dat soul which rightfully be mine.

To the death knight’s immediate relief, the Loa looked to Ambika once more. She sank completely to the ground, still straining against the unseen weight even though it had already brought her low.

Ya, dat’s right. He gonna help ya, and YOU gonna let him. Don’ tink you can satisfy me any uddah way.

Bwonsamdi smiled. It was a horrible thing to behold.

You fail me, you go in da hole with HIM. FOREVA.

With that, he was gone. Ambika, released from her burden, did not rise but only buried her face in her hands and lay there, silent.


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