Ebiru and the mask.

January 18th, 2014 by Zundra · No Comments · Character development


Laikah shuddered awake, all four of her toes twisted in the agony of nightmare. Her chest heaved a few times before she could settle it, reminding herself that she was awake and safe. She sat upright and deeply inhaled the sea air as if wafted in through the open tent. The Isles twinkled in the distance, a satellite of hope and reassurance. Collapsing back onto her bedroll, she stretched her arm out to claw for her herb pouch. Bloodthistle, Stranglekelp, vinewort… she rubbed them into her fingertips and let the numbing properties soothe her further.

“Your Nightmare has a hold on all things. All things that breathe and live. So you can’t rely on them for protection. All these herbs? Useless in the Nightmare. Half my brews? Worthless. You’ll have to rely on what does not live.”

She allowed her memories to catch up with her, now that she had been comforted. Her mind drifted to earlier that day, to Ebiru. He seemed unenthusiastic about Laikah’s conviction as to Ohiska’s illness, but then cast his juju so fiercely into Fa’simba’s Rushkah that she doubted he could merely be humoring her. His chants and pleas had followed her to sleep and still hummed in her ears upon waking.

“You’ll have to rely on the land and the air and the sea… and the dead.”

Everything about the ritual had unsettled her. The way the cauldron bubbled, the way the sea fought with palpable agony to expunge the magick being committed on virgin seabed. The way the sands seemed to choke and cough. The way the water cooked and shouted in mouthless anguish,

“Ten thousand bones before me, Ten thousand bones yet to come. By my bones, now, I call this mask a true one! Give me shadow! Give me great and deep and dark shadow!”

She recalled the way Ebiru held up the Rushkah, an eerie eldritch glow swarming it like a hiveful of madflies. She had beseeched Ebiru for his help, but had she brought Ohiska into further danger by doing so? Her eyes stung and her mouth was dry. How long has she been asleep? When had she last eaten? She’d spent days worrying so much for Ohiska’s wellbeing that her own had started to suffer.

“Jikkul-Kra will serve you for as long as it wills.
When that day comes, you will make a choice.”


Jikkul-Kra. A choice…

Laikah rolled partway off the bedroll and threw up. What little was in her stomach smelled fetid. But there was no point worrying about it now. The dawnlight had begun to creep over the hills of Durotar as if to gently remind her that this was all the preparation that they would be allowed. Ohiska had stopped living, and merely begun to exist. His face was sunken and his form had cast no shadow for months. Soon, his soul would sound no echo. He would be hollow. He would cease.

Today, the ritual would go ahead. She’d save him, or die trying.

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