We pushed through the remains of the town yet again seeking the home of Doresain. Our clothes heavy with blood, our throats raw from the smoke and our heads weary with despair.
Only to find ourselves in a hell that not only assailed the senses with horror, but took hold of our minds as we know it…
This house…this encasement of malevolence… must be somewhere in the 9th circle of hell. Upon approach, the home, though ravaged was not as undone as the others in town, but more like someone who lived within it, went mad, and yet remained still. We came closer, ever so cautiously. Moe in front peeking though the smudged windows and cracked doors. I mentally asked him what he saw, he looked back at me with eyes wide…
“Sophie, there’s writin ’ on the walls. Writing tha’s real bad, Sophie. Talkin’ bout death, blood and dying”.
I looked down and closed my eyes, steeling my nerves for what may come. Did I really expect anything different? A shudder ran down my spine as I began to feel the energy that radiated from this…house. I keep praying for something to numb my senses to all this so that I may get through alive. But no relief ever comes. I constantly feel everything. The smoke stinging my eyes, every scream, every howl, every cut and every drop of blood that drains from my body, keeps replaying over and over. This nightmare has to end soon! For even if I don’t die, I fear I will succumb my mind to the raw unconsciousness around me and lose myself completely.
I have come a long way from Mordentshire. I’m beginning to wonder if it really ever existed…
Ever our wise leader, Thurik, motioned for us to find another entrance other than the front. We came around the side of the house hunched low under the windows and found another door. Moe pried it open, there seemed to be some obstruction on the other side, but we managed to push through in silence; miraculously, considering the squeaking of Thalia’s armor. As soon as I stepped in, being the last in line, a heavy blanket of dread seemed to envelope me. Looking around, the others must have felt it too. The whites of their eyes revealing their fearfulness.
The room; it could have once been a library or study of some sort with books scattered about, pages torn and soiled. Upturned desks and broken chairs. I looked closer at a broken desk and saw what Moe spoke about when he first looked in. The glow from Thurik’s hammer allowing me to see the scratched writing in the wood in an almost manic and nonsensical manner. The writing I have chosen to block out for sanity’s sake.
The door behind me shut with such force I nearly jumped out of my skin. I began to shake, terror taking over.
“Hee hee hee!” The clear laughter of some woman, gleefully welcoming us seemed to come from nowhere and everywhere at once. “Hee he ha!”
Thurik turned his hammer on to full brightness and the room lit up. The depraved writing almost glowing in the light. Anxiously, we strained our eyes to find something. Thurik and Thalia went through to the other room. As soon as Moe and I tried to follow, my head started to swim with images, the walls seemed to bow inwards, outwards and back again. I caught flashes of what I recognized as this house as it once was.
When they passed, I opened my eyes and suddenly Moe looked so…so mouth-watering. Without thought I attacked him- though I swear, my mind was not my own. As soon as I did the feeling passed. I shook my head and tried to focus.
The yells of Thurik and Thalia fighting came from the other room. We had to seal this house from evil, some evil magic ensconced it making the house itself attack our minds. Thalia, Thurik and myself all started saying magical rites to break the spell. Finally, after some time had passed I felt the blanket of dread lift and my mind left alone. I took a deep breath as the weight was lifted from my chest.
All of us saw the images. We pieced together The Treacherous Tale of Doresain:
The woman who attacked us was Elisa, Doresain’s younger sister. She was not herself, but only the evil twisted remains of what she once was. She lost her life caring for her brother, Doresain, of whom death was overtaking…
As we already know, Queen Nera had Doresain, a cleric of St. Lucian and trusted friend, search for the magical Ring of Canon. This ring is so powerful, that it will preserve the soul of the one who wears it, into the after-life.
Unbeknownst to Queen Nera, Doresain found the ring. He carried it about a chain across his breast. Wearing it proudly, flaunting a wealth he did not possess. Doresain decided to keep it for himself.
After this realization, Nerull visited him in the courtyard of town. Doresain felt the dark oppression of his presence before he saw Nerull himself. He turned to face him, his jaw dropped in alarm and shock. Shrouded in the beautiful moonlight Nerull asked Doresain what he wanted in return, if he swore to never give the ring to the queen. “Eternal life” said Doresain, his voice unwavering. With a nod, Nerull dissipated.
Nerull did bestow Doresain with eternal life, but cursed eternal life. As Nerull’s curse overtook Doresain’s body, he suddenly realized what he was turning into, though he had no word for it. The imagery whenever he closed his eyes, weakened his resolve and sanity further and further. Nerull betrayed him. Though he tried to fight it, there was no stopping it. A frequent visitor to his bedside, was Doresain’s friend and trusted priest, Breyllic who helped to encourage him to fight it. But it overtook Doresain, he saw only red, and slaked his bloodlust on those around him. Tearing through flesh, devouring body parts whole. Doresain became one of them. He became the first.
He turned on those he loved, such as Elisa. Others in this house as well, thereby creating a ripple effect until there were thousands of ghouls. And he controlled them all. Breyllic’s mind was overrun and controlled by Doresain, so the priest was not himself either. It was not him who tied those people down against their will and had them eaten alive. It was Doresain.
However as horrible as he has been, I cannot help but feel, even Doresain was merely a pawn in this carousel of hell. This was a world and place where mortals defied gods and gods bargained with mortals. We didn’t even belong here… Even so, the instinct of self-preservation I found to still be as strong as ever. I did not want to give up just yet.
We looked at each other, we all felt it. Doresain knew we were here, and he was coming for us. We quickly left the house, knowing we had only moments. Not wishing to explore it any further, though Moe found some sort of flayed skin cloak, blood still dripping. He screamed and ran out of the house as if there were fresh biscuits waiting for him outside.
After all we’ve been through, we cannot give up now. This new-found knowledge empowered me to bring him to justice. I closed my eyes, tears mixed with sweat down my cheeks. He killed Jonathan. He killed Drina. He killed thousands of others. He ate human flesh. He will be crying for someone to save him before he is dead…