I grew up in a city that could be considered a nightmare on the mortal plane.
A dark and terrible place, That most Murderers wouldn’t call home.
Most mortal races haven’t heard of this place, nor would they ever care to.
My home was the place that children were told of so they would behave.
Every corner of the city is lined with monsters. They hide in the shadows, They show themselves only when it’s too late. The god’s of the lower planes smile upon this place. The “Mortals” That are still left alive here almost all worship them, And they’re rewarded well, for their Insanity, their instability, their chaos.
In some of the higher towers and deeper dungeons of this forsaken place, Creatures of hellfire and deception are torn from the place they call home, to serve the privileged, and the faithful of these so called gods.
These are the true embodiment of the foul and perverse, These are the things that are supposed to incite fear in peoples minds, The thought of the torture that will happen when they step out of line. The stories of demons tormenting peoples souls eternally when we pass on.
I do not fear these things. For I have seen true fear.
The city streets were dark in Verlaten. Even during the day, thickness of night always seemed to cling to this place. However with everything that has happened here, it seems there is probably reason to believe why the darkness stays here.
For centuries, this had been the city of the non-believers, It’s name even being an ancient word for Forsaken. Here Mortal races would live without morals, without any civilized culture. This was the city where someone would live the way that they wanted.
Many gods however thrived on this, Feeding off of the chaotic energy, the murder, and fear.
The town was the perfect place to hatch the plans of the Old Dark Ones, A particularly nasty group of elder gods.
Verlaten was a town that had many flaws, and nothing to really stay for. The practitioners of dark arts around the city have corrupted the very essence of the earth around this city. Leaving a heavy clinging darkness that envelopes the city, Days are lit by the street lamps, Lit with a sickly green light, Byproduct of Chemical Magic. The sun attempts to break the darkness every day, however it does nothing more than bring a light grey to the streets.
My family never had much, My parents had forsaken the gods, much as they had felt. My mother was a Drunk, She treated my father as though he belonged on the streets. She Drank, She would beat him with whatever was Handy. He would take his money, And gamble it in the back alley, Trying to earn his way from this horrid place.
And then they were gone. My father had wound up dead. Gambling debts forced him to fight for a living, He was quickly killed, found down river in the rocks. After my father died, My mother took her own life.
And as quickly as that, A young boy of thirteen years old, Is put on the streets by himself.
Luckily, I was Resourceful. I could steal, And I Could manipulate, Despite hating the city. It still managed to mold me in it’s Image.
I lived in a warehouse near the Docks. It wasn’t too big, but it had a few large loading bays. This was where they used to Unload Foreign goods. When Foreigners would still come here. It was just big enough to make it mine. The doors were Boarded, So were most of the windows. There was a window near the top of the building, perfectly lined up with the roof of the neighboring building. I remember the first time jumping from that roof through the window. I had found my own little piece of a home in this cesspool around me
I lived in that warehouse for quite a few years. I lived from the streets, pilfering, raiding, and even rarely killing if it meant that i could live another day. This city had raised me in it’s image.
When i was sixteen, I still lived in the Warehouse, I had a loft that was built on the top floor, Overlooking the bay of the warehouse floor. It was pretty bare down there now, only a few shelves with some old goods that i left to make it look the part. But i’ll never forget what happened on the last night i spent in that warehouse.
It was late. Dark enough that i couldn’t see outside. But that didn’t count for much in Verlaten. Every once and a while, I’d get the odd Drunk or a Street worker stumbling into the builder from time to time, But the sounds that woke me this time were different.
I could hear chains, Dragging on the cold stone floor.
I could hear a chant, But this wasn’t any language i had ever heard.
It was Guttural, Sounded almost like gurgling.
And then i heard the scream that got me out of bed.
The shrill sound raced through the building. It struck me to the core and echoed in my bones. But i felt that i needed to see what was going on. Taking a look over the railing, I saw who was making the noise.
In the middle of my home, Stood a ring of people. It wasn’t just the usual Drunk stumbling in. They were wearing strange clothe. Robes weren’t strange around here, Mages were commonplace, But theirs were different. They were moving. As if something were underneath of them.
I didn’t dare to Interrupt what they were doing. Especially after seeing which one of them the scream came from.
In the center of the ring, I man was on his knees. He wasn’t like them, He wore no Robes.He barely wore clothes at all. He had no shirt on, Which revealed the man to be heavily muscled. He was Screaming in agony, Something wasn’t right. But i couldn’t tell if they were using magic, or if he’d been poisoned, But he was most definitely not making out of here.
His skin was Clammy, He was sweating, And heaving. It looked like the mans eyes were about to pop out of his skull, Bulging out beyond points i thought regular people could. My young mind couldn’t comprehend what this man was experiencing.
He was held by chains at the wrists, ankles and neck. The Chanting grew louder, As did the mans suffering, and his eyes. He couldn’t scream at this point, He could only suffer, The chains seemed to constrict tighter as they chanted.
But suddenly there was silence, They stopped, He stopped, And it was still.
The calm was quickly broken, The sound of boots on the floor, As the circle parted another practitioner entered the show.
“It was not very intelligent of you to come here, Paladin of the Holy Order.” His face was half covered by his hood, But i could see the Grinning smirk that crossed this mans face, I’ve seen the look before in the streets, The look of perversion in enjoying someones suffering.
The tall man was on his knees, Chained, Barely breathing, There was something about him though, Despite the pain, and torture that he’s going through now, He’s not giving up, The determination in his eyes is nearly unstoppable. But he’s drained, and all the fight he has left, Won’t be enough.
“You can finish me here if you want. But you know that i won’t be the last of my order to hunt you down. We will find you, and your twisted mockery of a deity will be destroyed by the light.” His words were laboured, His chest causing visible pains.
Those gathered around the man began to chuckle, giggle and laugh. The tentacle man reached back down to grab the tall man by the face. That crooked grin grew even wider as he looked into his eyes, The mans chest heaved again. A great cracking noise echoed through the building.
“Soon enough, You’ll be the thing that your beloved order hunt’s down.” The look of joy on his face grew with every second.
The kneeling man began retching, A sickening goo dripping from his mouth as he heaved.
“Oh it looks like it’s almost time.” The crazed mans laugh quickly grew, almost becoming a squeal of delight.
“My how you’re glowing.” He reached down, Tangling the tentacles through the paladin’s hair. “How does it feel to be carrying the child of the mad one?” The man Kneeling on the floor suddenly changed, The sound of another rib snapping, snapped me out of my daze. The once proud, Fighting hero that was kneeling before this cult was broken.
The group calmed down as realization soon fell across the man. His stomach began bulging, The image looking like a squid was trying to release itself from his insides. The images of wriggling tentacles writhing under his skin, Pushing harder.
Tears rolled down the mans face, he began to sob. That was the first time that i heard the voice…
It slithered into the back of my mind, like a snake crawling through the grass for it’s prey.
A man that’s spent his entire life in the service of a greater power. Is now to lose his life to give existence to the progeny of his most mortal of enemies.
I looked around. There was no one standing around me. Could I have somehow thought that?
The suffering isn’t the part that they enjoy.
My heart started beating quickly, I felt the presence behind me, as though someone were standing there, Whispering in my ear.
It’s the poetic justice.
I froze again, I felt helpless, If i were to move, Whatever is behind me would know my fear.
I know that you’re scared Ingram.
My eyes widened. No one on the streets knew my name.
The last time I’d been called by name was when my parents were alive.
The man you are watching right now has been judged. He’s the cause of most of the children of madness’ demise.
“The voice of madness…” I whispered to myself quietly. Now the strange cult didn’t seem so foreign. They were the Children of Madness. They worshiped some great god that was said his very voice could cause madness in the most devout of men.
And in return. He will give birth to the greatest of my children.
The feeling of shock intensified as I now understood the voice that was crawling in my head.
The King of Madness is speaking to me.
After a few moments of silence. The scene below took a very quick turn for the worse.
The writhing under his skin now extended to his arms and legs. The man was crying, His god couldn’t save him at this point. I couldn’t turn away. I watched every suffering moment of his demise. He started getting sick, By now whatever it was began writhing up his neck, stopping him from turning his mouth to the side. Covered in vomit, I could see the tip starting to pop out the back of his throat, Finally escaping through his mouth. His fingers were each bursting, the tentacles trying to burst from under his fingernails. His eyes began bulging. He couldn’t even scream, or pray.
From then on it was quick, The beast quickly ripped the man apart. Escaping from every orifice that it could find it’s way out. The spray of blood exploded, Covering the cultists as they joined in a great cheer. The sickening green creature was nothing but an amalgam of tentacles, all different, colours, shapes, even the skin on each of them was different. Covered in a disgusting slime, My mind couldn’t handle what i had just witnessed. The voice in my head, and what suffering that man went through, I can feel it.
The great creature began to rise. lifting itself on different arms. The tentacles began to part. The center of the great beast was a single humongous eye. The cultists were quick to silence. The pupil quickly darted around the room. Observing everything. All was still.
After a few moments of staring each other down, The leader of the group of cultists walked forward.
“Welcome great child of madness. There is much we have to do brother.” He spoke to it as though it were the same as he. Stepping forward to the great creature, he reached his serpentine hand towards the monstrosity. It began reaching for the mans hand, As though it were using antennae to sense what was in front of it. For a moment it seemed this was the Cultists goal. Until the Leader began to scream. His arm was very quickly severed from his body, The creature holding it as it’s eye closed, it blinked once, twice, three times, Suddenly the great bloodshot eye was no longer there when opening the third time. A great maw of teeth circled the inside of it’s mouth, resembling a great cyclone of teeth. The Scream that it produced was the sharpest sound one could imagine, Shattering the windows in the building.
The creature lowered the mans arm into it’s mouth. A great ripping and shredding noise filled the air as half of the meat, bone and blood flew back out of it’s mouth. It’s feelers shot out from it’s body, Latching each of the cultists, Raising them into the air. It continued Screaming, The scream was unlike anything I’d ever heard. The raised cultists were wrapped by the beast tightly, Some of them had their bones broken, Arms pulled out of their sockets, All when this monster hoisted them into the air. Their leader seemed to have the most unfortunate as it wrapped around his neck, His face was turning blue, Suffocation.
The creature began lowering each of them into it’s great tornado of teeth. Shredding, Ripping, Screaming. The sounds I heard now would never leave me. Upon getting to the last cultist the monster began moving like it hadn’t before. Creating a body made of tentacles it stood on 4 legs, like a great dinosaur created of nightmares. It’s head was nothing but the shadowy movements and the great mouth. It began to look around, until it spotted me standing in my loft.
The leader of the cultists dangled by his neck, still struggling, getting little bits of air. The monster stared at me, As it dropped the last one in it’s mouth.
He Screamed, A lot.
He asked for mercy. From the gods, From anyone.
He held to the side of the creatures mouth with his one intact arm. Hoping that someone or something would stop this. But there was only The Beast, Him and Me.
He eventually fell in, The same Ripping and tearing sound the others made came from it’s mouth, But there was a difference. a Gurgling. As the blood and bone flew from it’s mouth it flew at me, covering me in what was left of the man whom had broken into my home this night.
I know that you’re scared Ingram.
I couldn’t move, I couldn’t scream, I couldn’t even remember if i existed at this moment.
But don’t worry. I’ll be here for you until the day you die.
I watched the man struggle in his sleep. I could hear him talk as he watched the nightmare unfold. He tossed and turned, Muttering, Then loudly talking in his sleep, trying to find an escape.
I stood above his bed, My black leathers pulled my Emaciated, worn out body together. My Long Tattered Cloak-ends reached towards the man, like great shadowy tendrils.
My grey hair giving a stark contrast. I weaved the magic above him, Bending his sleep to my will.
The Shadows danced with Glee at the mans nightmare.
You’ve done well tonight Ingram.
I quickly ended my casting, Knowing that my spell would soon hit it’s crescendo. I walked to the window, Closing it as I leave. From the window, The sound quickly filled each neighboring street. The sound of a very panicked scream left the room shortly after myself. The ranting quickly followed.
“The Warehouse! Quick, We must save him! The Blood! The Bones! The Screaming!”
Very well done Ingram. Another member of the holy order, that will live with their fallacy for the rest of his life. I believe you deserve a rest.
I quickly left the roof, Now much older and much more knowledgeable about the world I quickly walked to my home.
Jumping from the roof of a nearby building, I did the same tuck and roll through the window of my own little paradise. Now much more cluttered no one could ever think this was someones home. I walked to the back, parting a curtain that was fashioned of bone, I threw myself down onto the bed that sat in the corner. Curling myself to the corner I looked back at the curtain, Easily seeing the railing of the loft where I stood that night more than 10 years ago.
I haven’t slept since that night.
Rolling over to the wall, I slide the knife from my belt, scratching another nick into the wall.
“Maybe tonight will be the night…” I told myself before looking up to the thousands of other tick marks where I told myself the same thing.