Order of the Red Band

Kohra's Journey 5

“You will learn to love me, desire me in time as she did. Give yourself to the Pack and it shall all end.”

The bloody note loomed in her vision its dark red letters dripping down the page trailing effluvia. Kohra was unable to run as it drew closer, the page itself peeling away as if from the body of a corpse….
She was in the lumber mill the scene before her gruesome. She heard a retching from behind her, the town guard that had accompanied them was unable to maintain her breakfast once she saw the horrors on the other side of the door. Body parts were strewn around the mill, blood covered the floor and walls in some macabre semblance of white-wash, a nearly complete corpse of a woman was strapped to the giant saw used to split whole trees, its intact skin laying on the ground nearby. A bloody Sihedron was carved into the ceiling, blood dripping from the wood as though it were cloven flesh….

“He said that if you came to his Misgivings, that if you joined his Pack, he would end his harvest in your honor.”

The disgusting corpse before her said, its voice gurgling around a large gash in its throat. The puss seeping wound was clearly a bite, the torn edges blackened and smoked while, under the skin, writhing tendrils of black and poisoned magic crawled through his veins. As the corpse shambled toward her, she reached for Smoke to defend herself, but its scabbard was empty. With no means of defending herself, she ran. The passageways of the Sanatorium were twisted and confusing. As she ran blood began to seep from the mortar holding the bricks in place. Abruptly the hallway ended. She turned to find another hallway branch and the corpse was there. Its cold blood-slicked talon reaching for her. In desperation, she wove the strands of fates music…..and sang. The Shards of Fate crashed into the corpse shredding the flesh from its body, revealing a dark diseased skeleton beneath. The Disease kept coming, its hand reaching for her throat to cut the music from her…..

“Take the fever into you, my love-it shall be but the first of my gifts to you.”

Another bloody note, like the first, blood and effluvia dripping from the pen strokes. Aldern was there, or what had once been the handsome Lord Foxglove. He reached for her, Lust driving his obsession even in undeath. Kohra turned and fled through the twisted and dark passageways of Foxglove manor. Along the walls was lubricious painting after painting of her, each one more depraved than the last. As she ran she could hear the creature-that-was-Aldern crashing behind her, it whispered in her head and told her of its disgusting and salacious plans. The house itself fought her at every turn, its Shadows grasping at her ankles and cloak as she fled.

She crashed through the front door of the manor house into the darkness beyond and stopped short. There was nothing there. Only blackness loomed around her, the path she remembered taking into the house was nonexistent, and the ground she stood on ended in a cliff leading down into darkness. The manor was no longer in Golarion, but instead floated as an island in a sea of Black. She turned to see Aldern crawling through the front door toward her, behind him loomed a darkness deeper than the surrounding shadows. It watched her with malicious curiosity….

With a muted scream through clenched teeth, Kohra awoke. Her shift soaked with sweat she was clenching the sheets in a death grip. For several drips of the water clock she laid staring at the ceiling, her breath coming in ragged gasps. Beside her she felt Mikel stir. She turned her head and found her lover writhing in his own nightmare. She knew better than to wake him when he was in this state. Her eyes were drawn to his Dark Glaive looming in the corner of the room. It seemed to pulse with a dark intent. How she hated that thing, but Mikel swore he needed it and could control it.

Carefully smoothing Mikel’s hair from his face she got out of bed, washed, and began preparing her equipment. It was Toilday and the Band had plans to investigate the disappearances of a few fisherfolk around the Cormorants. Herald said it was harpy territory, at least they wouldn’t have to deal with any sea-bourne creatures like the bunyip or helmet-clad hermit crab this time…….

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