PART THIRTEEN: THE BLOOD DISCIPLES
Mialand’s joint security forces actively engaged the blood golems and blood mites that emerged from the treacherous Blood-Wood trees. Agents bravely fought off the mental fugue caused by shedding of the trees’ leaves in addition to fighting the monsters the trees generated head on. In the midst of the chaos generated due to the perilous conditions the agents were facing all across Mialand, a mysterious, hooded individual walked towards the first reported sighting of the trees, approaching it cautiously…
The concealed individual had somehow managed to avoid the detection of the golems and mites until they arrived at the heart of the tree and stretched out their hands, touching it. A bright white light suddenly enveloped the tree with its source emanating from the concealed individual and the first Blood-Wood tree suddenly changed from its ghastly blood-red appearance into a deciduous tree with picturesque lime-green foliage. All other Blood Wood Trees then followed suit and changed in appearance, mimicking the first tree that had been transmuted.
Succeeding the sudden change of the nature of the Blood-Wood Trees, the ghastly blood golems’ features suddenly began to contort, and the monsters growled in apparent agony for several moments on end. The creatures were then transformed into lime-green golems instead, their nature mimicking the changed appearance of their trees of origin. The golems’ behavior immediately changed from aggressive and blood-thirsty to almost docile. The blood mites followed suit turning into several floating balls of glittering light, brightening the otherwise dark skies and forest.
Suddenly, the golems all bent the knee to the mysteriously hooded figure that had transfigured them with the orbs of floating light suddenly moving towards the creature although no discernable features could be gleamed of the individual despite them being surrounded by the bright light. Finally, after several moments of silence, the figure spoke in an undecipherable language in a tone described by all who heard it as hypnotically pleasant.
The golems then suddenly stood up and rather than cause any more harm to the Security Agents on sight, lent a much needed hand to them. The mysterious hooded figure then disappeared as abruptly as it had appeared and everything that had transpired was communicated to Tabitha and her pack who had snapped out of their reverie. It appeared that the scene playing out in the forest where the mysterious individual had been performed their transmutation magic had been echoed throughout the country up its furthest corners.
Tabitha could not make heads or tails of the information she received from the Security Agencies’ joint reports and she feared that the mysterious concealed individual with such powerful transmutation magic was at the very least, a notable person of interest requiring further investigation. She feared that this individual might turn out to be yet another threat Mialand would possibly have to contend with although judging from the reports she received from the Security Agencies, it appeared the individual had averted an otherwise catastrophic situation from getting even worse. At least it appeared, things were improving somewhat even as “Unmasking the Masquerade” continued playing on every available technological device, its coverage extending to billboard screens as well.
The Oracle remained abreast of news concerning the Fischer clan and though they were understandably shaken by the events caused by the curse, they had for the most part, remained safe and sound. Tabitha was also reassured that the King and Queen were still safe and the fear and dread that had momentarily paralyzed her seemed to be dissipating. She was able to issue instructions as required and the Security Agencies were working on hacking the signal being used to air the documentary so they could reassure the citizens of Mialand that everything would be alright and it was simply just a matter of time before the curse was overcome.
Given the fact that the Spell of Endless Night had been enacted, time had consequentially been suspended indefinitely. However, it was logical to conclude that the Temporal spell would eventually dissolve considering that it required enormous amount of Mana to maintain therefore the claims of the Security Agencies that it was only a matter of time before the situation in Mialand would be resolved was not far-fetched. The million dollar question in Tabitha’s mind was not only how the Red Veiled Empress had gotten a hold of the spell which was known to be contained in the world’s most powerful Grimoire namely; the Grand Grimoire which only the Elemental Fairy was known to be able to access due to her psychic connection to the book.
Tabitha paced up and down the residence as she took everything in stride, constantly checking in with Security Agents to ascertain the condition of the nation. However, after several uneventful moments, panicked reports suddenly erupted that the Fischer clan was suddenly falling prey to some kind of affliction that was causing them great agony before they succumbed to it. The Security forces’ joint forensics team managed to secure some cadavers of the fallen Fischer clan members and performed autopsies on them in the hopes of understanding what was causing the sudden attacks on the clan even as more of the clan succumbed to the mysterious dark affliction at an alarming rate.
According to the Lead of the joint Forensic team, all bodies displayed signs of rising of body temperature to a degree that the blood of all victims had boiled while the victims were still alive, pouring out of all orifices of the body like lava. As it turned out, it was a curse that Curse-breakers were familiar with although it was found that the Counter-ritual to the curse did not work against it and any attempts to stop the blood curse proved futile and only served to prolong the Fischers’ torment. Furthermore, the waning crescent symbol was found to have been superimposed into the sclera of the victims’ eyes and behind their eyelids. The symbol was similarly embedded into the skin of the cadavers leaving no doubts what curse they had succumbed to.
The airing of Unmasking the Masquerade was suddenly interrupted by a counter that counted down all the victims that were succumbing to the blood curse by the minute as well as having another counter that displayed how many members of the Fischer clan were left standing. Tabitha and her pack observed in horror as the two counters speedily accelerated and receded respectively until there was only three left, the current reigning Monarchs and their only surviving heiress. The cameras were then tuned into a live streaming at the Royal Palace and before Tabitha and the pack knew it, they had been teleported into the square directly into the bounds of a Dark circle, surrounded by growling hellhounds circling around them lying in wait to devour them should the Magical circle fail to entrap them. Several individuals that had emerged from the Blood-Wood Trees dressed in red robes appeared before the terrified Oracle and her pack, taking their places as the King, Queen and Princess Edna (who still donned prison attire), were brought out and forced to get on their knees.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, now’s the moment we have all been waiting for with bated breath. For the crimes listed in the special documentary aptly named ‘Unmasking the Masquerade’, we present to you, the greatest illusionists of the world- the King and Queen of lies and their equally deceptive daughter, Princess Edna. This night, they shall be made to pay for the sins they have committed in their lust for power and their deaths shall henceforth usher in a new age of true leadership as well as cleanse the sins of all the wicked generations before them,” announced the leader of the veiled individuals.
“No! Don’t you dare hurt them!” Tabitha bellowed, standing up and trying to break out of the bounds of the dark circle with all of her might.
The leader proceeded as if Tabitha had not even spoken, beginning a dark ritual even as the Oracle and her party desperately attempted to break out of the dark circle, consequences be damned. The leader then drew the waning moon crescent symbol on the heads of each of the Monarchs in black nightshade ink and soon afterwards, flocks of ravens and crows flew above them making a ghastly racket even as the ruling Monarchs uttered their final prayers in quiet desperation. They held hands and wept silently as the dark daggers of the individuals before them were raised and subsequently used against them until they all lay lifelessly on the floor.
Each successive stab on the Fischers pierced right down to Tabitha’s soul and she fell onto her knees screaming long after the last of them were gone. She felt a deep state of grief she had never experienced in her life as a part of her own soul died with the Fischers that night. The veiled individuals then introduced themselves as the Blood Disciples, the spiritual leaders of the new Kingdom that would be built upon the blood of the undeserving Fischers. They declared that witch-folk should count themselves lucky to have been chosen to be Empress Weylyn’s new subjects and added that any clan that opposed the rightful ruler of Mialand would be met with a similar fate, down to the last babe. The Blood Disciples then disappeared and Tabitha was left to deal with the aftermath of the horrors she had witnessed that night.
TO BE CONTINUED
What shall become of Mialand after the death of the Ruling Family? Shall Tabitha avenge their deaths or is the Red Veiled Empress simply too formidable of an opponent? Stay tuned to find out. Links to previous parts are linked below.