Posted on February 25, 2005 by Monica Valentinelli
Fiction written for the Obsidian: the Age of Judgement setting.
Part I: Presence
Written by Monica Valentinelli
It couldn’t remember how it was borne. Was it male? Was it female? It had given itself a name, one that only it knew. Pool.
Pieces of memory gnawed at Pool’s mind. What was home? What did it used to be? Now it was nothing more than a land of yellowing bone and black rock. Fires burned throughout the landscape. It couldn’t have been that way always. Before Pool left its Circle with the others, they poured over books documenting the stories of how things came to be. Shapes of letters appeared before him, describing the velvety touch of a thing called a “flower.” There were no flowers in its Circle. Pool closed its eyes, remembering the smell of sulfur and the feel of spikes crushing beneath its razor-skinned feet.
Pool looked down at its crimson body, and wasn’t sure if it liked what it saw. No two Daemons were mirror images of each other, even though there were many similarities. Pool lifted a talon then, and clacked it against its teeth. Razors of bone and skin lined its mouth. If it wanted to, Pool could feast with one, large swallow. Black-veined wings arched from its back. They ached from lack of use. Pool understood the logic of digging to get to their end destination. It wished they didn’t have to dig new tunnels.
Blurs of words washed through Pool’s mind. Pool remembered reading an Old One’s description of their sky before the change. Bits of blues and purples swirled together in such a way that only a daemonic eye could capture it. Pool’s head throbbed from the memory. All it and his kind ever saw now were shades of Death.
Bags of flesh and bone and blood, humans were all the same. From the newly born to the rotting bodies in the dirt, there was only one small distinction—male and female. The softer bags of flesh, females, had no purpose other than to breed. His teeth ached at the thought of tearing into a smooth belly.
Unable to fulfill their original purpose (to feed Pool and its kind with the purest of the pure energies), humankind was nothing more than a bunch of parasites. Prior to the evolution of humanity, the energies of the Sheol were supposedly so undefiled, that a droplet could rejuvenate a dying Daemon. Pool wondered if the Old ones remembered that taste.
It remembered reading words haphazardly thrown on the page describing things called “love.” One description in particular haunted Pool. The feeling of being connected to ten thousand things, and tens of thousands of other things all breathing and pulsing in unison.
Pool didn’t recall the exact day Daemons stopped inhaling the energies. But it read about the pain. If humans knew what they were doing, would they have changed their ways?
So easy to manipulate were these “evolved” beings that thought themselves gods. The Old Ones were not gods. They sat and stood alongside every other creature from the smallest caterpillar to the mightiest lion. Humans had no humility, which made lying to them effortless. And Pool knew that he didn’t have to pierce one organ to do it. Their language would be their downfall. Promises of things they were incapable of controlling or dreaming of.
Pool roared in frustration, shaking the tunnel it was digging. What would it be like to feel Light? Could a world exist without noisy thoughts, base desires, or promises built on air? If Pool had compassion, it would have felt sorry for the humans. But Pool had no such emotions, so it burrowed deeper. Tunneling to the bowels of their fortress along with the others of its kind.
To kill a human, required no skills. Pool could destroy one slowly, by shredding their flesh with its talons. Or it could kill them instantaneously, by pulling apart their spines. No, neither was good enough. Pool clacked its teeth together excitedly. Most likely the first human that saw Pool would defecate itself and turn white. Its blood would involuntarily collect in the very center of its body, its heart pumping out of control. Would it freeze in its tracks? Would it cower in fear and bow before it?
Of course, there may not be many left to kill by the time Pool dug to its destination. It and its brethren, belonged to the second wave of daemons. The first, all scouts, cleared out the tunnels. Many were already dead as claws, tails, and talons fought against crude weapons and unprotected flesh holding sharpened things. Pool dug faster, scooping line after line of dirt. The soft, brown walls never seemed to end.
It stopped, trying to listen through the grit, rock, and sand. Where were its brethren? Pool tried to smell, but the must of the dirt overpowered its senses. There was nothing. No comforting (if Pool could call it that) sound of other Daemons digging. Wait. There were a few. But not as many as before.
Changing direction, Pool’s talons scraped again at the brown walls. Dirt turned into clay, and clay into a metallic substance. It used its talons to puncture a hole. Peering through, Pool could see clouds of dust and forms lying on the ground below. Pool dropped through the ceiling. Lifting its wings, it flew into the stale air and surveyed the area. Dead things covered a room. Some kind of metal with circles and other shapes. Was it right side up? Was it upside down? Pool had never been to this plane before. What was the word for the object it saw…“vehicle”…“truck”…
Lost in its thoughts, Pool did not smell the scent of the one, living human in the room. Blood and liquefied flesh bubbled on the ground. Bone shards and stringy veins clung to discarded human corpses. The smell of bile permeated the area. Pool turned its head sharply up, noticing other talons, claws, and hands protruding from the ceiling. Why weren’t they emerging? Why weren’t they attacking?
As if Pool commanded it, Daemonic fingers dug through the dirt. Black horns followed soon after. A huddled form dropped from the ceiling and crawled slowly…forced…to a human? To a Beastkeeper.
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