For those of you who expressed their thoughts on what I asked you Friday (or Saturday for y’all who are ahead of my time zone), thanks. I appreciate your input. That said, after thinking about it, I still felt that my original idea for the scene best suited what I’ve made Modryn’s character as and the circumstances around him. If any of you disagree, I would gladly hear what you have to say about it and how it could’ve been done better. Expect the next installment in a couple days.
The Heads of the major Dok Alvan Clans were gathering. Each of their entourages only consisted of their most trusted people, and they were limited to two. They had also been told to tell no one of the meeting’s location, or even its occurrence. Morrigan’s name had been used, and no Clan Head was allowed to go against that, otherwise, they invite the wrath of the goddess herself onto their clans.
Sasha, who had arranged everything, was still nervous about using the goddess’s name. But she had been assured by the goddess’s priests that Morrigan supports it, and she hasn’t dropped dead yet, so she could only accept what the priests say.
Now she sat at the table with the other five Clan Heads. The table had seats for eight, six along the sides, one at the head which has always been reserved for Clan Rashee, and one at the foot for any guests that might be required to attend.
There was nothing special about the table itself. Just the way it was set. There were several meeting places with the exact same number of rooms and layouts scattered across Sonadis, each of them were kept prepared and staffed at all times, as they can be called upon for emergency meetings like this one, at any given moment. Usually, though, this location was not used as it was too close to Vanarous, but time was of the essence, and the weeks used to create credible excuses and throw off any tails was already too long in Sasha’s opinion.
Now though, it almost seemed as if nobody wanted to speak first. Clan Rashee had been the only ones who had ever called for a meeting like this. Now, they were gone. The empty seat at the head of the table a constant reminder of that fact. And no one wanted to acknowledge Falyr as their ruler.
Silvis, the Head of Clan Fefnil, and oldest Clan Head present, was the first to speak. “I suppose there’s no use putting this off any longer. As oldest member of this council and the one with the most authority, I call this emergency council meeting to order. Sasha, as the one who called for the council, I will request that you present the subject of this meeting.”
Sasha nodded and stood. “Everyone, I have called for this meeting because disturbing new evidence detailing what happened on the night of Clan Rashee’s and my father and brother’s deaths. Because of this evidence, I am moving that we flee Sonadis immediately.” This statement immediately caused the other Clans’ Heads to burst into argument. Some were opposed to it and others were for it. “Why are you still investigating this? Don’t you know that it’ll only bring ruin upon your clan? It has already been proven that they’re guilty, anyways. You are doing nothing more than putting your clan at risk!”
This came from Calsis, the Head of Clan Sroftden. He was always the one who was most opposed to going against Sonadis. And he was the one most convinced of Rashee’s guilt.
“Calsis, quiet!” At Silvis’s glare, Calsis immediately became quiet. Silvis’s expression softened as she looked at Sasha. “Sasha, I understand your pain, but we’ve all investigated that night at one point or another in the last eight years. What could have come to light that would change anything, let alone be grounds for abandoning this country?”
Sasha stared into the violet eyes of the older woman, and found only the pity one would feel for someone who refuses to accept reality. Becoming furious at this, Sasha snapped at the servant behind her, “Bring them in!”
As the servant hurried to fulfill his orders, everyone stared at Sasha. She had always been known as being kind to her servants, and this behavior was well out of character for her.
The servant quickly returned followed by what can only be called the strangest group the Clans’ Heads had seen. In the lead was a man wearing black armor and a black leather coat with the hood up to hide his face, his arm draped on the hilt of his bastard blade longsword in a way that prevented anyone from seeing the hilt.
To the sides of and behind him, was a Succubus with Mage robes in the emerald color that denotes the wearer as a master class, and a Catwoman in leather and chain-mail armor favored by Rogues. The Succubus’ red hair and green eyes offset by the jet black of her horns, the wings folded against her back, and her tail swinging behind her. The Catwoman’s gray furred ears flicked as her amber eyes scanned the room.
Directly between and behind them, was the largest Warg the Dok Alvs had ever seen, so big that they wondered how it actually fit through the doors. It’s pitch black fur gleaming in the light, and its red eyes taking in the surroundings indifferently. To either side of the Warg were two Humans, one a boy in the violet robes of an apprentice Mage, and the girl in dark blue colored armor.
Bringing up the end was a Banshee with red hair and blue eyes in hunter’s clothing, a Human woman with black hair and brown eyes in emerald Mage robes, and a Kobold girl between them.
As they finished coming in, the doors closed. The leader stepped forward and everyone realized that he had a Memory Crystal in his right hand. He gave it to Sasha, then stepped back without a word.
Erhil, Head of Clan Dermin, looked at the people suspiciously, “Sasha, who are they?”
“They will be introduced in due time. But first, is the evidence of Clan Rashee’s innocence.” With that, Sasha activated the Memory Crystal.
As the image came to life, everyone could see the banquet hall of Clan Rashee’s manor. It was filled with people and the table laden with food. Vylon Rashee, his wife, eldest son, and best friend Serus Rihara, and his 13 year old son were all there. There was also five Humans. Everyone in sight had joyous expressions, not the expressions one would expect at a planning session for a coup.
Vylon stood, and as he did so, the hall fell silent. “Everyone! I am truly grateful for your presence here tonight. There are many reasons to celebrate tonight. We are here to celebrate the return of our clan’s prodigal son, Modryn, his marriage with the beautiful Mage, Morgiana, the presence of the adventurer group who have been protecting Modryn, The Black Knights. Thank you especially, for I know full well how difficult a task that is.” At this, the room broke out in laughter.
Modryn, the one whose memories were imprinted on the Crystal, said, “Oi! Arthas! Don’t agree with him!”
When he spoke, the room quieted down in time to hear the Human’s response, “What do you mean, Modryn? I wouldn’t dare go against the word of a noble. Besides, he’s completely hit the nail on the head.” This caused more laughter to erupt in the hall.
Vylon waited patiently for the laughter to subside. When it did, he continued with his speech. “Finally, we are here to celebrate the birth of my daughter, Artemis. May she live a long life filled with joy.” Aryra stood with the newborn in her arms when he said this, and everyone raised a toast to the blessing given to every child.
Having said this, Vylon sat back down, and Falyr stood. At his signal, maids brought in wine and proceeded to pour it for everyone. “I too, would like to raise a toast, this is wine that I had prepared specifically for this moment. Brother, may nothing come between you and your love, not even death.” With this, everyone drank.
One minute later, and Falyr did not sit back down. Suddenly, the doors burst open and the crown prince walked into the hall with fifty Royal Guards. Vylon tried to stand, but he found himself stumbling and barely able to keep himself upright against the table. “The wine I had served to everyone was laced with a fast acting drug, and there was more than enough in each cup to incapacitate even you two, dear Father and Brother. Honestly, I’m surprised that the two Human whores and three dogs you brought home with you hasn’t already died from it, Little Brother.” As he said this, Vylir was ordering the execution of the guests and servants.
Falyr proceeded to draw Dragon’s Wrath and beheaded Vylon and Aryra. Handing the sword to the Captain of the Royal Guard, he said, “Use this to put down the Human scum, but only once everyone else is dead. Save my brother for last, and make sure he can see it all. The sword is yours if you want it.” Falyr then glanced at Modryn, “What? You brought this upon yourself, Little Brother, for attempting to steal what is mine by right of birth. If the gods wanted you to be the Head of Clan, you’d have been born first instead of me.” Falyr had bent so that the twos faces were no more than 30 centimeters apart as he looked down on Modryn who was being held down on his knees. Modryn responded to his brother the only way an adventurer in that position would, by spitting directly into Falyr’s face.
With a disgusted expression, Falyr backhanded Modryn. He then picked up Artemis and left the hall with Prince Vylir.
The next few minutes were horrendous as the High Alvs killed everyone. Whenever Modryn tried to look away, the men holding him would beat him while laughing and taunt him about being weak. When they finally reached the Humans, Modryn was physically struggling, trying to break the grip of the drugs. The Humans as well, were struggling and glaring at their captors. The Captain quickly killed the men, causing Modryn and the women to scream in rage. He then walked over to Gwendolyn, grabbed her face by the chin and said, “Well Human? I’d bet a pretty little whore like yourself would want to know what a real man felt like before you died. If you ask nicely, I’ll show you. One for the road, if you will.” The High Alvs all laughed at this, until the Captain screamed in pain. Gwendolyn had bit his thumb off and proceeded to spit it out into his face, the same way as Modryn spit in his brother’s.
“FILTHY WHORE!” With that shout, the Alv swung the sword and killed her. She fell with a triumphant grin on her face. The Captain then walked to Morgiana, only to find her not even paying attention to him. She simply stared into Modryn’s eyes. Tears streamed down her face, and a gentle smile was on her lips. It was apparent that she was determined for the last thing she saw to be Modryn’s face. That enraged the Captain even more, he simply killed her without even trying to intimidate her and make her beg.
When Morgiana died, Modryn let out a wail of agony and bent his head to the floor. As the Captain’s footsteps came closer, Modryn’s vision was clouded with a red haze. His head suddenly snapped up, showing the startled Alv that had killed his loved ones. That startled expression quickly turned to horror as Modryn let out an animalistic growl, the sounds of electricity and screams of pain was heard, and he rushed forward. Grabbing his father’s sword from the hands of the hated man that stood in front of him was easy, using it to split the man in two from the shoulder to the hip was even easier. The recording of the memory ended with Modryn’s wordless scream of rage and pain as he charged into his enemies.
The meeting room was completely silent. The Clans’ Heads were shocked. Calsis had actually lost the contents of his stomach. Everyone else was pale, with tears streaming down Silvis’s face and Sasha’s body wracked with sobs. When Silvis looked to Sasha, she saw the man in black place his hand on her shoulder. Sasha immediately turned and hugged him, sobbing into his chest as he held her.
When Silvis looked to the other guests, she saw that none of them had ever seen the contents of that Crystal either. They all had tears on their faces and their skin had paled. The Human woman actually looked like she was ready to kill someone, and the Banshee looked like she was very close to being violently ill herself. Even the Warg appeared to be distressed by what it had seen.
The only one unaffected by the Crystal was the hooded man, and Silvis was quickly becoming convinced of his identity.
As everyone was regaining control of themselves, Sasha finally managed to calm down enough to speak again. “Everyone. This person is Demon Lord Modryn Rashee.” As she spoke, the man in question lowered the hood covering his face and every Clan Head would have sworn to the gods that they were looking at Vylon Rashee’s ghost when they saw his face.
Erhil was the first to reply, “Did you say, Demon Lord?”
Modryn replied to him, “Correct. I am the one who united the Demon Territories.”
“You’re here to bring us into the war you are planning?” This came from Silvis.
“I’ll do it, but on one condition.” Everyone stared at Calsis. None had ever expected him to support this. “Oh, I know exactly what all of you think of me. My son-in-law is a supporter of Sonadis, and he’s been threatening to kill my daughter if I don’t support them. The worse part is that she knows nothing of it, and is completely in love with him.” With that, he turned to glare at one of the men behind him. “I know they have more spies placed within our clans as well, but I was never able to find them.”
As everyone turned to look at the man in question, he attempted to run through the doors. He never reached them. As he was running, he suddenly fell to his knees, it looked like his body was too heavy for him to move. The Dok Alvs were confused until they saw that the Human woman had pointed at him and used magic.
The magic was lifted as Modryn reached the man. Grabbing him, Modryn threw him across the room to land on the table. The look in his eyes caused everyone to shiver.
“Who else?” The man simply glared at Modryn. “Who else is spying for Sonadis? What have you told them about this place?”
“Fuck you, traitor.” Was the only reply that he received.
Modryn just grinned. He grabbed the man’s right hand, and broke his pinky finger. The yell of pain was short, and Modryn quickly demanded answers again. The man refused to answer, and Modryn broke his right ring finger. This continued until the spy’s fingers were all broken, and Modryn was moving to his feet.
He was interrupted by Sabrina. “My Lord! Stop, please! Let me question him. That’s what my magic’s best at.” She was startled when he turned to glare at her, and she wasn’t the only one startled by his obvious bloodlust and uncharacteristic enjoyment of torture, everyone was staring at him with frightened eyes. But Sabrina remained resolute and met Modryn’s glare.
As the bloodlust faded, Modryn himself had realized how he was behaving. He stumbled into the closest chair, breathing heavily. He rested his head in his hands as Tanya and Angela went to his sides. “I’m sorry. Please Sabrina, take care of it.”
The Banshee nodded, and proceeded with the interrogation.
When the interrogation was completed, multiple spies in all of the clans was revealed, Calsis’ son-in-law was the only one able to blackmail one of the Clan Heads though. Fortunately, the meeting had not been revealed to Sonadis. Only the Clan Heads were allowed to know for what purpose they left the clan holdings, and where they were going.
Sabrina used her magic to force the spy to cut his own throat, and his body was carried away to be left for the crows.
The Clan Heads all swore themselves to Modryn, and it was decided that the spies will all be dealt with in-house. The meeting was adjourned for an hour after which logistics and how to move their people without notice will be discussed.
As everyone left, Christy approached Tanya and Angela. “We need to talk.” As they saw her serious expression, the two nodded and followed her.
Thirty minutes later, a servant approached Modryn who had been sitting on his own the entire break. “My Lord, the Ladies Tanya, Angela, and Christy are requesting your presence. They said that it was an important matter.”
“I see. Show me the way, please.” As Modryn responded, he stood and the two proceeded to where the three women were waiting.
When they arrived, Christy said to the servant, “Leave, and make sure no one comes near. If you hear any of what we’re about to say, wipe it from your memory, otherwise you’ll be the next one left out for the crows.”
He bowed to her and said, “As you wish.” With that, he left the room.
Once he was out of the room, Modryn spoke, “What’s wrong?”
Christy looked at him with a deathly serious expression, “Modryn, what do you dream of?”
This question caused Modryn to stiffen. He glanced at Angela and Tanya, taking in their worried expressions, and looked back to Christy. “I didn’t think you would tell anyone.”
“Normally, I wouldn’t. But there are three reasons why I decided that it needed to be done. In the few days I’ve known you, I can already tell that while you’re not the type who would avoid torture if you had no other choice, but you wouldn’t enjoy it. Torturing your enemies isn’t what you prefer, but you won’t shy away from it, only if you had to. Watching that memory leads me to believe that there was more to that nightmare you were having than I originally thought. And from what I’ve learned from these two, you are usually in control, but faced with the servants of your brother, you immediately lose all sense of control. So tell me, what was that nightmare, and how frequently do you have it?”
Modryn looked between the three women, and shuddering he looked at the floor and answered, “First, I’m back in the banquet hall, watching everyone die and hearing Falyr’s voice taunting me, saying how it was all my fault and how pathetically weak I am. Then, when I break free, I break through the manor’s door, I’m standing on an open field. On the other side of the field, Falyr and Vylir had all of my new family captured and was executing them. I started running, trying to stop it, but no matter how fast I ran, I wouldn’t get any closer…” He trailed off into silence, his fists clenched and trembling.
“And how often?”
“Most nights for the past eight years.”
Christy looked at him carefully. “Modryn, have you properly grieved for their deaths?”
At this, Modryn’s face distorted in fury, “Eight years! You don’t think that I’ve grieved in the last eight years?!”
“I think that you’ve been grieving, but you haven’t done it properly! You haven’t said what needs to be said! The things that have been weighing on your soul for the last eight years! The things that have manifested in your nightmares!” Christy stopped so that she could take a deep breath.
“This is about torturing one of my enemies?!”
Christy scoffed at Modryn’s incredulous question, “Child, do you really believe if it was about that, I’d be wasting my breath here? You were so looking forward to his screaming that when one of your people stopped you to suggest a better option, you nearly struck her! Oh? Did you not notice how your arm tensed? It was clear that you were about to hit Sabrina for a moment.” She said this when she saw the surprised expression on his face. The tensing of his arm was verified by Tanya in the women’s conversation earlier.
“I-I wouldn’t have…” Was all the stunned man could reply with. “He served Falyr. He deserved to suffer…”
Christy looked at him sadly, “Your anger and rage at your brother and anyone who serves him are more than justified, and it may be that because you weren’t expecting to meet with one of his agents, you lost control. But I don’t think so. You should have known that there were better options than that. If it were any other enemy spy, would you have been so eager to torture him like that? Hatred is a terrifying poison that will destroy you. Right now, it’s only directed at those loyal to Sonadis, but I fear that if you continue like this, you will eventually become a monster worse than what you seek to destroy.”
“And you think that ‘properly grieving’ will fix that? How exactly am I supposed to do that?” Modryn regained his wits, although he still had a haunted look in his eyes.
“Hatred is mostly born of anger and rage, but there is not a small amount of fear and pain in it. Your pain is tied to your hatred, if you confront it, and let it go, then your hatred may follow, and you may regain some small amount of peace within your heart. As far as grieving, it’s different for everyone, but a good place to start would probably be their graves, or where they were killed. Once there, you must speak what has been weighing upon your heart and soul since it happened. I can’t guarantee that it’ll work immediately, or even at all, but is there anything lost from it? Do you know where they’re buried? Have you not gone to them yet?” Seeing Modryn’s grimace, she knew she was right.
As Modryn thought about what she said, Christy turned to Angela and Tanya, “You two especially need to go with him.”
At their blank looks and simultaneous question, Christy sighed, and whispered to them, “You two are the ones closest to his heart, you two need to be there.”
The two didn’t say anything in response, just nodded in acceptance. At that moment, Modryn came to his decision, “Alright, Christy. I’ll do as you say. I’ll ask Sasha for the location.”
Having received the response she was hoping for, Christy nodded in satisfaction. The four people went to find Sasha before the meeting resumed.
Night was falling as Modryn, Angela, and Tanya approached the uninhabited mansion that was once where Clan Rashee lived.
They had asked Sasha where the burial site was, and Sasha answered with an ashamed expression on her face that they were forbidden from burying those killed that night, and they were left where they lay. She said that the Clans’ Heads investigated as much as they could, but a combination of insufficient evidence and being unable to examine anything too closely by royal decree meant that they couldn’t even move the bodies. It raised everyone’s suspicions, but there was nothing any of them could do about it.
The three had left Sasha and Christy to take care of the details of the meeting, at Christy’s behest.
As they approached the home that Modryn had grown up in, he became continuously somber. The once pristine grounds and building had become overgrown, with ivy clinging to the building. The windows had been smashed long ago and the doors were missing. When they entered, they saw that every item that could be taken had been.
Proceeding to the banquet hall, the three saw the scattered skeletons of the people Modryn once knew. They lied in the stains left behind by their decomposed flesh. No animals had gotten in to disturb them as the wards preventing them from coming in to the building still stood.
Modryn immediately moved towards the skeletons that used to be his parents and best friends. He stood there with a blank expression, trying to grasp what exactly he felt.
“Mother. Father. Arthas. Gwendolyn. Lance. Gawain. Morgiana.” He said all of their names quietly, but as he said his wife’s name, unbidden and without warning, a tear leaked from his eyes.
And with that, it was as if a floodgate had been opened. Tears began streaming down his face, and sobs wracked his body. He fell to his knees as the trembling worsened.
Tanya and Angela watched without a word as he spoke, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry! I couldn’t do anything! ‘Clan Rashee’s Genius’! ‘Knight of Chaos’! What a joke! The one time I needed my strength, I couldn’t do anything! It was pathetic! What good is the strength and power of a monster when it can’t be used!”
After a few moments of trying to catch his breath, he continued, “Why? Why did you have to die?! Father, weren’t you considered the greatest talent of your generation? How could you die so easily?! I worshiped the ground you walked on damn it! Gawain, wasn’t it you that said the only way the Black Knights would die was in a blaze of glory that would have the bards singing our praises for generations?! We’ve done things that epics and legends are made of, and yet…and yet, all of you died like this? The death of a mangy, flea-bitten mongrel? You all died, you all left me alone. I miss you. I miss you all so much…”
Angela and Tanya stood back as Modryn continued to cry and rant at the dead, saying everything that he himself didn’t even realize he wanted to say to them. This carried on for hours, until he finally fell silent.
With a deep breath, Modryn stood.
Angela stepped forward and asked, “Are you okay?”
“I don’t know. I just know that there’s one thing left to do. Let’s go.” Modryn’s voice was strained as he answered.
The three went to the entrance of the manor, where Modryn turned around. “I can’t bury you properly, as much as I want to. This is all I can do for all of you.” With that, a crimson flame appeared in his hands. He knelt and placed it on the floor just in the entrance of the building. The fire quickly caught, and spread. As Modryn, Angela, and Tanya walked away, the manor of Clan Rashee was consumed and reduced to ash.