You are here

Of Liches and Women

Old Vault Category: 
Old Vault ID: 

The hour was past midnight... and, as swiftly as the bats took wing upon the evening air, a solitary carriage sped well across those rugged back roads of the wilderness that bordered the lands ruled by the dark lords of the undead. Within the carriage sat a most renowned physician... who read to pass the time. The tome, which occupied his attention: was the journal of a madman... a fellow once in the physician's care, who had ventured where he himself now ventured. In the account, the tale of a lich and his demonic daughter, both from another world beyond those infernal mists which perpetually enshrouded these domains of this one. But, what dire madness drove such an otherwise sane and respectable man to seek out such terrible beings? Immortality. The dream of both the old and the vain, alike: as well as of the desperate. In this case... desperation drove the man, and made him hasten so.

Within the hour, his carriage arrived at it's destination: a house which been built upon over the years until it had become a fortress. The old house was in the midst of a forest, in a borderland between several quaint little hamlets whose people either shunned the place or had a strange familiarity with it's inhabitants... sometimes praising them and sometimes quick to speak of them as devils of the vilest sort. And so, the physician walked up to the oaken doors and noted the skull-like faces of the knockers as he banged the metal to the wood in hopes of a quick answer. He was surprised when the doors then opened on their own, and even more so when he saw a little girl stood at the threshold. Her hair was as red as blood... and the man noticed that such a thing was just because she was using actual blood, to color her hair! This seemed to actually be a compliment to her fair green eyes, which sparkled like emeralds. Her skin was pale, and she wore a gypsy style of dress. She spoke with all the authority of a queen: "Know now sir that you find yourself in my master's home. Here, you will abandon your notions of all as you have become accustomed to outside. Also here... you will do as you are told. We received your letter and agreed to make you welcome. So, welcome sir! Follow me to my master. He is so expecting you."

As they made their way into the living room, the physician noticed how elegant and proper the house seemed... save for the occasional strange object d'art, he felt almost at home in this place. Only the strangeness of his guide, reminded him of where he truly was. The girl led him before a mighty fireplace, at which a man was tending the flame. He seemed normal enough... until he turned around to speak with his guest. Then, did the physician noted the man's most peculiar condition... if one could call it that. The master of the house was basically an otherwise handsome man, whose skin had become like unto some very dry and weathered parchment, even cracked and wrinkled in places, so that it seemed that the man was, almost literally, a perfectly preserved corpse-version of his former living self. His hairless head... was adorned with a circlet of ivory... and he was clothed in black flowing robes that gave him the very appearance, with his white flesh, of death itself. The man's eyes were empty sockets in which blazed two pale green flames. The physician shouted, in fear and horror. The master chuckled at the man's displeasure. "You look upon true immortality, doctor! So why now do you shrink from my visage? I thought... by your letter to me... that you wished to be privy to such immortality yourself: to save you from a disease, which your medicine cannot cure. Is my condition not preferable to the prospect of the grave, doctor? Tell me, if you will."

When he had recovered his sanity from the shock of having seen the lich, the physician responded, as well as he was able, to his host's questions. "Sir... when I left the asylum that I worked in to seek you out, which occurred as soon as I learned of my diagnosis with the disease commonly called Mountain Rot, which eats one's internal organs until they die of it, my colleagues called me as much a lunatic as the raving man who had been in my care. I was desperate, however... and mindful of my charge's tale however crazed it had sounded. Now however, having seen what he witnessed, I would prefer a natural death to your way of life. If it pleases you, sir... do let me take leave of your house and return to my duties at the asylum. Your kind of immortality is not for me. Is it painful, by the way? It just looks terribly painful, to me, at any rate. So, have I your leave to depart this place with no hard feelings or must I remain, for the night? I know not the hours of the carriages in this distant land." And, patiently, the lich at last had responded in an almost sympathetic tone: "You poor little man. Your life is, truly, a waste is it not? Dead if you do, dead if you don't!" and then he chuckled, mirthlessly. "Doctor... I am afraid it is not as simple as my just being able to 'let' you leave. You did learn the way to my door, did you not? Tell me, have you told anyone else the way here? A wife, or perhaps a sister!" And the physician stammered: "Only my sister. No one else, I swear!" And the lich made a smile that would frighten even the devil, as he said: "Good. Thus I only have to worry about two victims, then." So with an arcane gesture of his hand, the lich made the physician quite unable to move, and then suddenly drew an ornate dagger from out his belt. He drove the tip of the dagger deep into the man's chest and slit him up to his neck. "Oh... Doctor... this WILL hurt!"

When she received her brother's urgent letter, asking her so fervently to come out to the house of the lich, to which he had gone, and to tell no one else of her destination, Wanda thought the man had likely found the cure he sought and now wished to share it with her and no one else. A cure for disease... she had no use for. But a cure for death! That was a very appealing idea, to a young woman who wanted to keep her looks... forever. And so... as she stood at the strange house's doors and knocked upon them, her thoughts were all aglow with pleasant success. The child that he had mentioned answered the door and showed her in. At length, she stood before the master of the house... and looked upon his frightful visage. In a predictable fashion, she screamed and fainted. The lich carried her into his chambers, and decided he would have a bit of fun with this particular guest. She was a very beautiful woman, in a way, and it would have been a shame to waste such beauty by spilling her blood too soon. Plus it occurred to him there was something so needed in his household. Something that he had been planning and scheming for! He ran his slender fingers through her pale blonde hair. It was short, almost boyish in the style of it, but her face was angelic. "Like a seraph! I will let her slumber in peace, for the moment."

Wanda awoke, thinking she had been but dreaming at first. Then, as she looked about her and saw all of those strange artifacts, the old bookcases... and the alchemic apparatus... here, and there, in any place where some sort of elegant furnishing was not there was something arcane; seeing all this, she knew that her life had become the nightmare. She also saw it, nailed to the door of the room: the skin of her brother, like a bloody coat hung up to dry. This sent her over the edge, and soon she was a gibbering, raving madwoman... when the lich opened the door and greeted her as though it were time for tea that was in an odd way the limit of what she could take. She screamed loudly! She kept on screaming, until her voice was hoarse. In nightmares for days after this wild night, she would remember in flashes of things. The flayed skin of her brother, the claw-like hands of the lich... upon her, tearing at her clothes while those flames, which were his eyes, so burned into her mind. What he did with her in that moment... she was never quite able to remember, but she knew she had been violated wickedly by something out of a horror story. She knew... but she could not bring herself to think of it. When she came out of this lunatic state, she realized that now she was within a very cold and dark cell in the cellar of the house. Probably she had been since her night in that room of terror, although how long ago that was... she could not guess. The feeling was of endless time, passing endlessly while frightful image after frightful image vanished from her memory. Soon, her mind returned to her at last... and she heard the sounds of very light footsteps coming towards her cell. She was very afraid for her life!

"You there... miss!" the child's voice said to Wanda: "My master, is thinking of making you into his second bride. I was his first... although I was quite willing. He was almost like a father to me in the beginning... but so much more came after. His deathless state has but given him an eternal passion for things other than magic, you know. What I am, you will become, and I am here to offer you a choice. The choice my master gave your brother. You can wait for him, to prepare the ritual that will alter you forever. Or, I can put you out of your misery!" And Wanda looked deep into the little girl's eyes that stared at her from beyond the bars of her cell's iron door. She looked into them, and saw not compassion, but jealousy there. "You... want to keep him... for yourself, don't you, child? Such perversity is rampant in this place! But... before I agree or disagree, what exactly is it that I am in danger of becoming?" And, the little girl opened her mouth... in a grin that showed every tooth to be a sharp fang. The child giggled, and said: "There is not a name for what I am, which is what you will be." And the thought of that, made Wanda’s head spin, as did the odd prospect of something almost positive, that could be wrought from all of this, even now. She had a plan, and intended to see it done. She would not perish!

The ritual, did not so very take long to perform. The summoning of the mists, the invoking of the nameless Old Ones, and the complete transformation of the young woman had all passed within but a relatively brief span of time. For dear Wanda, it was like a hallucination that at once opened her eyes unto a very new reality and so clouded them at the same time. When it was over, she was changed and she could see the raw anger in the little girl's eyes as the child looked at her. The woman was wearing some long white gown and she truly looked like an angel at this point. Her eyes, had now become like blue sapphires, in contrast to the child's sparkling emerald eyes, and finally, the child screamed in her rage: "Father, husband, beloved! Why do you need another bride? Have I ever not given you everything that you desired of me over the years! Have I not loved you, killed for you! I would do it all again for you! So what need have we of this mockery of some heavenly beauty?" And the lich so laughed, saying in an almost "I told you so" style to words and manners: "Lovely daughter, wife, and beloved though you be to me... you are still, eternally, a child. And, an eternal child needs that one thing you do not have: an eternal mother. And, I wanted you to have everything a normal child has, and more. Should I deny you this? Of course not! And so: meet your mother and try to get along with her."

Some say that love can conquer all and that beauty, can tame even the wildest beast. So in due course, Wanda proved a gentling effect, upon the lives of the lich and his daughter. At length, many visitors to their house did not as oft disappear nearly as much as they once did. The little girl had stopped using blood to color her hair, which was the most delightful shade of reddish brown. And best of all: angelic Wanda would be beautiful forever, all except for those fanged teeth of hers, which were just a small price to pay for immortality. All in all, they did not stop being truly terrible menaces, which they would for always be, being what they were, but in fact Wanda's new husband, and daughter, had both gained one good thing from her that they had very nearly forgotten in their years since passing through the mists themselves: their humanity. Soon, the lich had noticed a smoothing in his skin, and he had developed a new power, which enabled him to be in appearance very much alive again. The eye flames would remain, but they could be hidden behind a stylish pair of dark glasses. Often, the immortal family would go on trips to the village, and there did the people wonder what they had once found so peculiar about this proper Victorian man and his delightful daughter. All of this, of course, was merely the veiled appearance: to mask the true depravity beneath; but without Wanda's influence, it never would have been possible for such terrible beings to thusly achieve.

Of Liches and Women © Chaos_Theocrat

Migrate Wizard: 
First Release: 
  • up
  • down