Crowley could feel the anticipation building like a slow drum roll, building stronger and stronger until its deep rhythm shook the very walls around him. He felt the dark mood of the evening, like a pulse, each beat of the night getting faster and stronger. And it was unbearable.He finished his drink and placed it back on the bar.
"Another" He insisted rather impolitely to the innkeeper. It was only in moods such as these that Crowley allowed himself to be so rude to people whom he bore no grudge, right now he wasn't 'feeling' particularly civil, and the charade would be to much to bear.
Another pulse of energy deep within him, stronger than ever.
Pain, suffering... perhaps. Fear. It was fear.
Almost... any moment now
He took a swig from his freshly filled mug, pausing only for an instant to savor the towns local specialty, a delicious honey mead.
A scream pierced the night.
Suddenly the local men in the pub roused, hands moving down their padded jerkins to swords in hilts.
Crowley eyed them with curiosity
A brave people... how refreshing
"That sounded like it was from the ol' chapel" one of the locals shouted.With a rumble of hasty agreement the men gave the innkeeper a look as if to say we will settle the tabs later and rushed out the door.
He seemed to pause for a moment, stuck in time, then in almost a blur of motion Crowley finished his drink, slammed a few coin onto the bar and was out the door behind them. His actual heart had finally broken its perfect rhythm, getting faster, but the 'heartbeat' of the evening was pounding out of control.His speed picked up, soon he was walking beside the small posse of townsfolk and yet moments later ahead of them.
Crowley reached the church yard first, walking through the small open gate. His nostrils flared. Blood... Fear... Death... Pain. What could await i wonder... oohhh perhaps a damsel about to be ravaged by the repressed clergy... for it was a womans scream, perhaps a mother about to see her babe slaughtered before her eyes. But death... somebody is already dead.
The pounding of the world grew to a climax as Crowley moved to open the door, the flickering light of the mobs suddenly acquired torches guiding his hand. He reached out and pushed.
The door swung with ease and Crowley stepped through in a single action, then stopped dead in his tracks. Something wet hit his head, a dew drop from the ceiling.Again. Time had stopped for him.
It was blood, blood from the body hanging above him, wrists cut, neck cut... It didn't matter, the entire church was painted with blood, the seats thrown to the sides of the room and the floor covered in dark runes and writings. He felt before he saw.
Four dead, two strung from the ceiling naked, one male one female, one slumped over the forward plinth, clothed, one child. Sacrifice, heart removed... From the room as well as his chest.
His chest was pounding, a grin formed on his face
But this isn't all... two living...
He took a second step into the room, head slightly tilted, letting his senses tell him what no man could perceive.
two... living. One, hiding in the closet in the corner, male, dying... in four minutes. Two. Basement, deep sense of fear an--- And Three. Basement. The creator of this artwork.
One of the men from the inn arrived and rushed in immediately, running over to the clothed man, already weeping, clearly the two had known each other. A second man arrived next to Crowley, and promptly threw up, adding to the mess on the floor.
Crowley almost laughed, but now that he shared his company with others, his face was white and drawn tight. In what he knew was a look of horror.
While the men struggled to come to terms with the scene before them, Crowley strode in with vigor, he walked directly to an oaken door on one side of the church. He could sense the two survivors beyond. He opened it and descended a small flight of stone stairs, until he arrived in the alter beneath the church.
Typical... and cliche
In front of him he saw a woman, she was backed into the corner of the room with nowhere left to go, her dress was torn and her wrist cut from where she had clearly tried to defend herself from the man standing over her. A pale, pasty type wearing a dark robe and bearing a weapon that screamed "I am used for sacrifices"
This close to the source the fear and pain was palpable, Crowley felt the urge to throw the man aside, kill him slowly, then finish what he had started with the girl. Or perhaps him... gender never really factored in to -- Both. It had to be both of them. He felt almost giddy, so much emotion... so much pain and destruction had been wrought tonight
"The one thing i want to know, Bendu, is where the boys heart is"
The cultist stopped in an instant, he spun to face Crowley, clearly he had not expected to be interrupted. The girls eyes darted to him as well, and Crowley met her gaze not his. He savored the unique moment, it was an intense emotion, the realization that all hope was not lost. That this man had entered the room and how he held your life in his hands. Crowley was now an unknown quantity, but those desperate for hope always saw a savior - even if they weren't actually looking at one.
"How do you know my name" Bendu's eyes were wide.
"Bendu my good fellow, you have been screaming it to the heavens... and more, for a week."
Bendu stopped for a moment...
"You asked for a particular sort of company"
Crowleys response was only interrupted by a brief whimper from the girl
Bendu suddenly realized who he was talking to
"But... The Ritual... I hadn't yet completed it yet, h..how are you here so soon"
Crowley smiled gently. And he enjoyed the emotions of the room see-saw, as confusion and fear emptied from Bendu, it flowed into the woman tenfold. He could feel the panic welling within her.
"You will answer MY question first Bendu. What on earth and below did you do with the boys heart?"
"B...but of course... As the eagle flies the mother cries. It was said. Thus I carved it from his chest and gave it to a crow to bear aloft into the skies"
Crowley was for a moment stunned. Then his smirk turned into a grin and he let out an explosive but brief laugh.
"That, Bendu, is the most RIDICULOUS interpretation I have ever heard. And i'm sure you know... I've heard many in my time"
Bendu was relieved, his pale face began to share Crowleys smile. He hadn't expected the dark one to be so... jovial. Meanwhile the girl had begun to hyperventilate, hope allowed to soar then taken away left her more broken and terrified than ever.
"So my lord Ezikiel, shall we burn this town to the ground together"
Crowley grinned, this was his favorite part... after this part, it all became rather boring.
"So Bendu. You took an innocent child's heart from his chest, you took his mothers dignity, and you slew three who stood in your way and tried to stop you"
Bendu looked pleased with himself
"Yes my lord Ezikiel"
Crowley looked intently at the woman, her tattered clothes telling much of the story.
"Yes you took her dignity, but not yet her life."
Bendu paused, his brain ticking over
"y..yes lord Ezikiel"
Crowley stared piercingly into the mans eyes."So finish the ritual"
Like an explosion, the dark mood of the night pulsed gloriously in its climactic moment
Bendu raised his dagger and stepped to advance on the woman when suddenly he found his hand feet from where he had last told it to be.In a blurr Crowley had drawn his blade and severed Bendu's arm at the elbow, sending it flopping messily to the ground.
Bendu's eyes went wide, for a moment the pain had not hit him."Why Ezikiel!"
"I heard you calling for Ezikiel, Bendu, praying night and day, your dark whispers invading the peace of my sleep... So i came instead. The name is Crowley. Pleasure to make your acquaintance"
Bendu tried to comprehend what Crowley had meant, but never got the time to come to any realization. With a precise flick of his wrist, Crowley severed every major blood vessel and artery in the mans neck, coming only just short of decapitating him entirely.Bendu dropped to the floor, the wound of such a nature that it left an incredibly bloody mess in a very short space of time.He sheathed his blade.
Crowley walked over to the girl
KILL HER, TAKE HER, MAKE HER FEAST ON THE CORPSE OF HER CHILD
He bent down, the woman pulled herself into the corner of the room as tightly as she could, she whimpered.Crowley slid his arms gently beneath her, and lifted her from the ground. He walked up the spiral stairs, cradling her broken body.When he reached the top, he covered her eyes, carrying her through the room of bloodshed and loss. He took her to one of the men from the Inn, one who was sitting outside, unable to spend any longer in that room of carnage.
Crowley placed the woman in his arms
"Care for her, like a bird with a broken wing may she learn to soar once more. Though i fear her heart will never heal"
The man nodded solemnly, he knew the woman but not the man, what else could he do when such a request is made.
Killl them all! Burn them burn this place... destroy the sacrifice's corps--
"The sacr... the child" he whispered to himself.
Crowley walked back into the church, strode up to the alter and closed the poor boys unseeing eyes. He then placed his hand upon the boys forehead and chanted softly.
A dark language spilled from his mouth, almost staining the air with every syllable. A poison in spoken form, he chanted his dark rite. The men in the room noticed and began to advance, but just as they got within a stride of Crowley, a wave of force blasted from the child, extinguishing torch and candle alike.
For that brief instant when his chant was done, a flash of blue light exploded from the boy.In that moment, the darkness of the night shattered. Crowley could no longer feel the pain, the sorrow, the death. For an instant he felt bliss, and a tear escaped his eye.But only for an instant.The dark cloud crept back into his consciousness moments later.
"What did you do!"
One of the men exclaimed, not in fear but wonder... as all but Crowley now felt the light of the divine in their very souls.
Crowley turned and began to leave."I did all that was in my power. I broke his contract, i broke the seal... I returned his soul."
And with that he left. Never to return to the town of Greystump again.
I know what i was, but I cannot truly fathom it in this form. Power unparalleled. The gifts of a god upon me, and yet... Here i am, in the form of Man, but with the urges of my former life. The only think i know for certain is my purpose. Those moments, brief moments when i break a contract, free a soul, banish one of my former kin. Those moments let me touch the divine. And although almost imperceptible, those moments are growing longer. For over a hundred years i have wandered, from cause to cause, faction to faction... with one condition. We strike out at the evil like the evil buried with in me, the evil nobody knows.
I am pure of heart, but black of soul.