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Tahzani

Ill Will (Mature content)

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Warning: Mature content



The air out in the Plaguelands was thick enough to taste, a pungent mixture of rotting meat and plantlife amongst a myriad of even less pleasant odors. He shuddered in revulsion and urged his dreadsteed to pick up its pace as he rode through the parched, grassy hills. The path he had chosen was not the easiest but it was less likely to draw attention from the living who had established dominion over the main roads. Even after a decade of warfare, the wilds still belonged to the dead and the diseased.

The diseased were the reason that he had come in the first place.

When the plague began to spread amongst the humans, the Mossflayer tribe had rejoiced. What group wouldn't be happy to see such misfortune befall a hated enemy? Yet their joy did not last as the very land they sought to reclaim turned into a spoiled prize. As the sickness spread amongst the humans, the land itself became tainted. The desperate need for untainted game drove the tribe into a trap created by the Scourge and their followers, leaving them as another casualty in the developing conflict. The tribe had fallen, but until their dying day they had lived on this doomed soil. If any spirits knew of disease and ruination, it was the trolls who had shuffled off their mortal coil here.

For the hundredth time that hour alone he checked the charm he had crafted before beginning his voyage. The knucklebones had been taken from a human corpse and left to soak in a jar; in a cocktail of rotting sludge of plant matter, the venom of the local fauna, and strips of diseased flesh taken from the living dead themselves. He had vomited immediately when the bones had been withdrawn from the muck and even hours later with several layers of leather separating his skin from the stained bone he still felt unclean. It had taken him far too long to realize that that was how he knew it was working. When the charm no longer made him uncomfortable, he was getting further away from the entity he was tracking.

A ring of dead trees surrounded a patch of yellowed grass that had been trampled flat with long dead firepit had been dug in the center. Surrounded by bones lying flat on their backs or sides it was easy to guess what had happened. No weapons had been drawn and there were no tracks leading back out of the area. The adventurers had simply gone to sleep, never to wake again.

A chill up his spine followed by a wave of nausea left him dizzy. He had arrived at his destination and the momentary relief was soon buried beneath the dread of what came next. He knew not the name of the spirit he wished to bargain with nor did he have a piece of his target; all he had was the charm he used to sense it and what would ultimately be used to contain its blessing. The Amani trolls had a sense of superiority that could not be removed. The spirits here would surely be darkened by the magic that hung over the land like a shroud. His appeal would be blind and filled with guesswork and if that failed he would be at the mercy of the offended spirit. With that sobering thought, he set to work to prepare the area to appeal to the dead.

The bones were not cleared from the campsite but repositioned until they were groveling before the firepit. The humiliation of a former enemy would have to be enough to stroke its ego.

He withdrew a pair of vials from his pocket, one green and one red. The contents of the green vial were thick and bitter to the point that he had to force his mouth shut and swallow. His body reflexively tried to stop him, a survival instinct against ingesting poison. He would prove he was suffering and unwell, just like the land.

He stripped down to his loincloth and reached into the ashes of the firepit. HIs black stained fingers were moist with some unknown filth that had mixed into the ashes. The combination of death and filth was perfect for his means, but it still made his flesh crawl as he painted patterns and symbols in black across his bare chest, arms, and legs. His body became a canvas telling a story of his desire to destroy, the spirit would know this and choose whether or not to make an appearance.

He flicked a hand and reignited the firepit with a sickly green flame. Fel was almost universally despised, but the spirits of the land wallowed in sickness and corruption. The magic was merely another form of suffering for them to enjoy.

The final piece of his performance came from his pack. Two curved, sickle-like knives with freshly sharpened edges. He held one in each hand, one in a reverse grip, the other in an upright grasp. To mark oneself was to pay tribute, to bleed was to pay tribute. The Loa would see just how far he was willing to go just to draw its attention. He would be damned if he did not make a lasating first impression.

There was no need for subtelty. His dance began with a scream of pain as he drew the blade across his shoulder and drew a strip of hide away as easily as one would peel a carrot. The agony did not die with time, it only grew worse as the poison took hold. His veins were growing heavier and itched maddeningly from the inside. Every beat of his heart sent fire through his veins as Syreena's mixture began to spread.

His movements were shaky as he high stepped and screamed around the circular clearing. He threw in a spin here and there as he drew the blades across his exposed skin. More bloody lines were dug across his body, more strips of flesh were pulled away and dropped onto the blood moistened earth and speckled the bones. His blood mixed with the filthy ash paint, rendering the symbols difficult to read and meaningless as they ran and smeared across his flesh.

It soon became all he could do do stay upright as he throatily wailed a song without words, rhythm, or even meaning. His nonsensical verse was puncuated randomly by shouts of pain as he looked for another unmarred patch of skin to cut open. The flame rose and hissed as he flicked the blood from his blades onto it with violent motions and spins. Unbeknownst to him, the flames had begun to twist and another shadow stretched away from the light.

He had practiced the dance and  the motions he would take well in advance, but even if he knew the steps it became impossible to follow as his senses became dulled and his body grew weaker. The poison Syreena had given him him left him dizzy and nauseous; he should have expected such a high-quality agent from his friend. He began laughing hysterically as he realized that the one time he would have accepted someone giving him an inferior product was the one time they went above and beyond his requirements, and it was all to hurt him.

His steps faltered, his legs wobbled on bones made of jelly, and soon afterwards he crashed to the ground.

" Ya try too hard." An amused, wet sounding voice gurgled from behind him.

It had worked! Relief washed over him, indistinguishable from the waves of nausea as he struggled to rise. He looked upon the spirit he had called and immediately fell into another fit of dry heaving with his eyes tightly shut. He had seen war, he had seen the dead, he had seen mass graves and mutilation, but the form the spirit had taken was indescribable.
His reaction earned another gurgling, wet noise that was nothing short of a violation of what laughter should be. " Well little hexer, ya put on a show to call me an' I be flattered. Now ya can't even look at me? Don't have the stomach ta look upon the dead anymo?"

Tahzani forced his head up with sweat stinging his eyes and blurring his vision. The hindrance made the horrid form before him barely tolerable; brown, bloated skin whose surface crawled was all he could make out. He gulped down his bile and spoke with the strongest voice he could manage, " Loa of de Mossflayah. He who embodies this blighted land. I have come to bargain."
" As it has been and always will be. Ya honor the traditions calling upon the ancestors... Though ya be far away from home, Revantusk."
" Dis land reflects the soul of the one I want exposed." The creature before him let out an intrigued noise and leaned forward, silently commanding him to continue.
" She waves her banners and preaches ideals that she forces others to follow, but none of her army does. She be a hypocrite... A tyrant... Irredeemable scum surrounded by filth. I want her to suffer, I want her to scream an' weep, I want her fair features to mirror the rotten core dat i've seen!"
" Talkin' about dirty insides, look at yaself. Ah can taste de poison in ya veins, the dirt in ya blood... De taint on jah very SOUL!" It released another gurgling mockery of amusement at the flare of anger that crossed Tahzani's features. " I can do that for ya, but what be in it for me?" The jovial attitude took on an edge of greed and an unspoken threat. If he failed to please this one, the debilitating illness he felt would be a candle to a bonfire.

" Ya tribe lay dead or enslaved by de Cult a de Damned an' what remains a de Scourge in dis area. Even as we speak dere be a sect of human holy warriors workin' ta purge de lands of what remains of jah tribe." The amused air that surrounded the plague ridden being disappeared, for a moment he feared he would not get the chance to finish his statement. " Wah be comin'. De Alliance an' de Horde been workin' ta rid dis land a de Legion but it ain't gonna last, it nevah does. An' ah know someone just as eagah as jah ta see Humanity fall. Jah gimme jah blessin', an' de sickness dat brought de Mossflayah such joy can be  used against jah enemies once moah. Jah gimme jah blessin' fah dis one elf, an' i'll make suah it gets ta de right people ta be spread amongst de humans. I will give jah vengeance beyond de grave."

He could no longer meet the Loa's gaze and his head dropped towards the ground in a gesture of submission. His heart was laboring to beat as the blood rushed in his ears. Every pulse of the organ sent a wave of nausea through his guts and a surge of fresh pain through his blackened veins.

" Half for you, half for humanity." The warning was delivered and quickly followed by a violent surge of nausea that sent him to the bloodied mud in a thrashing heap. He vaguely registered his own muffled screaming and the feeling of his heel being brought down upon the brittle skull of one of the begging skeletons. The poison in his veins no longer registered as a cold lump settled in his gut and a feeling of wrongness permeated his very being.
The charm found its way to his hands once more; the knucklebones were gone, more accurately they had become part of the liquid. The unnatural, magically induced disease had reduced them to a gelatinous slurry that settled into the bottom of the vial, the amber-brown liquid had become cloudy and threaded with wisps of darker energy that squirmed and wriggled like worms made of smoke.

He could taste blood and bile as he reached a violently shaking limb for his bag to grab the antidote. Even as he downed the thick, red liquid he knew that it would only take the edge off of what had become a minor pain. He dropped the empty antidote and reached for his hearthstone. " Get me outta heah..." He whispered hoarsely, invoking the spell. Within moments, he disappeared, leaving behind a sodden, bloodstained, and fel tainted campsite.

*****
His skin crawled, cold and slimy in contrast to the burning dryness of his veins and throat. He squirmed on his bed in the grip of a fever dream and pleaded with the unseen as his heels dragged and kicked at the soiled sheets at the foot of the bed. The Forsaken watched him with unease. His wrists and ankles had been strapped down to prevent him from thrashing out of the sweat and blood stained bed. He was covered in maggots that had immediately taken to removing the diseased, dead flesh from around the peeled sections of hide. His wounds were inflicted by tools that had to be wrestled away from the delirious bartender before treatment could even begin. Such wounds were painful but rarely fatal for trolls, but the effects of the wound went far beyond simple bleeding. He had already sent for more maggots as several of the plump white creatures had already curled in on themselves and fallen still. The dead flesh itself seemed cursed.

Tahzani's former profession was known to him but he had never witnessed the cost with his own eyes. He had been successful, the tainted trinket was proof of that and had been removed from his person to allow him to recover. Hooked up to tubes and bags of fluid, the pale, dark-veined troll was a sad sight.

" Will this solve anything?" He asked the insensate troll. Feeling a dim surge of anger at the carelessness of the hexer. " Will this make either of you happy? ANYONE?" He sighed as the troll released another pathetic whimper and shuddered.

The next question pierced the haze of the troll's mind. Everything he had suffered through because of her and for *her*. His ultimate reward for the act was most likely a prison cell for the rest of his days if he was not slain immediately.

"Is it worth it?" Selris asked quietly.

" No." Tahzani answered with a weak croak. The answer meant for a far broader question than what had been asked. The realization of what he had said sincerely was worse than the pain that left him bedridden for the rest of the night.

Edited by Tahzani
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