An Unhealthy Homecoming - Part 2

The black creature did not wait for a response and pressed in front of her to forcefully push the man inside while a rather plane and drably dressed woman jumped up from a small table and screamed. Cassia stepped inside to let the door close behind her. “Oh do shut up mother or you’ll scare the neighbors prematurely.” She waved her wand and the door locked itself with an audible click.

The resemblance between mother and daughter was easy to see, but life had not been easy for either of them. The mother’s skin was darkened by years of hard work under the sun and her hair streaked with gray looked as worn and faded of color as her patched homespun clothing. In contrast the daughter’s silky hair was black as ink and flowed across her shoulders in waves that would not be contained. Cassia’s skin had grown more fair as the years went by and she stood tall and straight while her mother stooped even when she was sitting. Where her mother dressed plane and sensibly Cassia wore rich fabrics spun into a low cut dress designed to make use of her unrestrained ambitions and feminine charms. She had dressed in this fashion from quite an early age, often inappropriately and it came at the cost of her innocence. It was undeniable Cassia had grown into quite the dark beauty as she’d entered the prime of her young adulthood, but she could not have looked more out of place in this small house had she tried as indeed she had.

“I have no desire to prolong this visit so it will be brief and I promise never to return.” Cassia pushed her mother down into the chair and they gave each other a hard look. It was clear there was no love lost between them; that love was well and gone.

“Why come back at all Cassia?! We know what you’ve become and we know your feelings have not softened or changed. You are every bit the monster that does your bidding and neither are welcome in this house!”

The Shadow Walker shoved Cassia’s father down into a chair beside the mother and swept an arm across the table’s surface scattering its contents into their laps. It stepped back as far as the small room would allow and settled into the darkened corner. Cassia placed a bundle on the table’s surface and untied the wrappings. “There’s no need for bravery, Mother. You can admit that you’re scared of me and what I have become.” She began laying out various objects at specific places around the tabletop and carefully arranging their orientation to one another.

“The truth will always be more compelling than the lies we tell ourselves. Take your husband, for example. He’s terrified right now and rightly so because he’s being honest with himself and has accepted the truth already.” As she spoke she drew her wand through the air between each object connecting them in a complex pattern. “He knows why I've come home and what I require of you both. Have you figured it out yet, mother?” The intricate lines binding each object to the next lingered and became visible as they began to glow purple.

“Some pain makes us stronger, some makes us weaker. Some pain welcomes birth and some preludes death. I could tell you I wished it were not so but you know that would be a lie. Father could tell you everything would be alright, but he knows that too would be a lie.” The various objects laid about the table began to age and crumble until they were little more than dust and ash. The purple lines pulsed and contracted and reshaped themselves into the semblance of something familiar.

“Let us be honest, mother. You and father were never able to give to me that which I wanted; a position of power and wealth and respect that cannot be spent or diminished, only formed and bolstered into fear. I wanted to be someone special, but alas, I came from two decidedly unspecial commoners. This was not my fault any more than it was yours, but the truth was, you had nothing to give me and I mistook this to be an irrevocable failure. I spent my youth searching for a way to extract from you both that one thing I most wanted when it was not within you to give. And recently I discovered the flaw in my approach.”

The violet framework had finally settled into the shape of a delicate dagger that Cassia reached out and plucked from the air. It was luminous in the hand and gave off an intense heat, but Cassia bore the pain and walked around the table. “Hold them.” Cassia gestured towards her parents with her freehand and the Shadow Walker slipped up behind the pair to drive them down further into their chairs. “Power cannot be given, it must be taken. And in so doing my soul is forsaken. I give you something you were denied in life. A purpose in death at the end of light’s knife.” The witch sliced the blade across her parents’ throats in one gruesome gesture and stepped back to watch them bleed out as they grasped at the fatal wound opened in their gullets. She tapped her foot and examined her fingernails while she waited then after a few moments sighed and reached out with both hands to grab mother and father by the top of their heads and yank back hard. “Get on with it mother, I promised this visit would be brief.”

The Shadow Walker watched in fascination. Cassia watched with disinterest. When she finally let go of her parent’s hair the dead bodies fell to the floor and Cassia held the glowing dagger up to her eyes and surveyed it carefully. “This should only take a moment….. There, that’s done it.” The weapon’s handle was starting to fade and it’s heat quell. She turned the blade in her hand and plunged it into her own chest giving it a violent twist before releasing it and clenching her teeth. The dagger continued to fade until it disappeared completely and all that remained was the bloodied bodice of her dress. Cassia stood up straight and felt at the wound, but it was not of the flesh. Her heart was defiled and infected with wickedness and considered it a great success.

Cassia Rathmore and the Shadow Walker stepped out of the small home of her childhood now ruined and began laying waste to the village that she despised. Lavender spheres of flame swelled in the palms of her hands and she set them lose against each building the crossed. When the village was ablaze she unleashed the Shadow Walker against the citizens and the killing began enmasse.

“Go forth, foul fiend and find your fun. I will look for you before the gates of Emerald City in three days’ time where our work begins in earnest.”

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