View character profile for: Lucian Frespit
Mistress Hanwen had come to the orphanage to an eerie scene. Candles had been blown out, leaving only the moonlight to illuminate the empty quiet halls. Speaking of, not a sound could be heard, leaving her warily hoping that everyone had left.
Lighting a candle used to make rounds, Hanwen steeled her nerves and edged her way down the first corridor. At the risk of endangering the children if they were hiding, she didn’t call out or raise an alarm. While she had run the orphanage for nearly a decade, whatever threatened them would learn she had not forgotten her past.
Making sure her dagger was at her side; she stopped to listen again and swore she heard scuffling in the room opposite of her. Blowing out the candle, she rushed the door and burst through, swinging her blade at the figure behind.
To her dismay, the figure held a thick shield that easily deflected the attack. It then moved before she could defend herself and grabbed her arms, holding them in place with a surprising gentleness.
“And that children, is why we do NOT surprise Mistress Hanwen.”
Candles were lit to reveal a mass of children looking in awe at their caretaker, with several adults with them. Each of the nurses looked rather uneasy, knowing their Mistress’s prowess.
“What is this? What are you all doing?”
Wrestling her hands free from the soldier, she brushed her dress and fixed her hair before glaring at the grinning man.
“Come now, it’s Ilf-Cwildseten. The kids wanted to spook you but luckily they came to me about it.”
Giving a raised eyebrow to the orphans, several tried to hold back giggles. One came up to Hanwen, a young boy that acted as the older brother for the children.
“We wanted to see if Dalen was telling the truth. None of us could believe you had once been a traveler.”
Looking at the amused faces, Hanwen’s stern demeanor broke, though she kept her glare.
“The word you are looking for dear is adventurer. It was exciting for a time, but it wasn’t for me. Now, how about we stop pestering Dalen and get ready for the celebration?”
With a cheer the mass scattered to the various bedrooms, gathering masks and festive clothing. With the nurses helping them, Dalen found himself at the center of her disapproval.
“You know better than to fight me Dalen. Try it again and your shield won’t have an arm to lift it.”
Walking up to him and planting a kiss on his cheek, she patted his head and gave him a smirk.
“Besides, you’re supposed to always be on my side.”
Dalen chuckled at his wife’s threats; he knew she would always best him in a duel.
“I have to try every now and then right? Besides, now they will listen to your orders better than before.”
Pushing the laughing soldier out of the building, she shook her head at him before joining the children.
~The Corrupted Glade, At the heart of the Dark Forest. ~
A rare clearing in the twisted woods revealed a grisly scene.
Before a small altar, a ritual was underway. Several robed figures chanted over a hulking corpse, a gaping hole in its chest. The organ that was once housed within now poured blood over the hands of the main figure as they continued to chant. Stepping around the corpse, they made their way to the altar and split the heart open with a ceremonial dagger. Blood drenched the statue atop the altar, a grotesque mass of arms and heads carved from wood.
The main head of the statue looked at the chanter with charred sockets, before the empty eyes awoke with flame. The blood that had remained near the figure was now drawn to it, being drained into an unknown orifice.
With a rise in the chanting and more blood fed o the effigy, the woods around them became alive. Wind howled like a cacophony of beasts as it shook the branches with great force. A low rumble could be heard in the glade, small tremors accompanying them.
With a final mantra, the ritual was finished. The fire in the statue’s eyes dying and the usual sounds of the night taking over once more. The lead figure removed her hood, revealing an elf in her older years. Still beautiful to any human, dwarf, or giant, the crows feet and silver creeping into her features marked her as an elder.
“It is done. Remove the troll and let us return.”
The body was quickly disposed of and any trace of the ritual was removed as well. Only the altar remained.
When they prepared to leave, the elder looked back at the altar with disgust. How she craved a day when her kind wouldn’t need to perform such vile actions.
For now, she signaled for them to move and they silently vanished into the shadows.