Portal Breach: The Collision of Worlds :: v.4.0


    The Last Nail In The Coffin

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    Mortis
    Petabyte

    Petabyte

    Posts : 893
    Join date : 2014-03-22
    Location : Deadworld
    Level : 60

    Character Sheet
    Defense Bar:
    65/65  (65/65)
    Health Bar:
    650/650  (650/650)
    Stamina Bar:
    120/120  (120/120)

    The Last Nail In The Coffin

    Post by Mortis on Thu Dec 29, 2016 1:15 am

    Time: Late Night
    Date: November 12, 0007


    It was nearly surreal, how night could manage to look like dusk throughout all of its dark hours in the winter. The cool light of a full moon peeked through the thick blanket of clouds, setting the fresh, first snow of the winter aglow as it illuminated the wide expanse of the farm’s property. It twinkled in the night, and scattered into a glittering dust with every breath of wind that pulled it from the rooftops. It swept over the barn, and softly moaned against the walls of the small house. Inside, Woolie was asleep in her bed, but her Ma was nowhere to be found inside the cozy home…

    Outside, the moonlight illuminated something else against the thin carpet of snow. A tall, deathly thin figure stood beneath the oak tree just beyond the garden’s fence. The wind blew, and his overcoat swayed and whipped itself like a specter’s shroud. Much of their face was hidden from the silver moonlight under the wide brim of his hat, shrouded in shadow save for the grinning length of his skeletal snout. Mortis enjoyed nights like this, where everything was nearly dead silent and not a soul could be seen wandering in the chill of late fall as it threatened its transition to winter. It gave him a strange sense of peace that he only found during the colder months, a familiar feeling that he remembered experiencing in a single, nearly forgotten place.

    Deadworld.

    Glittering, frozen earth became reminiscent of a carpet of bones, and the far-off silhouette of the forest reached and tangled itself in a way that looked like the dead spires of the necropolis to his weary mind. But lately, he saw something else when he came to appreciate the world as it faded to stark white and dead grey.

    He saw white fur, blue cat-like eyes that nearly glowed no matter what light they were in… He saw long ears, purple fur, a tired gaze that had hidden so much suffering. He heard the faint echoes of conversations past, entire nights burned away simply sitting and talking. He saw red mingling with scattered paper, a sweeping ever expanding swath of forest, bright blue code rushing up to meet him in a gathering agitated cloud.

    He saw misery.

    …It was around this time that it all had started. When he had started, foolishly, growing closer to her. Yellowed talons flexed and squeezed something leathery between their sharpened tips, a dull creak protesting from its used, worn surface. Numerous pages of white paper were sandwiched between the warped layers of tanned leather, nearly all of them containing some kind of entry scrawled in ink. Among them were the initial liquid measurements for Woolie’s bottle when she was still a newborn lamb, the flower shop employee’s sagely advice on growing vegetables, reminders, notes, thoughts… They were in there, immortalized in ink and graphite.

    And if he lingered upon it a little too long, he saw her. Or more, he saw her memory, imprinted upon the object as psychic residue however faint. It was typical of anything that had been in direct contact of strong feelings, emotions that acted as a hammer and chisel that quietly, invisibly recorded moments into them. Usually they were negative, born from sharp burst of betrayal and terror as a person is quickly reduced to the victim of a traumatic event; often their own death. But sometimes, although very rarely, the memories were positive. And she had been and incredibly positive being.

    The Sanctuary assembled itself before Mortis’ empty sockets, Warm light filling the large main room as the world outside slowly, steadily grew dark. He felt the couch give beneath him as he sat upon it, his figure far fuller, and smaller, than it usually was. He witnessed himself, a looming figure, sitting across from her. He still had his uniform in its entirety at the time, the retired Dark Judge’s badge glaring back at him from where it was pinned against his emaciated chest and his shoulders bearing his withered pauldrons; one in the shape of a bird’s rotting skeleton, and the other a thin barren frame of a usual Judge’s shoulder armor. Even now he was uncertain as to what she could have possibly seen in him. Purring reverberated in his skull, and soon, her voice.

    ”Oh, that’s right…”

    A furry hand dove into her shirt and procured a journal, its face wrapped in dull, brown leather and tied with equally dull strips. She pulled out his journal. The object was handed to him, and the superfiend who sat across from her on the opposing couch looked taken back by the gesture.

    ”I know you wanted to keep records on things for a later date, but I thought maybe you’d.. like to get a head start!”

    He felt a hand pat him, or more her, the sound muffled by thick winter fluff. It belonged to Kev, who had been sitting next to her. Across from the fluffy woman, she could hear as the undead looked over, considering it before looking back to her.

    ”…I sssee.”

    ”…You did not have to get it for me, you know.”

    ”You always say that, but you should know by now that I don’t have to do a lot of the things I do. I just do~”

    Indeed, there were many, many things she did not have to do. She did not have to be so kind, she did not have to be so generous, she did not have to leave without a word, she did not have to disappear. Yet, here was the sixth month that she was gone. Six months since every trace of her, of Veskur, of them both had blown away like dust in a brisk breeze. The tavern, the cabin, all of it was gone before he even realized that it could happen.

    It had to be because of him.

    Even now he could fathom any other reason for her departure. She had to have left because of the misery he had put her through. No one else had made her suffer needlessly, no one else had robbed her of her best friend, or filled her with so much self loathing. If he had not left for the wilderness, how much would have changed, he wondered… Nothing, of course. Veskur still would have died, and even if he still lingered near Lunette to comfort her during her time of grief, she would have inevitably joined him. How would he have been able to comfort her, to be a shoulder for her to lean on and confide in, when every moment he spent in her presence slowly poisoned her? Within days she would have been corrupted, and his brother’s ire would have been set loose upon him anyway as she was put out of her misery just like her best friend.

    There would have been so much more suffering, so much misery, all in the name of good intentions.

    Mortis’ skeletal snout tilted down to point at the journal’s leathery skin. He should have never accepted her gift. He should have never tempted the idea of the both of them ever becoming anything more than mere acquaintances. It would have been far wiser to push her away and never let that seed of a thought ever settle itself within her mind. If he could, he would have taken back the day he had accepted her invitation to see the brewery, the evenings they had shared in the Sanctuary, and the nights he spent chatting with her at her tavern. He would have taken it all back if he only had the power. He would have erased each evening, each hour, every minute, if it meant that the events of last year had never come to pass.

    Despite Kev’s advice, he did regret her… And in turn, the undead superfiend had the suspicion that Lunette regretted him too.

    A cold wind blew around Mortis’ emaciated host, whistling in his bones and tugging the edges of his coat. It’s howling muffled the ponderous thud of heavy footsteps crunching through the thin glaze of the first winter snow. The glittering powder swirled around their owner, a massive undead steed with a permanent grin pulled across her snout. Her plodding gait came to stop behind the undead superfiend, and his towering form was dwarfed in her presence.

    Master…

    Her nose gently rested upon his shoulder, attempting to draw him from his thoughts. She had witnessed before when her Master had been claimed by these dark thoughts, and they had frozen him in their embrace as they slowly tormented him. However, she was beginning to notice they were growing more frequent as the months went on, and their pull seemed to linger a little longer each time. In the process she learned to be more persistent. She prodded him mentally, psychic tendrils seeking to sweep away the memories that shackled him to that spot, and sank him ever so readily into despair.

    Master… I am here for you, Master…

    She washed away that cat woman’s face with a soothing sensation, and another brushed aside a snarl of the sheep-skulled undead’s spiraling inner monologue. Just as eagerly as she kept the pests and intruders out of Mortis’ property, Samhain set to chasing away the shadows that hung thickly in his mind and dulled his senses. She was the only one who could, when his thoughts refused to give him peace, and the ghosts of the past reared their heads. It was her only regret that she lacked the ability to get rid of them for good. But at the very least, she knew what drew them out.

    Soon, Mortis roused from where he stood beneath the tree, empty sockets removing themselves from the journal and came to rest upon the undead mare’s grinning face. Her own empty eye sockets stared back at him from where she rested her nose on his shoulder.

    ”Ssamhain… Greetingsss mon dessstrier. Grew worried for your massster, hm?” Mortis released one hand from the edge of the leather-bound tome and stroked between the towering horse’s nostrils. A nicker rumbled in her throat, detached and ethereal.

    ”Oh, you are sssuch a good girl, thank you. I needed that more than I realized.” He softly praised, moving his hand to give the side of her jaw a fond pat. Reassuring thoughts flowed over their mental link in a warm, familiar stream.

    Why do you keep that thing around, Master? All it does is bring you pain.

    It in question was the journal, which still was held in Mortis’ dead grip. A thin layer of icy powder had begun to settle upon its surface during the time Mortis had stood outside, thinking. Surprisingly, the undead did not know why he kept the journal around, knowing that it was the reason why his thoughts had been spirited away, tormented as of late. ”I… I am not sssure, Sssamhain. I sssuppossse initially it ssserved a purpossse.”

    But that was partially a lie. He could have bought another journal, he could have discarded the gift and replaced with something that did not have her tied to it. Yet he kept this one, despite the sorrow that was tied to it. Maybe he still had a lingering hope that things were not as far gone as he thought they were, maybe at the time he thought it meant something to keep the journal around, to keep her around. Now… There was no point.

    Mortis sighed, leaning a little against his favorite steed. ”I sssuppossse it isss what Kev and my brother would want. To remember her in sssome way and the happinesss we ssshared for a little while. Thisss wass the only gift ssshe gave me.” Even as Mortis stated it, he did not believe his own words. There was no real happiness between them, not when Veskur had been suffering like he was. It was a paper thin cover that barely hid the reality of their short-lived relationship. There had been a reason why Veskur was wary about him staying near Lunette, and he should have done something about it sooner. He should have gotten rid of her sooner.

    Samhain’s ears flicked and pinned against her neck. A dry, soft crackle whispered from her flesh as her lip quirked in a sneer. Steadily a sensation of discontentment began to well within her thoughts.

    They want you to suffer?

    ”It isss my fault ssshe isss gone, Sssamhain. I dessserve to sssuffer,” The words rolled off of his rotted tongue a little too easily. ”I had foolissshly entertained her fassscination and failed to protect her from my aura. I killed her bessst friend… I could have killed her, all becaussse I could not ssstay away from her.”

    Silence stretched between them for a little while after that, the sound being the howl of the winter wind as it whipped through the barren tree branches above them. Mortis sighed, his empty sockets turning to stare out at the shadowy line of trees that bordered the back of the property.

    No.

    Mortis turned his attention back to the horse. She may not have known what exactly had happened during the winter that she had ferried the sheep-skulled undead back to the city, but she had eavesdropped enough of her Master’s thoughts to know this was not right. Her Master should not be lingering on this Lunette or Veskur, or The Tavern, or The Cabin. He was lingering upon how he had poisoned them so much that- that he was poisoning himself.

    Master, there is no point in suffering over her. You should not be standing out here, with that thing, hurting yourself.

    Samhain did not care if her Master thought that Kev or Fear wanted him to keep that book, or if her Master thought he deserved to be in pain over something that could not be changed. Her tail flicked in agitation behind her, smart enough to know what was going on, but not enough to know how exactly to remedy it.

    ”And what ssshould I do, Sssamhain?” Mortis rasped, sending another wave of soothing thoughts across their mental link. ”I cannot get rid of it. The moment my brother returnsss from being living, he will know. It might upssset him to know I threw away sssomething ssshe gave me.”

    There it was again, that fear of upsetting his brother. There was an agitated snort and the undead mare lifted her chin from her Master’s shoulder. Heavy hooves plodded around Mortis and Samhain came to stand in front of the ghastly thin superfiend. Frankly, she thought that this was a matter that her Master’s brother had no business being in.

    If they get upset at you throwing away something that brings you pain, I will kick them both.

    She tossed her head and snorted again, her eye sockets leveling with his.

    I do not want to keep finding you out here, with that thing. I do not want to keep seeing her in your head, hurting you. I want her to stay out!

    Why was it so hard for her Master to keep her from coming back, when he was so much stronger than her? It was difficult to understand, how this fuzzy, soft thing managed to hold so much power over her Master, who could rot her away with a single touch. It was even more difficult for the mare to understand why he let her keep hurting him. The entire riddle of this phenomenon was enough to frustrate the undead steed into wanting to kick something! Immediately, the satisfying image of sending a large, stone-hard hoof through a certain fluffy face came to mind. Icy, stale air puffed from her nostrils in irritated huffs and snorts, her tail whipping from side to side and her ears pinned to her neck.

    ”Sssamhain…” The sheep-skulled superfiend stepped forward, tentatively reaching out and letting his talons brush over the side of the mare’s long face. ”Sssamhain, I… I underssstand why you are upssset, but I cannot jussst tosss the journal away. Even if I did, it would not get rid of the memoriesss.”

    Then I will toss it away.

    In the blink of an eye, the mare’s head lunged forward and snatched the journal out of his claws. She turned, and launched herself into a gallop.

    ”SSSAMHAIN!” Mortis yelped, tearing off after her.

    The mare’s dark form stuck out against the snow, with every pump of her powerful legs she steadily grew smaller and smaller as she tore off into the night. Snow crunched and crackled beneath his leathery soles; the ground grew slippery with the new snowfall and hampered his efforts to catch up to her. He raced through the meadow and into the untamed tall weeds that now were broken and folded over with the coming of winter. Clawed feet frantically carried him to the edge of the property, the mare’s thoughts betraying her as they revealed she had galloped off into the woods. A strong gust lashed itself down through the trees, buffeting him and knocking Mortis’ hat from his head. Where it ended up was the furthest thing from his mind, his feet snapping and crushing the brambles and dry leaves that carpeted the forest floor.

    Around him the trees towered and loomed, their thick branches blotting out the cloudy night sky. Every where he looked, their twisted trunks looked just as identical as the other. Snow managed to land here as well, but in small patches where it managed to fall between the branches. The ground looked just as dark as the sky, broken only by splotches of glittering white. Samhain may as well have jumped into the ether, the dense midnight shadows hiding her hoof prints among the leaf litter. Even so, the undead could still track her mind, along with her unique presence.

    There were not many undead horses wandering around, after all.

    Unfortunately, the horse was beginning to grow wise, and to Mortis’ surprise she started to block him out. Stubborn as she was clever, she was attempting to scramble his attempts to locate her. They were clumsy and obviously amateurish, but they were definitely attempts.

    ”SSSAMHAIN!” Mortis called, his graveled voice echoed through the trees.

    Yet, there was no answer. There was no whinny or even a thought of a reply.

    ”Sssamhain, I am consssidering taking back what I had sssaid about you being a good horssse!” He yelled into the trees, all the while working on locating the headstrong animal with his psychic talents.

    He saw glimpses of a pond through the patchy interference that the mare threw at him. Around it was a grove of tall pine trees, dull brown leaf litter interrupted with similar patches of white, crunchy snow that painted the forest in crystalline blobs. But most importantly, he saw her pausing at the pond’s edge, a thin layer of ice already beginning to form upon its surface and mar Samhain’s reflection as she looked into it.

    She had stopped.

    Grasping firmly onto the visual clue, the undead swatted aside low-hanging branches and tore through dense brush, his aura leaving a swath of putrid, black earth in his wake. The ground crunched and snapped beneath his feet; every step a blur as he made a beeline for the clearing. A dense tangle of thorny brambles gave way to his rotting touch, and the undead emerged outside the tangled ceiling of dead branches. At his feet was a slope of rotting leaves and patches of glittering snow, leading down to a familiar looking pond. At its edge was a massive equine silhouette, a familiar toothy grin spreading across her features in the low light. His journal was firmly clamped within it.

    ”Ssssamhain,” He started making his way down the slope, empty sockets fixed on the mare. ”Sssamhain, you will give me my journal back. Now.

    The mare looked up from where she was staring into the pond, but she made no move to obey the sheep-skulled undead’s command. A hoof stamped the frozen earth and her ears pinned against her neck.

    No. I will not let you keep poisoning yourself with it.

    As if to further her point, she lifted her head high, keeping the leather-bound book out of his reach. She was not going to let her Master anywhere near this toxic tome if she could help it. She was tasked with protecting the farm and her Master, even if that meant protecting him from his own vices. This habit, this desire to slowly destroy himself, was worthy of her attention. She would bury this thing in the pond if she had to.

    The sound of leaves crunching beneath Mortis’ feet suddenly paused. ”Poissson?” He hissed, perplexed. Yet, the mare was not entirely wrong either. A heavy sigh escaped his host, the undead staying where he was, allowing the massive undead horse her space. ”Sssamhain-”

    He was cut off by the mare’s muffled whinnying.

    I am not giving it back. You will have to- to pry it from my teeth!

    Well, that certainly escalated. Not that having to chase his horse through the woods was not already pushing the line between a civil conversation and a game of agitated keep-away. He could detect the rising distress in her thoughts, the dread of possibly having to keep dragging him out of the memories that were imprinted upon the leather-bound journal until he finally managed to lose it, or until she was unable to help him. She feared losing him to the memory someone that no longer existed; she feared the prospect of watching him slowly being devoured by his own methods of self flagellation.

    Watching him sink into that psychic imprint time and time again was terrifying, and she refused to keep having to pull him out of it when there was a way out of that entire hellish cycle.

    You cannot have it back!

    He resumed his approach, leathery soles crunching carefully upon the frozen leaf litter.

    Stay away!

    She reared and kicked out with her front hooves; slamming them to the ground and making the fallen leaves jump around her. An already massive monster of a horse made herself look like a towering behemoth.

    ”Ssamhain, sssh girl, sssh…” She soothed, calming thoughts trickling over their mental link. Just as quickly, they were batted aside, no amount of reassurances was going to deter the undead animal from her goal now. Mortis would not be surprised if he had to get in a fight with his own horse to get her to stop this endeavor. But, the undead did not want it to get to that point.

    ”I am sssorry, Sssamhain,” He hissed slowly, ”You are right. I have been letting myssself get pulled into that thing too often.”

    That seemed to get the animal to calm down a little, her ears lifting slightly from her neck and her agitated stomping growing still. Even so, it was clear her empty eyes were still fixed on him and alert to any and all movements he made.

    ”Thingss have jussst been… hard. Around thisss time wasss when ssshe and I ssstarted to get a little clossser… And I- it bringsss back memoriessss. I want to forget, Sssamhain, I really do.” Mortis rasped, stepping a little closer to the undead mare.

    The space between them shrank steadily, until Mortis came to stand before his towering steed. He could feel her gaze follow him as she looked down at him from where she kept her head aloft.

    ”It hasss jussst been difficult.” His voice cracked as he said it, a sob managing to sneak up on him and hiccup from his decayed throat. At once his arms reached out and wrapped around Samhain’s strong neck and squeezed himself against her chest. His head came to rest on the slope of her shoulder. ”I am sssorry, Ssssamhain. With my brother gone for the time being it… It hass jussst been more challenging than I had thought it to be. I do not want to do anything that I might regret. I did not mean to drag you into it.”

    He had not meant to start spilling his emotions to his horse; he had not meant to embrace her so tightly, like he was fearful of the massive creature slipping away. Yet, like a floodgate having been opened, it just kept pouring out. His host shuddered as a few more hiccups and sobs wheezed from him, the superfiend burying his snout in her shoulder. Meanwhile, Samhain was still horsey enough to have a hard time grasping why her Master was clinging to her neck, despite all the despair and distress that pooled in his mind. Yet, she tolerated it as she combed through Mortis’ thoughts.

    At first she had suspected that the journal was to blame, but now… Things seemed to be more intense than she had anticipated. It was not enough to spook her and send the mare running, but it was enough to give her pause.

    It was clear that the towering superfiend, the usually indomitable undead that she looked to for direction and leadership felt very alone. Though he was not a very physical person, she had witnessed times when he had wrapped his arms around others. Usually it was Woolie, but there were instances in the past, before he had brought her to the farm that he tended to give these tight embraces. To him they were a comforting action, something that felt reassuring. Though she could not fully understand it, or why it was so comforting to her Master, she felt it best to at least try to emulate the action. If anything it would get him to stop crying into her shoulder out in the middle of the woods.

    Master, I am here. Please, stop your whimpering.

    A weighty foreleg lifted and carefully wrapped around the undead’s back, mimicking the embrace he gave her. Just as he rested his head against her, she ducked her head down and gently tucked his shoulders beneath her jaw. Soothing sensations lapped over the mental link and across the undead superfiend’s mind in calming waves. She repeated it over and over, sending a familiar, comforting sensation she usually associated with her grooming sessions with Angemort. It washed across his mind, untangling the knots and snarls of distressed thoughts that permeated Mortis’ mind. After a few waves she noticed her Master’s sobbing started to quiet down, and he did not grip her so tightly.

    ”…I did not mean to sssay all that to you. You are a sssmart girl but you cannot possibly underssstand.” Mortis rasped after a few moments. He must have appeared so weak to her. It would not do for him, their Master, to seem so fragile. He would have to work hard to keep the both of them from trying to walk all over him.

    Silence remained between the both of them for a few moments longer, as Samhain kept her leg locked around Mortis’ back.

    It is difficult, but I am learning. I do not understand the source of your pains, but I do understand you are in pain.

    Her admittance was slow, as if she was attempting to comprehend her own words. She understood pain plenty well at least. She understood her Master was hurting, and being the clever, eager-to-please beast she was Samhain wanted to be there for him. Sometimes it meant having to do a few things that were a little strange for an undead horse; like hugs. But, in the long months that the undead mare had been linked to Mortis’ mind, she certainly was growing more clever as time went on. Prior to Fear having turned living, she had not been able to give the reassurances she did, she had not been able to soothe and calm; and she certainly was not as smart as she was now thanks to the superfiend’s near constant mental presence. So, she supposed she could stand to tolerate some of her Master’s stranger moods.

    Maybe by the year’s end she would end up being more friend than beastly companion.

    ”Thank you, Sssamhain. There are sssome daysss I think you are too good to me.” Mortis replied, giving the towering undead creature a pat on the back of her neck. Bone thunked hollowly against bone as he gave a small, appreciative peck on her shoulder, his affection conveyed physically and mentally.

    Can I put my leg down now?

    Ah, right, she was still hugging him in her own horsey way. ”Certainly, certainly. We have ssstood out here long enough.” The undead rasped, stepping away from her once she unwound her thick foreleg from his host.

    At once he remembered the journal was still clamped securely within her mouth. An edge of the leathery journal was held between her teeth, leaving the rest to dangle in the air while she looked at him. He reached up, grasping the book in his claws and gently removed it from the undead horse’s rictus grin. It had not been damaged, aside from a few indents from where Samhain had bit down on it to keep the journal from falling while she had retreated into the woods.

    ”I sssuppossse it isss time I got rid of thisss…” He sighed, turning it over in his claws. ”I ssshould have never accepted it in the firssst place. I am not ssure what drove me to do ssso in the firssst place.”

    Of course, the obvious answer was that he liked her and the gift was unexpected, but even so it was one mistake among many that could have easily been prevented. Alas, if only he had done the smart thing and kept his distance. Likely she still would have been here and found her own happiness with someone else, and Mortis… He was not sure what would have happened, aside from remaining a Dark Judge. Either way, his existence would have been a lot simpler, and likely he would not be constantly fighting off despair and self loathing like he was now.

    With all the pain that was left behind with her passing, what reason was there to keep remembering her?

    It took only a thought for his touch to eat away at the journal. Leather and marked paper wrinkled and dried to a rancid black. Pages upon pages of memoirs turned brittle and crumbled into a fine black dust, smooth leather cracked and fell away. Within the time it took to blink, where there was once a journal was now a handful of dust that fell between his green fingers.

    It was a strangely fitting end.

      Current date/time is Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:44 am