[ excerpt ]
“Whorish desire sentenced
with the punishment of fire
Unfaithful mistress in white
where is your pride?
Accept your fate in Twilight.”
-Phobic Shadows & Phantom Meadows-
- - -
The smell of death permeates the air as he runs through the maze of stone and moss. He can hear the horde ascending the stairs behind him, their rasping growls and snapping teeth creeping closer and closer. His grip tightens around the curving blade in each gloved hand, the King’s sigil shining red and gold upon their delicately spiraling hilts.
In the torchlit gloom, the stench growing in intensity with their every lumbering step, he readies himself for battle. A small smile creeps across his pale face, the royal warpaint he wears into twisting it into the murderous grin of The Clown.
He waits for the first of the dead to barrel towards him, rotted flesh hanging from the side of its skull and its milky eyes full of hunger and rage. The flesh of its throat is soft as he thrusts the dagger upwards when it lunges, sharp steel piercing through its trachea and into the base of its skull. The puppet drops with a heavy thud.
He swings a blade swiftly into the temple of another creature as it leaps from over the ledge beside him, narrowly avoiding the spray of ichor and ducking his beneath the swinging arms of two others. The mournful cries of the dead are deafening as they converge in a swarm upon him, driven by the sweet taste of his living flesh.
His weapons are faster than their killing jaws as he swings his long legs beneath their feet, knocking them to the stone to kill two at once, then one by one as they lunge in their frenzy. He snarls in rage as they fall to their final rest, freeing each pathetic soul from the foul curse placed upon them, and he will be damned if he will succumb to an eternity of rotting hunger.
The floor is slick with fetid blood and the lifeless bodies of the once innocent, countless souls that could not flee the plague Seregor has released upon the King’s New Land.
His breathing is labored as the last of the corpses falls limp at his feet, his twin daggers and hands soaked in their filth, blackened ribbons of flesh and innards strewn across his black and gold uniform. His hair hangs in an inky curtain over his painted face. For a moment, he is still, listening to the resonating silence within the crumbling tower for the sound of another threat.
As soon as he is satisfied he is alone amongst the rotten, a sudden chill creeping into the dark chamber tells him he is sorely mistaken... His breath comes in thick fumes while a chill seizes him. He senses a dark presence watching him from every direction and a strange mist begins snaking across the floor, pale tendrils intertwining and reaching out towards the painted soldier.
“Hiding behind your puppets, you bastard?” Johannes growls.
For the first time since he's crossed outside the borders of Avatar Country to carry out this suicide mission, Johannes is afraid.
He thinks of his King, memories of a brave and fearsome warrior holding him close in his tattooed arms. Tears brimming in his crystalline blue eyes as he implored the voice of his Royal Orchestra to stay beside him as the illness began to spread within the Kingdom walls, but Johannes did not listen.
He braces himself, knowing full well that no one has survived facing the King of Shadows alone. He raises his weapons, his teeth bared in defiance.
Seregor smiles serenely at Johannes, deep, black scars like lightning bolts marring the graceful curves of his face. The jagged obsidian crown dons a mane of chestnut waves rolling down his shoulders, his maroon cloak giving him the appearance of Death Himself with its tattered hem fluttering behind him.
“You've done very well, dear Johannes…” Seregor’s voice is a low purr that resonates throughout the twisting corridors and in the back of Johannes’ skull. He can feel something creeping into his mind, planting dark roots and searching the soldier's thoughts. Johannes concentrates, willing their prying claws away.
Seregor’s chameleon eyes, shifting fluidly from green to gold to red in the flickering light, surveys the expert butchery of The Clown’s handiwork. He absently steps over the tangled limbs of bodies in varying stages of decay, their flesh marred with thick black veins covering their wretched forms.
“Such a noble heart, slaughtering my legions to die right where you stand… and all for the love of your King!” Seregor’s full lips part wider, revealing teeth sharp enough the peel flesh off of bone.
Johannes snarls, taking a step forward before he feels it, searing hot like fire in his abdomen. It's only now that he looks down and sees the wound, the fabric of his uniform torn open beneath his ribcage on the left side, four long scratches oozing fresh blood. Black veins already begin to creep from beneath the torn flesh, the edges a glaring red as the infection begins working itself through his bloodstream. Johannes curses in several languages, his fear beginning to overcome the thirst for vengeance.
“Goddamn you….” Johannes whimpers.
“You almost made it unscathed, pretty clown..” Seregor whispers mockingly. A delicate, clawed hand extends towards Johannes, his white fingers adorned in many silver rings. Johannes catches a pale glimpse of his own reflection in the gently curving blade of the scythe his enemy carries, its staff crafted from a human vertebral column.
The Clown knows his daggers are no match against a weapon that would sooner cleave the head from his shoulders, not when his death already certain. The Demon King is well known for taking trophies from his vanquished foes.
“It would be a shame to see that flawless white skin fall from your skull while you waste into nothing…” in an instant, Seregor is behind him now, hair like falling snow against his neck as icy lips gently brush his ear. Johannes turns quickly, the deadly points of his bloodied daggers just a millimeter from the enemy's face when his thin wrists are seized by one broad claw.
The King's Herald snarls in pain as the twin knives clatter to the blood soaked ground, quick enough to dispel an army of the living dead but not fast enough for their cruel master. A stray tear rolls down his cheek as Johannes remembers his King, envisioning his sorrow as he imagines him hearing word of this rogue soldiers death. Seregor’s eerie, yet captivating gaze is studying the taller mortal.
“You should have known that this fight would be your last.” Seregor rasps gently, noting the growing warmth of his victim's hands as fever breaks. He takes on a more somber expression. “What did you hope to accomplish coming here alone?”
“Finding information… Finding a cure.” Johannes cannot look away, can't fight the creature as he searches deeper inside his mind, his secrets now an open book. “...For the King.”
Seregor’s grin is wide at The Clown’s perplexed expression beneath his smeared war paint, endeared by the childlike innocence in the mortal’s pale blue eyes. Johannes opens his mouth to speak, but a growl silences him.
“Save your breath, mijn beste. You've told me so much and we've only just met in this lifetime.“ Seregor pulls The Clown towards him suddenly, but gently as if his lithe form is made of glass. “Your time is short. Come with me.”
Johannes blinks in confusion, having expected the flash of steel as the scythe tears into the back of his neck, the creature’s enticing mouth stretching wide to tear him open, but this does not happen. Johannes feels a clawed hand, strong enough to crush bones, curling gently around his waist.
Seregor leads him to another stairwell, hidden within the many twisting halls and alcoves of this monolithic structure. The steps are dark and steep, spiraling higher and higher into the pitch darkness above. Johannes can feel his strength fading, his body beginning to destroy itself from the inside out. His heart is pounding in his ears, and he knows his captor can hear it, can smell his fear and sick, the uncertainty of what is to come overpowering the inevitability of death.
There is a door waiting for them at the top of the stairs, a large scorpion with its curving tail poised to strike carefully carved into its mahogany surface, protective runes encircling the creature.
Inside, Johannes’ heart plummets at the sight of countless trophies, mostly human, carefully arranged to give the wide, dark chamber a macabre opulence.
Johannes stares at the chandelier above him, artfully crafted from thousands of teeth and tarsal bones, a gentle light flickering from dozens of skulls. The room is heavily draped in black and burgundy, complementing the massive bed in the room’s center. He glances fearfully at the demon, who casually gestures for him to sit. Johannes all but collapses against the black silk.
“To disobey His Majesty and fight your way here for weeks on end, all alone with only your little knives to aid you...” Seregor’s hazel eyes burn with a hungry curiosity as he sits beside The Clown. He can see the fever increasing by the moment, a sheen of sweat forming along the mortal’s brow, black and red paint dripping down his sharp cheekbones. Johannes shivers involuntarily, flinching suddenly as he feels clawed fingers running through his long hair.
“Your King loves you… I can see it in his eyes when as I stroll through that delightful little madhouse of your mind.” He sighs almost sadly. “And you shall return to him as yourself with your cure…”
Johannes blinks weakly at the creature, struggling to stay upright. Every nerve of his body is screaming while a fire is lapping at his insides. Seregor ‘s Plague brings a swift, but excruciating death and soon enough, Johannes shudders, raising an eyebrow in question.
“Why s-spare me? You created this fucking apocalypse… You destroyed nations. If you're going to k-kill me, do it now.”
“You've made it further than any mortal before you,” Seregor replied, reaching for a cloth beside him. “And I've been expecting you for quite some time… Now, lay down. This will most certainly hurt.”
Johannes does so, but not of his own violition. He feels something warm against his face as Seregor removes the last smears of the clown paint of the King's most prized soldier in his weakest moment. The demon smiles softly, admiring the unconventional beauty of the dying man.
Johannes can hear tearing of fabric, drifting further away as pain and delirium threaten to engulf him, can feel the cold touch of death against his porcelain white flesh as his clothing is removed. He manages to focus on the creature, kneeling over him with the most predatory smile on his scarred, dead face.
Something sharp and lethal slips between Seregor’s black lips, his tongue segmented and lined in tiny barbs and curved at the tip like a scorpion’s tail. Johannes is horrified, having heard legends of Seregor kissing his victims goodbye and impaling that vile thing through the back of their heads. He chuckles through the pain at the thought of such a romantic executioner.
“You have legs for days, boy… Now, try not to move!” Seregor’s voice is against his chest, just above the wound, dripping black with veins now wrapping around the width of his pale torso.
He feels the claws sliding up his thighs, curling around his narrow waist. His fear is thrumming in his ears, but he summons enough strength to lift his head and sees the demon's true face. Terror grips his entire being and he begins to scream.
Consciousnesses is fleeting as many rows of teeth close around the wound, and a howl of pain rips from his throat as the scorpion tongue impales him. His legs are held by the crushing weight of the other. His hands are pinned against the silken sheets, sobbing in agony while he feels the infection being drawn from his body like snares of white hot barbed wire being drawn through his insides.
Seregor lifts his head, his hideous skeletal features contorted into a joyous grin as the man's blood trips from curving canines. He withdraws his tongue like a snake and the darkly beautiful mask returns. He peers down at Johannes panting and stunned beneath him, his raven hair plastered against his flushed cheeks. The infectious branching veins are all but disappearing around the fading wound.
“Wh-why…?” Johannes gasps, his vision slowly blurring back into focus. He becomes painfully aware of the creature's weight on top of him, the sweet scent of his hair intoxicating against his skin. Incredulously, he brings a trembling hand Seregor’s face, as if to ensure himself this is real.
“You paint me for a cold, calculated mass murderer, Johannes…” His smile is hypnotic, drawing the man closer. “This much is true, but there is still beauty within this filth of your world… And I intend to preserve that.”
Seregor leans forward, placing the most gentle of kisses on Johannes’ lips. He has been spared an endless death of rotting and seeking out innocent flesh, but he knows everything comes at a price.
He returns the gesture, sliding his hand through silken chestnut waves. Without warning, Seregor pulls him upright and into his lap as if he weighs nothing. Johannes can feel the demon's generous arousal against his through the thin fabric of his undergarments. He accepts his sacrifice and wraps his long arms around Seregor, kissing him harder.
“So… what will you do with me now?” Johannes whispers, feeling a second wind rushing through his sails as his strength returns. Seregor is tenacious, assaulting his neck with his lips, dragging that wicked tongue carefully across his jaw.
“Don't think that just because I'm letting you leave with your soul intact means I'm going to be gentle with you!” Seregor’s rumbling growl fills the King's emissary with both dread and lust as he shoves him off his lap.
He tears the maroon cloak from his broad shoulders, along with his jagged crown and waistcoat. He unfastens the tight leather pants that cling to his muscular legs.
“So… I suppose you're not entirely dead, after all.” Johannes breathes, blue eyes widening at the intimidating sight of the enemy’s manhood. Seregor says nothing, but gestures him forward with a flick of that dreadful tongue.
Johannes obeys, trembling as he crawls towards the spectral being on all fours. Seregor cups his long chin with the utmost tenderness, admiring the sharp features of the the knife wielding madman. He's so warm in his ice cold grip and his blood smells sweet. He grabs him roughly by the hair before shoving his head into his lap.
Always a man of honor, Johannes shows his gratitude and takes Seregor deep into his mouth, momentarily struggling not to choke on his partner’s girth. The flesh is cold, but pleasantly so as he tentatively runs his tongue up and down the length of his cock.
“Oh… Oh yes, that fucking tongue!” Seregor hisses, reveling in the sensation of his human’s lips around him, petting the silky black hair cascading down his back.
Johannes replies by wrapping his long fingers around the base of Seregor’s erection and strokes him as his tongue laps greedily. The demon smells like old autumn leaves and winter petrichor.
Seregor sighs, holding Johannes’ head and bucking his hips hard into his mouth. His hands have destroyed and possessed cities and souls without any remorse, and his plans for his wonderful new pet are no exception.
“Enough!” He snarls at Johannes, who tenses momentarily before lifting his head. Seregor sees his fear, gingerly traces old but deep scars along the slim form and feels a silent rage burning for those who inflicted them upon the young soldier.
“Tell me, dear… Does your King fulfill your every need? Lead you, empower you, ride you as if he's conquering a nation?” Seregor grabs Johannes’ long, sinewy legs and flips him with ease onto his stomach. He tears off the last piece of fabric separating himself from his prize and smiles appreciatively. Johannes growls, glaring over his shoulder and the rage in his haunting blue eyes is almost too much for Seregor.
“His Majesty does all that and more, you bastard!” Johannes spits in reply, suddenly feeling protective. Seregor drags him towards him with a sudden tug and Johannes feels those teeth against the back of his neck, threatening to rip into his spine. Johannes moans, unable to resist his desire to be conquered by the monster as well.
“Glory to the King…” Seregor sneers. “You shall return to his side in time, but for now, you belong to me.”
“Yes, I do… “ Johannes sighs softly. “But I'll be ready to face you next time, and I will kill you…” Not yet, however. He turns his head, running his tongue teasingly along the creature’s black streaked jaw. Seregor accepts his answer before turning to reach behind him. There's a moment that passes and Johannes hears the sound of a bottle opening. He opens his mouth to speak when he feels his legs pulled apart roughly. Seregor pulls him hard against him, a clawed hand curling possessively around his narrow chest.
Johannes grits his teeth in pain as Seregor plunges into him with a resounding scream, stars exploding in his periphery. The demon has waited for some time for this victory against the King, and savors the sensation momentarily before pulling his hips back and impaling the mortal deeper with every savage thrust.
“Fucking monster… You feel so good!“ Johannes’ breath comes in ragged gasps, his hair a damp curtain over his flushed face. Seregor holds him upright as he nips at his pale neck and shoulders, his other hand reaching around his slender waist to alleviate his need. Johannes howls at his cold touch, reaching behind him to furl his hand in Seregor’s wild mane, bucking his hips back against him until they find a rhythm.
“Let me see your face…” Johannes moans. Seregor’s purring growl in his ear, reminding him that he could be torn to pieces at any moment, only arouses him further. Seregor’s hand is pumping him harder, and Johannes wails. “Your real face… Let me see it!”
“Stubborn, reckless, but so very brave… You beautiful fool.” Seregor slows his assault on the man once intent on killing him. Johannes slumps to his elbows, feeling a cold void as Seregor slides out of him. He's rolled onto his back, still struggling to catch his breath.
Seregor slips his hands beneath Johannes’ knees, lifting his legs over his broad, scarred shoulders. Johannes uses his flexibility to his advantage in battle, but now he crosses his ankles behind the demon's head, pulling his face closer to his.
Seregor’s beautiful facade begins to shift, his full lips receding into a skeletal grimace, teeth elongating and jaw extending. The pupils of his hazel eyes blow out like spilled ink, consuming the white of his sclara. The segmented scorpion tongue slides from his deadly jaws, snaking down the vulnerable expanse of his victim's neck.
‘You are…. utterly terrifying.” Johannes whispers, an understatement at best. He traces a finger along a curving canine. The power that emenates from the ancient beast is paralyzing, the legend that has fueled his nightmares for much of his life, now sharing his bed with the clown prince. Seregor possesses him again eagerly, one gnarled, bony claw gently wrapping itself around his throat.
Johannes is consumed by him, violated in every sense as he feels him crawling deeper through his mind, his legs beginning to ache as the demon thrusts harder and faster into him, the light pressure around his neck serving as a reminder of whom he belongs. He screams out Seregor’s name, gripping him for dear life and surrendering himself to the enemy.
They burn as one, a frenzied tangle of limbs, light and dark interwoven in a glorious battle for dominance where the night has won.
Johannes comes with a strained cry, his once powerful voice now hoarse and consciousness beginning to slip away from his grasp. Seregor finishes with one last powerful thrust that forces Johannes further up the sheets, holding him close for a moment. He smooths the human’s hair from his face, nuzzling his flushed, perspiring brow with a satisfied growl.
“It is no coincidence that we would cross paths again in this life, Johannes. Your skill and love for the King allowed you to survive this long, but I've been waiting many years, well before the Old World fell… I knew you'd come back...”
to be continued....