Emergence

“This demon will kill us,” she told them with a voice that trembled uncontrollably with fear and anger. Her throat was raw and she coughed once as she struggled to breathe in her panicked state. “We cannot unleash this into the world. Come on, let us go before it is too late!”

Eri and Haral stared at her, their eyes narrowed and their faces like stone. Ila’s heart sank at the apathy she saw there. They had made their choice and would be damned by the consequences. Guilt and horror washed through her as she realized what she had done. Her complicity was undeniable; she had sought out this creature, she had witnessed the ritual killing, she had given it the strength it needed to emerge. She lifted her face to stare up at the ceiling where the creature’s limbs slithered over and under one another, creating a puzzle of slick, inky blackness.

“You cannot do this,” she said, clenching her hands against the way her body trembled uncontrollably. Terror beat hard and heavy in her chest, yet she would not give in. “I want out. I want no part of this! You cannot have me!”

A grating laugh split the air as a heavy weight fell on Ila’s back, pushing her to the ground. She fell onto her belly with a cry, her cheek stinging as it scraped against the rocks. “It is too late,” the Voice growled triumphantly. “I am Ikuutayuq and you are mine now.”

Black tendrils slick with a sheet of ice reached out and grasped the back of Ila’s head. She let out a ragged shriek as they plunged deep into her skull, burrowing into the grey matter within. Her eyes rolled back into her head as the magic made its way through her body, changing her bit by bit, altering her physiology.

The same coils of aetheric energy reached out and sank into Haral and Eri’s heads, slipping into their brains easily. Their transition was no less painful and their backs arched as they screamed. Eri’s muscles suddenly began to swell as his skin split beneath the force of his growing body. Haral’s flesh fell away, revealing tendons and bare, twitching muscles before it reformed, becoming something harder; more chitin than skin.

Ila felt her spine crack as it deformed, pulling her neck low and hunching her back so that she could no longer stand up straight. Her hands were skeletal things with fingers that ended in razor sharp claws and she could her feel her teeth grow long and jagged in her mouth. More horrifically, she could sense that she was no longer a woman. True to its word, Ikuutayuq had remade her in its image.

The magic withdrew, taking with it any urge the three may have had to resist. All they felt now was an urge to rip and tear and spill blood in their Master’s name; every death a sacrifice that would strengthen Ikuutayuq until it was finally ready to take physical form outside of its Abyss.

“Go,” Ikuutayuq hissed as it shrank, its strength drained for the time being. “Build your offerings; my Nexus. Bring me strength.” It receded toward its nest, satisfied with itself as its corrupted mages headed out toward the nearby town of Adclif.

Ikuutayuq is the big bad in my book. Obviously. At one point, I had named it Kaos, but that didn’t really ring true. Ikuutayuq isn’t truly chaotic; it’s not a wild creature. It plays the long game. It sends out little insidious tendrils of temptation and waits for its prey to come to it. This is how Ikuutayuq emerges. These three mages are the first to be possessed and corrupted by Ikuutayuq’s aetheric powers. They torment the towns at the edge of Janedge before setting their sights on Erihill, the Glittering Capital. By the time the mages and armies of Janedge fully grasp the true strength of Ikuutayuq’s possessed minions, it will already be too late.

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