|THe Mistwise Traveler
Author: Mordak PM
Melding the dark personalities of Ravenloft with my own, sinister characters. Takes place post Conjunction. the Ravenloft characters are the property of their respective owners. decidedly noncanon. Please R&RRated: Fiction T - English - Supernatural/Horror - Chapters: 2 - Words: 4,877 - Reviews: 1 - Favs: 1 - Updated: 05-11-07 - Published: 05-06-07 - id: 3525448
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As ever, she was dressed to impress, red and black silk bodice showing plenty of leg and cleavage, with her usual ribbon around her neck. Tucked into her boot was a dagger, kept wickedly sharp and in good condition. On her belt was her trademark vorpal sword, ready to add to her collection if things took to that direction. Over her shoulders she wore a long cloak, to keep out the cold.
She had arrived early, and entered unannounced, encountering no resistance. If anything this made her feel even less sure of her actions, the last time she had been in similar circumstances coming to mind, when her fate had been sealed in Castle Ravenloft. That had been yeas ago, of course, and she had...grown somewhat, had learnt her lesson, as it were. She smiled. Let this mysterious contact try something, she would deal with it as she always had, through stealth and cunning.
"Ah, Miss Montarri, you are here, and only a trifle earlier than I asked. Well done!" came a voice behind her, like leaf litter and dark chocolate, full of promise and a hint of a threat. She tried to cover her surprise, to mask it with coquettish behaviour and a flirtatious demeanour, and turned to the source.
In the first time in what must have been decades now, she found herself unable to speak, found her breath stolen by the sight she saw before her. She had expected a minor noble, and had, perhaps, hoped that he might be moderately attractive, worthy of a dalliance, nothing more. Instead, she found herself confronted with a vision, inhuman in his perfection. He stood close to seven feet tall, with wide shoulders. His skin was the colour of ebony, and his hair that of bone. his features were sharp and aqualine, his ears long and pointed, with a serrated edge like that of a cruel dagger. Upon his head he bore a thin, black, elegant crown, a single peak jutting above the nose. Underneath each dark eye broke a spiney white horn of bone, sharp and jagged. Upon his chin, four small horns also emerged, and upon the bridge of his nose and where his eybrows whould have been, instead were fine black scales. He smiled, in an almost predatory and mischievous manner, showing sharp, white, overlarge incisors.
his body was covered in ornate black armour, and he bore a long red and black cape that fell from his shoulders elegantly. His hands were protected by intricate gauntlets, each finger bearing a long sharp claw. He flexed his hands a little and Jaqueline could see that the gauntlets moved in an unatural, fluid way, leaving his fingers completely unhindered. As he stepped foreward, she noted that the armour moved in a similar fashion.
"So, have you enjoyed this little unnoficial tour of my palace, unnacompanied as it was?" He laughed a little, chuckling under his breath. "No matter, the next time that you come here it will be completely different." He grasped her arm swiftly, linking his own ith hers in a familiar, intimate guesture. Despite herself, she blushed. "Now, I suppose we should discuss the reason I asked you here. I'm afraid that I was not entirely honest with you. You are not here for riches and gold, but, rather to perform a service for me, and in return, i shall give you something I know that you have long coveted. You see, i know everything about you. I know about all your dreams and aspirations, all your hopes and fears, and, I know about your curse." Her free hand flew reflexively to her throat. He unlinked his arm from her own, and continued to stride forward, not even turning to look at her as he spoke. "Yes, I know it all. I know about the young woman who slew the legendary Madame Eva of the Vistani in the throws of paranoia and greed and vanity, while searching for immortality, and i know how she was cursed, on her 'death' with a form of immortality, but with a steadily weakening body, and without a head to call her own, and how, if she were ever to find that head, her real head, she would be given true imortality, but as it is now, she must constantly search for attractive women to behead and use their skulls instead of her own, and how those replacement heads soon rot away from her presence. I know everything you know, Miss Montarri, and more." He smiled. "I know where your real head is."
"What! You...you know where it is! Lord, name your price! For that information I would give everything I own and more!"
"I know. it is written on your every movement, your every word. Do not fret, my dear. That missing portion of your body is close at hand. It is in this very Palace, infact."
"Sir, I beg of you, return to me my head, and let me live forever!"
"I said no. You have not performed the service that I contracted you for, and so you may not have your head."
"Of course, lord, my apollogies. What services did you require?"
"I'm not sure yet. Surprise me!"
"You...You can't be serious?!"
"Quite serious, I assure you."
"But if you don't know what you want, why did you contact me?"
"Because it amused me. I'm not so sure that I want to give you your head back now. No, I think I'll keep it. You may leave now."
Seething with rage, she drew her dagger and lunged at his exposed back. Her blade shattered against his armour, and he stopped walking, and sighed.
"So predictable. I said surprise me, you pathetic little sneakthief!" He whirled upon her, lashing out with an open hand. She stumbled back, hand to her face, feeling the deep cuts that his clawed hand left behind. "I knew from the start what your reaction would be, and you have not dissapointed me in the least." He grasped her hair, and pulled her up, bodily, so that she dangled in his grasp. she let out a cry of pain. "Oh, do shut up, you worthless little harlot! It is no less than the pain that you inflicted on countless young women, and for no less a petty reason. You exist because of misery. You take and take and take, and provide nothing of worth in return, leaving only sorrow and heartbreak in return. I suppose the Vistani are to blame as well, but YOU brought your curse down upon you, not they. It is your own actions that has left you this way." His free hand moved up to her neck, to the ribbon that held her surrogate head in place. With a swift movement, he removed it, allowing her body to fall to the ground. Despite her lack of sensory organs, she could see and hear well, a minor side affect of the curse. He toyed with the ribbon in his hands, leaving the discarded head to one side. "To think of all the pain and suffering that this ribbon has been the cause of, so delicate, so pretty." he lashed out at her with a foot, catching her as she attempted to crawl back to the head. He pinned her easily, despite her struggles. "No, I think that you're going to want to watch this, my dear." Without the slightest outwards sign of dificulty, he snapped the ribbon, previously unbreakable and uneffected by even the strongest magic. Despite her lack of vocal cords, she let out an earplitting roar of pain and frustration, and clawed ineffectually at his foot. he leant down close to her, and hissed softly "I was going to let you live, slowly fading away into nothingness, but I have decided to be generous" he grasped her neck-stump, tightly, and she felt a burning pain like she had never felt before, then nothing. she slumped to the ground, her struggling ceasing, her life ended at last. Without the slightest sign of concern or remorse, he stood up, casually stepping away from her cooling body. He waved distractedly behind him as he walked away, and a rustling shadow enveloped the corpse. He smiled to himself. He would have liked to be able to say that he had killed her because he wished to grant release to the souls of the women she had claimed, and, in a way it was true, insomuch as he considered all women on this plane his property, and, as such, had a proprietary stake in their wellbeing, but that wasn't the real reason that he had killed her. It was simple. She had sought perfection elsewhere, had not come to him for his gifts. The fact that she hadn't known about him, that he had, until this point decided to keep his identity secret from all the inhabitants of the Dread Realms, mattered not. It was the principle of the thing. he paused, eyes closed, and contemplated the next move, feeling the threads that connect each person, each event, together, testing their strengths and weaknesses. Satisfied, he opened his eyes, and smiled again. Of course, it made sense to start at the beginning.