Sevron fell away from the Rift, collapsing onto his back. Black blood poured from his severed arm, leg, and head – which had been neatly sliced in half, leaving a gaping wound where the man’s face used to be. The only recognizable features were a pair of holes where his nose once was, and his soggy grey brain. His once immaculate jacket and pants were rapidly transforming from pure white to black as the fine fabric soaked up his blood. His remaining leg flopped around uncontrollably, splashing the black blood around the room. His top hat had been cut along with his head, only half of it remained, sitting in a spreading dark pool.
The Makii gathered around, watching the man go through what should have been his death throes. They exchanged glances with one another. Some, shared looks of knowing; others fear. But mostly they appeared uncertain.
“We should end him now. We may never have a chance like this again,” one of them dared to voice. “I believe in victory and conquest – such is the way of the Makii – but Sevron desires only corruption. It was never meant to be as such,” the speaker continued. She may have once been a young woman fully blessed with natural beauty, but it was hard to tell for certain, because now her flesh appeared to have been soaked in bleach, the blood in her veins replaced with ink. Her eyes were like black marbles, her hair was thin, coarse and grey.
Her body, however, retained its youthful shape. Her legs were long and lean, with a muscle tone that was firm and well defined. A fair amount of her ample alabaster breasts were exposed through the split of her dress, their size further accentuated by the dress’ sleek fit and the color-shifting scale mail material from which it was made. Depending how the light hit them, the tiny metal scales alternated in color from silver, purple and gold.
“The glory of the Makii will end in ruin if he is allowed to live . . . the entire universe will end as such,” she declared, her black eyes staring at the thrashing Dead God.
“If you wish to try, I shall not stop you, Melina. But I warn you, be certain you can actually succeed in such a task. We have all been witness to his power, and I have had the misfortune of seeing it more than most,” a Dead God replied. The speaker was handsomely dressed, wearing a black silk shirt with matching cape, and shiny boots of black leather. His gray hair was short and slicked back. The Dead God’s face was clean shaven and had smooth, soft features that would have appeared friendly on any other face. “Believe me when I say that Lord Sevron is the only one of us who is truly immortal.”
As if in response to his words, the movements of Sevron’s body became more purposeful, his limbs stopped thrashing. His remaining arm actually pushed him to his knee. With blood still pouring from his head and his brain exposed, Sevron turned to face the rest of the Makii.
“Galimoto agrees with Melina,” a piping voice spoke, followed by a fluttering of wings as a tiny red-bodied creature with yellow eyes flew into the circle of Makii. The being had large wings of black leather and a long, whip-like tail that ended in twin barbs. He hovered in front of the Makii, keeping one yellow eye trained towards the fallen Dead God to make sure he didn’t get too close, then he continued, “Lately, Sevron reeks of death . . . even more than the rest of you. Perhaps, Master, if you help her . . .”
Sevron turned to the creature, blood bubbling from his gaping throat as he attempted to howl at the little imp.
As soon as Sevron turned to him, the imp instantly fled the circle . . . and he didn’t stop, not until he was far from Kandor Keep.
“I will end him, Imorbis. Of that you can be certain. This has to stop. For the gift I willingly accept the Hunger, but what he has become, I cannot accept,” the woman said, her white fist emanating with waves of black. “If you cowards refuse to help, then to the dead with you.”
She closed in on the wounded Dead God.
Imorbis shook his head and took several steps back – the other Dead Gods followed him, none of them moved to Melina’s aid.
“Look at you now, ‘Sevron, The Servant of Death’,” Melina said as she stood over him.
He gurgled in response to her, blood spurting from the hole that was his face, covering her steel scaled dress.
“Foul creature,” she said, her face twisting in disgust. “Time to join those you’ve despoiled, Sevron.”
Both of her fists were humming with power, the waves of black energy throbbing with the beat of her heart.
She raised her arms, preparing to unleash the full might of her power, ending the Dead God once and for all.
With surprising speed, Sevron stood up, his black blood formed into a leg . . . and into an arm as well. His new-born black fist plowed forward, penetrating her dress of metal scales, and continuing onward, plunging into Melina’s chest. Briefly, her face registered shock, then, once she realized her doom, it showed only fear. The power she held sputtered and faded. All of her energy was diverted to keep her already dead body alive.
She should have let herself go.
Sevron’s hand of black blood heaved her upwards. Her blood sprayed through the air, raining down on Sevron. With his other hand, he grabbed her arm, and ripped it from her body, tearing it off as easily as if he was pulling the limb from an insect. Melina’s screams filled the throne room. Sevron grabbed her face, turning her screams into gurgles. His fingers melted into her skin and bones, then he tore her skull apart, face and all. Her brain spilled from her head as Sevron flung her to the floor.
Lastly, he took a leg. He planted one foot on her body and pulled. There was an awful slurping sound and then . . .
“Mastecus . . .” Sevron called, his black blood had formed the semblance of a face.
He began incorporating Melina’s arm to his body. His blood filled her veins, animating the woman’s severed limb and controlling it as his own.
“Yes, Lord Sevron,” one of the Makii responded, a thin, elderly looking Dead God with a long, angular gray beard.
“Learn to control your creation, the imp, or I will.”
Mastecus fully understood the threat; for Sevron to control Galimoto, Mastecus would have to die.
“I apologize, Sevron. It shall not happen again.”
“As for you, Imorbis,” Sevron said, fusing Melina’s leg to his body.
Imorbis bowed his slicked head low.
“You should have stopped her . . .”
Melina’s face was still in his hand. It was partially crushed and disfigured from being ripped from her head. Nevertheless, he guided it to his own wounded face.
“Oh?” Imorbis questioned, raising his eyes and daring to give the other Dead God a grin. “Should I have been worried about her safety or yours, Sevron?”
Melina’s face bonded to his head, an eyeless bloodied mask. Whatever beauty Melina may have possessed was long gone. Her face looked as if it were smashed by a hammer, her features twisted and hanging awkwardly on their new owner. Her lush, gray lips smiled back at Imorbis.
“Neither, you should have been concerned about your own . . .”
Sevron made his way to Imorbis. Both of the Dead Gods stared each other down.
Before their confrontation could unfold, another Dead God interrupted the exchange, asking, “What about the Mageaous, Dona’Cora? Should we pursue her into the Darkbridge?”
Sevron’s eyeless face lingered on Imorbis a moment longer, then turned to scan the rest of the Makii.
“Pursue?” Sevron said, Melina’s bloodied face contorting awkwardly in mock confusion. “Oh yes, we will pursue. We will flood the universe with our blood until there is nowhere left for her to hide. And then, when she believes we have taken everything from her, I will take more . . . before I am done with Dona’Cora, her flesh will be mine. As I tear her apart, limb by limb, the last face she will see shall be her own.”