8 Chapter 5.2: Black Fire and Waning Blood: Samai
The Kyverni ship was on its way here to send us food and water, in return we send them ourselves to give them magic, teach them how to use the power of blood for their advantage they then comeback, through the doors they make. They asked for more than usual, I heard rumours of coming wars, I never paid any mind to them, if they weren't true then it didn't matter if it was the only thing that would change is that more Clerics would be sent away and nothing will happen. I sit and read the legends of Shataska.
The world had no magic and everything was fine until there were humans who became greedy, selfish, envious. Evil. It was the work of The Ash God one last trick using the waning power he had to corrupted her beautiful creations into violent evil, creatures. They stole, deceived, killed, tortured. They hurt the innocent, they paved the roads and tainted the rivers and lakes with blood, not in offering to her, but because that was a consequence of their ruination of the land. The Goddess was weak at the time she drained herself when creating life. The blood gave her power, she used it to make her people stronger, she saw Shataska who protected her family as best she could as the evil Fire Witches. She was burnt. The goddess gave her life again, gave her power gave power to the people in Skotash, the nation that stood, they fought back Shataska had the most power she was their leader, the Fire Witches, weaved fire storms made flames rain from the sky and burst from the ground, they push it into the sky to save themselves covering the nation in darkness. Shataska enraged sunk the lands of fire drowning it in the Sea along with the God they worshipped, giving a piece of her soul as the price. Shataska lived and became the first Archaima, The Goddess demanded that the Culling come into existence so that the Goddess would choose them the way the Shataska was chosen giving her life.
There's a loud knock on the door, I close the book and get up out of my chair. I open the door to see another cloaked figure, this time his head wasn't held down, "the fire witches, they're here" it was one of the rare times that I heard the emotion in the voices of the other Clerics in the few conversations I had with them, I didn't have that many friends or any friends. My heart drops my brother is out there, hopefully, the forest is safe. I walk the halls. I follow them down the stairs, they seem to go on for an eternity until I came to a room where everyone was offering tithes and praying. I knelt down "If you're listening. Why? You took my brother away from me and got me to be sent away to a place where I'm alone and scared with a target on me, always afraid, Why don't you talk to us? Why did you leave? Why do you lock yourself away? Do you care about us?" I say the prayer with my thoughts to avoid backlash, torches lined the walls like every other place in the Citadel. I grab my dagger and slice into the onyx shaped mark on the palm of my hand, I offer a few drops for tithes, I squeeze them into my eyes but I feel a weaker connection to the Goddess than I have before. "our time is running out" the Archaima said "our connection with our Goddess is weakening and the God of Death is growing more powerful, if they rise then the world will burn, we can't hide we must fight back, we leave now" he says, the whispers grows louder "Now!" we all walk out in the street, but I'm stopped, "you, girl" I turned around the Archaima pointed a bony finger at me and gestures for me to come closer "you need not leave, you have been chosen for The Culling" my stomach dropped, I had to swallow my emotions, the Culling is meant to be an honour. "why is that?" I was never the strongest Cleric, I could barely create my own doors "I did not know, you need not know, just know that the Goddess chose you" I smile, "well it's an honour" I walk away and get to my chambers I have to find a way out.
I had to try again, I can't let my brother get killed I had to find him get us on the ship and leave but I probably won't be able to leave. I had to retry making my own door. I sneak down to the chicken pen. There were no guards there were all fighting, I heard screams and explosions, I open it and take a chicken out, I find my way back to my chambers wait there. I knew that blood magic is weakening but I had to try. I left the chicken somewhere just when the opportunity was right, I felt them use their magic, they were putting a wall up trapping me inside. I slice my hand which had the onyx mark, this mark was different the others I'd seen they had diamonds. I felt the familiar pain of the blade's tip pulling apart my skin, I dripped them into my eyes, I saw Skotash, the image was still clear somehow, I didn't know why, but I took this opportunity not knowing how long it was going to last, so I focused on my brother my brother, my view sped to the forest, I tried to enter it see what was there, my vision was darkening I pushed on the pain in my eyes increasing, I clenched my fists, the pain my hand increase, I dripped more blood into my eyes, I had to see. I could enter the Forest not completely the deeper I went the more my vision went dark, the pain grew, I saw a white light and Daxfoss, I whisper his name, he looks around confused, the pain was too much, I pulled back, I now saw the fire in front of me I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that he was safe. I now just had to find a way to leave but with the wards that getting stronger powered by each Clerics death, I was becoming more and more trapped.
I wait, wondering, what I could do? I always went to the Seers, to get a card reading every time summer was coming to an end to know what was going to happen, mostly if I was going t live, I decided to read a little before I left.
After the fire witches were killed, the Blessed pushed the Ash God back into the Black Sea, The Ash God would bide his time before he would curse and corrupt one of the children of Skotash. They would receive a black diamond mark, where the Blessed had red. The Ashen Child would find a way to weaken the Blessed Blood and pave a way for the Evil God to rise and burn the world, his Ashen Children would rise up and kill everything turning the world from a place of beauty to a place of ash, the Goddess would wither and die, all life would go along with it, leaving void eyed creations in their place.
I wonder if this is what's happening is the Goddess dying, what of my brother and his mark? My mind falls down another familiar rabbit hole, should I find him and what should I do after that, should I sacrifice him and offer the God of Ash's power to the Goddess save the world maybe I could leave, go to Esior, maybe even join the voyages to The Undiscovered Lands, maybe find a family, maybe be happy. Maybe. That was it the thing that kept me from running away from The Citadel, after my parents sent me here, I was sold after a few summers have ended, The Archaima had a search for Blood Clerics, to have sent to The Citadel, to be trained and then have them find, those who were chosen by The God of Darkness.
I was around eleven when my parents noticed a red mark forming on the palm of my hand, I was taken to the Healers, my parents were led outside of the room, I was lying on a bed, confused, afraid, I wondered if I would have to disappear like Daxfoss. I heard them talking it was slightly muffled by the closed doors, I heard small arguments "this would good she'd be revered she'd have more than we could ever give her" I think that came from my father but I wasn't sure, I heard the jingle of what I now know to be coins, they opened the doors and I found my self in a carriage "is there something wrong, am I going to have to go away like" I asked, my voice was shaking, even though they made him run away, I just needed someone, in this place where people were mostly isolated, my mother hugged me "no, Goddess Child, you're going to be fine, actually" she pulled away and held both of my hands in hers, I could see the sad smile on her face the light that managed to get in when the clouds parted, the crease in her eyelids that blocked their brown out slightly, "you're special, the Blood Goddess likes you" I couldn't help but smile, The Goddess liked me this was the time where she was the only other person I could turn to after my brother abandoned me and I began to resent and push away my parents "you know that, special people go to special places, right?" I nodded enthusiastically
"where am I going?"
"you're have magic blood, so you get to go this place where you can use and help save people" she smiled, she seemed proud of me. We rode to a stairway and walked up and to the highest floor, I see the black crystalline building, it had red shining through the windows, I walked in and then was shown into a room. My parents never came back for me.