Maledictus Terra Book 2: Sanguifex Part 12

Hi everyone!

I hope your week has been going well. I actually managed a mini vacation his week, and it was glorious. While I should have been writing on my own stuff, I decided I wanted to relax and not, so I didn't. However, I will update Sanguifex, so you guys don't feel left out.

Stephan wasn’t sure how much he should tell this man, regardless of him being king. Yet, as he looked from the man to Adiran to Magna, there was something in his face that made the spirit smile.

“Close kinship. An unknown brother?” he queried.

Adiran chuckled and shook his head, “No, but not much escapes you. There is kinship.”

“This is Mother’s brother.” Said Magna.

“Queen Mary was a Clarpratian?”

“She is a Clarpratian. Just because she wed out outside of our country doesn’t change her origin.”

“Explains the silver gauntlets.” The spirit mused. “It’s rare that silver flashes within this castle. You, people, tend to like gold.”

“GET TO THE POINT!” roared Sebastian.

Stephan fixed him with a disgusted glare, “You are not long for this world, it would seem.”

Before Mortis could stop the king, Sebastian launched himself at the spirit, who stood perfectly still as he passed through him. Either blinded by rage or unaware that Stephan was a spirit, Sebastian came crashing down hard against Mortis’s stone coffin. Magna couldn’t help but flinch in empathic pain as a grunt of pain escaped her uncle’s mouth.

“Has he always been this hot-headed or is this recent?” asked Stephan with a mock grin.

“Wouldn’t know.” Said Maga, “I only met him today.”

Sebastian sat back and rubbed at his head, muttering under his breath. He paused in his mutterings when Stephen moved through the coffin and said, “I have lost my mortal coil, friend. Only magic can touch me now. Are you calm? Or would you prefer another round of catch?”

A look of desperation crossed the king’s face before he sighed and grasped his wrists with his hands with a grunt.

“Good.” Stephan sat on the coffin and addressed all in the room. “You may not know this, but Lifedrinkers were created by an ancient rite. Humans thought to create immortality but didn’t understand the basic requirements of life. While the life of their creations was extended, there were, shall we call them unforeseen trade-offs.”

“Magna, I know this story, keep our uncle company while I ask the guards to keep an eye out for Rhys. I’m concerned about his well-being. Come speak to me later.”

Then with a wave of his hand, Adiran disappeared, while Magna rolled her eyes. Stephan ignored the interruption and continued with his tale.

“The creatures these humans created were empty shells, seeking ways to fill the void with whatever life they could. Some of the creations became the undead that you know, mindless, starving, forever wandering to fill the void that begged for life. Others were mindless beasts that took off into the wilds, becoming werewolves and other werebeasts in dark forests, driven to hunt anything that lived. The last were the Lifedrinkers, those that appeared human, but still had the gnawing feeling in the back of their minds to fill a void they couldn’t possibly understand because neither could their creators.” Stephan seemed to scratch at his head as he continued. “Those who became Lifedrinkers weren’t always as sophisticated as what books would have you believe. The first who were created were nothing more than rabid humans who needed to be chained up and fell upon anything living that came close to them. They were experiments on by many magic circles, and in time, it was realised that with each meal from a living source, these people would gain some sort of intelligence. These creatures could learn, better themselves, and expand their empire.”

“Their creators weren’t concerned?” asked Magna.

“They must have been in the end, but at that stage, they were only driven to find a way to reach immortality. They truly believed they had perfected a way for them to transcend life as they knew it. That was when the taint started to spread.”

Stephan looked down at Sebastian with disdain before continuing.

“Few of these Lifedrinkers were created, and fewer managed to hold onto their intelligence. The mages of the age noted how blood gave them intelligence and wondered what would happen if blood was shared with the creatures willingly. Some even wondered what would happen if they partook in the blood of a Lifedrinker. They didn’t have long to wait to figure that out. The father of our kind was generous enough to show his captures what would happen. Instead of catching and killing those that came to him, he fed upon them and forced them to drink of his blood, creating the first of the thralls.”

“Thralls? Aren’t those the servants of Lifedrinkers?” asked Magna. “I think I read that in a book once.”

“Yes, now. Today they are willing servants, most indentured, seeking a way to pay off debts that don’t require an arm or a leg, just some blood now and again.”

“And you get a free meal.” spat Sebastian.

“On the contrary, it’s how we feed our children, who are yet to come into their full abilities as Lifedrinkers. We, adults, try not to feed on intelligent life if we can help it. That of course doesn’t extend to our enemies.”

“What happened to the thralls back then?” enquired Magna.

“Being under the control of the few Lifedrinkers that there were, they brought more and more people to them to feed. Only the mages knew of them, so the countryside was unprepared for the horror that would soon descend upon them.” Stephen waved his arm around him as if showing a large piece of land. “Madness descended upon those drunk off blood. Lifedrinkers had become rabid animals, much like their beast forefathers, and they tore into the living. This was their revenge against the living who had stolen their lives and forced them into this existence. While some wanted revenge, there were those who remembered their lives as mortals and wished to find a way to return to that normality. So, while wild Lifedrinkers stalked the countryside of my land, my forefathers returned to the notes of the mages who had created them. Years, decades, and even centuries passed with no answer to the scourge that was plaguing the land. As thralls died, new Lifedrinkers emerged from them, only to create more thralls in their wake. The only thing that kept their numbers in check were the forefathers who would raid their hiding spots at night, for the day burned our skin, turning it to ash. It was the only thing that kept the mortals safe.”

Stephen seemed to get a faraway look in his eyes before he seemed to realise something. He appeared deep in thought before he started once more.

“About 100 years ago, I had just managed to become sentient when my half-brother Lucien, had an idea. He theorised the reason behind the madness of our forefathers was that they needed life.”

“Obviously.” Said Magna sarcastically.

“Not blood, life, similar to a soul. However, to gain this life, we would have to break ourselves down to be rid of the part that sought blood as a way of life. Lucien proposed a way to separate ourselves from our base instincts. He was laughed out of court. Those before us thought he was trying to cure us, but there was no cure. They were right, but so was he. In secret, he and several others started asking the raids to bring him some thralls if they found them alive. As soon as he had one, he started his experiments. Now I can’t go into detail about what he did, because I don’t know. But within weeks, thralls were mere mortals once again, and they could walk day and night. Lifedrinkers, sick of the curse that made the sun burn their skin, begged Lucien to help them, and he did. True Lifedrinkers could walk by day again. Mortal food had taste once more, and better yet, we could sustain ourselves on it. The curse placed upon us was finally broken. The scourge lessened until it was practically non-existent.”

“Something went wrong.” Hissed Sebastian as his fingers dug into his wrist.
“I never understood how Lucien and his followers managed to separate the hunger from us, but I did know there were places in the castle we weren’t allowed into. Whenever I asked about it, I was simply told those areas were for the hunger, and if we didn’t want to be mindless beasts once more, they should be left alone.”

Magna seemed to think this over until realisation hit her. The hunger Stephen was talking about wasn’t an abstract concept, but an actual creature that needed to be kept under lock and key. Before she could say anything, Sebastian got to his feet and growled, “When did the hunger escape?
And bounced back into @zakludick's court! Have fun buddy!
Here is an explanation of Chain Stories and here is the current Chainstory Library

Mortis Custos



by @zakludickby @lex-zaiya
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Part 11Part 12 – You are Here
Part 13 – Coming SoonPart 14 – Coming Soon

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