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Chains of Blood

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The Lady stalked purposefully through the streets of the city that had been denied her for so long. Her delicate features twisted in a sneer of contempt at those who now ruled as she descended the steps to her new lodging.

*

Warlocks, as weak as the rest despite their arrogant assertions to the contrary, sought a quick and easy route to power by enslaving demons. In truth, it had only made them easier for her to dominate.

Stepping into their sactum unannounced had brought forth vitriolic abuse from their leader who ordered his acolytes to surround her. He'd commanded her to kneel and prepare to have him take her soul for his own amusement.

Smirking at how easy they'd made it, she deftly removed a needle pointed dagger from each sleeve and punctured the flesh of each of her would-be captors. Their bright blood had splashed around her in a strange runic pattern that glowed scarlet at first but, feeding on the fel energy in each of them, a sickly greenish hue soon painted the room as her power rendered their magic useless.

The Warlock had twisted and fought against the enchantment that froze him in place as the Lady spoke words in some eldritch tongue. A dark buzzing filled the room and –things- barely discernable in the dim basement chamber, coalesced around the hapless Elf.

In seconds there remained nothing of the follow but a fine mist of blood and the echoes of agonised screams. Of his four acolytes, one had clawed out his eyes in horror at what he just witnessed and huddled, gibbering on the floor. Another, the hem of his robes damp from resting in a pool of his own urine, simply stared at her. She’d smiled as she felt their minds crack and knew they were now hers.

Just barely hanging onto her wits, the female acolyte shakily gestured to her final companion. Finding themselves free to move once more, the pair had scurried round setting things right and summoning their minions to clean the room.

As they worked, the Lady approached the self-mutilated Elf where he cowered on the floor. Kneeling at his side, she gently lifted his head and looked into his ruined eyes. Delicately, she’d traced a design across his high forehead in his own blood before binding his eyes with a light cloth, whispering all the while.

The cessation of his insane litany had caused the transfixed Elf to start violently. Fear and shame fought back and forth across his face as the Lady turned her attention to him. Opening his robe to bare his chest, she ran a hand lightly across his skin until it came to rest over his heart. She’d placed a long, pointed sheath on her index finger and, over the place her hand had rested, etched her mark into his flesh.

With many a fearful glance at their quieted fellows, the two remaining warlocks finished their feverish re-ordering of the chamber and prostrated themselves before their new mistress. Having demonstrated a little more mental fortitude than their fellows, these two merited a more substantial token of their subservience and the Lady removed two items from a pouch at her belt. The female received a necklace made of some dull metal that somehow felt heavy despite its delicate appearance while the male had a more bulky looking chain placed about his wrist.

Her work done, the Lady surveyed her new belongings with satisfaction. It was a small step, but it was a start…

*Some months later*

The Lady, hooded and cloaked, entered another sub-chamber beneath the city that had once banished her. Her Kinsmen had returned and the call had been sounded. Their House would rise once more and she was sure the foundations she had built with the Chains of Blood would stand her in good stead with the Vaulkhar…but she would not reveal her hand just yet. She would let the others betray themselves and each other until the table was cleared of the weak and the foolish. Then would be the time. Then the worthy would embark on their plans for the future…