The Chrysalis Emerges
by K Griffin © 1998
"Power corrupts the weak. To the strong, corruption is power."
extract from 'The Tenets of Darkness'
Lysis stood atop the tower watching the remnants of the Drakken pack limp home. Five had gone hunting. Four had returned. As the last Drakken disappeared inside her tower, she closed her eyes, feeling again the searing pain that had knifed through her as the Drakken had died. The Master had warned her of the danger of using her own lifeforce to animate the hounds, but she had thought none would ever best her creations. Now, without warning, that half completed dragon experiment, who called himself Skye, had inflicted this wound. She doubted he realised that his sword thrusts had touched her.
In truth, she should not have loosed the hounds of death on a four moon night. Too much light confused the blood trails. The hounds were at their peak on a moonless night, revelling in the blackness. When the moons were absent from the night sky, the darkness seemed to come alive and bestow a fluid grace upon those twisted misshapen bodies. Like shadows they glided across the sky and as the bloodlust filled them, their vacant eye sockets glowed hot and red, becoming a beacon of death that marked the chosen victim. They preferred to milk the victims of their sanity, soaking up the terror and hate, until that moment when the mind snapped. Then, as the victim's mind retreated to protect itself from the horrors, they stopped playing and stripped the living flesh from the bones. The organs though were always saved and harvested for their mistress. If she was pleased with their night's hunting, occasionally she rewarded them by crushing an eyeball for them to savour at their leisure. Tonight they expected no reward.
Lysis listened to the scurrying panic of her aides. She was alone because none dared approach her. Her screams of anger had rocked the tower the moment she felt her Drakken attacked. Despite her own anger and pain, she smiled grimly as she felt the panic around her increase. They expected her anger. They expected pain. She soaked in the fear until she was restored a little.
Lysis took one last long look south, but it was not Skye that her mind was seeking. She was checking the potency of the summoning. All seemed well though since the net was closing, and the prey was inside it. Lysis turned and made her way into the Tower. The howl of the wind rose as she left and the ice eddies scurried and swirled along the parapets. Winter closed in again and a total whiteout, made viewing of anything impossible.
Lysis was lost in thought as she made her way down the steep stone steps. The level below the roof housed the kennels and some workshops. The workshops did not interest her today. There was no time to create more Drakken to complete the pack. Her quandary was that four Drakken were as useless as none. Five was a complete unit. Only in the melding of the five, could they magnify and restore their own power. Four would waste and die unless she again filled the empty kennel. Five gave more than fivefold power, but the danger was exactly as the Master had warned. The loss of one meant the loss of all. Lysis had already experienced the death of one Drakken. She had no wish to repeat that sensation. She could feel the gnawing hunger of her Drakken.
She stared at the empty kennel. The kennel attendants cowered in the corners, seeking to avoid attracting her attention. The weaker and smaller Darklings were relegated to the menial roles in the Tower. The Darkling were a product of the Masters laboratories. In drawing the essence of life from those who fell into his clutches, the Master had indeed mastered the secrets of life. He had created a race of pure evil, twisted into his likeness, berserkers who had no thought to the consequences of the carnage they left in their wake. Since they were created by torture and experiment, there was great diversity in their outward appearance. Their hunger for blood may have been partly explained by their apparent lack of visceral organs. It also partly explained why they had survived as a race. Since they were no use to Master for farming organs, he used them to hunt instead. Those that were too weak to hunt, found other uses or died. There was no mercy in the black heart of a Darkling.
Lysis had discovered one advantage of that hollow and hungry visceral void that marked a creature as a Darkling. Better than any womb, it became the incubator for some of her more interesting experiments. It had also been the incubator for her very best creation.
Each of her Drakken was created from newborn Darkling babes. Limbs broken at birth then bound into the shape of a hound, five babes were sewn with strands of her own hair into the vacant gut of a Darkling female. She'd been fascinated with the first experiment to find that they sought the warmth not the cold. They did not eat their way out into the cold world, rather the strongest, devoured the weaker babes, feeding as much on the pain as the flesh. Only once the newborn food source was gone, did the parasite turn to the host. The female host Darkling died in screaming agony as the mutated babe ate and grew. The irony was that as the adult died, so did the child. Not every experiment was a success, since success required Lysis to free the child at the moment of its own death. Only the fresh corpse, wrapped in the rotting entrails of the host mother could be revived.
Lysis own blood smeared into the vacant eye sockets of the corpse was the final ingredient for the spell, binding the monstrosity she created, to her service for eternity. Only then was a Drakken born.
Lysis thoughtful gaze fell on the group of servants still huddled in the corner of the room. Maniacal laughter burst from her as the solution became obvious. "Into the kennel", she hissed "Five of you, now!" The relief on their faces was almost comical as they fell over each other to comply with her command. Usually her anger was much more deadly. It was only as the last of them squeezed into the kennel that they realised what her command really meant. As the last of the kennels was filled, the circle of power was again complete. It was not perfect, but it would allow the surviving Drakken to feed and recharge. The glorious burst of power that the circle of five created would not however explode, until the circle was again complete; until another Drakken filled the vacant kennel. Lysis crooned softly to the Drakken "Feed children". She stood and watched the servants arch in agony as their life force was drained. Soon they would be no more than empty husks. Satisfied that the immediate need had been addressed, Lysis turned to leave. Her gaze rested coldly on one of the servants and her words were not a threat. She had no need of threats. She was power. She was pestilence. She was corruption. "Keep the kennel filled", was all she said as she left.
© 2005 Elusive Dreams Mud. All rights reserved.