91. Living is the Difficult Part

posted 25th Mar 2019, 5:47 AM

91. Living is the Difficult Part
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25th Mar 2019, 5:47 AM

Chernobog

Bali lay under the black night for hours, long abandoned by Kara. Ruukunda did not return either, although Bali was unaware that the senior witch considered the matter closed. There was no point in further battles with her niece, as far as she was concerned, since nothing was getting accomplished. Having the spell book back made it a lot easier to accept. Chernobog would be pleased, surely.

Sickened and in great pain, Bali spent the night delirious, variously passing out or awakening to violent spells of blood vomiting before collapsing again. To anything nearby, she would have been easy game. But from the sound of all the fighting, no creatures were local, so she was alone with her condition. And as such, it was a very, very long night.

To be sick from anything beyond poison is uncommon for Xibalbans, thanks to their ancient blessings. But it wasn't so much that, as the fact she had been maimed and she knew that much. Her insides were tearing apart from the corruption of being force fed human blood. It was too much contamination to reject. She knew at this point that the ichor she retched out was not merely Kara's, but her own. And there was a lot of it. This was exceedingly bad. It was the perfect way to punish one of her kind, all dedicated survivors of a dark remorseless world. Even if the pain would make her want to die, her inner drive wouldn't allow it. Living, as they were all taught, was the greatest act of spite one could give to the world's overwhelming futility. This, of course, was an insult to that creed. Of course, wanting to survive was no guarantee. One still had to force it to happen.

She could feel her gifts gone or faded away from the corruption. The Song left her throat, save for the memory of the most simple beginner steps of it. Her body felt alien to the idea of shapeshifting, too. She wanted to return to her arachne body, to find some peace in the familiar. But she couldn't remember how to do it anymore. Even trying felt excruciating. It was as if she were missing limbs, feeling a phantom sensation with no mechanical result.

In the orange toned morning, she worked up enough resolve to rise from the ground, knowing she would likely die here if she didn't move. Unable to stand, she began to crawl, slowly out of the Australian desert as dawn warmed the land.

She was a mess. Her once once wild and vibrant hair now lay flat and ragged. Her skin was pale all over from throwing up and her mouth was a disgusting mess of blood, both fresh and caked. She suffered cold sweats and could feel her lithe strong body now wasting away in real time.

Half conscious as she moved begrudgingly, she wondered where she could even go now. There was no one here for her, especially with the Song diminished to a whisper. Her clan? She was not native to the local group and had not the time to make solid connections with them. The very mission she undertook in the first place was to prove her worth quickly to them, so that she might have a place to fall back upon. But they likely wouldn't accept someone who failed so spectacularly. She hadn't even contacted them for weeks now. It was entirely possible they would even mercy kill her, if she showed up like this with no status between them. Ruukunda? No... Ruukunda ran, that much was clear. She and the witch did not prove to be compatible allies at all. Kara made sure of that.

But she remembered then one of the many drives of the Death Clan. Beyond the assassinating, there was also vengeance. And the Death Clan breathed the stuff. To be beaten in combat was no immense sin- the Death Clan knew they were not great fighters. By the fact the skirmishes with Kara went on for weeks proved as much. But in the rules of Xibalba, there was a price for losing. To be fed upon, used sexually, slain, or made into a subordinate out of respect for a stronger foe. This? This was nothing. Bali was abandoned, plain and simple. She wasn't even worth anything to her opponent than to be a walking reminder of failure.

Tears in her eyes, Bali paused. There was a hunger for blood developing in her now, as the pangs of feral urges began to take hold. Shadow essence alone wasn't going to cut it anymore going forward. Blood essence. She needed it. Without it, she would become hollow and mindless, a rampaging beast, attacking anything she could. 'The shovel witch. She did this...' Her vision reddened as it never could before.

The witch shamed her. Unworthy? After all the fighting? After attempting to reach that scared person inside...?

Yes. That was what that look was, wasn't it? When Karolina would be pushed into escaping? Yes. Fear. She was scared. The power she wanted wasn't out of ambition. It was to make her feel safe and above threats.

Red. Red. Everything was growing crimson and jagged. Bali's breathing began to labor and choke. That witch... that... COWARD... did this. And there lay the motivation she needed. And for a brief moment in the growing fugue of blood hunger, she felt a hint of her will to survive coming back.

In the world of Xibalba, there were at their core nature, two kinds of fairies, all with orange eyes. One was empathic, sweet, and playful. The other was something Bali trained for a long time not to be, in order to practice the Song effectively.

And so Bali promised herself she would leave this desert, on her feet or on her knees, and inflict something truly terrible on Karolina in return for what had happened. Something she had never done to another creature or person in all of her long life. The girl would not have the satisfaction of being killed by the assassin.

Hissing, the sickened spider woman continued to drag herself out of the Outback and in time, find Karolina.

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