Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Siege of the White Mountain Vol. 3: Due to the Dead--Part 34

Morgaine leapt off the gryphon, coughing and hacking.  "Right," she said to her brother, clutching her nose.  "You know, you are so lucky that Nissy has yet to invent an alternative to this that everybody but he thinks is worse..."

Mansemat gave his beast an affectionate pat on the head.  "Dandelion can't help that he got caught in the rain, Morgaine."  He leaned forward, and rested his head on the gryphon's neck.  "Him big fluffy!  Yes, he is!  Yes, heeeee eeeeees!"

"Well, I guess that's proof that there is somebody for everybody," noted Morgaine, strolling away, with a glance at the night sky.  "That and the fact that... you know, you're married, Manny."

"And you've got Despi," said Mansemat, scratching his gryphon's head.  "See. I can be bitter and witty as well."

"But you're not as good as it as me," replied Morgaine, following it up by sticking out her tongue.  She paused a moment, looking around, and then giving a sniff.  "Right.  Not gryphon-stink.  This is..." She sniffed a bit more.  "...Heavy death magic.  And not the okayish kind--this is evil, cursey, stuff."  She glanced at her brother.  "So... it looks like you were right.  A Revenant.  Doing... bad stuff."

Mansemat nodded.  "Truly, you are a master of description.  'Bad stuff''.  Indeed, this is potent new information that I was unable to ascertain."

"Hey--I thought we'd agreed I am the snarky one," snapped Morgaine.

"We didn't," repiled Mansemat.  "You just unilaterally declared yourself it."

"Don't make me levitate a rock on you, Manny," said Morgaine, turning.  "It would upset me."  She moved on.  "Anyway...  this stuff is... weird.  I've seen some bad things, but this..."  She shook her head.  "Nissy and I have been trying to get a bead on this for weeks now..   It's on another level from what anything of this nature I've ever seen.  Very... subtle.  And more powerful than you'd think.  ."  She glanced back her brother.  "Which is why I am having a lot of trouble figuring out just what it is, before you ask me again, all mean and sarcastic."  She sniffed.  "You are such a mean little brother."

"This gives us... some idea of what those... Stylites are, at least," said Mansemat.  He shook his head. "Still... this is odd...  Revenants are solitary dwellers as a rule, accursed, unnatural dwellers between life and death..."  He coughed.  "Ummm, right. Sorry."

Morgaine shook her head.  "Oh, no, I'm cool with that.  I'm a not accursed, NATURAL dweller between life and death.  It's a BIG difference."

"And one which I fully appreciate," said Mansemat.

Morgaine regarded her brother for a moment. "You want me to do the thing, don't you?"  Mansemat gave a silent nod.  "Fine."  She shut her eyes.  After a moment, a strange pale glow began to emanate from her.  "You have perished here... come to me.  I am the keeper of the gate, the opener of the way.  Come to me.  Come to me and go into death, and peace..."

Strange flares of light began to approach her, as the glow grew greater.  They passed into her, causing Morgaine to be engulfed in the strange bluish flame.  And then it was quiet.  Morgaine gave a shudder. 

"Yeah, that was creepy," she muttered.

"I thought you generally found it a relief to do that," said Mansemat.

Morgane bit her lip. "It was... too easy.  The anguish... the shock... the terror... it had been drained right out of them." She shook her head.  "I don't know what it is that these... Stylites are doing.  But is worse than we thought.  And what we thought was pretty damn bad."

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