Monday, April 5, 2010

Chapter 11, Page 1

The witch walked down the streets of Camille with some hesitation; it was dangerous for a Malefici to operate so closely to the seat of power of the Almerian Inquisition. The Inquisitors were mostly overzealous fools who had no understanding of witches, but mixed in with those fools were some surprisingly-competent individuals. Even so, the Inquisition had taken its toll upon Ordo Malefici; witches were vanishingly rare in the area around Camille. While the persecution of the innocent in the occasional witch scare was an amusing and fitting fate for the followers of Yehovah, it also spoke of the zealousness with which a true Malefici would be pursued if found within the walls of Camille.

Quilline had left her blood foci behind; even concealed, the taint of unholiness upon them could possibly call too much unwanted suspicion. The need for such discretion rankled Quilline as she considered how easy it would be to cause a maleficent pox to spread amongst the city-dwellers. With the right tools, Quilline would be able to cause much pain and suffering and disappear before the Inquisition ever caught wind that a servant of Samael was operating within their midst.

Quickly, Quilline drowned such urges, promising herself that she would make up for the self-restraint with a good deal of future mayhem. For now, there were more important things to do.

The witch turned the corner to see her destination -- a relatively nondescript tavern with little outside adornment that would recommend it. Probably a lousy pilgrims' dive, Quilline thought to herself with derision, a place for the hypocrites to come and fill their souls with 'sin' so that they'll have plenty to boast of to the Patris who takes their confession. Although it was still daytime, the sound of raucous merrymaking emanated from the establishment, and Quilline smugly reflected upon the corruption any hypocrisy of the Yehovist pilgrims.

Although Quilline's advenus blood had gifted her with the ability to detect psychic activities, her abilities merely confirmed what she immediately suspected upon entering the tavern. Quilline could sense powerful and subtle psychic activity centered on a woman at a table near the center of the room. The woman Quilline was here to meet was seated next to an ugly and diminutive creature who Quilline dismissed without a second thought. Quilline recognized the dark, ethereal beauty of the mazikah, whose golden wings merely further confirmed Quilline's presumptions. That such a creature could walk through Camille unhindered merely reinforced Quilline's contempt for the Inquisitors, and further put her at ease.

Quilline slowly walked up to the demon's table, smiling with grim satisfaction at the flinching of the demon's goblinoid companion under her gaze. The mazikah's gaze had stuck on Quilline as soon as she had started across the tavern, and Quilline now found a strange tingling at the edges of her consciousness, while her psychic senses informed her that the demon's psychic facilities were actively probing her defenses. Quilline grimaced in what she hoped was a friendly manner, and bowed slightly to the woman at the table.

"I have been sent here by my master to serve you, Lady," Quilline said in a calm and quiet voice which was drowned out by the noise of the crowd around her after mere dimins. Quilline was confident that the mazikah would hear, as she could feel the psychic contact from the demon probing the surface of her thoughts.

The mazikah's response intruded suddenly into Quilline's mind like a question that had been asked seconds earlier but was only now grabbing Quilline's attention. "Your master," the strangely unheard voice said, "and who would that be, that I should be impressed or grateful?"

Quilline took a deep breath, looking around herself instinctively as she subvocalized, "Samael. Ordo Maleficus has taken an interest in your activities here, and I have been sent to offer you any aid I can provide."

The mazikah's eyebrows raised a fraction of a dimin as she appeared to ponder this information. Quilline could see the strange goblinoid at the table picking at his food, looking studiously ignorant. Again, the thoughts of another intruded into Quilline's mind, saying, "Why should I trust your order of witches? You play about as nicely with others as I do."

Quilline considered her response for a second, and then thought, "Our causes are aligned here. Samael has foreseen that your activities here might cause the fall of the Almerian Inquisition, and there is little that Ordo Maleficus desires more than to see those hubristic Yehovists weakened."

The mazikah nodded, and Quilline was pleased to see her smile and motion to a seat next to her. Once Quilline was seated, the mazikah leaned over and whispered in her ear, "I am pleased to have your assistance, if only because you have so much more to fear here than I do, what with the Inquisition surrounding us. I am Porphyria, and I am glad to accept the aid of you and your master."

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