Blood Bonds All Things

Darius sat with his back ramrod straight, his forehead bleeding profusely onto the elegantly detailed rug that he knew was worth more than everything he owned. His hands were bound with baling wire, the tightness pulling into the skin, blood dripping from the wound he opened every time he even remotely adjusted his hands so they would retain at least the smallest amount of feeling. He was naked and sweating with fear. His skin was pale and there was no doubt in his mind that he would never leave this room alive, or if he did, he would be as insane as this damnable Marquis.

Since he had nothing better to do, Darius thought of the first time he had ever seen The Marquis. An imposing figure that looked like he had been held against a rack of the Devil himself for all the scars he had seen on the man. He had razed some little burg in the south, someone who had gone against the wishes of whomever had been in charge then Darius didn’t remember, it had all been so chaotic back then. The Dark had risen had there was no order, there was no law. Brother fighting brother, people eating the dead purely because they could, chaos and madness.

That is precisely when he had stepped in.

He was a brilliant tactician and he never lost more than a handful of men, and even those were suicide shock troops who begged him for the honor of making his path easier. He won battle after battle, his lands growing and growing. One day the wars simply stopped. There was no rulers. The Marquis had laid out a plan that, at the time, was perfect. He offered infinite resources and protection and all he asked was a tithe. Not because he needed the money, he literally gave it back the next month, but as a show of respect. They had all willingly approved this, they screamed their consent in a madness.

Now though, now it was all wrong.

He ruled like a vulture sits above the killing lands. he would watch and when one was weak, as Darius was now, he would swoop down and feed from them and all others would fall in line. Darius saw this, refused to participate any longer and cut his tithe and was trying to hoard enough so that he could get mercenaries, anything, that could help him stop this madman. Someone had to…

The door opened perfectly silently and Darius swallowed the last of the thoughts he had as The Marquis stood there, attired in black robes that were wet dragged on the floor, leaving smears of..yes, leaving smears of blood. Darius knew that this was the end and it was all for not, nothing would stop him.

The Marquis pulled his hood over his head and smiled at Darius with a wolf’s grin.

“No Darius, I can not and I will not be stopped by a man who decides his honor is something as easily discarded as a rented whore.” He moved his arms into the robes and lifted it over his head. Naked and marred like an abandoned horror. Blood seeped from seemingly everywhere and it pulsed with a beat that could not be a heart, it was almost a living thing, a silent watcher to the goings on.

“Come now Darius, let me introduce you to the Eight Mothers in the only way they care about.”

His screams echoed across the walls of the castle, the servants not even blinking as they heard it, when it happened every day, one became immune to such things.

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