I can smell it, the arid stench of Delo’s blood, dripping onto my brown jacket. It reeks of tainted putrescence, of an innocence long gone, of an unspeakable rot, and as I twist my blade free of Delo’s disfigured body, the weapon cutting its way out of his chest like a scythe out of dirt, I can smell the blood splash across my jacket. It stains the vest, burning into the seams and weaving down to the red shirt underneath, puddling up around my boots as it drips to the floor and through the wrinkles of my torn black pants. Drip-drop. Drip-drop.
Delo gazes at me unforgivingly, his dead eyes as vacant as the hall we stand in, his cold face rippled with the abborations of a bygone deity that had long since abandoned the maddened collectorate. Once, Delo had been a man, as much a human as the young girls heaped in piles at the back of the hall, the dead children whose pallid skin reeked of death as much as their murderer’s blood did now. Once, Delo had been a respected official, a servant of the Emperor and the government of Estios. Once, but that was a long time ago. A very, very long time ago. He made his decisions, he made his choices. And that is why he is dead now, an erect corpse wobbling on boney legs.
Delo topples to the floor as his legs finally give way to the most literally dead weight above them; the dead weight they had carried for however many years the lanky abomination had been wandering, cast aside by the very power he had turned to like some sort of deformed, unwanted child. His body cracks as it connects with the dusty wooden panels, blood welling in a pool around him, the gaping hole in his chest revealing a twisting labyrinth of empty veins and defunct arteries.
A shriveled heart wilts, barely visible within the hole, its pulse still. That heart had stopped beating a very long time ago, the blood in Delo’s veins long since dried out. Ever since he made his choices, ever since he grew ambitious, grew the idea, grew it much like the cold bodies at the back of the room might have once grown plants or animals or cotton, to foresake his Emperor. My Emperor.
Read the rest of this entry →