RESURRECTION– IV. The Artificer
The final task in Korak's plan to resurrect his master led him to seek out the artificer Darklon. This Krulghast Cruciator was rumored to dwell in a set of abandoned catacombs where he practiced his ghastly art.
As is often the case with restless spirits, Darklon's life had met a tragic end– A blacksmith renowned for producing some of the finest steel, Darklon was responsible for forging weapons and armor in one of the many now-forgotten kingdoms of men. His duty was to serve only the royal armory, but the master forger could not resist the temptation of gold, and sold his wares to those outside the kingdom. When it was revealed that he had sold weapons to the king's enemies, Darklon was tortured and put to death.
The Krulghast has not forgotten his craft and he continues to toil over his forge and anvil, constructing deadly instruments of war, but the walls of his lair are lined with wracks and gibbets that speak to his new trade.
Subjects brought down into the catacombs experience an unimaginable horror as Darklon uses his implements of torture to inflict what feels like a lifetime of pain and suffering in a matter of days. As his victims finally expire, he extracts every ounce of their woeful lifeforce and imbues it into dark artifacts of immense power.
As Korak descended into the Artificer's lair, he sensed that the remains of Darklon's victims were nothing but empty husks. His techniques extracted everything from his victims, leaving not even the slightest spark of a soul to harvest.
Darklon did not like having his work disturbed, but the casket of shadeglass that Korak brought was more than enough to purchase a moment of his time. Korak's spectral attendant presented a wooden rod, cut from one of the haunted trees at the heart of the Mordant Wood to use as the basis for a new staff.
The ritual of forging was a sight to behold– As per Korak's description, Darklon constructed an iron crossbar atop the staff. Then, from one of his cages, the Artificer produced a subject and began his grisly work. Korak couldn't remember how long the process had lasted, but in the end, the victim's skull blazed with hellfire which Darklon further infused with his own dark magic.
This infernal skull was set atop the crossbar as the rest of the skeletal remains clattered to the stone floor. Nieman Kimmel's staff looked exactly as Korak remembered– The chattering skull glowing with an eternal flame; Kimmel's staff of office and emblem of the Legion of the Infernal Skull. Soon, Korak thought, his master would wield it once again.
To be continued...
Great read and wonderfully evocative images, looking forward to the next instalment.ReplyDelete
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!Delete