Crestfallen

Being near the beast unnerved him. The screaming in his head would grow louder whenever he did so, and even the migraine-like pinches of pain in his sinuses seemed to speak to him. Around the warlocks and his master, those whispers happened too, but only in the back of his mind, like an ongoing conversation instead of threats and demands. 

Krest was more perceptive than most, even seeming to know what Evelos needed before he knew himself. Though a distant part of him was disgusted by the whole ordeal — a part Evelos hated, for it made him throw up in the middle of the night — the nearer part of him, flush with the warmth of the Light, was grateful for the Forsaken. Evelos had ridden out to war with the warlock only once, seeing him cover a battlefield in a viciously slow poison and incinerating their enemies while they begged for mercy, but back in the lab, Krest bustled about like a humble grocer re-arranging his produce. He would even sing sometimes, a nasally, off-pitch whine that echoed weirdly on the high notes inside the Forsaken’s skull; the tones would mesh strangely with the voices always going on inside Evelos’ head, and then he would rock and sing in unison. Krest always gave him an odd look when he did that and ordered him to stop. It was the one thing Evelos couldn’t seem to help but do without permission…

“Come here,” said Krest one day. Evelos of course obeyed immediately, standing at least a foot back; Krest hadn’t been very enamored of the first time Evelos had tried to submit to that order by standing right up against him.

Krest was looking at the subject: the voidbeast he had taken from the broken Draenor, near the Blade’s Edge mountains. It had grown in the past month, snaggly and scaley, and there was even a little tumor like a second head appearing over one shoulder. Krest gazed at it fondly, then he turned to Evelos.

“Make a shield, yes.”

Evelos was halfway out of the door with a smithing hammer in hand when Krest’s boney fingers closed on his wrist and dragged him back inside. Evelos went limp, or at least his upper half did; his legs still seemed to think the best place to make a shield was outside somewhere and kept trying to move there, even as his head hesitated.

“Make a magic shield,” Krest clarified. “One made of Light.”

Evelos immediately reached inside of himself to do so. The warmth of the Light enclosed him, and the tings and drips and whistle-shuffles of the world turned into a melody of rapture. Krest winced and backed away from him.

“I’m sorry, Master. I’m not sure if I can give the shield to you. Do you still want it?”

“No, no, no,” said Krest. “That shield is for you. Put it up, and come here.”

“Yes, Master.” Evelos strengthened the shield and stopped at least a foot away from Krest.

“The subject is large enough now it’ll take two of us to subdue it,” said Krest. “I want you to hold its head, yes. Hold its jaws closed, and do not let it struggle. I’ll take care of the rest.”

“Of course you will, Master.” Krest gave him an odd look for the unusual remark, but Evelos was too full of the Light’s music to care. 

The warlock picked up his staff and carefully entered the cage. Evelos came along after. The voidbeast immediately threw itself at them, tentacles writhing, jaws streaming with spittle. Its teeth fastened around Evelos’ forearm, and he hugged its jaw shut over the arm with his other. The pain brought tears to his eyes, but he had done what Krest had ordered, and that’s what was important. The warlock was too busy with the tumor on the dog’s back to notice.

Evelos looked down at the voidbeast as it struggled, leaning his weight over it to help keep it still. A second set of eyes opened next to the first in the creature’s face, and Evelos stared at each one in turn, admiring the deep indigo of the irises.

“Death. Death death kill you death. Slay…”

The whispers were starting up again. Still, Krest had ordered him to hold the beast’s mouth closed and keep it from struggling, so he did.

“Why? Why obey… death death slay them! Kill them! Ruin, murder…”

The Light’s melody jangled in his ears, slightly off-key, and Evelos hummed to correct it. The screaming in his head lessened, but the snarling and frothing of the voidbeast’ss voice only grew louder over that.

“I see it I see you I see what you have done. I see what you are doing, what you will do. Death, death, DEATH!”

“Maser, my arm is hurting,” said Evelos.

Krest looked up, surprised at the remark, then looked down at Evelos’ arm and yelped. He did a funny little dance like he did when he was perturbed by something. “Get-get out! Let the head go, yes, that’s just fine. Let it go, get out, go heal yourself!”

“Yes, Master,” said Evelos, and he released the voidbeast. It didn’t release him, however, and Evelos looked back up in its deep, dark eyes, wondering if he would have to follow its orders, too.

“I can make it stop. Make it stop, I can make it stop. Kill. Kill them.”

“Slave! Right now!” Krest’s staff thwacked the dog in the eye, and with a screech it finally let go. Evelos backed from the cell, numbly wrapping his tattered sleve about his bleeding arm. He looked down at it, knowing he should heal it — he had been ordered to — but if he did, then the Light’s song would drown out the dog’s voice. He somehow wanted to hear more of the dog’s voice…

“Betrayed you are betrayed. Kill them: rip, tear. They deserve it ruin now!”

“Slave!” The cage door banged shut, and Krest was standing between him and the dog. Though the Forsaken didn’t have to breathe, he was panting in scared reflex. “Heal it, quick! Before you lose it, yes.”

He couldn’t see the eyes anymore and, haltingly, Evelos began to sing a rapture of renewal. The pain eased, and he could then see without crying, and he peeled the sleeve off the knitted flesh and tied its rips up out of the way. 

“Did you get what you needed, Master?” he asked faintly.

“Why do you care?” snapped Krest, and both of them stared at the other in shock. The ting-ting-drip-and-whistle was beginning to close over Evelos’ thoughts again, and he bowed his head.

“I am yours to command.”

“Leave,” said Krest, his voice more burbly with his nerves. “I will call for you in a moment, yes. Yes, I will. I need to clean up this mess. Your blood is all over the floor, and I need to make sure it doesn’t spread, no!”

What doesn’t spread? But the thought was sinking under the warmth of the Light. Evelos turned, his footsteps touching the floor in harmony with the melody. All was well so long as he could hear it. All was well now that he had no thoughts.

3 thoughts on “Crestfallen”

  1. I was doing a google search for the first time in about 5 years on my old character to see what posts/content may remain on the internet and I came across this. Your writing is good, and I love the characterization and the cues that characterization took from my old character.

    I am really touched that you still think about Crestaen in some capacity, and that he inspired a character in your own writing. Thank you for this, even though you probably never expected me to see this. It was wonderful.

    1. Holy cow, small world! I’m glad you like it, and good to see you around again! I hope all is well. 🙂 You might remember me better as Yotingo; it’s sure been a while.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.