With an explosion of violence & revulsion, the dream was over. Cirienvel awoke with a start, gore-slick & breathless, laid bare amongst a nest of torn bodies & entrails. A massacre, born of some unholy rite had engulfed the surroundings, leaving a bloody ruin as far as the eye could see. Atop corpses piled in mock replica of a dais stood the desecrated husk that was once the fabled casket of dreams, now shattered & hollow.
Like a vivd nightmare etched into memory, Cirienvel began to recall the prophetic events that had found her sprawled amongst such a bloody hellscape. She remembered the beauty of the eternal dance & the obsession with its mastery once coveted. She shivered at the thrill in recalling the dark promises of Loec’s messenger & the vaults of winter. She flinched at the echoing cry of the seer:
Naieth. Who bore nothing more than jealousy & contempt that Cirienvel had been chosen for such gifts. Who was this withered hag devoid of beauty to halt her ascension?
Next she remembered the agony. The pure, insatiable agony. Sensations so overwhelming the stars above the glade screamed a piercing chorus that spilled the secrets of reality, washing forbidden knowledge over Cirienvel like rain. A deluge of revelation, of prophecy, and of the primordial truth.
Visions engulfed her still: A coming apocalypse, realms cut from anguish, a three eyed king under the veil of dominion, the ‘all points’, the quake of souls, & everywhere that held life, Chaos.
As Cirienvels’ conscious returned to the scene of such carnage, blood ran freely from her face. As the essence of mortality pooled upon her lips, Cirienvel tasted the iron rich elixir. Exhilaration coursed through every fibre of her being like lightning, setting alight to desire & a lust that would never be sated.
Reaching for yet more of the ruby nectar the touch of cold chitin was both shocking & thrilling as Cirienvel turned her palms within her wrists, only to find that she no longer possessed palms nor hands at all, only razor edged claws the hue of violet bruising.
Whether in horror, or elation, Cirienvel wept tears of purest, darkest ink. Lurching forward onto her knees, the once proud war-dancer glanced into one of the many bloody pools pocking the cursed earth. Ebony pearls set deep into porcelain sockets widened in abject awe at the form reflected before her.
Skin of mauled alabaster clung impossibly tight to lithe sinew & bone. Blade-sharp talons protruded from knees, heels, elbows & shoulders, vicious & yet slender & fine to behold. Shoulder-length ruddy hair that exuded a siren scent continually flowed & waved despite the lack of air within the hellscape. A pair of intricately patterned amethyst pincers, encased in chitin from the elbow replaced once delicate forearms. Their edges impossibly sharp & yet so intrinsically divined that they yearned to be anointed with the blood of admirers.
But it was her new eyes that Cirienvel was awe stuck by most. Renewed vision steeped in forbidden knowledge resided within two motes of pure darkness. A gaze that could possess the will of even the most stalwart heart, set within features that defied the very meanings of beauty & horror.
Had this been the ascension promised by Loec’s messenger? Was this the form shared by the divine amongst her kin? On clawed limbs, atop the corpses of the denizens of once secluded Athel Loren, Cirienvel set out to seek answers ......