A Series of Unsettling Events
The room is dark, lit only vaguely by candles scattered across the floor. Seven ominous silhouettes stand around in a circle facing each other, silent as if in deep thought or prayer. Inside the circle is a tall pillar, almost completely nondescript within the blackness, apart from one key feature: a swirling clouded vortex engulfing its peak.
“Bring him in,” one of the cowled figures ordered, beckoning towards the door with their hand. Immediately another marches out of the room, not long after carrying in what appears to be a small lifeless body, hood over head. “Are you certain, Herald?” asked a wispy voice among the congregation. “Yes. Now do it.” the leader asserted. Without hesitation the group stands the diminutive character upright next to the obelisk, their size not even reaching half way up it. Hands wrapped behind it, a nail is swiftly hammered through their crossed wrists, binding them to the object and blood beginning to drip on the ground. The previously inert character awakens, squealing in agony, and their hood is snatched off revealing tears flooding down their face.
“Do not cry child, for your sacrifice will save all of Gwirand,” the prior dominating voice soothingly says, stepping forward and removing their cowl. “Auntie Caeda?” the adolescent naively inquires, sniveling from the pain. “Yes, little Jarmin. Now listen closely. I just need you to do one thing for me and all will be okay: look up and tell me what you see.” Trusting his kin he does so, and in that moment his head is locked staring into the abyss above, his eyes glistening at the sight. The candles flicker brighter, illuminating the chamber and unveiling a pentacle enclosing the monolith, filling with the child’s blood. The void overhead pulsates, as if calling out for something, or someone.
Suddenly the screams begin again, only louder and warped by the energies present and growing. Blood starts exuding from Jarmin’s eyes, the boy now shrieking in extreme torment. His youth being released from the swiftly decaying body, Jarmin’s soul is pulled from his now uninhabited corpse and sucked into the emptiness along with all light and sound in the room. The portal expands twofold, then dissipates in an instant flash of dazzling radiance, followed by a deafening unearthly hiss. Pitch black and perfectly silent, the quiet is broken by Caeda. “A pity. Let us prepare for the next one.” The seven walk out together, leaving the room in seclusion.
Rumours of those that linger in the darkness have long been spread, most not believing they are anything more than tales told to scare children. It is suspected by some that the leaders of these shadowy cults hide in plain sight with power and wealth protecting them, others speculate it could be the dregs living on the fringes. The actuality is it is both, and the world is in great peril by the continued attempts to wield forces beyond comprehension. Only death follows in the great dark...