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Chapter 2: An Unholy Ritual and Announcment

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Chapter 2
An Unholy Ritual and Announcement

Born of the voices in the fire,
Born of the voices within the deep,
May our voices call out to all that hear our choir,
And take the lands that our foes do keep.

The chant of droning voices sounded out across the night, echoing through the streets of the tribe known as the Gishki, beating of stone walls like some unholy calling into being for a presence that know would know and yet would be known by all. People tried to move about their own lives, running or jogging as fast as they dared to past the source of the chant in the hopes of avoiding the effects of what they knew would come. None looked up towards the circle of men dressed in blue, all cupping their hands together in prayer as they spoke their law and words, their faces looking down towards the ground as if each in a deep trance.

In the centre stood the figure of a young woman, her hands held out before her chest as they circled and manipulated a glowing orb of shimmering blue light as a moulder would carve and shape a slab of clay. Her eyes twitched back and forth from beneath shut eyelids and her mouth twitched around the slightest hints of mute words, both separate and in tune with the words of that droned from the chanting mouths of the men gathered around her.

Born of ion and lightning and fire,
Born in the world beyond our world,
Born from the fury of the witches pyre,
We call upon you to burn what our foes would build.

In a darkly lit square in the garden of a large stone house, the gathered whispered their chant in unison, watched closely by a hunched figure which wobbled slowly around the circle in constant patrol, ensuring all did their job correctly and on time. The slightest mistake in what they would do could bare results that were truly catastrophic.

After what felt like an age, the figure raised the misshapen cane it carried and slammed it against the ground, creating a clang of wood on stone that snapped across the chanting like a klaxon. Yet, the chanting figures utterly ignored it as hey continued their repetitive words, the only one who seemed to hear the noise being the girl stood in the middle who used it as a queue to raise her arms to the air as if she was offering the swirling orb to the nights sky itself.

Against the moon light, the orb could be seen to be made out of a substance that appeared to be a mixture between water and a grey gel, the liquid twirling unsupported in the air under the manipulation of the blue haired woman.

Below her boot covered feet, the ground began to glow as a pale blue light ripped across the circle of blue flamed lanterns, carving a pulsating pentagram formed from inhuman and ancient icons and texts. The woman's blue cloak seemed to shimmer in some unnatural wind as they began to rise from the ground, her head arch backwards to look up towards the moon through her still closed eyes as her mouth worked the still mute words.

Then, with a second bang of their hunched watcher's staff, she clapped her hands together and the orb of liquid exploded into light.

The chanting stopped and the light bathed the men in a glow that was both wonderfully warm and an alien cold and several broke from their trances to look upon where the central woman glowed. Her clothes blew fiercely in an unfelt typhoon as the diagram on the ground pulsated and the staff beat out a third beat, causing the gathered men to spread out and form large gaps in their surrounding circle.

"Bring forth the tributes" The watcher called, his voice a wet and harsh hissing sound as the blue light illuminated a face that was a mixture between a snake and a fish, blue scales glowing alongside of four bright orange eyes as a slightly webbed finger pointed towards the centre of the glowing runes.

From within the shadows, a pair of tall figures entered the stone circle, the previously chanting men bowing in respect to them as they parted to allow the newcomers to pass into the circle. The resembled a crude caricature of a man with the head of a whale, flat jaws pushing shut as they both looked up towards the glowing light with a look of something akin to acceptance in their small eyes. It was the look of something that was taking comfort that they were about to die for a greater purpose.

Pausing just before the glowing light, they turned towards the hunched figure and bowed in their own respect as they both called out in deep, gravely voices "We are ready for your blessing, great Shadow of Gishki"

"We again offer you our eternal thanks" the Gishki Shadow said, his slithery voice seeming to boom out load so that all could hear "You two Abyss Soldiers who now give the ultimate tribute to the aims of the Gishki tribe. Though you may now lose your bodies and minds, you can be safe in the knowledge that you go onto something far greater than anything you could have achieved from dying upon the field of battle. You shall become one with our magic and come to stand amongst our greatest warriors. Praise be to you, who represent the best of us"

"And praised be the new Gishki empire" the two Abyss Soldiers chanted back before turning towards the light. They waited for a second before the Gishki Shadow gave a final bang of his staff and they stepped into the light, their large bodies becoming illuminated for a second before they simply vanished into its embrace.

Still holding the source of the light in her hands, the robed girl in the centre of the circle began to manipulate the light again like clay before she held her arms out and dropped it upon the ground. There she continued to wave her slender figures over its rippling mass, using an unseen magic to stir the puddle of liquid and shaping it. She took a step back, her eyes still closed shut and her mouth still working in a mute chant and the liquid began to solidify, rising higher and higher into the air until it stood like the silhouette of a beast that stood nearly twice the size of a man. Then, with a final sway of her hands, one that looked more like an intricate dance than a spell, the now silver liquid began to drip away from the shape, like water running away from a body after it had bathed. Newly formed flesh glistened as it became revealed to the moonlight and scales twitched as they felt the touch of the air for the very first time.

When the last of the liquid had dripped free and been absorbed by the glowing blue ruins upon the floor, the newly born Soul Ogre unleashed a deafening roar.

….

Eria released the breath she had been holding with a loud sigh as she slumped against the wall of her private quarters, allowing the fatigue of the day to finally burst free and simply embraced it. Her blue eyes hung half closed above dark bags that stretched across her sleep deprived face, a betraying sign of the fact that the charmer of water had not been sleeping well over the past few days. With a mumble of sound, she pulled her pointed hat off and shook her blue hair free of her eyes, groaning as she felt the traces of slime left on her by the ritual she had been made to carry out earlier that day. A dark ritual that had been just one of a dozen similar ones which had been carried out one after another to forge and summon monsters for the skirmishes that had been flashing along the borders between the Gishki territories and the forest of the Gusto tribes.

Skirmishes that were quickly escalating into a full blown war.

Sighing to herself, she brought the glass of water she had on the side table to her lips and drunk greedily from it, finding some strange solitude from the bland taste. When the glass ran dry, she simply tossed it on the chair beside her and slumped back to her feet, kicking her boots off and throwing her cloak onto the floor in a single fluid movement. Her body moved on auto pilot as she shoved the bathroom door open and leaned against the stone tub. With a twirl of her fingers, a stream of water rose from the well she had installed on the far end of the room and flew like a liquid snake towards her. As it came, she spun her arm (whilst using the other to cover a yawn) and the water span around in a complex dance, steam slowly beginning to rise from it as she used a touch of magic to heat it to an ideal temperature before guiding it down into the tub.

A warm bath was something that the charmer of water could make for herself on a whim, yet it still remained one of her favourite ways to relax after a long day, a way for her to just wash away the dirt that covered her from a ritual and simply be alone to think. Yet tonight, as she allowed the warm water to wrap around her, she was unable to have her mind wonder on anything that she particularly wanted to think about.

The Gishki tribe had been changing as of late, shifting from a culture dedicated to the research of arcane magic and the use of rituals to boon their economy to one focused towards using those same rituals to create beasts of war. The change had started off small, a couple of rituals shifting their intention here and there, but soon the entire tribe seemed to be changing before Eria's very eyes. The Gishki's leader had vanished from sight and a woman named Noellia had been appointed to take his place, the name of the original tribal leader being marked as simply missing with no further explanation. Attempts to locate the missing man had simply ceased and Noelia had hidden away within the village centre, using messengers to communicate with all but her most trusted advisors and giving the order for the shift in the type of rituals.

With a slump, Eria's body slipped deeper into the water until only her eyes and knees remained above waterline as she stared into the void in her thoughts. Raising a hand and pointing a figure, she made a small swirl of water and moved it through the air absentmindedly in her thoughts.

She had been among the first to have seen the changes begin to take the tribe that she had come to call home a couple of years ago. Thanks to her higher skill in magic and her power over liquids, she had quickly been placed with the job of a ritual host, a body that could use its magical power to act as a catalyst for the raw summoning power of bringing life to the monsters that they were creating. A tiring position to be in, but it allowed her to stand in the very centre (latterly) of the rituals that Noelia was demanding.

And that was exactly where she needed to be to see for herself what was causing such changes to occur.

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Oh give me a moment's rest will you!

Pulling her head clear of the water, Eria cast a hate filled glare in the direction that the front door lay behind the bathroom's wall and reluctantly pulled herself out of the water's soothing embrace. Twitching her hands in a set of random directions over her head she magically removed most of the water that had been clinging to her hair and skin before donning a deep blue dressing gown. If looks could kill, the front door should have spontaneously combusted under the glare that the water charmer gave it as she sighed and straightened her expression before peering through the spy lens she had installed. It took her a second to even register the face that looked up at her from the other side, despite the fact it was one she knew well, before giving another sigh and pulling the door open.

"Wow. Had I known you were going to greet me like that I would have brought us some wine"

Eria simply gave an irritated huff as she tightened the belt of her dressing grown and mumbled an explanation of having been in the bath before asking "What do you want?"

With an amused smirk at the tint of red that had formed on Eria's cheeks, the redheaded visitor pulled out a pad of paper from the Satchel bag and held it up towards her with a nod "I've been told to give you the newest schedules for next week's rituals…I'm afraid that there have been more changes"

Raising the dog eared paper up, Eria felt herself mentally curse as she saw that even more supply forming rituals had been replaced with ones designed to create monsters that could only really be described as weapons.

"You getting the same vibe from all of this as I am?"

"Yer…" Aria looked up to her friend and sighed "Emilia…I think that our new leader is planning something bigger than these little outings shes made along the outskirts of the Gusto lines…I think shes planning for…"

"Well we shall find out tomorrow I think" Emilia gave a reassuring smile as she patted the charmer on the shoulder before stepping back out of the door "Noellia is supposed to be making a speech or something in front of the tribe's higher ups and I've managed to worm you into it as my +1 as it were. She claimed that she is going to announce why there have been these changes and some sort of plan for the future…though I'm beginning to doubt that I want to hear it"

Before Eria could even reply, Emilia was gone, nothing more than a wisp of red hair vanishing around the corner of the corridor and a clatter of high heeled boots echoing into the distance.

….

The next day, Eria was forcing a smile as she made her way through a small crowd of mages and members of the higher levels of Gishki society. Her usual blue robe and hat had been cleaned and pressed her staff cleaned in an attempt to give the appearance that she respected those around her, as if she had a place among the Gishki elite when in reality she was simply here as a guest of another.

Looking up towards Emilia, Eria couldn't help but quietly marvel at her friends ability to find loop holes in rules or convince people to do what she wanted and the redhead had often been able to get information about the inner workings of the Gishki leader's thoughts even when she shouldn't have been able to.

Now today, she had gotten Eria into a meeting that, if rumour was true, was going to change the very destiny of the tribe as a whole. By herself, Eria was simple a ritual host who was worried about the direction that her home tribe was heading down but with the aid of Emilia, who shared the same worries, she was able to see first-hand the changes and try to correct from the inside.

If there was anything that Eria could do to try and fix the Gishki's slowly breaking ways and prevent the escalation of the hostilities against the people of Gusto then she would gladly break a few laws to do so.

"Cheer up Arial" Emilia smiled as she handed her a drink, addressing the water charmer by the name she had been required to take when she had been accepted by the Gishki tribe in front of the others, Eria was only a name between friends. "You're looking very serious there"

"Sorry, just thinking"

"Ooh…be careful"

It was amazing how Emilia could always appear happy and friendly, even when she was herself anxious about this meeting. The redhead was indeed a perfect liar, able to hide her emotion to all save for those her knew her most…Eria was glad that she was on her side.

A second later and all eyes were turned towards the large door at the far side of the room as a young man entered and cleared his throat. Silver hair glistened in the light as a pair of narrow, piercing blue eyes seemed to stare down every single man and woman in the room at once and a gloved hand lay eternally ready upon the hilt of a sword around his waist. He remained utterly silent as a pair of Gishki Shadows moved to stand on both sides of the door before moving slightly forward and turning back towards the door.

With a deep bow, Avance, the right hand of Noellia, bid his mistress enter.

The bow was followed slowly by the remaining occupants of the room as the leader of the Gishki tribe pushed open the door and entered into the room. With red hair tied into a swirling pattern upon her head and a golden fish fine like pattern, the icon of Gishki which Eria and Emilia themselves wore on their hats, running along her chest, Noellia walked with a straight back and an aura of authority that combined with her cold beauty to make her a truly striking figure.

For a moment there was silence as Noellia gazed upon those before her and Avance moved to stand beside her before she held a hand out towards the gathered and spoke with a steady voice.

"As I'm sure you are aware" She said, her voice echoing slightly as if enhanced in volume by magic as she began to pace back and forth between where the Shadows were stood "Our tribe has undergone several alterations in the past view weeks in terms of the amount of effort that we are putting into the generation of raw materials for trade and defensive warriors, and I'm sure that you are all wondering why this is.

"Well my friends, the answer is both simple and complex. Simple because I have decided to do this for the best interest of our entire tribe as a whole as is expected of someone who has been placed into a role of such power as I and complex because of the method that I have been forced to use to aid us. You see our tribe has grown far greater in number and power than it ever has in the past view years and the area that we currently reside in has started to show signs that it simply cannot offer us the resources and substance that we require, it cannot give us the food or metal or rock that our quickly expanding society needs. Thus we must find an alternative source to acquire these gravely needed resources. And we have found one.

Mist Valley"

Eria couldn't help but let out a slight gasp as she heard the words 'Mist Valley', prompting Emilia to give her shoulder a squeeze in both a reassuring way and as a warning to remain quite. Blue dressed mages and ritual hosts began to murmur to themselves and the Gishki Shadows hissed slightly at the interruption of their mistress' speech.

"Mist Valley is abundant with life and resources and would provide us with all that we could possibly need for our growing world…what some have started calling our new empire. To take control of the Mist Valley would make remove all of the restrictions that we have faced in the past. It would make the Gishki the greatest tribe that any have seen previously.

The problem however is, of course, the Gusto"

Now Eria found herself being slowly pulled towards the rear of the hall, struggling to fight back the unyielding urge to roar and scream out. This was wrong! Noellia couldn't be serious!

"The Gusto are settled in the forest that stand within the valley, a forest that we must pass through in order to reach what we must attain and have made it clear to us that they will stubbornly refuse to allow us to attain said resources. They claim that the forest is somehow sacred to them and that it is of far greater importance then fellow intelligent life forms. They would rather leave the Gishki tribe to die then sacrifice a few trees or metal filled mountain!"

NO, Eria's mind screamed, That's wrong!

"So…it is with a heavy heart that I have come to a conclusion" Noellia made a show of looking at both of the Shadows in turn as if searching them for a different solution before looking back up towards the crowd. "I have decided that for the Gishki tribe to survive it must acquire new resources at all costs and…if the people of Gusto refuse to allow us this then they must be viewed as a treat to the survival of Gishki.

Thus, it is my decision, that the Gishki tribe must declare open war against the tribes of Gusto. We must drive through their lines and take what is ours for the taking. For the future of us all. For the future of the new Gishki Empire!"

And the peace between tribes was shattered around Eria…by the sound of thunderous applause.
Chapter 1: [link]
Chapter 3: [link]

Right then, let me tell you a little about how I write cause…well because I have nothing better to do :P

I run mostly of the support of the music that I listen to and nearly all of my story ideas ultimately spawn from a song that I have been listening to. For example, this story came from me being very bored whilst looking at my Gusto deck and listening to the song 'Young' by Hollywood undead. I started daydreaming about the idea of the war and in moments my over imagination was running with images of what I thought the war would be like to beats with the music. Later on other songs were taking place for people's views on other stages of the war and I began to think how Wynn and Eria felt during it. Eventually…this story was born.

And I need to stop rambling…ok, this chapter introduces the other faction in the war-the Gishki. Here I show how I view the actions of the rituals and the roles of the various Gishki cards. I will once again say that this is all merely how I view the Duel Terminal universe so there will be differences to how you view it (or maybe even some established law…though I work as hard as I can to avoid such a thing). Let me know if I get anything utterly wrong and if I can I will rectify this.

Enjoy :)
Published:
© 2012 - 2020 commingdarkness
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