More prone bodies lay abandoned on the floor, all around the robed man with the skewed face. The betrayer had done it them again. Providence had given them all a hand only to have Caleb come and snatch it away from them again. Leaning heavily on his elongated ochre skull staff, he surveyed the carnage with the same grim melancholy that had almost taken him before. That scroll was going to be their future. Through its power he was going to ensure that the cult would never die, that one central point would always remain, timeless and pure. The man let out another frustrated sigh. To bring a child into the world without this privilege now seemed a callous and cruel act.
Still, there were other means to an end. Even if it meant selling the Cabal and his soul to the darkest of threats, the most evil of evils, he would find a way to guarantee his offspring its birthright. He would plunge himself to depths unknown, and achieve power unimaginable, all to put an end to the betrayer. His heir would be the one to do so. The cult was growing increasingly and painfully fractured. Without a single deity to follow its members were increasingly only caring for themselves. The spiders and gargoyles had already deserted the cult, and unless they stopped it would not be long before the other internal squabbles that had so hindered their response to the betrayer's recent actions would swallow the Cabal whole.
In response, the man was going to create a new god. Unfortunately for him, it was a god that had just had its immortally removed. The child that would lead the cult back on the path to power and glory had just been rendered as mortal as anybody else. The man knew there were other ways in which his heir's life could be extended, but they would all involve a great deal of sacrifice in terms of both man hours and blood from the cult, something the Cabal was presently ill equipped to provide. A soul such stained could also never be considered to be pure again. As he continued to walk among the bodies of his fallen friends however, the man suddenly realized he did not really care anymore.
Even if it preoccupied the Cabal for most of what remained of the passing century, the man was determined that his child would be granted all the benefits that the cult could provide. His heir would need a long and elaborate teaching steeped in the ways of the Cabal, something that would give it the proper grounding needed in order to face the countless challenges that lay ahead. It would also be imbued with a hatred so great that it would literally chase the betrayer to the absolute edges of this world and beyond. On this last point the man in particular did swear. Even though he was now going to be playing the long game, the taste of victory still seemed to him just as sweet now as it would then.
Behind him the rest of the party that had been sent to investigate what little of the castle remained to them arrived, dragging a bound female prisoner in tow. Still resisting her bonds, the other two Cabalists threw her roughly to the ground by the man's feet, unable to break the woman's spirit. The Elder Cultist simply smiled at this. While it was essential that his heir be given his own shrewd intellect and intense loyalty to the Cabal, it being granted some of its mother's own personal strength and independence would also serve the child quite well. All of these traits would be needed in their next leader, something that had been missing from the Cabal as of late. The now heavily pregnant woman just continued to scowl up at the father of her child, not sharing any of the man's dark purpose.
From somewhere inside her womb, Gideon kicked.
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Some might recall that I had previously made mention as part of the Blood Wiki's sixth anniversary that I had plans to once again invest some of my time in an area of Blood fandom that I had formerly been quite involved in. To that end I present Scroll, a story I originally began in the summer of 2008 as a kind of retelling of the story behind Cryptic Passage in an attempt to bring it further in line with the main Blood canon. Designed to be published in multiple parts, I shall endeavour to release a new instalment of Scroll every Sunday from March 9th on until the story is complete.