Way of the Wicked
18 - Vengeance
Chapter 17: Vengeance
We waited at The Horn of Abbadon with our defenses as best we could knowing that a silver dragon was spotted in the area and with every expectation of looming death. My heart was heavy and I know that Tylus was likewise gloomy at the prospect of the dragon. Frohike and Dunn seemed to care less about the coming doom having perhaps an utter faith in Asmodeus. I was, even then, more pragmatic. For if my first oath is to Asmodeus and only my fourth oath to myself, that speaks volumes.
In any case, we set our watchers to keenly scan the sky and we were all rather stunned when the alert horns we passed out to our Boggard allies began to sound from the third floor of The Horn. By the time we got there we found a familiar face already dead. I have many regrets in life and that I did not carve out the heart of the vile wretch Mattias Sarni is one that I will take to my grave.
I knew Mattias well in my days serving Aroden and his brother was my best friend before I discovered the horrors that they perpetuated on innocent victims. Apparently he learned of the goings on in The Horn and came to Taggun Hold to end it. He brought three Inquisitors, a young boy named Thomas, and a fellow named Armand on his quest. The consulted with Abbess Temperance Avigail at the Abbey of Saint Cynthia-Celeste and learned of a fourth portal device outside the Horn of Abbadon and of the general layout of our home.
Once Artephius and Hexor fire-bombed Mattias to the grave, the boy Thomas tried to flee but fell into our pit trap. Happily the Boggards waiting below had enough sense to alert us and not kill him. He turned out to be an unwilling servant of Mattias and told us of the portal outside the Horn. He proved his worth over the coming weeks and although not a member of the original Knot became a trusted companion over the many years that followed.
When I saw that it was foul Mattias who lay dead on the floor my heart burst with rage. I wanted to be the one to kill him. I wanted to rip out his heart and feed it to Vetra-Kali but my vengeance was not to be. In the end, Mattias was dead and that is one less of the Inquisitors who put me in Branderscar.
Trik came to visit the Horn a few days later and was happy to see that we were alive. He told us that the Inquisitors arrived in Taggun Hold while he was in transit between the town and the Horn and thus Elise sent another messenger with the warning of the group. We never got the message although I told Trik that we had. Either the messenger was waylaid or, as I suspected, Elise never sent one and her betrayals had begun.
We sent Trik back with the booty taken from the Inquisitor and his companions and I hoped that it would generate enough money to purchase the components I need to summon the Hell Hounds. In the meanwhile, time continued on and suddenly it was the 111th day of the Ritual.
We had Hexor and Vexor grab Sister Marta Dian from the holding cells and brought her up to the top level of the Horn of Abbadon and held her down before the statue of Vetra-kali. Somehow all the rage I felt at not being the one to kill Mattias erupted from my bosom as I performed the ceremony. I listened to Marta’s prayers for Aroden to bless my sinning soul with laughter in my heart at her naivety. I cut out her heart and showed her the beating thing even as the horror of comprehension came across her face. Then I knew true joy, Praise Asmodeus! For Cheliax! For Vengeance!
As I laid the still beating heart in the bowl of Vetra-Kali and the light of life faded from Marta’s eyes, there came the voice of the great demon, I see. Then fire erupted from the Horn of Abbadon and the sun was hidden and the sky bathed in darkness for the entire day. This was power.
Even now, writing these words so many years after the events I describe took place, I find that my heart sings in joy of the memory, my hands mimic the movements of the extraction, for it was not Marta Dian at the altar of Vetra-Kali that day, it was my soul. Hail Asmodeus, bringer of Vengeance.