[Fanfiction] The Binding

Golden Xan

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Hey everyone,

This is my first origin story for a Wraith. I don't intend it to be my character's origin story, though, it's simply something I wanted to write down. I hope you'll find it enjoyable.

Warning: strong depictions of torture, suffering, butchery, loss of sanity and emotional loss.




Part 1 - The assembly
Pale blue light shines in a crude stone altar from a triangular orifice in the low ceiling. The illumination is sufficient to dimly reveal the three figures that there gather. Behind the altar floats a withered body, completely wrapped in silken drapery, hanging in the air as if by unseen strings attached to its dry joints, with a recessed face and a lolling head. In front of the altar, two other restless dead stand.

To mortal ears of magickally-attuned individuals, the vibrations ebbing between the three animated corpses can only be interpreted as distant resonance that resembles the chittering expressions of a beetle towards its peers, if at all audible. To the two other vigilant liches, they are instructions from their supervisor to be listened to with the utmost attention.

From a standing skeleton's mouth, a blue-tinted gas arises as it replies in ethereal tonality. "Alaric has proved threatening rather quickly. I hoped we could have used him for longer." With his bleached bones dressed in an impeccable jet and gold tunic, and riddled with adornments throughout, Amarax interpolates and then turns to face his associate. "Sardok, are the chambers functional?"

The surprisingly robust body attired in a priestly robe is missing a single prominent organ, its head. In its place, hovers a translucent tetrahedron with gilded tips. An orb radiating blue light gently bobs within the triangular pyramid, as if submerged in liquid. Sardok's response can likewise be perceived only magickally, and his calm tone is just as ineffable as the instructions transmitted by their superior. "The chains below Os Kurrox gleam pristine."

"I know just the right individual for the ritual," Amarax interjects. Upon this, the two lesser liches face their advisor. Their final instructions only to them is known. Bowing, all three figures depart into the twilight that surrounds them.


Part 2 - Recollections of a shade
They are all faint memories to me now... like a dream.

A man and his family fled as refugees to the distant outskirts of a rural town. They did not flee from war, but from the certainty of a safe life to the uncertainty of a free one. I was that man. My motives then are now irrelevant to me, but I remember questioning them in the months that followed, and especially in the last days of my life.

Raised as a pig farmer, I took with me only that which would be necessary to provide for my family's subsistence. Every day, I labored only in what was necessary. I dreamed not of riches, or fame, or power, and only cared for the day's sustenance, for me, my wife, and my daughter. Any surplus in my leather production and pork I would share with my neighbors in my occasional visits to the town center. That which I could not manufacture by myself, I would trade for. With the help of a few men we raised a cottage where my family and I could live. They advised me not to stay so far from everyone else, but I wanted that distance. They thought me mad, yet helped me just the same. I remember that it was precisely extreme proximity and the resulting impositions that made me feel repulsed and motivated my seclusion. They called me Jermaine; I can't remember the rest of the name anymore.

In a way, I was lucky, very lucky. We established ourselves and lived the life I dreamed of for a year and a couple of months. Old pigs were slaughtered, the crops grew steadily with frequent rains and rich soil, new pigs were born. I was happy. My family seemed happy.

Then the monsters came.

I remember a terrible storm, unlike any I had witnessed before. I was working in the field when the wind began to howl suddenly. The clouds in the sky blackened quickly and heavy, cold, rain poured moments later. Lightning flashed in my surroundings, the thundering roar vibrating through the air, ground, and my own body. I gathered my family as fast as I could and we sheltered under the table in our home. My wife was perplexed, and tears ran down my daughter's face. I held them close to me as the walls of our cottage trembled and wind blew through its gaps. The heavy rain attacking the ceiling, walls, and ground outside was almost deafening. With a sudden blow, the door crashed as if thrusted open by the wind. The sequence of events that occurred next are fuzzy to me, but I clearly remember the sight of an otherworldly skeleton with deep blue glowing eyes stepping in and looking straight at me.

The next thing I know, I was in a hellish ritual.

Frozen in place, naked, thrusted by a constant invisible force that pushed me against a stone slab. Many would say my death occurred at the end of the ritual, but as I recall, I actually died when they forced me to watch my beautiful wife and innocent daughter being gutted. Despite them clamping my eyelids open, the image is now blurred in my mind, but the sounds I still remember vividly. My daughter's screams reminded me of a panicked piglet being slaughtered by an unskilled butcher. Those screams echoed in my mind for days to come, and something unspeakable in my soul was lost at that moment.

But they did not stop. After they uncaringly finished removing the organs, blood, and bones from their bodies, leaving only their skin chained in front of me, the two undead monsters began working on my own body.

I could watch the entire procedure from a unique perspective. Once they released my eyelids, I thought I could close my eyes and forget what I had seen, but my eyes were soon plucked out of their sockets and enveloped in a magickal barrier that sustained them. I could still see through them. With my eyes now facing my body, I had to unwillingly watch every step taken. They started by inserting thin iron slabs under my nails, the pressure of which separated them from my toes and fingers. Moments after the slabs were secured, a horrid sound of chains being rolled and pulled echoed in the hall as the mechanism activated. My skin was then rapidly peeled nail first as far as it could go until ripping.

Pain from your skin being flayed does not go away, but each new wound has a peak of affliction, not during the separation of skin and flesh itself, but right after the flaying stops, as you have to comprehend the agony that comes with missing parts of your body. After I had the chance to feel the removed skin, tyrannical arms attached to a machine I could not see would point at me and, with a hissing sound that evoked angst just as deep as that of the chains, would blow acidic steam on my exposed raw flesh.

I am not sure what was more painful, my skin being pulled, the acid caressing my wounds, or the thick salt grains being grinded on them afterwards, but I believe it was actually the waiting. Before every step, there would be a preparatory phase as they either inserted another slab under my skin, or pointed the machine's rods toward me, or loaded the salt bath, and then I had to wait. I had to wait for what felt like eternal instants, before a distinct sound would announce the beginning of the pain. And the sounds... I learned to dread them.

Only a truly twisted mind could conceive such a brutal and calamitous and wicked and immoral and foul and vile and corrupt and...
And magnificently methodical procedure.

I know not for how many eons I endured the torture. My life force was surely being sustained by supernatural means, as supernatural as the two liches that wordlessly carried out the torture, both dressed in ceremonious tunics, one a white skeleton with deep blue eyes, another with a pyramid in place of his head. A person would have died from the pain alone a long time ago, not to speak of blood loss, were it not for their holy efforts.

As I waited between sessions and steps, I had only the vision of my family's skins hanging in rattling chains and the green glow that emanated from the bottomless pit below reflected on the tall pillars of the hall to distract myself, and neither provided for good distraction as I surely went mad throughout the ritual.

The madness lasted only until my release, however. My thoughts were mudded then, but now I can think clearly once again, more clearly than I have ever been able to.

After my entire body had been made skinless, they continued by using different pulleys to modify and turn the peeling mechanism into a fracturing mechanism that meticulously broke the individual bones in my feet and legs in multiple fragments, later to be picked one by one, going up and up and up, until half my body had been cut off completely.

I had a most curious consideration at this point. If you raise a pig well, and feed it properly, and let it roam and play, and breed and live out its fullest pig life, you will acquire power from slaughtering it, power from feeding off of its healthy meat and organs, and obtain resistant, quality leather to work on. To the undead, the same principle applies, but it is much simpler, for all you need to do is provide a powerful death, so that powerful undeath may be wielded.

In spite of all the pain I felt, the devoted, continual, and rhythmic procedures performed on me have given me new light. I learned a lot from pain, and I could trace many parallels between my inconsequential life as a pig farmer and the fascinating new world of the undead through this alluring ritual.

My final moment as Jermaine happened when the tip of my spine was twisted and ripped. It was truly a beautiful moment. As my soul began to drift apart, finally freed from seemingly endless torment, one of my detainers spoke words of delight, the first sound I heard coming from him, and ethereal chains sprouted from inexistence and attached themselves to my soul's humanoid shape. As the chains' points of origin floated, they merged with the material world I came from, and assuming a form of mist, twisted and crept around my body to adorn me in an exquisite black cloak of many layers with a halo of thorns.

As the cloak completely enveloped me, the same abominable sound that I would hear from the machine when pulling the chains echoed strongly in the chamber, as the ethereal chains locked to my soul, pulling it into the dark cloak, binding me, bringing a nostalgic conclusion to the ritual.

And then I felt something that I can only describe as the most exhilarating sensation in all existence: relief.

Relief is truly the most sacred of emotions. I now have clarity of judgement and thought unobtainable in life. I can see how all that was done to me was justifiable. My captors and torturers are genuinely hallowed beings.

Today, I wish but only to bring others the same ultimate pleasure that was given to me.

Pain is a blessing. You may not understand that yet, but fret not, I will show it to you, and you will assuredly be thankful for it.




Feel free to comment below, give me your thoughts!
I may, in time, clarify untold details as I did with my previous fanfiction,
The Ghouling Pit, but I would like to give people some time to think about it and theorize, if so desired.
 
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Livin

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I like this and could see it happening but I wouldn't want any class to the product of another's. I could see Liches attempting to successfully replicate the process for the creation of wraiths in hopes of refining it where they can and possibly incorporating parts of it into their own creation to see if it provides any additional benefit. I'd like for the origins of the wraith to come from an unintended consequences of cruel oppressors or a higher powers perversions.

I'm curious what your wraith's name is now, seeing as they left that name behind when they changed.
 
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Golden Xan

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I see your point, I can identify the issues from having one class generate another. When I was re-reading the class description of the wraith, I came to the conclusion that the ritual could only be performed by others on somebody (it can only be performed with assistance, save some amazing exception) and I imagined that no one but the undead would want to bring about a wraith. Unless there are humans groups that either know about them and want to make one or people who are simply following information they found on Os Kurrox.

From what I understand, Os Kurrox was an entry spot for a very large underground city, and in that city there were the torture chambers used to make wraiths. And Os Kurrox belong to empires older than Deadhaus, so this is ancient knowledge being revitalized. I figured that the best ones to make use of whatever knowledge was found there would be the liches, and that's what the story is based on. So I don't know, it may be that some classes are necessarily spawned from other people's efforts only.

As to the name, I don't have one. This wraith as well as the liche are not quite my characters. I will explain it further after others had their chance to weigh in, if they want to. :)
 
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derula

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I love this!!

eternal instants
I see what you did there.

Unless there are humans groups that either know about them and want to make one
Or goth kiddos who read something on the internet and thought it was cool to try themselves, because the world is crazy like that.
 

Livin

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Admittedly I'm a bit behind on all the revealed details of the lore so thank you for telling me that. It could potentially be along the lines of what I was hoping for with the wraith's arrival in the game, not being created but unearthed or discovered.

In my head what I pictured was their origins belonging to an earlier, forgotten empire of man. This kingdom being high oppressive and used the fear of torture to ensure compliance, the most unfortunate of their victims being subjected to cruel experimentation. In an ironic twist the experimentation that caused them to become pain incarnate involved the development and advancement of healing magic, periodicaly regenerating flesh over where it had been burned, flayed, cleaved, impaled, or gouged. When the wraiths emerged from the former inmates and the empire realized that they could not be controlled, the prison was sealed and buried with all record of its existence purged. Now the prison has been found and the seal has been broken.
 
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CyanStargazer

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I only got to read this now since I got off work early (Thank you job for overstaffing today) and I'll just say, well done. I like this very much.
 
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Elveone

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Pretty cool visuals and concepts. Have you had any formal training as a writer or are you self-taught and still experimenting?
 
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Golden Xan

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Pretty cool visuals and concepts. Have you had any formal training as a writer or are you self-taught and still experimenting?
I have not. I am a translator, though, so that definitely helps as I practice writing (in another language) every day. But what I believe has helped me the most is reading other people's works. Lovecraft and Robert Heinlein were authors I've been reading considerably, lately. Lovecraft was one big inspiration for The Ghouling Pit. This one was a mixture of the other two. I've been thinking about this piece for weeks, off and on throughout my day, and just put it into words when I got ready. There is something magickal about reading good pieces consistently and then writing something yourself.

I'm glad you liked it!
 

Roband

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I see your point, I can identify the issues from having one class generate another. When I was re-reading the class description of the wraith, I came to the conclusion that the ritual could only be performed by others on somebody (it can only be performed with assistance, save some amazing exception) and I imagined that no one but the undead would want to bring about a wraith. Unless there are humans groups that either know about them and want to make one or people who are simply following information they found on Os Kurrox.

From what I understand, Os Kurrox was an entry spot for a very large underground city, and in that city there were the torture chambers used to make wraiths. And Os Kurrox belong to empires older than Deadhaus, so this is ancient knowledge being revitalized. I figured that the best ones to make use of whatever knowledge was found there would be the liches, and that's what the story is based on. So I don't know, it may be that some classes are necessarily spawned from other people's efforts only.

As to the name, I don't have one. This wraith as well as the liche are not quite my characters. I will explain it further after others had their chance to weigh in, if they want to. :)

I really liked the story, congratulations! On a side note whatever the exact "usual/most common" way or "most practical" way for dead haus to spawn wraiths in existance may be my personal guess is that it may be possible under certain conditions for them to spawn "naturally" (dying in unholy ground for example, or while under the effect of curses/spells or maybe something that involves pain)

Of course it's just a personal speculation of mine, if we go strictly by what we read in the class description story maybe the exact procedure details as well as the types of undead involved in the process could change depending by the place where the ritual is performed.
 
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Golden Xan

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I have applied some changes to the story, focusing on clarity, and taking @Elveone's advice I also improved the description of certain sentences and concepts. I thank everyone else involved for the comments made.

Now that some time has passed, I will bring light to all hidden elements I can think of.




- Of the three liches talking in part 1, two of them are characters I have created, Amarax and Sardok, and one is a pre-existing character. That third liche is the one Alaric meets in his chronicle, Of Liches I. This might be noticed by its description, quite similar to that of Alaric's account. Amarax was introduced in The Ghouling Pit, Sardok in "My first 3 characters' backgrounds"

- Two of the liches, Sardok and the unnamed one, speak "telepathically" through means of their magick. Amarax does not speak telepathically, but magickally nonetheless. The reason why the unnamed liche doesn't speak is because, not knowing his character or identity, I actually could not give words to him or her. I used artifices to create mystery for the character and give open interpretation.

- In the assembly, the unnamed liche tells Amarax and Sardok that Alaric, who the unnamed one had put a probe on his mind, was becoming threatening to Deadhaus and needed to be redirected, killed, or simply misguided. He instructed them to create a wraith to fight for Deadhaus, and this wraith would be sent to Alaric at a later date. Sardok had been tasked with preparing the torture chamber beneath Os Kurrox, which he had already taken care of.

- The second part is the recounting of the wraith some time after he became undead. His identity was lost in great part after his transformation, and he was tutored by the liches for some time, therefore explaining his way of speaking. He is a tad too eloquent for a pig farmer. But he still has enough of his personality to make comparisons between his experiences and his profession, on occasion. Among the parallels he thought of was the connection between being flayed and his leathering skills.

- The wraith created was the one Alaric wrote about in Of Wraiths I. This may also be noticed by the description of his appearance.

- The wraith did go mad during the ritual, but his madness is a warped perception of what happened to him, not so much of his understanding of reality. Coupled with that, he has newfound senses from his undeath. He thinks he is no longer mad, and perhaps that is right, but he surely no longer thinks as a human.