Pathfinder: Circumscribing the Locust Part II

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Beautiful bronze locusts like burnished evening sun dispersing into sky. Sitting to fight the dizziness of having borne witness he tries to pin his thoughts there. Instead they fly back to the twenty minutes prior to that and to the ever dark horizon of the World Wound.

"The paladins of Iomedae are here Shavas."

Just a boy. (Beautiful blue eyes) No. Anything but. (looked innocent enough)

'Should I have known?' he asks the wall of stone he faces, raising his head from his hands. Was there even the hint of leg or antenna from ear, mouth, nose? I was too far away, but the boy knew who I was. Smiled at me across the distance. Smiled like a child whose father lets him in on mother's birthday present. Just like my son would (thank god they're not here). Then he burst sausage like and all was a roaring buzz.

"Shavas?" He turns then, looking at his deputy. Augham. The bearded man was in his late twenties while Shavas had at least a decade on him. Thick hair black to Shavas's thinning dirty blonde. Eyes light green to the sheriff's deep russet, pale skin more reddened by the sun than tanned like Shavas's.

'Men of every nation, of every faith, come forth! For your true enemy is not your brother! Your true enemy is not of this world and seeks only its ruin!'

Can't believe I fell for it. The implied promise of glory.

There's concern for him, along with a touch of weariness. Jealousy that Shavas should be allowed to break, to give in. Every day is fighting.

How did that swarm fit inside that frame? The boy was small, looked five. (Less. A year younger and you'd have called him a toddler.)

He follows, practically allowing himself to be led outside the constabulary. The late afternoon sunlight hits his eyes and when he blinks he sees the locusts again. His eyes open and are drawn first to the markings of blood on bleached grass. Then to the stocky woman before him. She stood upon tree trunkish, leather clad legs in shining hooded chain mail over which lay Iomdae's blood & dirt stained standard: the symbol of sword in sunburst. Her lack of height was clearly made up for by muscle, muscle almost enough to hide the small twin signs of femininity under her armor.

Nara, paladin of the Inheritor. Mother of two, just like Shavas. Her square, solid face and beady black eyes somehow expressed enough compassion through the earned hardness. It comforted Shavas somewhat though he still steeled himself for the words to come.

"You saved many Shavas. More than the other towns hit today." And there it was. Yes he had, but there were still five dead and dozens wounded. Two children, picked clean, two piles of bones he'd found after. Two girls, the older one apparently had tried to cover the little one.

Bastards in the saloon saw it go down, didn't come out until it was over.  Anger, and then --

They haven't even been dead for five hours.

"You bring any resurrections?" He asks, knowing that there were none to be offered by the low ranking clergy in their area. Nara just shakes her head. A fly buzzes by his deputy's ear and Augham jumps. Sword's halfway out of his sheath before he realizes its just a case of mistaken identity.

"They're gone Oggy." the sheriff says wearily, just now beginning to rise from his shock. But Nara gives him a look and all three know this is just the beginning of Deskari's new game.

They're gone. What a stupid thing to say.


Like a mouth giving sermon of holy transformation, like the birthing orifices of the Demon Queen, this World Wound was beautiful. The balor looked upon his brethren from heights of soot caked ruins, ribbons of lightning dancing around his burgundy adonis frame, curving in spirals around his elegant horns and alabaster fangs.

I would remake this world, would desegregate blaspheme and matter.

This whim had come to him in the churning madness of the Abyss, and this particular crack into the Material had caught his eye. He lusted to transform every tree, every dog, even the very earth would yield its consistency into the morass.

I would baptize it whole in the Truth beyond, behind all times and places.

This demon, a mighty balor who'd been christened the Storm King among both the people who fought him and the demons who he'd brought under his heel, knew that the Abyss was the primordial ocean from which all these tawdry sentiments of worlds emerged from.

And to which they must descend, for we demons are born outside of all the Lies and these Sepiroth, these Spheres of fruit with cores of hollow gems made from cold void and stardust, these are our inheritance....

The scriptures were bright in his thoughts today, for Deskari's new children had blossomed when the world's sun had been in zenith. Even miles away he could see the locust swarms glinting in star's light. Across the distances he could smell newly exposed blood and bone. Newly shed tears that made him grin. New prayers that were more demands than pleas, asking if they'd been abandoned when that truth was writ by the casualties they'd suffered today.

So weak, these peoples. To think their gods cared for them.

The Storm King knew what the gods were really like, he had witnessed the majesty of Lamashtu, Nocticula, Dagon. He knew of the god Deskari. He knew he served the Lord of the Locust Host simply by his presence on this world, but he did not trust the Abyssal lord. What did the Deskari truly desire from this world that he would give eon spanning attention to it? What was his connection to the daemon Apollyon, the locusts' Prince? Spies and rumors spoke to that, though what their link might be was unknown.

Daemons were not to be trusted, less than his gods, for they would waste all this treasure of flesh in their crusade of dissolution.

Daemon or mortal, no crusade would deny the demons their birthright.

The truth of that was written in the great chasm torn in the earth itself, a rent of indisputable scripture that would one day swallow this world whole.

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