• Mature • Appetite for Destruction

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22nd of Zi’da, 716
22nd Break
The Citizen’s Market was overwhelmed with all sorts of ruffians at night, at least if one were to judge them by their morality. The law did not mind the gambling rings, the few slavers that offered their wares, nor the hired blades that advertised their services to those willing to pay. They were a part of the Etzori lifestyle, for the city shined in a grim light once darkness came. Amidst the frozen soil of the Outer Perimeter, where the coughing and the spitting was normal, a prostitute had been flashing her goods in order to attract customers. Popular for her cheap and efficient service, it was strange to discover that she had been missing from her post, or that the smell of her inner thighs did not float around the trading hub. No customer took her so long, for experience had made her efficient.

The squad of Black Guards that had decided to visit her were somewhat disappointed to not find her there. Visiting the Underground’s many prostitution rings got somewhat tiresome every now and then, and so poking their heads outside the underground and the walls themselves often felt like a novelty for the veterans. There, they often received pampering words, gifts from the locals, and all sorts of benefits that came from turning a blind eye to little irregularities in their activities. The prostitute in question also offered discounts, and her capacity to deal with more than one man at a time kept the soldiers coming back every once in a while. For her to be unavailable was a true tragedy, indeed.

After a couple of glasses from some imported liquor, which had to be sold in the night exactly because of its foreign origins, the guards started getting restless. ‘Where is she?’ they asked this one and that one, thinking themselves tricked out of her services, outraged at her unavailability. ‘Why is she taking so long?’ they asked, for they knew the digits in a single hand would be enough to count bits needed for a man’s release, especially if they dealt with said unnamed prostitute. It wasn’t until they interrogated the local fortune-reader, or the local drunk, if one wished to be more precise, with a couple of harsh punts that they got an answer.

‘By the dried off well’ he had told them in between tears, pointing towards the darkness with it’s broken finger. They breached the darkness, armed with torches and outrage alike. The cold soil accepted their armored steps, yet the breeze tried to warn them off their task, blowing against them for their own sake. In time, they finally encountered the prostitute, naked as she often was, laying on the soil with dead eyes staring exactly towards them. Unlike previous times, they cared not to meet her brown eyes, as instead they stared at the creature above it, an individual so thin and pale its very existence seemed to cheat Famula herself. It was not dead, however, for it moved and breathed, its mania unchained entirely as it leeched from the body of the female. Bone details that grew before their eyes spoke the madness before them, their own sanity trembling as much as the creature that violently shook as the female’s fluids traveled up its heavily mutated arms.

Some were eager to extinguish its life right there and then, yet the one man in charge kept his violent emotions under control. He too was afraid, yet the discipline earned through many arcs allowed him to see past it. Someone yelled towards the beast, yet no answer was received save for the wheezed hyperventilation it possessed. ‘Stay calm’ yelled the man in charge, nervously pulling off his cloak and twisting into an improvised rope. ‘Capture it’ he ordered, as he advanced and wrapped his cloak around the beast’s frail neck, attempting to subdue it. The strength was enough to strangle it, yet the beast seemed not to care nor notice. It wasn’t until it was pulled off the corpse, and the arms that suctioned the female’s fluids were free, that the beast reacted.

A shriek, a screech, or a squeal were not words capable of describing what the beast communicated, nor how easily the nearby midnight market was completely silenced. The creature’s limbs flared out, flailing at the nothingness with such ferocity one’s heart could shrink. The Black Guards, terrified, imitated their leader, and tore off their cloaks. One by one, they captured each of the beast’ flailing limbs, and through twisting force they attempted to secure it to its frame. Four cloaks formed four improvised ropes, yet they were still not enough to contain the violent wiggling and waggling of the captured specimen. Despite it being quite light in weight, its strength was as violent and as ferocious as its terrifying nature. No orders were needed once it was captured to begin taking it somewhere else, somewhere the beast could be locked away forever, where its memory would be forgotten.

As they passed through the market, and every morally rotten individual stared and gasped at whatever it was they were seeing, those that held jobs related to the authorities came to aid, trying to hold it still, wondering why nobody had stabbed it yet, or quietened the horrible noises that escaped its captured throat. ‘Shut it up!’ yelled one of the men to his colleague. That same colleague brought up his armored fist and slammed it right into the creature’s groin. He had never touched another man’s groin, but he had punched quite a few in his day. It was that what made it as terrible for him as he looked towards the leader.
“It has no cock,” he said, eyes wide agape, as if he himself spoke the most terrifying tale ever to exist. ‘No cunt, either.”
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Deep into the Underground one could find whatever Etzos lacked on the surface. It was a poetic contrast what one could experience once the within and the without were known. Outside, an organized and hypocritical city awaited to receive visitors, lured by the tales of freedom and opportunity. Below it, the city quenched in darkness and torchlight was nothing but a maze built from tunnels and stone awaited visitors as well. Anyone could find a place of interest below ground, for many luxuries and goods were available in the dark when once was safe from the public eye. The two cities complimented each-other, and they couldn’t quite exist without the other, for they brought balance upon the crooked city above and the grim but honest city below.

If one were to traverse through the maze well enough, and avoid being overwhelmed by either claustrophobia or its inhabitants, they could eventually reach what the authorities had branded as their territory. Of course, the section was not in any plane nor scribbling, for it technically wasn’t theirs, yet the presence of armored men in their uniforms got the message through regardless. Said territory was nothing but a large chamber, at this trial and age populated by unsanitary holding cells designed to send a clear message: obey. To assume criminals populated those cells would be a grave mistake, for the word crime had lost meaning within Etzos. However, political prisoners were as common as business owners, psychopaths or doctors, humans or non-humans. Individuals that, regardless of the nature of their life or moral standing, found themselves stripped from their freedom for breaking somebody’s interests, in one way or the other. Lying in their bed one trial, they could find themselves locked in the perpetual darkness of this chamber for no apparent reason, for nobody would tell them anything.

On this eternal night, the usual sounds of humidity, coughs, smothered wails, and voices that spoke to themselves were gone. Instead, complete chaos had taken over each and every cell that was occupied by an unfortunate soul, and each of them screamed and complained for perhaps the first time in however long they had been trapped within. With every voice or yell that joined in the general panic that shook the prison, the creature’s intent to be heard was successful. Every screech, every hiss, and every monstrous sound it produced stirred the dark pot of prisoners, whom despite not being able to see just what had someone had trapped into one of those cells, were well aware those sounds were certainly not human. They feared it would escape, that the old rusty and bent bars would not hold much longer, that the three wet and uneven walls that surrounded them would trap them even further were it to approach their cell’s bars.

Perhaps what inspired the most fear was how their captors apparently shared their same concern, for those prisoners finally saw torchlight moving through the damp hallway, blinding each eye that was exposed to light after so much time buried in darkness. The cries of a prisoner, its wails, or even the sounds of their suicide in the pitch black were sounds common in this location, and even the rotting bodies were sometimes ignored – up until the sound of maggots feasting on its flesh became another tone in the soundtrack for this hell.

In that sense, the guards were indeed concerned. The beast had been tied firmly and tossed into a cell, yet it had escaped its bindings, and now it not only repeated the same sounds devastating sounds over and over again, but also banged against the prison bars with such strength its escape seemed entirely possible. Three guards approached the source of the turmoil, each of them holding a lit torch and a spear, faces wrapped in cloth in order to protect their noses from the stench gathered in every cell. As soon as the light from their torches managed to even glance part of the creature’s cell, long limbs immediately attempted to reach towards the trio. Bones were broken, put together in new configurations, reshaped into entirely new forms, and what had once resembled a man now resembled something else entirely. It was no surprise all three men were discouraged from approaching.
“Kill it!” said one of them, for he held the biggest rank. “Kill it or it’ll break loose!”
“The orders the ca---“
“He’s going to break loose!” replied the current leader. “I’ll do it!”

And so the man dropped his torch, now taking a firm hold of his spear. He waited a thrill, then a bit, waiting for his courage to come at last, trying to predict just when those long limbs would offer an opening. It came at last, his golden opportunity, and the man took it, for he ran forth with a courageous yell, eager to end whatever nightmare lived within. The spear hit flesh, and lodged itself in whatever body part lied on the other side. The beast reacted, but not by dying, but instead by taking a hold of the spear and pulling it deep into the darkness of the cell.

Silence reigned in the cell, but not in the underground chamber. Nothing happened at first, and so the chaos stirred by the inmates lost intensity. It wasn’t until the wooden shaft of the spear loudly cracked, and the two pieces of the weapon flew out in between the bars that the uproar was resumed, as strong as before, for the beast had not been stabbed with a meal, and so it’s intentions to keep causing chaos were alive once again.
“Let’s feed it,” suggested one of the guards. “It’s hungry, so let’s feed him.”

And so they did, doing so by dragging a freshly killed hog down onto the chambers, chopping it up as best as they could with their longswords, and pushing every piece of meat near the cell that held the terror. With every pound of flesh, the creature regained calm, and so did the underground chamber. A limb reached out whenever the offering was given, took it, and drug it back into the darkness where it would be loudly consumed. Only one of the guards had the courage to peek over the corner and see whatever transpired within, and whatever it is he saw inside, it certainly brought back memories of night-time tales and legends spoken by his parents. Watching it feed was as horrible as watching it breathe.
“We need to tell Vuda,” he concluded. “Go find him. Wake him up if you need to.”
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The knock on the door had to herald something truly dreadful. Chief Adviser Karnos Vuda, the true power in Etzos, knew full well that he'd offered enough object lessons to those that had disturbed his sleep without sufficient cause to drive the ramifications of his sleep-deprived anger home to the lot of them. He went to the door and was initially furious to find one of his elite guards standing watch over one of the lowly detention officers from The Underground.

This underling was nearly traumatized by his present situation, but Vuda could tell that the abject horror still present in his eyes was not from fear of punishment for interrupting the adviser's sleep. His harsh words did not register on the detention officer's face. The fact was, the man kept looking back over his shoulder as if he feared whatever he'd left his post to report. Vuda was immediately interested. Anything that could put such fear into a man's heart that he would forget the torturous lessons he'd made his underlings watch inflicted on their over-eager fellows must be impressive indeed!

"I'll get my robe." was all he said, his elite guard nodding silently in response. He returned momentarily, now clad in the light-brown robes of his high office, the ones that he alone possessed, which displayed no rank emblem. Only one man in Etzos was not required to display his rank. This was by order of the High Marshall himself, supposedly to ensure that his chief adviser was never marked as a target of high rank by an assassin or sniper. Vuda had no reason to dissuade the acceptance of this reason, by anyone else.

"Lead on." he said, and the trio hurried through a number of halls, some public, some private, many unknown entirely. Vuda could have simply generated a rupture portal, and his elite guard would have been unsurprised. But the detention officer would have had to die then. Not many knew how skilled their chief adviser was at getting around. Many assumed secret passageways, which not have been incorrect exactly, but were not the means that were always used.

Long before they got to the row of cells holding "the freak", Vuda was already scowling at the unpleasant noise issuing from behind the doors to that wing.
"Is...that...what we are coming to see?" he asked, the guard turning a face glistening with fear-sweat to nod in confirmation.

"It was actually much worse a break ago, my lord." the man said in a trembling voice. "It was shriveled and diseased looking, but inhumanly strong. And its voice was shrieking like to pop my eardrums. They're still ringing almost to deafen me. The other prisoners were screaming about it too. I don't doubt it was painful to them as well. But we fed it a pig and it seemed to...'fill out'...right before our eyes. And looked more human in the process."

Vuda stopped suddenly, looking with skepticism at his man, but seeing only genuine fear in his eyes. No, this man was not exaggerating. At least he did not believe he was. "Wait a tick...You fed a whole pig to this...thing? It ate the whole thing?" the man's wide-eyed nod was all the answer Vuda needed. His officer abviously felt somewhat vindicated by Vuda's own disbelief of his account.

They turned down the last row of cells, and it was obvious by the half-dozen detention officers standing ready with spears - and a second pig - that this was the place. Vuda stepped up to the bars, ignoring the tense warnings of his men, and looked upon the hairless man-shape before him. It had a bluish tint to its skin, with heavy veins texturing the skull in a vile pattern of throbbing hunger. The thing looked at Vuda the way a starving man presses his face against a palace window with a feast going on inside, pork scraps still hanging between slavering teeth.

Vuda did not flinch,
"So how do you expect me to trust that you will reimburse me for a second pig, when you show no means to pay for the first one, sir?" he gestured at the second rack of pig flesh as he spoke.
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Mixed with hunger, the creature’s realization of how trapped he currently was manifested itself with a complete mental and physical unease. Strolling at the back of the cell from wall to wall, the stark naked Kovic stepped again and again over the pools of undigested blood his body had disgorged over the course of his meal. Not all fit in within him, yet the mind was rabid enough to hide this fact from the gaunt body. There was little need to further admire his body to conclude his extraordinary needs, for the ribs were clearly visible, the back was still crooked and malformed from the multiple mutations, and the complete lack of genitalia spoke louder than any guard tale.

The feral eyes were fixed on the newcomer by the prison bars, which seemed to hold authority over the armed men. Devouring him through the bars would be very possible, yet even Kovic doubted he could survive the rain of spear heads that were to follow any aggression he was to take. In that sense, being fed one pig and partially calming his hunger had been a disadvantage. Panting quickly, the cornered animal continued with his restless sojourns within his prison.
“Reimburse?” asked Kovic, his vocal chords having begun healing, a guttural and raucous speech coming from him. “I am the one that needs reimbursement, for it is I whom lays trapped within this prison for no reason. Least you bring a thousand pigs and release me from this cell, you will be in my debt.”

The smell. The smell was the worst. Amidts the hints of human excrement, Kovic could sniff the sounds of damp armpits, the scent of living creatures. Hundreds of pounds of meat, waiting for him, calling for him. It was difficult to ignore it, and thinking around it was completely impossible. Despite his attempts of more civilized behavior, Kovic’s mouth began seething.
“That whore sold her flesh, and when I paid her, I told her I would get my money’s worth out of the good she sold. You fuck her, but I eat her, because I paid for it!” exclaimed Kovic, a harsh exhale spilling his slobber towards the cell’s bars. “Feed me, and release me, right now!”

The smell kept coming, and his body continued craving for the sniffed meal. His stomach growled as much as his throat, and his mouth salivated eagerly once the images of flesh moving down his digestive tract flashed within his mind. Raising both arms to his head, Kovic would slap his skull harshly, trying to push the images away.
“Feed me!” he growled. “Feed me now! NOW!”

His arm smashed against the wall with strength, the bone snapping loudly and Kovic’s screams filling the prison. It seemed his body was as gaunt as his appearance. The creature grew desperate, for even if his arm ached, it slammed it against the wall several more times. The pain was intense enough to overwhelm his mind, removing the images of fodder, yet not halting his nostrils’ capacity of smell. Even if his stomach was full, the hunger never left.

It seemed the creature fell into a sort of wail, mixing hunger and pain in the screeching sounds it released. His remaining arm clawed at the wall whilst the other one wobbled, severely broken until Perfect Organism repaired it. A wet splash on his feet gave him a temporary solution, the male turning around and falling onto the ground. There, his tongue and lips would relish on the previously disgorged pig blood, suckling on it regardless of the dirty and foul stone below it. He began in the inner corners of the cell, slowly cleaning every inch of the stone and slowly approaching the bars, for the light incline towards the door still held some nutrients.

As he suckled on the blood remains from the pig, the creature reached a point near the newcomer. Unable to contain himself, the blood seemed a big waste now that he was so close to the robbed male. Suckling on blood was stupid in comparison to one hundred and sixty pounds of nutrients standing so very near. In a gluttonous attack, Kovic’s arm reached through the bars, trying to take a hold of the robbed male, disregarding any sense of security or common sense now that hunger haunted him.
FEED ME!

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So, uh... Atashi linked me to this song after reading this reply. This wasn't in my mind when I wrote this, but it is appropriate.

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Vuda pondered the monstrosity behind the bars as if it had not spoken. A smile slowly lit his features; a smile that somehow radiated dark intrigue, as opposed to benevolence. It faded as he looked quickly in all directions, where other guards or prisoners may be within listening distance. He whispered orders to his elite Tower Guard nearby, who immediately relayed them to the confused Detention Officers. A swift glare of impatience from Vuda brought them quickly to heel, however, and they immediately set to transferring the other prisoners along this corridor to different cells. All the while, the target of his schemes continued the barrage of screams and shrieking.

Now the smile returned, the carrying-on of the prisoner seeming to even magnify its intensity. He gave another order to his personal guard, and the man took one of the detention guards in tow and disappeared briefly down one of the halls. They returned with a small vial, and a third man, a prisoner, who quailed from Kovic's hungry insanity.

Vuda assured him he was not going to be fed to the "monster". But at a nod, the Tower Guard slammed him on the back of the head, dropping him in a stunned heap.
"You, sir, are a condemned prisoner." Vuda said blandly over the dazed prisoner, "This departure from normal sentencing will be repaid as a stipend to your struggling family, so die well."

He then gathered and pushed a force of replicated, condensed air into a series of bands to bind Kovic, who was pulled from the cell at the same time that the condemned man was stuffed in to replace him. Vuda took the vial and tossed it inside the cell, where it broke and splattered its contents. The detention guards' looks of nausea and sympathy for the man now in the cell did not stop them from following their orders. And as one began feeding the ravenous Kovic large chunks of raw pork, the other tossed a torch into the cell to light the alchemical brazier fuel splashed on the condemned man now in the cell.

This was the same fuel that had caused the explosion in The Underground earlier in the arc. There was only a slight pause between the previous shrieking of Kovic, who now tore at the meat with only soft growls, and the sudden shrieking of the man in the cell; reawakened by the agony of being burned alive. Those out of sight around the corners of the corridors would not know that it was the screams of two different people, if indeed any thought Kovic had been a 'person' in the first place.

Vuda turned to the Detention Guards, who made a supreme effort to maintain discipline in the face of such horror, and its perpetrator.
"Let it be known that the disfigured monstrosity in that cell, and the disease which afflicted him, were both thoroughly burned, and the entire cell sterilized by fire...And if I should ever hear that the truth of what happened here is ever become known..." He did not need to finish his threat, as the guards nodded eagerly with this instruction.

By the time Kovic had finished the second pig, he looked no worse than any of the other haggard denizens of the underground dungeons. Vuda did not know if the man had taken any note of what had just transpired, nor did he care. He waved at the Detention Guards to resume their duties, knowing they would see to the false tale of "the Monster's" fiery death being spread. He then waved at hs personal guard to accompany him as he took Kovic in arm and escorted him to a more private area of the Detention level.


"Perhaps now you are sufficiently fed that we can talk over a few matters, hmmm? Oh, and you can forget that concern over reimbursement. I feel certain that I will have use for you far beyond such quibbling details."
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The Mortalborn found it hard to concentrate, especially now that his stomach was thoroughly full. The second pig had been a nice detail, yet the male was somewhat disappointed in his inability to restrain himself. At the very least he had avoided causing even further trouble, or further displays of physical inhumanity. He had also avoided lashing out towards the guards that had swept away the bones of the pig, which they had assumed the man did not want. Now, the need to fall asleep was weighing down his logic.

Kovic seemed far more humane by now, and even his arm had began repairing itself despite all the pain felt within the limb. Furthermore, his hair had started to regrow on his previously bare scalp, hiding somewhat the blue veins and pulsating arteries. Even his flesh had began shining somewhat healthier. He smiled towards the male in charge.
“I apologize for the trouble caused, Mister.” he said, his voice as damaged as the vocal chords. Said voice communicated the various maladies that now taxed the humanoid vessel. “I am very thankful to you and your kindness. Please, think not less of me for whatever you have just witnessed. My condition is not contagious, for it is not biological.”

After a brief fight to maintain his eyes open, Kovic kept quiet for a moment. Whatever act he was capable of throwing was somewhat diminished, for his expression hinted towards the efforts invested in careful thought.
“A sorceress has cursed my family and I with the condition you purged within my cell,” he lied. “Least I remain fed, said monstrosity becomes my prison whilst it causes chaos. I…”
A gag, followed by various swallows. He tried to keep the pork down. Maybe he should start eating through his mouth more often.
“I hide it well, usually… Money was low whilst I approached the city, the supplies were expensive… I tried, I really did.”

Kovic’s eyes glanced towards the guard, which valiantly stood guard over him, hands looming over the handle of his weapon. The air still smelled of waste, and the few torches gave light to the level. Perhaps the fire that still roared within the cell was the light source that most resembled sunlight in this… Whatever it was. The male gulped.
“You’ve smiled upon my disgrace before, yet I shall beg you nonetheless, spare my life once more. Allow me to see sunlight and to experience a normal existence. I can work, I can pay. I can meet whatever price you deem sufficient, but please, do not lock me in this dungeon.” Pause. “I beg of you.”

The fire within the cell died out, but the smell of cooking meat did not - detail that proved even the filthiest individual could be cooked quite well. Amidst those intoxicatingly delicious smells was some sort of bitter scent, perhaps escaped from whatever substance was poured over the meat. It was as if someone had dipped dry alfalfa into an extremely rusty bucket of lemon juice.
“Ask me anything, and I shall answer. Task me anything, and I shall oblige. I owe you my life.”
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