Awakening - The Beginning

The village was a smoking ruin as fires engulfed the dry wood and thatching that made up the majority of the buildings.
Screams of old and young, men and women filled the hazy, smoke filled air. Fear did not differentiate and her reign of terror was all encompassing as it swept across the Nordic coastline. Small villages were left in ruin and the larger cities were overrun with those who chose to do her bidding for the hope of the sacred kiss of life. This village was just another in a long line of conquests.
It was her wraiths that did the work and got their hands dirty. Young girls blessed with ethereal beauty and grace that slowly rotted from the inside out, compelled to do what she desired for the honour of being turned and granted never-ending life. Each of them had the strength of ten men and they tore through flesh like a knife through butter with claws and teeth. It was all too easy to take over villages and add to her growing army of undead.
But what others couldn’t understand was why.
None could truly believe that a being capable of such atrocity and bloodshed had no motive, that she was merely following what she desired and drinking the blood of all mortals who stood in her way.
No, there was no motive. She merely wished to destroy. To consume.
To laugh as she squeezed the blood free of a still warm heart, freshly plucked from the chest of a man whom dared stand up to her.
Cold, ice blue eyes swept over clearings of corpses just starting to attract the flies and she walked among them as if she were in a field of flowers. Serene, almost loving as she reached down to slide shut the eyes of those whom had died while staring up at the Valkyries that descended to take them away.
But alas…all good things must come to an end.
When the first of the seers began to rise from their caverns and huts to face her, Astrid smiled and felt no fear. No hesitation. Nothing but a thrill of the fight as she raised a hand and watched as her Wraiths swept forward to swarm them.
What she didn’t account for was old magic that rose to envelope her own and render her useless.
One by one her wraiths fell with shrieks and cries. Astrid watched with growing apprehension as her forces fell like sticks facing a fiery wind, blown aside like dust. Quivering eyes and reaching limbs turned to their mistress as the unnatural life she had gifted them bled away.
There were no valkyries upon this battlefield. Only those of honour rose to the halls of Valhalla.
Within moments only Astrid remained. She stood alone, clad in her elegant dress of warm linen and fur, covered with jewels and with her crown of silverthorn woven into her hair. She looked a Queen.
A Queen of death and destruction as a slow, lascivious smile curved her lips.
But then the chanting began. The very first coil of fear uncurled deep within her belly as Astrid’s gaze flicked from one seer to another. They rose as one, standing in a wide circle around her as their hands outstretched toward the dark, swollen clouds building high above their heads.
Wind circled the clearing and swept through the braids that decorated her golden head of hair. Astrid hissed, raising her hands against it in a vague attempt to fend it off. The chanting rose in the whistling and pierced through loud rumbles of thunder from the clouds.
The world turned upside down and Astrid screamed as dirt and rock battered her, smothered her and bruised her. It rose around her and choked her off, filling her mouth, her nose, her ears and her eyes.
And then silence.
Nothing but silence.

A weaker creature of both mind and body would be driven made by centuries of silence, pressed down on all sides by earth. Astrid had been buried hundreds of feet within a mountain and left to slowly, ever so slowly die.
But what they didn’t account for was her resilience.

Centuries passed and the 21st began. A young male scaled the mountainside, hiking his way through thick trees and towering rock to reach the summit. This particular mountain was hidden in the lacklustre coastline of Norway, where it was cold, wet and lifeless. Rocky terrain with sparse vegetation, icy cold waterfalls and crystal clear streams surrounding geysers of volcanic pockets deep beneath the surface.
There was nothing there.
But of course, when he came across an odd looking shrine that had looked ancient in comparison to everything else he’d seen during his years of travel, he just had to touch it.
A small clay pot faded away into dust the moment he did. A dish holding a dried out wreath of vine cracked and broke. Old blood painted and frozen to the sides of the flattened stone flaked away with the tiniest hint of heat from his breath as he leaned over to inspect it.
And of course, as each piece of the shrine was unwittingly damaged, displaced or removed…the binding spell surrounding the mountain frayed and broke.

The screams were the first thing her sluggish mind became aware of. Old, almost forgotten echoes of wraiths falling at her feet in their desperate fight surrounded her mind and stirred her from slumber.
The dirt was loose and fell away easily as for the first time in so, so long Astrid began to move. A lick of curious delight within a rabid mind left starved for ages long since past...
When she clawed her way to the surface Astrid was met with blinding white light. She hissed, cried and shrieked as she rolled and battered the earth with skeletal hands in a vain attempt to escape the light.
Oh how it burned! But she was too weak…too frail…
Darkness covered her head and she heard a masculine voice exclaim in a tongue she did not comprehend. He wrapped her in garments of slick, shiny fabric and spoke in such a manner that had her baring her teeth.
But it wasn’t his aid that warmed her heart. Her very soul.
No…it was the strong, steady beat of his heart she could feel vibrating through each concerned touch he gave her.
He didn’t have a chance to scream before she lunged with an animalistic snarl, unnaturally strong from a ravenous hunger as her teeth sunk into the delicate flesh of his neck.
Astrid drank. And drank. And drank, until there was nothing left. The light of life had faded minutes before and his blood grew sluggish and cold, but still she sucked him dry.
Every. Last. Drop.
When she snapped her head back and moaned in sheer delight, Astrid looked up at the foreign sky with eyes as dark as coal.
Rationality began to bleed back into her consciousness and Astrid began to piece together what had occurred. Memories of vain attempts to break free of her prison flickered and faded from her inner mind’s eye and she remembered the seers, standing in a ring around her as they sought to destroy her once and for all.
Oh, but how they had failed.
She grinned to herself, tongue licking at her lips to catch the blood she had missed in her bloodlust.
Sweet, metallic and full of life. Full of power.

And a new world, ripe for the picking.

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3 | Mar 10th 2019 08:22