The twisted, mutated form of a brave warrior lay on the altar, unable to move, unable to speak, unable to cease the endless pain which assaulted his body. His skin had already burst open, revealing a hideous red carapace underneath. His hands had ripped to reveal massive claws, strong enough to tear any mortal man asunder. The gargantuan body that lay on the altar was a hideous beast, save the head. The head of the frightened and pitiful warrior still remained human, the last step in the transformation. The eerie red glow of the stone embedded within his skull released tendrils of power that flowed through his body, sparing him no pain, relieving him of no anguish. His face was already beginning to contort into that of a demon, to that of one of the prime evils, to that of Diablo.
Abadon looked down at his master, or the form which his master would take, smiling. “It is almost complete. Soon, Diablo will rise again. Soon...”
Abadon heard the sound of footsteps behind him. These were not human footsteps, nor the hollow footsteps of one of his skeleton minions. No, the sound of the footsteps were of two talons, clattering on the floor as they stepped forth. Abadon smiled and turned towards the figure and looked upwards toward the face, much higher than his own.
He stared into the face of a beautiful woman, although her beauty was only skin deep. Abadon and any other could easily tell that beneath the exterior of this woman hid a dark soul, if one existed at all. The image of her face would turn dreams into nightmares, and nightmares into reality. The perfect mixture of beauty and satanic horror, she reveled in the fact that she could use both terror and lust to her advantage.
In addition to her face, she was well endowed in other areas as well. Demonic creatures, having no modesty whatsoever, had no need of clothing, and this woman was no different. Her dress went beyond “scantily clad” and into “erotic”. Again, she used this to her advantage, driving even the most pious men to lust after her image.
Few deformities marred her figure, but they did so adequately, giving her a demonic appearance. Her legs had an extra joint, and her feet were not human feet but demonic talons, scraping against the floor and, along with the legs, adding a significant amount to her height, towering above Abadon. She also possessed spikey red hair, like flames were eternally erupting from her skull, after dancing for a moment in her glowing eyes.
“Andariel,” Abadon said without fear. “How good of you to come.”
“This had better be a matter of grave importance, worm,” she roared, using her intimidating voice to its full extent, “or I will mount your skull upon my throne.”
“Do not worry, this is a matter which, if treated properly, will prove beneficial to both parties. I will be rid of an annoyance, and you will add to your powerful army of corrupted slaves.”
Andariel smirked slightly. “I am intrigued, mortal.”
Abadon frowned at the reference towards him. “There is a group of warriors, of various backgrounds, that seem insistent on halting our progress here. They need to be delayed for a while. I require your services.”
Andariel’s smirk turned to a scowl, almost causing Abadon to step back. “I do NOT work for you, mortal, and I do NOT work for Diablo!”
Abadon frowned once again. “Allow me to finish. These warriors, there are two of them who would prove of interest to you. They are far more powerful than your average rogue, and will be perfect additions to your army.”
Andariel no longer scowled, but she did not look happy either. “If these warriors are as annoying as you say they are, I will lose more minions in the process than I will gain.”
“Surely your minions still retain their skills as rogues, and can move as silently and as invisible as they are rumored to be able to...”
“Of course... oh very well. I will take care of this nuisance for you. But remember, mortal, that you owe me a great debt, as does your master...”
Abadon scowled again. “Would you please stop calling me mortal? It is quite annoying.”
Andariel smiled devilishly. “No, MORTAL, I will not. You must not forget that although you are a powerful minion, that is all you will remain, a minion. Do not forget your place, or you will lose it.”
And with that final word, Andariel left the chamber, leaving Abadon to his thoughts. He turned back to the transformation, trusting that with this new development, he would be undisturbed.
Xeiss struggled against the chains, but it was no use. She was attached firmly to the altar, her arms chained over the side and her legs chained to the altar, leaving her no room to move. She lay on her back, completely defenseless to whoever had taken her here. She lifted her head, trying to look around the room.
It was almost completely dark, only illuminated by torches hung on the walls, far from where she lay. The room was decorated with pain, tortured victims held in their positions of death, some impaled on huge spikes, some decapitated, some even torn asunder by some demonic creature. Xeiss began to sweat, horrified at what would happen to her.
The only other decoration in the room was a huge throne, obviously designed for a person much larger in stature than the average human. The throne was twisted and hideous, decorated with skulls as the armrests...
Xeiss’s attention was turned away from the throne as she heard footsteps approaching, footsteps not of a human, but of monstrous talons. She looked up, and as she did an immense woman, a demonic woman stood beside her. Xeiss could demand to know what was going on, she could threaten the woman, she could plead with her, but instead she was paralyzed with fright. There was nothing she could do, and this woman knew it.
The demonic woman smiled, feeding and drinking Xeiss’s fear like bread and wine. With hands that were more like claws than human hands, she viciously slashed at Xeiss’s clothing, tearing it to shreds and also tearing some of the flesh underneath. Xeiss cried out in pain, but it was no use. She now lay naked and helpless on the altar, and once again the horrifying woman absorbed her fear.
The woman’s lips parted, and began speaking words that Xeiss had never heard before, words of magic, words of a long ago forgotten ritual, forgotten save to the few who still performed the dark act. As she chanted, the woman raised her arms above her head, revealing a large, black, deadly dagger, poised above Xeiss’s unprotected body. Xeiss stared at the dagger, knew it was intended for her, knew it was thirsty for her blood.
Then, with a mighty strike and a vicious scream as the chanting ended, the dagger plunged down at Xeiss, thrusting itself into her chest...
Xeiss let out a loud, high-pitched scream as her eyes burst open and her hands instinctively flung themselves above her head. She stared up at the ceiling to the inn, the wood a welcome change from the tortured corpses that decorated the room in her dream. Xeiss began to breathe a sigh of relief.
Xeiss felt the presence of another in the room, many others in fact. As her sigh of relief turned into a gasp of horror, a figure leaned over her bed, not the woman she had seen in her dream, but another. This woman, completely naked, revealed her scarred body with no modesty. Her skin was slightly yellowed, and her eyes had no irises, they showed only a black, soulless pupil. Xeiss looked at the woman’s chest, and between her two breasts she saw a large, deep scar, as if a dagger had been thrust through her body with the utmost accuracy.
The dream Xeiss had seen was no dream, she had been unconsciously reading the mind of the woman that now stood above her. She knew that the ritual had been performed on this woman, turning her into the soulless slave that now stood above Xeiss’s bed. It did not take Xeiss long to realize that the same ritual was intended for her.
Turning her head to the side, Xeiss saw the adjacent bed, with Celes on it, surrounded by three more of the corrupted women. Celes was not asleep, but unconscious, and was being tied up by the three rogues around her bed. They were taking them both.
Xeiss opened her mouth to let out a scream, but before she could
let out a single sound, the world went black...
The door burst open, as a monstrous figure dashed out, a deadly battle-axe in hand. He looked down the hallway, towards the other rooms.
Atlas shouted down the hall. “Celes? Xeiss?”
No answer. Atlas ran down the corridor, speeding towards the room where Celes and Xeiss slept, having heard the high pitched scream and knowing something was wrong. He grasped the door handle and pulled on it with all his might, easily breaking the lock on the shoddy workmanship.
As Atlas looked in the room, he found no occupants. None slept in the bed, none stood on the floor. The only thing moving in the room was a curtain, fluttering about from the wind outside the open window...