Chapter 12 - Ci-Ci: Revival

At one point, the smell of blood didn't even phase me, it was a second nature. I didn’t even notice when the metallic odor would pierce through the air. The taste for that matter either. Blood had become a part of who I was. But now, the scent catches me almost immediately as I walk into the basement of The Shadow Realm.  

Blood magic, is complicated. There’s multiple types and they aren’t treated the same. Some people can form weapons from their own wounds, or even control the bodies of some people with their blood. Others can use it to heal or make individuals sicker. A power person will be able to do most, if not all of the above. Blood magic is looked down upon, right next to necromancy. Here’s the problem, people have a lot of ideas of what Blood Magic is, that are flat out incorrect. Rituals and sacrifices that use blood are just that, rituals and sacrifices. They aren’t blood magic, they are what they are, rituals and sacrifices. Just because they use blood, doesn’t make them blood magic.

One of the key differences is, you can smell it. The putrid smell of rotting flesh squeezed dry or coagulated blood gained through nefarious means smells bad. There’s a reason you can’t hide a dead body forever, and blood rots as well. As I approach the room the smell gets stronger, I’m heading in the right direction, if blood is all that’s needed, I may be able to do it myself.

Inside the room is larger than I expected, a small crowd has gathered in a circle to watch the actual preparations and eventual ceremony. A mound of clay the size of a human body is being shaped and molded by a Wood Elf, to match a photo of a deceased woman. All while blood is being injected, making the clay that much harder to work with. I feel for the artist. People like artists, carpenters, musicians and so on aren’t usually part of these ceremonies, just brought in to fulfil some part of the work that requires skilled labor beyond magic incantations.

From what I’ve picked up on with the talking two people are trying to bring back their mother. It costs nearly $100,000 for the ceremony to be performed. I don’t have that kind of money, but I could get it. Reactivating my license wouldn’t be such a dumb idea if I needed the money. A few high-risk jobs and I can make the money pretty quickly if I need to get it, hopefully it won’t cost that much. First, I need to see if it works.

Once the artist finishes her work, people spread out, leaving more room for the ritual. A small circle of cloaked individuals surrounds the children and begin chanting while moving their arms in precise yet erratic movements. There are no pentagrams like most people would expect and from what I can glance from beneath the cloaks is a mixture of human and elf chanters. I can’t tell what they’re chanting but I can recognize that it’s Latin, a long dead language. I can only imagine the kind of power they had back then. The power to conqueror countries in days and battle on equal footing with Gods.  

For a while there’s chanting, and nothing. Slowly I begin to feel light headed, a smoke fills the room from some place I can’t see and people begin to faint. Something is happening, I fight the urge to pass out like the others and see ritual through. Slowly a portal begins to grow and open in the floor near the clay mound, now being misshapen by the portal, warping our surroundings.

I drop to one knee, I’m the last person standing that isn’t involved with the actual ritual. The portal quickly maxes in diameter, a dark and grim world is visible slightly before it is snapped close. More smoke makes the room harder to see. I didn’t witness anything come from the portal, but I can feel it. A great presence pushing down on me and everything else trying to exert a dominant will over us all. The clay is destroyed and devoured by some unseen beast as the gathered adults realize that is not the mother who raised them up from children.

A chain is brought forth and an attempt is made to chain this force, but it does no good. Soon the clay has reappeared, and begun wrapping around what was unseen at this point. Now a twisted visage of the mother they had lost, filled with demonic proportions. Vomit spews from my mouth as I find myself succumbing on the verge of passing out.

***


I awake to find myself being cared for by several of the cloaked figures, thankful for whatever I had done. The people looking to bring back their mother cry loudly on the other side of the room. No signs of the creature, the clay or the portals. But there is blood and clay, everywhere, including me.

That’s the thing about blood magic, it is messy, doesn’t matter how skilled you are or precise you are, there’s going to need to be a cleanup. I can’t help with cleaning this; the taste of vomit reenters my mouth. I swallow it down long enough to ask for an exit, not thinking about how I just swallowed puke back down.

I rush into the back alley and lean against a wall as everything from this morning until my drinks at the club exits my body at the wrong end. My legs are weak, and standing is hard so I take a seat at the other side of the alleyway. I wish I had brought a jacket, it’s cold now. So damn cold, haven’t felt like this since I was suffering through low iron. Not the puke, that was from watching some kind of demon claw back into this would by possessing a statue of a mother. I don’t think this is the route I’ll be taking.  

For the first time, I think Justin might be right, I might be forced to let this go if I can’t find any other ways.

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