Old Ghosts & Vengeance

Stories from the lives of House Ilnaren and those whose lives intertwine with it.

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Ebon Ilnaren
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Old Ghosts & Vengeance

Post by Ebon Ilnaren » Mon May 13, 2019 10:10 pm

((originally posted as part of the Ghostly Visitors event))


March 17, 2013

The boy walks through vast halls, impossibly large... as though built for giants. The furniture, the tapestries and artwork decorating the walls, all are immense. More than that, they are all warped somehow. Distorted. Wrong. Statues leer as he passes them, figures in paintings undulate in twisted ecstacy, and behind him the boy hears whispers.

He does not turn. He knows that no one is there.

Eyes downcast, the boy winds his way through the corridors until he comes to a massive archway, flanked by a pair of silver-clad guards. "What do you want, freak?"

"....the Kyrul sent for refreshment...." Without looking up, the boy raises the tray, until it begins to shake.

A knowing smirk crosses one guard's face. "I can imagine. Very well, you may pass." He waves the boy through, and silken curtains lift out of the way.

Sounds call out to the boy as he makes his way through the grand chambers, sounds of lust and of pain, coming from ahead. The rustle of sheets, the sliding of skin against skin... sounds all too familiar to him, and, above them all, the harsh grunts of the Kyrul as he has his way, the whimpers of his latest plaything, forever ruined.

"Ah! Boy! Set that down!"

The Kyrul's voice booms in the boy's ears as he sets the tray upon the indicated table and turns to go. Yet something stops him, a sense of someone familiar. Raising his eyes for the first time, the boy looks upon the two figures in the bed. One is the Kyrul, oblivious to all but sating his hunger as he reaches for the tray, but the other--smaller, almost dwarfed by her tormentor's bulk--looks back at the boy with eyes that plead for rescue.

Eyes of solid color, so much like his own. Eyes of deepest azure.


+ + +

His lashes flew open wide as Ebon awoke suddenly, the night's silence broken only by the gentle rhythm of Phen's breathing beside him. It had been a dream, nothing more. A dream that he thought had been banished from his sleeping hours years before, after Bram's mindwar.

Why was it haunting him again?

After kissing his wife's forehead as she slept, Ebon rose and crossed the bedroom to the nursery alcove where Olivia lay in her crib, the charm gifted by Colleen keeping her safe. Then he threw a robe on over his nightclothes and slipped out of the room and down the hall, towards the children's rooms Doran was at the manor, but his other daughter remained here at the townhouse. "Azure," he whispered, easing the door open and softly stepping inside. Had the dream's return been a warning from her namesake that the child was in danger?

No. She slumbered peacefully, protected as her sister was by a charm. She was safe.

Yes, she's safe from me. For now.

The voice came from behind him, and Ebon's black eyes turned white-hot with fury as he spun around to see... nobody.

Then mocking laughter echoed in his ears, fading as if moving away, drawing him out. He followed that laugh through the townhouse, downstairs and out into the courtyard. "Enough!" he hissed, eyes still blazing. "Show yourself, you monster!"

Certainly. A speck of light flashed past, and another and another, building up with larger shapes interspersed, like something exploding in reverse. Which, in fact, is exactly what it was.

When it was done, a translucent figure stood before Ebon, clad in fine robes and topped with an ornate crown. Yet beneath that crown, the eye sockets lay open and empty, save for two cold, orange pinpoints of light. "Well, boy?" the apparition asked with a sneer. "Aren't you going to kneel before the Kyrul, your lord and master?"
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Re: Old Ghosts & Vengeance

Post by Ebon Ilnaren » Mon May 13, 2019 10:12 pm

Ebon spat in reply, the gob passing through the ghost's face. "You are nothing! I destroyed you!"

"You killed me, boy. Tore my body into shreds as your nascent psionic gift, so long repressed, erupted in your fury. Alas, too late to save your darling sister from my blade." The Kyrul smirked with utter contempt as a rock leapt from the ground, flying towards him and past without impact. "You failed to save her, and you failed to avenge her. My mind, my essence... what the simpletons in this festering sore would call my spirit, that survived. I survived, though it took me decades to draw myself back together."

If this ghost, or whatever it was, felt like talking, Ebon was willing to let it talk while he marshalled his strength. "I'd say that's a sign that you're not as powerful as you believed, eh? Took you well over a century to get as far as an intangible image."

The Kyrul shot him an enraged glare, which quickly fell away to be replaced by a self-satisfied smirk. "Perhaps, but I've been whispering in the ears of many a mind back home, keeping their hate alive and festering, feeding on the memories of you and your little rebellion, until they come to tear your life apart."

Ebon's lips pressed together in a thin, hard line. "They tried that already, over a decade ago. It cost the life of a bright-hearted young man, corrupted by lies and madness." He gave a cold smile. "If they come back for more-"

"If?" The Kyrul cut him off, his expression a mask of mischief. "If they come back? Oh, my delightful boy!" He floated closer, leaning in with cruel malice in his eyes. "How do you know my faithful children are not already here?"

The question caught Ebon off-guard; he blinked, and in that moment the ghostly tyrant's hands plunged into his chest, and he screamed!
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Re: Old Ghosts & Vengeance

Post by Ebon Ilnaren » Mon May 13, 2019 10:14 pm

The city around them had changed, grown indistinct; a faint mist hovered in the air. Ebon shoved the Kyrul away from him and moved into a fighting stance. "You'll have to be quicker than that to bring... me down." Realization struck at that moment.

He had touched the ghost.

Dark eyes turned towards the Kyrul. "What have you done?" Without waiting for a reply, he reached out with his mind to the rock he'd used earlier. If I can touch him, then this should- It didn't move.

"Hah!" Mocking laughter rang in Ebon's ears. "I've brought you into the realm of spirit, boy! You can no more touch the physical world with your mind than you can with your body! But I can touch you!" The Kyrul's fingers lengthened, stretching into lethal talons, and he leapt at Ebon, raking those claws across the man's chest. "Touch you, and hurt you!"

Ebon rolled with the attack, managing to turn a deep slice into a painful but bearable cut. He sprang to his feet and circled, keeping his attention focused on his foe. "You need to catch me first." Lunging to one side, he ducked under the Kyrul's counter and punched hard several times before finishing with a jumping kick that would've cracked the ribs of a living man and moving away once more. "Remember, though, that if I'm in your reach, you're in mine!"

The Kyrul's ghostly form lay still for a moment. Then his eyes flew open and turned towards Ebon. "You think so?" Both of his arms lashed out, lengthening to cross the distance between the two combatants. One hand gripped Ebon by the throat while the other took hold of his left arm and pulled. Feeling his shoulder tearing and dislocating, Ebon stifled a cry, not wanting to give the other any satisfaction.

Standing, the Kyrul approached his prey, still holding him fast. "Fool. I have had years to acclimate my consciousness to this realm!" The hand at Ebon's throat dropped low, once more shaping into talons that punched at his gut, driving deep within. "You never had a chance."

He is wrong, Ebon. A faint voice seemed to whisper in his ear. You have the strength of mind. You can defeat him!

As his captive slumped in his grip, the Kyrul released Ebon to drop into a heap at his feet. He leaned low, smirking in victory as he taunted the man. "I will enjoy having your essence in chains within as I possess your body, and with it, your life. Pity your wife and family, slain by unknown assailants before you could stop them. Your mongrel friends will die, and the people of this wretched city will weep as their children are taken forever at the slaves of my flock, and through it all you will watch through my eyes, your own no longer!" Pausing in his rant, the tyrant looked to the man lying before him. "Doesn't that just fill your heart with despair, with impotent rage?"

"No." Ebon's voice was low, but it held an determined edge like cold steel. "Because I won't let that happen."

Invisible waves of mental force flooded from Ebon, slamming into the Kyrul and lifting him high into the air. He gasped and tried to regain his grip, but his taloned fingers snapped and broke, dissolving into mist. It was the Kyrul's turn to scream. "AAAAAAAAAAAGH! How?!"

Standing, Ebon looked up at him, the ragged hole in his gut closing as his dislocated shoulder righted itself. "You talk too much." White fires gleamed in the depths of his jet-black eyes, and the force that held the Kyrul gripped more tightly. "You should have finished me quickly, before I had time to realize the truth of your earlier words, that my mind and body had the same limitations of touch. Of course, they also had the same abilities, so if my body could touch you, hold you, hurt you... so could my mind."

"You can't hold me here forever, though, boy!" The Kyrul's words were spewed like a cobra's venom. "You are still bound by the flesh, however strong your gifts. Even if you entrap me, in time you'll tire and then... you're mine!"
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Ebon Ilnaren
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Re: Old Ghosts & Vengeance

Post by Ebon Ilnaren » Mon May 13, 2019 10:14 pm

"No."

The voice came from behind the Kyrul, and as Ebon lowered him to the ground, he spied a new spirit. It was a young girl, maybe 12 years old, with pure-blue eyes that seemed to shine in this unreal realm. "You."

The girl looked at him. "We're taking you beyond this life." Behind her, two other figures coalesced from the mist. One was an older man, tall and lean; the other a short woman whose essence radiated a quiet magic.

Ebon blinked in shock, recognizing them all. "Azure? Doran?" He looked to the third. "Elspeth? You're...?"

"Dead?" The woman smiled softly and nodded. "I went into peace with dignity, brother of my heart."

"It's time we were going back there," added the tall man, Doran, as he strode over to grip the Kyrul by the arm. "That which gave this one leave to trouble you will soon be done, and I'd rather he were brought to his... just reward."

Though he struggled, the tyrant could not slip from the older man's grasp. "I'll see you ALL burn forever in agony for this!"

"Be silent." Doran turned to regard Ebon with a smile. "You honor all that I taught you. I'm proud of, lad."

"I named my son after you, Sar Doran."

The man's smile widened, and he gave a little nod. "Teach him as I did you, and he will do us both proud."

The woman, Elspeth, moved to take hold of the Kyrul's other arm. Then she also looked at Ebon. "Remember me, brother, when you discover our shared legacy." Seeing the questioning look on his face, she shook her head.

Stepping forward, Azure stood before her brother, looking up at him. She held up her hand, and placed it against Ebon's chest.

+ + +

Without warning, Ebon found himself lying on the ground in the courtyard of his townhome. There was no sign of the Kyrul, or of Doran and Elspeth... but the spectral form of Azure stood there, her glowing blue eyes watching him as he rose. "I can't stay."

He smiled, and was surprised to find a tear rolling down one cheek. "I miss you."

"We miss you too, Mama and Papa and me... but we can wait. Don't be in a hurry to join us." She smiled, a warm smile that eased the ache in his heart. "Be good to her, even if she isn't me. Please?"

Ebon was confused, but it seemed to be a night for spiritual enigmas, and so he nodded back. "I will. For you."

A little ghostly hand raised up and waved while Azure began to fade. "Goodbye, brother. Love you!"

Even after she had vanished from sight and the dawn was creeping up in the east, Ebon stood there, still as a statue. Finally he stirred and turned to go back inside. In the doorway, though, he paused and looked back. "Love you too, little sister. Goodbye."
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