PRELUDECharnel clay churned, bones cracked between the gears, pulverized into the muck below. Spreading across the terrain like a liquid plague, quicksand made of trapped souls and organic decay. Spreading, stretching, spreading, stretching; grotesque growth increasing for miles, corpses of a thousand dead multiplied the mire. Evolving with microbes, new genus of peregrine diseases flourished in the biotic bog. In the primal fields stood a pulsating structure, shaped by lobes of dripping matter, slicked with the saliva of strange glistened beneath the full moon. Sectioned nodes fluctuated with movement as they writhed to the beat of Golgotha. Chunks of putrefaction contracted, and hit the ground with sickening splats, as the landscape developed. The clouds passing traveled with speed, manifesting fleeting shadows that obscured the bridge, allowing fear to overcome the senses without the clarity of the moon’s light. The smell of death permeated the air, dominating the senses with reflex to vomit, steam rolling from the sludge as it roiled, exposing centuries of waste and desecration. The structure was domed, with the curvature and angles of a skull, mangled mouth frozen in a scream, splintered wood saturated and festering served as a strait to the iniquitous sepulcher.
Gersholm parted the algae of the frozen mouth with his scepter, revealing the inside of the structure. Gnarled vines oozed with malady, and the shifting of the structure groaned and rattled like a soundtrack of death. The inside of the sepulcher burnt the nose with pungent aroma, the sickening sweet smell of rotten meat, so strong it overwhelmed the senses and stuck on the tongue. Gersholm’s eyes watered profusely as he pulled up the collar of his cloak around his nose and mouth, providing a flimsy but significant barrier against the thick scents. His boots sloshed through the muck, sinking up to the eyelets and laces. Chunks of unknown squish rocked his balance, yet he dared not reach out for the only thing around him was curtains of skin, ribbed with bone and laced with hair. The organic curtains created a foyer around him, a small area of entrance.
He heard the familiar sounds of sludge-steps approaching him, the ill noise of suction as the unknown creature loomed closer. An arthritic hand grasped the bloody curtains, and pulled them back enough for the frail frame of Ungtha to step through. The woman stood no taller than four feet five inches, swathed in black linens and Anteyx fur. Upon her head was a crown of antlers and bone, entwined together.
“It’s been centuries, Gersholm.”
She addressed him by name, her voice sticky and raspy, as if her throat was full with the muck below their feet.
“You haven’t aged a year.”
She neared closer, the smell of patchouli and sandalwood provided reprieve from the decay around him. Her gnarled hand took his, bringing up to clouded eyes,
“Even your hands remain smooth.”
In one fatal plunge of his scepter, he unleashed the arcane, pulsating through her small figure with undulating light, stealing her life before she even understood the gesture. The frailty of her body did not even make a sound as it collapsed, being consumed into the manure almost instantaneously, the sepulcher hungry for new flesh, leaving naught but gurgles and bubbles were she once was.