Her smile at the newly arrived man wasn’t warm, but… Lucretia couldn’t deny her satisfaction in the case of this individual. Even now that her sharp personality had been mollified somewhat by decompressing inside of Randidly. For all that she lost her sharpness, she still enjoyed the twisted nature of human emotion.
“Welcome back Claptrap.”
Claptrap shrugged at her, giving Lucretia a brief pulse of annoyance. But the young kid was relatively quiet now. Even when Lucretia turned back up in Tellus and compelled him to begin to work for her, he seemed to take it completely in stride.
Was this the rare teenage angst she had missed in both Shal and Randidly…?
Either way, Claptrap placed the heart and brain of the Witch King onto the table, dripping Wight blood across Lucretia’s formation. With a cough, she waved a hand blew the gunk away with pure force. His mission accomplished, Lucretia watched as Claptrap crossed the room and crouched in the corner.
She frowned at him. He was altogether too silent for how broken and haunted his eyes looked. If she had more time…
But no. The fear was back, pressing down on her. Not only was her body limited by a lifespan which she wasn’t even sure of, but also there was this oppressive fatalism that was slowly growing from that dark corner of her brain. Lucretia fought and fought against that feeling, but still, it grew. She had even wondered if actual fighting would help, so she lashed out at some spear users and some Wights to test her Skills.
Nothing changed. She needed it to stop.
Karma was about symbols. With all three pieces present, Lucretia began the ceremony. “Marco, the mirror.”
With a huff, Marco Polo carried the large mirror over to the altar. Lucretia walked to join him, while Claptrap remained in the corner, watching with sharp eyes. Even now, the poisonous emotions roiling off of him tempted Lucretia so badly. He had sacrificed so much for her assistance the first time. Now, that desperation would mean Claptrap would gamble away ten times that much.
But no, she could not dwell on it. If she didn’t address this problem as quickly as possible…
The fear in her was irritation, Lucretia knew, but it was hard to escape it. Her time in Randidly was an escape in a way. Her lack of substance meant she wasn’t mortal. But now… Those freedoms she had relished in could be the death of her.
Lucretia began with the chains. With great care, she wrapped the chains around her head and torso. The metal was extremely precious and so heavy that even Lucretia had difficulty standing under their weight. She spared Marco a glance. He had what was perhaps the most difficult mission; breaking into the grave of the Spearman, which was maintained without a body, and retrieve some of the metal stored there. The idea was to have a binding weighted with age.
In addition, it worked well because Lucretia was technically a contemporary of the Spearman. She had never met the man, but she had heard much about him.
Next, she took the brain of the Witch King and ate it. The meat was chewy and cold, but she forced it down. Then she squeezed the blood from the heart into a wooden bowl and retrieved a brush from her interspatial ring. With great care, she began drawing symbols on her body. Lucretia’s best guess was that the sense of fatalism emerging inside of herself was related to accomplishing the goal that she had been created for. Her role as a Wight hiding amongst Tellites was over. She only needed to find out why, and who set her to this.
After there were three symbols on her hands and feet and one between her eyes, Lucretia drank the rest of the blood. Instantly, the symbols on her body began to tingle.
Finally, she turned to the head of the Yeti and grabbed it. It opened its mouth to roar, and a low roar actually came out. It was so shocked by the noise that it froze, looking at her with a slack jaw. Ignoring it, Lucretia continued to remove the bindings she had placed upon it. Very soon it roared again, and the temperature in the cave rapidly dropped. It wasn’t overly oppressive, because much of its strength had been siphoned to form a weapon for Claptrap. But it was still a proud and advanced creature, and its images were from a higher plain.
“You will all pay for this,” The yeti bellowed. Its body began to form, and Lucretia tossed it back onto the stone altar. Very soon a torso had formed, and then arms, and finally legs. It stood in an explosion of freezing energy-
-energy which was absorbed by the runes of the stone altar, causing them to flicker to life. Instantly there was a low humming in the room. The strange sonic interference caused the yeti’s face to go blank for several seconds before its expression twisted into a snarl. It reached out and raised its hand. Power flooded to that hand, forming a thick blade of ice.
The ambient Aether of the System gathered, channeled by the runes on the altar. They brightened to almost blinding now. Almost helpless, the yeti struck out, although it seemed to realize at the last second that this was exactly what Lucretia had brought it here for. It wasn’t her original plan for the yeti, but she no longer believed that escaping to a higher realm would solve the possibility of her death.
The humming grew to a roar. The yeti had been muted again, but this was due to being completely blanketed by the sound of the altar. Above, Lucretia guessed the clouds would begin swirling as they gathered the already thin Aether in the air to empower the attack from the Yeti. The System truly did everything it could to help its Judgements.
Quick as lightning, the blow fell. It struck the chains that Lucretia wore almost as a veil around her face. The blood symbols flashed hot, and then hotter. So hot that Lucretia felt her skin blister and scar. The chains shattered. There was a whooshing noise as the Judgement imploded from feedback from channeling so much Aether in its body.
Lucretia collapsed and look up at the ceiling. Her eyes were glowing lavender. And she was remembering.
“Selfia!” Lucretia gasped, feeling pleased in spite of herself.
Her one-time rival and litter mate Selfia looked sharply up. For several seconds, Selfia’s eyes were filled with confusion as she looked at Lucretia. Honestly, Lucretia didn’t blame her. She wondered if Selfia even remembered her. After she had struggled so hard to free up her pitiful memories of being born in Icklid…
Once she had freed them, of course, several things happened. First, she remembered how to return to the world of the Wights. Second, that strange fatalism had grown stronger. Lucretia remembered the concept of the Propagator, and what that existence meant to her. A sense of dread and awe filled her. These were the beings that she instinctively remembered she had to fear.
Third, Lucretia realized she was sure as hell not going to go down quietly. If it couldn’t be avoided, she would twist until she came out on top.
When Lucretia began her journey to return, she was shocked to discover that the Ways had been expanded far beyond what they had been previously. Therefore, it had taken her quite a while to work her way through the new pathways and find a way back to Icklid, her birthplace.
Icklid, the chariot of the Autarch. The city that mobilized the Wight populous. The tallest heap of shit in a world that festered and spawned rather than grew.
The city had been shifted right to the edge of the portal between the worlds. It made sense, considering how far along the attack on Tellus had progressed. That was worrisome. Because one of the things that Lucretia remembered was how much Wights used to fear the people of Tellus. If things changed, perhaps her preparations would be insufficient.
She had grown. Grown far more and far faster than any had expected, probably more than any knew or expected. Even the Autarch.
Although she had been constructed by the Autarch with the ability to Level, she had not utilized it very effectively in the beginning. She relied on her innate racial powers, largely ignoring the Levels. It was only with her encounter with Aemont that she realized their power. And perhaps that was why she had been overwhelmed with emotions towards him.
“Who-” Selfia said as she jumped to her feet. She was likely posted here to watched the private Way utilized by the group of beings that had been designed by the Autarch. If Lucretia had simply given in to that fatalism in her head, her instincts would have led her here perfectly. It was annoying that it had taken her so long consciously to do what would have been simplicity to accomplish by relying on her memory.