By Pety

Yennifer laid in her bed, crying tears of relief. While it was unlikely he would harm her when she told him of the baby, the girl could never have dreamed he would be happy or want to marry her. Lord Bhludo had been very clear that he did not want children and that the position in his home was to pleasure him and keep out of his way while he worked. When her parents were killed in the last major war with the Virsmen, she managed to keep the home on their small farm. For a while she managed, but soon found she could not maintain the farm alone. Having no other options, Yennifer sold the farm. Yennifer knew there were not many options for an inexperienced girl to maintain a living in the city. As luck would have it though, Yennifer found employment in the home of a noble as governess to his child. It was only a week before Lord Bhludo visited the man and, upon seeing her, bargained with her employer to acquire the girl for his own household. The noble, wishing to impress his friend, agreed and she was sent home with him, carrying her few possessions. It was only after finding he had no children for her to teach and her first night there, that she realized her position was to be his concubine. Well, he was also somewhat handsome, and she liked sex. Having no other options she decided to remain until she had saved up enough money to find some place better.

The idea of staying for sex and tolerating his touch as services rendered was flipped on its head when Yennifer realized she was with child.  As the last tear fell, Yennifer smiled and touched her belly. She had always wanted to be a mother. She would love this child and in turn her child would love her and depend on her. Simply being this child’s mother would make her life have meaning and a greater purpose. Teaching this child to be strong and independent would be the most meaningful task she would ever complete. Hopefully she would never find herself in a similar circumstance, and yet, now she was crying because she was so happy. This was so confusing. She would be a good mother- that was all she could do. Hopefully, luck would find its way into her baby’s life, like it had hers. She would also pass on her gift of Earth Magic. Lord Bhludo did not know she had the power. It was her secret, as she thought any show of strength or independence would infuriate him. 

Lord Bhludo paced his study, filled with anticipation. How fortunate that he did not have long to wait to share his find with Rebika! They met regularly to discuss their plan and spending that time together had deepened their friendship. Finally, he had the answer for the missing ingredient to cast the spell. He could cast the spell any time, now that he had the blood of his lineage, here, in the belly of that woman. The spell could have her! A man such as he had no use for a little fool, or a woman unable to control something as basic as her own fertility. He scoffed, imagining the infestation he could have had in a few years. There would have been brats, leeching his funds and making trouble for him in the streets. It was disgusting to imagine! As a light knock sounded on his study door, he knew it was Rebika. His friend was allowed to enter his home without announcing herself. As her beauty filled the doorway, he wondered how the little sow in the other room had ever caught his eye. 

Rebika knew immediately that Lord Bhludo had solved his little problem with the spell she wanted him to cast. The man beamed at her, very obviously pleased with himself. Stifling the urge to roll her eyes, Rebika smiled at him and, in her most sultry voice, asked, “My Lord, you look excited. Do you have news?” Lord Bhludo smiled proudly and said, “My lady, I have the blood. When can we start?” Rebika reached into her robes and removed a piece of parchment, placing it on a desk in such a way that he could not see. “I shall have the answers, shortly.” Rebika responded as she withdrew a pen and began writing in a language he did not know. The script soaked into the page and disappeared. Less than a minute later, new writing appeared in its place, then also faded. Nodding to herself, Rebika folded the parchment and put it back in her robes before continuing, “My Lord, we may cast the spell tomorrow night. I will bring the target. You bring the ingredient, unharmed. We shall meet in the meadow behind your house, at dusk. Those that must witness your great feat will be near. Tell no one of this plan.” “As ever, my discretion will be absolute,” the Lord answered.  Rebika turned and left the room and his manor as silently as she had entered.

The following night, Lord Bhludo told Yennifer he wished to show her some changes being made to the stables. He planned to buy her a horse and wished for her approval to the pen being added. Shocked at the unexpected generosity, Yennifer was nervous about the outing. She could not refuse, however, so when he told her to join him, she did. They walked together into the backyard and further into the meadow. As they reached the stables, Lord Bhludo kept walking, clearly looking for something. As his eyes darted around, Yennifer became frightened. Something was definitely strange about this outing. A very lovely woman, wearing dark robes, walked out of the trees from beyond the meadow. She approached with a serene smile, obviously expecting a welcome. Yennifer looked up at Lord Bhludo and felt her heart drop as she saw the adoration on his face. If he loved this woman, bringing her here could not be a good thing. The woman ignored her completely and embraced the Lord. She surprised him by giving him a generous kiss on his lips. As she pulled back from the kiss, Rebika whispered that they were being watched. By the tone of her voice and the kiss he had just received, Lord Bhulto understood that being watched was a good thing. Just as Lord Bhludo was about to reply, a voice called out from within the trees. A man called out, “Hello, there! Lord Bhludo? It is I, Dhanky.” Lord Bhludo mumbled, Did he say donkey? Lord Bhludo thought, as he asked Rebika, “Who is this?” Rebika responded to Dhanky first, as she called toward the trees, “Yes, young man, join us! We are ready to make our trade.” Rebika turned so her voice would not carry and whispered to Lord Bhludo, “He does not know he is the target and thinks we are trading spell information. When the fool gets here, cast immediately.” 

Lord Bhludo felt his heart race. It was finally time to prove himself to Rebika! The powerful mages she worked with would see his might and accept him as one of their own! As the young man emerged from the trees and jogged over to them, Lord Bhludo immediately began casting. He spoke the words of power prepared with Rebika’s help and targeted the unsuspecting young man. The mage felt the Eldritch power build and pull from his right, where Yennifer stood, trembling. Unseen by Lord Bhludo, as his concentration was focused on his casting, Yennifer dropped to her knees grabbing at her belly.  Lord Bhludo thrust the might of the spell toward the young man, who was watching with shock plain on his face. Instead of the man disappearing, as Lord Bhludo expected, he began to scream. Gaps formed in his face as he held up his arms, looking at them in horror, as they were both slowly eaten away. Then the man’s cheeks were dissolved, allowing his tongue to hang loosely over his jaw.  After that, the process grew rapidly and the green energy, starting from his head, turned the body to ash. The form collapsed to the ground. Dhanky had moaned at first, but once his head had turned to ash, the only sound heard had been a sizzling as the body was consumed. While everyone present had stood still, watching the man’s body be destroyed, Yennifer clutched at her belly in horror. As the last energies of the spell destroyed Dhanky, Yennifer screamed as a searing pain started in her womb. Already kneeling, she tried to move towards Lord Bhludo, but was locked in place by the pain. Even through the pain, she cared not for herself and pleaded, “No! Please! Not the baby! Not the baby!” Through the excruciating pain she focused her gaze on Lord Bhludo, pleading with him accusingly, “What have you done, you monster?!” Lord Bhludo looked at her with disdain and snarled, “You will serve me again, shrew, now stop complaining!” He was drawing his foot back to kick her, when Yennifer’s head tilted up and she screamed to the heavens above as her insides were scraped repeatedly by the magic, coursing through her and hungry for its payment. The young woman’s middle dissolved and then gaped open as the magic ate through her and continued to flow throughout her body.  The process was so fast that gravity had no time to pull the upper half of her body to the ground as her middle was completely devoured by a blaze of green Eldritch fire that turned to blue at its tips. Green and blue fire continued up her chest, devouring her breasts, then her neck and then her head.  Simultaneously the flames traveled down her torso to her groin then her thighs, legs and feet until there was only bone that turned to dust before dissolving from sight.  Not even dust was left where Yennifer had been.

After watching Yennifer fade to nothing, Rebika stepped a small distance away and called Lord Bhludo over to talk, “That was disturbing to watch, but let us move on.” Lord Bhludo obeyed, walked over to her, and asked, “What happened? He was supposed to disappear…” Rebika waved a hand in dismissal and said, “This was a test; you knew that. We needed to get rid of someone in our way. That is done. You will be welcomed into our ranks, now.” Lord Bhludo narrowed his eyes and said, “Yes, I do not care to be misled, but it is more important that your friends have seen what I can do. I am interested in reaching my potential… and in seeing where we can take our friendship.” He gazed into Rebika’s eyes as he remembered the kiss,“I feel like I am meant to be with you.” Rebika smiled encouragingly, then turned to the trees. She waved in that direction and said, “I must leave. I will join the other mages and speak with you soon. Tell no one of what has occurred this night.” Lord Bhludo watched her walk away, then gasped. He had not taken the ring back from Yennifer! His mother’s ring, the powerful gift she had left for him when she died, it must have fallen to the ground when she was consumed! Lord Bhludo searched desperately on the ground where Yennifer’s body had been destroyed, but… it was gone. The Eldritch fire must have destroyed the precious jewelry when he cast the spell. 

Time passed. After all who had been present had gone, an awareness arose in the space where the terrible event had occurred. Rage, loss, and horror rose in a keening wail as a thick, white mist arose from the ground. A grief-filled mockery of Yennifer’s face could barely be discerned on the visage of this beautiful, yet horrifying creature. It began to coast through the air and headed into the trees, fueled by hate and fury, searching for the man that had destroyed her child.

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