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PostPosted: Fri May 02, 2014 3:49 pm 
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Molcru’s Mercy
by BeastEngine
Status: Private :bmelee:


Molcru looked down at the burnt, smoking body of the dead spawnling lying in the underbrush.



It was a grotesque creature. Its hide, where not blackened by whatever had killed it, was black and green in color. Its skin was mottled and wet, like mold growing on piece of fruit. Its construction was simplistic, possessing a torso and featureless, asymmetrical head. Its legs were thick, forward-jointed and ended in round structures similar to hooves, but with less definition, and comprised of what appeared to be an amalgamated substance between wood and bone. It had no visible arms, but Molcru knew that they could extrude many sharp tentacles from their backs and sides at will.



He knew this because he had grown the spawnlings himself.



Finding a dead one disturbed Molcru. They had been bred to be essentially indestructible, growing back from any physical or chemical trauma almost instantly. Whatever had killed this spawnling was strong enough to disrupt its regenerative mechanisms from the inside. This could only be done with magic, and strong magic at that.



Molcru rose from his crouching position and smelled the air. The olfactory receptors in his skin detected traces of ozone and smoke. Electricity and fire had been used in the area, and recently. And the blast had been strong enough to kill one of his spawnlings. One of his children. They were under orders not to attack other sentient beings and to only defend themselves if attacked. Someone killed this creature in an unprovoked attack.



Molcru vowed to make them pay. The spawnlings may not have been the smartest or cleverest beings ever born, but they had thoughts, and they had feelings. And they were his children. Whoever had murdered this one would suffer his vengeance.



He began to run through the forest, smashing aside small trees and crushing the undergrowth beneath his metal boots. The ground shook beneath his feet with every step, and he felt the local wildlife scatter and flee before him. He did not blame them. In the past, before he had gained complete control over his abilities, he had brought extinction to an entire section of the forest, and the land still remembered the walking death that lived within it.



He considered his enemy, following the trail of smells that was still fresh upon the air. Few mortals and non-'walkers were capable of mustering the power necessary to permanently kill a spawnling. This assailant was either an extremely powerful mage or a planeswalker, which raised several questions, the first that came to mind was, If the culprit was a planeswalker, why would he or she bother to kill one of his spawnlings? They were innocent, stupid beings, incapable of harming others without being harmed first; barely qualifying for sentience. Second, what was the purpose of committing this violence in such an obvious and unsubtle manner? Even pyromancers were occasionally capable of subtlety, but this attack was not. They had left a trail that would be obvious to anyone with a sense of smell as advanced as Molcru's.



This individual was either reckless, stupid, or extremely clever and leading Molcru into a trap. If this was the case, he was unafraid. He had had many challengers and enemies in the past, and he had outlasted every one of them. If this upstart wanted a fight, then fight would be had.



As he crashed through the forest at speed, the smell became more intense. Definitely smoke, with traces of ionized air. Molcru assumed that both fire and electricity were to be used against him, and neither worried him unduly. This offender would have to do better than that.



Beneath his armor, Molcru's flesh began to writhe. He summoned some mana, then directed it across his body, willing the flourishing of microorganisms that grew there to produce a noxious gas that gathered beneath the ports in his armor. This contagion was specifically targeted against several species of sentient being, some of which were human, vedalken, and goblin. It was not lethal, but paralytic and extremely fast-acting. Any of the target races that took a breath of the gas would be instantly rendered motionless.



The smell was thick now. There was smoke in the forest, and its source was close. A tentacle reached from his back and wrapped around his axe's handle, ready to tear it from its clasp and transfer it to his hand.



He stopped running, and pushed aside a dead tree, entering a clearing. Sunlight filtered down through the thin leaves above, but it had to struggle against the cloud of smoke that filled the area.



Its source was a bonfire that had been lit upon the bare ground. The flames rose from not only a pile of wood, but from several shriveling carcasses that were piled atop the lumber, all of which were spawnlings. There were five or six of them, their flesh burning away, exposing the bones beneath.



Molcru willed his rage to lie still, as he noticed another figure from across the fire. He reabsorbed the nerve agent, unsure of his next move.



The figure was slight, and male. Molcru guessed human. He was dressed in simple cotton robes of red and brown. The hair was short and brown, and the skin was pale. He was three heads shorter than Molcru and hundreds of pounds lighter. The figure had been staring at Molcru from the second he had entered, with eyes momentarily widened. They then narrowed, and a smirk flickered across his features.



The boy, or man, it was difficult to tell which, spoke with a voice that confirmed Molcru's suspicion that he was very young, barely past biological maturity.



“What are you? The abomination that created these... things?”



The yellow lights in Molcru's empty eye sockets flared. His voice rumbled, “Yes.”



“They're pathetic. Disgusting beasts.”



“Why did you do this?”



“I just told you. Disgusting. Beasts. They needed to be put down.”



Molcru was silent for a moment, amazed by the child's arrogance, especially in the face of one so much larger than he. Molcru's size had sent more than one band of mercenaries screaming for the hills before he even had the chance to reach for a weapon. Yet this young one was deliberately insulting him.



The planeswalker said, “You will be punished.”



The boy said, “By who, you? I think not, monster. I hold power unimaginable. Magics that will reduce you to ashes and blackened bones. What are you, some bastard product of undeath? Some necromancer's failed experiment?”



Molcru replied simply, “No,” and rushed forward, smashing through the bonfire as easily as he could have plywood, the flames having no effect on his body.



The boy smirked, as though this were exactly what he had wanted. He held up a hand, and a fireball the size of Molcru's own fist appeared before his palm, floating in midair. He pushed it and it flew as though it had been blasted from a cannon, directly toward Molcru's chest.



The blast splashed against his armor and dissipated. Molcru did not slow.



The boy's eyes went wide and he jumped to the side, narrowly dodging Molcru as he crashed past and slammed into a thick, living tree, splintering it badly and nearly splitting it in half. He gathered some mana briefly and converted it into a healing agent that he splashed against the tree, which would repair the damage completely within minutes.



He reached out a long arm to grasp the youth by the waist, but the boy slipped just past him and ducked behind. Molcru felt another fireball slam into his back, with no results, then a sharp curse from the boy. The armored giant whirled around, and managed to clip the boy against the shoulder with the corner of a gauntleted fist. The pyromancer went tumbling head over heels, slamming into a tree on the far end of the clearing.



Molcru observed him calmly. He was slumped against the tree's trunk, dazed and bleeding from his arm and head, the blood trickling down around his nose and past his mouth in a small rivulet. His eyes were closed and he was murmuring something indistinct.



The planeswalker stomped toward the stunned youth. “Ability does not beget necessity, child.”



The boy chuckled, eyes still closed. He was in pain, and his humerus appeared to be broken. Molcru came to within feet of the boy, and reached down with his right arm. His hand eclipsed the boy's entire torso, and he lifted him to eye level. He was careful to avoid touching the broken arm. He grated, “Your arrogance exceeds your power, young planeswalker.” The eyes opened. “Yes. I can feel your spark. It is bright within you, yet you are indeed very young.”



The eyes looked directly into Molcru's eye sockets. There were literal flames burning within them. He snarled, “Eat this, corpse.”



The air around both of them flared immediately into a towering inferno that rushed skyward, seemingly bursting from below. Molcru saw flashing strips of lightning flickering within the engulfing flames all around them. The flesh that clung to Molcru's skull was singed slightly, but grew ferociously against the fire, refusing to stay burned.



The flames disappeared, leaving a charred circle around the both of them, and the leaves in the boughs above their heads had evaporated. The outer plates of Molcru's armor were glowing red, but he could not feel it. The boy apparently couldn't either, so Molcru held him still.



“No... That blast would have fried a thoctar.”



“I am not a thoctar.”



“No. You're worse.”



Molcru was quiet for a small moment. He then said, “Why are you a murderer?”



“A what?”



Molcru did not reply. The yellow lights in his head flickered slightly.



“I'm not a murderer.”



Molcru said nothing.



“Killing you or your beasts doesn't count as murder. You aren't a person.”



Again, Molcru replied with silence.



It hung for several moments before the youth shouted, “What do you want?!”



Molcru said simply, “Penance.”



The boy laughed. “Penance for what? Trying to clean up this plane? Trying to rid the multiverse of a bit of undead filth?”



“If that is what you call it, then yes. I am not filth. My children are not filth. To me, you are filth. You judged. You persecuted. You invaded. And you murdered. You may have the spark, but I also have it. Today, you have made a grave mistake. Now, you will give me a reason not to devour you for your impudence.”



The boy appeared unsure for the first time since the beginning of their engagement. “Those things are your children?”



“I created them. They are a part of me. You murdered them, and they had done nothing to you.”



“I didn't... You're a planeswalker too?”



“Yes.”



The boy began to shake. “I didn't know. I thought... they weren't natural. You weren't. I didn't know they were alive.”



Molcru was silent.



“Stars above, I didn't know. My father... he was a purifier, on Borgad. He cleansed undead. He taught me everything. The undead are filth. Monsters to be destroyed. But you...”



“I am everything you are, child. And more. Your father may have done the right thing. But you have not. You must pay for your crimes.”



The boy began to panic, tears falling from his eyes. “No! No, please, have mercy, I'm sorry, I didn't know! I had no idea you or your animals were alive! Please don't kill me, I didn't know, please!”



Molcru said nothing, watching the boy weep and sob in his hand. Over a half dozen of his spawnlings were now dead by this boy's hand. Yet...



“I will not kill you.”



The boy looked up, his eyes wide. “You won't?”



“No. You are stupid. You are rash, impulsive, and judgmental. But you are young. And you have many lessons to learn. I hope that you learn one from this.”



The boy hung his head, “I have. Gods, I have.”



“However. You could be lying. So I will provide a more practical lesson.”



Molcru's skeletal jaw opened. A single tentacle emerged from between the bony rows of bare teeth, then another. A group of greenish-black strands writhed inside his mouth. He reached up with his free hand and pulled the thing out, revealing its form. It was a small creature resembling a spider, with long, fine tentacles in place of legs. The limbs whipped and squirmed sickeningly in the air as Molcru held it.



The giant said, “This parasite will live inside you for one of your biological years. During that time it will report to me through the aether of your whereabouts and activities. You will not be able to planeswalk it out, nor will any known medication dislodge it from your body. Only I can remove it before it dies naturally. Now. The implantation process is extremely painful. Steel yourself.”



The hand with the parasite moved toward the boy's head. He screamed, “No! No dear gods I'll do anything, anything you want! You don't have to do this!”



“Silence. This is my gift to you. If you refuse my gift, I will be forced to kill you. It is this, or die. Choose.”



The boy whimpered and moaned, but said, “Fine, yes, I'm so sorry...”



For a moment, Molcru's voice seemed tinged by a small sorrow. “I know.”



He placed the parasite on the boy's shoulder, and it promptly crawled at Molcru's mental orders toward the right ear. It slithered its tentacles inside, then pulled its body in. The boy's screams tore through the air, birds and squirrels darted from their resting points, away from the noise.



He let the boy down, and he screamed and writhed and twisted on the ground, clawing at his ear and head. Molcru knew that it would be the most excruciating pain of his life so far, but the parasite had been told to put him to sleep afterward. Upon waking, the boy would feel no pain at all, and it would be as if the parasite were never there. It would be, however. And it would tell Molcru every detail about the boy's activities until the boy reached a specific age. Then it would die.



The undead giant stomped away, turning against the boy's cries of terror. He sincerely hoped that something would be taken away from his experience. It would be a shame for the boy to fall once more, and to be hunted down and killed by Molcru. He did not want to do that, but if the boy truly was evil, it would only be the right thing to do.



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