Cannot Be Heard, Cannot Be Smelt

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Cannot Be Heard, Cannot Be Smelt

Post by SSmith on Tue Jul 30, 2013 12:32 am

Down in the dark, deep underground, Father Dagon had made a nest for itself. After a long search for the perfect mix of dankness and remoteness, hewing and moving old stone and diverting thousands of gallons of ancient, oily water had been the easy part. Down in the bowels of the earth, submerged in the muck, Dagon felt at home. It didn't need light, or any convenience contrived by the humans above. It was alone in the quiet and the dark, and that was just lovely.

Oh, Dagon knew that, eventually, the rest of the pack would wind their way down through the old tunnels and the new tunnels, into the rougher patches that would eventually be allowed to suckle at the city's electric teat. Dagon knew that the rest of the pack would require access to certain... amenities... even when availing themselves of the newly dug crypts.

At present, however, Dagon's only company was the swarm of eels it had brought from offshore of Brunot Island. They would either adapt to their new, lightless environment and their new diet of whatever horrid, colorless grubs and insects could be found in the muck, or they would die. Dagon itself had very little concern for the fate of the creatures. After all, only the strongest, hungriest, and most tenacious of them were likely to prove useful, with or without the aid of Dagon's poisonous blood.

Dagon waited in the damp and the dark for days, forestalling the urge to hunt for as long as it could, seeing nothing and feeling only the ripples in the sludge, the writhing of the eels, and the chewing of the worms in its own veins. It was peaceful, like a parasite-infested womb, and Dagon felt at home and almost at peace for the first time since coming to the larger city.
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Re: Cannot Be Heard, Cannot Be Smelt

Post by SSmith on Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:41 am

The rotted blood pooling under the corpse's skin was no longer nourishing Father Dagon, but the creature continued snacking on the cold gel for several days. Dagon liked the taste, and enjoyed the opportunity to share a meal with its friends. Worms surged and spilled over in the chest cavity. Maggots jittered and writhed in the eye sockets, like hungry grains of rice. Even the humble cockroach, in his thousands, darted between the festering cadaver and a dark corner, stealing scraps of whatever putrescence wasn't already otherwise claimed. Dagon contented itself with suckling at the dark, bruise-like patches on the underside of the corpse's limbs, savoring the blackened blood like fine wine.

Dagon realized that the night on which it would be expected to meet with the other Cainites was fast approaching. Recent events had driven the Nosferatu back underground, into the darkness, the better to reflect in solitude and relative peace on some of the harsher adjustments it had been forced to endure since settling in the new city. Increasingly, Dagon found that it only felt at home submerged in darkness. Over the last few days, it had sequestered itself in the black pools under the city, down in deep places where even its packmates were unlikely to come looking for it, and had scourged its flesh with starvation and discomfort. Only when its power to rise with the setting of the sun had begun to wane had it ventured aboveground to feed, dragging a transient into the abyss and allowing itself a few nights of pleasure before the dreaded return to visibility.

The time alone, nestled in the peaceful embrace of cool filth, had certainly given Dagon time to think. Many times during that brief exile, the vampire's mind had drifted back, through decades of cloudy, bloody memories, to one of the few periods of its mortal existence it still remembered clearly. When Dagon wasn't simply wallowing in solitude, or practicing rituals befitting its new role as its pack's priest, its thoughts returned to that war. It remembered warm waters, wet jungles, and so much blood spilled so far from home...
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Re: Cannot Be Heard, Cannot Be Smelt

Post by SSmith on Fri Aug 09, 2013 8:37 am

It was 1968, and the jungle was terribly hot, the air miserably thick. It was one of the worst years of the war, but Rhys was so full of eagerness and pride, so ready to prove to his country - and to his father - that he was a real "career soldier", that he almost wasn't afraid. He'd gone into the Army right after high school, eschewing college at his father's insistence that to do so was the same as "hiding" from the war "like a coward". At the time, the threat of disapproval from his father, himself a veteran of the war in Korea, frightened him more than any of the grisly tales brought home by returning soldiers earlier in the war. Soldiers on the ground, such as Rhys, were committed for a 12-month tour of duty, with incentives offered for those willing to stay longer. In the end, Rhys would remain in South Vietnam for two years and nine months.

If the most extreme horrors and war crimes that saturated the news back home actually occurred, Rhys saw very little of them. He never got used to killing, but he did get used to the threat of being killed. He never stopped believing that whatever might happen to him away from home, it was preferable to being labeled a coward by his father. He was passed from one unit to another, and then another, changed out after twelve months, and then after six, and again after six more, the way many of the soldiers he'd known had stopped counting bullets and robotically reloaded the gun after so many pulls of the trigger. Somewhere along the way, he developed a tremendous thirst for the sour rice wine some of the villagers made, and it was probably because of that that he was recalled during his fourth extension and finally put on a flight back home. He received pats on the back, and admiring remarks about his "charmed life", having never been seriously injured. Rhys hated all of it. By the end of it all, he'd altogether forgotten how to live anywhere but down in the mud.

Rhys returned home to discover that his father was sick. The stubborn old bastard had refused to allow anyone to send word to his son, and had lain dying for months, turning friends and family away. When Rhys came to see him, he was as grim and cold as ever. Unwilling to discuss the particulars of his condition, he wanted only to hear about what Rhys had accomplished in his soldiering career. He was dead within the year, and although he never praised his son, or gave any indication of pride or even approval, he did not accuse Rhys of cowardice. Rhys decided it would have to be enough, and tried to move on with his life.

By 1979, Rhys was living on the street. He'd come to appreciate the cold, preferring it to the sticky heat to which he'd grown accustomed during the war, and spent what little he could beg, borrow, or steal on alcohol, rather than on clothing. In a few short years, unable to find satisfying work, Rhys had become the very model of an urban vagrant. Strangely, however, it was a lifestyle that never quite disappointed him. For the most part, he managed to squirrel away enough spare change to keep himself in fast food and foul, cheap wine, and after walking barefoot in foreign mud, and sleeping in jungle rain, he found that the climate at home offered very little that could challenge his sense of comfort. Even if he had questioned whether more veterans had experienced the same difficulties he had in re-integrating with society, the answer - that almost none actually did - would not have surprised him. In truth, he had found his place in the warzone, and part of him had never left it. So, when the monster fell upon him, futile though such struggle might have been, Rhys put up a hell of a lot more of a fight than the creature had expected.

It never introduced itself, the thing that turned Rhys into a monster. It surged out of the darkness like a striking snake, out of an empty alley, faster than anything could have run from the other end. It bore Rhys down to the ground, and though it never spoke, Rhys could tell how surprised it was when he was the first to bite. To this day, Rhys remembers how its blood burned his gums, and he remembers the look of the thing. Utterly inhuman, eyeless, a maw full of horribly square, human-like teeth opening right out of its neck, unattached to anything like a face, or even a head. Its hands were wide, webbed claws that sliced his wrists to the bone, grasping with an inhuman grip. A black tongue lolled like a dead snake, and then all those teeth were in his throat. He remembers it killing him, and as he died he thought, "Take that, old man. Nothing human could kill me. It took this thing..."
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Re: Cannot Be Heard, Cannot Be Smelt

Post by SSmith on Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:23 am

Memories of Rhys Kendrick's life seemed, to Dagon, like dim recollections of events it had merely observed somewhere in its cloudy past. They came, unbidden, when the monster was alone, often when it most desired to indulge in unmuddied thought, and spread cracks, like a nest of varicose veins, over the landscape of the creature's mind. Those events, that life, could hold no relevance for a monster like Dagon. Rhys Kendrick never desired to sink into black, still water and lie dead and cold for days, keeping the company of eels and muck-dwelling vermin, sipping sweet, black blood from a bloated corpse. Rhys Kendrick never understood the urgency and absolute necessity of the Sabbat's war. Rhys Kendrick's entire life had been a futile attempt to live up to the standards of another bitter, ultimately inconsequential, voice amid the wet, chattering din of the human herd. Rhys Kendrick could not have become the inheritor of undiluted monstrousness that lay like a stone on the bottoms of pools, trying to wring the meaning of an ancient curse out of a clot of suffering and rage. Rhys Kendrick may as well have never lived at all.

It was early Saturday morning, an hour before sunrise, maybe more, when Dagon realized it had lost consciousness for a time during the night. Rotten detritus in the water around it, like soup boiled in an open grave and left to congeal, told the story: the Nosferatu's systematic starvation, its abstention from feeding both the Beast and the more physical and immediately annoyed larvae that choked Dagon's veins, had borne fruit. The Beast had torn itself free of its cage and, stymied by the blackness and the cool, thick waters, had been unable to escape Dagon's den, and had feasted on fistfuls of eels. Dagon felt miniscule trickles of cold blood slithering through its veins, tasted the flesh it had devoured and vomited back into the pool, and felt where innumerable tiny, needle-sharp bones were impacted into its gums. The pain was like a voice in another room, indistinct and unimportant, but the implication was satisfying indeed. Dagon had goaded the Beast, had meditated on horror, loneliness, and deprivation, and the Beast had provided Dagon with the wisdom the creature sought.

Almost silently, Dagon broke the surface of the obsidian pool, and loosed an inhuman hiss that snaked its way up through echoing tunnels, to where more... substantial vermin dwelt in the cracks beneath the city. When the rats came - mostly rats, as well as less identifiable mongrels - Dagon feasted. Tonight, the other monsters would expect it to be in attendance, and Dagon saw no reason to disappoint them. It drank the sour blood of whatever slithered down to its pool, and sank back to the bottom as it felt a familiar weight on its shoulders which told it the sun must be rising. Though its light would never reach the deep grotto where Dagon slept, no vampire could put enough earth between itself and the sky to escape the soporific pressure of the day. Almost peacefully, the monster returned to its slumber. In a few short hours, it would have to emerge, put in an appearance among the other Cainites, and once again play the part of a grateful guest in their city. For that sort of performance, it helps if one is well rested.
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Re: Cannot Be Heard, Cannot Be Smelt

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