The Blood Forge
Countess Silvana Rikeel
“How would I describe her?” asked Madrik. “Have you ever known a woman that you desperately wish you had never met? Who’d made your life so fucking miserable that you felt like dying inside? Well, start there.”
There were grunts of dismissal here an there among the soldiers, but by and large everyone focused their attention and listened. Madrik eyes were downcast… broken. He drug himself up from whatever depth he lingered in and summoned some shred of courage to continue.
“And imagine that ten times worse…” he started again. “Imagine a creature so foul that the very earth withers about her as she passes. Flowers fall, roots wither, fruit rottens… lives are ruined by her very proximity. That’s Rikeel.”
The men looked at each other, silent in their thoughts. Then the Sergeant grunted, in his rough way, “Is that all?” Madrik chucked and looked to the floor again.
“Is that all?” he asked, his voice shaken. “Not even. They say she wears a necklace of gems around her neck. Soul gems. Where she imprisons the ones she kills.”
“That meant to be frightening?” blustered the Sergeant, “the souls of the failed fools she used to know?”
“Maybe,” said Madrik, circumspectly. “But I’ll tell you what is frightening… there’s always one empty gem in the necklace. The one she keeps waiting… waiting for you.”