- February 28, 2021
The Incarnations: Old Sins of Evil Chapter 2
Chapter Two: The Reckoning of Sin
The boundaries between what makes a man a villain and what makes them heroic, are fragile. Not in that they are hard to distinguish, but the choices that make someone one or the other appear beside each other. The option for great good is placed aside with the option for great evil. Every time someone has the chance to do the right thing, they have an equally valid choice to do nothing, to be evil, and most people make that choice every time.
The same can be said for the Incarnations, those bound to behave in ways of their name, or to drive others to do so. Whether they want to or not, the find that when they don’t follow their named nature, Creation takes something away from them. For the weak, their life, and for those whom the actions of the mortals will keep them eternally youthful, Creation takes away their freedom.
The same cannot be said for those who rise from the hellmouth, for the hellmouth is Chaos.
For them, the gap between righteous and wrongdoing is quite wide, and very little can change them. They have no choice at all.
During this time when humanity’s ancestors are only wandering tribes, a terrible setback forms in a mountain peak that will later be named, Mount Damavand.
The mountain erupts and it is not a natural eruption caused by the shifting tectonic plates of the Earth, but due to a portion of Hell currently linked to it.
Across many planets, tectonic plates are shaking and erupting, but only the one currently housing my new chosen mortals faces those of the hellmouth.
Many small tribes surround the mountain, and as lava erupts from the peak and blasts holes out its sides, the people have no idea what is happening. They are nowhere close to understanding the reactions that cause this, neither of a magical and scientific sense.
They have created spears and knives from stone, but those will do little to protect them. Souls that were cast into Hell and the deadly plains of Death are souls who have mutated and transformed into monstrous beasts. They did not survive long enough to live out their punishment and join Paradise. Instead, they climb out of the surface of the mountain, they climb out by the hundreds to kill the mortals that live like they once did.
Now they need someone else to save them, something more.
A beast, resembling a large wolf without fur, with red flesh and protruding bones, seeks to feast upon a roaming tribe of proto-humans. They run through the forest, men and women carrying the young, some that are their’s and some that are not. They try to flee from the beast who they will never understand.
The beast races across the jagged lands and pounces on the mortals. Eviscerating them with its claws and teeth. It does not stop to eat the flesh, it is not a hunter but a psychotic monster who fights to kill.
A tendency it developed from when it was alive.
It tears each human apart, one by one and shows no remorse, no mercy. When it comes upon the last three of this tribe, a man, a woman, and a child, it thinks of nothing else. It runs straight after the kill with his dreadful teeth ready to tear them wide open. When he leaps and pounces, it knows that it will experience a feeling that only comes with the shredding of meat.
The monster never sees her sword coming.
The Mercy slices through the monster’s flesh as if it were butter and her sword the knife.
The red blood of the beast sprays all over the Madam and her armor, but she does not dissolve as the grass on the ground does. When she turns towards the mortals she saved, they look up at her and know not what she is. Proto-humans are seldom over five feet tall, and her greater height only adds to the Madam’s divine appearance to them.
They look up at her in her violent glory. Her armor, that of knight, complete with plating and chainmail over her chest. A warrior class inspired for the future.
When Madam Honor speaks, somehow these beings of primitive language understand. “Run, and live on.”
She turns her back to them to head towards the volcano, letting them see the shining silver shield on her back. The shield adorn with the head of a dragon blood red.
After only a few steps, she breaks into a run, ready to slay any and all as she heads towards Mount Damavand.
Monsters of all kinds and shapes stride across the Earth, and as she comes upon them she cuts each one down with vigor and swift justice.
As she cuts them down, one after the other, she climbs further up the mountain. With every pirouette and every parry, with every flick of her blade and bashing of her shield, she moves further up the mountain.
Eventually, the Madam comes upon what she is looking for, a wide and open gap the monsters are coming from. She had hoped that she couldn’t see down into it, that lava would be gushing and blocking her view, but she can look down perfectly.
She looks down into the abyss, a black tear in space that would drive mortals mad, but the Madam sees past it. She sees the infinite void of space, down into the front gate of Hell.
The Madam feels the power radiating from the hole, and recognizes it as one she has not felt since before the Incarnal War.
She knew when these beings were locked away that they would seek to escape, but she held her tongue.
Now she hears the sounds of war drums and horns so she looks to see the mountain surrounded. It’s surrounded by an army led by an Incarnation she has come to know well.
The Duke of War, miles away from the mountain peak, works to complete his duty as one of the two Incarnations watching over the world of mortals. As was the pact after the Incarnal War.
The Duke of War stands with thousands of armed soldiers that far outnumber and outclass the monsters that came from the hellmouth. He sits atop his demonic steed, with his silver plated helmet covering the gruesome appendages of his face.
As his army stands ready, adorned in armor much like his own, he raises his more blunt and cubular mace, the Malice, and roars, “To the beginning!”
With that shout, all of his soldiers storm the volcano and the lands surrounding it.
Madam Honor watches from afar, and begins her descent down the mountain to meet him. She takes her time, allowing him his enjoyment in killing the deserving monsters. There is not much of that nowadays.
The Duke carves a path to the Madam with great agility for what she has found. She can tell how he savors every crack of his mace against the skulls of the monstrous souls. She knows only by the grunts he gives with each swing.
After a path of destruction and death, the two eventually meet at the base of the mountain.
The Madam is hopping down from higher ground as the Duke of War trots towards her from atop his steed.
The Madam says, “I see that none were able to knock you from your horse.”
“And no beast as filthy as these ever will,” he retorts.
As she seems to be walking past him, he stops her with an offer of his hand. “Surely, you do not wish to walk all the way.”
She removes her helmet and lets her grown out hair flow all around her head before she takes his hand. In the race to save proto-humanity, she forwent the bun.
The Madam takes his hand and the Duke pulls her atop his steed to sit behind him.
As they travel together and survey his troops finishing off the remnants, the Madam remains hesitant to inform him of what she found. It’s obvious these beasts came from Hell, but he does not know why.
“Are you going to make me guess, or is it really so bad that you are frightened?” One can only assume that fear or humor is what drives her silence. When he senses the shake of her head, his voice grows cautious.
“Denial,” she responds finally, “denial is what holds my tongue in my mouth. I have fought this enemy before, and it is beyond my ability,” in grave tone, she adds, “beyond our ability, which is hard for me to admit.”
The Duke grunts, being a guiltier perpetrator of denial than the Madam. For as long as she’s known him, he has not been one to properly fear an enemy to be stronger than him and his greatest ally, even their brethren who are objectively so.
The Madam knows and warns him, “Do not take this matter lightly, War, we are not dealing with anything you have faced before. You did not step up when these fiends froliced across Creation.”
This snap in her tone causes him to turn his head towards her. She cannot see his face nor his eyes, but she senses the surprise from them.
With hesitance, he says, “So tell me.”
“These beings have slaughtered millions on whims, petty emotions, base feelings. They are stronger than any servant, and because they come from the power of Evil, several are privy to strength beyond yours and mine.”
This information gives him a greater idea of who they dealing with, a group he has only heard of by reputation and name.
“You fought this group and survived, did you not?” the Duke asks her further.
The Madam tilts her head, revealing that there is more to the past than that. “I fought one, yes, but with all of my knights. Even then we were never able to lay a hand on her. I needed his Majesty’s help to capture her, if it could be called that.”
This hint makes the Duke wonder, and he asks to be sure, “You believe this is the power of the Sins.”
“I know it is,” the Madam assures him. “King Evil was not willing to kill his creations when they could not be controlled, so he locked them in Hell. Death created a new prison just for them.
“Maybe it is only one of the Sins, but if all seven are trying to attempt something, we need to call upon the others for help, maybe… even look into this for us.”
The Duke grumbles to himself at the thought of asking for help. He cannot fathom who they would ask.
“What do you think they’re doing?” the Duke wishes to know first.
The Madam takes a breath as she considers the possibilities. She can only imagine one thing that the Sins could want. “Freedom, certainly. Freedom and possibly a dose of chaos and revenge.”
“Revenge,” the Duke repeats to himself, “so they will want to go after his Majesty. I can’t tell if betraying them makes him the fool, or if attacking him would make them even more so.”
“A bit of both I imagine,” the Madam mutters as she rests her forehead against his back. “Do you ever think we’re doing something wrong, in the way we watch over the mortals?”
The Duke makes his classic grunt of arrogance, which somewhat brightens the Madam’s mood. She’s learned by now what it means.
He assures her, “You worry about too many things. For now, we only need to make sure nothing abuses them, mostly by keeping away the others and their problems. When they grow some actual intelligence, the mortals will be the problem of another.”
“You can’t wait for that, can you?” Madam Honor asks with the hint of smile.
“Can’t you? I would like to have one sparring match without an interruption,” he complains. She chuckles and leans her head away from his back to look across the battleground.
Feeling her no longer against him, he makes sure to ask, “Are you better?”
“Yes,” she replies, “I think I am.”
The Duke of War moves onto the matter at hand. “Now, who do we ask to take care of this problem?” The Madam chuckles at the idea. “What?”
She arches her brow at the back of his head. “I guess you didn’t notice the noisy huntress. We don’t need to call anyone, there are already others working to fix the problem.”
“Hmm, you know I’m not as observant when I’m fighting with the horde.”
“I know, now I only hope that the Lady can convince his Majesty to rise from his stupor.” The Madam looks up to survey the sky. The dark clouds from the eruption are already dissipating, further proving their unnatural origin.
The Duke of War agrees, just as his soldiers begin to dissipate with their task finished. “Yes, that will be a herculean task for her indeed.”