Kirad’s ancient, clawed fingers etched the last of the sigils into the flesh of the mortal that had been strung up by its ankles from the ceiling of the chamber. About a dozen more were encircling the gathering of D’Leanore elders, all purchased from Slaver’s Bay and left alive through healing magics, if only to keep them bleeding. The other elders could barely resist the urge to sup the sweet life’s blood from the wounded, but when one of the less willful among them did so, Kirad moved at a speed that betrayed his prior, delicate movements and decapitated him. Their corpse quickly turned to ash, and the survivors resisted any outward display of wrath or fear in response. They all understood what was at stake, even if they didn’t believe the ritual would work.
“Orcus has gifted us with contemptuous immortality, my brethren. And while it has preserved our line, it makes us fear that which empowers our lessers – the radiance of daylight. We have lost too much from dawn to dusk, but no more. There is a fallen one, Alzrius…who holds power over the balefire that burns hotter and brighter than anything else in the realms. In exchange for great sacrifice…our line will be made discomforted by the sunlight, rather than destroyed.” With those words, the sigils began to glow with green light, and each of the bodies began to chant in one, dull tone in a mixture of abyssal and infernal words.
“From where shall Alzrius drink?” Zirad knelt down, and put on a golden ring.
“From my most favored childer, so that their own shall no longer fear the sun, merely despise it.” The elders looked to each other, and then looked upon Zirad. Fangs were bared and claws drawn. And yet, when they tried to move, they found themselves held still by something they could not perceive, regardless of their heightened senses. Anger was quickly replaced by fear and regret. And one by one, each elder shriveled into a husk, their heart’s blood claimed by the demon lord, before bursting into baleful flames. The fires burned Zirad, but the ring kept him from perishing with his brethren. Unfortunately, when the last of them was consumed, Zirad noticed his own charred husk was not healing. The voices silenced, save for one.
“Your deception has pleased us, but your arrogance has not. For the rest of your eternity, you shall be a humble, pitiful creature…and your grandchilder shall hate you for taking their sires…never truly appreciating the gift we have blessed them.” When it finished, the body went limp. Zirad no longer walked without pain, and when several thralls came to attend to their masters, none survived his hunger frenzy. Still, their own blood satisfied little, and Zirad began to feel something he’d not felt in centuries of undeath.