Chapter Two: The Room of Blood Crystals & The Dark Lord's Anger
What an odd time I have had! The master of this castle summoned me to a very unusual room. I doubt I could forget the place even if I tried, however I shall not trust my memory alone with it. This castle is very strange indeed, and I fear it may warp my mind to it's own twisted ways in time. Thus, I shall strike while the iron is hot and the scene is still fresh in my mind.
Lord Bloodthorne led me through a maze of staircases, not once pausing to answer my inquiries as to where we may be going. This castle must be very old, and the decor is most unusual. All is either crimson, black iron, stone, or some combination of the three. I must remember to look through the castle's library later to learn more of it's extensive history. In any case, we entered many rooms and moved through more doorways and staircases than I care to remember at this time. Yet, I could not help but imagine this was all intentional. Each new passageway we turned down seemed to have been set into layout with the exclusive intent to make sure one was positively lost before coming to an end. Yet, at the end we were. He turned to me, a stern glare of warning on his face as he simply hissed these words.
"You shall tell not a soul, nor dare enter here again without my permission."
Needless to say, by this point I was extremely curious as to what I would see. What secrets could possibly lay hidden behind the heavy door we stood by now? The Lord produced a key from his person. A large, gaudy thing with what appeared to be an engraving of a flower at the top. He unlocked the door and put the key back to his pocket before swinging the door open. This would have been an impossible feat for a mere mortal, for as we entered I took the liberty to examine the door. It was a thick stone slab, almost having the same width as the average man. As for the room itself, it took some time for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. Soon enough however, I was able to make out the appearance of crystals. Literally millions of them! They were everywhere in the round chamber. Each and every possible surface was lined with them and even the very ground had a large ring of the ruddy gems. I stepped carefully, not wishing to tread on these as they were producing a pulsing scarlet glow about the room. At the center of this chamber was a similar crystal, but massive! It must have been as tall as the master of this castle, for he is rather tall, and suspended in the air by nothing. It was hovering in the air, pulsing as the smaller jewels resonated with it. That it floated at all was astonishing enough, however it was above a red pool. Upon closer examination, I was utterly appalled to find that this was a large pool of blood! And by this, a stone altar! I was much reminded of the sacrificial chambers of the occult books I have studied and wondered with an ever increasing sense of dread if I may not have been led here as an attempted sacrifice to an unknown deity.
As I sit here safely in my room however, I see the folly in my logic. What demonic force could be more terrible than the one I serve?
Now, I inquired of my Lord once more as to our purpose there within the bloody chamber. I will not be able to account verbatim what he spoke, as it recalled much and terrified me even more. However, I shall attempt what I am able.
"The room in which we stand has been here since before my kingdom's creation, and shall remain for all eternity. The pool which lies before you holds the lifeblood of every king to ever sit upon the throne of this land. Each and every consecutive leader and as such, all of the power of the realm. That power is passed on to each through this."
Here, he gestured to a pendant that hung around his neck, an intricate cross composed of roses and thorns.
"Every king in this realm has worn this, be it won from succession or from victory in battle. The blood gives it's power, the castle it's domain to the wearer. As for the crystals you see in this very room, they hold within their pulsing forms the lives of all who have stepped foot on this land. To shatter even one would be to execute the life and sever the link to the soul of the being it belongs to."
These words made me grow pale and even more cautious as I maneuvered away from the gems.
"You are a woman of science, are you not? You who has discovered the legendary rose of immortality and has taken its power unto yourself. Why then fear for the lives of mere mortals?'
His question was unanswerable, so I posed one of my own.
"P-power? I offer my humblest pardons, my lord, however there was no power within that flower which would be of any use to me. Before you had arrived at the scene, the unholy flora nearly took my own life. If there was a power, it was not a blessed one."
I now regret those words.
Upon my sheer utterance of this observation, an aura of malignant energy pervaded the room, all but snuffing out the very little light it had afforded. Katsuto loomed over me, his eyes glowing nearly as brightly as the crystals had only moments earlier. I cowered from his stature, immediately taking up a posturing of submission. Yet this was not enough. In an instant, he was near upon me, leering down with a fanged snarl.
"How dare you defy me and insult the very thing which my kingdom holds sacred! If not for the power of the rose, those demonic energies would have ripped your very soul from it's cage of mangled flesh and done far worse with it. The rose of immortality spared you, child, and fused to your very existence. Like it or not, you ARE that flower now. You are The Immortal Rose. The proof is clearly visible to any and all who gaze upon your heart!"
Here he pressed his forefinger against the mark which forthright seemed to scorch against my flesh, causing a great burning pain to seer across the entire area. I do not question that I would have fainted from the agony if not that his eyes firmly held my gaze. Be it a moment later or hours I cannot recall, yet he removed his touch, moving to the stone altar to retrieve an old and rusted dagger.
"If you do not wish such an honor I can very well remove the mark here and now, and with it, give your blood a place within the pool."
The Lord held the dagger aloft, ready to plunge it down in an instant while my voice still failed me. Yet his anger had subsided for the moment, and he let the dagger fall to the ground. He made his way once more to the altar as I still trembled, taking an empty goblet from on top and filled it with the aged blood.
"Examine this blood, it's relations with the crystals, this land, everything. If there is more power to unlock from this, do so at once. You have seen my home. My land is desolate and the moon is as blood. With your help, I shall restore it to it's former glory. A paradise of night. We must set things right immediately from your folly!"
Even now as I sit in my laboratory, I am puzzled beyond measure. So it was by my own hand that I have subjected myself to such a fate? Even my name seems of little importance, save for the imagery
which is connected to it. Immortal? I doubt it, yet I will take the word unto my own.
'Immortal Rose'. It is an odd title to use as a name, but I will grow accustomed to it yet.
The goblet of blood still sits at my desk and I have yet to begin my work on the subject. I do hope that a trip to the library at this point will provide further enlightenment as to my task. But first, some tea. I still tremble with the recent events and the imagery of that terrible Lord and master. Since rest and sleep is futile, tea will have to be my final resort for soothing.
- Immortal Rose
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