Halloween Special: The Dessicator

The day the pair of glaives arrived in Utel Point was a harbinger of what was to come. They appeared to be hardened warriors, scarred from countless battles, witnesses to the bloodiest of conflicts, having stared at the threat of death a thousand times but lived to recount each one over a pint of ale. None of this could belie the countenance of fear in their eyes when they stepped foot in the town.

The townfolk welcomed them, offering them drink which they raised to their lips with trembling hands. They declined the meals offered them as they seemed anxious to impart their words onto their hosts. With weak voices that would break they issued a warning to the people of Utel Point. The were to leave the town. A danger unto the likes of which they had never seen would arrive soon, and there would be no place safe, no shelter within the town that could withstand the threat of the dessicator.

In the tavern the tales were often fanciful and facts were stretched beyond believable. Hunters spoke of avoiding predators that could naturally outrun them. A guard would brag of having bested three assailants. But what the two glaives spoke of had no hint of exaggeration or embellishment.

A member of their party, a young Aeon Priest from Navarene had fallen victim to an accident in the Garrathol. He had been drawn up into the Obelisk of the Water God. While the young man had survived, he was somehow changed. Transformed. He had become a monster that destroyed every creature in its path. The glaives warned the townsfolk that if the creature reached the town, there would be no survivors. They would do well to evacuate Utel Point and make their way back to Charmonde, with hopes that the city would somehow have some means of defeating this threat.

Even the grave danger these glaives spoke of was not enough to convince the people of Utel Point to abandon their homes and make the one hundred thirty kilometer trip to Charmonde. Aside from the abject terror displayed by these two battle worn figures there was nothing in their story they could hold onto that rang true. The Ninth World was indeed a very strange place with much that cannot be explained, but a young man capable of destroying a town of nearly three hundred?

The glaives escalated their warnings to a fevered pitch, fear, horror, and anger overtaking their demeanor. But the townsfolk would not heed their warning. The glaives felt they could spare no more time there and they quickly departed in a great state of exasperation. Chatter and gossip of the tale of the pair of glaives spread among the people over the next day, but by the second day following their departure the talk soon gave way to other matters.

Three days after the visit from the glaives a young man dressed in a greenish-gray robe of an Aeon Priest arrived in town. He couldn’t have been any older than early twenties with a handsome boyish face. He walked into town quietly, making his way to the tavern, the building most heavily congregated with townsfolk at the time. He was greeted warmly by the patrons and the tavernkeep upon his entrance. Without a word the young man strolled over to one of the tables, leaned over and placed a hand on the shoulders of two persons seated there. The others at the table watched in horror as each person took a large gasp, then they began to shrivel up rapidly. The stranger kept a hand on each of them until their skin began to collapse in on their bodies, their forms wilting and withering as if every drop of liquid was being drawn out of their bodies. The man only withdrew his hands once there was only a dry, brittle husk of what was once the two patrons under a pile of clothing.

Once the horror set in with the realization of what they’d witnessed, the inhabitants of the bar scrambled for exits, for cover, for any kind of escape. Those who hid beneath tables were quickly grasped by the young man and were drained of their moisture until they resembled nothing more than the remains of a molting of a serpent. Many were able to flee the tavern though, and began to warn the townsfolk of the arrival of what the glaives had spoke of, the dessicator.

Several people stationed themselves before the tavern door, armed with swords and axes, clubs and torches. The dessicator exited the tavern door and the makeshift defenders took pause at the sight of the young man in the garb of an Aeon Priest. Those who witnessed its assault in the tavern screamed for the armed women and men to attack. They moved upon the young man, striking, stabbing, swinging their weapons. Each only cut through the man like a knife through a stream of water. Torches thrust onto him were merely doused by his body and extinguished. The dessicator grabbed two at a time and drew out the liquid of their life essence, leaving the paper-thin remnants of them to collapse to the ground and lightly blow in the breeze of the late evening.

Finding no way to fall the stranger the townsfolk escaped to their houses. Windows were shuttered quickly. Doors were barred by those who were able. It was the wealthiest family in town who believed themselves to be the safest, as they had the most secure dwelling in town. They were able to lay a heavy beam across their door and their windows were comprised of unbreakable stronglass. The family huddled together, attempting to shield their ears from the screams emanating from the homes around them. They sat through the terror for over an hour as the last light gave way to night. No torches or glowglobes illuminated the town as usual  as darkness fell. Only screams pierced the night, more and more intermittently as the hour crawled along.

Silence finally fell upon the town and the wealthy family was given a reprieve of the sounds of the throes of death around them. The father approached the window and peaked through the slit between the curtains. The dessicator was approaching their house! The father withdrew from the window and gathered the family behind the dining room table that had been tipped on its side to serve as a makeshift rampart. He urged them to remain quiet as the dessicator pounded on the front door. The family watched, breath held, as the large beam resisted each bash, each pound, each pummelling thrust upon the door.

The pounding finally ceased, and all was quiet again. The father signaled for his family to remain behind the shield of the dining room table as he rose to spy out the window once again. He took pause in abject horror as he watched a greenish-gray liquid seeping into the house beneath the crack of the door.