It had been decades since the pact was first formed. Oaths were made, some kept, and others broken, though through this, one constant remained, a half goblin whose skin was stained with the ichor of her matron. Throughout this span, the ire of Gazighaz occasionally followed the aging hybrid, but in truth the spirit and the masked shaman that followed her word to the very letter had grown distant. Even still, when Emony’s power waxed, the mother of blood smiled, her hands folded in anticipation of the day she could call for her dept to be repaid. Gazighaz bid her time for the day when the hybrid’s power reached its zenith.
The day eventually came when the blood mother’s patience waned far below a tolerable level. A cold fog rolled in over the city of San Velku as deep within her bowls, a magician and her master practiced rituals that were considered too dark for the eyes of ordinary folk. The goblin seemed to take to the lesson quickly, aiding in the right with only a few minor issues indicative of a first timer. As they concluded, Emony felt a strange twinge in her nostrils. She ascended the set of stairs out of the hidden space with haste, all the while grasping her nose shut with her thumb and fist finger. By the time she had reached the main square, her face had begun to pale as blood trailed down her chin. Her pace was slow as she held her right hand against the surrounding walls for support as she made her way to her shop.
Blood now flowed freely from the nose of the goblinoid, trailing behind her as she weekly climbed the ladder to her office. As she passed the mirror within the cave-like space a look of horror settled upon her face. Within the mirror’s reflection stood a half goblin with pale green skin. The former red pigment to her skin was seemingly draining from her nostrils. Emony recoiled in disgust at the face she had long ago abandoned as the last of her red left her face. Her hand curled int a loose fist which she threw at the mirror’s glass, but her strength had already left. The goblin’s knuckles thumped pathetically against the mirror before she fell to the ground.
Within moments, Emony found herself in the place between the realms. Her body huddles through the utterly desolate plane and seems to be battered by an omnidirectional, rushing force. What met her vision when she fought the pressure exerted upon her eyes enough to open them, she was met with an utterly empty, lightless void. The hybrid’s ears only beheld the sound of the gale like winds that signaled their movement through this vacant space. Soon enough her nostrils are assaulted by a pungent metallic odor. This pervasive olfactory stimulus trounced every other sense. The falling sensation was soon replaced with a feeling of sinking into a bottomless abyss of stinking entrails. Further adding to this sensation, the temperature and humidity rise in tandem.
Emony awoke upon the heaving realm of guts, organs, and blood from whence she once drew her pride. With her skin stripped of its blessing, the pulsating landscape before her felt all the more hostile. The ground squelched beneath her feet as she approached a massive pulsating mound seemingly formed from the intestines. She folds her arms close to her chest, huddling against her own fear as she approaches an opening within the pile.
The flesh tunnel extended deep into what could be considered earth within this realm. The intestinal tract’s interior possessed an oppressive humidity, enough to make the skin of a hardened traveler crawl with discomfort. This space varied in its width; some areas allowed the goblin to stand comfortably while others forced her to squeeze through their barely traversable passages. All this was traversed with sparse lighting. Veins within the wall occasionally dipped or ascended close enough to shed a pale crimson light. With each step, the ground seemed it would give way beneath her tread before her sinking was impeded by strands of connective tissue. Each footfall seemed to yield little in the way of progress. Her distress grew as she descended ever deeper. The path became more snakelike as it began to deft all logic, doubling back on itself in impossible ways that would normally see the space converging on itself, though nothing like this occurred. The tunnel eventually began to radiate a fowl, coppery odor which assaulted the olfactory senses and mind of the goblin. Within her mind several voices began to shout, as if spurred on by the stench. They called to her in warning.
Ukh krum (go back)
Irz mokh-ûr, gaz baalak (Run for home, little half breed)
Lat paashnar bazg nau. Lat ufur hûnpûlp (You cannot reach the end. You fear the heartbeat)
No matter what was chanted, they all discouraged progress, though Emony was persistent. She pressed on, covering her ears to spite the fact that this served no purpose. When the voices became more persistent, she increased her speed.
Eventually all fell to silence and the horrific scent faded leaving the goblin to recover. Within this new room the ground lay somewhere beneath a pool of blood. Each step brought Emony deeper into its body, quickly passing her knee and by the time she had reached its center, the crimson pond threatened to pass her neck, but it wouldn’t get the chance as Emony ascended a bone pile that lay at the pool’s heart. Perched atop this osseous mound was a great throne constructed of muscle stretched over rendered bone. Within it sat a disfigured female of indiscernible race. Her gaunt and pale figure nearly matched the coloration of the bones at her twisted feet. The woman’s skin bore a spidering network of blue veins that all seemed to lead towards her dislocated jaw. This maw retained a set of jagged teeth, built for the single purpose of piercing flesh. The horrific figure stood as its hollow gaze spotted the lone traveler. Its upper lip curled into a mangled half smile. The spirit’s jaw flapped as it spoke to address the goblin.
The following has been roughly translated from old blah.
So, the prodigal daughter returns to the realm of the heartbeat heading its call once more. You who once showed such promise, now writhing in the blood like a worthless parasite. Speak worm. Give your pathetic excuses.
I thought my actions pleased Gazighaz. The rights I performed were in her honor.
Truly, you are misguided if you think that blood magic of yours pleases the matriarch. You have done nothing to spread faith in her. Even if the little “rites” you performed did somehow serve the blood mother, you always do so in secret. We require new followers, and you refuse to preach the faith.
Is that why my skin has returned to the color of my birth?
Indeed. You must earn the right to wear the mantle of Gazigazh.
What must be done to regain what was lost?
The mother and I demand you build a great shrine. Construct a heart of bleeding stone, bound with links of iron. Endow this with the blood of your people, of any descended willing to give of their blood. Then, become her herald to the uruks.
Who shall this heart be dedicated to?
With that name uttered, the bones beneath Emony began to tremble. They shifted, falling away from her feet, leaving her to plummet into the body of crimson ichor once more. Her vision was filled with red as she sank beneath its surface, but this soon descended into pitch black. Before long Emony awoke on the floor of her office in a small pool of blood from here her nose had leaked. Her reflected appearance in the mirror sported the green skin she was born with. As she stood, one final phrase echoed in her mind.
Nar lûmp garmadh-ishi. (Do not fall in ruin [do not fail])