Songs by the Hearth
The First Pact
A shallow, obsidian saucer fills with blood, from above. As it is poured, some of it seems to drain into the disk. The withered hands continue pouring, until the liquid stops receding, and reaches near the brim. The hands, then, bring up the dish to Anym’s mouth; he drinks it empty, and sets it down, but does not move his hands away. The saucer fills with a new fluid, this time black as pitch, and from below.
“Hm…” Anym muses, sitting before the disk, looking into it, thoughtfully.
He arches his back forward, and places his face in the pitch. After a moment, he arises, and reaches into it, almost to the shoulder. When he draws it back, his hand is holding a small, shifting sphere of blackness. Anym inspects it a moment, looks dissatisfied, and places it back. This process repeats a while, with Anym draining the pitch, and adding new blood three or four times.
Once more, he impossibly dips his arm into the saucer, and draws it out. While he inspects this bit of shadowstuff, the black fluid stirs, and begins to change color, becoming a pale blue-grey in the center. Anym does not notice, and the fluid returns to normal. Before he returns the sphere to the bowl, Anym does notice the sphere take on the same properties.
“Oh! What’s this, then…?”
An alien chill accumulates around Anym, and it begins to work its way into his chest.
“Ah, friend! I regret to say that I cannot allow you passage there, though I respect your interest.”
The chill’s severity continues to crescendo, creeping with hidden fingers towards Anym’s heart. He chuckles, and smiles softly, then stands. The substance continues to flux, briefly, before rapidly shrinking, and blinking out of sight. Anym’s left hand, where he held it, goes stiff and numb, and the veins turn black, and then an unnatural, bright red. The apparent affliction works its way up his arm, past his lungs, and towards his heart, but stops just short of it.
“Yours are always so tenacious. I admire that.”
The silence persists a moment. Everything is still.
Anym is still wearing a slight smile, perhaps somewhat smug. “I imagine you’re confused.”
“We are kin, of an abstract sort. You won’t get very far with me.”
Anym’s smile widens; he is obviously amused. “No.”
The stark red spreads rapidly to Anym’s other limbs, and he is brought to his knees. The coloration begins to spread over his face.
Anym violently coughs and gags a few times, blood appearing on his lips. His retching becomes laughter after a moment. “Ahaha, there’s no need to be frustrated, friend! I’ll tell you what, I could spare the time, and find you another.”
Slightly, the bulge in Anym’s veins recedes. Anym’s smile breaks into a full grin, revealing crooked, misshapen teeth.
“Ah, now I have your attention. I imagine, with your view, you can see that I am not bluffing you.”
A few harsh, barking laughs erupt from Anym. “Yes, yes, of course.”