Blood Sacrifice

by Jessie

Enough, Ulf!’ I called, and took the crystal from his hand. Sebastian reached for it, and spilled his own blood next, drawing it across Bill’s chest as Ulf had done, as the spirit had indicated.

‘You’re a fool, Bill,’ he said, angry, but he did it anyway.

Yana held out her hand to me.

‘You do it,’ she said. I took the crystal and brought it down across her forearm. She clenched her fist as the blood flowed, and then followed Sebastian’s example.

I hesitated one more moment, still unsure whether I could place my trust in this. Then I gripped the crystal tighter, and added my own blood to the sigil on his chest.

‘I trust you,’ I said. I had done ever since I had first agreed to this. I had not been afraid to let myself become blood-tied to the broken, glass infested place, not even when it became clear how great the cost could be. How then could I be afraid to let him make this sacrifice? He had said that this was the only way. It was not I who would pay the price. How could I hesitate?

He took his farewells, gifting Ulf with flesh and blood and sign – but what he said to Yana and Sebastian, and what he might have said to me, I do not know, for the D'Artois spirit, bound to this place even in defeat, was growing strong again, and there was none but me could hold it back. I shouted for Bill to hurry, for my mind was in shreds already, and there was no way I would hold the spirit back for long.

Bill threw himself against the crystal shards at the back of the cave. The blood ran from him in great rivers, the floor by his feet quickly became carpeted with a tumble of tiny red flowers. Suddenly, the image of Erica impaled on glass and bleeding to death flashed before my eyes, and I froze. My mind threatened to blank, but there was something more that I was supposed to do.

‘Not enough blood,’ the spirit of Belladona whispered, and I choked back sickness, regret and guilt, and drew my sword. Left wrist, right wrist, throat – just as I had opened my own veins, so I opened his – left leg, right leg, and finally a great gash down across the chest. I was shaking so hard I could barely keep the blade steady. Bill groaned, once, deep in his chest, and then dragged himself free of the impaling shards. He towered above me, more blood than man, and began to stagger forwards. I gripped his arm and supported him the first few steps; then he brushed me aside, pulled himself taller, and continued on.

By the cliff edge, Yana had stripped off her armour and held a strength potion already between her teeth, ready to jump after him and pull him back from death if she could. But I knew in my heart what the spirits had meant when they had said that the sacrifice would have to be total. His blood and sap soaked the earth. I wished I had had a chance to understand the ritual, to be sure of it. By my Lady and your Lord, I prayed, silently, Let it be healed. Let shattered things be whole. Let the blood be enough.

Yana jumped into the water. I stood on the cliff edge, ready to spill my blood for him, if he was not beyond the saving. Deep within the water, blood swirled, thick and red and almost glowing.

Yana broke the surface for air, empty handed.

‘His blood is burning,’ she gasped. I could see it now: great, blood-red flames beneath the water, and then the surface of the water was on fire, sheets of flame beginning to streak up the waterfall, towards the cave where all this had begun.

Fire destroys glass, I thought, and this is fire of Blood, not Black Flame, and for a moment I thought that I understood. Then it was all around me, consuming me, stripping the skin from my very bones. I fell to the floor sure in that moment that for the sacrifice to be total, we too would have to be consumed.

And then it was over, and my skin felt strange and new, unburned. I looked for Yana, and she was pulling herself up over the cliff edge.

‘His body’s gone,’ she said.

‘The spirits have gone,’ I said. I’d dropped my sword, but I didn’t move to pick it up. I couldn’t stop shaking.

There was nothing. Nothing as far as the eye could see. A wasteland. Bare earth. Nothing growing. The forest itself was just… gone. Even the little red flowers growing in Bill’s last bloody footprints had withered away under the heat of his heart’s blood’s fire.

‘No glass,’ I said, a little hysterically.

‘Was that… right?’

‘I don’t know.’

Ulf came staggering out of the cave, and knelt on the seared earth. He took his knife, and began to cast Blood of the Soil, over and over again.

‘I don’t know if that’s going to do anything,’ I muttered to Yana. ‘I don’t know what we’ve done.’

But already, shoots were growing up under Ulf’s hands. I closed my eyes in relief, and bent to take up my sword again.

We fed the ground until our magic was spent, and we could do nothing more than pray.

misc/fiction/bloodsac.txt · Last modified: 2011/04/03 22:36 by osj01
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