Nothing, Anymore

      Today’s snippet, titled “Nothing, Anymore”, is a piece I wrote about a PC in Mark’s Evil Pathfinder Campaign.
      Be forewarned, there are mature themes and naughty language below.
– – – – – – – – – – –
      A black spirit, thick and oily and malevolent, rose from the corpse like smoke.
      It bore his shape, it moved as he did – lithe and tightly wound. It turned back toward the four of them in that last instant before it vanished into the void.
      Nyx was sure he wore that wry smile as he departed. The one, she realized now, she had grown fond of. And then it was over. He was gone.
      “What the fuck just happened?”
      Hefe’s outburst echoed her own thoughts perfectly. Though they had reached Ip at last, everything had gone wrong today. Those hideous black oozes had stalled their progress, nearly killed them, and then eaten every last bit of material from Celisse’s body – including much of her beautiful dark flesh.
      “That damned deck,” Adelind growled.
      Nyx clutched the cards close to her chest, possessively. “They wanted to draw!”
      “You didn’t have to let them.”
      Carefully, she slid them into their little bag and then tucked the whole thing back into her bag. It was true, she did not have to let them, but so was the curse of the deck. If someone wanted to draw, it wanted them to draw. It was almost magnetic.
      Celisse had had nothing to lose; everything she brought with her into the depths of the fort on their quest to enter Ip had been melted into that horrid inky ooze creature. It was natural – once Geshan suggested it – that she take a card. She had nothing left to lose.
      Except, of course, for her freedom… which she lost, presumably, in the same was Hefe had done. Sucked into the ground and sealed away in a prison somewhere. Gone, just like that.
      But Nyx had hesitated when Quick Bill wanted to draw. The gambler’s spirit in him was strong and there was no way to deny him. The cards – the wanted to be drawn. He should have stopped at one. The card had had some negative effect on him, though they could not tell exactly what it was. Then he drew a second card and in the next heartbeat, the dreadwraith had appeared.
      “Let’s get out of here. We’ll go back to that one chamber, I can teleport the four of us out. We can regroup and resupply.”
      “Find a smarter son of a bitch.”
      “Yes.” Adelind’s voice was colder even than normal and Nyx wondered if she too, had found a tiny soft spot in her heart for the ruffian. One look at Geshan told her that the hin would miss him as much as she. I’ll let you do me if you survive, had been her battle cry, trying to get Quick Bill to fight harder, to win the battle. Nyx had immediately thought, ew, then kindly offered to let him touch her breasts if he lived.
      He hadn’t, so she had not been forced to renege on the offer.
      “I’m gonna miss him,” Nyx said, preparing to cast a spell of invisibilty over herself and Adelind so that they would not be visible if there was something waiting for them in the hide-out where Geshan was pretty sure she could land them. “You know?”

* * *

      She lay on her belly, ankles crossed in the air, and sipped from a goblet of wine. Humming in the breeze, Nyx rubbed a thin nub of charcoal across the page. There was no image on her mind, she just loved to draw and after the whirlwind of teleportation and shopping for gear and praying to all the Old Ones that the Sarenraens had not discovered their identities yet – she needed nothing more than to relax with her wine and her art.
      “Almost done,” Nikodemos called from the other room. “Did you save the chain, at least?”
      “No,” she sighed. “I told you, Dae, the whole thing was stripped from me by the damned deck.”
      Stalking into the bedroom they shared, Nikodemos flopped down beside her and swept the wine from her hand. He took a swallow and tossed the pendant onto the parchment.
      “Well, you can buy a mundane chain, Nyx, I’m not wasting my time on that when I could be- Ooh! Who’s that handsome devil?”
      Nyx glanced down at the page and frowned.
      “Nikoleta Argyrios, you minx! Who is he? Did you finally find someone to fuck you for real?”
      She elbowed him sharply. “Finding someone was never a problem, like, seriously.”
      He lifted his brows, pursed his lips, and nodded. “She speaks it true.”
      “Mm-hmm.”
      There was a moment of silence; Nikodemos watching her with his hawk-like gaze, Nyx pointedly ignoring his tacit inquiries. Idly, she smudged her finger over a hard line, admiring her work. It really was quite a remarkable likeness, though Nyx was sure that she had sketched him somewhat more attractive than he had been.
      “So, who is he?”
      “No one,” she snatched back the wine and tipped back the last swallow. “He’s no one anymore.”
      Dae stroked her hair, pulling her head against his shoulder. “Sorry, sweetling. I wouldn’t have joked if I knew.”
      “Its like, totally all right, Dae. I just think, you know, like – I’m going to miss him. Other than you, and maybe Gershan, I think he might have been my only friend.”
      With a chuckle, he nodded. “People like us don’t have many friends, Nyx. Just people we’ve used, and people we haven’t used yet.”
      Nyx nodded, reaching for the pendant he had enchanted for her – a perfect replica of the one she had worn for ages. Her fingertips slid lightly over the silver, still warm with the magic he had imbued in it, and she closed her eyes. Behind her lids she saw only darkness, only the cool, soothing emptiness of the void.
      …and the cards.
      Her fingers itched.
– – – – – – – – – – –
Signed, Josie
Note: Image is “Sketch 1” by (tsunei) from SXC.hu

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