The Great Abomination

When the Sidhe goddess Onedia returned from her woodland retreat after Akireli and Kumbayeli had been sent away, she found her subjects warring from opposite sides of the forest. Few died in these conflicts, but competition had made them strong, for each side had developed new weapons, armor, magic charms, and powers to use against their enemies.

The Seelie Court’s stronghold was Elfame, and there lived the Light Sidhe with their faerie underlings. Through ceaseless fighting they honed their powers over Life, and were able to heal the most grievous of injuries, fertilize fields, and impregnate mortals with their songs.

The Unseelie Court’s stronghold was Maesad, and there lived the Dark Sidhe with their trickster underlings. Through ceaseless fighting they honed their powers over Death, and were able to inflict terrible wounds, make land barren, and kill mortals by the sound of their voice.

When the Sidhe saw their goddess return, they flocked to her and both factions tried to convince her to reside in their capital city. Reluctant to choose sides and knowing further fighting was inevitable, Onedia simply told them that she would go back and forth between the Courts, staying in the city that won the most recent skirmish.

And so it was for many years, with both factions vying to win the favor of the goddess. But, as time went on, Onedia grew tired from the constant runaround of this mindless game, and decided to choose a single throne after all. Onedia picked out Erunei from the Light Sidhe to serve as regent in her absence, and herself moved to the bowels of the Unseelie Court.

The Dark Sidhe were overjoyed that their goddess had chosen Maesad as her permanent dwelling, but that joy soon turned into heightened tension. The competition to win Onedia’s favor had changed from intertribal to interpersonal, and though this inspired great moments of solitary heroism, it threatened social cohesion. Certain individuals stood out from the crowd and gained more influence for themselves and their families.

Among the most prominent of these were Phaeris, a fearsome warrior, and Thanatos, a brilliant archmage. Phaeris spent most of his time out in the battlefield, acquiring flashy war honors, but Thanatos spent his time in his laboratory, researching new spells. Thanatos also kept his eye on Valenice, a scarlet-clad vixen with a lust for power. Valenice has been flirting with both him and Phaeris, and Thanatos knew that he had to do something truly extraordinary to win her over.

Thanatos knew well that the Dark Sidhe held dominion over death, disease, and curses, and he knew that the Light Sidhe held dominion over their opposites. He had to come up with something to disrupt the balance and tip the scales in the Dark Sidhe favor: a power beyond life and death, a power beyond any their world had ever seen. He knew that tricksters could animate inert objects, but he was seeking something much more self-sufficient. How magnificent it would be to harness the power of everlasting life in death and create immortals unaffected by the passage of time.

Thanatos spent day and night in his laboratory, requesting that Light Sidhe and faerie prisoners be sent to him for experimentation. After many failed attempts, he disemboweled another prisoner and went into a deep trance. He left his body, chased down the fresh soul, and trapped it between the Land of the Living and the Land of Truth. When Thanatos returned to his body, he watched ecstatic as a corpse walked on its own for the very first time. It was a mindless thing, incapable of independent thought, and fell lifeless again as soon as denizens of the Overworld noticed it and set it free, but it was a start.

Thanatos immediately showed it off to Valenice, and she was impressed enough to believe such an accomplishment would go unmatched among the Dark Sidhe. She promised herself to him body and soul, and couldn’t wait until he demonstrated it to Onedia. The goddess herself was summoned to witness the unveiling of Thanatos’ long-awaited project, and her reaction sent quaking tremors throughout the Unseelie Court.

“IT’S ICKYYYYYY!!!” was the soul-shattering shriek. In all his ambition, Thanatos did not realize what exactly he had done. Blasphemy! Sacrilege! Abomination! By trying to disrupt the balance between Life and Death, he had gone against the sacred cycle of birth, growth, death, and rebirth as ordained by the ruling gods. He had created the first undead.

Onedia would not stand for this. Though it would mean losing the Unseelie Court’s greatest sorcerer, such a terror could not be released upon the world. All the Dark Sidhe gathered in a vicious circle around Thanatos, condemning him with their entire magic arsenal. Upon him they piled their most wicked curses, the most gruesome diseases, and the most ghastly disfigurations. But perhaps the most terrifying of all, was a punishment reserved for the vilest of traitors: banishment from the Enchanted Forest. Ever Sidhe dreaded that sentence, for it meant being cut off from the wellspring of their immortality, doomed to wither away to nothingness in the mortal lands. The last thing Thanatos saw before being cast outside was Valenice draped on Phaeris’ shoulder.

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Copyright © 2003 by Yumeni All rights reserved.
Revised: 12 May 2010 07:47:48 -0400 .