"It is the time of Orcus," Shouted Dralara Uth'Kemp, High Priestess of Orcus, Vampress of the Lurker of Shadows, and soon to be the vessel of Eldrua - Hero of Orcus.
The gathering roared as divine prayers were spoken to her by the priests which milled bellow. She could feel her Dark Lord's divinity warm her. There were human, drow, orc, vampire and even lychan in the gathering this night - and a special night it was ....
"Tonight - we celebrate! Tonight, we SACRIFICE a warrior of Fasdeus as a GIFT to Orcus .. " another roar from the Gathered, "Who brings the gift,"
"I DO!" screamed a bloodied priest. One could yet tell if his robes were blood-stained or if he wore the cursed robes of Pondera.
"Come forward, priest." Dralara Uth'Kemp waved a hand, bidding him to come.
She turned to her acolyte, Fayden Uth'Darr, "Who is this man?"
"He is a priest of Pondera who has come to see the Darkness, My Queen," the vampire acolyte bowed.
"Is he turned?"
"No. He has, however, served you with expediency and loyaly, Mistress," Fayden bowed.
"Is he mad? He is blood covered,"
"Some are whispering that he just killed his own acolyte and offered him to our coven, my Queen," Fayden reported, "So far as his madness .. his madness is driven only by his thirst of immortality,"
"Shall i allow him up, Mistress."
"Yes.. if he truely holds our sacrifice."
"He brought a Paladin of Fasdeus in shackles, My Queen.. I vouche for it myself,"
"Then I shall have him," Dralara Uth'Kemp offered a mischievous smile.
AS the priest came into her presence, he fell to his knees and bowed his head, refusing to look upon her.
"Stand, priest, and look into my eyes,"
"I am unworthy, Mistress Dralara,"
"What is your name, priest!?"
"Pralin Drem, Your Excellency. I remain a humble servant,"
"Yes.. well, you may be unworthy to set eyes upon me, but I will allow this one time," the Vampress said, and with tears in his eyes, and a face blood-caked, he allowed himself to peek.
Dralara Uth'Kemp pulled a coal stained, golden dagger from her sheath, and handed the blade to Pralin, "I COMMAND you to perform the sacrifice in the name of your new GOD!" A roar and cheer came from the gathering.
"I am honored, Mistress!" Pralin bowed again, jenuflecting before her.
"Then remove your robes and stand before your brothers and sisters as you were when your mother born you!"
Two priests of Orcus, cloaked in black and marked with the White Fang of Orcus pulled daggers which flashed in the moonlight and cut the robes from Pralin's back, with little to no regards for his flesh. Bloody streak trailed the knife-blades and the robes fell in shreds around his feet, and Pralin revelled in the pain.
The priests cut his breeches from his hips, and he stood with his arms spread wide, Dralara's dagger in his right hand.
"Bring the sacrifice!" the Vampress ordered, as the Gathing began to chant and sing homages to Orcus. A rain began to pour down upon the congregation in answer to tonight's most henious sacrifice.
Two Orcan guards snorted as each held the arm of a woman, still armored in the crest armor of Fasdeus, the God of Light.
"Behold - our gift !"
The singing rose to new heights - chants of murder and dismemberment were uttered in gutteral tongues, and hisses for flesh rented the air.
"Pralin Drem - NOW PRIEST of Orcus. Place the blade over the neck of your prey!"
"No.." cried the nameless paladin, "no.. you cannot... YOu are a priest of pondera.. there is no justice in this..."
Pralin ignored the pleas, and pressed the sharp of the blade against the paladin's throat..
Dralara Uth'Kemp prayed: "Promise your soul to Orcus, eat of his flesh and drink of his blood, and through him you will gain life everlasting. Mercy is a luxury that none are worthy of; suffering and torment are the fuel that will empower Orcus's ascent. The worshippers of Orcus will overwhelm the world in a tide of undeath, and even the gods will perish .. Say say we who serve Orcus!"
"So SAY WE ALL!" THE Gathering cried, and Pralin pulled the blade across the paladin's throat as she choked upon her own blood. With a hefty push, Dralara sent the woman tumbling down the embankement to the horde below..
"Feast! my children," Dralara smiled as her minion enveloped the body and tore it to pieces. "And you," she took the blade from Pralin, "May drink," she sliced a gash upon her wrist and let her own vampiric blood spill over the priest's face... He took her arm and spread his maw as wide as he could open it and drank until he, himself choked upon it.. His eyes went wide as the vampire's blood coursed through him .. like Dwarven fire seething in through ever pore in his body.
"Henceforth, you will wear the robes of Pondera, no longer!"
"I am yours to command, Mistress," Pralin offered.
"Good, for you will aid me in my quest for the Vessel of Eldrua!"
Turnng to her acolyte, Dralara said, "Fetch him some appropriate clothes. We will feed throughout the night, sleep by day, and be away East my moonrise!"
"As you command, My Queen!"