City of Night: Ammon’s Reach

Nightfall in Brahmir: City of Night

Chapter One – Ammon’s Reach


Wolves prowled the tall grass stalks, their beady eyes darting back and forth, watching her. Mayeli continued about her business, wolves be damned. Brahmir contained far worse threats than a pack of hungry animals looking for a meal. 

Across the river before her rested a patch of flowers she’d been searching for. Just outside the township of Ammon’s Reach where the forest met the farmlands on the outskirts of town, there grew a unique kind of flower hidden amongst the low hanging branches and sprawling bramble of the Blythe Woods.

Mayeli pranced, pretending to be unaware of the wolves that stalked the underbrush behind her as she made her way to an overturned log that bridged the bubbling river. Carefully, one foot at a time she made her way across. When she’d reached the other side of the river she fought the urge to turn back and gloat to the wolves who continued to stalk her, silently waiting for their chance to attack.

She knelt beside the flowers and plucked them from the earth as a cold wind blew. The season was changing and she felt it deep inside of her. 

Something was coming. 

The patch of wildflowers was full despite the groaning of summer into fall all around her, and what flowers continued to stand proud in the daylight bent beneath the weight of the sudden gust. Silverfinger, a delicate perennial with glimmering leaves made up the bulk of the flower patch, though it was pleasant on the eye it was for all intents and purposes, a weed. It grew like wild ivy and choked the life out of other vegetation wherever it was able to plant roots. 

In splotchy patches mixed beneath the silver leaves, stood the stubby River Mimic, unique to the area around Ammon’s Reach and their side of Blythe Woods, it was a flower whose identity reflected the flower of those around it. Suspiciously enough, no one could trace where the flowers originated and few dared to search far back. For all most knew it was another curse laid upon Brahmir, a long line of which plagued her people for as long as any of them remembered.

Hidden beneath the stolen leaves of the River Mimic, she found what she’d come from the village so far for, Hermit’s Breath. A flower which wasn’t necessarily difficult to find, but only bloomed for two weeks, right at the end of the summer as the leaves began to change. Large orange and green petals sprung from the earth beneath and stretched as high as they could, merely a few inches from the topsoil. She plucked a bundle and dropped them into the wicker basket she’d carried, and dug from the depths of it a small doll. The heavy wooden frame no longer bearing down on the basket brought her a sense of relief. 

She placed the doll in the patch of flowers where she’d plucked the Hermit’s Breath. A practice her mother had instilled in her when she was a child. As soon as the wooden doll touched the soil, vines crept around it and lashed it to the earth. They pulled it down, cracking the hollow wooden body of the toy and revealing within an opaque liquid that dribbled down onto the earth. The vines released their hold and receded back into the soil where they’d come from and travelled back, she’d assumed, to their home.

Blythe Woods were not merely a forest, but lived and breathed with the citizens of Brahmir. Deep within the shaded boughs there lived a woman with no name in a house with no walls, and each night she was said to leave her home to parse through her woods searching for anything that might be out of place.

Mayeli didn’t know what “out of place” meant, but her mother had made a habit of the ritual, and never did she speak lightly about the Woman in the Woods. To her, the act of leaving the doll meant something far greater than Mayeli could understand, and she obeyed with no question.

She stood and made her way back to the walls of Ammon’s Reach, where the wolves remained prowling the underbrush. They made no attempt on her as she passed, careful to keep her business to herself and not invite them she approached the gate.

“Solstice is coming, child, you shouldn’t be out so late.”

A guard’s voice called from atop the watchtower as she approached.

“I was out seeking medicine, ser.”

She lifted the basket to show him, and after a moment of scrutiny he opened the gate from a lever in the watchtower with an unsatisfied look about him.

Once the creaking wooden doors had opened enough for her to enter, she slipped through and the gate closed behind her. 

After all, it was nearing sundown and despite being called out for it, he was right.

It was unwise to wander after nightfall in Ammon’s Reach.

The city bustled with the worries and wants of last minute errands. Folks from all of the neighborhoods ventured through the city streets to and from shops and neighbors on their way back to their own homes for safety. It was as it had always been in Brahmir, with the night came danger. 

Mayeli passed by a pair of monitor constructs, patrolling the streets and repeating the same recorded lines. The voice of which belonged to Dr. Fei Lachmann, who had garnered a reputation for building the defense of the city proper. Her artifice was everywhere in Ammon’s Reach. From the mechanical watchtowers, which, if necessary, could be converted into battlements safe in some capacity from magic, which the guards operated to defend from large threats. Other signs of her work patrolled the streets during all hours, machines the size of the average adult human who would recite her message of protection and caution regarding the turning of the day. These machines were equipped with blades and small tools to aid in a potential attack, and in the center of each neighborhood stood a larger, more capable construct of her design which, during the day was a meeting ground for merchants, and at night became bastions against the darkness. Equipped with a magical flame, they were like bonfires against the darkness where those who might find themselves under threat after sun fall could go to hide, or seek aid.

Mayeli followed the flow of the foot traffic to her home. It was a quaint house, tucked in the sprawling alleys of the Moonside District, home of the prestigious Barrenthal Academy. A scratch built two story home where her mother and father lived alongside her, and two brothers. She climbed the steps toward the door and spared one final glance over the city horizon, reaching high into the sky as she ducked inside, careful to keep the Watchbugs away from the light of their lanterns, she locked the doors and tapped on the peeking window beside the doorframe.

Inside her home, she found her brothers playing with small dolls not unlike the kind she’d offered to the Blythe Woman, though theirs were not filled with the murky opaque liquid which, according to her mother, “satiated the witch.” Beyond the boys sat her father on a large reclining sofa, a leather bound journal in his hands. He worked for the Moonside Detective Agency, and likely had just gotten home before she had. Her mother waltzed through the kitchen, donned in an apron with thick woolen gloves on she placed plates and cutlery along the edges of an oak table and whistled a tune Mayeli had known since she was a child.

“Evening, dear.” Her mother called in a sing-song voice as she pulled a pot of roasted quail from a sheltered fire pit. “Did you find the flowers you were looking for?”

She nodded and lifted the basket, slipping through the dining room and toward the back of the house. Praying her mother didn’t continue the conversation, she crept up the stairs to her room. Thankfully, no one called out for her when she got there as she dumped the flowers onto her bed. 

Though her room was the smallest of the private rooms, she’d made it her own. Decorated with beaded tapestries and homemade paintings she’d made years before her brother was born, she organized the Hermit’s Breath on the bedsheets from smallest to largest. The largest of which sported small buds the, had she not plucked them from the ground, would eventually grow to be large leaves that, when the blooming period was over, would hold the wilting leaves and lower them to the ground. She sniffed the flowers gently as she plucked the tiny budding leaves from the bulb of the flower and laid them aside.

Hermit’s Breath was named as such for a reason. She wrinkled her nose at the scent, like old leather and rainwater had mixed with the distinct smell of liquor. It wasn’t inherently a bad smell, but it wasn’t necessarily pleasant either. Taking a deep breath, she began to work on the rest of the flowers until they had been completely disassembled and separated into small piles, organized by part. 

From under her bed she withdrew a worn notebook and propped it onto the floor beside her, flipping to a particular page which detailed a recipe she’d been longing to concoct. The Hermit’s Breath and much of it’s parts were required, however the small unfurled shells of the blossoming leaves were what she needed specifically. Within them there was a mineral which, when combined with some household ingredients, created a decent healing salve and a healing salve is what she needed most.

From her nightstand she took a few hinged clothespins and pinched together the petals, fully grown leaves and stalks of the flower and hung them gently beneath the frame of her bed on a nail she’d wedged there when she was young. The remainder of the flower, her prized ingredient, she swept into the basket. As she stood to gather the remainder of the ingredients, a bit of baking sugar, clove and a lock of hair from the diseased, she heard her mother’s footsteps popping from the other side of her door.

Frantically, she kicked the basket and journal beneath her bed as she sat, hastily searching for something to occupy her hands as he mother pushed the door open.

“May, it is time for dinner.” Her mother peered around the room with narrow eyes. “Is everything alright in here?” She rested her gaze on Mayeli.

“Of course it is, mother. Why would you expect any less?”

Her mother cocked an eye and replied with a grin. “Because you’re my daughter, and my daughter rarely stays out of trouble.”

She blushed and stood from her bedside. “I will be down soon.” 

Her mother nodded quietly and closed the door.

She shuffled as soon as she was alone to check the basket for damage before she returned it to the floor beneath her bed. She took a deep breath in and prepared to head downstairs as the last slivers of sunlight disappeared behind the top of Blythe Woods, and sent her room into a stack darkness.

Dinner was as dinner always was. Father rambled about the case occupying his mind, this particular event regarded a missing child in the Whiteweald. Mayeli barely listened as he worked through his train of thought, a habit he’d picked up years before she was born and had engrained into himself by her adolescence. Her mother, dutiful as she was, listened with wide eyes as he spoke of a mysterious group of teenagers sighted in the drifts to the north of the city. 

The Whiteweald itself wasn’t far from town, a brisk afternoon walk would be more than plenty to find oneself in the center of a large snow covered plain, even in the summer it suffered a backdraft from storm clouds high in the mountains further north. Most days, as the sun rose above the peaks and burned down onto the earth, the snow would melt only to be replaced after nightfall by the near constant churning of the clouds. She’d been a few times on trips with the family or her class, when they still made it a point to leave the city with any regularity.

She chewed through her dinner with haste and disposed of what remained. The quail her family often ate was not as tough as usual on this particular evening, but the rest of the tasteless vegetables suffered between her teeth nearly as much as she suffered to put them there.

With the coming of the autumn in Ammon’s Reach, and she assumed, everywhere else on Brahmir, trade routes began to close. With the shutdown of the various trades the Reach suffered greatly. They were a relatively independent settlement, and one of the primary suppliers of precious metal to the other towns and cities across the land. However, what they lacked, and what was most devastating about the coming of winter, was the sudden loss of spices. The closures of trade routes meant that her family along with all but the most obscenely wealthy were forced to reserve what salts and spices they had been able to stockpile. For a household with one income, and one which came from an overworked investigator, it meant that when the snow fell their food grew bland and difficult to eat.

This year, however, her mother had made a big deal about a jar of salts she’d purchased from a traveling band of merchants passing through. Emerald Salts, even, which Mayeli had only heard of before. Seventeen hundred coins her mother had paid which, considering their family only brought home twenty or thirty thousand a year, was something of note. The rare spice was meant for a special occasion, likely either the Frost End before the new year when her mother traditionally smoked a pig for the neighborhood, or, in more recent years the sudden need for the family to celebrate the Triune. A holiday which hadn’t been taught in her school, or even really spoken about by the other townsfolk, but had something to do with the Blythe Woods and the woman who might or might not live within. 

Mayeli scraped her remainders off into the waste trough for the family pigs before she returned to her room. Her parents didn’t protest, as if they could stop her from her goal at this point regardless. She closed the door behind her softly and waited until she was certain her family wouldn’t be coming to bother her. With a delicate touch, she combined each of the ingredients save for the lock of hair into a mortar and ground them down per the instructions her friend had offered. Then, with a bit of water mixed in she ground it into a fine burnished paste. 

She’d been asked to gather the ingredients by a friend, Harfin, who lived in a nearby district. His daughter Kardja was said to be suffering from a vile sickness, the likes of which he couldn’t discern. Hermit’s Breath, Harfin believed, would be the answer. She scooped out as much of the salve she’d made as she could and deposited it into a small glass vial, and with the hair of the diseased in hand she unlatched her bedroom window. The cool of the night air unsettled her no more than it had before, and she descended the cobbled bricks of her home until she reached the bottom and took off for Harfin’s. 

Ammon’s Reach, despite its convoluted streets that tangled and intertwined upon themselves and made travel through the city in the daylight confusing if not slightly irritating, seemed to evolve in the night time and become something different altogether. After the rising of the five moons, Ammon’s Reach beame something indescribable. She’d not been out in the streets during nightfall but once before, and she’d rather not repeat it.

Still, Harfin’s daughter was her friend, as was Harfin. A local professor at Blythe Academy, he’d offered her tutoring and even, on one occasion, a generous amount of money that she might be able to study without the need to work at the bakery. She declined it, however, but the sentiment made a mark on her.

On this particular night, she knew the danger it was to expose herself, but if Harfin was right she didn’t have a lot of time before her friend would fall to irreparable damage to the hand of the sickness. She passed through the alley that connected her housing complex to the main road and moved quickly, keeping nearer the houses and mana lanterns that sporadically lined the street than in the center, in the darkness, where something might be closer than she’d prefer.

The fifth moon of Brahmir was verging on the horizon as she made it out of the Flourmill District and into Rustvale, where the old Lantz Ironworks stood. A place she’d been warned about when she was a child. Despite its decommission and disrepair, it stood out in the night sky perhaps more frighteningly so. The massive smokestacks that stretched into the dark like knives loomed over her as she crept along the shadowed cobble. No house kept their oil lamps burning by the fifth moon. Now halfway on the horizon, she felt the air grow thick around her as if nature itself warned her to stay away. Her only source of light belonged to the Mana Wards which were fueled by city wizards from Blythe Academy, their faint blue and pink hue lit her steps as she turned down a smaller side street, away from the main road and away from Lantz Ironworks.

On the smaller street, she took account of her surroundings before she continued. Though no one else meandered the walkways, the side streets didn’t have lanterns hung as frequently, those who couldn’t afford to live on the main streets were asked to share their protections from the Wards. Though it was a short walk in the daylight, night time stretched everything in Ammon’s Reach.

“Two blocks away.” She whispered to herself.

“Two blocks away from what?” She called back. Though, it was not her, and she knew that.

She didn’t reply to the voice and continued walking. At first, there was no sound that accompanied her false question, but a few steps later she noticed an echoing of footsteps behind her. Gripping the salve and hair close to her chest she pushed forward, and the footsteps continued.

The side path ended, forcing her to turn either left or right, and the echoing footsteps mercilessly pursued her as she arrived at the split in the road. She turned left onto a small alley not unlike the ones which lined the houses of her own district. The tap of her soles against the stone turned to dirt, and the echo of her steps did the same as she pushed herself. Sweat beads trickled down the nape of her neck as she walked, singularly focused.

Then, she saw it. Harfin’s home, the only one for blocks whose oil lamp remained lit in the darkness. She approached, passing through mana light that had begun to wane from lack of refilling, and the footsteps pursued still.

“Do you not have a home?” She asked the night.

“What might make you think such a thing? I just found you out here, and it’s been so long.” Her voice spoke back.

“So long, and you can’t find something else to do?”

“Keep asking it questions.” She reminded herself as the voice replied once more.

“I wouldn’t want to do anything else, do you know how long it’s been since we’ve been together?” 

She shivered at the sound of her own voice.

“How long has it been, really?” She asked, forcing herself to remain in the uncomfortable conversation than to potentially find herself in something worse.

“It’s been years, but you know that don’t you? The last time you got to meet me?”

Her voice cracked as it replied to her.

“Focus.”

She approached Harfin’s door and pulled on a long chain affixed to the frame, without turning around she spoke.

“What if we spend another night together, on another day?”

The footsteps paused behind her when she arrived at the door, but before the door opened, it took another.

“What about right now?” Her own voice turned sour. “Why don’t you have time right now?”

Inside, Harfin’s pudgy steps shuffled to the door. He placed his hand on the handle and Mayeli blurted out.

“Because it’s a bad time!”

Behind her, her own voice screamed, a shriek that echoed into the darkness as Harfin opened the door and grabbed her blouse, dragging her inside and slamming the door shut behind them.

“This isn’t fair!” She called from the outside. “You cheated!”

The sweat which pooled on her neck dripped onto Harfin’s wooden floor as he dusted himself off and locked the door. A silver deadbolt, a requirement in Ammon’s Reach according to housing guidelines. 

“May! What are you doing cavorting with Puzzle Spirits?” He huffed, his cheeks a flushed, and extended a hand to help her to her feet.

“I was just… playing a little game?” She joked half heartedly as the crunch of rocks beneath footsteps grew distant outside, the lurking follower given up on its target.

“We must hurry, I fear it has grown worse since last we spoke.” Harfin said with a solemn tone. Then, he led her upstairs.

At the end of the long hall stood a single doorway, with a door left slightly ajar. Within came the cries of a girl she’d known since childhood, enraptured with pain, her voice called out to her from the hall.

“Mayeli, my love. It’s been so long.” 

Her voice was crooked, bent like a clothes hanger that held a too heavy coat. Behind her own words there was another voice, a perfect mimic of Kardja, the girl whose voice she barely recognized.

Harfin stumbled before her and led her into the room where she laid eyes upon her old friend for the first time in many days. She was bound by hand and ankle to the four corners of her bed. The wooden posts had stripped down to splinters, and a few more days of abuse would have been too much for them. The shook and bent as she jerked about on the bed, her hair matted and greasy, her face once beautiful and clear was covered in boils and scars, streaked with blood.

“What is happening?” She asked Harfin quietly, entering the room.

“It is this disease. She is sick. This fever has begun to affect her mind, I fear the longer she stays in this state the worse she will become.” He huffed around the room, scrubbing piles of dried vomit that had been left by some unknown source. Likely Kardja, but Mayeli didn’t want to consider the vision.

“Have you come to heal me?” Her friend’s voice mocked her. “With your salves and your potions?” Kardja spit as she spoke, and lurched forward to leer at her.

Mayeli steeled herself and raised the lock of hair. “I am going to do what I can to help you.”

Harfin mumbled beneath his breath, but she ignored his whimpering as she prepared to administer the medicine she’d created. Hermit’s Breath was not only medicinal in application, it was a powerful sleeping aid. A little in her mouth might be enough to knock the rabid girl out long enough to complete the procedure. 

“You know, they called the Bishop on me yesterday.” Kardja screeched from behind her. “Couldn’t believe my eyes.”

“What did the bishop say?” Mayeli replied. As she slipped the ointment onto a thin rag, her skin prickled.

“He said the gods had abandoned me, little Kardja broken and sad. Isn’t it wonderful?”

The voice which was not her own cracked, and Mayeli slipped a glance at her friend, whose eyes had sunken into her skull, her ribs protruded from her thin abdomen easily visible beneath the cotton night dress. The pang in her heart was far worse than the fear within it as she approached her friend with a rag.

“This is going to help you, Kardja.”

She leaned in close as the girl hung her jaw wide open, waiting for the ointment. Her legs and arms jerked sporadically. Her eyes rolled. As Mayeli reached toward the sores on her face, she nudged a bit of ointment with her finger near Kardja’s lip.

The girl turned to face her.

“I’m not Kardja.”

She bit down on Mayeli’s finger hard, her teeth rotted and chipped. A searing pain ripped through her as her old friend shook her head like a rabid animal, jerking her arm back and forth. Harfin jumped from the other side of the bed and pulled, but the girl refused to let go.

Mayeli screamed and pulled her other fist, slamming it against Kardja’s cheek repeatedly until eventually, the girl released her. She yanked her damaged hand to her chest as blood poured from the wound. 

“What is wrong with you!?” She shouted, the pulsating of her hand coursing through her.

Kardja didn’t speak in return, and instead, spit Mayeli’s finger onto the floor.

“I am finally free.” A voice spoke in return, but it was not Kardja’s.

Mayeli watched her finger roll across the paneled wood floor as Harfin screamed, and then, everything went black.

Mayeli’s head throbbed. That was the first thing she noticed. The second, was beneath her. The floor was stone, hard stone that hadn’t been worked or shaved down. It was not frequently walked or well cared for, and it was cold. She pushed herself to a sitting position as her eyes adjusted to the darkness of the room. Every inch of the place she’d awoken was robbed of light, but in the curling dark she made out a handful of features. The walls were lined with carved pillars, however decorative the carvings were, she couldn’t make out, but all around her there were pillars. She gathered she was in the center of the room. Above her there was a thing slit of light that bled through into the darkness and provided what little light she used to see her surroundings.

On opposite ends of the room there were two doors, what they were made out of she couldn’t tell. Her hands and ankles were wrapped, cold bandage or cloth spun tight enough around them that she was losing circulation. They were cold, and heavy. She rolled to her chest and pushed to stand and found, quickly, her limbs had been chained to smaller pillars that circled the room. On the other side of the smaller pillars was a walkway. Though she couldn’t be certain, it looked as though the walkway was lined with a carpet of some kind, or perhaps a rug.

Everything else in the room was shrouded in darkness and too difficult to make out.

“Hello?” She called.

The only response that came was her own echo, calling back to her from the corners of the dark.

Above her, feet shuffled and passed over the creaking sliver of light. At least, the regular thudding sounded like footsteps, though she recognized they might be something else entirely.

“Is anyone up there?” She called a second time, to no reply.

With a sigh, she sat back to the stone ground and closed her eyes.

“Meditation. A few deep breaths, focus your mind.”

She had been meditating for years, a response her mother and father suggested she employ to deal with heightened levels of anxiety and tension she couldn’t identify the root cause of. She had a hunch, when she was younger, it came from schooling. Having been out of the education system for some time she assumed it was no longer the problem for her. 

She breathed in for ten seconds, then out for five. She pushed her mind to obey her. To move away from the frantic thoughts and worries that immediately sprang to vision when she woke up in a place she didn’t recognize. As she fought the feeling, she took another breath. In for seven seconds, out for five.

Wherever she’d found herself didn’t matter as much as how she got there.

“If I can drudge up the memories of my arrival, perhaps I can…”

She let the thought fade into obscurity within her as a voice echoed down the hall. It was unfamiliar, though nothing like Kardja’s voice back in the house. This one was docile, intentional. It came slowly as if its owner took time to deliberate each syllable.

“We are nearly to our deadline and have yet to discover the key.” The voice paused. It was a man’s voice, though higher pitched and sharp to her ears. Even at a distance, it ground on her ears.

“We have a few tests to complete before we can guarantee any certainty. It is nearing the apex of the nightfall, and we are without a subject.”

Another voice spoke over the first.

“Not true.” The second voice was deep, and crystal clear. It did not have the same gravelly tone her father’s had, or even really a tone at all. It spoke on one note and didn’t raise or lower. Each word took the exact same time to say, which was slow. “We have collected a subject.”

Mayeli lowered her head, hoping it would somehow increase the volume of the conversation.

“A young woman wandering the streets at night. Perhaps we could test the effects on her, to see if it will propagate effectively.” 

The first voice answered back. “No, no. That girl is no use to us. She was trying to aid that buffoon Harfin, his miserably obnoxious daughter caught the sickness and she was out collecting flowers this afternoon to try and heal her.”

A chorus of voices laughed at the mention of her day.

“She certainly tried.” A third voice spoke up, one she recognized. 

“Kardja.” She whispered.

“I took her finger. It’s a little treat.”

One of the voices grumbled, and the doors before her burst open, Kardja skipped into the room with a blood stained grin.

“Little one.” The girl’s voice was subdued, different in a way she couldn’t put her finger on as if she was being made to talk, like her voice was being cast from the lips of a ventriloquiest. “We have something special planned for you.” Her friend slipped her hands onto her shoulders and pushed her down to the stone. 

“We have made something for you, a special little thing.”

Kardja danced away from her as two more forms appeared in the doorway, the one on the left, a thin man in ratty old clothing. The lapels of his coat stained with black liquid and his hair matted with the same. He held a small silver ring in his hand and twirled it between his fingers. The second, a much larger man who wore clean, polished armor. The chest plate was emblazoned with a symbol of a Griffon carrying a scythe, a royal mark of the southern city of Farrthuor. Mayeli knew little of the place, but for him to have travelled so far in itself was astounding. He’d must have ventured multiple days, which meant he slept somewhere in the wilderness through the night and arrived unscathed.

Then, he grinned.

“He is not unscathed.” She thought as the men approached, the larger man aiding Kardja, who returned to hold her down.

The pair pinned her to the sone and she screamed for help, but they held her, preventing her from moving.

“Quiet down now, child.” The large man spoke softly over her. His voice was clear beneath her shouting.

The third figure, the thin man, approached and extended his hand with the ring on it, careful not to drop it as Kardja pulled her flailing arm still and stretched it out, so that he could slip the ring on securely.

As soon as the cold metal touched her finger Mayeli felt something stir inside of her, a deep and hidden resentment bubbled up immediately.

“I’ll kill you!” She shouted, and then went flush.

“What are you saying?” She thought, and relaxed.

“My dear child,” the thin man began. “This is merely a test to see if you are fit to hold the spirits of Ammon’s Reach adequately. Though we have our doubts, you are the only one we have accessible at this time. My sincerest apologies.” His rough voice grated her ears, just as her father’s did.

“Father…” She thought as the man seated the ring on her forefinger, and she felt it tighten around her.

“What are you doing to me?!” She shouted, still fighting Kardja and the large man.

“I am making you whole again.”

The thin man grinned and turned on his heels. With a wave of his hand, both of her assailants released her and jumped back, dodging her attempts to grasp them.

“Don’t leave me here!” She cried.

They didn’t listen, of course, they didn’t care.

Both of them followed the thin man out of the room, KArdja closed the door behind her and shrouded the chamber in darkness once more.

Still, Mayeli didn’t feel alone anymore. Swirling around her, just beneath the surface, like the cream in her father’s tea, was something she couldn’t recognize. A foreign feeling to her which pressed against her gut and swam through the bubbling anxiety that showered her. She began to cry.

The ring on her finger grew warm, and tightened.

The foreign feeling grew slowly at first, but soon encompassed her entirely as she laid back. Suddenly, the chains around her arms and feet no longer bothered her. 

She knew they’d be off soon.

As the warmth filled her from the pit of her stomach she held the ringed finger in front of her face. Her opposite hand burned with jealousy after having lost it’s own. 

The ring was bright silver, at least, she assumed it was silver. It could have been worked iron, or even steel for all she knew, but it didn’t matter to her. Socketed into it was a small ruby, barely smaller than the stone her mother wore, a polished pebble her father had fished out of the river to propose with.

“Father…” She said aloud. “I miss you.”

Her echo responded back quickly, but the voice was not her own.

“I miss you too.” Her father’s voice came back from the darkness and she whirled around to see him step into the shaft of moonlight that beamed down upon her.

“Dear, darling daughter.”

His eyes reflected a violet hue off of the moonlight, different, but somehow more peaceful.

“I want to go home, father.”

He grinned, his clean teeth peeked from beneath his lips as he extended his arms and his grin continued growing, further and further until the corners of his lips stretched off of his mouth as if they were pulled by fish hooks. His voice came from the depths of the smile, but his mouth refused to move.

“You are home, my dear.” 

From the darkness in his throat, a light appeared, and his smile continued to stretch as his jaw dropped. From within him, a blinking eye opened in his throat and gazed around the room. He took a step forward.

She pushed herself away from him and the rattle of the chains echoed in the room.

“We are bound, daughter of mine.” Her father’s voice spoke with no echo. Each word fell flat against the stone as the eye blinked and his mouth widened into a nervous grin. His jaw continued to stretch as the eye within her father emerged further and further, until it nearly emerged from his mouth when, it popped. The snap of her father’s jaw echoed in the room as his skin tore and peeled away from the growing entity within his body. Emerging from his mouth, a sick creature stepped through the tearing skin. It’s flesh nearly translucent with a violet tint to it. Beating in its chest were three hearts, and upon its head grew two large bulbs that housed its eyes. One singular massive iris that stared at her was surrounded by thirty or forty more that scanned the room frantically.

Her father’s skin shed to the ground with a sick slosh, spilling clear, pinkish fluid across the stone.

“You are home.”


Mean for the Holidays Day Two! If you enjoyed today’s story, please share it on your social media and let your friends be a part of the darkness.

Nightfall in Brahmir is an episodic fantasy fiction story taking place in the world of Brahmir, where the lines between dead and alive are not simply blurred, they are almost nonexistent. In this place, all manner of horrors plague the denizens from returned corpses, trickster spirits, to killers stalking the daylight. Part One will be four Chapters, each of which follow one of the main characters as they try to work out what happened to Mayeli, and rescue her from the grasp of the strange powers that be within the merchant city, Ammon’s Reach.


8 Replies to “City of Night: Ammon’s Reach”

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