February 25, 2021 8 min read
Nightingale changed. It was almost as if her skin tone had gone a whole two shades paler, and considering how pale she was already, it made her a stark white.
Rook peered at her with a mixture of academic curiosity and fear. Her green hair seemed to drift, as though she were submerged in water he couldn’t see. There was also a darkness in her eyes, something sinister, and lacking in empathy.
“Come.” Nightingale said, but her voice was flat and emotionless. She began walking off down the street at a slow jilted walking pace, as if she was learning to walk for the first time. Her movements seemed abrupt and purposeful, as if she was trying to be careful not to fall.
Rook and Zeke shared a look of worry before following.
Nightingale's body led them all the way out of the city. She never tired, never slowed, and barely responded to anything they said. and after a few long moments they made it less than a mile out of the city through a winding path that led them up a nearby cliff side, void of roads.
As they walked. Rook couldn't help but wonder what Nightingale... the real Nightingale was feeling.
For our Day 5 unlock, we will be adding a unique miniature to the KS2 Promo Box that thematically represents a moment (or more) in Unintentional Malum.
To be clear, this miniature is part of the KS2 Promo Box and is being given away for free as part of every pledge level at the "Through the Portal" level or higher.
Nyx woke with a muffled scream, kicking and squirming in her bed. She was bound, wrapped in something ropey and muscled. She glanced down in horror, and saw moist red flesh binding her to the bed by wrists and ankles. Strange symbols coated the bed around the edges, written there in something she had a grim certainty was her own blood.
A face appeared above her, the face of a woman who was wrapped so completely with fleshy growth that it was impossible to see where sinuous limbs ended and raw muscle began. She looked over Nyx, drawing one claw across her lips. “Hush,” she whispered, in Jalen’s voice. “Scream again, and I’ll take your tongue.”
Nyx didn’t scream. Something had still been wrapped around her mouth, making any real attempt to speak impossible.
“Your pet ruined my spell—pity. Now you must wait your turn to die less pleasurably.” She turned away, lifted at her waist by the swollen, muscled masses. They carried her across the room to where Christopher slept. Nyx couldn’t tilt her head far, but she could see similar runes written around him, along with the same tendrils holding him down. Without Lymn or an Exalted Esper to call upon, he wouldn’t be escaping either.
As a Day 15 unlock we're excited to announce our cross promotion with the devilish Coven Mother of the Dark Divine! This creation is our take on the Wood Mother from Greenbrier Games.
These guys are the talented and creative minds behind Folklore! As a huge inspiration to us in the creative story-telling field, it's been a pleasure working with Greenbrier Games. They've served as another veteran in the industry always willing to give us the time of day since the very beginning. From miniatures, to rules, Greenbrier always been happy to be on call for whatever questions we had, no matter how mundane. We can't thank them enough!
They've provided this cross-promotion opportunity to us with little to no strings attached and were happy to simply let us go wild with the design.
Trenchworx is hard at work making the Resin miniature as we speak. As soon as we have something to show we'll be posting pictures of the resin kit. (Hopefully in the next three weeks.)
The Coven Mother kit comes with a beautiful Resin miniature (that will require assembly), an Initiative Card, two Item cards, an Adventurer Card, and an Intelligent Combatant card. This kit comes in all "With Swag" Pledge levels or can be added as an individual add-on for $20.
For those curious, the Intelligent Combatant card will come with rules to spice up Unintentional Malum by adding some variety to some of the spawn options during encounters.
Nyx struggled to her feet a few seconds later, moaning with pain and confusion as the world came haltingly back. They were being attacked—demons, or cultists, or maybe there wasn’t much of a difference. She strained, then fought against her terror and hauled herself to her feet, taking in the situation.
There were two of them left—one unhurt, looking over Ai and apparently satisfied by the wound it had inflicted to her. The other collapsed on the ground, putting pressure on the terrible wounds to its chest. Yet it wasn’t dead, as she might’ve hoped. Of course it wouldn’t be that easy. They’re not human anymore. The Dark Mother isn’t finished with them yet.
“You’re… outnumbered…” Nyx raised her weapon weakly, hands shaking even now. Christopher ignored the fallen Incubus, joining Ai and Nyx around the unhurt demon. “Back away from her, slowly.”
To her surprise, the Incubus obeyed, spreading his hands and backing around the two of them, letting Nyx and Christopher rejoin their fallen comrade without resistance.
Nyx removed a few scraps of cloth from beside the bed, offering them to Ai to use on her wound. Together, the three of them were able to rise.
“City watch?” Nyx whispered, though she had a sick feeling the demons could still hear her. “How much longer? I’d take the Black Hand over… fighting them alone.”
Ai looked at her like she was speaking another language. “Trust… Elenia’s authorities? Not to overreact and just kill us all? Lucia would never forgive me if her little brother died here.”
You don’t know what city you’re in, Nyx thought. Then again, Ai might be right. The Black Hand were ruthless in defending their territory. If they thought that Nyx and her companions had summoned these monsters...
“Forget about me,” Christopher said, resting his sword on his shoulder. He was feigning strength for their adversaries, but Nyx could see him sway. He could barely stand himself after the spell that had tried to steal his soul. “I can treat that, Ai. Just keep your guts in.”
“I’m working on it,” Ai grunted, her face white with pain. She won’t be any use if we fight. That seemed like a terrible idea, so Nyx turned for the open door. Surely the innkeeper had already heard the commotion, but even so. “Charlotte! Charlotte, call the watch! We’re not picky right now.”
Nyx’s throat was so raw that she could barely yell—certainly nothing as loud as the door had been when Ai tore it off the wall. But it was something.
“No one is coming,” the injured Incubus croaked. He pulled himself up into a sitting position, his bleeding slowing a little. Whatever he was, he healed far faster than they could. “They know to stay away. They know we’ll harvest them too.”
Nyx glanced back towards the hallway down, but no sound came from downstairs. No shouts of the Black Hand running for them. “You’re outnumbered!” she shouted, hoping she sounded braver than she felt.
“Not as much as you think,” said the uninjured demon. He circled the slain witch, reaching down with gentle fingers to caress the corpse’s arms, then her ruined face. The deep gouge from Nyx’s hatchet still pulsed faintly, seeping dark ichor.
The corpse moved. Not life, exactly, but her head twisted, one eye angling towards them. Her hand opened, her grip uncurling and pointing towards the injured Incubus. The worst part by far was the twisted smile on her face, looking like it was all for Nyx.
The injured Incubus sighed, nodding grimly. “Endless pleasures in this world or Hers,” he muttered to himself. “But only a visitor. Time to pay.”
“She always did like me more, Adriel,” said the other. “I’ll join you in time.”
Nyx lurched, heaving her axe towards the unhurt demon with all the strength she had. But if she hoped for a decisive blow, she was disappointed. It scraped along the Incubi’s arm, tearing flesh and spraying blood before tumbling to the floor.
He barely seemed to notice.
Christopher clutched at the rosary around his neck, muttering something in Spanish. But whatever he was praying for, his request wasn’t answered.
The witch clenched her hand suddenly shut. Adriel shuddered, his breath coming out in a single, shallow death-rattle. His body didn’t just fall limp, though. He withered, like a steak abandoned under a noonday sun. His whole body contracted, and what was left of his healthy skin tightened into a sunken death-mask. He fell sideways a second later, a desiccated husk.
And while he shriveled, the witch rose. Her skin sloughed and cracked along the edges, revealing something red and pulsing underneath. The tentacles slipped out from below her, fleshy, gnarled lengths of muscle and organ that moved her human-shaped sack of skin more than she moved them. But energy returned to her face, even as blood and viscera slipped through the cracks in her broken body. Nyx could swear she saw something gray and pulpy in that ruined skull, twitching along with everything else.
Perfect teeth fell away, even as her mouth stretched wider and wider. Nyx saw those same jagged fangs she’d dreamed about, row after row like a shark. Tendrils of flesh lashed out from behind her, shooting out to anchor her to the walls, the floor. Her eyes settled on her remaining companion, with something like affection on her face. “Return to them now, Feros. Tell Silvia that we have failed, but we will show the mother our devotion in death.”
He nodded, then darted for the window.
Christopher lifted his sword high, blocking the window. “You’re… not leaving. Hell is expecting you.”
A fleshy mass as thick as Nyx’s torso slammed across the room, battering Christopher’s side and flinging him as casually as a stack of cards. His sword tumbled, and he landed in a crumpled, moaning heap.
Nyx didn’t move. The Incubus Feros reached the window, then pulled it open. Black wings spread out from behind him, splitting from his back with tearing skin that briefly twisted his face in agony. But only for a moment. He glanced behind them one last time, his eyes settling on her. Then he was gone, his wings carrying him up into the sky and away from Rhamsted.
“Bastard!” Christopher’s voice came from the floor. He had a dagger now, and he ripped into the tentacle pinning him with savage blows. The witch hardly even noticed.
Ai Chen bent down, lifting her fallen gauntlets onto bloody hands. She looked up, meeting Nyx’s eyes with desperate resolve. “Ready to… die if you are.”
Not yet, Nyx thought. The Aether was vast, and she had a little magic left. Nyx called into the void with every drop she had, begging, pleading for help. There was no time to screen the spirits she reached, no time to set careful terms. She could only plead, promising them a taste of Middara if only they would help her kill a demon. Demons had enemies, even powerful ones.
Which Esper does Nyx summon to even the odds?
Balaan, the Lidless Eye was listening. A primordial esper from a distant corner of Arkalla where no human feet have ever stood, where the elements rage and lava pours from endless molten crags.
The Acroamatic, Lorekeeper of the Unseen was listening, and it came from a library of vast antiquity, where the secrets of every life are scrawled in pages of flesh. It would visit Middara to add a few more bloody pages to its record.
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