(Editor’s note: we’re including some original fiction on the website in the week before Halloween. The artwork is by Joe Aubrey.)
Imagine a region in the grip of a religion pushing a cursed remedy on its populace. A world brimming with Eldritch terrors and bloodborne contagions. No one can be trusted and even the holy men are suspect.
The Madness Which Breaks Upon Beasts: A Bloodborne fan-made fiction
Jo’ sat at the edge of the fountain. Streams of red mixed in with the clear water flowing through the cherub’s trumpet. She glanced up. A pale scowl enveloped Vash’s face, much more sinister than those she was used to. His head was cocked to the side as he raised his voice slightly to get her attention. “This doesn’t change protocol going forward,” he snarled.
Jo raised her bloodied hands from the now unclean water and began, “Do you think we should send to Yharnam for the minister?”
“By B’her, what would you have them do, Jocasta?” he retorted. A slight melancholy grin ran away from her face. She could feel it. Too many questions and less than no time to answer them. She felt like this when she entered the dream, though she never told, Vash. Did she even mention to him that she had dreams? Her memory was unclear even on this. The many swirling, churning emotions one felt when one dreamt always had that effect on those like her. She didn’t think much of it at the time but when her father lay bleeding on that chapel floor, she had begun to have that feeling once again. She felt it once before when her dreams began to manifest; an initial existential dread followed by a feeling of being freed from heavy shackles.
Like being frightened awake from an awful nightmare, Jo’ arose from the edge of the fountain and grabbed Vash by the shoulders, “I’m going to go see the Constable.”
The only light in the dingy office was a lone lantern hanging high above from the ceiling. It caught Jo’s attention, if only briefly, for she couldn’t decide what fuel the lantern was using to light the cramped space. “Edward! I need you to come with me back to Weynon. We may not have much time,” she exclaimed as a tall, blonde, uniformed gentleman came into her eyeline.
Edward Valtr raised an eyebrow but continued to peruse his paperwork with a monocle that hinted at his failing eyesight. He began; ”Jocasta; I can’t be pulled away on one of your ‘missions’ today.”
He continued; “ And furthermore, I’m still cleaning up the mess that…” “Jackson is dead, Edward,” she cut him off cleanly, her pose much more deliberate than when she entered the constabulary.
“We’ve little time if we intend to conduct a proper investigation. Hurry and hand me my mantle. We need to leave out of the back.” And so, the two wiry figures made their way down the avenues of Cathedral Ward, out the northwestern gate, and with haste towards the Hamlet of Weynon.
Jocasta noticed Valtr was unusually quiet as they galloped towards the site of her father’s murder and she couldn’t help but think Vash seemed rather dismissive of the whole affair. “I want to know how it is you do it, this time. I want you to show me how you see them. I deserve that much,” she implored him.
He attempted to stifle his reservations about the entire ordeal. Jo’ was his friend. He did owe her that much. After a palpable pause, he nodded. As they caught each other’s’ eyes Valtr noticed a lone figure in the middle of the road. The hooded and cloaked man raised a hand as to halt the pair. “You there! Law man! Didn’t you see the warning?” There was an awkward pause.
“I’m sure I would have seen it had one been posted, Father,” Valtr stood his ground. He regarded the cleric oddly, and his ears perked up. “Ride, Jo’!” he exclaimed as he heard the faint snap of a hammer being drawn back on some out-of-sight highwayman’s weapon.
In an instant the two were charging full speed down toward the verge of Weynon proper and out of sight of the stalkers. She was now roaring “How the hell did you…” “I saw one. Very bright. More vivid than anything I had ever seen before,” his voice was booming over the sound of thundering hooves. This was his gift. He truly saw through men. Saw the corruption within. The Vermin. Whether blood drunk or raving at the edges of solipsistic madness, he could reach in and cleanse a man’s beastly immorality. That was the curse he’d pass on to Jocasta.
The gaunt pair dismounted quietly and crept to the rear of the priory, leaving their steeds just inside the tree line. Jo’ knew they would surely be behind them and she had an awful feeling Vash was now involved. Although she was grateful for his tutelage in being groomed as a blood-saint, Jo’ never quite trusted him. Many of the times she dreamed, she caught glimpses of Vash bathed in blood and excrement – always a bad sign in her experience. She even swore she could remember seeing him in the nightmare once. It was all adding up now, and it shook her to her core. “Shh,” Valtr placed his index finger in front of pursed lips.
Jo’ peered through an unadorned window, “I don’t see my father’s body.” She paused. She had to squint and look far into the interior of the building. “The implements are gone. I don’t…” they both heard the clicks. Now, much closer. Very near their heads, in fact.
“That’s about as far as I’d move if I were you,” Vash’s gravelly voice pierced the relative silence. “Out. Step over this way, please.” The pair reluctantly complied.
“Father, this won’t end very well for you. I’m due in court at the Main Cathedral this very evening and very soon,” Valtr regarded him sternly. “I’m sure you won’t want to explain this to Madame Amelia.
“Oh, don’t worry, officer. This won’t take long. And I don’t intend on keeping you from the Church’s justice.” Vash, retorted.
“And what, prithee, would make you think the Church’s aim is to dispense justice upon a peace officer, especially in times such as these?” he grinned, knowing the remark would unbalance his prey.
Two men; each with a weapon pointed at their heads. Vash; standing with hands folded approximately ten feet to their southeast. One grotesquely large humanoid with a larger scythe in-hand, standing beside Vash. He’d been in similar predicaments, although not with her at his side. Just then, as Vash evaluated Jo’, Valtr took the opportunity to Quicken towards the Cleric. As Vash attempted to draw a blade from his vestments Valtr produced an Evelyn from his waistcoat and put a well-placed round directly into the clergyman’s left leg. Vash’s stance faltered and just as quickly as he shot, the Constable threw open his robe and plunged his open hand into the man’s exposed bosom. He shot a deliberate glance at Jo’ “through the window! Now!”
With the shock on the faces of Vash’s cohorts still fresh, Jocasta leapt through the window of the chapel as Edward wrenched the still beating heart from his chest. Immediately steeled for battle the two gunmen aimed their weapons but were no match for the Law Man’s supernatural speed. Narrowly dodging the giant goon’s blade and almost as quickly as his riposte, Valtr Quickened to the rear of his final oppopent, drew a Fine Silver Rapier from the scabbard on his back and plunged it into the brute’s spine. Similarly, to Father Vash, yet he reached into the foe’s back this time, he pulled out what looked to be a mass of blood and gore that resembled a still beating heart. Edward recoiled from contact with the creature’s blood. Holding his now crippled appendage limply with the other. Disoriented from his tumble to the ground he feverishly called out to Jo’.
Jocasta and Edward stood over the bodies wrought by the sudden melee occurring in the rear cemetery of the small shrine. A look of dismay dominated Edwards face as he began to question many things he’d believed. “What the hell is all this about, Jo’? What in Odeon’s name is going on?”
“If I had suspected myself, we’d not be in this pickle. But I do know Vash was certainly becoming suspicious of my gifts.”
Valtr began again; “and just what is this… thing? I’ve seen many hideous beasts before, but this? Just what is The Healing Church doing in that lab of theirs?”
“You look hurt. Can I see it?” Jo’ furrowed her brow. “I’m going to look in the larder for some antiseptic. Don’t move it”
“Don’t worry. I’ve got Blood.” Valtr tried to reassure her. “besides, I’ve had worse. I’m just at a loss as to…” as he turned around Jo’ had already disappeared into the monastery. As he motioned to turn back towards the carnage he heard a scream from inside.
Edward came upon an odd scene. There, in the chantry where they conducted ministration, was Jocasta, on here knees, sobbing into her hands. Sat upon a chair in the center of the room was Jo’s father, Jackson . No blood issued from his corpse and he appeared to have been given a change of clothes. Oddest of all was the peculiar metal cage that seemed to be carefully placed upon his head, eyes ajar as if staring into the cosmos itself. Several moments passed as Edward watched as his friend and pupil vocally mourn the loss of her father – his very own and closest colleague.
Once the shock of the scene had begun to wear off. Edward gently approached Jo’, “C’mon, we need to get him out of that thing and to the clinic. Iosefka will want to do a postmortem.”
“How could they, Edward? I don’t understand. And to defile his body in this manner I…. I just can’t fathom the reason… Umbasa…” There was an audible trembling in her voice. She was mustering every ounce of courage she could find to approach her father’s corpse. And there, in the sight of the Formless One, she approached the body, gently stooped to place a hand on her father’s shoulder and in a moment of gusting wind and ethereal mist, Jocasta vanished. Edward’s mouth, practically agape with amazement had just witnessed his apprentice and his best friend’s daughter disappear without a trace.
Jocasta awoke to the sounds of gulls and water lapping in the distance. Rising and wiping the sand and salt from her face, she opened her eyes to see a white sand beach, the sun baking overhead. It had been long since she’d seen the ocean. She must have been taken on a very long journey indeed to end up on a beach, she mused. Before she had an opportunity to contemplate her surroundings further, she began to hear distance voices, as if hunters out with their hounds. Would she carry her name with her to this new dream? Or perhaps she would need to adopt a new, more primordial persona if she was to elude the Church Assassins who would almost assuredly follow her here to keep Lawrence’s secrets…
After a few days of living off the land, something she’d never really grown accustomed to, she started to wonder at the state of the people in this new land, seemingly surrounded in the same fog of war the nightmare had been. Except this nightmare included some all too familiar saints and Sinners. The Old dead Great Ones of this realm bore striking resemblance to the Pthumerians her father described to her from his prospecting days. If she was to survive here, she’d need tools… and friends. And so, borrowing the name of the men and women who were responsible for cleansing a vile den of bloodthirsty beasts in a far away and forsaken land, she dubbed herself an Executioner. If B’her and the Church’s hunters were going to find her here, she’d be sure to give them a fight with a new type of wild beast. One they’d not imagine inhabiting their worst Nightmares.