Antonius, Lord of Pestilence
Averus Central Forest
Averus Central Forest
The monstrosity's grip on the Lord of Pestilence was beyond compare—the appendage held the blond deity for less than ten seconds and that was enough to draw a rare scream of pure agony from Antonius’ throat. He was no stranger to bodily injury, being nigh-immortal among all spirits that he encountered in his exceedingly long life span.
Yet the defiled behemoth brought Antonius to his limits in a single squeeze.
There was a cracking sound that was almost deafened by the fury of combat. Had it not taken place inside Antonius, the Lord of Pestilence would’ve missed it. His vision swam, black dots obscuring what passed as the terror’s twisted facsimile of a face as the Lord of Pestilence’s mind was vacant. Too much happened in these short moments for Antonius to wrap his mind around, instead it focused on the oddest thought.
‘I wonder if they’ll remember me?’
The arm holding the Yellow Buzzard drew back, to Antonius it happened slowly and he blinked his life away—boyhood to adolescents to linking up with the Empire and eventually meeting Aetius. Death was unpleasant, unnecessary. It was his enemy and a persistent comrade from the first breath of air he drew to what would be his last—what he assumed would be his last, any moment now. His emerald eyes dare not look away from the beast, he was far from dignified but Antonius wouldn’t succumb to mortal fears. Oblivion awaited and he’d swim in the inky blackness that he’d condemned many others to. Still…
‘Will he remember me?’
He’d known Aetius a paltry period of time, especially compared to Antonius and his own maternal figure. It was a blink of an eye, little over five mortal generations, though Antonius was unable to think of a happier time than with the Wind God. Their relationship drifted between parental and fraternal based on one another’s needs at the moment. Though he’d lost sight of Aetius, there was a contentment in knowing that the honeyed eagle had the best chance of escaping. It was impossible to hold the wind.
That thought alone helped Antonius to accept what was happening, his eyes defiant as he saw the deteriorated flesh in greater detail than before. The rancid odor pressed against his nostrils and the Lord of Pestilence struggled in holding his expression. No minor victories for this beast.
Or none at all.
Its hold on Antonius fell, as did the Lord of Pestilence, striking the ground with the beasts hand still clutching at him. The axe given to him by Athlios had returned with great force and freed him. Had it been any other time, Antonius would seethe his distaste at this humiliating liberation courtesy of the metal man and his telepathy. The near death experience suspended these more human qualities as Antonius struggled out of the clawed grip.
The Lord of Pestilence struggled to his knees in a remarkable amount of time, given the circumstances. His tattered shirt had been discarded and lost, revealing the bite wound atop his left shoulder. It was healing as Antonius predicted it would, though its pace lackadaisical. His body sported purple coloration where the beast had squeezed hardest, bruises already forming. Though the worst came when Antonius took his first inhale—a sound nod dissimilar to a wet sock slapping against a tree is what greeted the Divine. He coughed in confusion and a glob of golden ichor fell onto the forest floor. His lips pursed and in moment to moment deduction, the Lord of Pestilence grabbed hold of his right side and cringed.
‘My ribs are cracked and at least one of them pierced my right lung.’
That put fleeing out of the picture. There was no way a fevered up, mauled and now oxygen deprived deity could escape. He glared upward only to be greeted by two peculiar forms. A fleet of birds exceedingly close to his own earlier pecked at the creature.
‘Remarkable. I’d have to entice crows to have them attack something so large.’
The second was a brunette woman jumping between himself and the creature. She announced herself as help to the mortals and gave an ominous warning to the Imperial party. Had he been in better health and a knife been in Antonius’ hands, he was certain he’d stab the woman for the provocation. As it stood, Antonius wasn’t ready for any confrontation and offered a dull nod. Not that he expected she’d notice with her—
‘Her blade is on fire.’ His lips pursed. ‘She’s a spirit, then.’
That complicated future matters.
“You have my utmost appreciation, Warrior Spirit.” The words were earnest in the circumstances he found himself in as he pushed himself onto his two feet. “It seems to fear you?” Antonius muttered, shooting the back of her head with a perplexed stare.
Why did it fear an Averus fire spirit over a party of Imperial Gods?
‘Then again, why does it have the same gift as I?’ This creature was one mystery after another, frustrating the abused and wounded blond to the point of stuffing his concerns.
Conflict roared in the clearing outside this old temple, Svakre flagrantly tossed the Emperor’s gift and shattered it before joining hands with the Fire Spirit in battle. There were others around, fighting it as well. Mortals and other spirits native to Averus who had yet to bend the knee to his Imperial Majesty. Antonius struggled to take a step forward, his chest pounding for release as his mind was dimmed by the prevalent fever. A muted laugh escaped Antonius as he gave a silent thanks to the shattered ribs. If it weren’t for their constant prodding, making every breath agony, his consciousness would’ve slipped into a feverish nightmare.
It might’ve been better if he had been lost to the fever. Sybis screamed as his body was corrupted, broken and reconstructed into some…
‘Monster.’ Antonius’ eyes found the fiend who’d crushed him, identical in its insidious nature and swallowed. His fellow veteran of the war felled. Beaten. And his last warning?
"The gemstones?" Antonius clutched his abdomen. Worry was written across his features as nails dug deep into his naked flesh, drawing thin lines of gold. The Lord of Pestilence shook his head—No, that was unthinkable! Sybis.. Poor, confused and corrupted Sybis. He had to be wrong here.
“The Late Emperor gave this to me.” Antonius murmured. “..Over a century ago, it was his gift. His blessing…”
This insignificant, translucent stone lodged in his body was what gave the nomadic servant of death greater purpose.
He couldn’t throw it away.
He wouldn't abandon it so callously.
Interaction(s): Vulpes lagopus