I played a game of Pathfinder with some good friends over the weekend, and it was my first table top rpg in years, not since playing Vampire the Masquerade and Warhammer with some other folks about ten years ago. I made this character, a roguish assassin turned pirate named Crowley Bloodborne, Crowley cause he’s one of my favorite Supernatural villains, and Bloodborne cause it was one of the more awesome sounding medical terms I learned in corps school. It was a good time, and can’t wait to continue the story next time.
And speaking of stories, when I was looking up the wiki for the game , I had learned that the place where I’d said my pirate to have originated from was about as far from an ocean as you could imagine. He was from the deserts of a place called Casmaron, and also the deity he was picked to worship was far removed from the ones normally reserved to the people of that land.
Well that just got my creative juices flowing, and I started writing down the makings of just how a boy from the desert could grow up to be one of the more feared pirates and rogues in the land. And what follows is that story, well a short story from the first part of it anyways. Hope you enjoy it.
THE LEGEND OF CROWLEY BLOODBORNE Part 1: Blood and Sand
Now, I know exactly what you’re asking yourselves, what sort of pirate, rogue, villain, writes up his own legend. After all where’s the mystery, where’s the excitement…the fear. There’s one thing that produces more fear than any other in this universe, or the next, and that my ‘friend’ is the unknown.
And I will tell you exactly what kind, that’s the kind that more than anything else wants to leave a legacy more than just some bastards spread about the world, I want people to remember my name. Well, the name that I’ve given myself at least. That’s the one that counts.
Where to begin this legend, well I suppose that starts at the beginning. In this case, the tale of this pirate ironically starts about as far away from the sea as one could imagine. The deserts of Casmaron.
The desert was a vast, dry place, though still my people, the Keleshite’s, forged a vast and powerful empire, the architecture, the art, everything is magnificense personified. I’d like to say that I was raised in the lap of luxury, a bored prince decided to leave and see the world, but that’s some other story, one with a happy ending.
While also nor was I some street rat, either, rose from the bottom to the top, again that’s some other tale, a hero’s tale. That’s not this story, and if your’e looking for that I suggest you put this scroll down now and go about your business.
But, yet I digress, ah yes, my childhood, my family was from a proud line of clothes makers. We sold the finest robes in the land, or so the slogan went at least. I could care less about all that though, no what I wanted was to make my own destiny. To be my own man, Captain of my own destiny, by any means necessary.
: INTO THE PIT
I was always far more into reading about other places, and hearing the legends of the land than I ever was about the family business. It was all going to my elder sister anyways, since that’s how the Keleshites like to do things. So, by the time I was thirteen years of age, I left in the middle of the night with nothing but a handful of gold coins, a dagger I’d stolen from my father, and the clothes on my back and went out into the desert.
I learned how to kill to survive rather quickly, much more quickly than any 13 year old should have, nor should I have enjoyed it as much as I did. Eventually though, as probably should have been expected I was overtaken by a group of wasteland raiders in the night and the next thing I knew, I was enslaved by a group of worshippers of the fallen god, Rovagug.
Legend has it he roamed these parts years before, until, after a great battle, he was cast into the abyss, and bound and chained for all eternity. As such you can only imagine how his followers honor him now. If you guessed throwing things, generally people whenever possible into the pit of Kormuz, where it’s said to be The spot where this mystical battle took place, then you’d be right.
The day before they were to toss me into the pit, one of the leaders, Aziz, he stole my father’s dagger after I was caught trying to cut my ropes and free myself. After all, I had a great destiny to accomplish. I certainly was not going to have my legend end here in this wasteland. He was a far bigger man than I, lean though, as the wasteland life tends to make you.
“Give me the blade, now, boy.”
“Or what, you’re going to kill me? That’s already going to happen anyway, so there’s nothing for me to fear at this point”, I said despite being scared out of my life. If there’s one thing I picked up from my mother, it was the ability to act.
He swung hard at me, knocking both me and my dagger to the cracked ground below me. I lay there, in shock at first, I’d never even been in a real fight before, such a sheltered life I’d had before. Fortunately for me however, the blow had widened the small tear I had in the rope, enabling me to free myself. I grabbed the knife hurriedly and started slashing the air, only to get knocked to the ground again by his next attack.
I lay on the ground, as Aziz grabbed the dagger, and kneeling on top of me, pointed the dagger at my throat.
“I should kill you now boy, for this. But you are to be a sacrifice for Rovagug at dawn’s light. Then again, I imagine my god doesn’t care much about timing.”
He slung me over his shoulder, and put the dagger between his teeth, as he walked out of the tent over to the edge of the cliff, and I had my first glimpse into the abyss. It’s said that it drives some men mad, and maybe it did, a bit. For what happened next I could not truly explain to save my life, which what happened, it did.
I was thrown into the abyss not unlike Rovagug himself, screaming, into the darkness. But, judging from the fact that I’m currently writing this story down, plus you’ve no doubt heard of my later exploits, I obviously survived. But how you ask?
CHAPTER 2: My Dinner With War
I opened my eyes and I was laying in a bed, all black, silken sheets, the finest that Camaron had to offer. I looked around my new surroundings, everything in this room was either black or red, and everything had spikey points at the end of everything. Very ominious indeed.
‘Ah, so you’re awake at last, welcome, welcome.’ I heard an attractive female voice say.
I turned and there was a girl standing there, in fine black robes, surrounding her almost like wings, were such things possible.
‘Wow..I mean, I’m sorry, who are you, and where am I?’
‘Oh of course, well you’re in Abbadon, and I am Szuriel, the horseman of War’.
“I’m sorry..you just said I was dead, and you’re the horseman of War”.
“Okay, now I know you’re crazy, or I am.”
“Do not mock me with contempt, boy. I am far older than you, older than most things, and in the end I will be older than most things.”
As she said this she began to change,growing in size, the robes turning into monstrous black wings, blood began to pour from her eyes like tears, and her teeth became long and ragged. Her voice changed as well, from a pleasant, attractive sound to that of a murder of crows given the power of speech.
If I wasn’t already dead I would have died from fright alone. I thought I wasn’t scared of anything, but then again, I’d lived a sheltered life before a few weeks ago.
“Okay…okay.” I’d said.
“I’m dead, I died in the fall, and you picked me up out of the kindness of your heart?”
“Well no…not exactly.” Szuriel said as she changed back to the far more pleasant form. “I see much potential in you, young Zekiya. This is not where your story ends..you will be a force of change, a force of chaos, an ambassador of War itself.”
“Wow…no pressure on that one.”
“Would you rather be DEAD?” I swear, that last word, she spoke that last word in all capital letters.
“Well no, but…”
“Then it is settled. But first, it’s been a long day, let us eat.”
She led me through the expansive hallways of this magnificent evil fortress to a grand dining hall, to a table filled with the rarest of rare delicies.
I ran over and started engorging myself on the rare meats, the puddings..and the pies, especially the pies. Things that only princes and emperors would eat.
“I see you have quite an appetite, that’s a good thing, you’ll need it, in the times to come.”
She sat down, at the table opposite me, and began to eat as well. You know, for a horseman of the apocalypse, she was a very pleasant dinner guest.
After dinner, she had pulled me aside, into the large hallway of her apocalyptic castle.
“Know this, I did not spare your life for your sake. When you return, no matter your path in life previously, you will be Mine. My chaos spreader, war bringer, the oncoming storm of War.”
“And how do you expect me to do this, I’ve never even killed a man before, let alone know how to fight.”
“You will learn, in time. I’d give you the power now, but that knowledge could drive you mad, and I’ve no use for a madman running around on my behalf, I strive for chaos with a purpose, not just chaos for chaos’ sake. I will however, give you this back.”
She pulled out my father’s dagger, but it looked different, newer, and with her sigil inscribed into the blade itself.
“My father’s dagger…thank you. If I can ask just one more favor of you Lady Szuriel.”
“Why not, I’m feeling in an oddly generous mood this evening.”
“Can you bring me back to the spot where I died? I have some business to handle at that camp before I do any further work for you.”
“Vengeance. Yes, that I can help you accomplish. That will set you on the right path., new robes as well.”
I looked down, and my dirty slave garb had been transformed into robes of the deepest ebony and the brightest crimson. The colors of War itself.
“Thank you, Lady Szuriel.” I said as I bowed. “I owe you everything.”
“And then some, my Chaos Bringer..we will meet again.”
And then with a flash of light, and the sound of millions oaf crows, she vanished, then the palace itself, and I was falling through space and time itself, only to find myself inside the slaver camp where I last stood in my previous life. And oddly, in between my former self, and the man who would be my murderer. Moments before the events took place that would have led me to this moment. I’d have been completly confused, if not for the events, from my perspective at least, of the past day.
“A Djinn…they do exist..” I heard my other self exclaim. I imagine my new robes made me look not unlike one of the mystic creatures, patron saints as it were to my people and this land itself.
“What business have you here, Djinn?” Aziz expactorated, brandishing his scimitar. “This is between me, the boy, and my god. He is to be my sacrifice.”
“There will be no sacrifice on this day, well…not by you at least. And certainly not to that beast Rovagug.” I shouted, trying to make myself seem more imposing than I was.
“You dare impede on me…for that you will die as well.”
“I don’t think so..not today at least.” I said as I brandished my dagger and tossed it with unbelievable accuracy at my murderer’s throat, which it peirced and then pinned my attacker to the ground.
I walked over to him, and pulled the dagger from his throat, the sigil inscribed in it glowing and crackling with red energy.
“No, on this day it is you and your kind who will die, and I will be the end to you.”
“You are…no….djinn..” Or at least that’s what it sounded like to me in between the gurgles and cough’s of my dying former killer.
“That’s right..I am just a man..a boy really, from someone that you should not have killed.” I pulled down the robes covering my face to reveal my identity.
“That’s…not..pssbl.” My attacker could barely speak at this point, death was coming to claim him and fast. “I ddn…kll..you…yt.”
“Not in this life, and not in any others as well I assure you.”
He was dead now, and I felt at least a measure of peace. But what do do about myself.
I covered my face again, and turned to the boy who was me. As I stared into my own frightened eyes I began to fade, and somehow, soul death felt even more painful than real death. I knew what I had to do.
“What are you?” My former self…my body, asked me.
“Nothing..just a ghost of vengeance…bloodborne, and now killed again in that same fashion. I thought I was restored but…”
I realized the game that she had set into motion, I could save myself, but I had only two options at this point, fade away into nonexistence, and tell myself to run, run back home to his family and lead a long full life or…I grabbed my former self’s wrist, and could feel my energy flowing back into me. My former self screamed in pain as all that I was, was replaced with all that I am. I felt sorry for me, then, just a stupid kid set out for adventure and glory, only to be killed out in the desert like a rat. But, Szuriel had brought me back for a reason, and I will fulfill my debts, no matter the cost.
Shortly thereafter, the camp lay burning to the ground, the slavers, all dead. I turned to the former slaves, which I had freed, after all they had nothing to do with this, no need for vengeance to strike them down. My crimson and ebony robes concealing most of my face.
“Thank you, thank you so much.” One of the women had said. Well, she was more of a girl really, only about a year older from the looks of her.
“You’re welcome, but don’t think that I did this for you…for any of you. I did this for my own survival, something that you all should take into consideration. I could have just as easily stricken you down with the rest.”
“But, you didn’t though, so perhaps there is a heart in there amongst those robes.”
I looked at her now, she was beautiful, in an emeciated, just recently freed slave sacrifice kind of way. I can only imagine the horrors she’s seen here.
“Perhaps there is.” I really had hoped I sounded as impressive as it sounded in my head, was just quoting things from plays and scrolls at this point.
“All of you, take the horses and return to your homes now, and tell of your newfound freedom by…”
What do I call myself anyway? I thought. I certainly was not the son of fabric makers from Casmaron anymore. I was something more than that now, an ambassador of War herself, bloodborne to..that was it.
“Bloodborne, you can call me.”
The small crowd began to chant my name, as I hopped on my newly acquired horse and rode off into the desert. I knew my destiny lie in darker paths, but on this day, to these people I was a hero, and that made me feel good.