It was a beautiful day in the fall, the leaves were changing all around the abbey, tables were lined with food, and treats. Children frolicking around playing games for the harvest carnival.The orphans raised by the clergy never felt like burdens but on days like today, they really felt like there was not a care in the world. Ai'yalla was governing the game of bobbing for apples, she smiled and knelt down rubbing a towel over a rather plump young boy who was clearly smiling behind the apple clutched in his teeth. Dabbing at his face she gave him a warm smile, and opened her palm handing him a carved wooden horse. “Here is your prize, I hope it finishes off your collection.”
“Cwan I kweep -he appwe?!”
Laughing the golden haired Cleric nodded “Yes Jasper, and you can keep the apple.” With a woot, he swept the trinket from her palm and ran off. Rising to her feet, she ruffled his hair before he got too far away, however she was unable to ignore the looks on two of the priest across the courtyard from her, a look of horror and devastation on their faces. Ai'yalla walked down the line of awaiting children and found one of the older girls. “Iris, can you watch after the game? I need to see to something.” Before the girl could reply Allie walked away, knowing the girl agreed, she moved forward, her eyes fixed on the troubled pair.
“It’s too dangerous…” Said Father Joseph.
“We can’t just leave him locked up there!” protested Father Jorge.
“We don’t know what is the cause? We don’t even know if he’s contagious!”
“Who is contagious?” Allie walked up to them look of grave concern on her face. Folding her arms over her chest, flicking her gaze between them. The two older men forced fake smiles that she could see strait through.
“Oh it’s nothing my child. All is well.” Father Jorge grabbed Ai'yalla by the forearm and tried to angle her back towards the festival. “You and the other teachers have done such a beautiful-”
“Father Jorge! Do not dismiss me as a child, I have been here longer that anyone else, spare Father Barkley.” At the mention of the senior Priest name both men looked down. “WHAT IS IT?!” Shouting she looked them both dead n the eye, the priest had been the closest thing she had to a father. The men were not subtle both of them did their best to look anywhere but the bell tower but both shot glances in it's direction, Ai'yalla furrowed her brow, and due to her strength and training as a cleric she pressed pass them with ease. The two men scurried behind her feebly do their best to catch up to the blur of blonde locks.
“Ai'yalla Khaston!” The man shouted behind her, yeah she kept her married name, they chased her up the steps as they rounded each floor. Despite being faster then they expected and considerably younger, they pressed on. Rounding the last platform till they reached the door, a shock of terror fueled the cry exploded from Father Joseph before she could reach for the the latch “Ai'yalla it’s the plague!”
She froze and turned slowly to face him, her expression riddled with the ultimate horror. Images of the crippled bodies rancid with petulant ulcers covering the bodies of those infected. She still smelled the rotten flesh, how you could smell an infected before you laid eyes on them. A shudder ran through her body, and the cleric laid her palm on the door shaking her head “How…” She couldn’t understand how it was possible after so long, she tried to recall when anyone even mentioned the battles of Northrend. Her hand reached for the latch and she opened the door slowly. The world stopped spinning, all her attention was on the breathing darkness before her, she only knew the door had been shut from the click of the latch behind her. The heap was against a wall, a man was couched forward rocking back and forth, his hands clasped over the back of his head, they were purple till you reached the fingertips, those were black.
“Father…” She said with a tremble.
His hand dropped as if all the animation from his body ceased, hitting the hard wood floor with a thud. He hopped on his toes as he turned, his arms dragging the ground, turning his head to the side as he moved he grinned up at her. The girl covered her mouth, he had fissures of dark purple marred his face, collecting into his eyes, that were solid back. With a snap he rose to his feet, coming to his full height so close to the girl she had to move a pace backwards lest his lips touch her's. The striped being gave a sickening smile. “My child!” His blackened hand reached and cradled her face till he pulled her hair back “The loveliest dove in our little abbey.” As one hand jerked her head back the other flicked the laces of her bodice. “I bet the tips of those beauties stick strait up when you’re freed from these confines.” The young woman shoved him away scoffing in utter repulsion, the other two men looked away shaking their heads. Stepping backwards the disfigured priest followed her, a finger pressing into her chest as he spit more acidic taunts. “Why didn’t you ever find another husband m'dear? Did that dog who let into your most precious places, and then dumped you for a woman who could intelligent conversations with, did he leave you all wide and gaping open? Did he ruin it so from here on anyone who drops their standards low enough to plunge into that sepulcher, would feel nothing but foul stinking air?"
Ai'yalla slapped him, sending him back a few feet, enough space to allow Father Jorge to step between them “Light save us! What happened to you?!” She fell to her knees, hands locking together as she prayed. But as Father Barkley, howled in laughter, the laugh was sinister, and had it’s own echo as if a chorus of nightmares were laughing at her all in perfect unison. The blonde rose to her feet, as Father Joseph came to also step before her, keeping the monster at bay.
“The Light! You can pray your pretty little prayers all you want you vapid bitch, but look at me! LOOK AT ME!” Her eyes met the black orbs that were once his. “It has abandon us little girl… It’s GONE!”
“Yes! Yes it is and it’s going to stand by while the void comes for all of us little bird…” His hand shimmered into a shadow and he pressed it against the side of Jorge’s head, a sultry smile curling his lips as his victim, fell to his knees, eyes turning black as night before crying out in horror, whipping forward onto all fours vomit exploding from his mouth onto the floor. Tendrils of black fog entwined Joseph locking him in place. “Accept the void...” Allie turned around making a dash for the door. Images of Barkley throwing her down and slitting her neck open flashed into her mind, throwing her off balance bringing her to crash into the wooden door, her nose cracking from the collision.
“Allie! Get help!” Joseph screamed at her, she nodded and swung the door open and flew out of the tower sobbing as she bled hard from her broken nose, screaming for help.
What was a beautiful day ended as the bodies of the three priest were brought out to a pyre. Ai'yalla watched as she stood with several of her fellow Clerics shaking her head in disbelief, groaning as a befuddled Lt Evermorne approached her. “Not now Lt.”
“Just tell me again, you said it looked like a curse, and how did you survive…”
“He said the Light has abandon him and we needed to accept the void.” Her brow furrowed as Evermorne shook his head and laughed softly in disgust as if he could believe the most holy man they knew would ever submit his body and soul to something so foul. “You weren’t there!”
“Ok Ai'yalla, I’ll alert the church ‘the void is coming’.” Scoffing he walked off. Ai'yalla pulled her shall over her shoulders and sighed, she knew this would not be the end of this.