Tomorrow marks the beginning of a Frostgrave campaign. That calls for second chapter of the story of our beloved, if slightly deranged ringmaster Jack.
Follow this link for earlier chapters.
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There was nothing poetic about it.
Their father had always wanted a daughter. Would a daughter have made father more... well... stable? Would Adon and he have received less beatings and... other things?
Probably not. Definitely not.
But there was no daughter, there was no mother. Jack didn't even know what a mother meant until he was eleven. None of Jack's fathers' girls had stayed around long enough for anybody to suggest she should be called a mother. Though that's not the issue here. The issue is, or was? ... no, still is that he wanted a daughter. Since birth Adon had been horribly disfigured and hideous, so he had probably been twice the disappointment and had to suffer the violence that would have been lethal to just about anybody else other than Adon. Now... Jack was the girly one of the brothers, at least much more so than Adon.
So father would use cruel hits of his fists as tools to shape Adon into a daughter.
But there was nothing poetic about it. No, because that's what happened literally.
A hunchback Adon had been through all of his life. But a siamese not. When Adon was seven the abnormal hump on his shoulder started to show some facial features. Sinister energies that flowed through their lineage had caught the underlying psychological tones behind this inhumane domestic violence. The hatred and disappointment in the will that dominated the laws of nature caused those knuckles to beat a physical manifestation of their father's wishes out of Adon. Every time a hit landed in Adon's face the hump resembled a human face a little more. Father was literally beating a daughter out of Jack's brother.
Father was oblivious to this. Weirder things had happened in the circus during his reign, so he wouldn't try to solve the cause of this what appeared to be human budding. But Jack knew. Or if not, at least he understood.
In Jack's mind the name of the new "face" that would later become a fully fleshed out head, was Ís. That's the name father had wanted for his daughter.
Ís never spoke. Not that Adon technically spoke either, but the second head never made voice or showed any signs of sentience. If the head suffered an injury, Adon would sob. Never Ís.
Until now. Ís was shrieking, though the sound was devoid of any emotion. Eyes were staring, though they were not looking anywhere in particular. Jack sighed and rubbed his tired eyes with the back of his hand. How to shut her face for good?
Journey to this region called Frostgrave had been long and arduous. But he was not a leader that gave up any goals he would set. His crew would not abandon him either, no matter what would happen. To be honest, some performers were probably brainwashed and otherwise insane to all intents and purposes. After all it was rather... taxing to the mind to be used as a repository for demonic beings beyond mortal realm during feats of exceptional performance in the world renown circus Cruor et Caedis.
But then again. You have to suffer for your art. Everybody has to. Though to what extent?
Only a handful of performers were still alive. It had not been a clever idea to start travelling just before winter arrived. Especially without much rations or anything of value to exchange for food and supplies if they happened to cross any city or village where they had not been outlawed yet... which was unlikely.
Once magnificent zoo had been reduced to just few mangy dogs. Elephant had had to be eaten first. Dymbô was going to starve anyway.
Then went the lions.
Then the dancing bear, Yogy, had killed one of the white mares in its hunger while the animal trainer had been riding the horse. Both had died. Yogy was put down and all three made for a fine feast to raise declining morale of the troupe. Though at the start the effect on morale seemed to be quite the opposite. Jack didn't understand why. As far as he knew, animal trainer had not been a well liked person.
So, one by one repertoire of highly trained and skillful animals was sacrificed to keep the rest going forwards. Mules and horses were top priority to keep alive, though. Once there was nothing else left...
Then circus midgets went missing one by one. Jack wasn't particularly proud of that. Many of the midgets had felt like his own children to him. Devouring your own children is something no parent should ever have to experience. Though on the other hand... Jack Saturn was quite catchy stage name. Perhaps it had happened for a reason.
If anybody refused to eat, Jack called a demon to possess him or her, and ordered the demon to devour allotted meal. Jack was not very proud of that either. It was terribly cost-inefficient. That particularly furry fellow had made for quite a fine blanket, though.
But finally! Finally they were here! They may be insane, they may be undernourished, they may be bloodthirsty soulless lunatics with a taste for human flesh, but finally they were here, at Frostgrave!
"Well done ladies and gentlemen! Now, let's make this worth the trouble!" Jack had boasted.
And then Ís had suddenly started screaming, and despite having seen such horrors already, everybody was terrified.
Damn it. How to make her shut her mouth?