Chapter 1 - A conversation
Bulbous, lumpy and veined, Bilius Seams’s cranium was not a pretty sight to behold. And yet it worked to his
advantage as Taskmaster of the Cult. In fact, the entirety of his gifted malformality seemed to have been designed to intimidate. Right down to his thin magenta smoked eyes and long
“Why won’t you work with me? It would be so much easier,” he seethed under his breath, in a guttural
voice. A tone which reverberated around the sealed cell and bounced off the motionless creature in the room’s centre. “You are trying my patience.” He slammed a hand against the carved stone
wall, ruffling the long flowing cloak which hung limply over his muscular shoulders. A faint pulse of purple erupted from his eyes and spread through his veins, revealing his imposing burly
The frustrated Taskmaster pressed his partially boned forehead against the stone. He must remain
collected. He must not do anything impulsive, again. The cold rock was a balm to his rattled nerves. He sucked in a deep waft of damp mushroomy air through his over-flattened nose, a trait that
gave him a permanent bent septum. To think, all those cycles ago he was placed in charge of this region. He was selected to lead above all others. He paced, encircling the captive, as flashes of
memories from his early days in the Cult resurfaced. It was so different then, serving under the previous Taskmaster. When he met the fool, he could tell what a spineless coward he
Seams smirked. “Luckily for me, the old dredge had slipped up. Accidents and misfortune, a commonality
around here and an opportunity. Although, if by some miracle the senile idiot had stayed in power, I would still be a mere protege, an underling and not have the pleasure of talking to you,” he
said to the limp creature. While the thing had never talked back to him, over time he
found himself frequently speaking his thoughts to it. The puppet had become a wall to bounce his troubles off of.
“Had it not been for the Nuncio’s gift, I would still be nothing. It put me so far above others, I am
elevated. Yes, I have been gifted. Gifted with the impossible.” He closed his smoky eyes, remembering his elevation, the whimpers as the fool's energy was leached and reabsorbed into
Seams. “It was easy back then. So easy to carve my way to power, how I miss that.” He savoured that last whiff of nostalgia as it drifted away. “No chance of that now,
Long ago had his climb to authority been. Yet recently he knew in all likelihood if the creature did not
enhance its production, then what happened next would not be pleasurable. The power, position, and life he had transcended into would be given to another. A surge of fury sparked in his veins at
“NO! I will not allow that to happen, you hear me!” He shouted to the source of all his problems, chained
in a pathic slump before him, so powerless, yet by some cruel jest, it held his life in its hands. Halting his fervent pacing, Seams inched closer to the creature’s vibrant blue hue, the air
almost glistening around it. It didn’t even register his presence.
“You're going to be the end of me… I bet you'd like that.” His words dripped with malice. “I bet many of
those around me would like that.'' He frowned. He was no fool, already supplicants underneath him had begun to challenge him with hungry looks and treacherous whispers. They were all like dirty
callers, waiting for him to fall so they could scavenge on his still-breathing body. “All vermin, trying to topple me… I see them all eyeing me up and imagining themselves in my shoes. Perhaps
they’ve forgotten who I am? What I have done to get here and who placed me here. Perhaps they need a reminder.” He used his thumbs to probe his aching temple. A frustrated groan escaped him.
Knowing that while it would be enjoyable to remind those scheming disciples, it would not help. Without the thing producing what they needed, his end would be fated, disobedient wrenches or
It wasn’t fair, in all the years the Cult had operated, not once had anyone seen the creature's power
falter. It had always provided a steady stream of forge-matter for the Nuncio to use. Not even Seams’s incompetent predecessor had encountered this problem. Somehow though, he was left with this
burden, this...unholy test. Already he had spent countless hours, days or even weeks, tirelessly trying to find out the reason behind the decline in the potency. In spite of all this, it was
neither dying or ill or starving. It appeared as if the creature had decided to simply give up. He looked down at the being, who appeared deflated, its once bright teal eyes had sunken into its
skull. Seams forced a sputtered laugh, catching himself almost starting to empathise with it.
“Oh you are clever, aren't you! That pathetic look about you doesn’t fool me. You are nothing, a mere
conduit, a tool, and a source that we drain. You will be nothing more than a thing,” he spat. Then stopped, an idea forming in his unnatural mind. He thoughtfully raised a finger, the sharp black
nail on its end scratching down his chin. “Yes, a conduit merely running low on motivation to do ITS job.” He gleamed at this notion. “Yes...motivation." He felt a vicious smile creep its way up
to his protruding cheekbones. “That is exactly what you need.”
Throughout Seams's cycles in the Cult, he had discovered first-hand that pain was by far the best
motivator for unwilling subjects or those in need of a kick.
“Let’s see if we can’t make you brighten up, shall we?” His guttural tone darkened as he focused intently
on the creature, his already swirling sockets overflowed with thick purple smoke. Seams with two large hands pushed the creature’s jagged head backwards, its delicate strands of crystal hair
flung in an arc. He grasped onto it aggressively, fingers curled around its rough crystalline skin. It struggled weakly at first trying to knock his hands-off, unfortunately, this only made him
tighten his hold, forcing it to stay still.
“Don’t even try to struggle. It’s easier to- ah that’s it, let it in…”
Under his command, dark magenta veins rushed towards the creature, smoke seeping from his curled and
unkempt fingernails. A suffocating cloud encompassed the prisoner. It began to shake violently, trying to escape, writhing, and struggling against the chains that bound it to the floor.
Restraints creaked and groaned as they resisted its strength.
Seams body shook with ferocity, his lumpy skull throbbing. A roaring growl scratched its way from his
throat and he released his hands from the being’s head. It collapsed, heavy wheezing breaths echoing throughout the chamber. After a moment of revelling in the pleasure of watching his unnatural
gift in action. He crouched, casting a shadow over the prisoner’s face.
“That! Was something! Haven't had a chance to stretch out that Miaz given part in a while...I’m not going
to lie to you, I very much enjoyed that, exactly what I needed. Remember that, as if you fail to produce again, we will have to experiment with more extreme methods.” He inched his mouth to its
ear, blowing into it like one would a lover. “Ones which I am dying to test on you.”
The creature with a rasped breath started to hum lightly and an electric blue light of forge-matter
increased from the being's glow, seeping up the chains.
“Ah, so you can hear me. Good.” He observed the brighter hue on the chains. “That’s better, not enough,
but better. I do admire progress.”
Seams' vicious smile widened, revealing a set of stained serrated teeth.
“I’ll be back soon, so be sure not to let your phugue die down...or we’ll have to continue our little
chat.” He licked his lips leisurely as if savouring the creature's torment, then laughed to himself and marched out of the room, delighted in this little victory.