Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Page 1476

That’s a lovely sentiment,’ said Rezamaar, ‘but we don’t really have quality, either. Aside from yourself, our strongest fighter is my sweet baby Dunstan here. And he still needs time to grow.

Don’t worry,’ said Feromas. ‘We’ve got recruitment plans in the works. And we’re also going to do a bit of aberration harvesting. Which reminds me. Damian, why don’t you give everyone their final gift?

“Right!” said Damian, rummaging through his pockets. He retrieved a fistful of pearly white rings--identical to one he was already wearing, Cisco noticed. “Now, these are only rings, so they’re not as strong as they might otherwise be, but they’ll help keep you safe. And choose your finger wisely, because once you put it on, it’s not coming off unless the finger comes with it. Everybody take one. Come on. Don’t be shy now. I made sure there were enough for all of you.”

When Cisco received his, he examined it more closely. It had a polished sheen to it on the outside rim, but the inside was much plainer. ‘Is that... bone?’ thought Cisco.

I believe so,’ said Dennex privately. ‘This ring is the remains of an aberration. I can sense its sinister power.

Cisco watched as everyone else was putting theirs on. ‘Should I really wear this?

I don’t think you have much choice, right now.

Ugh...’ Cisco frowned as he stared at it. He’d wanted to become an aberration hunter, but was this the end result of that? Or was it just some twisted approximation? Would the Vanguard have made him wear this thing, too?

Maybe so. The Vanguard had certainly demonstrated that it wasn’t nearly so noble as he’d hoped it was.

You can cut your finger off later, if you really hate it that much,’ said Dennex.

Cisco took a slow breath and put it on, choosing his middle finger on his right hand. It felt like any other ring would, at first. Then a sharp pain bit into his finger, and he could feel it go all the way to his bone, like it was attaching itself to him.

But there was no blood. And it didn’t look like his skin had actually been broken. It just felt like he’d been cut into. But that, too, was fleeting. After a few more moments of agony, the pain was entirely gone.

The others were already manifesting shadows around themselves. A deep and dark red, each one was, which suggested to Cisco that all of these bone rings had come from the same aberration. Though, perhaps not. Surely, there were repeated colors among aberrations. Perhaps they’d all just come from the same type of aberration, assuming there were such classifications.

Regardless, as he began to see the red shadow melt out of his flesh and take form, began to feel its presence in his mind, began to control and mold it as he wished, Cisco couldn’t help feeling entirely disgusted.

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