The Grim Tale of Pyracmon and the Baleful Eye

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"Let's see… Puk…Qiqirn…
Phooey! 'Tis no use. Nary a mention in From Abhac to Zu: A Vana'dielian Bestiary."
The young woman in velvet robes closed the weighty volume with a frown, and placed it atop the already-imposing stack of tomes that teetered unsteadily beside the oaken desk.

"Bah! I thought for sure that A Compleat Guide to the Nether-worlde would hold the knowledge we seek."
The young man–clad in identical garments — hung his head dejectedly as he returned the ancient book he had been perusing to its shelf.

"Surely this 'Pyracmon' is naught but a figment of some child's overactive imagination? You know how superstitious those mainland folk get when the Harvest Festival draws near."
"If only it were so—but we have eyewitness reports from each of the three nations. I daresay this is more than some child's fancy."
No sooner had the girl let out a sigh than a booming voice echoed through the vault.

"If you speak of Pyracmon, I can assure you he is no mere child's tale. Gertrude, Brian…"

"Roger!"
The two young exorcists spun around in tandem to face their visitor.

The man identified as Roger was of middle age and sturdily built. He heaved shut the massive door and strode toward the pair with a vigorous gait.

"No child's tale indeed. And yet, you could scour every page of every tome in all the libraries of Adoulin and find not a lone word or phrase about that accursed man. His very existence, you see, has been stricken from the records by our church…as if he never was."

Caught off guard by Roger's choice of words, Gertrude sprung to her feet.
"'Man'? You mean Pyracmon is—?"

"He is; or I should say…he was."
A grim expression on his weathered face, Roger spoke on.

"The tale was told to me by an elder priest, who has since left this world behind.
'Twas many decades past—a young exorcist from the mainland, burning with ambition, sought to make his name known across the land. He struck a deal with a demon, obtaining a cursed eye—one which allowed him to see spirits invisible to ordinary men—to replace one of his own. One after another, he banished the most ancient and powerful ghosts to haunt our lands. Consumed with pride, he bestowed upon himself the name of the mythical one-eyed titan…Pyracmon."

"How dreadful!" Gertrude shuddered. "To think that a man of the cloth would consort with the creatures of the night! 'Tis little wonder our church expunged him from its records."

"Verily, young Gertrude. Ere long, Pyracmon's path of villainy came to a fitting end. He was seized one day by a group of townspeople, and sentenced to burn at the stake for his transgressions. And burn he did…save for that accursed eye.
That baleful eye! Untouched by the flames, it writhed free from its socket and took to the skies, vanishing off the horizon to the east.
…and so the story goes."

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"A cursed eye escaping to the skies? The mere thought chills me to the bone," Brian shivered. "But I've honed my skills against the Dark Lilies. I can banish this Pyracmon — just watch me!"

Roger shook his head sternly and raised a finger in reproof.
"Your courage is admirable, Brian, but let us not forget that this fiend was once one of our own.
Nay, he will not fall to the arts of which he himself was once a master.
The three of us are to forget Pyracmon and focus our efforts on the Wake of the Lilies."

"But—"
"Tsk tsk…how soon young minds forget.
Do you not remember the brave adventurers who came to our aid in years past?"

With sudden recollection, the two young exorcists exchanged a glance. Roger paid them no heed, moving briskly to return the scattered tomes to their shelves.
"The storm has all but subsided, so we shall depart early on the morrow. You two had best get your belongings in order.
And the little 'treats' we spoke of…?"

"How could we forget?"
Gertrude's eyes lit up, and taking her cue, Brian produced a woven sack stuffed nearly to the point of bursting.

"Yes…yes, that should suffice."
The barest hint of a smile flickered across the seasoned exorcist's usually stoic face. Giving a firm nod of approval, he strode powerfully from the room, leaving his young companions to their preparations.


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