Monstrous Compendium Ch1 bit – Killing Curses

“Lycans can adopt with a Bloodstone, like any youkai,” Stheno said plainly. “But when they bite… what is forced on an unwilling soul is two infections, not one. The first touches only the body, changing mortal blood to one of us. The second – that malevolence is a fragment of the akuma that is the curse itself.” Clawed hands curled and uncurled, as if she would rend that demonic spirit with her bare hands. “When a human will loses the battle to survive, that akuma-shard fuses with their soul. Twists it. Taints it. But if a Moonsword can reach a human before they lose that battle – with enough power, you can pull the akuma from spirit to flesh. And if it can bleed….”

“It can die,” Kirito breathed. Hearing that howl in memory. That scream, that meant he would live, but someone else’s loved one had died.

If only I’d had another way. If only

Wait. “You said, you.” Kirito blurted out. “I’m not-”

“But you could be.” She gazed at him, resolute. “You have the strength. You have the will.” A quiet smile. “Most of all, you have the heart. How many humans would help a monster stop killing?”

…It wasn’t a bug.

Cardinal hadn’t dumped Sorcery on him by default. If what Stheno said about Moonswords was accurate – the quest had been meant for a fighter who didn’t want to kill. Who didn’t look at a youkai and think monster.

Kirito hugged himself and his sword, trying not to tremble. With fear or rage, he wasn’t sure. Kayaba was killing people. How could the man have written a quest meant to gauge kindness? “Did – did you give me sorcery, Lady Stheno?”

Cobra hoods furled, as Stheno sighed. “I could have,” she said levelly. “I am a youkai lord. I have that power.”

A youkai lord. Kirito tensed, somehow not surprised. No wonder she could pull off a TPK. They’re supposed to be as strong as a raid boss.

“But I did not,” the medusa went on. “I would not force power on anyone.” A soft chuckle, as she ran her fingers over a stray cockatrice feather. “Mind, I may have nudged it a bit. The way your aura was sparking, your power would have surfaced on its own in a few more days. Likely in the midst of a battle. That is far too common, for young sorcerers.” She grimaced. “With the foes now loose in Aincrad, that could have meant your death.” She waved a hand around the garden. “So I let you rest here, where magic breathes in the very air. And waited.”

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8 thoughts on “Monstrous Compendium Ch1 bit – Killing Curses

  1. I’m just gonna say I called it.

    Both on the “it’s not a bug” and on this whole situation being something a not insane Kayaba and Kazuto working together on making for a RL D&D campaign. Because this way Kirito gets to be a good guy, show off his awesomeness by killing manifested curses/akuma, and to have a reason for the hardcore fighter to have magic and not reject it or completely overshadow the rest of the group.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. How many days did Kirito rest? It will be interesting to see what type of magic he picks up, I would assume mainly illusion school spells, with some enchantment/divination/transmutation thrown in. Of course, there is healing/necromancy also. Hope you don’t keep things fully ‘by the book’ in what can be learned.

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  3. Hmmm. So how does this interact with – and change – Eberron lore on Lycanthropes?

    The one Eberron campaign I played – a tragically short and incomplete one – I played a Shifter.

    Sue me. I’ve always thought werewolves were cool and the wimpy kid who got bullied in school always appreciated the fantasy of being able to transform into an uber-strong super-form and back to himself whenever​ he wanted to (and I may have been introduced to K. A. Applegate’s Animorphs during my formative years).

    The point is: Werewolves – and Lycanthropes in general – were always cool to me and so after finding the Shifters I knew what race I wanted to play. And I did my research.

    Shifters may have been targeted by the Church of the Silver Flame during the Church’s crusades to stamp out Lycanthropy, but well before those crusades Shifter’s saw it as their duty to hunt down out-of-control Lycanthropes themselves. Shifter lore is… slightly different on where they and Lycanthropy came from than what most Five Nations scholars accept as likely origins, but Shifter Lore is also a very good source on how Lycanthropy works and how to hunt it.

    One key point is that Lycanthropes are not automatically monsters. And it’s true, in 3.5 Eberron Lycanthropy​ doesn’t usually change the person’s alignment. But it does change their way of thinking. No matter how kind, or gentle, or Good a Lycanthrope is, once infected they always have a more… animalistic viewpoint on the world. They can and will hold conversation as any other, but the entire time they’ll see themselves as predator and everyone else as prey. It’s actually a very dangerous mindset, and not one most people can control or live with without constant self-discipline.

    That’s my understanding of 3.5 Eberron canon on Lycanthropes.

    This? With an ‘Ebon Wolf’ figure? And an evil spirit as part of the infection/curse… It sounds like some bits of Shifter Lore. According to Shifter legends originally Lycanthropes were the Most Blessed and Favored Warriors/Divine Champions of the Shifter’s chief racial goddess, a goddess of the moon. The same goddess who granted the various tribes of Shifters their ability to Shift. But something went wrong and what were divine champions became cursed individuals who were overwhelmed by the beast inside, with the Shifters being charged by their goddess to hunt down her corrupted champions.

    So there being a ‘cursed’ form of Lycanthropy and one that is not cursed… has a place in the Lore. But I don’t recall any mention of an ‘Ebon Wolf’ figure. If memory serves, what legends the Shifters’ did have about Lycanthropy tended to be vague and/or contradictory on what made it become a ‘curse’ anyways.

    So. I guess the question is: who is the Ebon Wolf? Since the players have to kill him to escape MCO, does that make him just… your version of the floor 100 boss from SAO? Is he even a real figure beyond Aincrad? Is he actually the one responsible for the corrupted Lycanthropes that Stheno and hers would see wiped out? And if he is real – and a real enemy of Stheno – why is he in the simulation? Is the simulation merely a simulacrum of the real thing? Or did an enemy who was an ally find a way to corrupt the simulation the Yokai Lords set up for his own ends? Further, if he’s killed what happens to Lycanthropes? Is he the source of the corruption, or just a being that has come to parasitically attach itself to an already existent curse?

    (So many questions, so little time.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a nasty pack of NPC lycanthropes in Eberron that’s caused a lot of problems, and in the first “Thorn of Breland” book tries to make a whole bunch of other nations’ nobles into lycanthropes. (At a supposed peace conference, no less.) I based the Ebon Wolf’s pack off them.

      Liked by 1 person

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