The horror began on the 14th day of June, a mere four days after Vezhan was born.

There were good people around, and Echo was quietly nursing her son, when Static, for no reason other than the boredom of an evil being, cast a powerful spell of Black Mantle on his dagger and whipped the blade into her left knee. The blade cut deep, and the spell, cast by one so high in the powerful Order of Ma'Tarr, prevented any magical healing from being performed. Amethyst Wolf, though a stranger to Echo, came to her aid and did her best to stop the bleeding.

Bloody DaggerWhile Static gloated, Vezhan began to howl again with hunger. Hurriedly Echo put the child to her breast again, for once not even feeling the sting of his teeth as he settled down once more to his meal of mingled mother's milk and mother's blood, for the pain in her knee was far greater.

It was the worst of fortune that Daeus chose that moment to enter the Inn ... Daeus, who had been Echo's beloved adopted brother, who had chosen to hate her for his own selfish reasons. Worse yet, Amethyst was forced to leave then, leaving the crippled Echo with only disinterested witnesses in the room when the final terror began.

Daeus, chanting cruelly distorted nursery rhymes, came over and mockingly caressed the nursing Vezhan's head with his talons. Echo slapped his hand away protectively, and Daeus responded by grabbing her by the throat. "Never touch me," he growled, choking her, then letting her fall into her chair again. Gasping for breath, she retorted, "Then keep your filthy hands off my son!" At these words, Daeus backhanded her viciously across the mouth, tearing her lip and sending her sprawling. Vezhan's teeth were ripped from his mother's breast as she fell awkwardly, bleeding anew, all her efforts focused on keeping the child from crashing to the floor.

No one moved to help Echo as Static and Daeus laughed cruelly. Unable to rise even to her knees, Echo curled the screaming baby under her with one arm and tried to drag herself toward the door. "Say that again and your kid's brains are my meal for the day," Daeus sneered to her. Static suddenly stopped laughing and said aloud, "You know ... this could be the end of Echo, should we choose ..."

screamDaeus drove his fist into the side of Echo's injured left knee with all his strength, shattering the joint and tearing the ligaments. Echo screamed in pain and collapsed with the baby beneath her, barely holding herself on her elbows to keep from crushing her child. "How's that, you cripple?" Daeus taunted, and laughed.

Static stared at Echo, his eyes taking on an almost shadowy haze; then he rose from his couch and walked to her. Almost casually he pushed her over onto her back -- and ripped her child from her arms.

Daeus grinned. "Hey, Art, want to play catch?"

Holding the baby, Static walked away. "Kidnapping," he said to himself. "Never tried that." As Daeus chuckled, Vezhan screamed a demonic scream and clawed at Static with his small but very sharp talons, uselessly scrabbling at the doctor's chain mail. And Static, dematerializing with the child, said, "Farewell, Echo ... I'll keep this child well fed ... so will Exodus ..." before he was gone.

Echo would never see her baby ... as a baby ... again.

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Background: Custom Textures
Divider Bar: Hey You
Scream Image: Marija's Original Backgrounds
Music: Prelude in D Flat minor by Alexander Scriabin