Hellish fires continued to roar throughout the ecclesiastical principality. Flames which signified the eradication of a people, the witches. The putrid stench of smouldering corpses filled the air as bitter snow wafted down from the heavens, proof of the witches living cremation. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." Mothers, husbands, children -all accused of witchcraft- were dragged through the city in dreadful disarray only to be frantically fettered to a sizable stake and set alight to shriek the dreadful dirge of the dying, their tearless eyes crying out for vengeance. Yet in the gallery there is one who watched, peering out from beneath the tattered hood of her cloak. Her face darkening with every passing moment. She was disgusted by the obvious display of demoralization. She was furious with the rulers for their falsified morality which masked the act of murder. Just when she thought she could take it no more a burrly pair of arms wrapped around her waist from behind. She quickly turned her head to see her husband smiling at her. His chiselled facial features now warped into a soft expression of pure admiration. They had only been married a couple weeks and had only once made love. And that morning she had decided to confide in her husband and tell him something she had never told anyone else, and he had taken it quite well. 'So Elaine are you finished here? I have something I wish to show you' He cooed quietly into her ear. She nodded, she had enough of watching this unjust brutality, what she desired now was to spend the day with her husband. She took his arm when he offered it and followed him to an ornate carriage which was gilded in gold. 'Oh my dear Gunther, you shouldn't have!' 'Only the best for my Elaine' he said as he helped her in. Only pausing briefly to whisper something into the cabby's ear before entering the carriage himself. Once inside the carriage he leaned over and removed his wife's hood. Her brown locks cascaded in ringlets about her shoulders and her golden eyes blinked briefly in response. She was a beautiful creature, he had to admit, though of course she did have her secret. He let out a small sigh and smiled. 'My dear Elaine, you are beautiful.' 'Oh Gunther how you flatter me.' The carriage continued on it's long trek, bouncing along the now uneven ground towards the forest. Oh how foreboding the forest appeared, looming dauntingly in the distance, desiring to devour anyone who dare enter it. And still they road on, entering the forest only stopping once they had reached the heart of it. 'We are here my dear Elaine, come out and take a look, you'll love it.' 'Ok Gunther' Elaine climbed out of the carriage and curtsied to the driver before walking with her husband a little ways to a clearing in which stood a tall oak tree overlooking a still black pool. She made her way over to the pool and bent down, strumming her fingers around her surface. After a time of silence she heard a twig snap behind her. She smiled and whirled around. 'Gunther it's-' A searing pain came from her side and she looked down confused as the side of her white dress turned red. She looked back up in bewilderment only to see a fist coming towards her. The fist collided with the side of her cheek, and sending her to the ground. The pain was so immense and the punch so effective that she found that she couldn't move. She could feel the strength draining from her just as her blood now did. She looked up and shock filled her for she recognized the man as her brother-in-law. Her lips quivered and a single word issued forth shaky and quiet. 'Why?' To answer this her brother-in-law grinned and turned his head towards the large oak. From behind it stepped her husband. His face was dark and void of emotion, but as he looked at her his mask melted away to reveal an expression of hate. 'How could I, the Great Gunther, hunter of the heathen tribe fall for for a witch. The very thought disgusts me and taints my pride, therefore the only way to repent to God is to end your miserable life in his name.' 'I trusted you, I loved you, and yet .....you betray me?' Each breath she took burned, she was dying and she knew it. She took a deep breath, concentrating her magic before continuing. 'I curse you, I swear that my bloodline will hunt you down to the edge of the earth, my offspring will kill you. I curse you with my child. My child will become a curse not just to you, but the rest of man, he will be a monster from which you run, a plague from which you hide, yet no matter where you go or what you do, you will not be able to escape him.' 'Well I guess in that case we should kill you swiftly.' Gunther said with a laugh he stepped forward and raised his heel before stomping it down upon her neck, breaking it. The deed was done Elaine was no more, the witch was dead. He turned and walked off back to the carriage, his brother following behind, he could now rest easy knowing he had once more gained favour with God. He also recognized that Elaine's curse could not take effect now that she was dead. Little did he know that the curse was greater than he could ever imagine. Months past and the murderer and his accomplice lived on carefree. Yet in the forest their doom grew. For the dead woman lay uncomposed, her curse fueling the life inside her. More time passed and her stomach swelled, signifying the close arival of the promised curse of humanity. Spring gave way to summer, and summer to fall, and fall to winter. And still the stomach swelled. A year and a half had gone by and still the woman's stomach swelled. It happened gradually, the woman's flesh began to sag. If one listened closely they might have been able to hear the sound of chomping and grinding teeth. Chomp, tear, grind, chew, swallow. These sounds continued on for days, then silence. The gash on the woman's side which was caked with dried blood rippled, then a single glowing green eye glared out at the world, a small snarling sound escaping from the woman's very core. Two small hands shot out of the gash, grasping onto it's edges and tore it appart, and out crawled a small baby, covered in flecks of organs, flesh and covered in wet blood, thanks to the curse the body was kept well preserved, mumified in a living state, perfect for this certain child's diet. The baby looked around as if gaining its bearings, then it turned and crawled off. In that forest at that time a man was hunting, hunting for his next meal. His appearance was rough, and his hair as well as his beard were gray shot through with tufts of white. His face was wizened but still bore the strong military stoneyness of a soldier. The man's name was Ezrah. He reached up and wiped the sweat that was forming upon his brow. It was midday and the heat of the glaring sun could be felt even from beneath the canopy of trees. He continued on, looking, listening, for any sign of a wild beast. But as more time went on he began to lose hope, that's when he heard it, the snapping of a twig. He whirled around nocking an arrow. But there was nothing there. He turned to walk away but just as he did so he heard a faint babyish laugher from behind, turning around he saw a child covered in blood sitting there smiling up at him, the thing that drew Ezrah's eyes the most was in fact the baby's right eye, for it was glowing. Any other man would have turned and walked away, not bothering, and for Ezrah the hermit and trapper this would have made sense. But something stopped Ezrah from doing just that. Something kept him trapped in eye contact with that young child, and in the end Ezrah the helper, the hermit, the trapper, decided to become Ezrah, the father.