Gallows Blood

This is a book in progress from a very talented and dear friend of mine, Millius Karpin. There’s much more coming soon. For more, you can follow his blog: . A must-read!


 Gallows Blood

 The Dameloks were a family of damned: none of them ever died an ordinary death, they would always end up being executed.

Whilst others would die from an illness that would eat up their bodies, in a terrible accident, killed by an enemy or killed by mistake with a blade meant for another chest, or even wait until old age knocked at their doors to take them, the Dameloks would always die by the hands of an executioner. Poor race. It was no wonder they were referred to in the village of Muddymoat as Gallows Blood.

Pariah, the first Damelok ever to die, was executed. Close to giving birth, his mother Devina visited a gypsy lady who promised to see whatever there was inside of a pregnant woman’s belly; for that, she would give the patron a living glow-worm to swallow. What the gypsy lady saw inside of Devina Damelok disturbed her so profoundly she wasn’t even able to speak, so she made a drawing: a baby inside its mother’s belly with a noose tied around its neck.

Pariah was tied to a pole made of pure metal on a stormy afternoon. His last words were: ‘Throw your coins on me if you’re in for a real treat!’ People did. And when lightning struck, it had far more targets to hit.

His death doomed an entire dynasty to die exclusively by the hands of executioners in the years to come. After him, a Damelok would never die an ordinary death, they would always be executed.

The first Dameloks met their deaths unaware that Pariah had sealed their fates. However, as the ones who remained began to understand that execution in their lives wasn’t just a coincidence, they began changing their names and appearance in a desperate attempt to change their luck. They must have gone through a lot of trouble hiding their body marks, their eyes that were the colour of melted copper and, especially, hiding the fact that they were all left-handed, something they were most feared for.

Thus, the family scattered. The Dameloks spread without leaving a trace in order to escape their blood, the blood that would invariably lead them to the gallows.

But no one can escape their blood. No disguise and no hideaway were able to keep a Damelok away from execution.

No matter where they were, nor under what identity they were living, their ending was the same. None escaped it. The largest part of the Dameloks went undercover, so when they were eventually executed people didn’t even notice who they were. It was general belief they had disappeared.

The custom they had of watching each other’s executions was getting more and more dangerous. It was a law among them that whenever a Damelok was to die, wherever it was, at least one member of the family should be present. Their task was to keep a record, notes and drawings of everything that happened at the execution and then bury the body.

The information they gathered went to the catacombs where every deceased Damelok had a file with their last moments described in detail. The body went to the cemetery in the family property, the Carcass, a place gradually abandoned due to the Dameloks’ infamy, left in the hands of decay.

In it there was a wall on which a giant family tree was carved. Every single Damelok who had ever existed had their name on one of the branches of the tree. Whenever another one was born, a new inscription was added. Those who lived remained in charge of crossing out the names of those who died.

Of all the hundreds of names on the tree, only one remained unscathed: Fills Archibald Damelok. Only child. Mother, Ariana Iphigenia Damelok. Crossed out. Father, unknown.

Clues on him were scarce, as were they on any Damelok. But everything indicated that he was already dead and, being the last drop of Damelok blood on Earth, had had no one else to cross his name out of the family tree.


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