The Tale of Mortifer Amor Phasmus

By: Shawn.T

There is an ancient legend of a cursed, energy being known as 'Mortifer Amor Phasmus' or 'Death-Bringing Passion Spirit', Some simply call it the 'Deadly Love Ghost'. It first appeared in records of Rome's earliest beginnings in northward expansion. Nothing else is known at this date.

Chapter 1: The Beginning at the End

My story began, strangely enough in the year 2006. I had returned to my home from a long journey and was hoping for employment. I found it working in an herbalists shop for a kindly old lady and her daughter. I always thought there was something off about those two; God knows I was right in the end. However in the beginning there was little else to arouse my suspicions and I soon forgot them. After a year my skills were improving and I could confidently identify almost a thousand herbs, well maybe just one hundred and fifty but that is still pretty good. I was also taking on more and more responsibility; I even received my own keys. I know realise this was a turning point but I didn't know then what an effect those keys would have on my life.

A flash seared my eyes as yet another lightning strike tore up the nearby turf. The storm was drenching me and I could barely see the shop. I had the afternoon off dammit, and I had forgotten my keys before leaving. I slipped in the back, soaking the floor with the water sluicing off my jacket and tried to wipe the wet hair out of my eyes. Feeling fried and weary I reached for my keys from under the cash register.

Suddenly I froze, was that music? No, chanting? But the store was closed who was here? I quickly made up my mind to follow it. As I got closer the voices became louder and clearer. The song was low and melodious but I didn't understand the words. They sounded French or Latin, but no, it wasn't French and who spoke Latin anymore? That's when it finally keyed in who was singing, Cheryl the herbalists daughter. I finally found a door I'd never seen before, which was weird because I'd been throughout the entire store. I tried to open it but it was locked. So I reached for my keys and held them up to the light fro the end of the hall. Only now did I see the name carved into the ring, 'Cheryl'. I had Cheryl's keys, and there was a key on it that I didn't have. I tried it and easily opened the door, it was only later that I regretted this small success. The chanting became louder and now I could make out words in the song.

"Patefacio Ianua Per Vicis"

Driven by some wordless, alien, emotion I rushed into the room and bumped into Miriam, the old herbalist, and fell to the floor.

I gasped as I saw the room. It was all made of mahogany with shelves and desks overflowing with ancient dusty books. Above me a massive, glittering, crystal hung giving off a slight purplish glow. On the floor the symbol for eternity was drawn in chalk and lined with candles. I stared up into Cheryl's violet eyes, wide with shock.

A moment later they disappeared behind a curtain of light and I began to fall. My fading mind tried to grasp how I could fall through the floor, but descended into darkness instead.

Chapter 2: Amor Phasmus

I awoke with a groan, lamenting on the strangeness of my dream when I realised I was in a pit. Above me two elderly women were whispered to each other and I realised I was in a pit in a forest (at least they looked like trees). I tried figure out what the cloaked women were whispering about but they spoke a language I didn't understand which I now know is Latin. One began to cackle ominously and released an odd dark powder into the pit.

When I awoke again I had no delusions about dreams and I realised I had been drugged by that incredibly fast-acting powder. Looking around I realised it was also long-lasting. While I had been napping the old women had gathered friends, stripped me, and tied me down with rope and stakes into the middle of a pentagram. It only now occurred to me that these must be witches. I followed that line of thought and knew that Cheryl and Miriam must also be witches. I tried to move but was too tightly bound and only succeeded in alerting them to my state. They immediately broke into indistinct chatter and gathered into a circle. Then a new one with a silver lined cloak stepped forward and spoke while I vainly attempted to catch a single word.

All at once they clasped hands and began to chant. I listened carefully and memorised every word, once again in Latin.

"Partum Mortifer Amor Phasmus"

I listened as they continued to chant, louder than softer, their words vibrating through my being. Then I began to feel, different, lighter, like I was going to drift away. Rumblings sounded in the distance, and lightning danced across the sky. Rain began to fall and still the witches continued to chant. I looked up and saw the clouds flicker. An instant before it hit I knew it was coming and it was going to strike with more strength than any lightning. It did.

Chapter 3: Self Discovery

When I awoke I knew something had changed. I had changed, but I didn't know how. I tried to see but could not. I could tell there were trees all around but not with my eyes. They looked like I was imagining them except I knew they were real. I tried to see myself but I couldn't. Instead a massive creature, glowing white gold with long fur that continued along its back to finally form a long shimmering tail filled my vision. I could see legs but its paws were a strange cross between paws and hands. Its face was kind of pointy, with small pointy teeth and a long tongue, also white gold and glowing. Its eyes sealed shut in happy exhaustion. Next I … looked? At its belly. I... saw it as soft, as the softest thing you could ever imagine multiplied by a thousand. And all over it blinking and shining were many… eggs, yes eggs. Lining its belly from its chest to its tail were eggs glowing softly in unison, then fading, then glowing. It was the most beautiful creature I had ever seen, that I had ever been. Been? But, then, yes. Somehow I knew I had become this powerful being. But why had the witches turned me into this?

I tried to move but realised something was pinned against my leg. I focused my new found power on it and the image filled my mind. It was one of the witches but her cloak was unlined and I didn't remember her. Something was wrong with her though, she was pale and bruised and, then I knew she was dead. The only part of her that looked remotely alive was her chest where an egg sat glowing bright and constant, it looked like one of mine, but how had it come off?

Driven by some new found instinct I reached out my tongue to her cheek. She tasted slightly salty, cold, and happy. Memories began to crowd my mind, of me, the old me, tied to the ground, of chanting with my… her sisters to invoke power. Then the flash of lightening, the seal braking, the beast lunging out, catching me, dragging me through the woods, and then wrapping itself around me, of following the warmth and happiness, and then nothing. I pulled my tongue back and waited as my sense of self settled back and I moved away from the witches' corpse and fled into the night. If only I had stayed things might have been different that night and in the future.

Chapter 4: Mortifer

I had become power. My feet only grazed the land and yet I bounded across fields. I merely tensed my muscles and I could leap cliffs. And always I was filled with awe at all that I saw. The verdant forests, and majestic mountains, the sparkling lakes and rivers rushing toward the mighty and infinite oceans, through of all of this I ran.

It also seemed I did not need to eat. Slowly I realised I fed off emotions. It was not long after that the hunger began. I knew there was only one thing that would or could feed me though how I knew this I still wonder today, love, the strongest of all the human emotions. For this I could think of only one place where I could find what I needed, A city. I pulled from deep inside myself the strength to cast out my dream-sight in the hopes of finding the people of the world, and I did.

However there was a source that would satisfy me much closer and I raced off towards it letting my senses guide me. Feeling his pain and needing to save him. I finally found him, a young boy of twelve, his chest bare and bleeding. With a flick of my sensual tongue I knew he was dieing, I knew him, and why he was here. He had become lost in the woods and fallen from the great cliff above us, and wished terribly that he could just be home.

It was then that I took him into my warm embrace and held him against my soft fur. Then I entered him, though I was not sure how, I suddenly knew him all at once and filled his wounded soul with all the love I felt for this poor child so far from home, just as I was. The pleasure of such pure unity was exquisite. I held him to me for a long time before finally releasing him. But before I could pull completely away, I felt his spirit like a small light rush after mine and abandon his broken flesh. I felt it swirling within me and knew he could not stay long. So with great sadness I wrapped him in all the love I could and released him from my body. As I looked I saw one of my many eggs shimmer brilliantly and fall glowing sweetly against the boy's cold motionless chest and I knew I had killed him. And so I crushed the corpse to my flesh and was filled with agonizing sadness. For thirteen days I held him, unable, unwilling to break away. Finally on the thirteenth day the egg which had been quietly shining this entire time became dark and cracked and out of it came a sinuous and twisting cloud which shaped itself into the form of the boy I had unwittingly murdered. Suddenly all that was near him as filled with a dread of high places and knew him to be 'Formidine Phasmatis' the 'Fear Spirit'. As far as I know he wonders the world today trying to save as many as he can from a death such as his and I love him for it.

And then he kissed me just once, on my nose and I felt his happiness and courage and I knew he would serve as an able guardian against falls as a true heir, and new-born spirit child, my own 'Phasmus Parvulus'. As he began to drift away I felt finally content. Then I left, headed across the land once more. Not knowing what adventures would await me.

Chapter 5: The New World

I then entered a happy time as I journeyed around through the land I adored so much. Meeting new people and pleasuring them and feeling their joy fill and satisfy me, though I quickly learned how to reduce the pleasure and force the mortals to retain their souls. I also discovered a new power. I could instinctively sense all my skills. When I wanted to learn something new, I had merely to ask myself how it might be accomplished and suddenly I knew. It was that easy. It was in this manner that I gained the ability to telepathically communicate with people through my tongue. Much like how I could the minds of those I was with by tasting them, now I could let them read parts of my mind (though they couldn't comprehend the whole thing, not even I could do that). It was in this way that I first learned of my place in time. Before this point time meant nothing and was measured in the turning of the seasons. This meant our 'year system' didn't exist. Therefore I couldn't ask what year it was because no-one knew what a year was to begin with. Because of this I based my place in time by the coming of the Roman Empire to the land I had wandered for so long. I now understood why the world seemed so fresh and new, humans had only begun to destroy it. I now believe I could have been wandering for centuries but I too easily forget specifics and such small amounts of time meant little to me.

It was after hearing of Rome that I set out southward seeking this soon to be great city. I travelled for weeks pleasuring the many mortals along the way, but I never quite got there. After close to a year of traveling I came across a town built beside a desert. The people here lived hard but happy lives. But still they were plagued by crime and hatred. It was here in this climate that I found more needy spirits than anywhere before it. For the first while my mortal companions knew nothing of my intentions and often met my arrival with terror or worse despondency, but soon tales were whispered of the phantom dog 'Amor Phasmus', or the 'Love Ghost'. After that many people knew of me and my powers. It was a long time before my final power, the removal of a person's soul, was revealed and 'Mortifer' was tacked onto my name. Within a few years the people began to revere me. I even found statues of me decorating people's homes, or in the minds of the lucky ones I found and loved. They were intricate things made of glass from the desert sands and they were beautiful to behold. The artist who invented the technique claimed he had gleaned his inspirational skills from the mind of the 'Amor Phasmus', which pleased me to no end. Soon I was filled with the love of an entire city, as the town was swiftly growing now and would soon be a center of the arts. Not long after a rich Roman nobleman came and falling in love with my city moved there with his family. He used his resources to build the town up and reaped great profits from it. Then he did something I shall never forget and shall eternally love him for regardless of what happened after. He ordered the construction of the place I love most in the entire world.

Chapter 6: Sedes Amor Phasmus

Of all the places I have ever been that small shrine meant the most to me. It was built on a small near-by mountain in a large cave carved by a powerful waterfall that had long ago weakened into a burbling lesser form of the roaring beast it had been. The Roman nobleman expressed his happiness at what I had done for this city. Crime rates were almost non-existent; people were happy and had something to believe in, and tourists flocked to learn of the mysterious 'Amor Phasmus' that haunted the streets of 'Peregrinus Urbs Urbis' which roughly translated means 'Wanderer City'. I found the name oddly appropriate for the home of a wanderer through time such as myself. It seemed the nobleman sought to reward me for all that I had done for Peregrinus Urbs Urbis the city he treasured so much. And reward me did. The sedes was not big but the nobleman had only paid for the raw materials. The people of the city had banded together in shaping the materials into beautiful forms, flowers, hearts, effigies of myself, and most of all eggs! Eggs of every kind of stone but most often small ones made of glass for the poor and white gold for the rich. I loved all of it with all my heart. But of all the wondrous things in my shrine the most amazing was the back wall. The back wall was painted with the most beautiful mural done in the traditional Greek-Roman illustration style (yes with nudity but that's beside the point, now pick your mind up out of the gutter and keep reading). But more on that later, it was painted by a not so famous painter from Greece who happened to be down on his luck and had heard of me. Drawn by the tale of the 'Amor Phasmus' he and his Mother and Father, also less than famous painters of the same style had come seeking inspiration. When he first came into my shrine I had been out roaming but when I saw the wagon I returned to investigate. When I arrived he was sitting praying, which strangely enough annoyed me greatly since I was no God and would not be treated as such. I approached him slowly and when he saw me he rushed forward openly staring. Feeling his adoration of my beauty I grew stronger and drew him close and filled him with my visions of all I had seen in my long life. When he awoke in the morn he called to the people and told him of what I had given him and all the visions he had seen as I had held him. Then filled with artistic desire he painted. For three years the people supplied him with all he needed and for all that time I sat and I watched and I filled him with more visions and fed off his boundless love for me. When it was finally complete people gathered from all around to witness what he had done for it was a glorious work of art. The mural consisted of a garden in the shape of a ring. The garden was filled with many insects and beasts from across the globe, ones I had seen and others I had seen pictures of in my past life. All cavorting through the wondrous flowers and exquisitely happy. In the distance great metal spires loomed and sparkled in the brilliant sun, yet more visions from my life as a human of the present. The middle of the ring however was all about who I was as the artist knew me then. It depicted a massive tree with a vast wrinkled, deep brown, trunk with many holes and such filled with birds and squirrels. The top of the tree was wreathed in thousands of emerald green leaves forming a nest in which a life sized image of me lay in all my splendour. Throughout the picture in true Greek-Roman fashion were the attendants to my court. In the field at the base of the tree people, young and old, gathered around to lie happily in the grass. Many lay naked enjoying the breeze against their skin. Within the branches of the tree itself many young, nude Roman looking youths lithely danced around reveling in their freedom and the group's companionship. They darted up and down throughout the branches, playing games of tag, or lying down to rest beside me. Throughout the image a feeling of gaiety and luxury presided which I found intoxicating. In all my time on this earth I have never seen anything as perfect as the utopian society depicted in that picture. After it was finished I ceased my travels and stayed in my shrine for I could get all the love I needed to sustain me from the many people who journeyed to see me and the mural I inspired. Through the eyes of these people I saw as the world grew, and civilization began to take hold. For many years this is how I lived. People were born, grew old and died. Priests and Priestesses were ordained to tend my home. For almost a hundred years we had a society as near to perfect as anyone ever could before. This was a time of true joy for me, when my existence was all I could ever have wanted.

Chapter 7: Amor Phasmus Sensa

It was within a few years after my mural was complete that my first priest and priestess were instated. They were an elderly philosopher and his wife. The philosopher spent many hours talking to me about all that I had seen and known, but he never told me why and I only found out after he passed away and his wife published a book he had been writing. It was titled 'Amor Phasmus Sensa' or 'The Love Ghosts Teachings'. The book described a way of life such as the one we had discussed so often. The teachings were simple and clear perhaps that's why it was so popular. It asked the reader to think about who they were, what they wanted, but also to consider what affect their actions had on others lives. It talked about the interconnectedness about the world and how everything affects everything else. New ways of thinking began springing up and all were accepted as one more facet of life. Within ten years Peregrinus Urbs Urbis was a city that embraced life in all its forms, and love was in the air all year round. It also had a thriving Gay and Lesbian population (Which was much more common in those days than most people believe, even the great thunder god Zeus had a homosexual tryst or two according to Greek legend). For a while a great many Romans visited our city and partook of its delights, sadly our fame brought a danger I, in all my wisdom, had never expected.

Chapter 8: Lamia Latro

It began when a young woman came to our city with a group of Roman soldiers and asked to meet with me. Of course she was granted access and the soldiers were taken to the tavern for some pleasurable activities. However when she met me she became quite hostile. (I'll do my best to translate our conversation).

"So the stories are true, a dog demon does rule over this paradise"

"Demon? I am not a demon; pray what makes you think of me so?"

"We are the Lamia Latro, hunters of witches, vampires, ogres, and demons. We have battled your kind before. A female who ate the souls of mortals and served witches who ruled a large group of brigands with cruel hearts and dark magic"

"I have not met another of my kind in my entire life, not since I became an 'Amor Phasmus' due to old witch magic, and broke free of their wretched seal"

"You expect me to believe a new-born Love Ghost managed to break free of a coven? You are a lying, bastard beast and we will sweep over your city of sin and wipe it from the face of the earth"

"Be gone from here, this is a place of sanctity and peace and your angry words will not be tolerated. I thank-you for coming but unless you will keep a civil tongue in your head you will have to leave.

She left and I lay in a state of utter confusion. Another of my kind? Had those thrice-dammed witches created another after they could not control me? Why did that young woman emanate such hatred for my kind? And why did she call me a demon? Had she learned more than what she said? Now I had to know, despite her terrifying plan, I had to learn more of the Lamia Latro and what they knew of my kind.

Chapter 9: Ligatio

I roused myself quickly from my long rest and my body tingled in anticipation of the movement I was about to under take. I sped quickly after the woman before finding her and her soldiers preparing to set out.

"Wait, your words are harsh but I would speak with you more"

"Who says we have anything more to talk about?"

"How did you come by your knowledge, why do you say my kind eat souls?"

"Because we have the second oldest of your 'kind' in our prisons, weakened by the lack of souls to eat. We have her whole story, how she served an ancient now-dead clan of witches and turned a boy from the future into the first 'deadly love ghost'. How the beast ate her soul and released it as an egg. That egg gave birth to a line of soul-eating monsters that to this day serve the many witch clans of this world. And you are just one more beast."

I sat back and stared at her.

"Please take me too her".

The woman agreed and we set out. Normally it would have taken weeks to get there but with my speed, undiminished by its long lack of use, took only days. When we arrived she lead me down into a dark villa and showed past dank prison cells filled with all types of dark and twisted creatures. Then she showed me the cell containing the witch's servant. She was as beautiful as I was but seemed diminished and wispier. I asked to be allowed in and was swiftly admitted. With a flick my tongue was against hers and I felt her weakness become filled by my power. She looked up and I felt her mind brush mine. In an instant I knew, it was the witch I had killed so long ago on the night I had been transformed. Her eyes widened in shock as she realised it was me. Wordlessly we communicated; I knew all the pain of her long years as a slave to the witches that had once been her sisters. I knew her sorrow at all the things she had done and then I begged her to come with me into the light, to join me at my city and flourish amid the beauty there. It was then that I learned the terrible truth. There was no escape from the Lamia Latro. I whirled as the door slammed shut and ancient magic sealed the bars.

"You stay and rot here with your wicked daughter while we of the armies of the Lamia Latro destroy your precious city and wipe all trace of it from the face of the earth".

I can not describe the anguish I felt at that moment, all those lives, all that beauty, all lost forever? To this day I do not know what happened to my people. All I can do is wait, and plan, with my daughter for the day we will escape our captors and return to whatever is left of my noble shrine. But fear not we will be free and we will honour the spirits of my friends by rebuilding Peregrinus Urbs Urbis. This I promise.

By Mortifer Amor Phasmus