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(DF) Ocean of Hopelessness

 
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8/30/2014 5:53:47   
NagisaXIkari
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"That is not dead which can eternal lie, And with strange aeons even death may die." ~H.P Lovecraft.

Prelude: Dreaming of Revenge

Within the darkest depths of The Locker where all fear to tread, He waits in his dead city.

He waits, dreaming of the revenge that he will exact on the world below Lore's waters and the world above.

They will hear His call. He will hear their screams of agony and madness. He will reign as king above the forsaken land and sea that denied Him what is rightfully His.

With each passing day, the stars move into position.

They will not resist.

Chapter I: Stars

She stared up at the night sky, the stars invisible to all but those who are connected to them and the cosmos as a whole.

As far as most people were concerned, it was always night in Darkovia and its surrounding towns and forests, but they would never know. They had never seen the stars.

The stars were usually quite pleasant to view on the few clear nights that were had in Darkovia. The sky was often obscured by clouds leaving little of anything in the sky uncovered as if someone had the idea that perpetual moonless nights added to the terrifying atmosphere this part of the world was supposed to have.

It did not. Those who resided in this part of Lore had been conditioned by constant undead rampages and the odd were-creature attack to accept the darkness and what horror's await.

Normally she would feel calm and at one with the stars and cosmos, but this night was different. Ever since the stars came out of hiding she felt troubled and uneasy.

Above her she could see the stars were beginning to form a line. It was no constellation she had ever seen before and she had seen them all. Her training as an Ascendant saw to that.

But what could this mean? Why would the stars begin to align? What dark forces were at work?

Chapter II: The Lighthouse

In the obscure backwater town of Innsmouth resides a lighthouse, the first of its kind with its black light. Even Osprey Cove lacks one and unlike Innsmouth, it is a port town through and through while Innsmouth just resides along the coast of a lake that like the town is often covered in a thick layer of fog giving the entire town a look as if there is no color to be had in this obscure corner of Doomwood.

Innsmouth was rapidly becoming a ghost town. With one exception no one ever came by, finding the town by accident on their way to Amityvale, but many people left.

Not down the main and only road and into Doomwood, but along the grey shores and into the black waters.

The one traveler to ever come to Innsmouth did not appear to be some would-be adventurer trying to go to Amityvale, but instead it was a Soulweaver.

He did not resemble a Soulweaver not that the townsfolk would know what a Soulweaver was, but they knew the symbol for the Order of Paladins that adorned his armor and Paladins often wielded swords or axes, not peculiar blade-like weapons that materialized from his hands.

The citizens of Innsmouth were weary of outsiders. They did not wish for their lives to become knowledge of those outside their dying community.

The Soulweaver did not stay long only staying long enough to get to know a boy whose parents left into the dark depths of the lake for reasons unknown to him.

"They didn't take any of their things," the boy said his bottom lip quivering. "They didn't take me. They....they didn't even say goodbye or that they loved me."

The boy began to cry, feeling alone and unwanted.

He was not the first child whose parents left into the lake, but he was the only one to not follow after their parents. He didn't understand why.

He had tried on three different occasions, but it never seemed right, so he could never follow through. He wondered if he loved his parents at all.

The Soulweaver apprenticed the boy. His heart was strong and his soul was pure. He would make a fine Soulweaver.

Their time was short. The townsfolk did not trust the Soulweaver and the Soulweaver did not trust them. On more than one occasion he had found putrefied Draydenfish somewhere in his room at the inn which he appeared to have been the first patron of in a long time.

Neither the boy nor the Soulweaver ever shared their name with each other, the Soulweaver telling him that should they meet again, he will know.

Many years later, Innsmouth remained, its population beginning to grow. The boom was attributed to the lake blessing the town with its bounty which was peculiar as there was not a single fisherman in the town.

The boy now a man still remained. He could not figure out why he didn't leave to perhaps maybe find the Soulweaver from his childhood. He was an outsider in his own birth-town. It had become like that ever since he had met the Soulweaver.

He stared out at the lake, its black waters still like a sheet of glass. This had become habitual for him since he turned fifteen and he wasn't sure why. Something compelled him to come to the lake and stand under the shadow of the lighthouse while it projected its black light across the lake, reflecting off the ethereal yellow eyes of whatever resides out there.

You cannot resist.

Chapter III: The Baron

Within a dank swamp on the edge of Doomwood resides the castle of Baron Valtrith, the biggest laughing stock of the vampire kingdom since Lord Frydae the XIII.

This was unacceptable. This had to change. This would change.

The castle was ancient and within its many rooms was the power to fulfill his dream. No, his destiny.

He has his army, but that's meaningless. Frydae has an army. Safiria has an army. Even that excuse for a Necromancer, Zorbak has an army. He needed more then an army if he was to show the world the true master of Darkovia.

He entered the library, shelves upon shelves of ancient tomes and arcane lore stretched from the baseboards to the ceiling. No human could even read a portion of this in their lifetime and even for him it would take time.

But he has plenty of time. The Sleeping God isn't the only one dreaming of revenge.

He searched through the countless tomes, some even predating him unsure of what he was looking for, but he knew he would know when he found it.

Time. It was only a matter of time.

He felt a surge of energy course through his dried veins as he touched on an eldritch tome of forgotten spells and rituals.

It showed visible signs of decay, but it had a certain beauty to it. The kind of beauty that only comes with decay. And a book bound in the flesh of some fallen beast was bound to decay.

He flipped through the pages, looking over the text written in a dead, but not forgotten language.

This will take time.

Chapter IV: In Sickness

She was unsure of how her journey began. It started with the strange constellation and now has her going to an unnamed town on a place known as the Plateau of Leng.

She had never heard of it, but a deranged fisherman at Hunter's Paradise had said it would be a good place to start.

She questioned her decision making skills if she was taking the words of someone who spoke of rituals between human and sea creature like it was the most natural thing in the world to heart.

Travellers in Moonglow had verified the existence of the Plateau, but they all said the same thing.

"Go back the way you came and forget you ever heard that name."

What could be so bad about some unheard of plateau? she wonder. Why is it so unheard of? Am I making the right choices?

Night began to approach. After awhile you begin to be able to tell the difference between the darkness that is the morning and afternoon hours and the darkness of the nighttime hours.

She approached a fork in the road. The right side was well traveled while the left looked like no one had stepped foot on it in years.

Curiosity got the better of her and she took the road less traveled.

This was a mistake. The smell of decaying fish filled the air assaulting her sense of smell and taste in ways she never thought possible. She began to feel ill.

There was something up ahead that resembled a sign indicating she was entering a town.

"Inns....mouth?" she spoke aloud in a barely audible whisper.

What soon followed was black.

Chapter V: Dark Dreams

In the beginning, there was only dark. That was true for the universe, birth, and her dream.

Silence and darkness that seemed to last forever until finally the silence was broken by a drop of water disrupting the calm surface of a black body of water.

Is this Innsmouth?

Another drop, only louder.

Am I still alive?

Another drop, even louder.

The water dropped and exploded on the water's surface getting louder and louder until it began to hurt. An earsplitting cacophony of water disturbing water, threatening her sense of hearing and sanity.

"Stop it, stop it, stop it," she said getting louder to hear herself over the water.

"STOP IT!"

For the first time since she had started her journey she had found that was enjoyable. But she was still unsure of what was happening.

She figured she was still alive as the Reaper had not come to claim her soul. But of this wasn't Death's Domain what was it, a dream?

The silence was broken by the sound of water as it went down the drain, the cosmos taking its place and a feeling of serenity taking hold of her.

Drifting among the stars, she watched in awe as they passed. She had not been this close to the constellations since she became an Ascendant. She had missed these sights.

A disturbing image came into view. The image that started her journey was so close she could touch it. The stars were aligning.

As the moved into position, horrible monstrosities the likes of which have never been seen on Lore soared from the stars on ancient wings, sails, or something entirely different.

As they passed by, out of synch the monsters chanted something in a language she had never heard before capping it off by chanting in unison "Ia! Ia! Ia! Ia!"

The monsters descended upon Lore like a plague and just like the beginning, in the end, there was only dark.

Chapter VI: Looming Shadows

His ritual of staring at the lake's black water beneath the shadow of the lighthouse had been complete. He didn't do anything other than stare, lost in the fog and shadows, but after awhile he felt like he had just completed rigorous task.

Outside the town's gates lay someone who most certainly was not from Innsmouth. The people of Innsmouth do not go near the town's entrance. There was no denying that someone was in trouble.

The Soulweaver didn't just elaborate on the heart and soul and how to weave their threads for use in battle, he had partaken in sharing with him the Order of Paladin's dogma.

A Paladin does not use their abilities to do harm to someone for their own reasons. Anger taints the light that shines within us all.

A Paladin will always aid those in needs regardless of circumstances. Kindness is what keeps the light that shines within us all shining bright.

It was a woman in elaborate robes he had never seen before, held in place on some parts with metal and a wide opening over her midsection that did not seem to serve a purpose. He wondered if the Soulweaver had seen them before.

Her features were mostly obscured by the fog leaving him in the dark as to what her problem may be. She was not moving and carried the scent of decaying Draydenfish that stuck around the town for so long, everyone stopped noticing.

He took her to his home, hoping he could do something for her.

His home had remained largely untouched for many years, his parents having left everything behind. Being in his own home was painful, but he couldn't make the pain go away.

He laid her down in his bedroom which had changed over the years to accommodate his growth into adulthood and lit a lamp.

He could not describe the robes she wore, but they were the least of his concerns. His primary concern was whether or not she was alive which thankfully was the case.

She seemed peaceful at first, laying motionless except for her chest moving as she breathed. Like most people that reside in Darkovia her skin was pale, but it had some color to it compared to his own implying she had been outside the country at some point in the not so distant past.

He wondered where she came from and how she ended up in Innsmouth. Was it a sign? The first person to enter the town had taught him the art of Soulweaving and helped him through a dark period in his life. He missed the Soulweaver who if only for a short period of time was the first parental figure he had in a long time. Thinking about those times brought tears to his eyes.

He looked the woman over her darker skin in contrast to his own ghostly white skin and her hair was black like the light of the lighthouse while his was white.

In a dying town where few inhabitants haven't taken on a quasi-amphibious appearance, she was a goddess laying peacefully before him.

But as he knew, nothing good lasts forever and she began to shift in her sleep, muttering until eventually she was thrashing and awoke with a scream, a tall shadow looming over her.

Chapter VII: The Shadows Over Innsmouth

She screamed and the two backed away from each other, a wave of nausea hitting her.

"Are....are you okay?" he stammered unused to contact with other humans.

She looked at him with bleary eyes, trying to stop from passing out again. The Draydenfish smell lingered even inside.

"I think so. Thank you."

Rubbing the sleep from her eyes she looked her rescuer over. Judging by his complexion, he had never left Darkovia in his life or perhaps he originated from Ravenloss, his white hair being reminiscent of a long dead Soulweaver.

There was something else about him. He appeared to be almost afraid of her. If he wasn't so much taller than her, she would've guessed he was only a child. He still retained much of his appearance from when he was a child even into adulthood.

She wondered what his smile looked like.

He looked curiously at her, like a cat staring at a bug. It was then she realized she was starting for far too long and looked away.

"Sorry," she said hoping her blush wasn't visible in the dim light of an oil lamp in the corner. "My name's Xalia."

"Pleased to meet you, Xalia."

Most people would introduce themselves at this point, but I suppose he wasn't most people. He'd have to be something else to live in a town like this for so long.

Does he have a name?

Outside came the sound of drums and flutes. It was an unpleasant sound with no structure or rhythm, but it got faster and louder as it became clear it was heading towards the house.

He fell to his knees, clutching his head and shouting like he was in pain. The sound while unpleasant didn't seem to inflict pain upon her in a manner like it did him.

You cannot resists, a deep guttural voice said in the back of his mind.

Now was her turn to repay him for his kindness. She wasn't sure what she should do except get him away from that madness inducing orchestra.

She picked him up, one arm over her shoulder and was surprised at how light he was. He seemed almost delicate or fragile like glass.

She led him through the house and out the door, the noise getting louder, but not loud enough to drown out his screams.

Outside was a flash of white light, the lighthouse now projecting a white light over the town as well as the lake.

Approaching from all over the town was a mob. There were no visible instruments, but still the noise continued.

The white light illuminated the approaching townsfolk, their yellow eyes glowing like amber, while they cast long shadows over the town forcing Xalia to choke back a scream at the horrors she saw.

Some resembled humans with patches of scales on the flesh or webbed fingers, but others looked almost entirely amphibious or fully amphibious. This delicate, angelic looking boy lived amongst these monsters?

Leading the mob was someone who retained some of their human exterior dressed in ornate robes that looked white, but when the light hit them Xalia could see there was black, yellow, red, and blue-green, carrying a staff that resembled a tentacle of sorts topped with a sigil she could not see, but felt like it could see her.

Scattered through out the mob were other beings dressed like the one leading the mob sans the staff indicating he may be the leader.

The leader chanted something she could not hear over the maddening cacophony. When the leader paused, the mob replied their chants being audible over the noise.

"Ia! Ia! Ia!"

Xalia fled, dragging the boy towards the town entrance.

"Ia! Ia! Ia!" the mob cheered

You cannot escape, a deep guttural voice said in the back of her mind.

Chapter VIII: The Dark Wood of Error

Xalia was thankful the people of Innsmouth did not pursue them through the forest. She was even more thankful that once they got out of earshot of that horrible noise, he was beginning to feel better.

"Thank you," he said weakly either due to still recuperating from whatever happened or something else.

He seemed afraid of the forest around them, always looking over his shoulder or from left to right as if he thought they were being pursued.

"Do you think they're following us?"

"No," he said his voice cracking. "The people of Innsmouth do not leave the town." A look of sadness took over. "Not by the road at least."

"Is this your first time outside of Innsmouth?"

"Yes."

He was scared. He had never seen the world outside his obscure town. She felt sorry for him.

"If you're scared," Xalia began, trying to work up the nerve to finish her thought. "I will protect you."

She wasn't sure if she could fulfill that promise, but it brought a smile to his face. It was the first true light she had seen since her strange journey began. It made her feel warm.

There came a rustling in the trees. Bandits weren't common in Darkovia, but the monsters that dwelled in the eternal darkness made her almost hope for bandits.

She'd even accept undead after the light of the partially covered moon reflected on a large spider web blocking their path.

He stared at her in confusion. What was it about a spider web that had her petrified in the middle of the road?

The spider that crawled along the web was quite large even for a spider of Lore, but it was nothing out of the ordinary. Even Innsmouth had spiders.

His hands glowed white as elaborate multi-pointed blades took their place. In a flash, he had cut through the web and the spider.

He's a Soulweaver.... she thought, amazed by his speed and how fast he was able to dispatch the monster and embarrassed about her earlier statement.

His dispelled his weapons and waited for her to start moving before carrying on. They would travel in silence for quite a bit, the woods not seeming to get any less darker.

"Have you heard of the Plateau of Leng?" Xalia asked finally breaking the silence.

He shook his head. She was not surprised and felt a little guilty about asking that question. He was a stranger to the outside world after all.

"What....what were those things back in town?"

"The people of Innsmouth," he said in the same tone people would talk about the weather in.

"All of them? Including the....?" She was unsure of how to describe the quasi-amphibious townsfolk.

"All of them," he said retaining the same tone. "Even the...." he trailed off as fear and sadness crept into his voice. "Even the Deep Ones."

She didn't want to press further if it meant hurting him. Maybe with time he'll open up to her.

They stopped at a dilapidated church near a covered bridge that was equally falling apart. There was no name on the building and the only indication of who or what might have been worshiped here was a strange T-shaped sigil, one side of the sigil being longer than the other.

Even stranger was the smell of sea water present in the building despite it and Darkovia as a whole not being near an ocean.

There was an evil presence about this place. One that was even stronger than that of the town of Innsmouth.

***

On the road to and from Innsmouth, the drying out husk of a freshly slain spider began to twitch as its young began to emerge from within.

Episode IX: The Coven

Baron Valtrith required assistance. He was proud, but he was not arrogant. This was something that his would-be cult could never dream to accomplish.

He read over the ritual again and again. This would call for powerful magics. And in Darkovia that was not in short supply.

Yaga covens were like fleas on a dog in Darkovia. They were everywhere. He just needed one with the power to summon a god.

Vanshees swarmed the country by the thousands. They were instructed to find the powerful and destroy the weakest. This will be a world where only the strong will rise.

This will also take time.

It would be three days before his Vanshees returned, their numbers a fraction of what they had been previously. But undead was easily replaceable.

Three witches stood before him. Valtrith expected grotesque hags as most witches were, but instead three nubile young women, two redheads and a brunette in attire that would fill the hearts and minds of mortal men with lust were brought to him. Safira's attire was modest in comparison.

The brunette presumably the leader of their coven stepped forward.

"What have you sought us out for?" she asked, her voice was stern yet seductive. If his veins didn't run dry he might have had other things in mind for these three.

"Your coven has been deemed the most powerful out of countless others. I have sought you out to perform a ritual for me."

One of the redheads, presumably the youngest going by her height stifled a laugh.

"Don't you have followers for this sort of thing?" she said mockingly.

Under different circumstances he'd have ripped her throat out just for opening her mouth. Perhaps he will later depending on their level of compliance.

"They will also be participate, but they will not be reciting the incantations."

"What is this ritual you want us to perform?" the brunette asked.

Baron Valtrith held the decaying tome open for them to see. The witches stepped forward, looking the pages over.

"It will take some time to prepare if your truly want to summon an Outer God," the other redhead said her tone much more serious than the other two witches.

"Take all the time you need," Baron Valtrith said, a monstrous smile forming under his mask.

Chapter X: Webs

The two had arrived in the town of Miskatonic three days after fleeing Innsmouth. It was roughly the same size as Amityvale or perhaps smaller.

After three days of foraging, it was nice to finally be somewhere that allowed them to have a decent meal. Although the never ending amount of spiders and their webs was enough to unnerve Xalia.

The young Soulweaver stared in awe at the town, drawing attention from the locals who pegged him as a country bumpkin until he said this is his first time outside of Innsmouth.

Apparently in Miskatonic, Innsmouth is a place of few people heard of and those who have have nothing good to say about it. How much of it is based on truth is anyone's guess.

He was feared. If it weren't for Xalia, he'd be alone. An outcast no matter where he is.

No one really knew why the town was overrun with spiders. Some theorized it had to do with the cave network that resided beneath the town. Either way, they were grateful the spiders were just the average house spider as opposed to the large aggressive ones that seldomly appeared.

At the inn, they slept, the young Soulweaver's sleep disturbed by a deep, guttural voice telling him he cannot resist or he cannot escape.

Xalia's sleep was also disturbed.

***

Xalia stared up at the night sky above Miskatonic which was quite possibly the clearest sky she had ever laid eyes on.

She felt tranquil until the sky began to be obscured by the web of an enormous spider.

Several other spiders of varying size began to emerge from their hiding spots in and around town, joining in the construction of the enormous web the titan spider was weaving.

The titan spider stopped weaving its web to look at her, bending its legs to get a closer look. It's face was vaguely human frozen in an expression of doubt and inquiry.

Fear paralyzed her. She wanted to run, but like the voice had said, she could not escape.

The spiders weaving the web began to chant. "Atlach-Nacha," they said in unison. "Atlach-Nacha."

The web began to take form, the outer circle covered in occult runes she had never seen before.

"Atlach-Nacha," the spiders chanted.

The titan spider's mouth opened, exposing enormous mandibles like scythe blades.

***

Xalia awoke screaming. The young Soulweaver didn't know what to do except be by her side unsure if it meant anything.

Xalia was grateful for the Soulweaver's attempts at comfort. The light of the partially covered moon shined down upon him giving his already angelic appearance a heavenly glow. She began to wonder if her meeting him was written in the stars.

She gave her head a shake. She shouldn't be thinking of romance. It was a nice distraction from the world around her, but it wasn't right.

"Can I ask you a question?"

He nodded.

"How did you become a Soulweaver?"

A combined look of happiness and sadness appeared on his face, but he told the story of the Soulweaver that came to Innsmouth so many years ago.

***

It was hard to tell if it was day or night. On top of the perpetual darkness, the windows of their room had been covered in spider webs. This was not an irregular thing for the townsfolk, but it made Xalia all the more eager to leave.

Either the spiders grew bolder or there was a sudden population surge because the town was covered in webs and many spiders prowled the streets.

Xalia froze. She was certain she could hear the spiders chanting "Atlach-Nacha."

"Do not be afraid," he said. "I will protect you."

The more aggressive spiders were cut down by the young Soulweaver, Xalia feeling guilty about being unable to overcome her fears.

The chanting continued, but it wasn't from the spiders. From the surrounding forests came a crowd of people in greyish white robes little spiders and tarantulas crawling about, chanting the name.

"Atlach-Nacha!"

< Message edited by NagisaXIkari -- 7/22/2016 22:59:37 >
DF  Post #: 1
9/1/2014 21:45:11   
NagisaXIkari
Member

Interlude I: Preperation

Baron Valtrith watched over the courtyard as the ritual grounds were set. When all went well, he would unleash a terror upon this accursed land the likes of which had never been seen.

The terror he would let loose on Lore would dwarf everything Sepulchure had done in the past. The power of a God that would surpass the Orbs was within reach and growing ever closer.

The witches still needed time to fully grasp and understand the text from the eldritch tome.

Take all the time you need, he thought. He had other plans in need of attention.

Chapter XI: Spider Nest

The Soulweaver dispatched oncoming spiders swiftly, but it didn't seem to make a difference. With each one slain, smaller new born spiders would erupt from the remains of the slain and scatter.

The cultists closed in on them, chanting "Atlach-Nacha!"

Dispelling his weapon, the Soulweaver took Xalia's hand and took off towards the cultists a white honey comb-shaped barrier forming around them, pushing the cultists away as they tried to attack with their macabre weapons made of enormous petrified spider legs and other grisly weapons made from enormous mandibles.

He's moving so slowly, she thought assuming that's how she was able to keep up with him.

The forest the cultists originated from came into view and soon they were in it.

With each step they took, the could feel and hear things being crushed beneath their feet. Xalia gasped when she saw the forest floor covered in spiders rather than leaves.

The Soulweaver pushed webbing out of their way, shaking the spiders that called those webs home off of himself.

Xalia hung on tight to the Soulweaver, cringing with each step she took as countless spiders were crushed beneath her feet.

The Soulweaver did not seem to notice them at all. He did not seem phased by anything that went on around him since fleeing Innsmouth. Maybe living in that horrific place had desensitized him to the horrors beyond it.

A cave came into view, the entrance covered in web lined with strange runes on its outer edge. A trio purple spiders the size of wolves crawled around it.

"Atlach-Nacha!" the spiders hissed before descending the web the same speed the Soulweaver possessed in battle.

Xalia felt useless as she watched in horror as the Soulweaver confronted the things that frightened her the most.

The spiders were fast and the barrier would not hold for much longer. He slashed one spider illicting a screech and followed through with a series of slashes, finishing it off by jumping into the air and crashing down on the spider.

The pieces left of it dissolved into a purple muck which was absorbed into the ground.

Xalia was amazed by his power and speed. He appeared to be in multiple places at once, but they were only after images left behind between each strike.

The Soulweaver screamed as one of the remaining spiders sunk its fangs into him, its toxin beginning to intrude into his veins.

The second spider began to stalk towards Xalia, her frightened reflection visible to her through its cold, unfeeling eyes.

Xalia quivered and materialized her weapon. It was a scythe that appeared to have seen much use either by her or others. The edge of the blade gave off a bluish-green glow, the eyes of the wolf head adorning the top of the blade glowed the same.

The spider prepared to pounce while a ring of runes circled Xalia. She held up her weapon, the head beginning to radiate orange followed by another of runes.

The spider shrieked in pain as a light descended upon it like a divine being passing judgment. It staggered, its eyes burned.

It would be some time before she saw the irony in using the powers of the cosmos due do battle on her journey.

Poison coursing through his veins, the Soulweaver knew he would have to end this quickly. These monsters were not like ordinary spiders, their venom inflicted a great deal more pain and at a faster rate.

A white sigil appeared beneath him and around his head, he murmured a name under his breath asking for help.

Blasts of white energy descended upon the battlefield, vaporizing the spiders, leaving behind smoking craters where they stood, his close proximity to one resulted in one of his arms being burned, his sleeve being turned to ash instantly.

He tried to say something, to purge the poison from within him, but his mind was hazy. He couldn't concentrate.

The last thing he saw was Xalia coming towards him before the world turned to black.

Chapter XII: Dream Companion

The Soulweaver did not dream, or he did and never remembered doing so. This was a new experience for him.

He stood under the shadow of the lighthouse as it cast its black light over the lakes' black waters as he would do every night for as long as he could remember.

Staring at him from the water were multiple sets of yellow eyes like those the town's people shared regardless of how far gone their transformation was.

"Come to mommy," a female voice called out from the lake, echoing throughout the town. "Let me see what a fine young man you've grown into."

He stood stone still. He knew that voice. It was indeed his mother. Maybe she finally came back for him.

"Come join mommy beneath the waters," the voice called out.

"Don't do it," another voice said, whispering in his ear. It was another familiar voice. One he rarely heard and during the few times he did hear it, he couldn't tell if it was a male's voice or female's.

The water's surface began to ripple, disturbed by whatever was coming ashore.

It was a woman. Tall and slender, her long black hair, seaweed and patches of scales giving her some form of covering.

He recognized the woman as his mother as she had looked so many years ago and quickly averted his gaze. He should not be seeing her in this state.

"That's not your mother," the gender neutral voice hissed.

"Of course I am, silly."

He tried to remember what his mother looked like. Her hair hadn't been black nor had her eyes been yellow. That lingering voice was right.

The thing posing as is mother grabbed him and pulled his head into her bosom. Its' skin was slimy and smelled of sea water, but somehow he was beginning to feel at peace.

"Do you want to become one with mommy? To be of one body and soul?"

The question confused him. "What do you me-"

"Fight it!" the other voice interrupted. "Do not let this creature deceive you."

The Soulweaver struggled and pushed the creature away. No longer was it the partial image of his mother, but a grotesque semi-amphibian terror that did not take kindly to rejection.

"You dare reject your own mother?!" the creature shouted, raising a massive arm to crash down on the Soulweaver.

The Soulweaver crosses his arms in front of him to defend, something else appearing in front of him in a flash of white light.

From behind, the Soulweaver could not tell what it was that stood before him. It appeared to be a specter of sorts in an all-concealing robe to hide any distinguishing features.

"Who are you?" the Soulweaver asked.

The monster brought its arm down, striking the mysterious androgyne, but it did not falter.

"It has been awhile, hasn't it?" the androgyne said fairly casually.

The Soulweaver nodded as he appeared behind the monster in a flash and made multiple cuts in the monster, the androgyne beside him the entire time.

The monster let out of pained shriek, like a woman's. The Soulweaver's eyes widened in horror.

"Ignore it! You must keep your heart and soul strong. Not only for our sake, but for Xalia's."

Xalia! The last person he saw before this ordeal happened. She was alone with all those spiders present.

"You know what to do."

"Synchronize!" they both shouted, a white light radiating from the Soulweaver's chest.

He delivered another flurry of slashes. He was moving so fast, the beast appeared to be standing still.

The androgyne appeared in front of him once more, its cloak flew open, releasing a torrent of white energy. The beast was vaporized and the sand beneath it burned to glass.

"Thank you...." the Soulweaver began unsure of what this beings name is.

"Mort," it said. "Try not to forget me again."

***

The Soulweaver awoke with a gasp. Still too weak to sit up, but he found he had the strength of will to purge the venom from his body.

Xalia watched as a viscous multicolored fluid oozed out of the bite mark on his leg.

Thank you, he said to his newly remembered ally.

Chapter XIII: Web of Shadows

He assured her he was fine, but that still wasn't enough to convince her. The poison may have been dealt with, but he still bared the bite marks and the burns from being too close to his attack.

The interior of the cave was illuminated by a strange moss that grew along the walls and ceilings. More spiders like the one's from outside scurried about moving deeper into the cave.

The light began to fade as they moved deeper into the cave, webs covering the walls, snuffing out the light.

The Soulweaver stopped, holding an arm out to keep Xalia from moving forward.

Fear kept her from being fully focused on the path ahead of her which ended in a shear drop. The gorge in front of them was so wide they couldn't tell if there was even another side.

They heard the chittering of the spiders as they descended deeper into the gorge either sliding down their threads or scampering along the walls.

"Where do we go from here?"

Jump, Mort said to the Soulweaver.

"We jump," he said.

Before she could protest, he had taken her hand and jumped.

The fall felt like eternity, but ended soon enough with them on a massive, incomplete spider web.

A sense of familiarity came over Xalia as she looked around at the web. It wasn't like an ordinary web. There were strange markings on the outside edge, just like the web in her dream.

The purple spiders passed them by, slipping through the gaps in the web.

The web shook as a monolithic spider's leg touched down on the web followed by another and another until the beast stood upon them.

Atlach-Nacha, Mort said.

The monster began to resume working on its webs, unknown to the potential prey beneath it, no other spider in sight as if they all moved out of its way for reasons unknown to anyone but the spiders.

The monster caught sight of them. Moving in, bending down to their level, it eyed Xalia, a hint of familiarity in its eyes, its facial expression unchanged.

The Soulweaver took a swing when it began to flaunt its mandibles.

The Soulweaver may as well have been a flea on an Alpha Werewolf for the monster paid no heed to it.

Xalia summoned her scythe, several rune inscribed rings.circled around while an image of a hammer appeared above her.

The monster shrieked as she delivered a blow from her to its multi-expressioned face and followed through with a blast of cosmic energy.

The beast staggered, stunned by the attack that had actually managed to do harm to it. It had lived for millenias and not once had a mortal been able to harm it, even in the slightest.

The Soulweaver managed to cause the beast to falter a little with a concussive blast. Apparently the thing had a soul.

A multitude of symbols surrounded Xalia, an overwhelming force beginning to charge. The symbols disappeared inside her as her entire body glowed orange, like a sun.

The color left her as a bolt of energy struck down on the monster, threatening to bore its way through.

Both Xalia and the monster sagged. Xalia weakened from exerting so much power and the monster from the effort it took to withstand that power.

She possessed the power to harm if not destroy a god. Even a lesser god such as Atlach-Nacha should feel threatened.

The beast shook as it stood back up, pieces of its carapace falling off in sheets of grey, disintegrating as they drift through the holes in the web.

The Soulweaver attacked relentlessly with a flurry of slashes, trying in vain to stop the creature from approaching Xalia.

A white glow radiated from his chest. It was like in the dream when he and Mort defeated the thing posing as the Soulweaver's mother.

Xalia stood up, shaking. It would have been easier if she were on solid ground and she could use her scythe as a crutch.

The Soulweaver attacked the monster which viewed him the same way any lifeform would view a mosquito.

Xalia began to cast a spell. She hoped it would be effective in her current state.

A beam of light dropped down on the beast illicting a pained cry, its eyes burned.

It thrashed around, searching for the two striking the walls and damagaing the web in the process.

It is time, Mort said.

Mort appeared in front of the Soulweaver, its cloak flying open and unleashing a torrent of energy.

The Old One shrieked as its body disintegrated into scraps of grey which turned to ash.

The two slumped down on the web. It would be a hectic climb back up.

Chapter XIV: On Darker Tides

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Kathool R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn," the aquatic horrors chanted.

Standing along the shores was a mob of aquatic humanoids born from the relations between between man and Deep One. A sin Neso can not overlook, but could do nothing to stop.

There are forces at work even stronger than the Avatars and while they'd never admit it to anyone other than themseleves, they were frightened.

The crowd parted as humans walked into the waters, a Deep One waiting within to begin the unholy ritual to bear more Deep Ones.

Innsmouth was already taken over, the lesser deity Dagon watching as each human that enters the lakes' black waters begins to change.

They could destroy any coastel region if they desired, but like their god Kathool, they wait. Dreaming.

Haeos and Khazri could conjure up the perfect storm to wipe these blasphemous things off the planet and ensure they never step foot near the waters again, but fear strangled them.

It takes a lot to scare a god. Especially one's that are so boisturous and prideful as the gods of Lore. But what they fear is not of Lore.

What they fear was ancient when Lore was young.

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Kathool R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn," the Deep Ones chanted.

"Ia! Ia! Ia!" the humans chanted back as they sunk into the water.

You cannot resist.

Chapter XV: Light & Dark

It had been a hectic climb to escape Atlach-Nacha's lair, slaying spiders along the way.

The town of Miskatonic had appeared to be abandoned, the webs covering the buildings being the only sign of recent life and likely the answer to what happened to the townsfolk.

They travelled through Doomwood until nightfall where they settled in another abandoned church much like the one they stayed in prior to arriving in Miskatonic.

Much like the previous one, this one also smelled of sea water and had a strange T-shaped sigil upon the alter.

"Who built these places," Xalia asked no one in particular.

"Adventurers much like he and yourself," Mort said appearing beside the Soulweaver. "Adventurers that sought sanctuary from the vampires and other beasts that lurk within these dark woods."

Xalia shrieked, surprised by the sudden appearance of such a forboding individual.

"It's okay, Xalia. This is Mort, an Elemental Spirit of Light an my SoulAlly."

Xalia understood how a Soulweaver worked and the idea behind the SoulAlly.

"Yes, I'm sorry. You startled me."

"My apologies, Xalia," Mort said with a slight bow-courtsey.

"What do you mean they were built by people who feared the monsters in the woods?" Xalia asked.

"Not everyone is trained in any fighting style nor can everyone afford an escort. So to find sanctuary from the monsters lurking in the woods, these structures were built to offer refuge for those unfortunate enough to be travelling through this forsaken place.

They may have been able to keep the vampires at bay, but other such monsters are not concerned about holy ground such as werewolves.

And so those slain by the wolves were buried here which only invited the ghouls."

"Ghouls?" the Soulweaver asked, amazed by what Mort knew.

"Monsters that feed on corpses. And when none are available, they make new one's."

"How do you know all of this?" the Soulweaver asked.

"Before I became your ally, I spent a long time traversing the Light Plane. I saw many things. The rise and fall of tyrants, emperors, and empires. The deaths of many. I also learned things through this time such as the pointlessness of alignments."

"What do you mean?" Xalia asked, confused by Mort's words.

"Would you associate Darkness with evil?"

"Yes," Xalia said. "Darkovia is always under constant threat by the forces of Darkness."

"Indeed. Ranging from Zorbak unleashing an army on the town of Amityvale to the wolves hunting a girl for reasons I neither recall nor care for. But Zorbak's efforts were always quite ineffective and more often than not he aided the side of good.

Even the great Sephulchure fought to defend Lore for a brief moment even if only against a common enemy.

And it goes without saying you'd associate Light with good, correct?"

Xalia nodded. She understood Mort's words, but she couldn't find herself agreeing with them. There were far too many examples of Darkness being associated with evil to really convince her that dark is not inherently evil.

"Would you say I'm a good individual? I aid both he and you in battle while at one time I would watch petty squabbles escalate into bloodshed and not even consider intervening.

And of course there's little things like zealots within the Paladin Order, Sand Elves who have adopted a criminal lifestyle, or someting quite insignifigant like Minx Faeries or Elementals or such grand things like Sek-Duet's reign over the Sandsea or Celeritas having a bad day."

Xalia wasn't sure what to think of this. Artix was a shining example of a hero of light, known throughout Lore for his deeds and debilitating need to slay undead.

Even Ash Dragonblade from Falconreach became an example of a hero of light whose own story had spread throughout Lore.

But would those two individuals mean anything to someone so detached from the world around them?

"What do you consider yourself if Light is not inherently good?"

The Soulweaver looked back and forth between them. This was a lot to take in all at once and Mort's words frightened him for the first time since his parents descended into the black waters.

Does Mort see me as anything signifigant? he asked himself.

"I consider myself enlightened. I do not consider myself enlightened due to what element I am associated with, I do so because I see that there is no way to simply label someone or something as good or evil just because they shine brightly or not at all."

Xalia fell silent, letting Mort's words sink in. Maybe she had spent so long being told that a skeleton is evil because it attacks her relentlessly for no reason other than it's a monster of darkness to really think for herself.

The Soulweaver felt somewhat embarrassed by his lack of understanding of Mort's words. The Soulweaver that taught him had said Doomwood was crawling with evil that will continue to exist so long as Darkness exists.

But what about the rest of the world? Wasn't there evil there too?

Chapter XVI: Rot

The smell of sea water that normally pervaded the church was overpowered by the smell of rotting flesh.

As a spirit of death, Mort was familiar with all the sights, sounds, and smells that accompanied death. As inhabitants of Darkovia, Xalia and even the Soulweaver were familiar with them as well.

But this was the scent of something that had been dead for a long time and exposed to the elements.

"Ghouls," Mort said in a tone that disturbed Xalia.

Had the SoulAlly been so numbed to death that it could talk about the bringers of it in the same way the inhabitants of Amityvale talked about an undead invasion?

The smell grew stronger as four quasi-humanoid monstrosities entered the church, sniffing the air, searching for corpses to feed upon.

The creatures themselves vaguley resembled shambling, decaying corpses, their most distinctive feature being their eyes that resembled pools of acid.

"Do we fight them?" the Soulweaver asked.

"If they prove to be hostile," Mort began. "If they find something dead to feed on they'll leave us be."

One Ghoul spotted them and approached, slowly as if hesitant about what it was doing. It got up close to Xalia who struggled to keep from gagging from the smell.

"Do not let it touch you. He may be able to purge any ailment that befalls him, but you cannot. And there's no telling what diseases that thing is carrying."

Xalia backed away as the creature moved on to the Soulweaver, locking eyes with him.

The Soulweaver stood petrified with fear. He had Mort and Xalia to help him if something happened, but it didn't give him the security to stave off the fear that came with staring what could be death in the face.

The Ghoul backed away from him, lowering itself in the process like it was cowering. Then it looked at Mort.

It let loose a noise that sounded like bones rattling, the other three stopped their searching and let loose the same sound.

The Ghoul pounced at Mort while the others began to rapidly cross the church, tripping over or breaking through the rows of peiu's in their various states of decomposition.

In what would be a feat of supernatural strength for a mortal, Mort caught the monster by its throat. It thrashed wildly with claws on its mishapen hands like rusty nails.

There was a flash of light and the monster fell apart, reduced to a pile of ash.

This did not deter the other mockeries of life as they stumbled about. The Soulweaver conjured up a series of chains to bind one of the monsters while Xalia began to cast a spell.

In another flash of light, there was nothing left of the monsters but ash.

Xalia and the Soulweaver stood in silence and awe.

"Why didn't you just do that to that giant spider?" Xalia asked.

Mort looked at her, exhaustian showing on its face.

"I'm old, Xalia. I have seen things that even Warlic would be discouraged to try fighting. What we encountered in that town was one of those things."

"What was it?" the Soulweaver asked.

"There are gods among us besides those represented by the Elemental Avatars," Mort began. "Gods that are so old they can recall the birth of the Avatars with the utmost clarity. To them Lore, is just one insignifigant planet in a universe barely out of its diapers."

More rattling came from outside the church as more Ghouls attempted to get inside through whatever means.

They fled. It would be awhile before they stopped running if they would ever stop.

Chapter XVII: A Rose By Any Other Name

Outside the walled town hung time and weather worn banners of a blue rose. A symbol for the impossible.

Blue roses did not occur naturally, having to be manufactured. It was an appropiate symbol for a group that sought the eradication of magic in a world fueled by magic.

Sentries stood along the wall, wielding discarded weapons of the organization that forged them long ago.

"This isn't Amityvale," Xalia stated.

"Amityvale was fortified due to it being home to a human that was targetted by the werewolves and vampires that inhabited the surrounding area," the Soulweaver said, Mort's words coming from his mouth. "Arkham has its own share of monsters haunting in the dark to require fortification. It was also an ideal location to house problematic prisoners."

The sentries permitted them entrance, the gates closing behind the pair. Arkham was not a particularly outstanding town, having all the houses and shops one would expect from any town.

What set it apart from any other town was the looming structure atop a distant hill, like a divine being overlooking all of creation.

Passing townspeople gave brief glances to Xalia then quickly carried on at the sight of the Soulweaver, some even crossing the street to avoid being near him.

Inside the tavern/inn, it was oddly quiet for such a place. There were people gathered around tables making holding conversations while an attractive black haired woman served drinks.

The pair received some glances as they passed by occupied tables, some people's voices dulling down to a whisper.

The Soulweaver could still hear bits and pieces of sentences as the patrons whispered, some of the less subtle still staring his way as they spoke.

He heard the word Innsmouth three times.

Had they known he was from there? If so, how? Who could have ever heard of such an obscure and out of the way town let alone know just by looking at him that he's from there?

The black haired woman approached them as they sat down. "What can I get for this charming couple?" she asked.

The Soulweaver blushed and averted his eyes. Xalia too blushed, but did her best to not avert her gaze although the woman's attire made her feel uneasy. Despite being marginally more covering than her own, it still had a certain allure to it and the woman's proportions emphasized what that allure is.

"We're....we're not a couple," Xalia said trying to avoid stammering.

"Oh? So this cutie is up for grabs then?"

The Soulweaver sunk in his seat.

"A shy one, huh? I know a thing or two that can remedy that."

"We....we just want to know where to find the Plateau of Leng," Xalia said her voice than it really needed to be.

The tavern went silent, the woman taking a step back.

"Why the hell would you want to go there?" the woman asked, fear creeping into her voice.

"I can't really explain it. I just heard it would be within my best interest to go there."

"What kind of loon told you that?" a male voice from elsewhere in the tavern called out.

"That's...."

Now it was Xalia's turn to feel embarrassed.

"I don't know or care why you'd want to go to that godless place, but while you're here don't even let me catch you thinking about it."

She walked away, the tavern filling up with silence.

***

Later when the darkness that signified it was night crept in, the Soulweaver wandered the tavern halls. The implications that the people of this town feared him because of his home bothered him, keeping him awake.

"Hey there, cutie," the black haired woman who turned out to be the owner of the establishment began. "Decided to take me up on that remedy?"

The Soulweaver stammered. She was the same woman from before, but there was something different about her. Her attire had been changed to something he was unsure was even some form of clothing.

He averted his eyes, reminded of the thing in his dream that claimed to be his mother.

But it wasn't just her attire or lack of that was different. It was something on a scale he was unfamiliar with. Mort would know, but apparently even elemental spirits must sleep.

"Wha-what do you know about Innsmouth?"

"I know you're not one of the fishy inhabitants," she began slowly walking towards him, almost stalking. "At least not that I can see."

Pain, shame, fear, and guilt ran through his body as the woman breathed heavily into his ears, almost panting.

***

Xalia awoke to find the Soulweaver sitting in a corner of the room, almost catatonic. He didn't look like he slept at all. He just stared at a far wall, the word ASYLUM written on it in a reddish-black substance resembling dried blood.

"Are you okay?" she asked reaching out to him.

He shrunk back from her hand, his expression turning to one of fear and shame.

He could hear the woman's breathing in his ear and feel her breath on his neck as if his nightmare was still occuring.

Chapter XVIII: Black Goat

The woman seemed disappointed the sight of Xalia being the only one to descend the stairs leading from the rooms.

"Is that little cutie still asleep? I didn't think he'd be that worn out, but," she shrugs. "It was his first time."

She smiled and licked her lips.

"You know, if you prefer a woman's touch, I don't discriminate."

***

The Soulweaver remained unresponsive as Mort appeared.

"What happened? You're hurt."

The Soulweaver did not respond. Mort grabbed the Soulweaver who paniced and tried to break free, Mort letting go when they caught sight of the dried blood on the Soulweaver's exposed arm.

These weren't from the burns, they were claw marks.

A strange feeling came over Mort as they left the room. It was one that Mort had not felt for some time.

Guilt.

***

"What are you?" Xalia asked.

"Just the friendly owner of Arkham's inn & tavern, Pandora, but most people call me Pan."

Black smoke filled the room, none of the taverns patrons seeming to notice while Pan approached Xalia, lifting her up by the neck.

"But you can call me master."

The smoke began to take the shape of various monsters, drifting around the room. Some of the monsters seemed to lash out or jump at something within the smoke.

"I am your new god. Profess your love unto me or be destroyed."

"You are the same as any other supposed god," Mort said. "Just another monster."

The smoke monsters swarmed Mort, a shield repelling them. Xalia cast her own shielding spell, the spikes produced by it forcing Pan to drop her.

"I had hoped to enjoy a warm meal, but at least I got to enjoy the boy before he becomes another victim of Innsmouth's curse."

Pan's body grew exponentially, her clothing turning to shreds as her body transformed into a great goat-like creature, its body almost blending in with the smoke, its enormous bat-like blending in with the smoke.

***

Mort would find him. Mort was a part of him. It was impossible to hide from someone who has been with you for so many years, but he still tried to hide under the bed from Mort and the rest of the world.

His body felt disgusting to him. His heart and soul felt tainted and stained black with sin.

He didn't know what had happened, it had occured so quickly yet at the same time so slowly that he could recall every painful and horrifying moment.

He cried.

Chapter XIX: The Ritual

Baron Valtrith overlooked the ritual grounds, the witches and many of his followers gathered around an alien symbol carved into the earth. The symbol of The Crawling Chaos.

A smile appeared on his face as his followers screamed in pain, insanity overcoming them, the witches chanting in a language he could not understand and what quite impressed at their ability to even speak it.

With the completition of this ritual, he would assure his stranglehold over Darkovia and later Lore in its entirety.

Corpses littered the ritual ground, the madness overtaking his followers to the point it killed them and in the center of the symbol, a being clad entirely in black almost invisible under the darkness that blanketed Darkovia.

He left to greet his new guest, planning on how to dispose of the witches now that their purpose had been served. He thought of Pan.

***

The figure cloaked in all black looked around the courtyard, eyeing the many corpses of those sacrificed in its summoning.

The witches saw white underneath its hood, presumably the Outer God's teeth. What unholy creature have they unleashed on the world, they thought.

"Good evening, ladies," the dark one said in a jovial tone.

The pressumed leader of the three attempted to speak, but words died in her throat. The other two cowered behind her.

They had summoned monsters before, not once had they even considered summoning anything remotely god-like. If they were to receive some form of payment for this task, it would not be enough. It would never be enough.

The dark one approached and for the first time in many years, the witches were afraid.

"Not the talkative type, eh?" the dark one asked, its tone never faltering. "That's quite all right. Will the Baron be coming to greet me?"

As if on cue, Baron Valtrith entered the courtyard, an expression of joy spread across his face. The mask concealed it, but the dark one saw it.

"Greetings, Outer God."

"No need for formalities, Valtrith. Please call me...." the dark one trailed off as it considered a name that the Baron would be able to pronounce without the need of a second tounge or was more than a mere title. "Samael."

"Okay, Samael. If you would follow me into my castle, we have much to discuss."

Samael smiled, it's supernaturally white teeth shining in the lack of light. "I'm sure we do."

None of the witches spoke until the door closed behind them.

"Did we do the right thing?" the youngest of the three asked.

"We have never done the right thing," the other redhead said, sternly. "This was just more deplorable than our usual summonings."

Chapter XX: A Serious House on Serious Lore

Pan sensed a great disturbance and fled the battle. The smoke and the creatures created by it, dispelled with the disappearance of the alleged god.

The tavern was empty showing no signs of inhabitance during the day. Maybe it had never been inhabitated in the first place.

Mort vanished to return to its ally leaving Xalia to try and recover by herself. The monster in the caves of Miskatonic was quite easy compared to Pan which she felt didn't flee out of self-preservation.

***

The Soulweaver had no issue entering the asylum. There was apparently only one guard outside and only outside.

He had known nothing of Arkham Asylum except for the vague statements Mort made about the town the day before, but he felt something calling to him. Something that could make the pain go away.

The hallways were barely lit by a combination of candle light and oil lamps, but in the darkest night, the faintest light is blinding so he snuffed them out. He could see better in the dark anyways due to his own innate abilities brought on by living in Darkovia.

The halls were decorated with strange statues of jackal-headed humanoids and symbols of insect-like creatures he did not recognize were scattered about the walls and doors of the building.

He passed numerous cells, mostly empty, but some held prisoners that seemed strange even when compared to the quasi-amphibious creatures from Innsmouth.

You shouldn't be here, Mort said, their voice somehow different than usual. Almost sounding concerned.

I need to be, the Soulweaver said.

In one cell he passed was a vaguely humanoid-like creature with the wings and facial structure of an insect. Its mandibles clicked as it jittered something illegible and flew at the cell door which was made of simple iron bars.

There was a flash of blue-green light and the creature recoiled, hissing. Carved into the bars were a number of runes, glowing the same color as the light.

In another cell was an amorphous blob of a creature, yellow eyes covering the majority of its body that simply stared at nothing and everything. The only thing keeping it contained appeared to be a pane of glass with runes and other symbols drawn on it.

One cell in particular stood out to him. It was empty except for a series of runes and symbols carved into a circle on the floor inside the cell. Had there been more light, he would've seen the dried blood dotting the arcane circle.

What is this place?

A place many fear to tread, Mort began. The Rose brought high risk and high profile prisoners here to either keep them contained or to extract vital information to their crusade from captives away from the rest of the world. Now the only things it houses are creatures forgotten by time.

***

Xalia found the room empty. The only clues to the whereabouts of the Soulweaver was an open window and the word ASYLUM written on the wall.

Was he trying to tell her where he was going or had something else been responsible for that message?

She felt nauseous and guilty. She said she'd protect him, but even now the reminder of the previous night made her doubt she'd be able to protect anyone but herself.

***

We must go, Mort said.

Not until I know why I'm here. Not until....not until the pain goes away.

The only thing you'll find here is greater pain. Whatever is calling to you only wants to hurt you.

The Soulweaver ignored Mort's words and pressed on, pushing through a heavy set of iron doors, flanked by a pair of statues of the jackal-headed figure and stepped out into a courtyard.

Overlooking the courtyard was a great, dark tower. If Arkham Asylum looked over the town of Arkham, the tower looked over everything beyond it.

He felt that was where he had to go. A place of trial and tribulation likely marked by beings of judgment.

***

The asylum was deep beyond the town, surrounded by nothing. No signs of life plant or otherwise existed once the houses and other structures of the town were out of view. It was as if the asylum had no connection to the town, but the walls that surrounded the town expanded out and beyond towards the asylum which was walled in itself.

Why would he go so far out here? she wondered.

It seemed like a long time between when she began to head to the asylum and now, the distance not appearing to get any smaller.

***

The Soulweaver could see the outlines of monsters along the battlemants of the courtyards' walls. Outside of their winged humanoid structure there was very little that stood out about them from what he could see.

The courtyard appeared as if it were a playground at one point in time, slides, swingsets, and see-saws in various states of disrepair were scattered about. These were devices he was unfamiliar with.

At the center of the courtyard was a bronze statue of a winged human wielding a lance triumphing over a serpentine dragon. A weapon of reason besting a savage beast. It too meant nothing to the Soulweaver.

What's wrong with me? he asked. Why am I always surrounded by people and things I don't understand?

We are similar in that way, Mort said.

How? You seem to know everything.

No one can know everything. I know a great many things, but there is plenty I do not know. Things I can l learn from you and Xalia.

Like what?

Like how to be human.

The Soulweaver carried on, heading for the door that lied straight ahead from where he came in, but something compelled him to go into the only other door in the courtyard.

The handles were wet and despite the thickness of the iron used to make the doors, he could hear water running on the other side.

The hallway the door led to was a shrine dedicated to the sea and madness. Macabre symbols and depictions of the sea's wrath as it wiped out cities and empires were carved into the stone walls of the hall.

At the end of the hall where it split off into two paths was a glass cylinder housing a pair of mutated fish that swam around, forming the symbol of Pisces and at the bottom of the tank was a model of a great city that defied all geometric laws.

The word R'lyeh came to mind. It was something he never heard before nor could he say it out loud, but when he said it in his mind it seemed so natural.

What is R'lyeh?

Through his peripheral, he caught a glimpse of something moving to his left and pursued, not hearing Mort's words.

The smell of sea water began to invade his nostrils until it was all he could smell and taste. It was so overpowering his eyes began to sting.

The world around him turned to glass as he appeared to enter an aquarium of sorts. The water illuminated by strange glowing rocks allowing him to see everything that was in there.

He recognized the quasi-amphibious creatures of Innsmouth and stepped back.

That woman knew of though those things, he thought. She knew where I came from.

"It was no woman, but a monster," Mort said standing beside the Soulweaver. "What it did to you is unforgivable."

I will ensure it suffers for its crime.

The Soulweaver came face to face with himself, the other him standing on the otherside of a sheet of glass that may or may not have been the door to a cell.

The other him was gravely pale even compared to the Soulweaver himself and appeared to be quite ill. A look of pure rage appeared on its face as multiple appendages belonging to aquatic creatures erupted from its body and broke through the glass.

The Soulweaver shouted and began to flail around, panicing as if he was being attacked by the terrifying beast, Mort nowhere in sight.

He fell to his hands and knees in the glass, bright blue-green beetles crawling around the glass and his hands. He picked up a large shard of glass, staring intently at it, he drove it through his palm.

< Message edited by NagisaXIkari -- 10/10/2014 10:13:18 >
DF  Post #: 2
10/1/2014 3:23:26   
NagisaXIkari
Member

Interlude II: Interview At the Ruins

The dried out remains of spiders littered the ruins of the obscure town of Innsmouth. Its destruction would go as unnoticed as its existance.

Three figures moved through the remains, two moving in spastic and uncoordinated ways while the other walked up right and proper.

The lighthouse was all that remained of the town, untouched by the assault done by the servants of the slain King of Spiders, its black light still projecting over the water.

The three spoke in an alien language that had been thought dead for millenia as they traversed the hellish landscape, spiders of various sized crushed and dashed acrossed the ruins.

The Crawling Chaos had come to Lore. None knew why or how, but they knew it would mean that they would have to push time forward with their own hands if they wished to awaken Him.

At the edge of the water, they chanted in their alien language.

"DAGON!"

The tide ceased and the world around them fell silent.

The silence was broken by the bellow of a great beast that lied beneath the black waters of the lake.

Awakening the Ruler of the Deep Ones so early was not apart of the plan, but it would have to accept it.

Chapter XXI: Lord of the Great Abyss

Standing in the courtyard between Xalia and the entrance into Arkham Asylum was a giant of a man with grey hair and beard adorned in black leather with a number of straps and chains that seemed to serve no purpose scattered about his form.

On each hip he had a weapon. A sword decorated with a silver symbol resembling a bat sheathed on the right and a firearm of sorts on the left.

She had never seen someone in attire such as his and she had almost never seen a firearm, but his most striking feature was how old he appeared to be. Even his silver right hand seemed trvial compared to his age

To Xalia, he looked as if he was old enough to had witnessed the creation of Lore and the birth of its gods. How this one man could guard such a massive structure was beyond her comprehension.

"Come forward, child," the man called his voice like thunder.

She complied, trying her best to steel herself in anticipation the man proved to be hostile.

He looked as old as a man who should've died when the first sentient lifeforms had ceased to be, but his voice could bend steel and shatter glass. No matter how much of a front she put up, he would just knock it down.

"You come for the young Soulweaver, correct?" the man asked his voice becoming more gentle, but still contained a great amount of power that Xalia couldn't help but flinch.

"Y-y-yes," she stammered, feeling her body tremble with her voice.

"Do not be afraid, child. I have no desire to harm you or the Soulweaver."

"You....you know he's here?"

"Indeed," the old man said with a nod. "There's a heavy burden on him that he feels could be lifted within these walls. But what's in these walls may also break him."

"Why didn't you stop him?"

"It is not for me to meddle in the affairs of mortals. My duty is to ensure the monsters within this asylum do not escape."

"Mortals? Who are you?"

"I am Nodens the Hunter," the man began. "I have spent many years hunting beasts throughout this world and others, but as time went on, no monster has had the strength or cunning to prove formidable and now I merely guard the asylum to keep what primodial beasts dwell within contained," he concluded with hint of sadness in his voice.

Xalia was still unsure what this man was, but she was certain he was not human.

"Are you a....are you a god?"

Nodens nodded.

"Indeed. I was worshipped by many at one point. Men would pray to me for a successful hunt by burning the remains of their previous quarry. But like myself, their arrogance grew too much and they sought to hunt the most dangerous game. Humans. A sentiment I did not share."

Even a god can fall, Xalia though, feeling sorry for the old man.

"Is there anything I can do?"

"There is nothing you can do for me, child," Nodens said, shaking his head. "But you can help the young Soulweaver."

Chapter XXII: Madness

Xalia passed through the cellblock, the imprisoned creatures staring at her the entire time. In one cell appeared to be a swarm of beetles the size of apples, buzzing around and throwing themselves to their death at the rune covered glass that keeps them contained.

These creatures were unfamiliar to her. She thought the could be the last of their kind and here they were contained in a prison that didn't appear to house anyone but them.

It was quite saddening, but what could she do for them?

He train of thought was broken by the indescribible sound of a monster slamming against the bars of its cell. It was quite large with the body of a bird, wings of a bat, and head of a horse. A strange chimera of a creature that did not stop attacking the bars of its cell until she was no longer in the room.

She saw the the swings, slides, and see-saws in their varying states of disrepair in the courtyard, feeling a sad nostalgia come over her.

The monsters on the battlements that observed the Soulweaver observed her as she moved to the door beyond the statue of the winged humanoid slaying the dragon. She did not notice them.

Their master did not order them to do anything about her like he had not ordered them to do anything about the Soulweaver.

The smell of putrifaction hit her like she had never been hit before. It was strong enough to illict a gag from her and bring her to her knees.

A burning sensation raced up her throat and splattered on the floor.

The scent the Ghouls brought with them on the night they attacked was mild compared to that of whatever was down this hall.

How did he come through here? she thought, still coughing up pieces of partially digested food.

"He didn't," a voice of a young girl said.

Xalia looked up, wiping her mouth to see a young black haired girl in a green dress standing before her.

Memories rushed through her mind and she came to realize that the girl is her. Or was her at a different point in time.

"Where is he?"

"I can't tell you that, silly," the young Xalia said with a laugh. "It'll ruin the surprise. You like surprises after all, right?"

Liked surprises. As a child, Xalia was quite fond of surprises, but as she got older and....she didn't want to think about it.

The young Xalia touched a hand to Xalia's shoulder. She proclaimed Xalia was it and ran off down the hall.

"Come on, or you'll be late!"

Xalia shakily got to her feet and ran off after her past self, stumbling every now and again.

Rounding a corner, the granite and stone had given way to blue-green water and mud, the hallway becoming a swamp with the jackal-headed statues and beetle emblems still very present.

The younger version of herself had aged, Xalia recognozing it as the time she had travelled to Amityvale.

"It was at that swamp you had first encountered a werewolf. When you had to take the life of someone you trusted because they became a monster," Xalia's adolescent self said. "You didn't like surprises much after that."

Xalia tried to recall the name of the the person that had turned into a monster, but all she could picture was a blur of dark colors.

"Come along, don't be late."

The adolescent Xalia took off through the swamp with Xalia in pursuit.

Rounding another corner, Xalia found herself among the stars, herself as a young adult overlooking them.

"What was the point of becoming an Ascendant? Was it to find meaning? Was it to find happiness? Did you want a life of meaning or a life of happiness?"

"Can't I have both?"

The young adult Xalia gave a small smile that could not conceal their sadness.

"Can't be done. Those are two very different paths. If you want to be truly happy you have to live absolutely in the present and give no thought to what's happened before or after."

It was too late for that.

"But if you want a life of meaning," young adult Xalia began. "You are condemned to wallow in the past and obsess over the future."

Xalia looked away from her past self, unable to enjoy the spectacular view that was the death of a star. It had been the highlight of her training as an Ascendant.

"Don't be late."

Xalia pursued herself through the cosmos, the scene transitioning into the simple room of the inn in Arkham, her present day self staring at the word ASYLUM on the wall.

"Do you know what the scariest thing is? To not know your place in this world. To not know why you're here. That's...that's just an awful feeling."

"Our place is with-"

"With Mort? They'd leave you to die if it weren't for its morality pet Soulweaver. Why do you travel with the Soulweaver? To try and convince yourself you're not alone? Or is it for that?"

Present day Xalia pointed towards the window. The real Xalia peered through it, rather than seeing the town of Arkham she saw the previous night in the inn with the Soulweaver and Pan in its human appearance.

She saw what Pan did to him. She saw the death of innocence and the tainting of what was once pure.

"Don't be late."

Chapter XXIII: Conversing With God

Baron Valtrith and Samael sat in an old dining room that hadn't been used for many years to Valtrith's memory.

Accompanying Valtrith was one of his cultists. A few had been sacrificed to summon Pan while many more were sacrifised to summon Samael. Something that while unnessecary amused the Elder God to no end.

The cultist wore the same dark purple robes as his brethren the only difference was his lacked sleeves, exposing his bare scar covered arms.

Valtrith kept this one around to use for any rituals that may require a blood letting as his own veins ran dry.

"What is it you wish of me to do?" Samael asked, its tone quote jovial. "Should I release a plague on the homes of your enemies? Devour the sun and choke out all life on Lore, or should I grant you the power you believe you rightfully deserve after spending many years hiding in shame?"

The Elder Gods offers were tempting, its last words causing Valtrith's face to contort in rage which only deepened when Samael flashed its otherworldly smile as if it knew it had touched a sore spot.

"Power," was all Valtrith said.

Samael's smile widened, a slight chuckle escaping him as the cultist took a frightful step back.

"I will need time to make my own preperations," the Elder God said. "But you have my word that once I have fulfilled my....promise all that will remain of this world is fire, darkness, and death."

"You will have my full cooperation. My forces will gather anything you may need."

The Elder God smiled. Valtrith knew nothing of the powers he had brought upon himself and Lore. He knew even less about the world of fear, horror, and pain outside his castle.

"I appreciate your eagerness to assist me," Samael said a little too cheerfully. "Now if you'll excuse me I have work to do."

Valtrith nodded as Samael excused himself. Once they were out of the room, the cultist let his breath out.

"My lord, are you sure we can trust the Elder God?"

"Do not second guess me. There are many more of you that can fulfill your purpose."

"My apologies, Baron."

***

The witches fled through the swamp that surrounded the castle, whatever monsters that tried to impede them were destroyed swiftly.

A dark shape flew over head before dropping down in front of them.

The black goat Pan eyed the witches hungerly. Their attire left little to the imagination, but Pan didn't use its imagination to think about what was under its prey's clothing. It used its imagination to decide what it would do to its prey. And with three morsels before it, Pan's imagination was working double.

The eldest of the three stepped forward. "State your business monster!"

Pan licked its lips. Seeing the frightened expression on the youngest of the coven illicted a monstrous grin.

"Tying up loose end," the black goat began as the swamp darkened. "And looking for dinner!"

In his castle, a smile appeared under Valtrith's mask as he heard a trio of screams coming from the swamp.

Chapter XXIV: The Dark Tower

The images she saw would never her mind so long as she lived.

She could have let go of anything, even her experience at the swamp near Amityvale. But this was something she would take to her grave and possibly the afterlife.

The images of the room at the inn faded and Xalia made her way down the hall, still sick from what she had endured prior to witnessing what Pan had done to the Soulweaver.

She recognized the images and statues scattered throughout the asylum. The beetle was a symbol of rebirth and the jackal-headed figure was being that represented judgment.

At one point, these symbols may have been fitting for Arkham Asylum, but after Mort's words and the creatures she saw imprisoned, she wondered if this was still a place of healing.

She pushed open a door, an enormous winding staircase greeting her and a sense of urgency taking over.

"Don't be late," the different renditions of herself had said.

The stairs seemed to go on forever. The tower didn't seem that tall from outside the asylum, but as she climbed the stairs she felt as if she was going to be above the clouds the clouds and into the cosmos.

After what felt like an eternity she came to another door. She pushed it open and it was not above the clouds or among the stars where she stood, but beneath the ocean.

The primary light source was the faint glow coming from the seaweed that grew around her, illuminating a path that extended from the door and went further into the unknown.

She had no connection to the ocean, having never seen the ocean in the first place, making its appearance all the more baffling.

Among the seaweed, she could feel the presence of other's. The light was not strong enough to show who or what was watching in the distance, but she could see pale yellow dots scattered about, the eyes of whatever was watching her.

A sharp pain shot through her head, she clutched her head, groaning in agony.

You cannot save him, a voice she had never heard before said. It was deep and guttural, but somewhat muffled as if whatever spoke to her was submerged in water.

Blood dripped from her nose as the pain intensified, the yellow-eyed beings watching.

"It's okay to accept your failures and move on," Xalia's adolescent self said.

Xalia did not hear herself and even if she had, she refused to let go of her mistakes.

She fell to her knees, the pain lessening, turning into a hard throbbing like someone was using the inside of her skull as a bass drum.

She tried to stand, but her legs refused to comply, so she crawled along the path.

Just like him, you will try to hold me back, the voice said. But in the end, both of you will fail. You know it in your soul. You're nothing but an empty shell, a hollow trap.

Xalia screamed.

The time is approaching.

***

"What are you doing?" Mort asked, their voice a mixture of confusion and concern.

Confusion for the Soulweaver's actions and Mort's own emotions, and concerns over the shard of glass that was big enough to be a Rogue's knife protruding from the Soulweaver's hand.

"It's....It's the only thing that makes sense," the Soulweaver said, his breathing heavy.

The monster may have been an illusion, but the asylum really did contain a large aquarium. Even Mort whose knowledge seemed infinite was baffled by this.

The Soulweaver grit his teeth as he removed the glass, blood dripping from it and the stigmata mark in his hand.

"Did you see the monster?"

Mort shook their head. "No. I only saw you break a glass panel before harming yourself further."

A feeling Mort hadn't experienced in a long time took over.

"I'm sorry, I didn't help you."

Guilt.

They tried to dress the Soulweaver's wound as best they could given the lack of medical supplies or healing abilities. The Soulweaver could purge any infection he may recieve, but it would not close the hole in his hand.

"What is R'lyeh?" the Soulweaver asked.

"A dead city that lies beneath waves. Where did you hear that name?"

"The name came to me not too long ago. And...."

His mind wandered as he thought back to his former life in Innsmouth. Before he learned to be a Soulweaver and even after.

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Kathool R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn," the Soulweaver said, the words coming naturally to him as if he had known them all his life.

Fear had overcome Mort for the first time in so long they could no longer remember.

"How do you know those words?"

"I don't kn-"

He was cut off by something in the distance chanting back. "Ia! Ia! Ia!"

A shadow passed them by, pale yellow eyes staring at them from beyond the glass walls of the aquarium hallway.

"What's happening to me?"

"Nothing we can't overcome."

Mort took the Soulweaver's hand and guided him down the hallway, ignoring the blank stares of the creatures that watched.

"Ia! Ia! Ia!" something chanted further down the hall.

***

Even when not visible, Mort had always been there to watch over the Soulweaver. While confusing at first to guard a life rather than take one, the two formed their bond on the day the Soulweaver/Paladin left Innsmouth.

Mort did not appear to the Soulweaver at first, the idea of being a SoulAlly being new and confusing, but while the boy slept Mort assured him they were always there. Something that helped alleviate the boy's restless sleep.

***

The hallway seemed to change. The glass walls vanishing only to be replaced with water, glowing seaweed offering a faint light.

Mort's hold on the Soulweaver's hand tightened then loosened when it became apparent it was hurting him.

The Soulweaver broke free of Mort's hold and looked around when he heard a woman's laugh. A familiar laugh that belonged to his mother.

"Come to me," the voice said from beyond the seaweed where light did not reach.

Her tone was similar to that of the monster that claimed to be his mother that appeared in his dream days before.

Part of him wanted to believe it was his mother. The part that remained the scared little boy living alone in a dying town that was buried close to the surface.

The other part of him, the part that knew his mother was no more, having given herself to the lake fought for dominance with the frightened child. And was losing.

"Come, my son. Come join me and we can be together as one."

"Ignore it," Mort said.

"Come become one body and soul."

The Soulweaver began to stray from the path, but faltered and began to turn around only to try turning back.

Mort watched urging him to resist the call of whatever monster lurks within the darkness.

The Soulweaver fell to his knees, clutching his head.

Obey, the voice he had heard in Innsmouth the day he met Xalia said.

Resist, Mort said.

The two voices went back and forth inside the Soulweaver's mind, either not hearing or ignoring his pleas for them to be quiet.

"SHUT UP!" the Soulweaver shouted, raising his voice for the first time in his life.

The world around him went silent as he breathed heavily, his body starting to tremble until he began to cry.

"What's happening to me?"

"You are hearing His call," a voice he hadn't heard in a long time said.

It was a voice Mort had known all too well. The voice of a young white haired boy, forced to grow up long before his time.

"What is this place?" the Soulweaver asked, looking up at himself as he was so long ago.

"I think the asylum is a head," the boy began. "We're inside a huge head that dreams us all into being. Perhaps it's your head. Arkham is a looking glass....and we are you," the boy concluded, pointing at the Soulweaver.

Chapter XXV: The Ocean Between Us

In their respective mentalscapes, Xalia and the Soulweaver heard the bellow of a great beast. A sound so primal and fierce it threatened their sanity if not their very being.

All alone, Xalia had to endure the sound as the world around her darkened while even with Mort at his side, the Soulweaver feared he would become unhinged.

To Xalia, the sound was the cry of a great beast while to the Soulweaver it was a call that somewhere buried deep down he knew would be coming.

Their environments shifted and they were all reunited on a barren plateau overlooking the ocean, a whirlpool forming and the sunken city of R'lyeh began to rise from the depths.

The structure of the city defied all geometric laws, parts of it while visible to them existed in other dimensions.

Fear gripped them so tightly, it threatened to break their bodies and minds.

From within the alien city came the call of an ancient evil thought to have been put to rest so long ago.

As the city rose above the waters, so did the tides. Images of destruction flashing through their minds. The ocean would reclaim the earth and all but those most loyal to the awakened monster would perish.

I am the sun before you, see me rise, the voice of the Master of R'lyeh said. I burn still when you close your eyes. I am the soul that never dies when flesh is weak.

Beneath them in the rising water, beings of varying shape and size swam towards the city.

The Soulweaver stepped towards the edge of the plateau, the call becoming impossible to resist. He could rejoin his mother and they could be a family again.

He could put all the fear, horror, and pain behind him and live the life that he had lost many years ago.

Xalia and Mort pulled him away and held on. He screamed and thrashed, demanding to be let go.

"I said I'd protect you," Xalia said. "And you said you'd protect me."

Images of what Pan did to him flashed through their minds. Empty promises made at a time that felt like an eternity ago. They couldn't even protect themselves let alone each other.

"I swore I'd protect you," Mort said. "In the waking world and the dream world."

Do not let them interfere, the Master of R'lyeh said. Kill them and assume your place. It is your birthright.

"No....I won't....I won't harm them."

You cannot resist. You will submit. To be dominated by me is not as bad for you as being dominated by someone of your own species.

Their words confused, frightened and angered the Soulweaver. The images of destruction and the countless lives lost saddened him.

Deep inside in the back of his mind, the Soulweaver could feel something he could not describe. It was like something was bending and threatening to break.

Mort and Xalia's hold was starting to falter. Against his will, the Soulweaver still struggled against them. Memories both new and recent flooded his mind.

He witnessed the pain he had gone through as a child, forced to grow up after witnessing his parents walk off into the black waters of the lake near Innsmouth. He felt the loneliness that he dwelled in for months.

The pain of feeling like he had been rejected by the only parental figure he had after his Soulweaving instructor left Innsmouth, unable to take him from such a nightmarish place.

The pain caused by the confusion of the events that transpired before meeting Xalia and being forced out of his hometown.

The pain, guilt, and shame brought on by Pandora violating him and now the words and visions brought on by the Great Old One.

Something in the back of his mind bent, threatening to break.

The Soulweaver let out an agonizing scream as whatever threatened to break finally gave in and with the burst floodgates, he lay a broken man.

I look forward to breaking the rest of you.

Chapter XXVI: Id

In the waking world, the exterior of Arkham Asylum, the Soulweaver is a catatonic wreck. Unmoving and unresponsive.

In this world, a world of darkness, water, and destruction he is unaware of his true condition, incapable of understanding it.

He glides effortlessly through the waters a creature whose only thoughts are the most basic needed to survive.

Through the sunken ruins of a city he had never heard of nor would care if he were told the same, he hunts, scanning the darkness with eyes that hadn't seen the sun in quite a bit.

He reaches out with a great claw that wouldn't look out of place on a collossal crustacean and rips away at the aquatic foliage that has taken over the sunken city. Tendrils and tentacles feel and lash about at nothing.

There was prey to be had. There was always prey.

He saw his prey. A lesser creature, vaguley humanoid, but evolved enough to survive in the environment on its.

He felt more than hunger upon seeing the quasi-amphibious creature that retained enough human features to show it was once a woman.

In this world, morality was nonexistant. There was only the need to feed, spawn, and kill. This was Kathool's world.

He sped towards his prey, gliding on ancient grace like he had been meant for this his whole life and was upon it in seconds.

The tentacles restrained the creature while the tendrils acted out on his lust.

The creature screamed out to the uncaring world until the great claw silenced it. Death made no difference.

Surrounded by a red mist, he was unfulfilled in many ways. The hunt would never end.

This is your birthright, the voice of Kathool said in his empty mind.

He knew the voice. All the creatures of this world knew it, but paid it no heed.

The hunt continued. One way or another, he would be fulfilled even if only temporarily, but never complete.

A shadow loomed over him. One of Dagon's followers.

It featured less human characteristics, but retained enough humanity to still pose a threat. Its will to survive being more than just hunger and lust. It could discern the two and know when to submit to the urge and when not to.

Kathool's children were made to hunt and kill, their humanity lost.

The two creatures clashed, Dagon's child mind clear enough to know to take advantage of its opponent's lust to inflict harm, but at the same time it also knew when to give in.

This was that time.

"My sweet sweet boy," the monster said in a female voice. "You've finally come home to mother."

Chapter XXVII: Ego

The Soulweaver watched the events unfold between the two creatures feeling shame, guilt, and disgust.

"Is this what happens if I submit? I turn into a vile and disgusting monster?"

He waves his hands dispelling the scene, returning him to nothingness which eventually distorts and shifts until he is standing in Innsmouth.

"You'll join us one day, won't you?" a woman asked, crouched in front of the Soulweaver.

He's eight years old again and his parents are heading into the black waters for reasons he'd never understand.

"Why do you have to go?" he asked, tears streaming down his face.

"We're going to make a better world for you, sweetie."

He backed away as she leaned forward, seeing her kiss the.forehead of his eight year old self.

"You're my one and only," she said as she stood up and went into the water.

He wanted to follow her, beg and plead for her to not leave him, but his legs refused to listen.

Mother is God in the eyes of a child, the voice of Kathool said.

The Soulweaver clapped his hands over his ears. He had to shut the voice out. He had to be strong.

I broke you once, the Elder God said.

Chapter XXVIII: Superego

The Soulweaver saw his young self stand by the lighthouse and stare out at the waters, hoping for his mother to come back.

This went on for months until a man came into town wearing leather and steel. On his chest was the symbol for the Paladin Order.

"Excuse me, but may I ask what you're doing?" the man asked.

"Waiting," the boy who would soon be a Soulweaver said, his tone flat.

"Waiting for what?"

"For mother to come back."

The man looked out to the waters, seeing nothing but darkness.

"Has she gone for a swim?" the man asked, the Soulweaver mimicing.

He never forgot this day or any other that he had spent with the man, committing every word he said to memory.

The Soulweaver didn't care much for his father. His father always believed that he was too coddled and soft to ever be initiated into....the words escaped him. It was an order of sorts, but he couldn't recall the name.

It didn't matter. His father always took his mother away from him.

This man was different. Maybe it was because he had never met the Soulweaver's parents, but he didn't seem to have any ill will towards the at the time apprentice Soulweaver.

The Soulweaver who also belonged to the Paladin Order was more of a father to him than his birth father.

He never thought he'd stop crying on the day his teacher left.

"You will meet new people that you will want to protect," the Soulweaver that belonged to the Paladin Order said. "And you're not alone as long as you have your SoulAlly."

The Soulweaver thought of Xalia. He indeed wanted to protect her. He had sustained many injuries during their journey to make sure of that.

"Sometimes evil isn't limited to the forces of darkness," the man said during one his teachings about the Paladin Order. "Evil has no alingment to the elements. Evil is someone or something to intentionally harms or threatens others."

The Soulweaver thought of Kathool. The thing that had done nothing but hurt him and Xalia.

"I will protect you, Xalia," he said.

XXIX: Arkham Horror

Mort carried the Soulweaver, burdened by their inability to protect him from the horrors that reduced him to the mess he is now.

Xalia was silent, her own experiences in the asylum bothered her. Bearing witness to the Soulweaver's assault by Pan sickened her.

She felt weak and helpless. She came face to face with the monster that had hurt the Soulweaver and threatened her with the same fate, but she was unable to destroy it.

A wave of nausea washed over her. She threw up once in the asylum, she didn't want to do it again outside the asylum.

They passed Nodens, but said nothing to him and he said nothing to them. He knew his place was not to meddle in their affairs.

The town seemed empty when they reached it. Almost abandoned.

There were no signs of conflict and the few lights that were on indicating there may be someone left in the town, but they made no effort to survey the outside world.

Outside the city walls, the time and weather worn Rose banners drawn over with a symbol resembling a misshapen T.

Mort's face contorted in anger, recognizing the symbol as that of the Kathool cultists. Followers of the monster that came to Lore before recorded time and will likely continue to exist when time ceases to flow.

They left the town of Arkham behind them, a bitter memory best left forgotten, the Plateau of Leng drawing nearer.

***

In the growing ghost town of Arkham, a creature lurks in the shadows. Too weak to truly be a terrorizing force, but with the majority of the inhabitants following the Esoteric Order of Dagon, it knew this would be an opportunity to lash out in full force and truly hunt rather than wait for some poor soul to wander by its hiding spot.

It sought out those who left the asylum, but until it had a satisfying meal, they would have to wait. It had their scent and would not lose it until their hearts stopped beating and they were subjected to an unburied death.

Chapter XXX: Dingir

The black goat landed a little ways off from the town of Dunwich. Samael wanted Pan to sow some discord and chaos in the town before Kathool's prey entered the town.

Something about Samael made Pan not want to disobey the Outer God. A great power or even the knowledge it possessed. Without saying a word, Samael could indicate that it knew why Pan served Valtrith.

Pan growled at the thought of the vampire that had the nerve to give orders to a god. But even a god can have weaknesses as Valtrith demonstrated on the day he summoned Pan.

Pan initially refused, but Valtrith was not one to take no for an answer and thus had a section of forest near Oaklore razed to the ground in such a way the smoke could be seen from Castle Valtrith on the edge of Darkovia.

Pan's body contorted and changed. The black goat took the form of a human male. It would be adequate for its objective.

***

The mob passed through Miskatonic after Innsmouth, what few followers of the slain Spider God fell to their spins and claws had they refused to bow to Kathool.

They were swift and merciless, leaving nothing in their wake but the bodies of humans and spiders.

Arkham didn't require the use of force. The broken and unstable inhabitants of the former Rose occupied town were quite willing to follow anyone that promised them order so long as it meant they would be away from the asylum that watched over the town.

Their numbers grew, the Deep Ones converting the humans as they marched.

Of the three that went to Innsmouth to retrieve the Deep Ones, the one that retained enough of their humanity to form coherent thoughts smirked. Even the Crawling Chaos and the vampire it associated itself with were less than insects compared to the power they now boasted.

< Message edited by NagisaXIkari -- 10/27/2014 1:49:39 >
DF  Post #: 3
11/2/2014 7:28:20   
NagisaXIkari
Member

Interlude III: Stalking

The creature made quick work of a few of Arkham's few remaining residents. Hunger is an excellent motivator to accomplish a task quickly.

Their scent forever in its memory, it pursued them down the road to a world unknown to the creature. A world full of prey.

Even in the perpetual darkness of Darkovia, the creature hid in the darkness the forest provided.

A new scent came into existance. The scent of something much more powerful than it. Something divine and predatory.

Something that instills fear.

Chapter XXXI: A Form of Worship

She praised him, shouting his name to world above and the world below. He was fierce and she couldn't get enough.

It would be a moment she would regret now that the seeds have been planted. Seeds that would sprout in short order and consume her and the town of Dunwich.

He would assume a new identity and watch the development of Samael's orders. The Great God Pan would unleash a terror the likes which have never been seen upon this accursed land.

***

Baron Valtrith fed on the blood of the pure and innocent.

He kept various nubile young women at his disposal for the sole purposes of feeding on them. Blinded so as not to see his true face, he sank hos fangs into the veins of a young blond whose blood always seemed to be the sweetest.

To the world, women could have been saints. To decadent mortal men, they could have been imstruments to quell their lust. To Valtrith, they were cattle.

Though to them, the Baron was something they could not describe. Even while blind, as soon as the doors opened, they swarmed to him, crawling on all fours like animals.

He does nothing to acknowledge them as people, only letting them live for his own purposs, but they swoon over him, pleading to be fed on.

"Please Jaysun, bite into me," a dark skinned woman said, holding him as she stood.

He looked at her neck, covered in scabs and fresh blood from picking at them to appease him. It was a disgusting sight.

From his cloak, a monster like a lion emerged and with a quick swipe of its great claws, he resumed feeding, leaving the dark skinned woman's throat like an open grave.

Replacements were plentiful in the world.

Chapter XXXII: Reconstruction

"Who....what are you?" the Soulweaver asked, face to face with a rendition of himself.

He stood scared and confused within the fragmented dreamscape of his mind while the other him stood stern and aware.

He looked as if he had no fear, hardened by the horrors he had seen and experienced. He looked certain as if he could take in the sight of anything and understand completely.

"I am what you could be," the Soulweaver's rendition said. "I am you after overcoming Kathool and Pandora's assault. I am you after accepting mother is gone."

The Soulweaver didn't want to believe his mother was gone. The alternate version of himself had a hint of sadness in his voice as if he didn't want to accept it either, but knew he had to.

Images of his mother and the creature that claimed to be his mother flashed before him. The thought of accepting she was gone frightened him.

The vision of the aquatic monsters returned to him. What he saw disgusted him.

"That creature isn't mother. Once she walked away into that lake, she was no more."

The alternate's words sank into his mind. He could feel his eyes start to water.

"Don't cry," the alternate said, pulling the Soulweaver into a hug.

"I don't want to forget her."

"You don't have to forget her," the alternate began. "Just accept she's gone and live on. You'll always have the fondest memories in your heart."

The alternate sank into the Soulweaver, the two becoming one. He felt somewhat at ease like maybe everything will be okay, but the part of him that was still a scared child persisted. It wanted its mother back.

Chapter XXXIII: Lugal Ki En

Valtrith's patiance had grown thin. Telling the Outer God to take all the time it needed was merely a formality. He sought power and he sought after it swiftly.

He had considered sending the Outer God back to where it came, but the overglorified nature spirit, Pan had disposed of the coven already.

The proccess of how that unfolded sickened Valtrith. Pan's perversion was a digusting trait and should the Elder God come through with its end of the bargain, he would be sure to rend the flesh from Pan's bones.

Perhaps all while turning the forests around Oaklore to ash. Just for kicks.

***

Samael watched from above the clouds at the beasts approaching Castle Valtrith.

The Baron was nothing but a petulant child to the Elder God, but appearances had to be held up.

Of course that didn't stop the Elder God from doing something to further their own agenda like right now with the Deep Ones and Kathool cultists that had been led astray and towards Castle Valtrith.

Samael thought about Kathool. A powerful and undying force by the standards of Lore, but much like Valtrith was merely a child throwing a tantrum.

Initiating the reunion between Kathool and its half-brother would make for a more entertaining event than the demon spawn that would soon be born in some backwater town.

***

The sound the creature made was like no other. It seemed like a mixture of various aquatic lifeforms, fitting for its unique appearance.

The attacked occured without provocation. A few strangers entered the castle and before Valtrith's beasts could be called to destroy them, they began to destroy themselves and their bodies violently transformed into the hellish chimera of aquatic life that stood before them.

Valtrith entered the front hall, anger burning like the sun he had not seen for so long.

He saw what he had despised the most unfold before him. Weakness.

All around him, his cult and army was torn asunder by the rejects of the undersea world.

A creature resembling a snake emerged from his cloak to grab hold of an Adept, the lion biting into it and holding it close.

Valtrith raised his clawed hand and with one swing, the beast was slain, the scent of decaying ocean life filling the front halls of his castle.

When he next saw the Elder God, Valtrith would demand that Samael make good with their end of the agreement.

Chapter XXXIV: The Haunter in the Dark

The creature watched the two through the window of the inn they chose to stay at once they entered the town of Dunwich.

The female had fallen asleep while the one in white disappeared leaving her alone with the one that appeared to be in a state that was neither dead nor living as far as it could tell.

Dunwich was a lot like Arkham barring the forboding asylum looking over the miserable town. It was relatively unknown and the few people that ventured into the town didn't stay long.

The female stirred as the creature tapped a claw on the window. It hungered for both of them, blood calling to blood. But her's was different. Her blood sang to it.

The female awoke with a shriek at the sight of piercing red eyes like drops of blood staring at her that quickly vanished into the night.

***

Xalia had managed to return to sleep, but it was a restless sleep. The Soulweaver had not woken up, Pan was still out there, and now something else had been staring at them while she slept.

She felt her original goal beginning to fade from her memories, only remembering the Plateau of Leng, but not remembering why she had to go there.

She hoped he would remember, but what good would it do if he wasn't awake? What if he never woke up?

"Wake up," she said.

He remained undisturbed.

"Please, wake up."

She wanted to try and shake him, but she fought the urge. What if he was better like this?

What if now he was free from the horror and suffering of the waking world in which she resided?

She looked at the Soulweaver, his delicate, angelic face showing no signs of suffering. For the first time since they had met, she thought he looked the most at peace now then at any other time.

***

When night fell, the creature returned to the window of the inn where it continued to watch the two humans.

Something more than hunger compelled it to follow them to Dunwich. Something unfamiliar. Something complex.

The previous night's event played out. The female fell asleep and would be awakened by tapping on the window where it would make its escape.

Fleeing to the shadows, something else came over the creature. Something it thought it had forgotten some time ago.

Loneliness.

Chapter XXXV: The Unspeakable

Samael entered the front hall, corpses littered about from the night before. A smile would've spread across their face had Valtrith not been there.

"Have you come to fulfil your purpose?" Valtrith asked, his voice dripping with venom.

"Of course," Samael said. "I always keep my word."

From within their cloak, Samael retrieved a bag, stained with blood and beating like a heart.

"Do you know how to kill a man, Jaysun?" Samael asked.

"What kind of question is that?"

"A simple one, but it would seem you cannot answer it."

Valtrith was ready to unleash the fury of Hell's nine circles on the Elder God until from within the page came a piece of cloth. A simple scrap of black cloth that gave off an ethereal purple glow.

"When you know what a man loves, you can kill him. And you love power. You hunger for it. You already have enough power to lay waste to this insignifigant world that's barely out of its diapers, but you don't know what to do with it. And worse yet, you crave more."

The scrap burst into flames, Valtrith and the monsters that compose its cloak scrambling to pick up the ashes.

Valtrith brandishes his claw while the lion in his cloak growls.

"I will use that power to kill you and become a god."

The bag catches fire in Samael's hand leaving only a strange yellow symbol resembling a triskelion or some kind of tentacled creature.

"In a manner of speaking, you'll become a god."

Samael moved before Valtrith had time to even consider his first move, the Elder God's hand plunged into Valtrith's chest.

Valtrith's vision faded replaces by the color of royalty. The color yellow.

The pain he often spoke of inflicting on the inhabitants of Lore spread throughout his body as it contorted and changed, bones breaking and reshaping themselves into desirable forms so they would become a suitable body for their host.

From Valtrith's back emerge a set of red almost angelic wings while his clothing changes and transforms into bright yellow rags.

Valtrith tried to grasp at his face as his mask retracted into his skin, a pallid yellow mask taking its place and ensuring the possession was complete.

Baron Jaysun Valtrith no longer stood before Samael.

"Good evening Hastur, The King in Yellow."

Hastur stared at Samael, their mask betraying no emotion.

"Tell me, Nyarlathotep. How has Kathool been doing?"

Chapter XXXVI: Waking Up In Morning

What was that creature that stared at the two of them through their window? A creature whose body was as black as the night sky that perpetually covered Darkovia like a hood and with gleaming red eyes that could only be described as looking like drops of blood.

Mort was not visible. Always near, but since coming to Dunwich, they had just vanished. Perhaps when the time was right, they'd appear again.

A chill ran down Xalia's spine and right away she figured the monster was back, but there was nothing at the window. It would be there though. It always was.

When the sky darkened into absolute darkness, Xalia slept and the creature returned. It did not come to the window though.

Instead it had crept inside the inn, following their scent. It moved with the darkness, its eyes being the only ever visible part of it.

Inside their room, the creature loomed over the Soulweaver. He had been sleeping for some time, the only reason the creature did not think he was dead was because his scent did not change.

The creature didn't stare long at the Soulweaver. Something about him scared the creature. He had a terrifying aura about him. An aura that could only belong to a darkly degenerate being like that of the monsters that passed by Arkham.

But when it looked at Xalia, it could feel something about her. It was almost similar to the feeling the creature had felt about itself for as long as it could remember. It was alone, she feared being along.

The creature crept from the room, another new feeling joining its loneliness. Sadness.

***

It was only three days ago when she had met the man named Peter. The first and last time she would see him, but he did not leave her empty handed. It had only been three days, but already her belly swelled and the thing inside her grew.

She was frightened. It had only been three days and she could feel something growing inside her, moving about and wanting out.

She wanted to let it out. Or keep inside to die. The knife in her kitchen became more and more enticing, but at the same time she couldn't bring herself to take another life even if it was a spawn of Hell.

Her belly swelled. Flesh tore. She choked on her screams. The unholy spawn between human and demon sought sustenance.

***

Xalia watched the Soulweaver, the blank yet peaceful expression he had changed. He looked angry.

A knock came on the door, the great god Pan standing on the other end when Xalia answered, screaming at the sight of the black goat.

"Round two," Pan said. "And let's skip the foreplay."

Pan's great fist sent Xalia across the room, crashing into a wall. Pain shot through her entire body and she wanted to scream. To plea for the Soulweaver to wake up.

Pan picked Xalia up by the neck, bringing her close to its face.

"What happened to the fire that burned inside you in Arkham? Where is the one who sought to slay a god?"

Pan tossed her into another wall. "Don't tell me I've broken you already. There is still so much I can do to you. But...."

Pan trailed off and turned towards the Soulweaver. "Blood calls to blood. And his sings to mine."

Pan picked the Soulweaver up. He looked frail like a porcelain doll in the hold of the divine being. The god could crush the Soulweaver in that great hand of its.

Surprise came over Pan's face which soon turned into a smile at the sight of the Soulweaver's blades in its chest.

"This will be a fight legends are made of," Pan said cheerfully, its black eyes locked with the Soweaver's that were filled with the purest strain of hate.

Joy overtook Xalia. Her body was battered, but she chose to ignore it and produced her scythe.

They would prove a god can die.

Chapter XXXVII: The Dunwich Horror

The Soulweaver wretched his blades from Pan's abdomen following through a concussive blast, the black goat dropping the Soulweaver.

"Yes, show me your ferocity! Show me the monster you are destined to become!"

Sigils appeared around Xalia, a torrent of energy striking the great god once the incantation was complete.

"I am no monster," the Soulweaver said vehemently, visions of the flooded world fresh in his mind.

The room darkened, filling up with smoke that began to take the form of various monsters. A trick Xalia had experienced days before. Forgoing her magic, she swung her scythe at the monsters, the Soulweaver deserving to handle exacting his revenge himself.

***

In a house a ways from the inn, a bloated mockery of creation fed on the human that was unfortunate it to serve as its incubator, growing rapidly.

It could feel its fathers presence from somewhere in the town, knowing he would die.

It cared little as it stripped the flesh and what lies beneath from the bones of the one who would have been its mother.

***

Xalia's movements were slow, her wounds taking their toll and the Soulweaver intervened.

"I can handle these. Destroy that monster."

"No," the Soulweaver said. "I promised I will protect you."

"And I you," came a voice neither had heard in days.

Mort emerged from the Soulweaver's shadow. It was stressful, but like in the church frequented by the Ghouls, Mort eradicated the monsters created by Pan in a flash of light.

Mort and the Soulweaver became one like with the quasi-amphibious creature claiming to be the Soulweaver's mother, the two Synchronized.

Pan was a statue to the Soulweaver, but no matter how many cuts and gashes he put in the beast it refused to falter.

"Even with all your anger and strength, you cannot defeat a god."

Pan let out a great bellow, the room shook as if the very earth itself beneath the inn had moved, toppling the two humans.

Pan raised a fist above the Soulweaver. It grew and from the Soulweaver's point of view was big enough to eclipse all light in the room.

It came crashing down with enough force to make the Soulweaver believe it would break every bone in his body.

The great god shrieked and raised its arm, looking at the stub where its hand belonged. Too busy with trying to break the Soulweaver, it ignored Xalia who with a great swing of her scythe lopped the hand off.

The shrieking turned to laughter and laughter turned to growling. The black goat was through with toying with them and barreled down on Xalia intent to do more than harm her physically.

The Soulweaver staggered to his feet and leapt to Xalia's rescue and to destroy the beast, blades sinking into its hide.

"It ends now, monster!"

Xalia shielded her eyes as the world around her was consumed in a white light that threatened to burn and blind her with its intensity.

Chapter XXXVIII: Brothers

The Dark forces of Nyarlathotep and Hastur marched through the dark wood of error, the Plateau of Leng was their destination. Hastur sought the death of Kathool while Nyarlathotep merely wanted to watch the hell that such an event would spark unfold.

"Chaos is a ladder," Nyarlathotep would say to itself or whoever may have been listening willingly or otherwise.

Beneath the sounding sea, Kathool's spawn swum from the sunken city to the shores of the plateau.

This world is mine.

***

Valtrith's mind was a conglomerate of fire, ice, darkness, light, and sand. Images belonging to many, but few belonging to himself.

Water began to seep in as the King in Yellow's thoughts overtook his own. Water and images playing out fantasies of how he wished to destroy his half-brother Kathool for no reason other than because he thinks he can.

"You will not see the end of the week," Valtrith growled.

"I am a god," Hastur said, its voice coming from all around. "A mash up of more successful monsters whose memories are not even their own has no hope of defeating me."

"Even a god can fall. Kathool was defeated once."

"A temporary setback. I will ensure that this time it's permanent."

Valtrith looked around the dreamscape of his mind, memories of those that make up his body overtaking his own memories of perpetual failure and most recently betrayal.

"This is my mind and my body. I am fire! I am darkness! I AM DEATH! I, Baron Jaysun Valtrith will kill the treacherous gods."

***

The forest opened up to a plateau overlooking an ocean of black water only slightly illuminated by the full moon, quasi-amphibious creatures and the adepts, composite creatures of various aquatic life rise from the waters and pull themselves up to the plateau staring down the cultists of creatures of darkness.

Gliding on ancient grace, Hastur descends and lands between the armies.

"I've come for the head of the Master of R'yleh."

You will die here, Hastur. You will die as the city of Carcosa has died.

From behind Hastur's pallid mask, a look of irritation came across its face. Deep within its mind, Valtrith laughed.

"I will show you a dead city. Carcosa still stands while R'yleh resides beneath the black waters of this desolate world."

The plateau and the world around Hastur and the two armies begins to distort and shift, the ocean disappearing as fog rolled in and two moons appear alongside the full moon that firmly maintained its place over Darkovia.

Chapter XXXIX: Burdens

Xalia and the Soulweaver pushed through the forest, coming across the scene that began to unfold before them. The forces of Kathool emerging from the ocean while from the world opening up before the aquatic horrors, monsters not of Lore emerge from the ruins of Carcosa, merging with the monsters of Baron Valtrith's army, often in a literal sense, the horrors that were once under Valtrith's control.

Nyarlathotep observed Hastur lead its forces towards the city of R'yleh as it rose from the ocean, spotting the two adventurers enter the scene.

This is more enjoyable than summoning Yog-Sothoth.

Hastur approaches the shores, the eldritch horrors in its legion striking down the followers of Kathool that approach the King in Yellow.

"Kathool, show yourself, brother."

Hastur feels a vice like grip on his mind, nothing it couldn't handle. Two Old Ones of equal strength on their own, their only hope of defeating another being the strength of their armies.

Do you feel that, Valtrith? The weight of Kathool's influence?

Beneath Hastur's pallid mask, the Old One grimaced. Something was wrong. The Baron was resisting.

Do you feel that, Hastur? The weight of my influence? The weight of an Elder One's influence.

Xalia and the Soulweaver were caught in the center of the battle as it raged, the Plateau of Leng within sight, Xalia's goal just barely out of reach. But what would she do once she reached the plateau?

The Soulweaver looked out towards the sunken city, brought to the surface, the dreams and images from the asylum returning to him. He attempted to steel his will, Mort doing what it can from inside. He needed to remain strong. He would not bend. He would not break.

You cannot resist, the voice of Kathool echoed in his mind. You will not only break, but you will shatter.

Hastur and the Soulweaver crossed paths while trying to resist the attacks of their respective foes.

I won't break....

Chapter XXXX: Heart of Darkness

Hastur stood in a realm that could best be described as a mosaic of the elements except everything seemed darker like a shadow loomed over it all. From Xan's fire burning black to the light of Sek Duat shining ever so dimly as if the light was beginning to die.

The Old One clutched its head, a powerful force prodding at its mind, with all the power to break it, but holding back just to watch their prey suffer.

"Valtrith, you fool. You will not win this. I will assimilate Kathool's body and nail you to the walls of your castle, so you can watch your world die."

Before Hastur appears a cloaked figure taking on the guise of the Mysterious Stranger of days gone by.

"Is that it? You appear before me using one of the many artifacts that make up your being? You're nothing but a golem, Valtrith. You'll never be the great destroyer you aspire to be. Time and time again, you've risen up only to fail and fall again, having slain nothing but an innkeeper!"

A dragon's claw with an orange and green pattern emerges from under the cloak and grabs Hastur by the throat, Valtrith pulling the hood down.

"No, Hastur. You are nothing. I am fire! I am darkness! I am death! You're just a parasite with delusions of godhood and feelings of inadequacy towards a squid."

The claws grip tightens on Hastur's neck who begins to feel like they're being drawn into in.

"You will become part of me and you will live forever as part of something greater. You will see everything I will accomplish fully aware of what I am. Fully aware that I defeated you."

***

The Soulweaver struggled to keep hold of his sanity, the faces of Mort and Xalia looking over him like guardian angles, but they began to crack and break apart with what's left of his sanity.

You cannot resist. You will not survive. You will die, but first you will break, Kathool's voice echoed around him.

"I...I won't break."

You will break.

The images of Mort and Xalia crack further, a third face appearing. One from the Soulweaver's past. The face of the Paladin.

"Fight it. The light will always prevail," the Paladin said in a voice that was both stern yet compassionate.

The darkness always triumphs. Where there is light, there is always darkness.

Another face appears, the face of the Soulweaver's mother.

"Give in, my son. Give in and come join me in the deep. We can be together forever."

"No, I won't give in."

The faces of Mort and Xalia break apart and shatter, the image of the Paladin's face beginning to crack.

"Fight it! Fight the darkness, show them that the light will always triumph."

"Join me. Become one with me and the ocean."

"No, I... Leave me alone."

"Fight it."

"Join me."

You cannot resist.

"Leave me alone!"

The images shatter, glass and memories raining down upon him, cutting into him, but it wasn't blood that escaped from his wound but sea water. Water as black as tar.

You will break.

"No. No, I won't..."

< Message edited by NagisaXIkari -- 12/14/2015 16:39:08 >
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