The trouble with Death
Seph was standing in the bone pit, still calm and unrelenting as before. Tia, Halvar and Raven looked at each other and shook their heads in unison: How can somebody just stand there when the very floor beneath his feet is collapsing and then just dive in there without thought. The word insanity crossed Ravens mind.
The cracking sound of the doors opening in the pit was silencing all thoughts and unspoken words: Something was coming and in this pocket plane, that meant big trouble. Without warning an explosion of dark energy erupted from the bone pit. The energy explosion was massive covering miles around the pit and everybody that was affected, Seph, Tia, Halvar, Raven and perhaps even the denizen of this plane felt themselves standing in a gloomy cell with a naked Seph chained to the wall.
The cell seemed to be made of red, pulsating material which somehow shared many similarities with raw flesh. Seph’s chains seemed to be made of black stone, Halvar thought it to be obsidian. Everybody could somehow sense, that they were not the only ones watching.
Seph awoke violently, trashing around, trying to break free. But the walls were unrelenting and the chains not even strained a bit by its efforts. Tia felt, that something was off. If this was some sort of psychic nightmare attack, she should share the pain of the memory, but there seemed to be a disconnect between Seph and his watchers.
But Raven understood the concept: It was not about sharing the pain, it was all about inflicting it. The watchers felt their minds beeing transformed. They became silent watchers in their own mind and their new bodies: Shadows, not visible, but the thing you see in the edge of your eye, the thing you know will come after you, but you just cannot see it.
There were many watchers, but there was common feeling to them: The hunger, the hunger for pain. Sephs companions were fighting against it, but many others were not as reluctant. Each shadow just knew it: The source that could still the hunger was chained to that wall, naked and defenseless.
So they struck, first cautiously, not knowing if this could be trap. But with every gush, with every slice or stab, they grew bolder. But they somehow knew, that they cannot go too far without killing their only quench for their hunger.
Halvar could actually feel his own joy and enticement, when Seph’s wounds started to heal as fast as they were inflicted. Feelings that resonated deeply in the watchers. Feelings of glee, feelings of lust for more pain.
And so the watchers started to fill their hunger. Days, weeks, months went by and they always found new ways to top their last meal. They squealed in joy when they slowly sawed of Seph’s fingertips, they relished in the pain when they made Seph watch his own entrails dry slowly hanging out of his body and they feast on the feelings, when they slowly drove their nails into Seph’s eyeballs.
Tia felt Sephs sanity peel away more and more, the same way the watchers peeled away his skin so many times. The day she thought that the last shred of sanity would evaporate everything changed.
One moment they were still in the red cell, the next they were storming the mighty walls of a white citadel. Raven heard the legends and remembered instantly, that this must be the White Citadel of Tou, the last retreat of the High Kings of the fey wild in the war against the forces of the shadowfell. But even when his mind was telling him, that this was millenia ago, his shadow body reached the courtyard.
The gate was broken, but there he was: Seph, but he was Eladrin, commanding the remaining forces of Tou, being the last obstacle between the shadows and the great feast, this massive city would offer.
The watchers screamed in unified hate, when they felt the arcane energies released in the city. Massive evacuations portals opened to all planes, starting the exodus of the unified eladrin race. The shadows felt their prey eluding them and charged the defenders.
Wave after wave they send, but Seph seemed to hold line. Even after ours and thousands of lost shadows, the defenders were still standing their ground. Halvar felt his shadow body transforming and growing. He knew, that this would turn the tide of the battle, his body being transformed by the very essence of the shadow.
They charged, and this time they are were pushing back. One by one the defenders fell, but Seph seemed to fill all the gaps and did not let any of the shadows pass. Hours later, only he was left, but when the massive evacuation gates closed, a smile played over his face. Raven felt the combine rage of the shadows, felt how his shadow body tore away the flesh of Sephs body. But even with Seph finally dead, they lost the war.
The watchers were back in the cell, disoriented, confused. Tia felt, that whatever had created this psychic connection lost control.
They were floating in front of a black castle. The shadows knew, that they would not feed today, but they had an even more important task: Stop her at all costs. They raced to the castle and felt the energy: A god was dying, they had to act fast.
They reached the throne room. The black sorceress was still fighting him. They needed to reach her, to stop her from becoming what she sought for such a long time. They were so close, but there was a power protecting her: Seph.
This time he had black feathery wings and was clad in an obsidian armor. He was her protector, her last resort. And he was in the way. The shadows screamed and attacked, but his black sword with the red veins tore through them, not letting anyone pass or interfere in the battle between the dying god and the black clad woman.
Wave after wave they attacked, wave after wave died by Seph’s sword. The shadows felt, they were running out of time, but when they finally overwhelmed Seph, the moment he was finally out of there way, the moment they tore him apart, they felt a god die, and a goddess being born.
The cell, again, but there is a shift, Tia felt as if explosions or massive tremors would echo through her mind. The watchers feel that they loose control. One by one their minds are absorbed by Seph. Watching through Sephs eyes, Tia, Halvar and Raven are suddenly blinded by a weak light.
A tear appears in the cell. They hear a voice in Seph´s mind. A woman’s voice, deep, full and mature. “Continue on this path and this will be your fate. I can free you this time. You must protect the vessel.”
With unsteady steps Seph passes through the tear and the spell is broken.