Equal Ends

Continued from The Balance in Doom.

“I sense… Death.”
“Big fucking surprise, what is it with you, Balance? Do you have any sort of evil homing beacon attached to your back?”
“Not that I know of, Michael.”
“That was sarcasm.”
“I don’t tend to use sarcasm anymore, Michael.”
“Will you cut it out with the name!”

The mentally insane have a tendency to attract the Objects. Most Holders can be found in a mental institute or asylum. Dallas found that ironic, that the most powerful beings in the world were once condemned to small cells in which they can cause no harm to anyone. However that strategy failed whilst time went by, more and more Seekers came seeking the Objects, and the Holder’s domain got more and more unique and disturbing every time. Eventually, the rooms the Holders and Objects were in ceased being part of the physical mental institute, and more merely just used the halfway houses for entry into their own realms.

In Dallas's opinion, there are few Holders more infamous than The End. He was wise, not only was he the first, but the last as well. Possibly even, if Dallas were daring enough to say, the most powerful of Holders. At any rate, the Balance sought a word with him. Michael merely wanted to come along. Balance did not have to take the usual, tedious and long steps to visit the Holder. He simply willed himself into his chamber.

Dallas had been in that chamber once before, when he tried to get The End's Object as a Seeker. He survived with his sanity intactm but the images he had seen, the trail of talking to The End had all but destroyed him. Drove him mad with lust for the Objects. Pushed people away.

And now he was going back.

“Remember, Michael, this is a Holder, this is The End. He will not appreciate our company for very long. Do not speak; do not touch anything in his chamber. Do you understand?”
“Balance, I'm bloody tired of you treating me like I'm a newcomer at this.”
“My apologies, Michael. Take my hand, and from now on, no words. Oh, and do not, under any circumstances, look at his Object.”

The End was more civilized than he appeared, his frail, skinny, unearthly body hunched over his Object was only a product of decades of famine and torture. All his energy was spent quivering and chanting. Most couldn't understand his words, Dallas can, he spoke old Magi. Long forgotten, the chant itself had no English translation; closest one can come to it was 'never together.' Dallas was sure he could guess what he was talking about.

Dallas and Michael entered his chamber, and almost immediately, the chanting stopped. Dallas could have stopped The end from harming him, easily, and Michael too. But out of respect the Balance followed the protocol; Dallas said to him, rather loudly: "I'm just passing through, I wish to talk."

The chanting didn’t resume, nor did I expect it to.

Let us converse, [The End] I mean no harm. I spoke to him, not in words, but in thoughts, the way the eldest of us used to speak. The figure looked up for a moment, made eye contact with me. His soul had long since been drained away, I could tell, as it showed in his eyes. Black, through and through.
The chanting resumed.

“Let us converse, The End, I mean no harm.”
“You speak Garganhal? Only Holders speak Garganhal.”
“Garganhal? The language of the mind; It's how the magic users used to speak. However nobody refers to it as Garganhal anymore. However i suppose nobody speaks it anymore either. Allow me introduce myself. I am formally known as Dallas Scottsboro. However to most, I am now known as the Balance.”
“Balance? You’re Faction’s boy! The one he’d been looking for!”
“What is it you need, Balance?”

The End and the Balance talked. Dallas asked him about his encounter with Yochanan, he cursed at the mere mention of his name. he found it amusing that a Holder such as The End could still hold grudges like that. He told Dallas that before The End met Yochanan, one didn’t hear chanting in the hallway. One heard laughter. And not the good kind.

The most important question came last.

Dallas had been feeling disturbances lately. It seemed the equilibrium had had a sudden jar. Not for the good side either. The scale had been tipping and tipping. More and more each day. So it brought him to his final question.

“There is an anomaly, something I haven’t sensed before. It has to do with one of the Holders, which one is uncertain. You must feel it too. It is omnipresent. Now that I think about it, there’s something else I’ve never felt before. An Evil, maybe.”
“The Mirror of the Forever had disappeared. I fear that the Object has been destroyed.”
“Impossible, very few can destroy Objects and I would… have… felt… it…”
“The new presence.”
“No. An old one.”

The Mirror of Forever was a 'good' Object. It wasn’t as bloodthirsty and cold-hearted as most of the others. There were prices to pay for failure, like your sanity but none so as extreme. A majority even left alive, and intact. So any reason someone with power would want to raze it is ludicrous. Yochanan was, as far as Dallas knew, still enjoying hell where he banished him, nobody else who hated the Objects was powerful enough to destroy one, or its Holder.
It was at that point where Dallas's mind snapped.

The something that was giving him that feeling, the feeling of unease and pity, it had been coming from Forever’s realm. Or what was left of it, but now… now it was coming from the Void. It was moving; therefore it was capable of doing so, meaning it was a being. The being's mere presence offset the balance so significantly that Dallas felt his power wave a level higher. Confirming that he was to need more if he was to balance out the bad with the good.

Dallas felt another presence too, one seldom seen by the mortal realm.

Balance thought The End would know, so he asked him his question, The End's very specific question. And for the second time in Dallas's life, he heard the story in great, horrifying detail.

“The End… What happens when they all come together?”
“i told you once, already, remember? You passed the test before, No mortal has survived to hear and see it twice."
“Do I look like any regular mortal to you?”

Images shown to Dallas were disturbing than the first time he has seen it; although fear was a feeling he had no use for anymore. That’s genuinely what Dallas felt. Fear and Sorrow, Human emotions he hadn’t felt since what seemed like eternity ago. In reality Dallas had only been fulfilling his purpose for about two months. The horrific stories and images flashed through his mind for both centuries and for mere moments.

The End finished, and fell silent, his chanting had stopped while he told Balance the story, Dallas stared blankly at The End, processing what he had witnessed for the second time. The Chanting started again, very, very quietly. Dallas took a moment to think, while all the images were different, each told an independent fable, they all seemed to stem from one idea. A constant, if you will.

They all have something to do with a cloaked man, maybe not a man. More like a man-shaped being.

Edo Edi Essum.

“That is all, The End. I thank you for your time, is there anything else you wish to say?”
“Yes, About Yochanan.”
“I have dealt with him, have no-“
“You haven’t dealt with him, and by the time Essum comes, Yohanan and you will know much more about each other than you’d like. Perhaps he isn’t as terrible as you would like to make him out to be. Perhaps indeed that he can help.”
“The End; what do you-“
“Lets just say… Before I met The Hollow Man, my chants never echoed down the hallways. I never used to chant; I used to laugh.”

After End and Balance talked, Michael took his wrist and the two departed. He bombarded Dallas with questions. None of which Dallas could answer, the Balance just stared at the ground, deep in thought. Edo Edi Essum had emerged from the great primordial Lock that kept at bay the Created Uncreation, perfect nothing given thought. He was not a man at all, but a shard of absolute, perfect oblivion. Nothingness incarnate. At least, that's what the legends said.

As far as Dalals knew; all the Objects that weren’t already in possession by the Seekers were perfectly safe. Hell, there had been rumours about a new Object coming into existence. However, Dallas hadn’t thought much of it. Now, however, he sensed the beginning of a turning point. Edo Edi Essum was an entity so outside the very concept of balance, so alien to the ideas of "good" or "evil", that he threatened to bring the entirety of all cosmic order crashing down around him. Balance knew this had to be stopped.
There was a fight ahead of him.
Ahead of everyone.

“Something the Matter? Balance?”
“Yes Michael.”
“It just occurred to me that I shouldn’t have made Legion mortal.”

Continued In Coming Undone.

Part of The Balance Saga.
Last modified on 2009-11-11 08:10:32Viewed 6630 times

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