Beyond The Holders
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Prolusio ut Terminus
Be sure to read Extricum before this.
My stone servant’s head breaks apart as my foot collides with it, shards disintegrating into sand as they fly in all directions. The body crumbles apart into dust, no evidence of my thrall’s existence left. He had failed me for the last time.
I step over the rubble, pulling my hood over my face as I step out of the alley. I restrain myself as best I can as I walk amidst the throngs of humans, trying to ignore my hunger. Unconsciously, the masses split into an aisle as I pass through, their animal instincts telling them to avoid me even as their conscious minds are none the wiser. I close my eyes, suppressing the hunger and the new voice inside me. It speaks only fragments, never forming anything recognizable, but somehow I know that it [Engineered-]
My concentration breaks, and a human beside me is instantly obliterated, screaming as I consume them. Suddenly, pandemonium breaks loose. All the humans begin running and screaming, their irrational fear getting the better of them as they trample each other. I watch the spectacle for a few moments before slipping into the Void.
I recline in the cold nothingness, contemplating. Balance has proved far more elusive [You did-] Far more elusive than I expected. I can sense instinctively that this voice, if I do not end the battle before it takes hold, will be my undoing. I must find him. And find him now. His presence, normally so laughably easy to detect, has gone silent. Dark. [Praetorous-]Shut up! I yell, as much as anyone can yell inside the Void. What is happening to me? Why [Revenge-] damn it!
Suddenly, I feel a presence. A familiar one. And though it should have every reason to, it does not hide, or attempt to cover itself. It is completely open. Exposed. Beckoning me. I open a window into the human world instantly [Defeat-] and, ignoring the voice, I step through.
I find myself atop a massive skyscraper, towering above all the others in a sprawling city. Scarcely impressed as I am, I can imagine how dizzying the heights would be to a normal human. Looking under my feet, I can see a large yellow marking that I recognize as a landing zone for aircraft. Then, the presence comes back, right in front of me. Anger and annoyance build up in me at the sight.
“Long time no see,” says Yochanan.
Your actions, Yochanan, seem to have gone beyond the realm of reckless and into that of the idiotic. I have every reason to destroy you.
“Actually, I disagree,” he says, perching himself upon an air conditioning structure, “you have every reason to keep me alive.”
His face contorts into a gleeful smile. “I know where Balance is. I can tell you, too, but you’ll have to do something for me.”
Do not toy with me, Yochanan. You will tell me where Balance is, now.
“Ooh! Scary. Someone’s in a bad mood. I’ll tell you what: I’ll tell you where he is if you make me your next vessel.”
You are not in a position to make demands, Yochanan.
“Yes, actually, I think I am. Or would you rather cast about meaninglessly for him until you tear yourself apart?”
“I know a lot of things, you see. I get around. So, what’ll it be? Do we have a deal?”
I pause for a moment. Loathe as I am to become indebted to Yochanan, all of my methods have failed me in locating him and [Praetorious-]
Fine. We have a deal. Where can I find Balance? Where does our struggle end?
Yochanan cackles, taking his time before responding. He grins wickedly. “The same place where you began.”
And with that, he drops dead. For now, at least.
I jump down the building, cursing my stupidity [Engineered-] and ignorance. It is so obvious. How could I have missed it? All this time, the answer was right before my eyes. How could I have expected Balance to go anywhere else?
The city I am in is called New York. Yochanan's choice of a meeting place was unintentionally convenient for me. Making my way through the throngs of humans, I begin my journey. Of course, I could have simply flown right to my destination, but I feel as if I could use a walk.
A few hours pass before I reach my destination- A gigantic pile of rubble that was once two large buildings. The construction workers, all my servants, pay no attention to me as I walk among the ruins, surveying them. At last, I come to a small opening, and slip inside.
Few humans realize how massive the catacombs and networks underneath New York really are. The cavern stretches in all directions, a perfect nesting place for vermin that plague the city above. A perfect place for disease to form. A perfect place to set in motion the end of the human world. Calling to the energy in this place, I place my palm on the ground. A soft humming sound permeates the cavern. It builds, becoming in minutes, a deafening crescendo, until a huge boulder rises up. It shatters, revealing a gigantic black stone encased within, perfectly round and smooth. The Conduit. I had spent many years tracking down an object powerful enough to serve my purpose, and left it here for when the time comes. And come it has.
All around me, cracks begin to form in midair, the wall between my sanctuary and this world fracturing. Suddenly, from one of the cracks, a hand shoots forth, grey and dead. It claws at the barrier as more emerge, tearing it away. Eventually, a great rift is left, and one by one my eyeless servants emerge, forming themselves into phalanges at my back. Soon, there are hundreds of my slaves filling the catacombs. Then thousands. And still they emerge. They silently form up, walking as one with me, emerging into the light. So begins the march of death. The end of mankind. So begins my journey to where everything began, and where it all will end.
To be continued in Pondera.
Part of the series Ieiunitas, Infectus, Talius.
|Last modified on 2009-08-05 00:07:21Viewed 4575 times|