You have to walk before you can crawl

Posted on December 7, 2012

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As Anton falls, smiling, the Greysoul rises.

Darkness and cold and the sounds of the bay even over whipping of the wind.

Impact, moments of searing pain, the creeping chill of death.  The Greysoul pays it no mind.  It is now, even as always, a temporary inconvenience.

True darkness.

He waits.  Time is of no meaning in between, but he has never lingered and he does not now.

The space around him begins to fill.  He feels six beings come into existence.  Their presence looms over him.  A thousand deaths before he was intimidated.  But the veneer wore away millennia ago.  This dance has played out a thousand times.  Each side knows their steps.

Anton breaks the pattern.

He allows what he is to fully come to the fore.  The power of the Greysoul fills him, swells him to immensity.  He is distantly surprised to find that he now looms over the figures around him.  “I would bargain.”

The six recoil slightly.

“There is one who is lost to me.  Her soul was hidden.  I would know where the daughter of my heart is.  Who reveals to me where she abides will have my allegiance unto the final day.”

Anton waits.  Time without reckoning, no time at all passes.  There is nothing but silence.

Anton’s attention falls to one of the two of the largest beings.  “Does the soul of Maria Denton reside in your master’s realm?  Would he have my service?”

One of the others surges.  “You would serve darkness?”

Anton rounds on the figure.  “I have seen darkness done in service to both realms.  Don’t seek to lecture me, minion.  I have given my terms.  If you would have my service simply tell me my daughter is in your realm.  You can not lie here, in this place, in this time.  Tell me and I will follow.”

His interrogator falls away, is silent.

Anton turns to the other.  “And you, servant, will you answer?”

Silence for a beat.  “The soul of Maria Denton is not in my master’s realm.”

Anton nods.  “So be it.  If no realm will have her, than no realm will have me.  Begone, slaves.  Tell your masters I will not join their petty squabble.  Tell your masters I will follow my daughter in the dark.”  He claps, there is a surge of power, and the six figures are blown back and away from him.  He lets the power fade, and returns to his normal size.

For a time, he is still.  He is done with Earth, and the living.  Something like a sigh escapes.  He fingers the star at his throat, startled the symbol has followed him.  Then he sets out, hunting for his lost daughter.

***********

The room is pleasant and cool, though suffused of a red glow.  The realm is shaped of and by perception.  And the master of the realm does like red.

“He went into the Dark?”

The roughly man shaped figure remains on its knees.  “Yes, lord.”

The Master waves his hand and the servant rises, leaves.  The Master follows him out.  He has shaped the realm as an endless hall with innumerable doors.  He closes his eyes, nods, and is standing in front of his destination.   The door opens before him.

Inside a man is strapped to a table.  He is being skinned and healed almost instantaneously.  One of the tenders is forcing a rod with hooked blades into the man’s anus.  The Master finds the screams exquisite.

He waves and hand and the minions pause their ministrations.  He waves again and the man on the table is whole and healed.

“Please, master, I have served you well.”

The Master looks down on the man.  “All we know of you is that you are a murderer and a sadist.  We are simply balancing the scales.”

“Please, the Greysoul…”

“The Greysoul?  What of him?”

“Master, he did this.  He hid who I am.”

“And who are you?”

The man’s mouth opens.  He tries to speak.  “I, I don’t know.”

The Master smiles.  “If you do not know yourself how are we to know you?  Simply a murder and a sadist.”  The smile vanishes.  “No servant of mine would have seen to it that the Greysoul shunned us to wander the Dark.”  His hand waves once more and the screaming begins.

***********

Maria is staring into the Dark when one of her followers approaches.  “There are hunters coming.”

She shakes away the sensation of the familiar.  “From where?”

The follower smiles.  “Does it matter?”

Maria shakes her head.  Her legs blur and shift, replaced by something serpentine.  Wings spread from her back, feathered in black.  A thought and the spear appears in her grasp.  “No,” she whispers, “it doesn’t matter at all.”  A blur of motion and she is gone.

The creatures of the Dark have learned to hunt back.

 

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Posted in: Writing