An hour later, we reach what I’m sure Carghen would call a site of destiny. I feel it shiver in my bones and toes. The shiver that says you will never be the same. I welcome the chance to discover my truest self.
A horrid-smelling, viscous fluid flows through the clearing, smelling of grease and blood, acrid and evil. An amorphous form lurks in the middle of this lowland valley. My cobra slithers through the muck below us with impunity. Above us, Veshinti wafts on the warming morning air with seven bodies following her lead. She does not attack; and when one of her brood tries to break formation, she snaps at its impudence.
The amorphous form belches and seems to turn inside out. It looks like white fluid partially frozen yet melting. The middle of the viscous…thing…greys to near black. Thick blue and red veins stretch over its surface, roiling of their own accord. From the middle of the ruinous muck, my father emerges, attached to the bobbing form by stretches of snotty muscle. My insides turn looking at him. He looks healthy, aside from those veins and his bleached-white color.
“Father, by the Raven what happened to you!”
Father’s eyes are closed as if against his will, “Hello Benicious. I am glad you have come. Carghen…has he learned?”
Carghen staggers, my cobra’s poison still affecting his movement, and bows deeply before my blob-father, “Yes Sire. He is ready.”
A sickening gasp escapes from Arnellus, “Good. Son…Ben, are you prepared to do what I ask?”
“What would that be Father? To remove you from this…blob?”
“Of a sort. Listen to me, Son. Ten years ago, this creature came forth from my blade and escaped my control. Soon after, it discovered a talent of its own…the ability to control lesser minds. The goblins that killed your mother…were under this creature’s control…still are, in fact. Her death is my fault; and I became determined to claim vengeance for her.”
“Upon reaching this valley, I tried to erase the blob using my talent. You must understand something right now Ben. Everything we experience paints the invisible eye. Whether we create something and add it to the world, or hold it in, it has an effect on us; and we don’t always know what may come as consequence. I certainly did not.”
“I tried to erase this…problem, and in doing so, it managed to grab hold of my mind. The harder I tried to remove it, the more my invisible eye made us one. We are now able to think separately; but our actions are performed as one.”
“Then, I created Veshinti so I could keep an eye on you from afar as you grew up. However, as I was creating her, my other,” he nods at the grotesqueness surrounding him, “added a few of its own designs. It gave Veshinti the ability to reproduce…and neither of us fully control her or her offspring. She is my greatest mistake. She paints my invisible eye, Son, folly or not.”
“My eye is forever darkened by my mistakes, Ben; and the time is arrived to cleanse my darkness from the world.”
“So I ask again, are you ready to do what must be done?”
What must be done? My father makes it sound like he wants me to kill him; but that can’t be the complete truth. Carghen stated that the Crimson Knights have tried…and failed…to do exactly that. He needs something, and it’s about the Uitherim. It’s about his monsters, and himself.
I close my eyes, shutting out the sounds of the valley, the heat of the sun on my skin, and Carghen’s eyes boring into the back of my head. Instead, I focus my attention on Arnellus, and the blob surrounding his entire essence. With my invisible eye, I find each part of my father, and each part of the creature attached to him. From flesh to organ to atom, I learn about the biology of each; and what’s holding them together. Soon, I discover the veins of the creature are its core, little more than facilitated feeding-mechanisms. By attaching to a host, it creates a symbiotic relationship. It feeds from the host’s mind while giving the host increased amounts of Uitherim production.
I see the full truth, now. I pull out my paintbrush but break away from my invisible eye for a moment.
“You…created this monster to increase your own power?” I whisper.
“Doing so is the only chance I had to bring your mother back, Ben. I believed since I created it, I would control it completely. Much like your snake, however, it was far more powerful than I believed.”
“Except I do control my creation, Father. I decide when it acts. When it feeds, and on what,” I glance over at Carghen.
“Then you see why you must do this for me. Erase my mistakes, Son.”
Nodding, I close my eyes and open the invisible one, clearly seeing the Uitherim surrounding me. In this state, I feel my cobra’s machinations far clearer than usual. I also see how much my father is producing, even now. Let’s hope I’m good enough to accomplish my goal.