The Orese Hellscape
Jagged obsidian cliffs are curled around the path to an immense fortress that loomed high with Cimmerian clouds gathered at its spires. The lightning-strewn sky churned with shadows. Rivulets of lava flowed downs its facade and into the yawning, boiling molten pool below. The stronghold is surrounded by black, petrifying minerals jutting out like iron, unearthly rattles and crackling emanated from what lies beyond.
In the throne room of the hellish fortress. A gaping hall of granite black with the unconnected walls ran with streams of lava to join the molten pool. The only path to the throne was wide and flanked with hellions, abominable creatures, berserk in nature, but under the control of their master, and lived to serve only one purpose.
Vilnus lounged on the crystal black throne with a plumage of tiered, giant black fangs spurting from the back in a horrific display. His frame is poised in a perfect posture, clutching onto his sceptre with an elaborate craft that entwines a ball of swirling shadows. His Albekai stood beside him. The inky fall of her hair reached her hipline, her hands tightly clasped; restraining herself.
The adjutant walked ahead of the shadow soldier with a severely beaten form in his careless grip, the boy unable to walk, but was being dragged on his knees to the throne. When they arrived, the adjutant stepped aside, and the soldier tossed him before Vilnius. A curt cry escaped him, wincing, panting from the pain. Crippled, he fell, his clothes torn, revealing the lashing that nearly split open his back, still sopping with fresh blood. His body battered, beaten to an inch of his life.
His Albekai clapped her hand over her mouth to silence herself.
Vilnus stood from his throne and slowly descended until the boy was at his feet.
Clinging to wisps of insolence, he looked up, staring into his eyes. The boy’s face was unrecognisable, swollen, discoloured with contusions that vary in the degree of merciless brutality, bellowing his anguish. Vilnus could sense his unending pain, the way it thundered through him, searing agony lacerating every bit of his being, constantly braced against it.
“Without order, there is chaos, and chaos only breeds destruction.”
Vilnus circled the boy that quivers, aches wracking his body.
“You will not understand my will, my acts, now. But one day you will, Krashu.” He stopped before him, facing his son. “What I did was to rid you of all that can hold you back. Defiance. Weakness. Instilling in you: endurance, strength, and the certainty of order. Who commands, and who obeys.”
Krashu thought he was right; he did not understand. The only thing he knew at that moment was abysmal agony. Now that, he understood.
“Your time to arise, comes soon, my son.” He sinks to his haunches and his cape bathes him in shadows, sieved with a mild burst of fiery sparks. “And I want you to be ready. You, my heir. Because of the sacrifices that will be made, you will inherit a better world. But sacrifices require blood and I intend to pay in full. You, Krashu, you are my legacy.”
The boy could not will himself to speak, ceaselessly straining against the pain, drowning in a pit of his own suffering.
Vilnus placed his hand beneath his chin and tilted his face upwards—the boy grimaced.
“Wisdom is nothing more than healed pain.” His talon delicately stroked over the skin. “Your true strength lies in your will, and only through tribulations does it sharpen the mind as whetstone sharpens a blade. And you are strong. And when you recover, you must be ready.”
Twitching, his brows pulled together.
“Instilling order. The world of the morals lacks this necessity, which is why their wicked inclinations have run rampant, killing their own for self-seeking ambitions.” Vilnus chuckles humourlessly. “And they call us monsters; the fiends. But to achieve this feat, I will need you at my side, ready, willing, and obedient. Your role in this glorious burden is integral.”
Vilnus drew away and rose above him. “Are you willing to serve me, my son?”
Krashu lowered himself onto all fours, bowing his head.