Out of the Void
A large black crow flew down to where a freshly covered grave appeared. It was shallow leaving an all to human feature for the world to witness. A few ribs could be seen sticking out of the earth as if a fly trap coaxing a fly. Except it was a crow smelling the carrion beneath the shallow dirt. It looked rather old in its protest, but with a striking feature not seen this side of Wemar. A crow with white eyes. It landed softly onto Berens grave where it folded it wings and cocked its eyes as it walked the dirt between the upright ribs and hallow chest. Were none the wiser one would assume a hasty burial or a quick coverage to a murderous crime. Yet the crow did not care as he simply dug at the dirt with his talons and let out a caw.
Beren heard the caw of the crow. Yet it was dispatched and almost faint. All around him he felt the sensation of loneliness and nothing. And with every passing second, he felt himself drift away from the mortal realm as the emotions that kept his spirit in tact were dwindling. He had felt this sensation first as he died, right up until he met his demise against the pit of black twisted arms and screams. The only thing he sensed was his being and his single oneness amongst a void pulling at him from every side. It was in fact peaceful and tranquil were it not for his burning hatred that kept his soul together.
The same rage that burned and scared his soul together were beginning to bust at the seams from sheer hopelessness. He knew better to trust an outsider let alone give his enemy his back. He hated himself with sheer frustration for not knowing how to fight and depending on his wail to get him through. It felt like despair had finally hit his being as he began to slowly see a color. It looked familiar in that it was the same color in that tunnel not so long ago, from whence he was sacrificed.
Beren did not fight it, in fact he welcomed it out of spite for his despair and helplessness. And much like how it started it began to end as the gray colored tunnel opened up in the vast void. It was the only object around the vast expanse of Beren. It was shaped in a way that appeared cylinder yet encompassing in on itself as if an artistic illusion. It was rather mesmerizing were it not for the fact of its sheer magnitude and size. As if a sailor falling into a great body of water whose being was minuscule to its sheer foreboding extent of the sea. Beren felt his soul shiver as the object grew closer slowly, only giving proof to its forbidding proportions. He felt not peace, but a strange sensation of burning hatred and rage emanating from the object. He stared wide eyed as the object stopped in its slow travel and arranged itself to show a long tunnel. The dimension made Beren sick as he could not calculate the absurdity of the depth being both shallow and extended. A comprehension of his senses and perception evaded him as he felt an all to familiar tug at his soul.
Peering within, a gush of sound arose around him as a multitude of screams both of anguish and sheer hatred encompassed him. They felt human in nature and antagonized Beren to his very wits. Yet he could not look away from the tunnel. Clasping his ears, the screaming did not end nor subside the noise. The only thing assisting the madness was the end of the tunnel. It was the same as it was before. A large mass of tar like hands extending from a red dot. It was hideous and had an all-consuming nature not akin to anything he knew as a mortal. This was not the celestial of death coming to take his soul, no this was something foreign and vile in nature. Something escaped from the clutches of hell lingering in a place he did not fully comprehend.
Much like the day he was sacrificed, long extending tar like arms extended from the tunnel and latched themselves onto Beren coating his red auraed soul with black ness. He felt the anguish, despair and utter rage fill his being. It sent him into a frenzy as he felt his soul no longer wish to expand into the void but rather contort in on itself as if being absorbed, imploded into an array of grief, sorrow and scornful rage. The screams and cries of heartache did not wain nor cease as Beren felt his being get tugged slowly into the maws of hatred itself. This was going to be his ending and undoing both in life and death. One would say his life flashed before his eyes, but this was different. There was no redemption nor a satisfying end to his revenge upon the mortal realm. A quiet ending for a vengeful spirit surrounded by similar exploits of screams and sorrows. The concept of time held no sway over Beren as the arms encircled around Beren continued to slowly pull him into the tunnel. Once they touched him, he lived in a transition of time being both in the present past and the encroaching future. It was almost euphoric were it not for the sense of impeding dread as Beren could only assume the worst when he reached the center of the red dot.
The sound of the same crow echoed all around him though rather faint. The screams and cries of sorrow still sounded off with no remorse for his psyche as it slowly drove him mad with both terror and hatred. He could not look away from the mass at the end of the tunnel but knew he had to. The red dot encircled for a mass of black arms only coaxing him further.
The crow sounded off again this time louder as though Beren was concentrating on it. He found enough courage within himself to close his eyes and struggle with every fiber in his burning red soul. The part of his exposed soul not encompassed by the black hand tendrils was the only thing he could move. From his waist upward, he shivered as he used both of his arms and began hitting himself in the abdomen. He was not sure what his intentions were, but he knew he was already dead. And separating his spirit from the latched portion would be his only salvation. He felt no pain as he continued to hit his abdomen while the looming threat ahead of him continued to pull him forward.
He heard it again this time, except with a clear concise tone. The fact of Beren keeping his eyes closed, helped keep a tether to the body back in the mortal realm. Grimacing and focusing on that one sound he struck himself and felt a shudder run through him. As though the ties keeping his soul intact were coming undone instead of imploding in on itself. Hitting once more in his abdomen he witnessed himself begin to crack. As if his soul was a clay cup made by an inexperienced potter. Opening his eyes he looked once more in the tunnel as the hands began to pull quicker the red dot appearing larger the closer he got. Tightening his lips, he hit himself once more as cracks appeared all around the top of his body. Chips of himself began to float off like flaky skin. Then it began. His whole body from his head to his toes simply cracked apart and fell into thousands of broken red shards. There was no sense of gravity as they all simply floated away as if to a simpler place across the great void. Yet it was different this time.
Beren could still hear the caw but it was if it was split amongst thousands of ears and eyes. He knew where he was yet could not place where the rest of him was located. It felt surreal as though he had grown tens of thousands of eyes that he could peer out of. A pain struck him as a few shards began getting swallowed up by the great gray tunnel. The long tar like hands grabbing at each spec as if a hungry predator. A sense of fear overcame him as he concentrated on the crow as he attempted to open his eye not in this realm but in the next. The sensation was the same except magnified ten fold. With the ever pressing sensation of slowly being devoured as he began to feel a cold sensation wash over him as his soul fragments slowly phased back into reality.
He felt a sneer as a tendril attempted to pull him back out of the mortal plane but breathed a sigh figuratively as he opened his eyes to see green grass and a burnt village. His astonishment hit his ego however as he noticed a plethora of small glowing red orbs encircling him as if fire flies. Looking down he noticed a glowing red aura was emanating from the ground where his body was located. Concentrating he knew a part of his soul, perhaps a larger portion was inhabiting it. He knew this as he could sense dirt and the pressure of the crow atop his grave digging at the ground trying to get at the flesh below. Were it not for the cycle of life and a scampering crow he would have been banished and absorbed into oblivion. Closing his eyes, he concentrated on all the soul fragments around him as they slowly began to collapse back onto his visible soul. Beren even appeared dull as blotches of black could be spotted around his body even missing a limb and chunks of soul misplaced. Yet these obscurities relapsed as his soul slowly collided together forging his form into the red aura it once was. He eyed his grave and decided to keep the larger portion of his soul in the ground. As if knowing removing the peice his soul would deteriorate the corpse Vex had supplied for him. He could not move the body as it felt hallow as if missing a magical drive. Yet it also felt disorientating as he felt two pieces of himself separated.
Beren bellowed as the air around him vibrated, terrifying the crow off into the sky in a frenzy. A few feathers falling off as they fell to the grave before him. Taking his gaze back towards the woods he knew he would have to assist Vex. Hoping he would not be too late he levitated forward, his feet dangling but a few inches above the ground. He eyed the sky as it appeared to be in the late afternoon, the sun already attempting its decline into the horizon.
The events that had unfolded before Beren gave him minor resolve as he felt an all to eager sensation run through him. The same sensation he knew he would have to use for the coming trials. Not only was he destined to obliterate both the mage and preacher. But also enact in his feud against the one known as Ragnar, if not kill him outright if he deemed it necessary. His thoughts evaded him as he thought the worse of Vex’s not being able to win nor Riken being able to put up a fight. Grimacing as he levitated onward, he leaned forward slightly and willed himself to move faster. The sensation of movement while a spirit had always felt awkward and inhuman. He had attempted to move with his legs but found himself stagnating in the air haphazardly. In honesty he could only will himself forward as if moving to a specific spot on the mortal plane in increments. Squinting his eyes, he dug deep inside of him to move quicker as he simply phased through large tree trunks and over waist high brush. This side of the forest was still rather clean cut as he accounted for a few stumps and cleared brush in the vicinity. Yet as he neared the thicker part of the forest, he knew he was getting closer, for the light from the sun dwindled as the tower trees greeted him with their monstrosity. As a mortal this sight would have sent shivers down his spine, but he no longer faltered at such meager mortal fears. He knew true terror and true rage, and that inspiration was something no one could hope to understand. Beren’s aura glowed brighter as he clenched his jaw shut, feeling his movement grow quicker towards his destination.
Though the trek through the woods took ample time Beren arrived as the sun had began to set. He could dictate the time it took running through the woods with Ragnar and simply phasing through clutter was faster. However, his train of thought ended as he heard an odd slobbery munching sound. He was still some yards out of the crypt, but he recognized the clearing as he approached. The little sunlight coming through helped give off an eerie white glow from the crypt tomb that he had been inhabiting with Vex. He was not sure how he would combat Ragnar but knew in the back of his mind he would have to attempt his wail, or for better or worse try and posses his body. He entered the small clearing of the crypt to see a burly hunched over figure his back to him, with grotesque bramble horns growing out from side to side. His heart sank as he was unsure what exactly the creature was let alone whose side it was one. Approaching he heard the god-awful sound of the creature sucking and slurping as he moved his head side to side with both hands to his face. His back was hairy with visible protruding ribs showing and a bone like tail extending from his lower back. Not hearing Ragnar float closer the creature continued to feast as it simply threw a broken hand off to his side as he reached closer to the ground where he appeared to be biting off something. Finally feeling his courage Beren levitated over, figuratively holding his breath as he strafed to the side to get a better look.
Were his heart able to beat with adrenaline it would have done so. For laying unmoving with dazed quivering eyes was Ragnar. He appeared to be alive by the rise and fall of his chest and the erratic movement of his eyes. Beren watched in horror as the beast with an all too human skull broke off Ragnar’s hand a few inches up into his forearm. Ragnar did not respond but laid there quietly and obedient as the beast savored his meal. The creature after breaking the hand off put it into his mouth before sitting back down and caressing Ragnar’s cheek as if an infant.
This scenario did not play out in his head. In fact, he expected Ragnar to defeat everyone here leaving only him to safeguard the crypt. But this was different, whoever this creature happened to be both vile and inhuman. Beren thought back on how Ragnar stated that Riken could be a Wendigo. Tightening his lips his thoughts evaded him as he approached with an open hand toward the creature.
Lost soul, pretty soul so far from home
Beren stopped but feet from the beast’s right shoulder as it slowly turned its head in an awkward yet slow jerky motion. A sinister smile spread across his skeletal face as sharp carnivorous teeth held the flesh of Ragnar’s hand in place. His voice sounded like a child’s yet off as it echoed around him ending each word with a rather deep boom in its throat. As if it was attempting to mimic human speech.
“Riken?” Beren asked softly as the air shimmered around him barely caressing the winds past him as they connected with Riken.
Awaken, but feast I shall for now
The beast stated his mouth opening and closing clearly not matching the words being spoken. The flesh in his mouth being swallowed in the process. Nodding Beren stepped back as he turned around to see Vex holding her side while sitting on a grave stump. A bloody nose and black fatigued eyes present as she eyed the situation with a nonchalant look, her grimoire sitting neatly in her lap.
“Vex?” Beren asked as he floated over his hands held at his side as he eyed her injuries. The air shimmering and blowing past her as her long white hair waved slightly. It took a moment, but she slowly moved her eyes to Beren with a rather annoyed expression. Her nose stiffening and squinting pygmy’s eyes giving obvious proof.
“You are going to have question I am assured.” She stated with a huff as she twirled her dagger around in her hand, the other resting atop her grimoire. “Presently we need to subdue Riken, before he goes on a rampage. Human flesh is a delicacy to him and it tends to send him into a frenzy.” She stated as she eyed Beren with a weak smile. “I knew you would return, I have a theory that you are now more than a spirit.” She stated before looking back towards the indulging Riken and helpless Ragnar being feasted upon.
Beren looked back to Riken, surprised that he may in fact be a wendigo yet felt better of it to ask in such a time. He clenched his fist somewhat satisfied in a sickening way to see Ragnar suffer and to never be able to grasp anything with his hands again. A thought occurred to him however as he recalled Ragnar’ mention the mages name. Covon. Looking back to Vex he attempted to mouth some words but was given a finger as she closed her eyes shaking her head.
“No he wont die…yet. I still have questions of my own, but if you want answers you are going to have to bear with me.” She stated as she pointed towards Riken and shouted in a language foreign to Beren’s ears. The sound of the language sounded off with a violating and brash tone that made Beren grow a distaste for it.
As mother asks
Riken stated as he threw the other partially eaten hand to the ground before standing up to his ten-foot height. A forbidding size that would strike true fear and terror into any mere mortal’s mind. Flesh and blood oozing from his mouth while his long arms hung low, his claw boney hands twitching as if excited. Vex continued her speech as she appeared to give Riken orders, who in turn simply grabbed the unmoving body of Ragnar across his shoulder like a bag of flour. Vex eyed Ragnar with a crooked smile.
“I have to restore Riken to his slumbering state. We are paying the Fae of the woods a visit tomorrow.” She stated as she stood up and made her way towards the crypt, her limp and sluggish walk making her situation more the pitiful. Beren, having many questions however but followed in pursuit. Riken not far behind holding Ragnar over his shoulder. Beren heard the name Fae get thrown around but had only heard of them in legend. He knew they were the first race to walk on the earth that secluded themselves to a landmass out in the ocean untouched by man. He felt a sense of doom as Riken shrugged Ragnar’s body into a pile of dead corpses before he himself grabbed a bone and began licking it in an unsavory fashion. While Vex threw herself into a straw bed completely unphased by the events that had transpired. Beren stood there knowing he was unable to sleep with so many questions unanswered. And even if he could, the sight of quite possibly a wendigo and a vile pygmy were not something someone would call a dreamscape lullaby. No, this was no longer a path for a mortal to overcome. He had that sacrificed as dream long ago. This was but one step in a long line of revenge. One step into a world untouched by man and forgotten all the same.