This Vale of Tears


This too shall pass.

Orthael rocked backwards, groping blindly for the presence of the All-Consumer, but he found naught but dreadful nothingness. He was alone, he could not live with his mere humanity, and the night seemed dark and deep and filled with terrors he could not face.

There was a brief, seemingly irrelevant clamour at the feet of a demon that was surely now beyond his power to defeat. It swept his only other ally aside without effort, fixed him in place with a stare as empty as death and spoke with a whisper that carried like the stench of death.

"All is but ash in the end, foolish mortal. Every flame dies, every edifice of man crumbles, every light fades. Varreniel cannot touch me, though I desecrate his realm, though his passion burns so heated and hateful. You had best begone, begone with the despair that I gift you with. Treasure its grip upon your heart, and remember me."

Judgement felt heavy as he trudged out of the square after the swordmaiden, watched by the unblinking eyes of the Dead.

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