Chapter 8

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Alone in some abysmal place on the astral plane, Uriel could feel the weight of the darkness bear down upon him. He could sense the Dark Ones there, lurking in the shadows, watching him. Thus it was for a great while. All that time, Uriel stood on the brink of hysteria waiting, just waiting. How much time had passed? A minute, an hour, a day? Weeks? How Uriel would have agreed with Bergson that time should not be measured by regular intervals but by durations!

Finally, Uriel sensed the first signs of the receding darkness. But as he reached out to the threads of light, his fears were realized. The sickening familiarity of the voice of the Dark Ones pierced the blackness. "You have performed well for us, little worm, by bringing one back who we will need to serve our future plans." Khyrhyelle's daughter? Uriel thought. "Did you not know? Your sacrifices only go to serve our ends." A peal of laughter was followed by the emergence of the goat-man. As the echoes of the laughter faded, Uriel unsuccessfully tried to look away from the creature's flaming eyes. "Allow me to introduce the one who awaits you. This is Ahrokh." The goat-man blended into the shadows as a mounted skeleton rode forth at the mention of his name. The mass of voices which issued from the SoulSlayer called out to Uriel. "Soon the time will come when you will be required to leave your fortress, mortal. Know that I will haunt you and shadow your every step." The intensity of the flaming eyes increased. "I shall savor your demise. Though I must save you for my masters I will consume the essence of every living thing with you."

A forceful gale blew away the darkness and Uriel found himself looking into the grey sky of a clouded day. Out of the clouds, high atop a snow-covered mountain, came a haggard-looking old man clutching a staff. The remnants of the old man's cloak whipped about as powerful winds threatened to cast him to his death. But he remained steadfast. Above the tumultuous roar of the winds, Uriel could somehow hear him speak. "Do not listen to their words Uriel, for they seek to confuse you. It is you who needs the young witch Arhyvhynne. Believe in yourself and know that you have the power to not only withstand them but defeat them." As clouds descended upon the ancient one, Uriel lost sight of him. But he could still hear the blind man's words. "I await your visit which will grant my release."


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