Shadows of the Fall

Madness and pain strangled Trubo as he staggered into his quarters, his body feverish and drenched in sweat. The powerful forces shackling his will had begun to come undone, threatening to shatter his frail sanity as it unwillingly unraveled.

With the defeat of the mercenaries and the disappearance of the arcanists, all was now laid bare. The Crimson Wing had been driven back and the hold of Trubo’s new dark masters over him now slowly but agonizingly withdrew.

Now was Trubo’s chance to break free.

Collapsing to all fours, Trubo wrestled within himself. The seemingly untouchable and indestructible gem that hung around his taut neck glowed with a such a radiance as to illuminate  the whole of his quarters, attempting to reassert its forced control.

Then its surface began to split.

Feeling the tips of his fingers and nails grind painfully away as he strained and clawed against the stone floor, Trubo put forth his last effort.

Then in a single lucid moment, through sheer force of will, his eyes and nose shedding streams of blood, he cried in agony, peeling away the veil over his mind, revealing the will that had been stolen from him.

With a ringing sound as its ear piercing death wail, the brilliant blue gem cracked and finally shattered, its pieces releasing a thin blue smoke as their glow faded.

But when Trubo looked he did not find himself, he found only what the magic forced upon him had uncovered in its passing. Only the darkness, and the evil, and the malice of a merciless heart awaited him. His past, that in his lethargy, he had worked to subdue and forget, washed over him now in a wave of reawakened power, old atrocities, and memories of death and slaughter that he could never entirely escape from. The visage of his former self, a being of such mighty splendor and immense power, craving only the execution of its late masters will, erupted from the buried catacombs of Trubo’s mind, and reaching out its dark hand, seized Trubo by the very soul.

And this time, he could not resist.

Only a scant few moments passed before Trubo stood up, blinking and feeling his eyes adjust and his aching body settle, as if he had awoken from a long dream.

The door to his quarters opened, “Lord Emissary, I–”

Instinctively and without thought, Trubo turned and gripped the young servant by the throat and in a single gutwrenching pull, tore his windpipe out. The servant fell forward without a sound, his open neck pooling the stone with blood.

Pausing only to look at the broken piece of flesh he now held, Trubo looked up and left his quarters, smiling as felt old emotions return to him. Feelings of satisfaction, of a longing at last fulfilled.

None contested his going and before the moon had fully risen, Trubo had calmly strode into the forest, drawn to where he should have always been.