Rise, mortal, and look upon he who you have so desperately sought. The voice is deep, and seems to echo slightly, as though coming from a distant place. Mezare opens his eyes and sees he is still in the fire, but it is no ordinary fire. The flames are a dark purple that does not burn but cools his skin and seems to kiss his flesh. Although Mezare feels no pain, he sees the same flames dance across Farelts body and slowly engulf it, dissolving it into the same nothingness they sprang from. Floating above the flames is a small orb of the same color. A slit appear down the orb, and it opens to reveal an eye. An eye that looks identical to Farelts.
“No! Anyone but you! You are dead! I killed you!”
Of course you did. I am not your friend fool. I just share his eyes, or more accurately, he shares mine. There is no life in the eyes of those who bring death to the world. His eyes were not always so, but mine have been for a time longer than you have words to describe.
“Then who are you? What are? Who do I speak with?”
I go by many names, none of which are of your concern. Know only that you speak to a Dark God. Be proud mortal, you are one of a select few. Others can only hope to call upon a creature or servant of my realm in their lifetime. Few possess the knowledge to call upon a Dark God, and you are just one of three to have conjured me personally. Let us hope you fare better than they.
“Why? What happened to those before me?” After he speaks, he regrets asking. Mezare realizes how weak he appears. How afraid he looks. How afraid heis. And the answer will no doubt shake his resolve further.
Hmmm, do I detect a lack of confidence? Or, is it fear? Well, if you must know, one asked to see his parents long lost to death, so I brought them to life before him, and watched as they mindlessly tore him to shreds. Zombies tend to be a bit violent, but he only asked to see them again, so he had no reason to be displeased. The other wished to live forever and what lives longer than a name, especially one written in stone? There is no doubt you will still find it atop his grave. Learn from their mistakes friend, and let their deaths bring about some sort of benefit. But you did not call me to learn a lesson in trickery, though it is one of the most beneficial you could learn. What do you seek from me?
Mezare stands a bit more confidently, for he will not appear weak to the very being he brought to this world. The painter does not fear his masterpiece.
“I wish for a gift.”
Of course you do, that is what everyone wants. Be more specific my friend.
“The darkness is in the details. I am no fool. If I give you anything more than that, you will turn it against me, as you have done to those who came before me. I will not be grouped with failures and simpletons. A gift by its very nature is beneficial, and the only addition I will add to this is that it is to be beneficial by human standards.” Mezare smiles, for what victory could be sweeter than one against an undefeated opponent.
Hmm, you are quite brilliant aren’t you? Some think their wishes foolproof, and fewer think at all. Fine, I will give you a gift. But before I give you the gift, what would you say is your worst problem? What would you hope to be rectified from this gift?
“I have already told you, I will give you nothing more.”
This is not a part of your wish, and is just for my curiosity. You answer will change nothing. Please, humor me.
Mezare hesitates, for he is unsure what to do. The thing before him says that this is just out of curiosity, but he could be lying. Nothing could guarantee he was not, and it was certainly within his nature to do so. But Mezare worries he will be given a gift he cannot use, for beneficialisquite a broad term, and may not be good enough. A great risk, but a greater reward. He makes his choice.
“Lack of power. That is my greatest strife.”
As is so many others, or at least that is what they believe, but no, that is not what inhibits you my friend.
“If you were going to disagree with me, then why ask in the first place?” Mezare realizes he has raised his voice, and is growing impatient.
I ask this to see if you know what you have asked for, and as expected, you do not. You say you lack power, but how can that be true? You have summoned a God! What could be more prominent display of power? But, nevertheless, you answer power. You hope to gain even more, enough so that you will surpass all those who have hurt you, make them grovel like dogs at your feet. A better answer would have been for happiness, or friends. You appear to lack those.
Mezare tries to interrupt, but wisps of flame leap from the ground and cover his mouth, seeming to solidify so he cannot speak. The cooling sensation is no longer pleasant, and seems to seep into his body. He imagines it is a feeling akin to drowning.
Do not interrupt. How can you hope to learn if you do not listen? Now how is it you know you are not as good as they? Because you are self-aware. You feel, you react, and worst of all, you can think of yourself and your place in the world. This is not a personal problem. All of mankind suffers in this way, and all seek to rid themselves of suffering. So, logically, your greatest problem is that you are aware of your shortcomings, and of others strengths. So my greatest gift could be to rid you of that burden. Do you know what I could give you to relieve you of that burden? Speak.
As the flames releases him, Mezare takes a step back. His confidence has been washed away by the cold flames.
“What? No? I want power, just give me power!”
Oh no. You insisted you were far too advanced, far too wise, to be tricked by the likes of me, a mere God! No, you wished for a beneficial gift. And that is what I offer. There is only one gift that can satisfy you. And that is the gift of madness.
Mezare cannot hide from fear now. It makes his heart slam in his chest, claws its way through his stomach, brings sweat to his palms and chills to his flesh. He turns and runs for the door. He tries to open it, but the wind has come back, and somehow shifted to work against him and prevent his escape. He cannot move it. He beats and pounds with all his might, clawing at the door until his nails are torn away and blood stains the old oak door. All this is accompanied by a laughter more sinister and cruel than anything he has ever heard before, even in his darkest nightmares. He steps back and tries to conjure flames to burn away the barrier, but the violet fires reach out and engulf his face once more, preventing him from speaking. This time, he does not speculate on how they seem to drown him, for now he is sure that they flood his lungs. They turn him around and he sees that the cold eye has transformed into a new figure.
Before him stands the shadow of a man, but it flickers, darkens and fades, as though power surges through it and makes it unstable. Its hand glows with a dark red energy. It steps forward and Mezare fights with all the strength he has to escape the cruel chains of flame that bind him. The figure reaches forward with the glowing hand and moves towards Mezare.
Here is your gift my friend. Do not fear it, for it is a truly wonderful boon, and you should be grateful. You will never know fear, anger, or doubt. Just the sweet embrace of mindlessness.
Mezare watches as the light comes closer and closer until it reaches his face. Even though he is bound and doubts he will be heard, he manages to utter one terrible scream as the darkness envelopes him.