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The Darkness had no shape, no form.
Likewise, he was. Though he had a form, constantly shifting as it may be.
He sat with his hands that were not hands behind his back, in the same position where he had remained for millennia.
An eternity came and went in the timeless, shapeless prison.
His face that was not a face grinned a grin that was not a grin.
His hands that were not hands dropped a pair of pitted silver manacles into the Darkness around him.
Now, he was free.
His hands that were not hands moved in complex patterns. After timeless eons, the Darkness that surrounded him relented the slightest bit, but that was all he needed. His fingers that were not fingers grabbed onto the small crack of light. Ere more countless eons, the great battle finished--or perhaps started--and he stepped through the blinding light.
When his eyes adjusted, he found himself in a small basement lit only by whatever light managed to filter through the crack under the door. He shook himself and started up the stairs.
The poor woman never had a chance. A wave of solid dark washed over her, absorbing her energy. He grinned as his form solidified into that of a pale-skinned human wearing impossibly dark robes.
"Thank you, my dear," his voice came, as deep as the oceans and as smooth as silk. "You have no idea how much your sacrifice will change the course of history."
He paused. His words sounded trite and meaningless somehow.
"More?" he questioned her mummified corpse. "Yes, more. I require another tribute."
The close observer might have noticed that there was something odd about the man running down the streets of Boston, but most of them would dismiss it to the man's height. Indeed, at 7'2", the man's height would have stood out in any crowd. Some few of those observers might even have noticed that he wore a full suit of plate armor. Fewer still would notice his blue skin and grey eyes. But despite how much he stood out, no one could remember seeing him.
Yet the only thing that Tyngval noticed was the grave look in the man's eyes.
"Elluway," he says, a serious look in his sparkling blue eyes. "Sit down. Have some tea. You look tense."
Tyngval, himself, is also a tall man, though his 6’7” frame was dwarfed by Elluway’s. His hair was long, straight, and grey, not a single piece was out of place; his beard, on the other hand, was a tangled knot of snarls and whirls. His robes were a deep sapphire, and they hung from his thin frame like a jacket hangs from a coatrack.
"Tyngval Nicodemus Wizard," Elluway begins, standing stiffly at attention.
"Master of the Wizard's Council, Head Magic-User in The League of Fables," Tyngval interrupts, setting down the cup of tea in his hand. "Blah, blah, blah. Etc. I know who I am. You ought to loosen up a little, Elluway. You know--"
"Sir," Elluway interrupts right back. "With all due respect, this is urgent."
Tyngval pauses. It is rare for Jonna Elluway to allow any breach in etiquette, much less make one himself. In all of the years that he had known the elf, he had never once seen him interrupt anyone. He leans closer.
"Alright then," Tyngval says. "Out with it."
"He's escaped," comes Elluway's panicked voice. "Morgrath has escaped."
"That's not possible," Tyngval's voice seems to beg, as if wishing it away would make it disappear. "I cast him into the Dark myself. I cast the binding spell on his manacles myself. There is no way that he could be out."
"The Wizard's Council humbly requests your presence at the scene of the crime. I have been sent to show you where that is."
Tyngval starts to reach out, his hand a claw, then stops.
"If you wouldn't mind," he says, more a statement than a question. "Speed is of the essence."
He waits for Elluway to nod his approval and then places his hand around Elluway's forehead.
"Fromki ellus manten," he mutters quickly, giving the spell the necessary energy. "Fromkin ellus mantui."
A glow bridges the gap between Tyngval's hand and Elluway's forehead.
There. Tyngval sees a burst of memories enter his head.
The summons from the Wizard's Council. The Council room, mostly empty, where they gave the news. The street address that they gave, 196 Maverick St.
"Swift lowat, swift lowantum," Tyngval mutters again, expending more energy as he and Elluway disappear.
Tyngval and Elluway appear on the street outside of a brown-brick building nestled between two white buildings. There are already other members of the Council standing around waiting.
“Tyngval!” calls one. “The evidence is through here!”
He leads Tyngval through the house and into the kitchen. It is clear that someone had interrupted the victim while she was cooking. A half-chopped carrot lies on a cutting board. A pot had boiled over, spilling pasta onto the stove and water onto the floor--the floor where the body lay. Tyngval glances at the man sitting on a couch in the living room.
“What has he been through?” Tyngval asks his guide, averting his eyes from the horrible scene before him. “The standard gauntlet?”
“Not yet, sir,” the guide, Emerson, replies. “Walden thought that we should get as much information from him as possible before…”
“I understand. I know there is a certain moral repugnancy in playing with memories, but sometimes there is no better option.” Tyngval glances back at the gore and sweeps his hand over it. “In this case, do you think that it is better for him to remember this, or to remember his wife as she once was?”
“I’m sorry, sir.” Emerson bows. “I know that it can be necessary- -Is necessary- -but I don’t like it.”
“Nor do I,” Tyngval says, patting Emerson on the back. “Now, I must examine the body.”
The woman’s desiccated corpse looks as though it had been mummified and buried thousands of years prior, but Tyngval knows better.
“Fromki sentet manten," he mutters quickly, taking in the scene before him. "Fromkin sentet mantui."
Tyngval’s eyes glow as magical energies and their residues appear before him. The amount of residue in the room is only slightly higher than normal.
He turns to look at the body and collapses.
The Darkness was all around him.
It permeated the air, his thoughts, even the very core of his being. He was caught in a vice-grip, and it refused to relinquish its hold.
He fought against the Darkness, but it was, and he could do nothing to change it.
He muttered words of power, trying to gather his energy for a spell to bring light, to cast the Darkness away.
But the spell didn’t work- -couldn’t work- -in this Dark, this antithesis of light, the emptiness outside of time.
He tried again, but the Dark fed on his energy, strengthening its grip.
He cried out for mercy, but none came.
Far away, a man in dark robes laughs.Part 2