Did you ever meet the old Reaper?
No, not that young twit, the real one.
I stared into His eyes once.
Why? I wanted to die.
The story of that? Heh, you bard’s are scavengers.
He doesn’t have any eyes by the way. The Twin Abysses, that’s what I refer to them as. Infinite depths, blacker then the darkest caverns. The shrill screams of the fallen bled out from those empty sockets.
Hyperbole? Fool, I’ve been through the depths of this world. That’s how I found Him.
Aye, I went looking for Death, not the other way around.
I had heard the shrieks that fell from His face long before I met Him. Its what drove me to His altar.
I’ve done some wicked, evil shit in my life.
I guess Toernslaav of the Aranaea did wicked evil shit in his life.
Am I not that man? No, no after meeting with the Reaper I am not him.
No, I did not die, but Toernslaav, well he…ceased to exist.
You see, Toernslaav, he demanded the Reaper to take him. The Reaper did not deign to respond to such a demand. So Toernslaav became peeved. You see, dear bard, Toernslaav couldn’t handle the nightmares anymore. He couldn’t handle the wailing of defenceless mothers, the blank faces of the hundreds of dead children, the utter despair writ across the eyes of men who came home to the disgusting killing floor waiting for them.
Aye, you could say he finally developed a conscience. A guilty one. Not that it mattered. It only came about because of selfishness. He did not do seek to end his life out of a desire to right terrible wrongs.
So, he found himself in Death’s company. But Death was not cooperating. No matter how Toernslaav cursed, no matter how hard he struck the Reaper with his fists, Death would not abide. Only the deafening silent shrieks of those slain souls could be heard. It wasn’t until the coward Toernslaav whined, “Why Lord of Death, will you not take me?” did He deign to respond.
Did you know Death doesn’t have a mouth? What a crock of shit that ‘Death’s Smile’ is. It’s solid bone across where any man’s mouth would be.
What did He say? “Then take your own life, Toernslaav of the Aranaea, blackest of Gaoerslaav’s brood. For I do not take the unwilling. Are you so sick of it, to take it from yourself?”
That doesn’t make sense? Toernslaav thought that too. Here he was, begging Death to kill him, and He wouldn’t lift a finger.
Well, no I didn’t see if He had hands. His robes covered all the way down His arms. That’s besides the point.
No, I do not give a fuck about your story’s realism.
Toernslaav, was bewildered by Death’s pronouncement, but he had nowhere to go. So he sat with Death, and Death stood by his side. time did not stop, I daresay, but it definitely took upon a different pace. This whole time, Toernslaav thought about Death’s words, over, and over and over and over.
No, I’m not privy to these thoughts, for I came to be the same time that Toernslaav gripped His hand. It’s the one memory of his I do not have.
This is just a prelude, dear bard, to the tale of how the old Reaper fell.
For when Toernslaav took Death’s hand, a young, opportunistic and twisted goddess took action. Through a tale that is honestly too long for me to tell, nor one I want to particularly give all details to, a curse was born through Toernslaav’s broken soul, and it became a conduit for this young goddess to siphon the power of the Death god.
She now carries the souls of the dead within her, to this day. She also refers to me as her manservant.
Yes, I know Selah has taken His mantle up, but her sister is the one with the real power.
Why do I serve her? You see these spider web tattoos? These are not clan tattoos. Why the fuck would I make myself out to look like a godsdamned bandit? These are the just byproducts of her curse upon me.
These are my chains.
I haven’t slept since that day, you know. I don’t dream. I close my eyes, and oblivion just stares back at me.
I still hear their screams. I was the conduit after all, an echo of Him in a way.
Why the iron fist? Well Toernslaav’s hand was the only thing to truly die that day. Kali didn’t want a one handed manservant so she had one cast of star metal for me. Aye, star metal, though it looks no different than iron. Sure, you could describe me as a man with an iron fist. Sounds better then star metal handed man.
Who am I now? Heh.
I am…biding my time.
You ever hear of the scholar Eyrksonn? No? Well, he had a theory that godlings do not just come from the pantheon recreating itself at Their whim. No, he believed that some men, and women, of course, could through pure, determined will become godlings. That they could Ascend.
So you ask what I’m waiting for. And to that I will say this:
Chains can be broken. And I can hold a grudge like no other. The day you see me with skin clear of these fucking markings, I advise you to make yourself scarce, posthaste.
The old Reaper wasn’t the first Lord of Death.
Selah will not be the last.
You should be scared, bard.
Or should I say, Lady of the Lute?
Aye, I know you, godling.