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Darkness Incarnate

A Cold, Dark World . . .

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[i]Shall I ever fall into the light, let my soul be burned with eternal blight[/i]

Might there be another way to divinity than righteousness? Might there be another way to the god plane than through acts of good will and kindness . . . and faith? Might there be a way to holiness through the enrapturing touch, both physical and mental, of flesh and its constant torment; through desecration and murderous dreams made manifest? Perhaps through genocide and hate for the common man, woman, and child, the path to damnable salvation would be at hand. If only these humans had the heart for it.

He near balked at the thought, how weak they were. All of them, their minds and hearts were lost in greed; albeit a not so different greed than his own, but nonetheless, they lusted after useless things. Certainty being one of them, infallible and impermanent as it inherently was. And how the humans spoke, it’s as if they talk so as not to listen, and for no other reason. Yet have any of them come to possess what they thought they wanted? Nay. Though those such as himself, or his friends, were not excluded from this flaw, for in his reckoning it seemed none of them had accomplished or gained whatever it was they wanted. For like he, they were left wanting and in desire of things; persistent in striving to improve . . . yet, all of it, for what? That in itself, that there was any question or doubt, proved to Cyan that there was a conundrum in existence, and as such it was all the more reason to bring to an end all of existence. There had to be a way, for all of it. How could there not?

These were his thoughts and ponderings as Cyan walked deep in thought through the streets of Orisia carelessly, yet with an outward look of peace and feigned enjoyment by appearances, he made his way inconspicuously through the capital city, carrying himself in a more controlled manner than his thoughts now were.

He had not heard word, felt nor detected the presence of those he had come to hold dear in ways, as they had become like kin in allegiance, to him at least. And they were gone. Their absence drove him mad. Here he was, stuck, proverbially, on a planet he cared little for, and he knew not were to go. He knew not how far must be traversed to reach them again, and he knew not where throughout the cosmos they had gone to. It was all wasted time and centuries here in the end, that’s what it represented to him; the silence was deafening and heavy all at once and disturbingly so.

And here he was left on his own in this world, with the likes of the Black Queen, a seeming fa├žade carrying a name that was not befitting, or so impression as given by her daughter Dollya led him to believe. To go by such a name, and Dollya to be the daughter, and yet neither proclaim, let alone embrace, their inherent natures being evil. How he had been brushed off that night because of his darker and more deadly nature led him to want to raise an army and to lead it to war on Orisia. Such would be impossible, however, in this world filled with cowards.

A sigh escaped him then, and this could also be seen physically by any who would perhaps be paying attention to him, though he doubted any were despite his walking in black from head to toe, including his hair. He looked nigh like death, benighted of life and its sensation and feelings, and so he was. Pleasures of flesh, spirit, and mind are not oft felt, and left to fall to the wayside in an existence of sin and murder. Through life’s disease, he sought to prevail and become the cure for all who suffered from it. Cyan wished to find the means to end it all, since he could never have it all anyway. It was a pointless endeavor, to try and conquer the spirits of those whose spirits were broken until strife roused those spirits to burn anew. No, it was better to seek ways to end all of existence without igniting the flames of the souls of the humans, who could thereby bring about miracles through their souls and faith in false god’s. No, it was better to simply slaughter them. All of them.

He continued to think these things as he wandered the streets for what seemed to be the beginnings of an indefinite stroll, as he might even become like a myth; “The walking man in black whom none know.” Edited by Darkness Incarnate

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He had walked for about an hour or so before finally growing bored of it all, having thought of a great deal of things based on his observations made in the streets. How these humans had boyfriends, or girlfriends, and how they fucked each other like swine fleshed plague, reproducing by the droves. There was no need for them. Not here. Not anywhere. Once refuse, always refuse. They just had the bliss of ignorance in their ability to not know how putrid they really were. “Atra’Lamia . . .” would be uttered forth from his lips as he walked around still, making his way down this street, or up that one, aimlessly on his path to nowhere.

His thoughts had dwelled upon her often, yet he felt her absence like the weight of god’s will upon the wings of angels; she was gone, far, far away from here. He could probably find her, but if she had left it had to be with reason, and he did not wish to pursue one who had gone for her own reasons unspoken. He knew them not, and assumed he was not meant to know her current activities and carried out plots, as he assumed she would be doing something of note. Apparently, however, it was ‘eyes only’, so to speak, and not for the knowing of him.

How tragic. His favorite creature to watch when she worked, had gone off into the abyssal expanse of space seemingly, and had traversed such a great distance so as to become less than easily detectable by even one such as he. How far she had gone, and where, were things he could not know, yet as he wandered these streets he felt a need for her here, as if she were his muse in murderous destruction and perhaps even other things. And his muse was gone.

Why had she gone? Had he never been an ally of hers? Was he, too then, like these humans, and naught but refuse? Was he even worth remembering? Was he some fleeting memory she longed to leave in the past? These things plagued his mind as the humans plagued all of existence, and yet he could not free himself from them just as he could not free existence from all the humans. As he was now making his way out of town, walking beyond the fringes of the city after a time, and into the surrounding villages, he wanted to scream out to Atra’Lamia, the Goddess, for her to hear his voice.

But he would not scream out. Not for his call to go unanswered once more. She had left him to fall to the wayside, seemingly, not welcome to be a part of her games and plotting’s which ended life so whimsically at times, and purposefully at others. As enticing as the possibility of her actually appearing was . . . No, he did not think she would wish for him to try and summon her. His last attempt had gone unanswered . . . He was alone, on a filthy planet filled with filthy and even more decadent people than most planets he had been to ever possessed.

This world was a foul place, filled with fools and those even more foolish, who thought they had a grasp on the control of things as they operated their systems of control. All of them held to intangible dreams of power and views of their place in this world, when it could not be less true, that each and every one of those who dwelled upon this terra firma were all trash. He walked at a faster pace then, as he made his way beyond the edge of the village and into the woods, where none could see him, though perhaps find him, some could. Why would they though, after casting him aside? If they showed up at his proverbial doorstep, would it be with invitation to join in the fun held in hand, or would it be with an empty face and silent words unspoken they might meet, having nothing left to say?

His thoughts dwelled on Malice, briefly, as he pondered where he might have gone, as well. They had all gone, and it was likely they would never return. Cyan figured then he may as well self-destruct mentally, and go about casting the first stone, as it were, and spread lies to draw attention of those old friends to himself, as he besmirched their names with his own words and falsities. But that was perhaps to come later. For now, he would merely remain silent and in loathing of those who had left him behind as less than nothing, with no word of where or why.

Who could say? If he saw Atra’Lamia again, he might try and fight her seriously like he had all those centuries ago. One of them should die, he thought. All the better if it was him and not her, for he found little desire to dwell here in this state of existence any longer, and if he could not enjoy existing than he would find a way to end it. He had to. Edited by Darkness Incarnate

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Perhaps his mind was focused on the wrong things, with him dwelling on the past rather than the present? It was a worthwhile consideration to make, as he walked deeper into the forest and came finally to a stream that flowed through. Cyan came to a stop and merely stood where he had halted, looking upon the flowing water, thinking of its similarities to time, by perception or otherwise. How it could not be stopped by a pebble was what struck him as most meaningful, especially that the very same pebble was still capable of making waves, though small ones at that.

He wondered if he should let go of those allies in the past, and let it all fall away as nothing but the past, the foundation of now. The bustling of the leaves in the wind picked up just as the wind itself did, and he was overcome for a moment in a mesmerizing sensation filled flow of sound as he stood there with black hair and garments both whipping about in the wind, as if a tempestuous presence had come to visit him in response to his thoughts, leaving interpretation up to Cyan.

Perhaps the way to go was back, to the Black Queen’s castle, and meet her and see what she was for his own eyes, and not leave his judgments of her to be influenced by a mere daughter of hers? Cyan considered this for a moment as he stood there, and the rising wind and whooshing sound of the branches in response began to die down. He scarcely noticed it, standing there in resolved, deep thought.

Might it be so plain, so simple? He needed only to return to whence he had just came and he would find a new path, perhaps? It seemed viable enough, as he stood there still watching the flowing of the stream, considering still further possibilities from outside the flow of time; possibilities he had already taken advantage of in his past which was the future for the here and now. He would not do that again, though, as it was something that required nigh infinite energy to do, and had undesired effects on the variable path in time one arrived at, which would account for his current plight.

A fish jumped out of the water then, interrupting his moment of being entranced by the water's flow with its sudden emergence from the relative depths, but it was enough to bring him back to the here and now. Cyan closed his eyes and thought over each of the various options before him, and he after a time came to decide that he would make his way back to the Black Queen’s court, and see her for himself this time. With that concluded, he turned, making his way down the very same path he had come, out of the forest he had walked fairly deeply into.

With his pace he carried, of which no human could match and only the most astute would be aware, it would take him about thirty minutes still to make it back to the walls of Versilla, and perhaps another thirty, at this busy time of day, to make it through the streets to Castle DuGrace again. Where he was certain he was still welcome, but if not, than that would prove most interesting, to say the least.

It did not take Cyan long to make his way outside of the forest and to be crossing the open fields that were rather freshly tilled, looking like a shadow speeding across open fields quite like an impression of death to any who could perceive or detect him. His steps in rapid succession fell upon the soil of a well-worn road at last, out here in the midst of the expanse of the villages surrounding the city, where he fell into route of the city walls.

As he traversed the distance with ease, he passed by an old woman like an invisible wind with no apparent source, giving her a fright which was insignificant to him; it certainly failed to please him, startling a human that way. Cyan next passed by a caravan of people bringing goods, and in his passing resulted in throwing their horses into a panicked frenzy that cost the merchant many of his goods. This, on the other hand, amused Cyan slightly, as it was a demonstration of chaos in action.

He finally reached the walls of the city, and slipped in through the open doors beside an unsuspecting entrant. Cyan went ‘round a corner and then immediately emerged walking at an average human pace as he pressed onward, making his way down fairly familiar streets, as he turned this way and that on his way. It took him a while longer, but he eventually made his way to the gated walls surrounding the castle, and he walked purposefully up to the gates, guards on either side, and he spoke matter-of-factly, “I am Cyan Nightbane . . . I am here for an audience with the Black Queen, Gabriela DuGrace. Please make her aware of my arrival.” Is all he would say, as he looked to each guard with a stare that made even the stoutest human warrior lose his resolve and composure. Edited by Darkness Incarnate

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[FONT=Garamond][COLOR="#000000"][box]Irene Gabriela DuGrace[/box]

The two guards posted at the gate wouldn’t have stopped him. The DuGrace Castle was known for always having its doors open, with the exception of private quarters and other such places that were expected to be closed off to the public. But the gardens, the throne room, the great halls—they were always available to those who were wandering. In fact, there was a specific group of individuals who were paid for nothing more and nothing less than providing tours for those who requested them. There were great works of art in the castle, beautiful feats of architecture, and so much more—and all of it was things that the DuGrace family was well known for sharing with its citizens.

Still, Cyan stopped and requested of these two knights an audience with the Queen. But neither of them was in charge of such things, so they only shared a look and then returned their attention to the man. The first, the one on the left, stepped forward, [I]“Well—Lord Cyan, you are more than welcome to enter the castle and wait for her arrival. I am not certain what her plans are for the day but I am sure that she will make the adequate time to meet with you. And if she cannot today, then soon.”[/I]

[I]“Actually,”[/I] the second spoke up, visibly relaxing against his post, [I]“the Queen isn’t even in the city. She left two days ago—a little excursion up into the Cathedral Mountains.”[/I]

[I]“Yes, but she’s coming back tonight.”[/I]

[I]“Oh—well I highly doubt she’s going to want to meet with anyone after such a difficult trip,”[/I] the man pushed the visor of his helmet back and revealed two bright blue eyes as he examined his partner and then Cyan once more.[I] “You see, she doesn’t get much time off, and I wouldn’t want to tell you one thing and then have it be another.”[/I]

[I]“Well it’s not your place to negotiate her vacation time,”[/I] said the first with obvious growing frustration.

[I]“Yeah?! Well it’s not your place to appoint her with meetings!”[/I]

It seemed that the situation had deteriorated rather quickly, and really how was Cyan to know that these two particular individuals were not very fond of each other. Something about the first man’s sister having fallen into the company of the second—they had been seen together in Frank’s Tavern and rumors had run rampant. All the arguing, however, hid the sudden entrance of the very persona they were all talking about.

The sun had fallen and twilight had been cast across the land. It was in this half-way point, when the sky was still vibrant and somewhat blue and the far off horizon bright orange and blood red—it was in this light that she entered, high atop her horse. She would surely look nothing like the queens or ladies that he was accustomed to seeing for she carried upon her small form a thick layer of dust from having been riding along dirt paths. Her skin-tight black breeches were pale with the dust and her knee-high boots were caked with mud. The black blouse she wore was in near the same condition, though the silken collar clung to her slender white neck where sweat had gathered. Even so, she was a vision. Her face remained pristine, save for a few smudges of dirt where she had used her gloved hand to push wayward strands of hair away. For the most part that massive mane of black hair was caught in a loose braid.

“Though I appreciate both of you trying to take care of my appointment book—it’s not necessary.” The Queen smiled, her pale lips turning delicately as she rose on her stirrups and threw her right leg over the saddle in order to slip right off the back of her massive mount. Still holding to his reigns, she extended a gloved hand to Cyan, then rethought this and retracted her hand. “My apologies, Lord Cyan,” she said before reaching up and biting the tip of a finger while pulling the glove off her small white hand. This she extended after pocketing her glove, “Irene Gabriela DuGrace—a pleasure to meet you.”

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The business of the city went on as usual, uninterrupted by a man stopping at the gate to request re-entry. Cyan had been within the walls before, that much was true, but it was not as if he had been briefed on any sort of protocols or mandates in regards to what was allowed within the castle and what was not; what was common and uncommon. No, he had merely spent a night in the castle and gotten to know, ever so briefly, Dollya DuGrace. Her mannerisms had left him with a wariness of associating with these vampires, but after consideration he had come to conclude that he still would. And so he’d returned.

Now, as he stood there awaiting reply to his request, he found himself bored by the political motions he was adhering to, whether unnecessarily or not. When the one on his left began to speak, and by so doing launched both he and his counterpart into a state of disagreement and reprimand offered to the other by two identically ranked guards.

Ever so briefly, he found it amusing, as it spoke of the apparent lack of taking their training seriously, and instead goofed around in these times of seeming peace, or so Cyan reckoned. After a moment more though, he was filled with disgust by their shared and unrestrained idiocy as both displayed. He found himself growing closer and closer to silencing the two guards for his mere peace of mind, envisioning ways to slaughter them by the time he detected a presence on an approach more rapid than the average human walked, which caught his attention.
He turned his head to look over his shoulder in time to bear witness to a woman dressed in riding attire, and a very dirty set of it at that. Her appearance was a bit of a surprise, but with how the guards had fallen silent upon seeing her, he knew she was likely who he sought. After all, of the two, one had said she would be returning tonight, and so it seemed she had. Next she spoke to the guards about their playing at being her secretary as unnecessary, and when she did Cyan turned to face her, as she dismounted her horse and held fast to the reins with one hand. She extended the other for him to shake it, and then withdrew it in a sudden motion while offering an apology, and then she removed the glove with her teeth and returned the hand to linger before him in a static position.

The final confirmation of what he had already surmised came when, from smudge covered alabaster face, she offered her full name to Cyan, and even spoke of the pleasure it was to meet him. A smile spread across his face as he heard this, and he followed his smile with a bend at the waist as he took her hand into his and kissed it lightly, releasing it and then raising to stand erect before her once more “The pleasure is mutual, I’m sure. I take it then, your young daughter Dollya mentioned me to you?” he would ask, pausing briefly before another thought crossed his mind, as he this time spoke with a sly grin crossing his face, “Or did you merely overhear my name from these two babbling while you approached?” Cyan fell silent once more as his expression became more serious behind the half-veil that was his hair over his face, “Either way, if you don’t mind, we should go somewhere more private, once you are properly cleaned and ready. I am not one for crowds, you see. Though, for some time now, I have been very interested in meeting you . . . Black Queen.” Is how he would finish.

With that, his smile would return as he looked upon her smudged, yet otherwise flawless face. She had an immortal’s face, without any room for doubt. Through eyes that were abyss’, he looked upon her and for a moment, wondered at the flow of time and the future, both ever changing. Where would she fit into it all? Would she, even? If these two guards were any indication, then she needed someone like him to train her forces properly, to say the least.

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[FONT=Garamond][COLOR="#000000"][box]Irene Gabriela DuGrace[/box]

[i]“The pleasure is mutual, I’m sure. I take it then, your young daughter Dollya mentioned me to you? Or did you merely overhear my name from these two babbling while you approached?” [/i]

Gabriela winced. It may have been visible, but she quickly turned her face away, and pretended to be looking at something else. Her horse—Shade, shook his great head and threw his mane as he whined in displeasure at being ignored. This was the distraction she needed to avoid his face and look away. She set a cool hand upon the black stallions round cheek and whispered some sweet nothings to the creature, which in turn caused him to settle back down.

It was the mention of Dollya’s name that had caused this odd reaction. Faintly, and rather bitterly, she wondered if Cyan had no knowledge of the Capital City’s current events. Surely everyone else knew by now that Dollya had been viciously murdered on the night of the Tea Party. And while she could not escape that truth, it felt so unnecessarily cruel to bring her up in conversation as if she were still alive rather than set to rest in the temple’s catacombs—torn into a multitude of pieces. Her stomach knotted and she felt herself blanch as the memory of her tortured body came reeling back to the forefront of her mind.

She controlled her immediate need to vomit and settled instead for smoothing back the fine black silken coat of her beloved stallion. When she looked back up to Cyan she had gained some semblance of control over her emotions. She smiled prettily but not quite as genuinely as before.

“A little of both,” she confessed, “—although I do recall being told that you are an acquaintance of the Lady Selena Contes Nichole. I met her once, while visiting Terrenus. We share some acquaintances and I thought there might be a possibility of establishing a friendship. Unfortunately, it seems we’re very busy women,” she smiled politely at him and added softly, “—and it certainly doesn’t help that there is a sea separating us.”

Of course she didn’t go into detail, like the fact that she had been disgusted with the Lady Selena’s behavior on the day that Malice had kidnapped her from the shores of Patia. It still boiled her blood to remember how Selena had turned over to Malice’s requests without as much as a fight when the War Lord had revealed his plans to launch a surprise attack against a neighboring city. But if this man was a friend of the Lady Selena—then what was the point of revealing any of this? She would play nice so long as he did.

[i]“Either way, if you don’t mind, we should go somewhere more private, once you are properly cleaned and ready. I am not one for crowds, you see. Though, for some time now, I have been very interested in meeting you . . . Black Queen.”[/i]

“Oh?” she asked as her curiosity was perked. A stable boy had come, which is all that she had been waiting for. The young man took Shade’s reigns and led the magnificent creature away. She thanked him and walked through the gates, making a motion for Cyan to follow her. The two troublesome guards were left behind. Now that her hands were free she removed her second glove and tucked it into the back pocket of her breeches.

“I am not very interesting,” she said as they walked together through the courtyard. She was leading of course, taking him toward the massive doors that lead into a long and wide hall, at the end of which, they would find the throne room. But for now they would walk and she would direct them by slowing her pace and allowing them the pleasure of enjoying the garden, which was fool of night-blooming flowers.

She kept her golden gaze set forward and caught her hands behind the small of her back. She was a slight thing, small in stature and slender, with small round shoulders and something endearingly proud about the way she walked. Her back was straight, her posture perfect, as if she were trying to gain a few precious inches. Where he had been expecting or imagining to see some great and wicked thing, based solely on the nature of her name, he would find an exceptionally rare beauty who was rather mild in temperament if not altogether mild.

She was simply peaceful.

“You’ve come a very long way simply to feed your interest,” she glanced sideways at him, “I must say—seems to me like you’re a slave to your instincts. I hope I don’t disappoint. Is there anything in specific that I can do to satiate your curiosity about me?”

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