The Ebon Shroud

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    Trevlac
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    The Ebon Shroud

    Post by Trevlac on Sat May 16, 2009 6:53 pm

    Away, the deep resonance of the bells sought to torture the soul with feelings of warm nostalgia. Alone, the peaceful courtyard intended to nullify the heart with the sight of beautiful snowfall. Among, the wicked pines desired to bring a calming fear with shearing howls as a great gale charged through their tender arms. Astride, the man stood to another as she marked to trap him in the endless crystalline labyrinth of her hazel eyes. Trevlac Victor Ehrgeiz pushed the thought of those eyes from his mind momentarily. The night air was still and frozen, this trip through the great current of Death would be memorable. He was alone now, there would be no saving the keeper of his heart from the ebon shroud of death. But I'll be damned if I don't try anyway.

    This was not your typical vampire on a quest for fresh and delicious blood. In fact, it would be an understatement to say that Trevlac despised the taking of human vitae. No, tonight was the pinnacle of his life. All points were now intersecting to this one event. The long black coat he wore was shed gracelessly onto the powder snow. The symphony of this blackest night was cantered forth by ethereal stallions proudly bannering the greatest opus. There was no need to be poetic about what must be done. This Trevlac was no Abhorsen, and unlike his Abhorsen self did not have the bells to control spirits of Death. A necromancer could go into death for this mission and possibly make it back in less than seventeen pieces but he would not. Trying not to think of the fact that he had existed in other universes as a different person, Trevlac bend double and began chanting the Requiem of Aegis. Am I a hero? Am I the villain?

    He didn't have magic, Trevlac was a vampire after all and not of the mystical Tremere clan. Their Thaumaturgical prayers could have done this, but he had only his blood to conjure any sort of Aegis seal. And so the deep rubicund vitae spilled from his chest to the ivory ice below. The sanguine sacrifice did not glow in any mystic color, it didn't make a sound or raise any visible kind of barrier. But the Aegis sealed his body into torpor for what would come next. That hexagram inlaid with a triangle shaped blood patch on the ground was his everything now. So much bloodshed by my hands. Can these hands ever be allowed to touch her?

    Senses swam as the world was mulled out of focus. The mountanscape behind the forest pitched out of Trevlac's vision as he fell straight onto the blood Aegis. His body and mind were sealed now. The Ebon Shroud was laid over him like a cold blanket. Enveloped by Death, this vampire could have made peace with the world right there. But no, now was not the time. This was not the time--to die. He was a visitor, an intruder into Death. The world ended with me.

    This was the second time he had died. All vampires experience this at least once but the cold-grey river of Death was never so vivid as now. The gate to life was roiling with white smoke and he was tempted to dance back into its warm embrace. But life without the person he had lost was meaningless. Looking down to the stream flowing by, he realized that it oddly did not tug at his heels. His tall boots waded slowly through the deepening water until it touched at only his knees. Trevlac assumed that the current would be only strong here to those souls who did not cling to life as he did. Weaker souls would be pitched through this place quickly. The infinitely black expanse in front of him was broken only by the tallest of waterfalls signaling the First Gate. Once he stepped through here, there would be no easy way back. Everything would try to suck the life from him. Death, do I befit you? Are you mightier and more dreadful than me?

    The water parted in the middle, not drenching his long locks of hair, and Trevlac stepped tentatively through. Now he had to trust every word the Abhorsen version of himself had given him to stay alive. And this odd little bell. "Kibeth" it was called. One of seven on the bandoleer belt of his other self. He was supposed to ring it the moment he found his target. Run away from any threats inside death. But he couldn't see threats well now. This was the Second Precinct, the vision here is dim and there are pitfalls everywhere. If she was further in, he would have to walk down the spiraling whirlpool inside. Trevlac shuddered violently at that notion and took a petrified step forward. He listened carefully. All of his guns and blades would be no use here, only his senses and his wit. He was pitched into a world outside of his combat specialties. He had nothing--nothing he could do with all of his talent. My tools are useless without me but am I useless without them?

    Resolve crept in, a fighting spirit that said "I will find her no matter what" and as a kind of poetic irony, he tripped over a body, falling face-first into the bizarre grey water of Death. The body was hers. Her red hair wafted like angry fire. He realized that the burning sensation came from his soul and not from her hair. Her emerald green gown was torn and shredded in random places. It looked as though he had clawed her way up from lower precincts of Death by herself with no aid and finally collapsed here. Her story would be more interesting and adventurous than his, no doubt. This story was about to end for good. Never again would he let this woman die right in front of him. Never again would he be helpless to save someone he cared for. Her hazel eyes were invisible behind her closed eyelids, but the imaginary thought of them gave Trevlac the strength to press on. Is it time now?

    It was time. A commanding Dirge erupted from the hammer inside of the bell Kibeth. It barked imperious orders to the dead and made them walk. The woman in his arms suddenly stood upright with such force Trevlac's nose was broken. He didn't bleed, this was Death. She marched as if to an invisible rhythm through the close waterfall and out of sight. Trevlac felt his strength ebb away greatly and he collapsed into the river Death. Will the reaper visit the earth this day and take the flowers away?

    Hours could have passed. He felt drowned. Drowned in water and Death, in sorrow and helplessness. His muscles meant nothing here. Only his will could save him. It was too low. But he knew that he had saved her from this cursed abyss. He knew that she could live a happy life now. He was being dragged through the water now, he knew that the current must have caught his weakened soul and finally took him away. The waterfall brushed soundlessly over his hair once again. But I would have gone through it feet-first...and the other me said the Second Gate was a whirlpool.

    No matter, he had no point of reference in Death anyway. Perhaps his details were skewed. His right arm was so numb, it felt like it was being pulled from the socket for several minutes. He couldn't feel the water much any more. His weak soul must have been gliding through Death so quickly not to feel anything. Warmth was returning rapidly. Final Death must have been approaching -- the warmth of eternity was going to wash over him soon enough. He would look up at a mock-starry night sky and be whisked upward with the souls awaiting their final destination. Death be not proud, though some have called you mighty and dreadful. You are not so. You are a slave to my will. One short sleep I wake, and then Death, you will die.

    One short sleep he woke. Death had died. The Aegis blood was covering his back, his extremities had frozen over to numbing proportions. Final Death was nostalgic almost. It looked a lot like the courtyard he lost her in and that he laid down to rescue her. She was even right next to him, beaming down at his unconscious body. In Final Death you must be able to see what others see of you once you died. At least he had saved her, and she was happy. Her head was laid on his chest, she was staring at him intently. But suddenly the vivid imagery of that all changed and the world pitched from him once again. 'Twas an angel visited the green Earth this day.

    The bell, Kibeth, was clutched tightly in his hand with rigor mortis. She kissed him, he could feel her lips against his. They felt like the great gale above his head and the waterfall he had gone through twice now. The feeling of the zephyr and the typhoon melded into one raging blizzard. She pulled away from Trevlac and his eyes opened. He had not gone through Final Death. He had not been dragged further in by the current. He had been dragged backward by the arm into life. She came back for him despite having fought and clawed as far as she did to get out of that wretched place. He was lost inside her eyes again. A labyrinth without pitfalls or danger. The only danger of which was in his heart, a searing sensation that threatened to make him die. Instead he simply mumbled weakly, "I love you."

    I gazed at the flowers with a tearful eye, I kissed their drooping leaves


    Last edited by Trevlac on Sat May 16, 2009 7:02 pm; edited 1 time in total


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    Trevlac
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    Re: The Ebon Shroud

    Post by Trevlac on Sat May 16, 2009 6:56 pm

    References:

    Poetry --
    The Reaper and the Flowers - Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
    Holy Sonnet X - John Donne

    Literature --
    Trevlac Victor Ehrgeiz - Furious Angels
    Abhorsen - Garth Nix (The Old Kingdom Trilogy)
    Novem - a short story written by myself


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