Book of the Void (book)
Book of the Void By Rashahaverik Debarsaive
Table of Contents
|The Tail of Urrem'tier||Page 3|
|The Gift of the Maiden||Page 7|
|The Chant of Aldauth||Page 11|
Urrem'tier is vast in his power and grandness. But even so, he
and his aspects still sometimes take a personal interest in the
affairs of mortal men. What follows are three tales of each of
the aspects of the Lord of Death. The first, set in modern
times, is of Urrem'tier, master of the void. The second tale is
of Eylhaar and takes place in the past, on the night Shard was
taken. The final tale is of Aldauth. Master of pain, torture,
and foolish deaths. His is not truly a tale, but a chant said to
be heard by those in the most painful throes of death. Believe
these tales or not, but it is foolish to think that the gods do
not watch us carefully.
The Tail of Urrem'tier
In the town of Riverhaven there once lived a thief named Grundgy. Grundgy was one of the worst of thieves and it was not long before he came under the scrutiny of the law. His antics were petty. A purse stolen here, a merchant robbed there. Still, the town guards feared that Grundgy would do some serious harm one day. Grundgy was a Gor'tog. He used his strength, instead of stealth, to get what he wanted. Left to do what he pleased, Grundgy might hurt someone. The fear of the town soon became reality.
One day Grundgy tried to steal a loaf of bread for his morning meal. But Grundgy's victim was a stubborn, old baker and instead of letting the oversized thief have the bread; the man resisted. He cried out for the guards, and took a swing at Grundgy with his rolling pin. Grundgy was shocked! In his panic, the huge Gor'tog backhanded the poor baker, and took off down the street running. Before he knew what was happening he had passed through the city's east gates, and was runing towards the wilderness.
Behind him he heard cries of anger and astonishment. Someone was yelling for people to stop him. Someone was yelling for the gates to be closed. Grundgy ran in blind terror, his heavy feet leaving deep tracks in the dark soil. Grundgy plowed through the underbrush before him, blindly rushing ahead. Small cuts began to appear over his body as the plants shredded both skin and clothing. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Grundgy stopped. He looked down at his hands. The loaf of bread he car- ried was reduced to crumbs. But that was not what caught his attention. Across his gray-green fingers were trails of blood. Blood, red and rich had spread over his knuckles and across his wrist. Grundgy silently stared at the blood. His mind raced as he remembered; the baker calling out, Grundgy swinging his fist at the man, the feel of bone breaking...
When he had struck the baker, his great strength must of crushed the frail man's skull. Grundgy started to sob, tears running down his wide cheeks. "I never meant to hurt him!" he lamented. Behind him he could hear the shouts of the guards, as they hacked their way through the underbrush. Grundgy stood on his weary legs, and started running. He crashed through the foliage, hop- ing to escape the justice of the town. He did not make it far. His wild flight had led him into a dismal swamp. It was a vile bog that reeked of death and decay. He tried to move forward, but his great weight sank into the yellowish, gray mud. From behind him, he could hear the clang of metal armor, and the whis- tle of steel being pulled from scabbards. Muffled curses floated over the bog, along with the promises of final justice. Grundgy began to beg and plead to all the gods he held dear in his heart. But as the footfalls of the guards became louder, his pleas turned into threats, his prayers into curses.
"Selfish gods! Is there not one who will help me?" Grundgy screamed. A bleak darkness filled his vision, and a voice, as cold as the grave, spoke to him. "I will help you," the voice assured. "Take my tail, and strike down those who would give you their false justice." When Grundgy's vision cleared, he saw floating before him a sword of blackest obsidian. The length of his arm, the sword seemed to radiate power and strength.
"There he is!" Grundgy turned to see half a dozen of the guards hacking through the briars and reeds. He quickly turned, and grasped the sword. He felt a small prick, then a rush of power as strength flowed into his tired limbs, and aching muscles. Crying in triumph he leapt towards the guards, a vengeful gleam in his eyes.
When the fierce battle was over, Grundgy surveyed the carnage around him. The bodies of the guards lay strewn about him, hacked and mutilated. Grundgy began to cackle loudly causing his voice to boom across the empty quagmire. Grundgy's glee was cut short however as the bleak darkness returned. Its chilling voice spoke to him. "You have used what is mine, and for that privi- lege I will take my payment."
Grundgy began to feel the sword in his hand twist and turn. The cool feel of stone was replaced with that of a squirming insect. Grundgy screamed as a scorpion, blood red, crawled up his arm and towards his face. When the last of Grundgy's anguished howls had echoed across the swamp, the scorpion sank silently back into the mud. There it would wait until, once again, it was needed to serve the folly of men.
The Gift of The Maiden
It had been a cool, fall day when the woman had sent her husband to die in the war. He had left when the trees were showing their brightest colors of the year. He had brushed her cheek gently with his hand, and had told her that he would be back in time for their child to be born. But the months had passed and no word of him was heard. Now, the only word that was being sent was that the Dragon Priests were sacking Shard.
The woman looked out her window to the south, in the direction of the great city, where she had met her love. There was a dull, orange glow that filled the night sky, and a sinister, black cloud that snaked up into the heavens, covering stars like some flowing burial shroud. The sound of horses made her shift her attentions to the road. Racing past were her neighbors that lived on a small farm to the south. They called to her as they galloped north, shouting out words of warning, words of fear.
"Run! Flee as fast as you can! The dark army approaches!" Stories of the Dragon Priests filled her mind. Tales of slavery and torture. Tales of sacrifice and cannibalism. Her tear-filled eyes tore their gaze from the window, and settled on the crib of her childern. She smiled sadly, and said to herself, "He would be so surprised if he knew we had twins." Her hands covered her face, as her whole body shook with lament. "My love," she groaned. "What shall become of us?"
Her mourning was interrupted by a soft knock from the doorway. Almost unconsciously the woman went to meet her visitor. Before her stood a maiden of incomparable beauty. Silky locks, black as ink, framed a fair-skinned face. Her tall, statuesque form was clothed in a simple gray dress, and from her slender shoulders flowed an ebony cloak. Clasped in her hands was a basket woven from grape vines. The maiden's full lips held a smile for the woman, but her dark eyes seemed to radiate a cold emptiness.
"May I come in gentle mother?" the maiden said. Her soothing voice filled the woman with an unnatural calm. "I have lost my way and it seems that it is a most dangerous night to be on the road." "Please, please come in," answered the woman, "you are right. Tonight is no night to travel."
"But it is a good night to travel," replied the maiden, "just not on the roads." She smiled as she stepped inside the cabin.
Looking about, the maiden sat down next to the crib of the sleep- ing twins. "And these are your childern," the maiden said, half to herself. She turned her head to gaze at the mother. "It is a shame that their father cannot see them while they are still so young." The woman nodded in reply, her eyes filling with tears. "Oh, I miss my love so!" she cried. The maiden stood and wrapped her arms about the woman.
"Peace, gentle lady," she said soothingly. "If you trust in me, I will take you to him, and your children also." The woman looked at the maiden, her tear-filled eyes searching for answers. The maiden nodded slowly, and held out the basket she carried. Within were three small plums, blacker than any the woman had seen before. "I grow them myself, gentle lady," the maiden said. "They are bittersweet, but they quench the thirst, and soothe the hunger."
The woman looked from the basket to her children. She then turned to the window and stared at the dull orange glow, growing ever brighter on the horizon. For a long moment nothing was said. Finally, the woman nodded slowly and turned to answer the maiden. But when she looked, the maiden had vanished. All that was left was the basket resting on the table. The woman glanced one last time out the window, gently picked up the basket, and turned to feed her children.
The Chant of Aldauth
- I am the steel that cuts you deep
- I am the foe that makes you weep
- I am the help that never comes
- I am the life-line made undone
- I am the bolt that strikes from high
- I am the pain that never dies
- I am the flame that burns the flesh
- I am the woe that gives no rest
- When death comes slowly
- Look for I
- And see my visage by your side.
- I am the wound that bleeds you slow
- I am the cure that no one knows
- I am the poison in your cup
- I am the fever that runs amok
- I am the cloud that blocks the sun
- I am the reason that you run
- When death comes slowly
- Look for I
- And see my visage by your side.
And now dear reader, I bid you good night. Say your prayers softly, and hope that when the time comes for death to visit, it will be swift, and merciful.