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 Post subject: The Creed- Part III
PostPosted: Mon Nov 03, 2003 4:23 pm 
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Krele did not move. He only stared hard at the Archprimate, pouring as much defiance in his eyes as he could. Then he felt the presence in his mind once more. Go with care. Yet, before he could react he was suddenly lifting off the floor. He yelped in surprise as he found himself hurling toward the Archprimate. Sar Lok watched his approach with a sly grin on his thin, ashen lips. Krele was horrified at what this could possibly mean. He came down hard at the Archprimate's feet, but he remained erect. Face to face with Sar Lok, Krele's mind reeled. "How?" He croaked, unable to voice the rest of the question.

"How you ask?" Sar Lok's red eyes blazed brighter, and his cold grin grew even more evil. "There is much to the answer of that question. Let me first say this, Krele Kest. If you destroy me, you will not rid the world of this church or its God. You will only come to serve it in my stead. For you are what I am."

Krele drew himself up. "And what exactly are you?"

Sar Lok chuckled. "Did you ever wonder how it is that you are so adept at the use of what you call 'magic'?"


Krele didn't answer, he only arched an eyebrow.

"Did you ever wonder why the petty mortals die from trying to use it? Or why they grow far older than their years, or go mad or crippled? The answer is quite simple. This 'magic' is the power of our God, and is not meant for mortals. Yet, you and I are different."

"Alright, I'll play. How are we different?" Krele said derisively, his arms folded across his chest. He glanced over at Laara, who watched his every move.

"We are not mortal."

Krele's gaze snapped back. "I am, and always have been, mortal."

"No, Krele Kest. You are Shade Doroch, my first disciple as was promised to me by our God. We are His highest servants, the Shades of Chaos." As Sar Lok spoke, he opened the front of his crimson robe to reveal, not skin, but rather, a luminescent shell, that glowed with a deep red, almost dried-blood black, light. Krele shrank away from him. Sar Lok laughed mirthlessly and closed his robe. "Soon, you will look as I do now. For you are a Shade."

"NO!" Krele shrieked. "No! You do this to sway my purpose! You know I can and will destroy you! This is all a ruse."

"You are wrong, Doroch." Sar Lok said in an almost sympathetic tone. "You were born with the black eyes, have you not noticed the center of them now becoming red?" There was instantly a shard of broken looking-glass in the Archprimate's emaciated hand. He thrust it toward Krele. "Look deep into your eyes. Search them. And you will see what I see."

Krele, with a shaking hand, took the shard from Sar Lok. He peered into his own face and looked directly into his coal-black orbs. Black as night, they stared back at him, hollow and haunting, as unnerving as they had always been. Yet, there was something more. Something that he had always known was there, but had remained hidden, obscure. And then he realized what it was. It was his worst nightmare, his worst fear. For in the very heart of the pupils, there did indeed glow a faint glimmer of red. Krele howled in rage and threw the looking-glass remnant to the floor, where it shattered in bellowing red smoke. Krele staggered back, his mind in turmoil. Could this be true? NO!

"Denial is useless, Doroch." Jeresh Raul said, coming up to stand beside Sar Lok. "You are one of us."

Krele felt invisible tendrils of malice clasping about his throat. His eyes darted from face to face, until they found Laara again. She still watched him, all her feelings for him present on her ashen face. He loved her. More than anything. More than he hated his father, Sar Lok, this church, its God, his life. More than anything else, he loved her. His gaze, haunted and full of hate, jerked back to Sar Lok. "You lie." He grated, starting toward the table where Laara lay. Korbalsh Zeeks moved to intercept him, but Sar Lok held out his arm.

"Hold. Let him."

Krele, pausing only to glance between Zeeks and Sar Lok, moved hurriedly to Laara's side. She had a dirty rag stuffed in her mouth. Krele removed it, and stroked her auburn hair. "Are you all right?"

She stared at him in disbelief for a moment. "Krele, I love you, but sometimes you ask the most incredibly dense questions."

He smiled at her in spite of himself and everything that was happening. "Forgive." He bent and kissed her. Then he snapped his head up. "Let her go."

Sar Lok looked at him for a long moment, his red eyes boring once more into his soul. "No." He replied with an ominous grin.

Krele drew himself up and pulled down the hood of his cloak. He then removed it and covered Laara's nakedness. In his hand, he held the dagger Jeresh had given him. "Why?"

Sar Lok smiled coldly. "I see no need to tell you why."

Krele move quickly, but Zeeks was quicker, and stopped his attempt to cut Laara's binds. Krele brandished the dagger at the High Priest, but Zeeks only laughed back at him. "A Shade
can not be harmed by a Shade's weapon."
Krele stared at the dagger in his hand. A Shade's weapon! He threw it vehemently to the floor as though it burned his flesh.
"Krele!" Laara called then. "What they say is in part true. They are not like us. They are not mortal. I have seen them do things. Things that even we in the Creed could not do. Even you, Krele. They are Shades, demons."

"Laara, you don't believe that I ..."

"No. You couldn't be." She answered.

"She is wrong, Doroch." Sar Lok said, as he and Jeresh walked up the steps toward him near the table.

"You don't need her." He said. His eyes peering into Laara's. "I'll do what you want. Just let her go." Laara's mouth opened in protest, but he silenced her with a twitch of his head. She held his gaze, her green eyes welling with sudden tears. He knew that she understood what he had just done. It was what Sar Lok was waiting for, Krele rationalized. For him to sacrifice himself for her. But, Krele also knew that Sar Lok was well aware of him not holding to his end of the bargain once Laara was freed. So what was the purpose of holding her in the first place?

"You disappoint me, Doroch. The reasoning is quite clear." Sar Lok said coldly.

"Stop calling me that! I am no demon!" Krele screeched at the Archprimate. "It is not going to work, Lok. You may be what you say you are. But I will not, can not, be swayed from my purpose! I will destroy you!"

Sar Lok then delivered a savage blow to his face. Krele felt searing pain erupt throughout his entire body at the Archprimate's touch. He fell to the floor and clutched at his head. "Fool! I will have you, Doroch! One way or the other! I will have you!" Sar Lok reached down and hauled Krele effortlessly to his feet. "You belong to ME!" He shrieked in Krele's face.

“Like hell I do.” Krele spat.

Krele struggled to release himself from Sar Lok's iron grip. The left side of his face felt as though it had been burned and his left eye teared uncontrollably. He called to the magic.

Sar Lok, Korbalsh Zeeks, and Jeresh Raul, all began to cackle maliciously. Sar Lok flung him away, and Krele flew from the demon as though he were only a mere bundle of rags. He landed hard on the lower level of the Assemblage by the dais. As he struggled to a stand he realized that the magic had not answered him.

"You do not understand, do you?" Jeresh asked then as the three stepped down toward him once more. "You can not destroy us. You are one of us. You will die in the attempt."

"Do not resist, Doroch. Give yourself over to me or destroy yourself. You can no longer remain as you are. God has chosen you to stand with me. He can not be denied." Sar Lok pressed.

But, Krele noted a somewhat different note in the Archprimate's voice. Something that seemed quite close to apprehension and maybe even fear. He stepped back away from the three of them, his mind laboring. Maybe he was something more than mortal. He reached up and touched his burned cheek lightly with his fingertips. He called to the magic. It came with no pain at all and the burn on his face vanished instantly. He stared dumbly at his hand, then looked over at Laara. She was once again watching him intently. If I am not mortal, what am I? Surely not a demon. I could not be capable of love, or loathe the slaughter in the name of this church's God if I were a demon. Therefore, I am something else. What?

"Desist, Doroch!" Sar Lok thundered. "Such thoughts are folly! There is nothing else!"

Krele stared at him. "Do my thoughts frighten you?" He did not wait for an answer. With one more look at Laara, who nodded at him approvingly, Krele Kest called to the magic. However, he did not call softly as in the past, but rather, he demanded it. A roaring command that resounded in his head like a thunderclap. The magic responded in much the same way. Agony seized him, a surge of the power slammed into his body as though it were a battering ram. He clutched at himself, letting out an anguished howl, as the excruciating pain assaulted every fiber of his existence. Yet, his eyes never left the three who watched him with a mixture of rage and disbelief. The magic came in waves of pain, flooding him with its might as though angered and insulted, but he bore it.

"You are killing yourself, Krele!" Jeresh wailed, in what could only be described as pure despair. "Do not do this! You will come to accept what you are as I have! It is all we can do in the face of such evil! There is no choice!"

Krele, wracked in a pain so intense that no mortal could hope to withstand, finally understood. "You are wrong, Jeresh. As Hared told me, there is always a choice. Lest it be between two evils, it is choice none the less. I choose not to become what you are. Though the other is unknown to me, I choose it."

"It is blind choice, Doroch." Sar Lok snarled. "It will lead you to the Black Fires of Chaos, for all who defy God burn there eternally."

"As do all that fail Him." Krele said calmly, with no indication that he was in excruciating pain. "Is that not what you are afraid of? If I choose the blind path, you will have failed in your task, and God will cast you into the pit."

"I am afraid of nothing."

"Yes you are." Another wave of power crashed into him and he staggered backward.

"You will not withstand much more, Doroch. Even now, without your knowledge the choice is being made for you. You are becoming a Shade by your own command."

"No!" Krele howled. Then, with all his inner strength he hurled the magic at the three who stood before him.

And thus the battle began. Magic against magic. Evil against evil. Demons against one half-mortal who refused to cross over the boundary that would damn him to be something he loathed. The magic pulsed through Krele's veins, the more he released the more it assaulted him. It seemed that the magic was angry at being used against itself, and was seeking to destroy him. Yet, Krele was in command of it, he endured it, and he controlled it.

The battle itself was one of utter pandemonium. No physical blows were exchanged, only the resounding, earsplitting clash of magic against magic. A wall of power battling itself, threatening to tear itself apart. Krele felt himself moving forward as he hurled wave after wave of power at the three. Yet, they too, moved forward. The more power Krele hurled at them, they returned with equal force. Even though it was three against one, the power was one in the same. Krele then realized what he was doing wrong. He was trying to fight evil with itself, trying to turn the magic against itself, trying to make hate fight itself. He could not win this way. There could only be an impasse, where both sides would exhaust themselves, only to regain their strength and do it all over again. He could not use his hate to overcome his hate.

Understanding dawned on him then. He had to show the magic something different. If it knew something more than evil, something more than hate, and blood, and pain; something more than grief and despair it may wish to comply with his purpose. Or at least acknowledge it, so causing it to understand that it didn't have to be the way it was. And maybe he could convince it to choose between himself and the demons. Sar Lok was right in one respect, the choice was not his, the choice belonged to the magic.

That argument would suffice if you knew whether or not the magic was conscious of itself and capable of such a choice. The voice in his consciousness said calmly and then, once again, deserted him before he could reply.

"NO!" Sar Lok shrieked, snapping Krele's attention back to his enemies. "Fool! The magic is a tool of the Shades and of God. It chooses nothing for itself! It does not live!" The Archprimate was near panic.

But that declaration only confirmed Krele's suspicions. Immediately he began to direct the power to a different path. He flooded his mind with images of what he perceived as good. The many things he had done with the magic to make life bearable for the desperate people of this vile God, the child whom he had saved with its power, and images of a world free of the church, with no blood and slaughter, he poured them at the magic. All the while, concentrating to keep the demons before him at bay.

Sar Lok howled with rage, hurtling all the power he could muster at Krele. But the magic only rebounded on itself. Jeresh Raul had collapsed and lay in heap, the power too much of an exertion for him. Korbalsh Zeeks clutched at his chest and fell to his knees, he too, succumbing to its power. While Krele still held on to his control over the magic and forced it to look at what it could become. He soothed it, spoke calmly to it, telling it that there was something more it could be. It did not have to be used in this way.

Then.

The magic left him. The shock of its abandonment caused him to buckle forward and he almost fell to his knees. The accompanying silence was deafening. Krele stared at Sar Lok, who stood before him, dripping with malice and fear.

The magic was making its choice.

It was not just a mere tool. It had a consciousness, awareness.

He looked over at Laara, and he knew she did not understand what was happening, but he had no time to explain it to her.

Sar Lok shrieked then. He launched himself at Krele, brandishing the sacrificial knife. Krele whirled out of the way, the knife catching him in the shoulder. Sar Lok advanced on him again. Lost in rage and panic, the Archprimate swung the knife erratically before him. Krele avoided Sar Lok’s arrant thrusts deftly, backing away.

Then the Archprimate came to an abrupt halt. He fell to his knees and howled, an agonized wail that originated from within his deepest self. He writhed and fell to the floor. He convulsed in seizure, his whole body trembling violently. Then he began to smoke. An oily black cloud that swarmed over him, covering every aspect of him. He screeched a demonic shriek that shook the Assemblage. Then screeched again, but the wail seemed hollow, disembodied. Within the smoke, Krele watched with horror as it charred and turned the Archprimate to ash, his final scream echoing to silence around the Assemblage. The smoke then rolled, as though having a mind of its own. It slithered, boiling, across the floor to where Zeeks and Jeresh lay in exhausted heaps and engulfed them as well. It bellowed and churned in eerie silence over those it consumed. Krele watched in horrific fascination, clutching at his wounded shoulder.

Then gradually it began to slither across the floor once more. Sar Lok, Korbalsh Zeeks, and Jeresh Raul were gone; nothing of them but black ash remained. It moved forward to where Krele stood and encircled him, its color beginning to change subtly. It rose until it surrounded him, all the while its color shifted, first, a dark brown, then blood red, deep orange, pale yellow, forest green, heavy azure, then finally a pale, almost white, blue. Then it seized him and he recoiled, fearing its pain. But there was no pain, no agony. Only a sense of transformation. He heard Laara scream his name, but he couldn't answer. The smoke entered him, flowed through him, changed him. He felt it enter his mind, his awareness, as though it were searching for something. Then images, images of a past long forgotten, pale shadows of thoughts that were not his own, passed through his consciousness and he felt strong. Then he sensed a shifting. He could feel his body changing, transforming, not in appearance, but rather within himself. He felt infused, becoming something other or more than before. A new awareness was integrating itself with his own, slowly becoming one. At once he felt whole, awake, as though a piece of himself, missing all of his life, finally found him. The smoke spilled from his body then, white-blue, rising gently. Krele looked on it for only a moment then ran up to free Laara. He barely noticed that the blood-red fires of the braziers now burned with a faint blue flame.

With a mere thought, he cut her free. She fell into his arms as he wrapped his cloak about her. But, their attention was fully on the cloud, for as it rose it swirled into the vague image of a face, old and worn. It rose and swelled until it looked down at them from the highest reaches of the Assemblage, so massive, that its form encompassed the entire expanse of the ceiling.

"Krele, what, who is that?" Laara whispered in awe.

Krele shook his head dumbly, he was still trying to fathom what had happened to him. "I, I'm not altogether sure."

"It is the magic. It thanks you for releasing it from its horror. It is what I hoped you would do." Came the voice in Krele’s mind, its presence was so much stronger than it had been before.

"Who are you?" Krele blurted before it could get away again.

"I am who you call God. Though that is not my name. Just as Krele Kest is not your name, or Laara her name."

"God!" Krele flared.

"That's God?" Laara cried, shrinking into Krele's side as far as she could and pointing at the smoke.

Krele looked down at her. "No, Laara. That is the magic. God is in my head."

"What?" She gasped.

"I'll explain in a minute." He told her gently, then turned his attention to the presence in his mind. "Then it is You I need to destroy! Hate-spun, blood-evil, vile God! You who finds pleasure in the torture of the sick and of children. You who drinks the blood of sacrifice and eats the hearts of the poor souls you torment. You!"

"No.” The voice intoned morosely. “It was not I who relished in such horrors. The name God was used by the Shades to justify the anguish they inflicted on My poor children." The voice paused. "Sar Lok knew who you were the moment you were born, and he knew that you could destroy him. Yet, he also knew that if you could be swayed to become part of his dark church then you would also drive Me away completely. I would no longer be a threat to him. For you were destined to become something far more evil than even he."

Krele shook his head. "What are you trying to tell me? Who am I?"

"Your name is Doroch, of that he did not lie. And you are, in a certain sense, My Son, and she, who stands beside you, in that same sense, is your sister, Danitha, My Daughter. I am Bahir. While in your mothers' wombs I placed My hand upon your souls. You were My way to end the torture. That was all I could do. I could not touch the World in any other way, lest I destroy it. Oh, I knew that it was great risk, for you and your sister could have turned into demons yourselves. And if that were to happen then there truly would have been a Dark God, for My touch upon you would have enabled you to become such. And I would have been forbidden to do any more to save My World. You would have had free dominion, and all would be consumed by your evil."

"Yet, you have prevailed. My Son. For the magic that was formed out of the hate of the demons, revolted against them. You showed it the way out of its depraved existence. I was unsure of how it would respond, for I did not have a full understanding of its capability to make such decisions. Unlike other magics, it was created, formed, and shaped for a sole purpose. Evil"

"Why didn't you just take it from the demons?" Krele asked, his mind floundering with all he heard.

"I have told you. I could not place My hand on the World. If I had reached down and pulled the magic from the Shades and had bent it to my will, the force of such power would have rent the very core of its existence. For My power is unlimited and…has its prices.

"Doroch, Gods and the Creators of Worlds are in no way perfect. We sometimes lose reasoning when attempting to make something flawless, though absolute perfection is impossible. Yet We try, and ultimately fail. There is always flaw. For everything has its opposite. And youth, even in gods, blinds reason. And I was young then, so very young."

"If that were true, then why didn't the demons' power destroy the World?"

"Ah." Krele could almost detect a smile in the God's voice. "The answer to that is quite simple, the Shades and their magic were part of the World. Another of my mistakes. When creating the World, I failed to see the gap over Chaos that was forming. And in my youthful exuberance over my wondrous creation, I removed My hand before I noticed it. Once removed, I could not place it again. Because of my lack of attention, the World has been plagued by the minions of Chaos that have been pouring through the tear for eons and eons. And will be again, until a way can be found to seal it. Such a way is still yet beyond me.”

Krele listened, as the God, Bahir, spoke. And the more the God said the more Krele was willing to accept, for the words rang with a truth as pure as the innocence of a newborn child.

It all became clear; how easily the magic came to him, how he was able to do things with it no other could do, and how frightened Sar Lok became when he realized that Krele had made the magic conscious of its choices. Krele slowly began to understand, this God was not the tormentor. How could He be? Whatever Krele was becoming, it was not a demon. He would feel the malevolence in this God if He were evil, just as he had felt it in Sar Lok and the other two Shades. Yet, all that swelled in his mind was a feeling of gratitude, pride, sorrowful regret, and undeniable, unending, ancient love. Krele almost fell to his knees.

"Father." He croaked. "Forgive…please…the curses I directed at You. I did not know."

"No need for forgiveness." Bahir spoke gently. "Doroch, you still have much to do. You are no longer what you were."

"What do you mean?"

"Long ago, so long that you could not possibly fathom how far in the distant past they were, I held at My side what I called the High Order. The protectors of My World. Their power was great, and they flourished as they roamed free upon the World. Yet, there came a time when the minions of Chaos did battle upon them, and they, along with so many others, passed out of existence. Long was my grief. Alas, I grieve still."

"Are you telling me that I am to be one. . ." Krele did not finish.

"Yes, Doroch. You are no longer mortal, but living spirit, a higher order of being. You and Danitha could be charged with the protection of the World. Others will soon follow, though they are not as yet prepared for their tasks. Such a one is the child, Amariah, whom you have healed. Yet, she is far too young to understand her purpose. It will be you who needs to explain it to her when she is ready to hear. You are Doroch, Lord and Protector, Highest of Lords in Dyriaah. It is in you I have placed My hope for the World. Ah Doroch, you could restore beauty to this ravaged place, where the Shades have destroyed all with their evil, and their hate, and their thirst for blood. Here is where your work begins. Yet, this you must know. The world is far wider than this place on which you stand. And evil walks in all parts and in many forms. There are other magics and powers and hells abroad within its confines some lesser than yours, some more than yours. Your existence will not be one of joy, yet rather, one of constant battle. Until a way can be found to seal the gap against Chaos. Accept do you this charge that I have placed upon you? For, as one who was very wise once said, there is always choice. And, Doroch, you do not have to choose this path that I have laid before you."

Krele looked down and peered into the deep wells of Laara's eyes. He knew what she would decide, it would be what he would decide. Although she did not know what had just transpired between him and Bahir, she nodded approvingly at him anyway. It was like she had read his mind.

"Father, I speak for us both. We shall walk Your path." Krele said at length.

He could feel Bahir sigh within his mind. "Ah, My Son. Know that the magic will always be there to render aid. It has sealed itself with you, and Danitha as well. There are terrible dangers in the world, and you will need it more often than naught. You will travel far and encounter unfathomable evil as well as ancient, forgotten emissaries of good, those that have faded from memory. They too, will render you aid. Yet, they will be very difficult to find."

"I understand. Father." Krele replied, his voice raspy. He raked his fingers through his hair. "How will we know where it is we have to go?"

"You will know." Bahir answered, his presence seemed to be fading. "I must take My leave of you now, yet I will not be far. Other ears hear us, and the longer we speak, the more in jeopardy you become. Evils heard the thunderous song of your emergence, and it makes them quake with fear. Go with care."

There was a pause, then the God's voice boomed triumphantly in Krele's mind. "AH! Let all behold! For the Order is anew! And the Bells of Dyriaah ring with joy and sing the name of Doroch, Highest of Lords!"

And the God's presence was gone.

So was the cloud of white-blue smoke.

Krele turned Laara so that she faced him.

"What happened, Krele?" She asked, her voice shaking. "I feel, I feel . . . different."

"There is much I need to tell you." He told her gently, smiling broadly and taking her hands in his. The pale blue light of the braziers' fires shone fully on her face, giving her an almost angelic beauty. "Let me start by telling you what your true name is."

"My true name?"

"Yes." His heart and soul rang with some age-old song so pure and clean that it washed all the hurt and pain from his former life completely away. "Yes." He repeated, his voice bright. "You are Danitha. And I am Doroch. And our FatherGod's name is Bahir. He has given us much to do."

She stared back at him, and then, she too smiled broadly. And he knew she understood. "Yes, Doroch." She sang. "He has."

She then stood back from him. “Your eyes, they are no longer black, they shimmer as the stars, white blue light.”

He smiled.

Thus ends the life of Krele Kest. Thus begin the journeys of Doroch, Highest of the High Order of Dyriaah.


*********

"And the glory of the world becomes less than it was."<i></i>


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 Post subject: Re: The Creed- Part III
PostPosted: Tue Jun 27, 2006 3:40 am 
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Our lives are the songs that sing the universe into existence.~David Zindell
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