He was dead, dead as those who had massacred themselves in the town above, yet he was alive as those who suffer torments and unfathomable punishments in the Inferno are alive; felling every cracking of the whip on their flesh, the fire dancing and burning their blackened skin. Yet all the same, he was neither dead nor alive, but what could he possibly be then, if he was neither a carcass or breathing? Does he exist still? Or is he forever vanquished? Are the shadows to be his final and forever companion? Or is his own madness and forlorn heart to be all that dwells with he, he who sacrificed everything to make he into what he is now?
The tenets were defied, the rules were clear. Defying them would equal damming retribution upon the contracted soul; punishments worst than the Ninth Ward of Hell would be reserved for the oath breakers of this most devilish pact; a pact that offers illusional eternity but taints it with the delivered promise… of damned eternity.
This is to be Nihilist's fate for violating the most sacred of all the tenets: slaying the kin of one whom you're bonded with, the gravest of infractions aside from the endangering of all mankind. Nihilist would know the severity of the infractions for his treason. He would be trapped in his Hell forever, all those he had slain would return to exact their revenge, and they would have an eternity to take their time doing so; to make him feel the pain they have felt. The lives of those he had ruined, who's souls he had cursed, would undoubtably return to their kinslayer the favor.
But… unseen powers have a habit of twisting and bending fate to befit any one person. Nihilist is spared Hell, but think not for a moment that he is granted pardon either. Nihilist awakens slowly, inching his body to his knees, the pain throbbing in his bones; his every nerve and corner of his body ripping apart in pain. The wounds inflicted by the Wanderer no longer bleed out, but the pain left behind by the mystical weapon transcended into this world and followed Nihilist; in both his arms, chest and head does the pain beat in and out like to the rhythm of agonizing drums, his whole body broken and shattered, barely able to stand is the pain so great.
From his knees does he painfully rise to his feet, observing the all-to-familiar fog that encompasses Savastia Cemetery. It chills Nihilist to the bone, the very coldness emanating from it picks and stabs at Nihilist's skin, intensifying his already paralyzing pain. The flashbacks start to come back to Nihilist rapidly: Wanderer's fits of madness and possession, charging into the fog, the walls bleeding out, the unseen entity that attacked him back in the town, the Wanderer executing the civilians then himself, it all charged back into his memories, forcing Nihilist to become paranoid about any decision; everything, every thought, was now an enemy to his very "existence". Any recollection of his recent past only seemed to betray him and try to kill him at every turn. Yet he found that all he could think on was recent events, there was no choice in the matter, these demons would not be gone, they would continue to dance to the melody of strife and play with Nihilist's sanity. Was this a part of his own personal Hell?
Nihilist felt driven, but by what he couldn't hope to comprehend. A stone path laid out before him, beckoning him to walk their ancient stones; to wherever it would lead him to, though Nihilist didn't have the strength to debate to himself why he felt this way or what was calling to him, he simply obeyed; the task that required the least resistance. Nihilist was certain that whatever awaited him at the end would be his undoing, but there was no choice, an unseen force was forcing him to proceed along the damned path. He lacked the energy or will to try and resist; he merely complied and went along his way.
Walking with the speed of a crippled elder, hunching over due to the pain preventing him from standing up straight, Nihilist followed the pathway, around him rose from the surface tombs, broken crypts and tombstones, each with a different name, yet all sharing in their existence. Some he felt an attraction to, others he passed with no regard. Why was this he wondered, yet he didn't bother to think for an explanation; he was too excused from merely walking, let alone trying to figure out this cosmic reason. As Nihilist continues along, he also notes that the stone is stained in satanic and other unidentifiable runes, all written in blood. He looks upon them and recognizes a few: the symbol for lust, the design for sacrifice, the scribing of murder; all familiar to Nihilist. He had remembered reading about them during his study through the Order's forbidden tomes, each had a certain significance when it came to making dedications or offerings to Lucifer, the Devil and overlord of demons. Lust signified the betrayal of love, to be judas which pleased the Prince of Darkness. The design for sacrifice was placed on walls and floors before prayer to the Devil began; doing so meant the worshippers had pledged their loyalty to Him. The scribing of murder, sacrifices to be make to the Devil in exchange for power and greater knowledge; these runes were scribed on the walls of the victim's residence, usually placed where people can first notice them.
All were paramount in the worship of the Prince of Darkness, they continued on for quite a while, yet how or why were they here? Nihilist was not a devil-worshipper, he didn't even believe in a God for that matter. What possible role did they have to play here? Was it a sign that He was real, that he was to be given his punishments or at least knowledge of where eternity would claim him? None of it made sense to him, it only confused him more and more as he struggled to try and comprehend anything beyond his own will to not fall to his knees in pain. Nihilist continued along the path, unsure of what to do next save follow it. As he continued more and more crypts and broken tombstones began to appear, as did the fog begin to grow thicker. The skies above began to darken, the clouds high above began to whirl about above at breakneck speeds; the "light" that was shining through the cracks was coming and reappearing like the ghosts of yesterday; yet the "light" that shone through was no solace, dementia and nocturnal were hand in hand. It offered little comfort to the Nihilist.
Like a slave forced to do his labor, Nihilist carries along the rune-scribed path, each rune repeating over and over again, in some cases it just becomes running blood on the stone, no pattern to it, just blood. It brings an odd feeling of discomfort and disgust to Nihilist, a man who feels nothing and revels in chaos, now feels disgust for the sight of all this blood. He starts to grow weaker and sick, its as if everything around him is warring against him. Was this to be his punishment, a lifetime of inhuman power and knowledge, the ability to command life and death at his fingertips; now reduced to this broken and frail shell, barely able to lay eyes upon blood without feeling the need to collapse? Blood and death was no stranger to this Nihilist, now they serve as his bane! For a few brief moments he stopped, collected his thoughts and shouted to the sky with rage,
"Damn you! Damn you all! What accursed trickery do you play on thee plaster saints?! Is this my hell?! Is this where i'm to spend my eternity?! It this my punishment for slaying Samantha, to be reduced to this feeble, deplorable shell?! You will not do me the favor of death, no that would be too merciful for you! You would rather watch me suffer in fucking misery! You would rather take pleasure in fucking with me as long as you can till you grow bored! You are ignorant, an asinine fool too blind to realize that I am not without determination! You may have crippled me Wanderer, but I am not without my resolve! I will break free from these chains and"-
There was no time to finish his sentence before the Wanderer suddenly appeared from behind and struck Nihilist with the grip of his pistol in the back of the head, knocking him down; tumbling and landing before one of the satanic runes! Nihilist is disoriented but can see the familiar figure of the Wanderer approaching him, standing no more than two steps away. Wanderer speaks once more, cold and heartless,
"You're alone Nihilist, I hold the key to your chains. I am the answer to both your liberation and condemnation. Abandon all hope Nihilist! You are useless to me here as you were before! Solitude is your only friend and only your madness seems to care!"
"Silence machination! You are not the Wanderer, only wearing his face! I will not believe anything you say to me! Its nothing but your pitiful lies! Your masque will only protect you for so long, until I and Wanderer rip it off you just before you're executed! I await the moment when I can scribe your blood in the design for sacrifice! Mayhap i'll offer you to the Prince for a pardon!"
"A masquerade of words, the weapon of the vain and hopeless. Is this all you have to offer me Nihilist? You were so much more before, now you're but a slave thrall, scrapping together some form of sanity! There's no reaching to Heaven, the pleas of a desperate man cannot be heard if the Heaven does not exist now can it? You, another life, went into the night. You were the one who sought to deliver the hellfire to our Earth, but the world did not want to die, so you had to die in its place. Your actions set forth a series of events that could only be stopped with your destruction. Eventually you would have lead the world to its premature destruction, before I could do what needed to be done. You would not burn the world before I could bring back Samantha; I have sacrificed too much to allow the actions of one Nihilist to undo all that I have done! And so here you are, condemned to your prison while I do what must be done. Should you be obedient I may decide to release you, once your actions no longer endanger my work."
"Damn you… what more can you do to me?"
"Is that a dare?"
Wanderer swiftly takes the two steps destroying the gap between them, suddenly gripping Nihilist by his throat, holding him in the air single-handily with his left hand! The Wanderer and Nihilist share a stare into each other's eyes for a brief moment before Wanderer breaks the silence,
"Without the Wanderer, you will fall. Keep fighting Nihilist."
Wanderer stares once more into Nihilist's eyes, sensing and reveling in the dread that is in them. Another moment passes, it's then then something catches Wanderer's attention. The Nighttime Wanderer smiles, the sinister nature behind it unmistakable. He whispers in a forbidden language to Nihilist, followed by faint english,
"Savastia ugae tot cise mol weiter yvon persitisa, feva visas kasal quota aslas. Vasala onn das letta basil, tiesfal haszul zolak! Tell me Nihilist, do you remember the Reynolds? No doubt they remember you, at least the brief moments they had before your shadow overcame their sight."
Without mercy the Wanderer throws Nihilist with crushing force into the nearest tombstone, cracking it, nearly splitting the tombstone in two was the impact so great! Nihilist lets out a screech of paralyzing pain, all the while Wanderer standing in place, uttering one last piece to Nihilist,
"Keep fighting Nihilist, and give the Reynolds my regards."
Nihilist blinked his eyes once, and the Wanderer was gone, as fast as he had appeared. The wounds inflicted upon Nihilist were greater than he originally believed them to be. Nihilist's back is shattered, or at least he feels like his spine has been fragmented into dozens of pieces. He moves his hands to reach for his back instinctively. No avail. The pain continues to seer down his back, making any movement extremely trying. Slowly but surely Nihilist turns around and beholds the fractured tombstone before him. It beholds three names, all sharing the same dates,
Carrie Reynolds - Sept 7th, 194AD to 232AD
James Reynolds - Feb 12th, 197AD to 232AD
Maria Reynolds - Oct 5th, 219AD to 232AD
May God the Almighty Father grant these souls peace in the eternal Heaven.
But below this prayer rested one of the blood runes, but of a smaller, and different, nature. It seemed to resemble both demonic and angelic symbols, an odd anomaly since blood runes are specifically reserved for demonic rituals. Why add angelic runes to it? What trickery was this?! How, or why, would angels be involved in the deaths of these people? Did all these gravestones bear the same mysterious markings? And if so, how in the hell were they related to one another?
As Nihilist studies this mark his right hand begins to slowly move towards the rune, reaching out his hand to touch it; almost by instinct. A small voice is begetting him not to place his hand upon it.
His hand fell upon the anomalous rune; colder than the fog was it to the tough. It felt almost as if it was… beating! There was a certain throbbing that was felt beneath his feet; it was almost as familiar as his own heartbeat. For a long moment he listened to this throbbing…
…Before twisting, gnarling roots come up from the ground and grab onto his legs, pulling him under! Nihilist reaches out for the tombstone, trying to pull himself up with all his might, though his strength is failing quickly. Without notice the tombstone suddenly splits into two! Nihilist falls to the ground, digging his fingers deep into the dirt, trying to grab onto anything he can.
It is in vain.
The Nihilist is pulled underground, only to begin a rapid descent, into nothingness. He falls and falls, but all he sees is darkness, no light to shine down here. Almost instantaneously as his descent began it ended with him once more standing on a dark road, no light to illuminate the way. Nihilist looks about, but there is little his eyes can see, save for the rising trees and the faint, dancing light in the window frame in the distance. After a small passing, it dawns on him that his pain is gone, he can move his arms and legs again without the numbing pain to accompany him.
Except he can't move at all! No control, no direction, he merely stands there in place, confused. He sees everything in the 1st person as he would in "reality". But this bid senseless incomprehension. Without warning his left hand reaches down for the left side of his waist…
…To pull out a long, recently sharpened sword. In the darkness, he could see the bits of rust on the sword's blade, no doubt there from time and exposure to the elements. Or was the rust something more sinister? Nihilist finds himself staring at the blade, smiling, through not of his own will. He places his right hand upon the blade, it emanates a warming essence, though hidden within is a non compose mentis, something that binds Nihilist to the blade; a part of him is within. His gaze turns from the blade to the dancing flame in the distant window frame; he smiles, and begins his walk towards the light.
Nihilist begins to recite an ancient incantation out loud, an incantation that incites a fear into Nihilist's heart unlike anything he had felt in ages, something that had best be left buried, no more:
"Almighty Father, Supreme Judas of Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done. On Firma as it is in Heaven and Hell, embrace me as do I by oath sin. Lead me into temptation, and keep me from all that is chaining. Amen."
Nihilist begins to walk towards the light, his sword at his side. The foreboding nightmare set it; he was not merely trapped in some memory, he was being forced to relive it as he did the deed so long ago. His blood was pulsing with hunger, his power over the rest of Man began to take hold. He remembered, the night before his life as a mortal ended, and his contract began. The craving bloodlust had set in, his life was forever altered when he signed himself to the pact. His life as one of the entities beyond this plane had begun. His new and reckless nature demanded a show of power, a means of satiation. Nihilist remember the first night he has transcended his humanity; it was palpable, with trepidation and ecstasy. It was the time when the craving lunacy would be at its greatest, he was powerless to resist the cries his body was making to him. He would fulfill his oaths and desires tonight.
But the ecstasy that flooded his mind that night no longer survived; no now its place was taken by the horror that he knew approached. He knew what was going to happen, how it would happen…
…what he would do once the door and bodies fell down...