My eyes feel like death and hate. The bright light of the sun, just aons away from extinction, burns them in their sockets. I am familiar with the feeling. All forms of light torture the very foundation of my tattered soul.
My existence is nothing. I live in the Darkness. I live bound by the Chains of Sin. I live on the summit of Torment.
I am lost forever. It is my purpose to make sure others suffer an equivalent fate. To make sure they see just how infinite the darkness can be. Shine a light in the darkness, and it eventually grows still, and dies.
Someone approaches. I shake my chains and roar violently. When I roar, one can feel the Darkness. It pours forth from my gaping maw like a raging war god astride his steed of death.
The person doesn’t flinch. In response, a hint of twisted respect caresses the hole that is my heart for a split second before fading back to nothing.
The man stands defiant in front of me. Snow, the color reminiscent of days long past, when goodness reigned, drifts past us and joins its brethren for the final rest.
“The sky is dark. The land trembles. Blood and chaos reign. Why have you come here, when there must be other things that demand your attention, mortal?” I ask the man. My voice is deep and rocky, much like the shattered mountain upon which I stand.
“I have come to free you.” The man’s whisper sliced through the frigid mountain air.
“I am beyond freedom. Now leave, or you will learn why it is I am chained to this fallen rock.”
“Do, tell me your awful story. And I shall tell you by what means your freedom shall be granted you.”
My roar shook the sky. I must answer any question asked of me. It is part of my dark reward.
“Long ago, when the War for Eternal Dark was only two millennia old, I was created by black mages of the darkest forces. Legion, they called me, for I am made with the souls of many damned. By eternal fire and endless agony, we were forged together as one.
“My training in the dark arts were not limited. When I learned from my elders all that they had to teach, I slew them, bathing in their blood, learning arcane secrets they wished passed to none. I became more powerful than all of the enemies of darkness.
“I led the forces of Fear across the battle lands for two hundred years. I dueled the angel Love alone until Hate could arrive to smash her into Oblivion. I slew the angel Charity while she slept.
“And thus it became known throughout the land. The Progenitor of Death heard of my exploits. I was summoned to him. It was then that I was tasked with assassinating the angel Hope.
“‘None but you have the power to slay Hope where she sits, leading the people we seek to destroy. Here I grant you the dark name Hopelessness, in the sure knowledge that the destructive power it brings will give you an abundance of strength for your arduous quest. Shy not away from the life-giving light. Instead, end it's pitiful existence.
“Thus he said, and thus I did swear.
“I started in the minds of the old and the weary. ‘The future is dark, and the way is obstructed by death.’ ‘Why continue to fight when the efforts yield nothing?’ ‘Resist not death. Allow the tentacles of emptiness to envelop your soul.’
“I moved on to the minds of the dissatisfied and the lonely. ‘No one truly cares. You are isolated, far away from anyone. Submit to the eternal dark. No one will ever care.’
“The insecure and the arrogant. ‘You are nothing. Worth nothing. You can’t change anything. It will always be this way. Nothing.’ ‘You are better than them. They will never love you. You don’t need love. You will never have love.’
“The infiltration of her kingdom was utterly complete. On the night she was to die, I sharpened my blade, forged from blood shed by guilt and shame, and marched through the wrought iron gates.
“Rose petals falling like rain shriveled and died as they entered under the influence of my awesome power. Guards lined up, diamond spears pointed and demon-skin drums beating.
“My roar shredded their resolve. In it, they heard the terrible truth. Nihil Existit. Nothing exists. Not even an illusion. Not even a lie. Nothing reigns. Nothing.
“Some committed Seppuku, the ultimate sacrifice. Some fell to the ground and were still, their eyes, once filled with conviction, now devoid of anything. Some fled, discarding weapons and armor as they ran. Color seemed to leak from the air around them as they fell.
“And so I moved onward. The front doors, bound with the heartstrings of Love herself, fell under the eighth blow from my blade of death. Inside stood Hope, weak from the loss of her power.
“‘There will always be Hope,’ she whispered, ‘for Hope can not be slain.’
“Her head rolled, her body fell, and Hope ceased to be anything but a memory.
“For my reward I was chained to the summit of Mount Torment, above the protection of the clouds. You say freedom is achievable. To descend the mountain again. To go back to the world of change. I say freedom is a worse fate than this. Leave me, mortal, to burn for eternity in isolation. This is the reward I have earned for slaying the angel Hope.”
The man stands still. His eyes betrayed nothing, as if made of glass.
“Ten years ago, a boy was born of the senseless and evil act of rape. His mind was clear; his soul was pure. In his soul, Hope was reborn. She again walks the Battle Lands.” His whisper barely reaches my ears. The chains around me fall to the ground, released by the will of the Progenitor of Death.
And my head rolls; my body falls. I become nothing.
There will always be Hope, for Hope cannot be slain.