A life full of short stories
The fallen Monk
Chapter One: The Master's Soul
As the shimmering light of the stars falls to the plane of man, no other source of hope can be found in the dark northern lands. Far away from the Southern Seas, a man, alone and lost, lives in the ruins of a once beautiful town. The calamity has taken away what was left of morality and rationality, leaving only the monstrosities and the lost souls of the damned. The man's name is Nathanial, and he is a wandering monk, or, instead, he was, as he left his belief to settle down in agony, searching for catharsis in the shadows of doubt.
He never had a real family, nor did he have a reason to live other than the hunt for Evil. All of his prey has been vanquished, and he fondly remembers his blood-drenched past. Still, he feels he has failed his fate, as if he had betrayed his maker and brought shame to his lord's house. Little does he know that there might be a ray of hope, not sent by the stars, but by the light of the candle, which magically appeared in front of his lost cabin in the woods.
Nothing more than the battering at the door woke him from his nightmares. He always saw the same things, shadows of a past he thought long forgotten, souls of those he killed in cold blood, and the regrets his consciousness fooled him with.
"Who is there? You should better leave this place, as I am no grateful host, nor am I any friend of strangers," said Nathanial and banged at the door with his bare fists, but the battering did not stop.
"I warn you once more, if I open this door, nothing good will follow! So leave, or I will make you!" he responded to the battering, but he wondered who had found him here.
The battering resumed, and finally, Nathanial opened, but he could not understand what he saw. It was a small but bulky figure, wearing a dark cape to conceal himself.
"Master, is that you? Did I truly find you? I didn't start to wish for it, but now it has come true!" he screamed in joy and rushed into the cabin, passing Nathanial, who failed to notice any of the shadowy appearance's movements.
"Master? What are you talking about? Explain yourself, stranger!" Nathanial demanded in rage over the intrusion.
"It has been so long, but now I have found you. Everyone said that I was crazy, that you were dead; even said that you had lost your powers, but I always knew better than that. You are truly my master; I can feel it, even if it is just faint," replied the petite guy, pulling a strange apparatus out from under his dark garment.
To Nathanial, it seemed intricate, if not otherworldly, but also familiar and welcome. He looked at it; maybe he even fixated on it with eyes of curiosity and jealousy, as if he needed it more than anything else.
"What is this? Is it what you came to bring me? Or what is the purpose of your long journey?" Nathanial asked more subtly and gently, wanting to know the truth.
"This, my master, is only what you gave me. It is a sterile container. I do not know of the purpose you send me here; I am merely a messenger." he retorted and awakened the anger in Nathanial once again.
"What is it that you came here for? I haven't sent you, why would I? I do not even know who you are, and you want to tell me that you don't know what this is? Tell me, what is inside this container of yours?!" Nathanial demanded to know, leaving his guest the last chance to respond truthfully.
"I did not say that I do not know what it is; I just told you that I do not know anything about its real purpose. It is a fragment of an ancient artefact known as the Heart's Casket. It was shattered by pure light to stop the corruption of this plane. From it, you build a container, a so-called Soulstone, and with it, one can store its soul for eternity." replied the stranger, already making his way back to the door.
"Do you leave already? What should I do with this thing? What if I accidentally shut away my soul? Take this thing with you!" yelled Nathanial, but the stranger was already gone.
With nothing left but an artefact of old, Nathanial sat down on the ground, looking up through the holes in the roof of his cabin, and he saw the stars, like always, but hope was nowhere to be seen, shrouded from his eyes – for now.
Chapter Two: Hope Uncontained
He stared at the object for hours, but it did nothing and would not change. Nathanial did not know what to do, but he knew of a person who could. He probably should not even consider visiting him, but he had no choice. This man, known by the name Sergei Rumkow, was a dark magician back when both of them hunted the Evil which inhabited this world. But now, many things could have changed, and he could not even practice the Arts of Dark anymore.
He lived far away at the southern borderland, and the journey would take Nathanial at least two weeks, if not longer, so he prepared. He packed his back with all his spare belongings that he had gathered over the years, from holy crosses over sanctified daggers to books about demon slaying and exorcisms, everything that had helped him before, and everything that was left. He wouldn't return; he knew that; the only thing left in uncertainty was what he ever truly wanted.
It was still the darkest night when he left his cabin, and nothing but the light of the stars accompanied him. Very few humans lived around here, and to be honest, it wasn't surprising seeing that nothing but burned ground and ashes were left. Nathanial's only hope was that he could again hunt the Evil that had pursued him in his nightmares for so long.
When the sun started rising on the horizon, Nathanial had already reached the only village in the Dreadlands. The tavern, the Jaded Eye, was known for being a meeting place of the darkest souls this world knows, and those are people Rumkow would know.
As Nathanial entered the place, all eyes were set on him. It was darker inside than night, and everyone seemed to do nothing but exist. They were here, just like Nathanial, but their existence was without reason. Slowly Nathanial walked across the room and reached the bartender, who seemed to be the only person not even glancing at him.
"Hello, I was wondering if you could help me with a request. I am looking for a man named Rumkow and was hoping you might know of him. As an older gentleman, my requests are few but important to me. Would you be able to assist me in this matter?" asked Nathanial and sat down on one of the stools.
"I must say, I am not pleased with the way you are approaching me. If this is the only reason for your visit, perhaps it would be best for you to reconsider and return another time." answered the man spitting into a spittoon.
Nathanial knew that he would have to take more drastic measures if he wanted to get information from a man like this, but he didn't feel like it anymore. So he stood up and walked away from the bar, slowly making his way out of the tavern. But as he already expected, things just didn't want to go too smoothly. Two men armed with swords got in his way. One put his hand on Nathanial's shoulder while the other held his sword high, playing like a child.
"Hey, where are you going? We heard you're looking for someone named Rumkow. Is that true? If it is, you might be in for some trouble. We thought we could help you out and take away some of the stress of searching. Would you be interested in that?" said the man, grinning broadly towards his companion.
"Trouble, you say? It seems to me that the only one in trouble here is you, with your oversized ears that can't resist poking into other people's affairs and your loud mouth that can't keep out of my business. As for your companion, he would be well-advised to learn how to properly wield his weapon, as he will only get himself killed if he continues to play with it as if it were a toy." Nathanial responded, slapping away the stranger's hand from his shoulder.
Even those two brutes recognised that they had been insulted, so they prepared to attack. The first man attempted to strike from above, losing not only his footing, missing his target, but also his weapon. Nathanial reacted and quickly grabbed the sword, just in time to parry the attack the other brute was about to unleash. However, Nathanial knew that a fighter like this could not keep up for long, so he forced his adversary to keep attacking, parrying as many attacks as possible. Soon his enemy realised what Nathanial planned, so he signalised his defeat, dropping his sword to the ground, running away in fear, and leaving his companion lying on the ground.
Nathanial was sure that more would follow as soon as both brutes returned with their friends. So he left the tavern and kept following the road south. Nothing significant happened for hours, and he soon reached a forest he remembered. Many of his dark dreams have found their origin in these woods. They were known as the Shivering Treetops, as the whole forest seemed to tremble under the mighty blowing wind from the north. For years he had hunted all kinds of dark creatures, and his only reward should have been the satisfaction of once slaying one of the mightiest, one of the origins of Evil, but he had lost the race. Someone, a hero without a name, had claimed what was indeed his and had not only taken away the prize for Nathanial's aspiration but also eliminated any reason for Nathanial to go on.
He pulled out the apparatus and examined it repeatedly, but he could not understand how it worked. Yet, every second, he more and more believed what the stranger told him. Maybe he was someone else before, and this gadget was his way to redemption. He slowly gave up and stored the apparatus back away, as the daytime seemed over again.
The road was no safe place to sleep for the night, so Nathanial entered the dark forest, which posed less risk in his eyes than the wide-open road. Only wild animals inhabited this place now, and nothing natural could strike fear in his heart. Unfortunately, he did not carry more than a few blankets and enough supplies for a week. It would not be enough for a long journey, so he had to find Rumkow fast, but he had already thought of a way to solve this problem.
The next day came fast, and it felt as if there had not been a night at all to Nathanial. But as he rarely found sleep, this was not something to think about, at least not for him. So he decamped as fast as possible and sat down near the road, just outside the forest. The weapon in his hand was a gift from an old friend who had died long since. But this dagger was more than a token of lost times; it was a sacred weapon forged in the fires of hell and blessed with holy waters. To demons, it was deadly to touch the blade, not even speaking of taking a direct hit.
But a human being could not die from a strike of this dagger, so it was a mere instrument for torture and inquisition. Nathanial waited long, but he did not move a muscle. Instead, he tried to focus as long and as much as possible. His targets would soon arrive, and he was sure they would seek revenge for what he had done to them. No warrior, not even one like them, would take a humiliation like this - that Nathanial was sure of.
Chapter Three: Dark Souls
Three hours, that is how long it took them to find him. He was still sitting there, meditating, fully aware of his surroundings, but not yet ready to intervene. He had already seen his victory in visions of the future. Deep meditational states helped him contact planes beyond the realm of human dreams. Nathanial could see those who could not even see themselves. He felt their presence, heavy breathing, roaring tramping, inevitable tampering with nature and the will and power to destroy.
But he had learned something that they were not aware of. They closed a ring around him, foolishly drawing their weapons, raising them into the air, and loading them with energy. Nathanial's breathing stopped, and he heard the sound of the wind slowly pivoting around their blades as if it were his own breath, travelling to spy on what would happen next.
He steadied his grip, felt the blade in his hand, and as he continued his breathing, his enemies advanced, putting every bit of power they possessed into this one blow. Nathanial stood up, only taking a second to dodge their strikes, hushing away between them, to run away into the forest.
He did not open his eyes, not even for a second, as he had to focus on the place he was searching. Countless years had he travelled through this forest, and he knew by now that his eyes could betray him but that his mind was strong. He ran as fast as an animal, zigzagging around the trees, steadily dissipating his enemy's group.
None of them would be a match for him, so he started to carry out his plan. He killed them, one after the other, and it felt as if he had arrived home to him. So long now had he lived in peace that he had forgotten the joy and thrill of hunting; even fighting against these mere humans, he felt his heart rising.
Their numbers grew thin, and soon there were only two of them left. Then, finally, they grouped up again, so Nathanial advanced to a treetop above them, waiting for an opportunity to strike.
"What should we do? This guy is insane; he won't let us live, even if we beg him. This is just too much for me. I can't go on." screamed one of them, dropping his sword.
"Stay strong; we have to fight him, even if it does cost our life, this is a warrior's day, and to be one, you will have to see the end of It.", replied the other one while he picked up the sword from the ground.
Nathanial had learned enough and now knew which one had to die. He did not wait for another second and quickly descended to the ground. Instantly he was recognised by the two soldiers; while one dropped his sword in fear, the other began his charge towards Nathanial, not even thinking about the odds of winning.
Nathanial pulled out a sacred cross from his belongings and threw it in the direction of his still-charging enemy, who, eyes and mind too fixated on Nathanial, did not notice it in time. He fell, groaning to the ground, writhing with pain, holding his hands over his face.
Nathanial slowly walked towards him while the other soldier could not move a muscle. He picked up the soldier's sword and grabbed his wounded adversary's throat. Nathanial looked into his eyes and saw the pride of a warrior but the heart of a weakling. He placed his sword upon the soldier's heart and said: "This is your day's end; sadly, it wasn't the day of a warrior for you, but may god grant you another life and with it another try to defeat me."
Thrusting his sword through his enemy's body, he watched as the other fell to the ground, losing consciousness. He left the blade where it was, as a symbol of a new beginning, so it marked the graves of his enemies in the forest, which once started Nathanial's life. Then, after carrying away the other soldier to a more appropriate place, he set up a camp and prepared for what was necessary.
When the soldier woke, he was already tied up, chained to a tree in the same forest where he had fallen senseless. He looked around and examined everything closely, not now realising what would happen to him. His abductor was nowhere to be seen, but the captive's countless attempts to escape did not bear fruit, as his bonds were too strong for him to break free from.
It did not take Nathanial long to return to the camp after his victim awakened. He had brought with him many pouches filled with herbs and fungi. He started to set up a fire, grinding the ingredients, and repeatedly crushing and throwing in new branches to maintain just the right intensity of the fire. Every branch he broke made his captive tremble, but he did not say a word.
When Nathanial was finally finished and made a thick slimy paste out of what he had gathered, the captive began his pleadings.
"Please, I am no use to you, and you know that. I was the weakest of my friends and knew the least. You took the wrong one if you want information about the messages we have gotten." he said, stammering.
"This is not the kind of information that I am after. One of your friends told me that he could ease my pain of searching. And to be honest with you, it is a pain that keeps growing. Unfortunately, this man died in this forest. But you, as a friend, would possibly be able to help me out. But do not be fooled. I will not let you leave alive if you choose to deny this request", Nathanial said in a civilised manner preparing the more primitive methods in the meantime.
"I beg of you, please hear my words. I do not know anything, I assure you." the captive cried.
Nathanial took out the dagger and coated the blade with the paste. He slowly walked towards the captive and tried to not show any emotion. He felt that many doubts had cornered him and that he had long left the path he once wandered upon, but now he could not turn back. He moved the blade over the captive's arm, lightly touching his skin with the knife. Like a strong acid, it burned away the flesh in seconds, and a mixture of blood and chemicals dripped down to the ground while the captive screamed in pain and agony.
"Sergei Rumkow, where can I find him?" asked Nathanial with a cold and detached voice.
"Ahandalon, they said he was in Ahandalon. Please, I do not know more than that." said the captive, fighting against the unsustainable pain.
Ahandalon was a region at the edge of the Uhalian Wilds, where Nathanial was born. He could not understand why Rumkow would reside in such a place, as it did not match his liking.
"Ahandalon, you say? This is surprising and a hassle, as it is not around the corner. You remember what I said, do you not? If you help me, I will let you go, but for that information to be helpful, I will need a bit more background to stand behind it.", Nathanial remarked politely while he recoated the blade.
"You are a monster; no monk would be like you. I thought you had a belief and that you followed morals; what has become of you?" asked the captive, slowly reaching a state in which Nathanial's source of information would dry up.
"I am no longer a monk; I do not need a name for what I am doing, rather do I need justice and redemption. It seems I cannot answer your question, but maybe I can give you something else. I would like to know what you think those morals you are talking about would be. Would not I be the one to define them, to enforce and glorify them? What if this is my new morality? Would you not approve of it? I think your time is up.", said Nathanial and stored away the blade, as it was not suited to kill.
Instead, he decided to end this quickly and cleanly, so he could continue his journey as soon as possible. So he cut his victim's throat and left him hanging. He did not speak a prayer or even think about a proper burial. He knew that his moralities had changed and that the ways to enforce them were darker and more impacting, but he did like the feeling of having this dark soul, as it might open up the apparatus and the key to redemption with it.
Chapter Four: Back to the Roots
Days and nights came and went in the blink of an eye, and Nathanial had lost interest in everything around him, focusing only on the goal ahead, Sergei Rumkow. Ahandalon was only one day away, and Nathanial began recognising specific landmarks, buildings, and even people. He had been far away from home since his early twenties, and all he had known was killing and banishing that which was evil.
When he was younger, he had a family, just like most people do, but different nonetheless. On his fourteenth birthday, he learned how to leave home and be trained the secrets of martial arts from the elderly monks who invented most of it. They were pure in strength, wisdom, and heart and only knew to obey. Every apprentice served the elders, and every elder served the gods. As a monk, he had learned to follow and to fulfil but never to think about the purpose of his life.
The monks told him there was a god in every living entity, yes, in everything that existed, may it be the smallest. 1001 gods in total, they believed, but Nathanial always wondered. Why does he have to obey if there even is a god in himself? He wanted to be his own god, choose his own ways, and live his own life. So when he had finished his training and was tasked to leave and fight, he decided to do so on his own, which is why he did not follow his orders to their fullest.
He left and fought, but he had forsaken his home and adapted from the shadows. That is where he first met Rumkow. When Rumkow was only an adept of the Dark Arts, they often trained together, learning from each other and improving upon their mistakes. In a way, they were best friends, but many things changed over the years, and as Rumkow became more and more powerful, Nathanial even left his old friend behind to find strength in solitude.
He did become as strong as one could imagine, but in the end, he was beaten to his goal, and he looked back at his past with so much regret. He had nothing to live on. Without friends, a family, or a home to return to. But now he had found his old friend and began to remember his old dreams.
When he arrived in the small village he once lived in, he noticed nothing had changed. It was as if there was no calamity at all, and maybe he had just waked from a nightmare. He asked many people and searched every place, but in the end, Rumkow was nowhere to be found. The only thing that was left was a small lake, which he had told Rumkow of many times in the past.
He was a few miles away from it, but he could already see that someone had built a house beside it, and it seemed like this person was at home. When he got closer, he could not believe his eyes. It was Rumkow, but he aged so much and did not seem to be the same.
"Is that you, Nathanial? Is that really you?" cried Rumkow loud and full of joy.
He ran towards Nathanial and put his arms around him, making him feel even more uncomfortable.
"Yes, it indeed is, old friend. I have come to show something to you, and it is of uttermost importance, so we should maybe go inside to talk about it more privately.", Nathanial replied, hiding his emotions as much as possible.
"If you care about privacy, we should go somewhere else, as my family is preparing dinner. After we have eaten, you will have to tell me everything. I am so happy to see you. It is good to have you with us, Nathanial," said Rumkow smiling, leaving Nathanial shocked.
Rumkow, the master of the Dark Arts, had become a family man? This had to be a dream, and it certainly was no good one.
"Sure. But as you might think, I am more than baffled about this situation. How did this all happen? You never dreamed of a family; at least you never told me about it.", Nathanial replied, ever so puzzled.
But Rumkow did not answer. Instead, he asked Nathanial to follow him, so he could see for himself. The house was relatively small, but quite frankly, it was still more than twice as big as the cabin Nathanial had called his home for so long. Nathanial admired the beauty of Rumkow's wife and the pure and seemingly endless vital energy of Rumkow's two children, and he feared that he had been beaten again.
When he and Rumkow were younger, Nathanial always told him how he wished to live everyday life with a family free from all Evil. He dreamed of a house near the lake and always wanted his children to grow up in freedom and safety. But now, this has become Rumkow's dream and reality.
Nathanial left the house as fast as possible and did not look back. It must have been miles that he wandered, and the direction did not even matter to him. He just needed to get away. After a while, he stopped, noticing that Rumkow had been following him.
"What is it, Nathanial? Why did you leave already? Can you not be happy with the life I have? Where is all the wonderful hope you had?" asked Rumkow, as the rain started falling.
"Hope? I always dreamed of this, and you took it away from me. It was always like this; I remember it now. You became stronger through me, leaving me weak and without a goal. You stole my dreams, made them your own, and even gave them life. Where is hope in this? I always thought of you as a friend, and I hoped that you could help me, but I was wrong." replied Nathanial in low spirits, and the rain began to get stronger.
It was a strong thunderstorm that passed the land, and both of them stood there in the vast open fields.
"What is it that you came here for? I assume you are not looking for your dreams anymore," yelled Rumkow, but his voice drowned in the thunder and rain.
Nathanial looked at him, and he felt endless rage. He wanted to kill his friend, he wanted it deeply within his soul, but he just could not do it, as he was everything that Nathanial had left.
"What I came for no longer matters, as I will take my leave now. It was a gift to see you again, Rumkow, and I truly thank whatever god there is for it. But things have changed, and nothing can be done about that." yelled Nathanial back to his friend.
Rumkow watched as his friend turned around, and he did not know how to stop him. He feared it would be a grave mistake not to help his friend, so he did what he had not done for so many years.
He raised his hands into the sky, mumbling words of ancient, rotating his forefinger in the air. The air began to circulate with such immense power that Nathanial had difficulty keeping his balance. Finally, he turned around and saw what Rumkow was up to. Thunderbolts came crashing down, but Rumkow stood still as if nothing had happened. He began to speak louder, and the wind blew stronger and stronger, reaching such a degree that it knocked Nathanial off his feet, launching him into the air.
Rumkow stopped, and so did the storm, leaving Nathanial in the air and falling to the ground, unable to withstand gravity.
"I am sorry, old friend. However, it was necessary, and you will soon understand." said Rumkow as he grabbed his friend.
Chapter Five: The Descend into Darkness
Maddening whispers, piercing screams and deafening silence were all that Nathanial could perceive, chained to a wooden chair in what seemed to be a cellar. It was dark, nearly as if he had lost sight, but then there were always these lights, flashing, vanishing and reappearing even brighter than before. Then, after a while, the lighting stabilised, and Nathanial saw Rumkow standing in front of the apparatus, wearing big black glasses, examining it thoroughly.
"It is remarkable, really, maybe even touching to some extent. In the past, I would have killed someone for the chance of only seeing it once, a fragment of the Heart's Casket. This is the pinnacle of science, the greatest artefact known to man. But it came to you with a twist. It is already filled with a soul and no ordinary at that. So, although looking back at even my darkest days, I could never have been evil to this extent, it is truly stunning. And It has to be destroyed." Rumkow left the object behind, watching Nathanial as he struggled to escape.
"Destroy it? Why should someone destroy it, for god's sake? I travelled far to get it here, and the stranger who gave it to me said it contained my soul, that I had given it to him before." screamed Nathanial in fear, but Rumkow knew that he had the upper hand.
"He may be right concerning your soul. If you opened it, the soul would have corrupted you, and it would not have left a trace of you. It is powerful enough to destroy this world. Maybe it is a fragment of a Pure Evil soul, but I could be wrong. Only one thing is certain if it is not destroyed, the container will burst over time, and who knows what happens then." remarked Rumkow, kneeling before his friend.
Rumkow removed his glasses and placed them on the table. He wandered the room, waiting for an idea to strike his mind.
"You know it, Rumkow, as good as I do, that this world has changed. I always feared the dark, but you knew better than me. The dark was always our friend; it was our destiny to face it. Now that it is gone, we do not have anything, no common enemy that we share. But if we would open this container and bring the darkness back to this world, then we could be free again, fight side by side, and conquer like we always did. Think about it, and just imagine the possibilities." said Nathanial in a way Rumkow would have never imagined.
"You must have lost your mind. What if this truly is the soul fragment of a Pure Evil soul? We would anchor it to this plane, granting it the power to return. Do you really remember the times? Do you really want them to return? I have found truth in your dreams. I have grown up, realising the wrongs I had done, changing them to the only good I could. I know that I can never make them all up, that my soul is forever tainted, but you are standing in front of a crossroads. I hope you do not take the wrong path, as there is no turning back." Rumkow reminded his friend of his former self.
But Nathanial did not listen; he did not even consider turning back. Rumkow had underestimated his friend's power, and when Nathanial broke free of his bonds, channelling immense energies of mental force, the room began to tremble. Nathanial went straight for the apparatus and picked it up from the table. When the trembling stopped, he saw Rumkow, who had fallen to the ground, and he again tried to convince him one last time.
"This is your last chance, tell me what you know, or I will crush this stone!" threatened Nathanial, holding the apparatus into the air, letting it slowly slip through his hand.
"I have become weak. I can see it now. You always wanted to be the strongest, the most known and the one with a purpose, but it was not you. You have to realise that these demons are playing tricks on you and are so powerful that they do it from another plane of existence. If you destroy the apparatus around the stone, you will void the seal that has been put on it. The demon does not want a mere stone as an anchor, it will take you, and even if it only is a piece of its soul, it will destroy your own in the process, letting you fade from existence. So do not be foolish; put it down so we can talk this through. No one wants this Evil to return, not even you." said Rumkow in an attempt to soothe Nathanial.
"And this is where you are wrong," replied Nathanial, letting the apparatus slip.
Rumkow ran as fast as he could, but he was too far away to stop it. When the apparatus touched the ground, and the metallic casing broke apart, he could see the inside, containing the stone itself. But nothing happened at all. Full of hope that Nathanial may have failed, Rumkow picked up the apparatus and retreated back to the other half of the room, leaving Nathanial more depressed.
"Be happy that the gods have granted you a second chance, as nothing good would have come out of this prison. I will immediately renew the seal and store away the apparatus until I find a way to completely destroy it without crushing the stone," said Rumkow, examining the apparatus.
Nathanial just stood there, not knowing what had happened. It was as if all this was just a pure comedy, with him as the protagonist. Why could he never reach his goals? Why was it always Rumkow who destroyed it all for him? Endless rage was all that Nathanial could feel at this moment, and nothing was holding him back any longer.
He charged Rumkow like an animal, its prey, and relentlessly beat him up with his bare fists. He felt every little punch, but he did not seem to realise the consequences of his actions. He continually beat on Rumkow, not even looking if he was still alive until he heard Rumkow's neck breaking. But even after that, it took him more than a few seconds to realise what he had done. He had killed the only friend he ever had, the only one who admired him so much that he even realised the dreams Nathanial always had.
He stood up from the ground, standing above the bleeding corpse of his friend, who still had the apparatus firmly in his clutch. Nathanial picked it up, and when he looked at it, he noticed that the stone inside began to glow. At first, he thought it was only a trick that his mind was playing on him, but then it burned again and again until it exploded in his hands.
Nathanial was thrown to the ground by the explosion, feeling that his skin had burned nearly everywhere. He looked at his hands, he touched his face, and nothing but a broken man was left. But even now, he obsessively searched for the stone, crouching around like an infant. But the pain seemed too much to bear, so he lay down on his back, seeing that the ceiling had turned pitch black as if it was covered by smoke.
Soon it began to move, making its way across the room, and stopping right in front of him. He looked at it, and even if he could barely open his eyes, he was sure that he saw something inside this thick smoke, and he felt as if something was talking to him in an otherworldly tongue.
"I will grant you immeasurable power beyond human imagination if you only obey me as your sole master." whispered the voice, dark and rough.
Nathanial gathered all his strength and finally managed to stand up. Then, looking directly into the smoke, he said: "I will obey you as my sole master, Dark Lord."
The smoke began to surround Nathanial, slowly sinking into his skin. Now Nathanial was no longer, and born on this day was the first fallen monk in history, Lord Venatis, Hunter of Angels. He was a sole marionette, controlled by one of the Prime Evils, which he always had searched to destroy.
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