Rezyl Azzir: The Whisper and the Bone
Something in Rezyl was telling him he shouldn't be here.
Something resembling fear.
He knelt, examining the dust-covered pile at his feet.
The skulls had been discarded with little care some time ago – decades, maybe longer.
The doors carved into the rock face were arcane – dark, gothic... other... and large.
The jagged finery of their archway spoke to an artistry that only served to strengthen the sinking feeling in his gut.
Rezyl had come to Luna in search of nightmares, and after his long journey—from the growing City beneath the Traveler to the ends of the Earth and beyond—he found himself face-to-face with the remnants of stories he'd hoped were nothing but lies.
He stood, a large man made small against the massive, looming doorway.
The knot in his stomach was telling him to turn back.
Instead, he moved forward, toward the doors; sealed, as they were, for ages untold.
After only a few steps, a shrill, heavy scraping cut the air.
The massive doors were opening.
Rezyl steadied his rifle as a lone shape, floating just above the ground, appeared from the deep black beyond the threshold.
The figure in the doorway—a dark, ethereal woman cloaked in tattered ceremony and armored with ornate bone—danced in the air.
Rezyl and the demon woman held their ground, contemplating one another.
With no warning the silent intimacy of the moment was broken by a booming, angry call from deep within the doorway. The sound, thick and pained, echoed across the narrow valley then fell silent.
After a beat that felt like eternity, the figure backed away into the dark.
The doors remained wide – an invitation or a dare, Rezyl did not know. Nor did he care.
The mighty Titan took steps forward.
“Uhhhh... I’m not sure this is a good idea,” his Ghost’s concern was impossible to mistake.
“Not sure that matters.”
“We’ve come. We’ve seen. Maybe the best course here is to warn others. Gather an army.”
“I’m just saying... It’s possible you can’t handle whatever it is we’ve upset here.”
“We’ve woken nightmares.” Rezyl’s attention was singular; focused intently on the dark beyond the threshold.
“The Hive were supposed to be gone.” The Ghost mulled the full consequence of this mistaken belief. “They’ve been silent for—”
“They’re not silent anymore.”
“That scream? These doors? They’re best left alone.”
“I can’t do that.”
Rezyl continued forward. Toward the dark. Toward the unknown.
“Get distance. We don’t know what this is... what’s coming. Can’t risk you too close to an unknown.”
“And if you fall where I can’t find you?”
“If I fall... If I don’t return. Run. Tell the others. Warn them all... There are worse things than pirates.”
Rezyl steadied his rifle and stepped into the dark, as his Ghost lingered.
Hours passed. More? Time was lost in this place, and with it any remembrance of hope... of promise... of purpose in the longing for a brighter tomorrow.
Down amongst the shadows there were no tomorrows.
Down in the abyss there was no hope.
Rezyl’s footfalls echoed; lonely, measured steps with no guarantee of purchase. At any moment the world could fall away and he would be lost – the forgotten hero who foolishly sought nightmares.
Then, a presence. Sweeping and dream-like.
Rezyl leveled his rifle.
He could sense the witch, but found it impossible to track her in the dark.
Rezyl opened fire. Short, focused bursts to light the ebony corridor.
The demon witch circled just beyond the reach of each burst’s glow.
Rezyl kept firing, using the short flickers of light to gain bearing.
The witch laughed and a thick black cloud engulfed Rezyl.
The Titan kept firing but his movements were restricted. The cloud confined him, caged him.
He could hear her moving just beyond his sight as her laughter rose in pitch, cutting into Rezyl’s mind and soul like a tempered blade.
Rezyl flinched as the wicked woman began to speak in a tongue that resembled torture more than language.
The pain was searing, complete.
The demon approached the writhing hero.
As she spoke her violent words began to take shape, morphing from syllables of death to a known offering of haunted human languages.
The demon woman leaned in close... and whispered, intimately.
Rezyl’s ears bled as she spoke.
"I am the end of 'morrows. Xyor, the Blessed. Xyor, the Betrothed. I am of the coming storm. These are not my words, but prophesy. Your Light will one day shatter and die. For now it simply offends... And you, dear, sweet, fragile thing, shall be made to suffer for your transgressions upon this holy ground."
As the witch fell silent, her hateful voice was replaced by a growing chorus of hungry, manic chittering and the rising thunder of an approaching flood.
Rezyl had come looking for the terrors that hide just beyond the light.
He found them.
...they found him.