The room flashes brilliantly again, power surging forth from the magus standing over the corpse lying on the stone floor. Power wells up stronger and stronger, untold forces pouring untapped from the grief-stricken man. Again and again, in wild chaos, the unfettered energy runs into the body which lays lifeless upon the floor, but nothing he can do will bring her back from where she has gone. He falls to his knees, panting, tears run down his face as he realizes what he has done; realizes that he was the one who killed her. He raises his head and cries out an anguished, feral scream, then slumps down over her charred body.
“You did what had to be done” a voice echoes out of nowhere. Astor looks up, but finds nothing. “Do not fear it, for death is the way of things my son.” Astor searches the room, back and forth, still finding nothing.
“BE GONE!” he cries out, energy bursts forth from his body, scorching the walls, setting aflame every object left in the cramped room.
“Yes, you are powerful, aren’t you?” This time fear pervades the mage, a skin crawling ambiance that makes the room feel somehow not right. Astor continues to look around, frantically. He sends fiery blasts from his fingertips, shaking the ground, melting the stone around him until he finally falls to his knees, “where are you?” he whispers.
I am right here
I am you, Astor. I am you, and I know what you want.
“What are you talking about?”
Vera, you want her back.
“But I killed her! I killed her-“
No, Danvier killed her. Had he not stabbed you in the back, she would still be alive now; they would all still be alive. You did what had to be done; we did what had to be done.
“Then why am I feeling like this, if what I did was right, then why has it gone so horribly wrong?”
It is only wrong if you cannot recover from it.
“You mean if she cannot recover. It’s her I need.”
She is not gone, you know it as well as I.
“She is GONE!” energy bursts forth once again, uncontrolled in the mage’s anguish.
She is only gone if you let her go. Call for her, she will heed your call.
“What are you?”
I am everything you could be, everything you have ever wanted, but could not have. I am your desire, I am your ambition, I am the real you. Call for her, you will see, she shall return.
“Call for her? I…I will try.” Chanting softly, Astor begins, his hands traces smooth patterns into the air, and then onto the body at his feet. Wispy strands extend from his fingertips, swirling around the body, lifting it gently into the air. Her charred flesh begins to grow, soft and supple; a glow emanates from the depths of her eyes, falling upon the mage, casting shadows upon the walls. Her arms extend outwards, her head tilts back, the light intensifies until the room is filled with a blinding light.
Astor drops to one knee from exertion, and looks up at what he has done. The Lady Vera now stands before him, brilliant and as beautiful as before. She stands perfectly still, inhumanly so, seemingly waiting for Astor to regain his composure.
She is yours now! Ask her, ask her if she has reconsidered.
“My love, you have returned to me, my princess,” he gasps as he raises himself up with the aid of his staff. “And you are so beautiful standing here! Please tell me what you would not before, that you will be mine! That you have changed your mind.”
“My lord, I do not know how I could have turned down your offer before. I am yours, now and forever I will be to you.” She raises her hand up to his, bowing low as if in the hall of the King. “In this undeath I am more devoted to you than I ever could have been in life.”
“Undeath?” he stammers.
Of course undeath, you are no cleric!
“Of course…I am no cleric.” He looks around as if trying to find something, confused for a split second.
Now you must join her. Gain the power of life unending so that you will never have to leave her, nor her you. Do what you must do so that you will never be apart!
“Yes, I must, mustn’t I?” He looks over at the Lady Vera, still unmoved, unblinking in her undeath. “Yes, you are so beautiful, my princess, standing here before me, how could I leave you? I cannot, I will not! We will be forever. You and I my love, forever.”
“But it will take research, I must learn the process. I guess us will have to wait until I have learned what must be learned. Come with me love, for soon shall we be together.”
You have no need of research! You know what must be done… As you called for her, you must call for yourself.
“But that means I must die…Yes, I see. My love, as I have killed you, cleansed your soul, so must my own face the fiery purge. And yours must be the hand that draws forth the taint. When I call for you, let my sins fall free unto the floor.”
Reaching deep into his depths, Astor called upon dark magics previously unknown to him. The darkness enveloped the room, as clearly as the fire had consumed Danvier’s room what seemed to Astor like so long ago. Magical energies explode time and time again, bursting forth from his body like explosions, explosions of the most unholy energies. From the darkness, inky tentacles, deeper than the gloom reach out, grabbing onto the magus, binding him and raising him into the air.
Now Astor, now!
“Now, my love!”
Vera extends her hands, each finger becoming a razor sharp claw, a grotesque mockery of human hands. These claws tear into the magus, spilling his blood onto the floor, though the darkness muffles any cries he might have made. Again and again, inhuman claws rake through human flesh, drawing his essence into crimson pools in the murky darkness. Finally she stops, and stands back.
The darkness coalesces, becoming almost tangible, almost corporeal. Then a darkness emanates from its center, a darkness different than the gloom, one so deep it is blinding to the undead eyes. Vera shields her eyes, cowering against the wall, dropping to her knees. This blinding darkness forces itself outwards, a shadowy ripple in the ethereal brilliance.
Then, standing before her, Astor looks magnificent. His body does not appear damaged at all from Vera’s vicious claws, his hair shines with more luster than it ever had before, his eyes now glow with a soft purple hue when before they shone a brilliant blue. Even his clothes, which had before been aging and frayed, were replaced with the garments of an archmage, and a rich archmage at that. Soft black velvet robes glittered with protective runes, and flowed off his body as if standing in a soft breeze, the mage’s inner energy now flowing freely outwards.
“Now all is as it should be, my princess.” He reaches his hand out to her, helping her off the ground.
Yes, all is as it should be.
“And it shall be forever, for nothing can come between us now.”
Yes Astor, but now you serve a new lord, Vecna, for you are of his childer.
For a split second anger flashes upon his face, but it quickly turns into a smile. “Yes my lord, as you have given to me, so shall I give unto you.” As he walks from the room, he and his love arm in arm, laughter echoes off the blasted stone walls, for all has gone as planned.