Darkness Binding 3: Part Three
Cray was floating in an endless nothingness of the plane
he had always dedicated himself to. To him, this was an almost religious experience.
Darkness was in every direction, and to Cray's black eyes, there were others swimming
around in the void. Long serpents without defining features, yet seemed unique
in their own way.
Immediately, three serpents, about two meters
long, took notice of him. They quickly moved to take up positions in front of
him and to his sides. A mere foot away from him, they remained still and stared
Cray spoke loudly and boldly, "I am Cray, a
visitor from the material plane. I request to know where the preacher of the
exodus currently is."
For a moment, the shadows remained where they
were. Then, the one in front softly hissed out, "Outsssider..." Then, as if
given a burst of energy, the shadows shot off straight up, curving to the right.
Unable to think of anything better to do, Cray used his own shadow powers to
propel himself through the shadows to follow.
Meanwhile, in the temple of shadows, Yorvick
stared into the gateway while the council stood in their spots quietly. Yorvick
asked, "Do you think they're actually leading him somewhere?"
The Nimmo answered, "We can't be certain. For
all we know, those shadows didn't know about the exodus. It's nearly impossible
to determine which shadows know what we need to know."
"Well what if he finds himself in trouble,"
questioned Yorvick. "Will you be able to get him out of there?"
The Kau said, "That is probable, but he has
to come freely if we are to get him without any shadows. In a time of panic,
he may not be focused on leaving. He would probably try to fight in his stubborn
Yorvick continued to look, but his worry did
not vanish in the slightest. The setup of this whole operation was unsettling
in its lack of preparation and knowledge. This was his friend's life being risked,
and this council seemed to treat it as if it was expendable.
Cray moved behind the shadows, blindly following
their every move. Now and then they would slightly shift direction, which made
no sense in a void. Cray felt as if he was being mocked by these serpents as
many other shadows throughout the realm stopped to watch him move by. Subtlety
was not an option at this point.
After the shadows stopped, Cray slowed himself
down to drift to their side. The three pointed Cray to what looked like a swarm
of shadows settled in an area like an audience, or maybe an army. At the head
of the shadows was the most unique one in shape he had seen in the entire plane.
It had three tails and a more defined roundness at the front to symbolize a
head. He wasn't sure, but Cray thought he could make out indentions as eyes,
which seemed pointless for a creature who is able to see in every direction.
As Cray approached the crowd, he began to hear
whispers echoing through the surrounding area. He couldn't make out the language
of the shadows, so he didn't even try to listen too closely. He neared the crowd,
which then slowly turned to acknowledge his existence. None of them had seen
something as tangible as Cray, so they slowly scattered to keep a distance from
him. The only one to not move was the one with three tails.
Cray stopped short of the unique shadow, but
said nothing. Instead, the shadow slowly spoke in a language Cray could understand,
"You're from the other side. The side I was told about by the one already there.
Why have you come?"
Cray answered, "It has come to my attention
that you want to go there yourself. I am here to tell you shouldn't."
The shadow shot forward, stopping a mere inch
from Cray's face. Its tails quickly fanned out and Cray drifted back in response.
Looking eye to eye, the shadow said, "Who are you to tell me what I can and
can't do? There's a much better world out there, and it is time my people stop
this mindless work and go there."
"You'll kill us all," Cray told him. "It will
destroy our planes and we will all die if you continue this."
The shadow slowly drifted back as it asked,
"What are those words?"
"Which ones," Cray responded.
It said, "Kill...die...these words mean nothing
to me. What are they?"
Cray answered, "To no longer exist. To vanish
from all planes and meet an end only those who are already dead are certain
A hissing laughter came from the shadow upon
hearing that. "We have no such concept. Never has one of my brethren ever died.
Such a thing is impossible for us."
Cray shook his head, "No, it is possible. It
has to be. How else can your population be kept under control?"
"Kept under control? It doesn't need to be kept
under control," the shadow explained. "Those of us who are here have always
been here. We have been here since the dawn of reality, and as such, none of
us can leave it."
Cray simply said, "Your friend would disagree."
The shadow narrowed the indentions in its head,
"Is that so? So you know my brethren who is on the other side already?"
"Yes," answered Cray, "he's dead. He was incinerated
for doing harm to others. There are forces outside this plane that can kill
you. You are maladjusted to many things."
"No doubt he was killed because he was one of
us," responded the shadow in a harsh tone. "He told me when he was sent back
here about how he was attacked for no reason. But we will be in numbers. I'm
sure your people can't kill us all, no matter how hard you try. We will be free
from this constant circle of labor."
Cray yelled back, "He wasn't attacked for nothing.
He attacked first and rendered three people into a coma before we struck back.
That's when he was sent back. When he returned and attacked again, that is when
he left us no choice."
The shadow swung a tail around and slapped Cray
across the face, knocking him to the side. After returning the tail to behind
itself, it said, "Do not give such lies about the shadows. I know who my brethren
are, and they are noble, honest people. You must have been a part of the group
who killed him. Go back to your plane and stay out of our way unless you wish
to...what as it? Ah, yes...die."
During that time, Yorvick was watching over
the conversation with the council and none of them looked very happy. Yorvick
said, "We should get him out. It's becoming too dangerous in there."
The Mynci shook her head and said, "We can't
do that. He still hasn't made any progress. We should give him some more time
before making any withdrawal plans."
The Nimmo nodded, "Agreed. He still has a chance
if he can convince that one shadow."
Yorvick slowly shook his head while still looking
over Cray. Suddenly, he realized that Cray was still conscious after that hit.
It was his understanding that the shadows touching someone from the material
plane will paralyze them. He asked, "Why isn't Cray drained of energy and in
The Lenny said, "Because they're in that plane
of existence. They only sap energy when they need it to feed, and their plane
sustains them completely, making it so they don't naturally drain him. It's
only done when needed."
"I still think you should help somehow," Yorvick
mumbled. The council could all hear them, but they said nothing back to him.
Cray remained facing the shadow. His fists were
clenched and his teeth were grinding against one another. The dark energies
around him built up within his eyes as he drew the limitless power to himself.
The shadow stared back without making a single
move. Traveling like an echo again, its voice said, "That's not going to help.
We are gods over the shadows, and no matter how much power to gain, we can stretch
it beyond its limits. If you wish to die in anger, I have no trouble keeping
you from your end."
As if he suddenly returned to a state of logical
thought, Cray loosened his grip and relaxed his body. The darkness remained
inside him, but it was no longer concentrated around his eyes. In a voice being
calm, yet rougher than usual, he said, "You will come to your senses before
I leave here. You'll come to realize I tell you the truth, and you will stop
The shadow was silent for moment, then said,
"Perhaps it can work the other way. You clearly don't want to leave, even with
the prospect of being killed if you stay, so remain with me. Perhaps once you
see what we do and why we want to leave, then you'll feel different about it."
Cray didn't know what other choices he had at
that point. Leaving would accomplish nothing, he couldn't win a fight against
them all, and weren't listening to him. "Perhaps that is best," he replied.
"Under one condition, though. You let me speak when I wish without harming me."
With a nod, the shadow accepted the terms. The
two floated off together so Cray could see what it is they were hoping for,
and perhaps make a point of his own from it.
To be continued...