Fortress of the Mind - Finale

"Dead my dear. They are all dead…" The cold hollow voice of the Lich spoke as his towering silhouette filled the doorway of the room.

Orla spun about, horror on her face. "What… what are you talking about? This is your doing, Galathus! You must have blocked the spell, or caused it to backfire!"

"You think me so cruel, Orlaith; time is, by far, the cruelest Mistress." His voice rattled like wind through autumn leaves as he again spoke. "And there is no greater master of cruelty."

"I am Fey, and time does not touch us," Orla declared in a rare burst of anger that momentarily overclouded her fear of the Lich. "We are nearly immortal beings compared to humans, and rather understandably, you envied that, didn't you? That was what Miss Xaulder once told me. She said that your time with us spurred your magical research. And you became so very, very powerful, but instead of devoting yourself to death, how much more powerful, and how much more content would you be with yourself, if you had sought to master the powers of life?"

The Lich chuckled deeply, darkly. "What power of life do you so freely say you have? I have transcended beyond death to life after death. Your view is misguided, my dear. You share so freely your lives and waste away lifetimes for what? I see you look at me with thoughts of blame and accusations in your stares, and yet I am blameless. Why is it that you my, dearest Orlaith, do not offer thanks to me for you live now, do you not ? I sense my own spell at work upon you, do not lie to me."

"Saved me? I was still young by the standards of my people. You have done nothing but cut short my life and cut me off from all I know. I'm but a shadow here in your world, your world that is a sick mockery of everything that is decent and good."

A hollow laugh escaped him as his gaze turned briefly to Ursa. "I have taken nothing from you… though, it is perhaps more fitting that you believe it to be me." He paused, then said, "What is 'decent and good', as you put it? A false belief that has no place except for the meek."

It was here that he saw something dark within Ursa's heart of hearts. It felt like... Him?? Impossible! And yet, something about her likeness was far too familiar. Impossible, yet...

He mentally blinked. Frey... He remembered now... He cared not. Blood or not, they were nothing but pawns, and him the king. He smiled a deathly grin.

"It is perhaps the cruelest of Irony's then that the only comfort left to you here is in this sanctuary is in embrace of one of my own. This the child of my child and only still living heir. A poor substitute for a people long dead I know, but she has feeling enough for you... Feelings that she ought not have chosen, my dear Orlaith."

"Wha... what?" Orla looked to the young elf, stunned. "He is your grandsire?" From Ursa's expression she saw this was news to her, too. Orla slowly turned back to Kelmoran. "I may be ignorant of many things when it comes to necromancy, Galathus, but even I know that liches cannot have children, and I was unaware you had any children in life, and that was a very long time ago indeed."

"And yet not so very long a span in the whole of creation it would seem. And you forget, I was once a weak, pitiful man. Now, no more yet it seems my seed was strong for being a filthy Man."

In that moment Orla found herself alone both the Lich and the girl Ursa gone from the room seemingly as if they had never been there. He wished it so, beginning to understand that this dream state was susceptible to change. His will was sharp and malice iron strong.

In a daze, Orla sagged down on the edge of the bed, her mind reeling from it all. She had never felt so distraught in her life at the prospect that the Avatar and her kin might be gone from the world. She realised she had no sense of the passage of time, no idea how long she might have been removed from the Material Plane. Perhaps it had not been decades or centuries but, in fact, millenia?

The feeling of loss and separation was so immense that she started to cry, and because she was unaccustomed to crying, the sobs came out in loud, convulsive gasps. The terror and desolation she had kept at bay finally overflooded.

Orla cried until she could cry no more, and when the last tear rolled down her cheeks, she curled up on the bed and let her mental exhaustion overwhelm her, sinking into the welcoming blackness of temporary oblivion.

The lich watched with glee. Her emotions were in distraught and he enjoyed every minute of it. It fed his darkness, swelling his evil with negative energy even as he relished her tears. Yes, this was his revenge on her. If he could not touch her physically, he would ruin her in her own mind. Though, he knew that his spell was used on her. Kelmoran wondered with suspicion who could have possibly done this deed.

Perhaps my own followers are not so useless and gone as I thought, he mused to himself.

...

Joint post - D2wintr, Rosmary, Thaen83.

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