Dark One

Sentinel Island
Gonyaul stands in the midst of the jungle scratching his head, trying to recall how he got there. There is something wrong. A strange and inexplicable feeling permeates the air as the native animals stop their calling, and the luscious leaves halt their dancing from the ocean breeze. Silence surrounds him. The stillness is so profound that even his breathing seems to be consumed by it.

Then, the air beyond him begins to warp and pulse, a slow, rhythmic throb that mirrors the beating of his heart. From deeper in the jungle, a shape coalesces, shifting, a darkness that seems to suck in the light around it. The form is indistinct, a swirling mass of shadows that constantly moves and reshapes itself, but its eyes become clear—pits of burning malice that fix on Gonyaul with unsettling intensity. The humid air takes on a chill, each breath becomes a dagger in his lungs as the darkness advances.

The whispers start softly, almost imperceptible, a multitude of voices that speak of an inevitable doom. The jungle, a mere backdrop to this encounter, withers before Gonyaul's eyes, its vitality sapped away by the mere presence of this herald of desolation.

It comes. Frozen in place, Gonyaul feels a terror unlike any he's known. The creature, if it can be called that, approaches and as it does so, it forms into a large humanoid figure, hooded and dark. It seems to fill the space before him and stretch tall.

It speaks. A discordant combination of vocals that feel like they're coming from inside Gonyaul’s head. "There is no escape, no hope. Your fear is my strength, your despair my sustenance," it intones, a sentence that feels like a final verdict.

The shadowy figure reaches out a withered hand in Gonyaul’s direction. Gonyaul's stomach lurches, his heart pounding in his chest as he feels a sensation like free-falling. The dark one draws nearer. Gonyaul's feet lift off the ground, and he begins to float.

Suddenly Gonyaul feels a searing pain in his chest as skin starts to blister and an incision is cut down his sternum. “What is this new… specimen?” the creature wonders aloud. In a startling and disturbing display, the shadow sprouts two more arms from its body. With four skeletal arms now at its disposal, the shadow extends them outward, resembling a grotesque spider.

Then, with a menacing gesture directed at Gonyaul, the dark one telekinetically pulls open the skin on either side of Gonyaul’s chest, effectively flaying him and exposing his rib cage. The pain is immense.

Abruptly, a shift in the shadow figure's demeanor becomes apparent, revealing a subtle blend of curiosity and apprehension.. In its final act, the dark entity places its physical hand upon Gonyaul's bones, causing the creature to be suddenly engulfed by an intense, excruciating pain of its own… a kind of pain it hasn’t known for over a century. The creature writhes and howls in an otherworldly torment, as a chaotic implosion of shadowy forms recedes swiftly back into the jungle, its departing words, “Child of the void!” echoes ominously from everywhere.

Gonyaul wakes up in the stone hut to the sound of the door unlocking.

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