Monday, August 1, 2011

Chronicles of the Sorcerer

A morning came when Ysra the Sorcerer walked away from his tower in the crimson city of Ilek-Vad. He spoke no word to either servant or apprentice as he strode from his gardens to the city gates and towards the blue hills in the distance. The nobles, slaves, and watchmen all wondered at his purpose but none dared to ask, for it was known that Ysra's wizardry could kill with but a word.

  High in the hills Ysra built himself a fire to push the chill from his ancient bones. He sat watching the sun die in the twilight and drew a dagger from his robes. He tested the edge with his thumb and mumbled, "sharp enough". A whisper of wind disturbed his fire and Ysra looked up to see a tall figure obscured in the gloom and a ragged grey cloak.
 The stranger spoke, "Is this the last night of the world?"
"For some", Ysra replied and carefully rolled the sleeves back from his wrists.
 The stranger seated himself across the fire from the sorcerer. His face shown oddly changeable in the glow of the fire, at times it was sharp featured and mask like but at other times the flickering light cast demonic shadows across it.

 "Do you know me, Ysra?"
 "I know not your name, but your eyes I have seen many times before. They are the eyes of rabid hyena as it devours still twitching prey, the eyes of a serpent as it waits for the venom to take hold, the eyes of a shark as it glides among the unwary. You are death, so greedy it lays claim to all in time."
The stranger spoke softly, "When a man takes his first breath he owes a debt...I am merely the collector."
  The sorcerer replied, "Who do you collect for, what god or devil has claim to my soul?"
  The stranger laughed softly, "No god will welcome you to their heaven, your sins and many betrayals have seen to that. And no devil may lay claim to you, your knowledge of their secrets has given you power over them. No Ysra, you alone are an outcast in the afterlife and your shade is mine, it shall dwell with me in the outermost dark where there is nothing but endless waiting."
  They were silent for a while and then the sorcerer spoke, "I could live forever by means of my thaumaturgy, elixirs and potions make me any age I desire."
  The cloaked stranger replied, "It is not lack of the means to live that drives you to your end, it lack of the will to live. I see all this; you have grown bored with sorcery, wars, and women. No enemy yet lives worthy of your attention, and so your race is run. Come now Ysra, have done and finish the game, let me drown your soul in the depths of oblivion."
"You are eager to claim me?" the sorcerer replied, a note of interest in his tone.
"Perhaps I am, you are the first soul vile enough to be rejected by both heaven and hell. It will be a new experience, to share the emptiness with a being so unique."
   Ysra seemed to ponder the notion for a while, then stood and tossed his dagger away, "I think I shall live a bit longer, and perhaps I will seek to redeem the standing of my soul with the gods or devils who preside over such matters." The sorcerer smiled wickedly at death and whispered ,"I would deny you my soul, simply because it is all you might acquire."  Then began the trek back to his tower in Ilek-Vad.
   Death sat staring into the fire for a long time and Ysra swore he saw a single tear roll down the reaper's face when he glanced back. But no one knows if this true, for Ysra the Sorcerer is well known to delight in lies.

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