All was silent. The sky fumed in torrential waves of billowing dust, and the air was laden with a thick black fog. A sheet of smouldering mist rolled over the surface, and red sparks leapt from the scorching sea, only to float through the murky haze. The buildings had crumbled, reduced to flaming embers beneath the shadows. Bodies carpeted the clouds, grey and brittle, terror forever stained their faces. None of them wept. But Shardras did. He had done this. He had killed them all. The brave men. The gentle women. The innocent children. All of them.
Those who said darkness was a cure to everything were wrong. The shadows, the fire, the death… it tormented his mind. But it was his fault. He had done it. He had shrouded the realm in shadows; he had turned the trees to ashes; he had taken the life of every last man and woman.
Shardras hated what he had done. But he had no other choice. His master was suffering to a pain beyond bounds, a pain so great it could crush even a god. But Shardras could not let his master fall.
Shardras wandered the ruins, gaseous form flickering as he wept. He was a monster, the worst monster the Entyrealm had ever known. He had destroyed an entire race of innocent beings and yet… he would do it again and again and again, until his Master’s suffering came to a close.
The ethereal pall before him dispersed, and from the crevice came a mighty figure. Body a vast pool of eddying dust, dark as night; eyes crimson flames, swallowing any mortal who caught their fiery glare; limbs broad and powerful, a shimmering red glow coursing through – his Keinblood. Daradeiras, the shrouded soul. The most twisted of all Shadoul, the fiend who took pleasure in their work, who laughed at the slaughter, who smiled at destruction.
“Shardras.” His voice was but a shadow, seeping through the smog. “Our Master is waiting.”
“It is done. Tell him he may proceed without me.” Red matter drifted from his searing vents.
Daradeiras’ fiery core sputtered into a blazing inferno. “You know our Master would never do such a thing without his most prized creation by his side to watch. Now tell me, why do you weep?”
Shardras shuddered, curls of smoke wafting from his shrouded form. “How do you not? All these lives… gone, washed away from reality, never to be remembered.”
“We did this for him.” Daradeiras’ Keinblood flashed. “These things we killed, they deserve to be forgotten. Our race is superior to theirs in every way; they were futile beings, and we are gods. But we cannot thrive without land, so we do what we must. It is the circle, Shardras, can you not see? For our race to prosper, they must die.”
A jarring wail and sudden gust of celestial mist pulled at Shardras’ spectral form. “I understand. But by doing this, we suffer as well.”
“Suffer?!” Daradeiras’ shout rippled the surface. “We are free! New brothers will rise!”
“Only to die.” Shardras finished. “Our lord may love us, but this thing we did for him… we are dying, Daradeiras. Life may not have been perfect on our realm, but it was life, and it was good, but this… the Draçuranne killed tens of thousands of us, used their Mother’s Light to wipe us out of existence. On our home, we lived, now, we are not only taking innocent lives, but losing our own as well.”
“It is only a minor issue that will trouble us a few hundred years.” Daradeiras scoffed. “Once we take enough realms, there will be billions of us, then we take Golçour. And when Golçour falls, we can expand without worry.”
“Golçour?!” Daradeiras’ plan was absurd. “Elçenia’s light shields her realm. We cross it, we die. There is no taking Golçour and that is that.”
“Oh, but we can.” Red flames licked across the mad Shadoul’s face, spewing from his vents. “Master says one day, once we accumulate enough darkness, we will be unstoppable, and even Elçenia’s Light won’t be able to stop us.”
The Lord never lied. But… all this killing… all this death. Master hated it too, more than any one of his children, even Shardras. Once he was a lively soul, full of strength and kindness. But now, he only wept, hidden in his pit, torn by the destruction his command had caused. But he had no choice and neither did Shardras.
“Let us return then.”
Daradeiras smiled. “Now begins a new age for our people.”
Their forms flickered and with a whispering howl, they vanished, leaving the shattered realm to the shadows– a place they would soon call home.
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