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Often. it was often that he found himself in the midst of a mortal whose eyes were wide and perplexed. He was not an imposing man. Though, he supposed some did find him posing due to the overwhelming fact that he’d towered over most. However, he did not mean to be intimidating or to strike fear within the finite beings which walked the Earth. Everything which drew breath was finite and eventually delivered up to the male himself to rule over. Nameless, ageless, the gentlemen understood why he was feared. Oftentimes he’d explain to those who he had taken that he was simply someone who ruled over the dead and did not judge them or take their breath. He was simply where everyone rested before the judgment day was at hand.
To many this concept of the lord of death not judging the damn but merely watching over the souls was perplexing. But in the wake of the endless and eternal void understanding was found and had. Eventually people came to reconcile with the existence of the Lord of Death and settled into his domain. Oftentimes, many decided to sleep. They slept till their skin rotted, and decayed and till their bones became all which was left of them. Still their eyes-well by this point they were mere eye sockets-did not move. (But how could they?) And there were those who wondered between the shore of the living and dead watching longingly over their loved ones. Hours spent visiting them in their dreams and offering them guidance or words of reassurance and comfort.
All things which seemed futile to the Lord of the dead. The living needed to live what precious time they had left instead of aching for those who already passed on. Many souls reacted to death in various ways and still, there were those who sat in the meadow of ash. Where nothing grew but tall black grass-like substances which licked at their fingers as they wade through the sea of black lifelessness. There were many other ways the dead found to pass the time to judgment but to list them all would be tedious.
So, Imagine the perplexed look upon the face of the Nameless one as his whole world shifted suddenly and without the slightest of warnings. The dark and dampness of the underworld was replaced with the suddenly bright brilliance of the living worlds. Instead of seeing walls made of Earth stretching high up beyond infinite and a rocky dome which made many souls feel suffocated at first, here he was in an open room with a dome atop made of white marble.
Pure white eyes stared around the newly established place of scenery. Inhaling once before exhaling he tried to find the place of his sudden displacement as though he couldn’t easily just remove himself from this strange world which he wasn't sure why he was called forth. True, human’s did die every day, however this was a rare day that happened once every odd thousands of years. A day where no one miraculously died. His one day where he’d wouldn’t be called to the land of the living and here he was standing in front who decided that he needed to be sumon. The nameless one found this to be rather mildly amusing and as he stepped from the middle of the room his eyes scanned the emptiness till he fell upon a single person. A woman who, no doubt, fit the description of an oracle or priestess.
“Child?” His voice came out softly. It was a rough and dry voice, sounding as though it hadn’t been used in ages. Indeed his voice hadn’t been used in ages since he rarely found a reason to talk. The dead made such dreadful conversation it was a tragedy!
“Was it you who called me this plane?”
Nefeli, the youngest of three, always found herself as far away from the castle as possible. She was not much of a socialite or a politician, she was barely of age to even think about it seriously. She still managed to get out of most of the arranged marriages that she almost got trapped in. A couple of weird freakouts from a Dreamer in the family would turn most men away. She never felt like she was right for the world she lived in and longed for something without restraints of how it would look to the commoners that a Princess was playing in the mud.
Nefeli was a ghostly pale girl with long, wavy white hair and a set of amethyst eyes that could pierce your very soul if she stared for too long. She was not fragile by any means, but she was thin and with narrow shoulders. She could squeeze through most of the fences around the gardens to get away into the mountains for a little bit of peace and quiet, which was more often than not ended by a pair of guards, escorting her back to the marble castle. Definitely with a scowl and a frown on her face.
For once, Nefeli's father finally put his foot down and this time when she was caught, she was sent to her room to think about how she is effecting the family name and he would come and get her once he felt like she had enough time to think about it. Nefeli was shown to her room with the same pair of guards, who would always come out to get her and they stood there, on watch, until further instructed otherwise.
Well, this is no fun, Nefeli thought to herself before huffing. She pulled her dirty dress over her head, casting it to the side as if it never mattered to her and browsed her wardrobe for something a bit more comfortable. Pulling a silk, white dress that in the light of her room, you could almost see right through it once she put it on. Just a faint silhouette that peeked through if she hit the light just right. It hung loosely off her body, allowing free movement.
Now Nefeli had time to think about what she wanted to do. She had recently gotten her hands on her father's small, black book. A book that had been past down from King to King and it kept all of the forbidden secrets of their art within the pages. If her father was not going to allow her to have fun outside of the castle, then she will create her own fun in her room. But, the real reason behind stealing the book was the eventual Doom that was coming for their family. She felt like she had no belonging in the world and nothing was taken seriously when she spewed to her family about it, that she wanted to go away. Away, as in never coming back.
Nefeli pulled the book from a small table that was near her bed and began to thumb through the pages before looking the familiar, ancient language from her family. No one could really speak it anymore, except a select few. Nefeli had been teaching herself the ancient speech for this very moment. She pulled the page from the book and began to get to work.
With a small piece of black chalk and a steady hand, Nefeli began to draw the summoning circle with ease. Her chalk ran smooth over the marble floor, leaving a very vibrant pattern in front of her. As soon as the few words left her mouth, a man appeared in the middle of her room. She had not even had time to stand back up. Her eyes glanced upwards to the man with awe before she rose to feet.
“You might not like the answer you are going to receive,” Nefeli answered softly, “but eventually, I will be dead. I have seen it a hundred times in my dreams and I would like to be taken now and not later.” The question was ridiculous, but she was serious, looking upon his face with a set of stern, purple eyes.
Was this some divine prank being played by his older brother? Standing within the presence of the young woman, The Nameless one stared back into her piercing eyes. Those were the eyes of one woman who could lead a man to his downfall. Had he the ability to feel love or attraction to one person perhaps the male would’ve been smitten. Yet he was neither smitten or amused, just perplexed by this human who managed to summon him to the mortal world. To those who had no idea the complexities of how things work Gods were synonymous with forces of nature. Gods and forces of nature existed on two separate domains. Always overlapping and always interlocking with one another neither other powered the other and neither ruled the other as well. The lord of Death had no control when or how one showed up to his kingdom. He only knew that he held the sole duty of unlocking the gate and allowing them entrance into said world.
Death felt for the young girl. Many people felt anxious when feeling the encroaching hour of their death. For some they chose suicide unable to bear the fear of it. Others tried to plead with it to halt but the unstoppable force could never yield. Stepping backwards from the girl the figure had couldn’t help but wonder which one she was. Mulling over her words he decided that she was the first one; she was calm and demanding that she take her with him to his kingdom.
“You’ve mistaken me for the nature of ‘death’, child. I am but merely the lord of it. You who still breathe and are attached to the mortal world can never enter into my domain as it’s denizen.”
Unless she willingly took her own life or was able to die within this instance Death had no power to fulfill that which she wished for. Such were the complexities which govern the natural world and were created by his very own Mother. “Unless you plan to end your life within this moment, your entrance is barred till death, the natural side of it, has taken mortal form leaving only behind your soul.”
Such simple words which he thought could be easily understood left his lips. To him, he felt as though there was a certain melancholy to her once he’d spoken such truths to her. It was the common mistake that many people believed in. The nameless one was not a reaper. For a reaper was a harvester. Just as life was the farmer who sowed the seeds that produced the crop of a human life span, the grim reaper was the harvester which cut down the lifespan once it was in its final season.
Bowing his head Death was about to leave this world and return to his own but he hesitated. This was the first time he’d come face to face with a living oracle and he was somewhat interested as to what she necessarily “saw” in these dreams of hers. “What does the child see in her dreams”
The moment those words left his lips he’d felt as thought a bit foolish. He’d always chided the souls from the plutonian shore for longing to be a part of the living world. The Nameless one could never be a resident of life nor stay very long in the domain which his brother ruled. That was his literally lot in life. He drew the smallest lot from his mother’s hands and were thus relegated to being the judge, jailor, and baby sitter of those souls which came to the afterlife. “Is it of a great destruction and many lives being lost?”
It was a hunch brewed from divine intention. Death, himself, could not see the future but he could smell when the end from someone was coming. And the moment he stepped into this room he could smell it. Smelling the ending coming for a great many in this kingdom which continue to exist as though nothing was wrong.
Nefeli almost found herself heating up when she was denied her request, tempting to throw a temper tantrum, but that would get her no where. Her mind rolled the idea of killing herself, basically flinging herself at the entity in front of her, to get what she wanted, but the conversation had become too interesting for the time being. Her own death could wait a bit longer.
“Most say it will be because of our family's dabbling in magic that they shouldn't,” Nefeli spoke quietly, going over the dream in her head, like it was a flash back. It bothered her. Watching the fire and ash consume the city that she called home. “Fire and ash will consume this city in a single night, while some slept peacefully in their beds and others will watch in horror,” Nefeli's eyes met with the, presumably, male in front of her. Her skin surged with goose bumps and her stomach flopped for a moment as she debated what she was going to do next.
The rational side of her wanted her to stop thinking about the idea of killing herself, which played over and over in her head, before she even summoned the being in front of her. But, her heart and her gut said otherwise. She had no place in the kingdom that she was born in. There was nothing left for her in her mortal life. The man's voice echoed in her head, unless you plan to end your life and she was not scared. Now knowing that there was a place beyond the mortal realm and the being that ruled over it since to be more gentle than she was led to believe, or he put on a really good front about it.
Nefeli turned away, waving off whatever the man was going to say to her as she almost glided over to the same wardrobe that she had pulled her dress from and began digging around in some of the drawers. Her eyes stayed fixed on whatever she was looking for, almost panicked that she might not find it until she kneeled down and looked into the very last drawer.
“Some would call it dramatic and others would call it art,” Nefeli plainly said, ultimately making her decision. She rose from her kneeling position with a beautiful dagger in her hand. “But for me, its escapism and morbid curiosity at its finest,” she turned on her heels, looking at the man from across the room. In the fashion of how she was going to kill herself was a quick stab into her heart. It was a searing pain and then nothing as she fell to the ground.
And so she Death was right about her falling into the first category of being the same as the lot who chose suicide over dealing with their natural fate. He had neither condemnation or commendations for suicide. To him it was as natural as any other method humans perish after living such brief lives. Kneeling down before the crumpled body of the former living mortal he waited for her soul to exit her body. Stepping over the lifeless corpse his grasp hold of the soul and whisked her away to the depths of the underworld which was well he made his home and dwelling.
Whether preconceived notions one had about the plains of dwelling place of the Lord of death always amused The Nameless one as he brought the woman into his courtyard. He had no use for opulence or for being constantly reminded that he was the lord of death. No skulls made up his throne. It was carved from oaked and fitted him perfectly well. The “castle” which he dwelt in was small and only had two towers on each side of the courtyard. To the left wing was nothing more but stairs that led up to a quaint study with a desk where he spent his free time musing to himself about the happenings of the world. The right wing was a series of stairs that led up to an empty room that had a bed for only the sheer irony of it. Death had no need to sleep but he enjoyed it nonetheless.
Sweeping his hands across the quaint little “house” which he called his own he spoke to her in a voice soft and slow. “Now that you are no longer of the mortal realm, I welcome you into my eternal kingdom.” His voice had grown more firm the more accustomed he’d come to speaking. In one instant he was there before her; in the next he was sitting upon his wooden throne, his eyes narrowing upon the girl with a look of mild interest.
“Tell me does this satisfy your morbid curiosity? Or shall I give you a grand tour of the kingdom which you’ve entered into?”
The question was one which was rhetorical and didn’t truly need to be answered at all. He knew that she was properly interested in all the ins and outs of his kingdom. Including the most famous rumor of whether or not he had a guard dog with three heads. Or if the river of styx truly was overflowing with the souls of the dead who were condemned to forever be trapped within its currents.
Being a soul, even for a brief while, felt odd. You were still there, but unable to move a hand or blink your eyes. A moment lasted for an eternity from the transfer from alive, to dead, and now a pseudo aliveness, but something was not quite right about it. Nefeli stood in the dark that soon became a soft, dim light that had no feeling to it. It was not cold, nor hot. It was a still, but not stale air as she stood in front of the Nameless one with pale, purple eyes that followed him as she quietly listened.
For a brief second, as she followed the man around, her thoughts poured over to her family that would eventually find the girl, dead on the floor. She had a small pang of regret, leaving her family, no her siblings, without even a note of why she did what she did. But, they were no fools. They knew that their eventually doom was coming for them. A violent fire storm would take the Ambrose family one of these days. Nefeli felt the need to express her own death to satisfy some odd obsession with what it would be like to be dead and what happened once she did die.
The ghostly white man took his seat upon his throne. It was not quite how she would picture the throne that belonged to the ruler of the underworld, but still fitting nonetheless. It was a beautiful piece, her eyes studied the oak throne for a brief moment before her head jerked upwards to the rhetorical question, raising a white eyebrow at him. Of course, she wanted to see the entirety of the underworld, every nook and cranny.
“I would be more than delighted to see the rest of the Underworld,” her eyes lit up with a flash of joy before calming her own internal giddiness of the tour. She approached the throne with mild sheepishness to avoid any kind of disrespect. She truly did not know the temperament of the entity before her. He might have a firm, but calming voice once he had used his vocal cords enough to fall back into his right voice, but she had no idea of what could cause his anger or rage.
“Don't you have siblings?” Nefeli asked plainly, possibly the thoughts of how her siblings were going to feel, stumbling upon her body might have fueled the question. She knew the answer to the question, but still asked it anyway. She had turned away from the man, but still listening for his response as she moved about the room. Her own curiosity getting the best of her.
It was the flash within her eyes and the joy which reverberated in his ears that made him cock his head to the side. She truly was fascinated with the afterlife. Such fascinates, death was sure, would fade once the understanding of how permanent her situation was hit her. Oft he’d seen the joyous expression of death glow across the faces of people who were glad to find escapism in it. Over that time that joy grew into a deeper and lonelier despair as they came to understand what they lost and knowing that this time there was no escape it sent them further and further into a spiral of eternal despair. Death held neither joy nor sympathy for those who face such feelings. He cared for nothing.
Seeing as his first question was a rhetorical one and truly was not to be expected to be answered he wasn’t impressed that she answered him the way she did. It couldn’t be helped. It was his voice which suggested whether or not she wanted the tour and so he had no other choice but to oblige her and oblige her he would. How long will you find death interesting? The nameless one thought only to himself as he rose, flicked out his hand and suddenly a chariot appeared, this time drawn by two black horses. aIt had enough standing room for two and the horses which were drawing his chariot were none other than a pegasus of shorts. Wings sprouted from their backs but something about these beasts, these creatures was off. Eerily so.
With her other question the male gave her a curt “Yes.” Before waiting for her to join him in his chariot.
As soon as she was beside him he flicked the reigns and the horse would began to pull both of their weights slowly through the court yard. It wasn’t tilll they were out of the castle that the horses began to lift up ito the sky and the feeling of floating would hit them well.
“Nefeli, I just wanted to check on you. Father is harsh, but he does…” the youngest brother's word were cut short as he pushed opened the door to his little sister's room. His held his breath as if that was going to breathe life into his little sister's body once more, but then he sunk his head into his hands, violently crying once the realization had settled in in the brief moments that he had been in the door way. The guards turned towards the room, knowing that their heads were now on the line as well as losing the young Princess to something so brash and irrational. Tiny tears threatening their eyes, they walked away to go get the King with a fear in the pits of their stomachs.
“What have you done, little sister?” Damien ventured further into the room, staring down at his sister's lifeless body with a solemn, pitiful way as if he had lost his own purpose in life seeing her body covered in her own blood. The other family members like Nefeli had all done the same thing, it was not so much a shock as if it was just a terrible thing to find.
Rounding the corner into the room was the King, Nefeli and Damien's father. He had not told his wife, nor did he want to awake the sleeping mother with something so tragic. His eyes were low, shining against the moon light that filtered into the room from the window, but now tears fell as he approached his daughter. He scooped the girl into his arms before looking down at Damien.
“I can fix this,” but could he? Could Ryuu Ambrose really fix his daughter in this state? She was gone, taken to the underworld to live without fear of her dreams and visions that she could no longer bare to endure, especially if she was not being heard to begin with. Ryuu knew all of this was because he did not listen to his sister, his great aunt, none of the Dreamers in the family where never taken seriously. Just another crazy Ambrose, a rotten branch on the family tree. But, Ryuu was starting to believe, with his dead daughter's heavy body in his arms. The weight was his own guilt settling inward on himself.
“Please just let her rest, Father,” Damien swallowed his tears for a moment before his father cast a deadly glare his way before eyeballing the book that he had found missing from his own studies a week prior.
Ryuu cradled his daughter in one arm before crouching down to snatch the book off the floor. “I will fix this and you will say nothing to your mother,” Ryuu hissed once more before carrying Nefeli's body off down the hallway and into darkness of the castle, leaving Damien zero clue of where his father had taken his sister's body.
Nefeli watched, astonished as the perfectly themed and colored chariot appeared in between them. She looked between that and the large entity in front of her before her purple eyes laid upon the creatures pulling the chariot. Odd beasts, but still beautiful in Nefeli's eyes and of course in her own curiosity, she approached the creatures to get a closer look at them. Unfazed, unbothered by anything odd or creepy. Nefeli was the odd one of her own family, nothing really frightened nor creeped her out.
“I have an odd feeling that someone finally found me,” Nefeli pointed upwards as she settled into the chariot, “up there.” It then hit her like a ton of bricks, almost vomited, if she physically could in that moment, into her own hands as she thought about what he own father was going to do. It was like it had completely escaped her mind that her own father would use blood magic on her lifeless body to figure out a way to get to her.
“My father will try to bring me back," Nefeli crossed her arms over her chest with a pout on her face. “It takes me claiming my own life,” Nefeli narrowed her eyes with a scoff before gnawing on her bottom lip in deep thought as the chariot pulled off into the sky. She could not even find any enjoyment in her current activities at this rate without the King thinking he had power any and every where.
Tremors. It was as though the entire world was being shaken to its absolutely core as the male walked the streets to his meeting. Already word had gotten out that the daughter of the king had taken her own life and the foolish man was going to try and anger the Gods by bringing her back to life. Whispers had been spread through the city in hushed tones that the woman had been secretly having visions, dreams of the end of times coming. The city which they all dwelt in was in the shadow of a massive volcano. In the past it had threatened to spew lava down upon them and they’d always had the gift of an oracle to tell them when and how they had to flee. But now, with the last remaining gift of the goddess taken form them so soon they were those who were angry and were demanding an explanation for this.
The elders on the council were divided between those who were superstitious and those who were of sound logic. Many honor the tradition of hearing the wise words of oracles of a gone-by era, whilst others depended solely on logic. To the young man who had seen war, seen death, and had transitioned to the art of wielding the blade to his tongue being his ultimate weapon, he knew that one needed both. The gift of wisdom and the blessing of luck to be able to succeed in this life. Pushing pass the throngs of men there were those that were growing anxious. Voices were clamoring all over one another. There were those that said that the King was the reason for their demises and that he needed to be brought to justice for not heeding the words of his daughters. Others were saying that they needed to pray for the gods to send Orpheus down so that he could entreat the god of Death for mercy so that whatever ill fate that could befall the world would not come pass. Cornelius Crassus Novus had nothing to say but instead listen to the musings of the men whose souls were as black as night and only fear for their own lives and not the safety of others.
Stepping up to the middle of the senator floor the male waved his hand to and fro gathering the attention of all who were looking at him. Before he could speak however the rumbling and the groaning of the Earth below could be heard. Dust shook from the building and most people went quiet taking this as a damned and odious omen. Tossing his head back and looking at the council straight forth Cornelious didn’t feel any fear he instead spoke up. “Men! Senators! Are we mere children to be frighten of the fact that our lives were born to end? Is it not folly to sit here discussing what and what not to do when such a thing seems obivious. Death comes for all men, this is true. So we need not discuss when death is coming or if it will come. We need to devise what shape it will take and how many lives can we hopefully save from its vicious jaws. Orpheus, Heracles and Theseus all were granted an audience with death due to there piety! So, if the rumors are true and the oracle herself is no longer of this world then we must find a way to travel to the world below and entreat her to tell us the visions she saw. “
To that the council clapped and cheer as Cornelius spoke up and the conversation began to shift to how they would enter into the kingdom of death.
“Bring you back?” The nameless one scoffed at such a useless notion. Oft he’d seen mortals try rituals to bring back alive the ones whom they loved the dearest. Only for all of their ritual and hopes and dreams to be torn asunder as they come to realize that the power of the grave was absolutely. Ascending into the sky Death flicked the reins and out of the castle they went to the field of endless grass where a myriad of souls were sitting and wading through it. The scene below would’ve been a jovial one had light been shining on the scene and there was greenery but alas there was none. Moving on from that spot was a lake which stretched beyond infinite.
The lake was filled with souls who were floating. Some seemed to be bodies which could reach out and touch the chariot itself while others seemed to be translucent and entirely see through. These bodies were being pushed about by several boats which were being pushed by hooded figures. On the boats were even more souls which were being ferried deeper and deeper into the depths of the underworld. And after what seemed like hours of flying through the underworld, they finally landed upon a beach full of black sand which stretched for miles. Within the distance the silhouette of a three headed monster and a massive iron gate cast shadows upon the beaches. Here the souls of from the beach stood longing and pining for the other side of the gate.
“Here is the first entrance where everyone waits to enter into my domain. The plutonian shore. Sometimes, people are brought down here by mistake and so if you see a soul like that one flicker out and disappear it is simply because they bordered the line of the living and the dead and they chose to be among the living again.”
Death spoke as he pointed to the figure of a young man who was there for a moment before disappearing again.
Sweeping his hand out across the river which they’d pass he spoke up “and this is the famed river of styx. All the souls you see trapped within the river are those who tried to cross the river without paying the price of a denarii to enter into my abode. They will get to the other side, but the trip across the river Styx is a long and slow one. The quickest soul I've seen swim across the river took barely over 1200 years. A feat most impressive.” Death mused
It was than that Death blinked his eyes and squinted towards the door. “Interesting.. I hear a voice from the living trying to entreat your name.. But it doesn’t sound like your father.. He is too young to be.”
“I wish, honestly, my father would let dead dogs lie,” Nefeli uncrossed her arms, letting them rest at her side. He was the cause of most of their issues. Unbelievably hungry for more money, power, and knowledge. Some knowledge was best left for someone else, or the Gods. She knew that, even if she did summon Death, himself, to her bedroom. She would never try to bring people back from the dead, the grasp was too tight and unnatural to be playing around with. Her father did not have the same ideology as she did, even though she was the one who had been blessed with the power of the oracle. Her magic was real, given by the Gods, but her father was selfish, greedy. He was eventually going to meet his end, sooner than he probably realized it.
As they passed over the River Styx, Nefeli could not help herself, but to look over the edge. She planted her hands firmly on the edges of the chariot to get a better look before settling back into her place as they landed on the black, sandy beach. She looked forward as Death had pointed out a figure, while he spoke. The figure was there and gone just as quickly as Death could mention it. She tilted her head curiously before she paused. She felt someone calling to her and just as Death pointed out, it wasn't her father. She would have felt a pit in her stomach, if those feelings were actually there.
Instead, she frowned and her brows knitted together in concern mixed with annoyance. She left the chariot without a word, staring straight at the gate as she approached.
“Go away,” Nefeli called from the gate, her hands on her hips as if her defensive position would be seen from the living. “I'm done with the dealings of the living, Cornelius,” Nefeli did not know if she was appearing stupid as she huffed at the gate or if she could actually be heard from the other side. Either way, she stood her ground. She had been warning those in the land of the living of the impeding doom, but yet, it all fell on deaf ears. Most of it was her father's fault, but she still held a bitter resentment to anyone that lived in her father's kingdom.
He didn't think it was possible but the woman stirred a laughter from him. Amusement flickered across his face as he saw the way she placed her hands upon her hips to address the voice which was calling beyond for her. The prophetic visions which she’d claimed to see in her dreams when first they met had driven the men to desperation. Stepping down from the chariot he slowly moved beside her. She was invisible to the men, yet her voice would echo around in their minds. Strange the magic which worked between the land of the living and the dead.
No voice or opinion was given by the nameless one. Only a sense of feeling her frustration with those that could not move on. But what difference did it make if her dreams were to be true? They’d all soon joined them and to that point, Death amused himself as he slowly whispered in her ears. “Perhaps it’d be best to hear them out.. If you long for freedom from your father than why not help stay off his descend into the darkness.. As long as he is within the living world his attempts to reach you will fail. But once he enters into this realm.. Eventually he will find you. Eternity is… afteralll.. Eternity”
He spoke this partially for her own benefit and because he was curious as to what would happen if they continued on this path. Listening to the oracle would profit them something, would it not?
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