Belkar growled. He wanted to make the pain stop, but more then that, he wanted to pass it on. He wanted to set fire to a rainforest, and listen as the dryads screamed. He wanted to gut a golden dragon and bathe in it’s blood, laugh as it's hoard tarnished and melted, he wanted to cut up a nymph until no one called it beautiful again but screamed at the sight of it, drown a bird of paradise and leave it to rot, knock down all the monuments he'd never see, and burn all the artworks he'd never understand or appreciate.
Belkar licked his dry lips, Belial's seed still burning within his belly like burning sand. “I want to destroy something beautiful.”
Belial, watching from a place the Halfling could not perceive, yet could feel in his bones, smiled, licking his lips again, eyes sparkling with arousal. "Do." He said, his words somehow finding their way to Belkar's ears. "But remember, we all have our turns, and mine comes next." His long tongue flicked out again, terrible in it’s intimate promise, pausing a second before the halfling's neck, then withdrawing. "And lasts forever."
Roy had been with Celia for perhaps ten minutes when it happened.
And he'd spent every second of it gloriously distracted, reveling in her nearness, drinking in the sight of her.
He loved her, in a way he found difficult to articulate. She was smart, and witty, and respectful of people, and had a very clear understanding of what was right and wrong, all things he found very attractive, as well as the fact that she was drop-dead gorgeous, but it was more then that. It was more then she valued life, or that she adored him, or anything easy to put into words, categorize into boxes that summed up his feelings.
He was intoxicated by the way she moved, the way she sounded, the way she looked at him. He fantasized about the way the sunlight made her hair glow, the way her smile was slightly lopsided to the left, the way she crinkled her eyes before laughing, everything.
Roy wasn’t a private person, who wore his allegiances and feelings like a badge, and yet he couldn’t articulate what it was that made her so special.
He'd been in relationships before, but this was more then that. Part of him was frustrated that he never could make her understand how he felt, while another was terrified by these feelings and the loss of control they meant.
They were passing under an overhang of unworked stone in the maze when Celia stopped, her expression frozen, her eyes wide, her mouth forming an ‘O’ with surprise. Then she collapsed, and Roy noticed the dagger buried in her throat.
Forgetting every combat lesson he’d ever been taught, he rushed to her side, grabbing her small hand in his big one.
“Stay with me, baby.” He pleaded franticly, desperation making his voice hollow. “Celia, stay with me. Please. Durkon can fix that, I know he can. Don’t stop fighting. Please baby.”
She gave him a weak smile as she slipped away, her body dissolving into the clearest air he’d ever felt as she died, a cool mountain breeze.
Roy sobbed, not even remembering the dagger that had killed her, caught up in his loss, losing all awareness of his surroundings.
A figure barreled into him, knocking him over and twisting his brawny arm behind him. To weak with depression to even fight back, he was shocked when he recognized the voice.
“Always hated that bitch. So self righteous, so sure she’s better then everyone else. Well, look how that turned out for her. Wonder if she still feels that way. Hey, whose better now? Would you look at that. No answer.” He grinned madly. “Guess papa Belkar was right after all. Only wish I’d got a chance to cut her up before I was done with her. Bet she would have begged beautifully.” He sighed, then turned his attention to Roy, who was suddenly struggling manfully, murder in his eyes.
"Why?" He roared, seemingly unable to articulate himself. Just the same, Belkar shrugged.
"Welcome to the Jungle. Better to hurt then be hurt. It's been alright, Roy, but I'm not going back."
"What the bloody hell are you talking about?" Roy growled, still trying to untwist his arm.
Belkar's smile slipped a it. "The fourth one. Made a deal, and here we are. You can't understand Roy. You can't. He'll… He'll." Belkar snapped out of it, the look of fear that had lit up in his eyes passing. "I don't want to think about it. And if I do what he says, I won't have to."
Belkar grinned, although it seemed a little forced. “Now I’m going to make you squeal like your whore of a girlfriend.” He said, smiling the smile of someone in a lot of pain who knows he’s about to pass it on to someone else. “Maybe I’ll –“ But Belkar never finished the sentence.
For it was at that moment a spear erupted through his chest.
Durkon was standing behind the halfliing, his arm steel behind the knotted oak of his spear haft. The spear had passed cleanly through the halflings back and through his ribs, severing his spine and a lung, as well as grazing his heart.
Belkar forced words between his lips, coming out as a sort of rattling gargle through the blood that oozed out. “I always figured it would be Roy who killed me.” He said in a weak, shuddering voice.
Durkon didn’t say anything, but he twisted the spear, making Belkar moan.
“Want to hear my last words?” Belkar said, with the barest hint of a smile.
“Ah joost did.” Durkon relied coldly, wrenching the spear out with a horrible sucking sound. Belkar sank to his knees. At first there was a great gush of blood, that dwindled as the shock set in. The was an arcid smell as he lost control of his bowels, and the Halfling gibbered as he tried to speak. He shuddered and convulsed, clawing desperately at the dwarf’s leg, but there was no strength to his arms and soon he couldn’t even do that, twisting and thrashing as his organs bled into each other. Then he was dead, his soul departed down to the deepest pits of hell. Where Belial would be waiting.
Roy collapsed, sobbing gently, near Celia’s body. Harley was somewhere in the maze, calling out Elan’s name. And V… could be anywhere.
Durkon wished he was better with words, wished he could take his best friend, and tell him it would be OK, that he’d make it through this, and be stronger because of it. But he wasn’t, and any words he could offer would be empty of meaning, pointless.
So instead he walked past to stand infront of the gate.
A figure was there, leaning heavily against the frame, grey locks poking from beneath a wide brimmed hat, a single eye with all the wisdom of the universe staring out from beneath it.
“Not to bad a start.”
“Ae dinnae follow ye. Three ‘o me friends be dead, an’ yon Halfling ain’t goin’ tae hurt anyone.” He added sarcasticly, rage and sorrow making him suicidally disrespectful, “Unless he dinnae need lungs tae breathe, o’ course.”
Odin shook his head. “I didn’t need you to kill that little Halfling. I need you to fix the world.”
“I think ye may be over estimatin’ me capabilities a wee bit.”
Odin shook his head. “Your underestimating yourself. Besides, you will be more then you are now.” He gave a wolfish smile, then spread his hands. “I leave you your choice. With this hand.” He lifted his right hand, gnarled and strong as an ancient oak “I control all, but I rule nothing. With this hand” he lifted his left, the same, with a single gold ring on his index finger “I control nothing, but my rule is sure and long.”
Durkon wanted to spit. “I dinnae want neither. Ae dinnae need either. Tae be honest, all ae want is tae git this oot o’ tha way, then live as long as ae can wit’ me girl.”
Odin didn’t so much as blink. “We all have our fates. And we must all meet them. It is how we meet them that defines who we are.” Odin replied. “I know you Durkon. You won’t run.”
“Joost ths same, ae dinnae want either.”
Odin glowered, but before he could speak, Durkon added “But if’n ae hae ta choose, ah’ll take both.”
A certain resignation flashed across the grey gods face, on any other, it would have been fear, but instead it was a gritted teeth acceptance of the inevitable, and the decision to resist anyway.
“So be it.”