Wednesday, May 7, 2014
The chamber he had entered was wide with a high ceiling. Everything in the room was made of marble accept the ivory furniture and the many silk tapestries that hung on the walls. Two thrones sat on a dais at the top of a set of four stairs. This was someones palace home. Bram wondered who's.
As Bram turned, a tall man dressed it a pure white toga with a black tunic underneath came walking out from the side entrance. He had very tan skin, a dark beard and mustache and deep blue eyes. He looked very royal to Bram.
"Welcome Bramble Thorn." He said. "Welcome to your eternity."
"Where am I?" Bram asked. "And who are you?"
"Your in my home in the realm I am master of." He smiled and walked down to the throne and sat down. "And I am Nestor, lord of the underworld. Welcome to your after life."
Bram gazed at the beauty of all the marble and ivory. The silk, satin and bowls of fresh fruit. The sweet sound of music and the fragrance of fresh flowers in the air that calmed his exhausted nerves. He thought he had finally found peace from all the torment of his life.
"Eternity here won't be so bad." Bram smiled and relaxed. "I can finally have peace in my life."
"Yes." Nestor smiled. "This is lovely isn't it? But I'm afraid you have it all wrong. This isn't your heaven. This is so you see what is to be denied from you. You've been judged and I'm afraid to say the judgement for you is torment for the rest of eternity for your crimes."
"What?" Bram couldn't believe what he was hearing. "My crimes? What about all the crimes against me? Years of abuse at the hands of my father and the Sorrowdown senate. What about all the beatings I took from my so called masters? What about the looks of fear and all the rocks and things thrown at me every time I tried to find a place to live? How many times have I been burned out of my home?"
"Those are crime yes, but none of that ever happened to you." The room darken as Nestor stood and walked down from his throne. "It was all in your mind. Do you have any idea of the suffering you have caused? Men, women and children dead all because of you. Humans, elves, dwarfs, fairies, all dead! Even the dead have suffered because of you. What have you to say for yourself?"
"I say." Bram looked up at Nestor defiantly. "Good. Why should you even care? I've filled you halls and ranks. You should thank me for what I've done."
"Thank you?" Nestor couldn't believe his imprudence. "Does life mean anything to you? Do you care about anything or anyone? What of your wife and daughter? Do they matter at all?"
"Jamerld and Mya?" He spit her name as if it caused a bad taste in his mouth. "That fairy bitch is the one that betrayed me. She's probably back in her fathers home. Why should I care about them? They mean nothing to me!"
"Such a sad little warlock." Nestor shook his head. Going back to his throne, Nestor sat down and took his staff in his hand. "Bramble Tiberius Thorn, For crimes you have committed against Keanna, I sentence you to Shounda Island where you will suffer at the hands of the elements you once controlled so expertly. Get off the island on your on, and you will have your peace. If not, you will suffer there forever with the voices screaming in your head!"
"Take him away!" Nestor slammed his staff down on the floor. Behind Nestor's throne, a door opened and five dark shadows came flying out. They grabbed Bram by his arms and legs and dragged him back towards the door.
"I will be back lord of the Underworld and I will make you pay just as I made Keanna pay for abusing me." He screamed. "Not even you can hold me in here! I WILL MAKE YOU ALL PAY!!"
When Bram woke up he was laying on a beach on a tropical island. He reached up and brushed the sand from his face and hair then sat up. He looked out at the land around him and saw it wasn't really a beach. There was sand but it stopped about twenty feet from the water then there was nothing but sharp rocks all the way up the shore as far as he could see, Steam rose from the water telling Bram it was hot, boiling hot.
Bram stood up and looked out over water and saw that not far away there was another island, but this one looked a lot more pleasant then the island he was on. Overhead, Bram saw storm clouds all gray an nasty and ready to drop it's storm right on his head.
Remembering Nestor's sentence, he guessed this had to be Shounda island and he was still deep down somewhere in Nestor's underworld. This was a hell created specific just for him. Turning back into the island, he realizes tropical was the wrong word to describe Shounda island. It was more desolate and deserted. But since it had been made just for him, of course it was deserted. There were no trees, no grass, no vegetation at all. There was nothing here but a great rock, and a boat. Somewhere on the island there had to be a boat. Nestor said it would be here, so Bram knew it had to be here.
As Bram started his way up the rocky shore, the storm opened up and rain poured down on him. Freezing wind whipped across the island making the rain sting at him and beat at his face. Then something happened that sent chills through Bram's body. He started hearing voices in his head again. It wasn't the voices of his old masters, these voices were different. They made no sense at first. It was just gibberish. Then they started berating him and accusing him of murder and rape, some of the most horrible crimes. Bram dropped to his knees putting his hands to his ears but that did nothing. The voices just kept talking and screaming, rattling his mind.
Getting to his feet, Bram tried his best to ignore them and close his mind as best he could and go find the boat. With them hushed, he made his way further on up the shore. Steam rose from vents in the rock as he fought against the storm for every step. At one point the ground shook so much, he had to stop to keep from falling on the sharp rocks. But eventually it stopped and he went on until he found what he was looking for.
Of all places, high on a hill, Bram found his boat. It was a small single seated craft made of wood with oars to steer with. Now that he found the boat, he had to find somewhere safe to launch it from. He couldn't just drag it down to the water, without a safe spot on the beach. The rocks would just tear the bottom from the boat and he would sink and drown. Bram stopped said out loud.
"I'm dead. How can I drown?" In his head, an answer came from one of the many voices.
[It can't kill you. But you won't enjoy the feeling.]
"Shut up." He told himself and continued on up the shore.
It took him half and hour of walking until he came to what looked like a small cove. The water looked calm and this was the only place Bram had seen with trees and vegetation. It looked nice. Now all he had to do was go back and get the boat.
As Bram turned, his leg slammed into something. He looked down and there was the boat.
"Of course." He said. "This place is magic."
[Of course it is you idiot.]
Bram ignored the voice and reached down and grabbed the boat. Lifting it high he carefully made his way through the rocks and down to the tree line. Some how the storm had settle making it easy for him to get down to the beach.
"Almost there." He said.
The voices in his head started laughing at him. Called him a simple stupid fool.
"SHUT UP!" Bram yelled. "I'm almost there!"
[You think it's going to be that easy?] A voice laughed. [Just wait.]
Ignoring them, Bram carried the boat down to the clear blue water and dropped it in. Climbing in, Bram used the oars and pushed his way out, then started rowing up away from the island.
[Wait for it.]
Looking out he could see the second island. It was close, so close. He was going to make it. Then as if he had done it himself, a storm raged in rocking the boat on the high waves. The wind picked up and steam burst into geysers from the ocean bottom.
[Here it is!!]
Like a bit of flotsam in a puddle, the boat was grabbed by a wave and dashed back to shore where rocks had suddenly replaced the sandy beach he had launched from. Like an egg the boat crashed into the rocks and Bram sank drowning to the bottom of the ocean.
As Bram scrambled to swim to the surface struggling to breathe, he slammed his head into the rocks, and down he sank. The last thing he heard in his head before he blacked out was.
[I told you. See you in the morning. Welcome to hell.]
Day after day, week after week, year after year, Bram struggled with the boat. Everyday a different place on the island, everyday the same screaming voices in his head and everyday the same results. He goes out in the boat, sometimes he almost makes it to the second island but everyday he gets smashed back into the rocks to drown and Death wakes him to start all over again. Sometimes he drowned and sometimes he burned. Sometimes the ground opened and swallowed him and the boat and sometimes a tornado picked him up and dropped him on the jagged rocks. But in the end, it was always the same. Bram would die and come back in the morning. That was to be his eternity. Even if he didn't try, still it would end the same. He would die. Even if it meant the island sank, he would die.
As he opened his eyes this morning, a beautiful white haired woman in a long flowing gown stood over him. Bram sat up and said good morning to the goddess of death.
"Ready to start again?"
"What do you want from me Angela?" Bram sat up and glared at the goddess. "Leave me alone and let me get on with my mission."
"Mission?" She laughed. "Don't you mean punishment?"
"You want me to be sorry for the things I've done." Bram stood up. "But I'm not. The world deserved all I did and more. In fact when I escape here, I'm going to show Keanna what fear really is."
"Then I'm afraid you will never leave this island." Angela frowned down at him and started to fade away. "Enjoy your eternity. You deserve it."
"Just wait and see!" He screamed at the sky. "My time will come!!"
[Times a wasting Useless.] One of his voices said. [Get moving before something drops out of the sky on you.]
This was one of those rare times in Bram's hell when there was no storm. The sky was clear but gray since this wasn't really a sky but a dimension where Lord Nestor had control over everything. It was hot and as Bram walked the island he began to sweat like mad. First he went north to search but found nothing so he circled around to the west where it started getting hotter and hotter. Kneeling down, he put his hand to the ground and realized the heat was coming from under ground. That meant volcanic activity. He would have to be careful. He didn't want to get burned by lava again.
Continuing on, Bram came to a hill. A rather large hill with smoke rising from the top. This must be the volcano. He wasn't surprised. This volcano hadn't been here yesterday and it won't be here tomorrow. That was how often the landscape changed in his hell.
[Can't let you get use to it around here can we.] The voice said. [That would be to easy. But since you'll never be leaving, we'll think of something different everyday to torture you with. Won't that be fun.]
[So what will it be today?] Another voice said. [Fire? Lightning? Maybe we'll flood the island again. We always enjoy watching you drown.]
"If I had my powers, it would be different." Bram mumbled as he walked around the volcano.
[But you don't, so why do you just climb the volcano and jump in. Make it easy on yourself.]
"I won't give up. I'm getting off this island."
[Fat chance of that.] A voice said smugly.
So on Bram walked. He stumbled a few times and fell bruising and skinning his knees, but he got back up and kept going. As he reached the other side, he saw the boat laying there at the bottom of the hill.
Good he thought. Now that he had found it, all he had to do was find his launching spot and get himself off this damned island. Just then the ground started to shake as the volcano began to erupt. Bram looked up to the top just in time to see the top explode and go flying into the air. Without another thought, he took off running down the side of the volcano to keep from being caught in the flow of lava he knew would soon be coming down at him. All around him huge rocks rained down. Dodging left then right jumping out of the way of lava bombs as they fell he ran. With a quick look back, Bram stopped when he saw one coming he could dodge. It was so big there was no where for him to hide. This one would crush him no matter what he did. Raising his hands over his head, Bram screamed and did something completely unexpected. He pushed out with the power he had no idea he had and opened a great gape into shadow that swallowed the lava and saved his ass. Shocked at what he had just done, he looked at his hand and realized he still wore his ring of shadow.
Running on Bram smiled as an idea how to get off the island came to him. Laughing with madness he went on to the beach to find his launching area and the way off the island.
The memory of searing pain brought Bram back to consciousness. He sat up and screamed from the memory of being swallowed by an underwater volcano. With his burned eyes healed, Bram opened them and stared up at Angela who like every morning, was always there to taunt him.
"Aren't you tired of all this yet?" She asked. "You could end your torment with a few simple easy words. All you have to do is ask for forgiveness and it'll all be over."
"Forgiveness?" Bram laughed as he climbed to his feet. "I'm not the one who should be asking for forgiveness. The world should be begging me for forgiveness. But it doesn't matter anyway. That was my last death here. I'm leaving today thinks to you."
"Me?" She looked at him confused. "I have no intention of helping you leave here. And even if I wanted to help you, I couldn't. I don't rule here, Lord Nestor does."
"Yes." Bram smiled raising his hand and fingering his ring. "Lord Nestor, lord of the Underworld and your father if I'm not mistaken."
"So?" Angela took a step back. She didn't like the way Bram looked at her. He was up to something. "What would happen if you disappeared my lovely goddess of death? What would your father do to get you back?"
"You have no power here Bram Thorn." Angela pulled her cloak close around her shoulders ready to be gone. "Get back to your punishment and threaten me no more!"
"It's true I have no power in the Underworld." Bram raised his hand and pointed to Angela. "But I can do this!"
With a wave of his hand he projected a shadow behind Angela. Without looking she stepped back and was swallowed into his dark abyss. Snapping his fingers, he closed the shadow as the death goddess fell screaming into the darkness.
"Now we'll see what the life of a goddess is worth."
With Angela missing, all death on Keanna stopped. Hunting became impossible, the animals didn't die. Executions didn't work and no one died of murder or accident. Nothing could die. It took Lord Nestor all of two hours before the constant line at the gates to the Underworld was empty. Seeing no one on line for judgement, the spirit gate keeper sent word to the palace to tell Nestor something was wrong.
As Nestor wandered out through the outer gate, Zemos his chief justice came to meet him and stand at his side.
"How is this possible?" He asked waving to the empty road that led into the living dimension. "How is it that no one has died in the last few "
"I don't know my lord." Zemos said with fear in his eyes. "But this must be fixed. The world can not go on without death."
"Without death?" These words rang something in Nestors heart. "Death. Where is my daughter? Where is Angela?"
"I haven't seen her since she came in to make her morning visits." Zemos watched as fire crept into Nestor's eyes. "She should have returned by now. Could there be trouble?"
"Bramble Thorn!" Nestor turned as flames began to surround him and leaped into the air and make his way to Shounda Island where the warlock waited for him.
In less then two minutes, Lord Nestor ruler of the Underworld was hovering over the shores of Shounda Island all ablaze with hellfire..
"BRAMBLE THORN, WHAT HAVE YOU DONE!!"
"Aiya Lord Nestor." Bram called up to him. "I have been expecting you. Please come down and make yourself comfortable."
Streaking down, Nestor landed with and explosion and towered over the lone warlock. Bram back up to keep from being burned by Nestor's fury.
"Where is she?"
"Somewhere safe that only I can bring her back from." Bram said as Nestor's heat became overwhelming. "You can search if you want, but you would be wasting yours and Angela's time and her sanity is in danger. You won't find her without me."
"What is it you want." Nestor asked calmly.
"I want my life back." Bram knew he had him. "I want my powers back and I want revenge against the ones that put me here."
"And you think you know who put you here do you?" Nestor folded his arms across his chest. He hated having to give the warlock what he wanted, but then maybe he could give him what he deserved.
"You want your life back?" Nestor's flame dissipated and he shrank down to normal size. "Granted. you free Angela and I'll give you a year to catch and kill who you think is responsible for your being in this hell. If you fail, you come right back here and your punishment goes on forever. Is it a deal?"
"What about my powers." Bram asked suspiciously. "Do I get them back?"
"Then you have a deal." Bram waved his hand and opened the portal to darkness and Angela fell out shivering to the ground. Nestor rushed to her side and held her in his arms to soothe her and assure her she was alright. Bram laughed as he watched the father and daughter. Nestor looked up at Bram.
"Go now before I change my mind." With a wave of his hand, Nestor made Bram disappear.
"Father." Angela whispered. "You shouldn't have let him go."
"He'll be back." Nestor held her head to his chest. "You can count on it."