Behind the vizier's back, a snowy tempest gathered and the eclipsing moon had stopped dead centre of the sun in its path across the sky. While the landscape was animated by winds blowing waves across treetops and grass, the sky seemed frozen in time. This was only exacerbated by the drop in temperature which summoned blankets of snow on the mountains at speeds never seen before.The air felt odd, invaded by alien vibrations and a deep humming which slowly turned louder. Then the storm settled in a matter of seconds, and the sparse clouds parted to reveal a starlit sky from which a large figure descended, the humming still rising.
"What is happening?" Erisey asked fearfully while still laying on the ground. "Did you do this?"
"No," he admitted while staring at the menacingly large body far above. "I didn't think we would be granted this honour so soon. There was still so much I wanted to do, but if it is their will then now is the time." He closed his eyes in seeming embrace of the moments to come, and obviously confident they would conclude in his favour.
Enveloped in shadows, which unravelled as it descended, the being turned out to be somewhat humanoid in form but with several heads that resembled no known creatures or faces, scales across its surface which moved to the rhythm of no discernible breathing and with orifices in strange places, which opened and closed at random intervals. The closer it came, more teeth-like spikes became visible during these mouths’ moments of gaping. As time went on, the humming intensified right until the being stopped moving at an imperceptible distance from the surface of the ground. It loomed over the area, which by now had garnered the attention of the empire's population, who fearfully amassed in still greater numbers at the scene of the descending being.
The vizier took in a deep breath, preparing a speech for this monumental encounter with those he assumed to be his masters, but the large figure let out a torrent of synchronised voices, some deep while others piercingly high-pitched, and interrupted him with fury, “FOOL!”
Every mouthy cave upon its form opened like vortexes in a raging, stormy ocean, shaking as if they each screamed with the craze of a thousand frenzied beasts. The vizier stood in bewilderment, obviously stunned by the inglorious addressal. Every present head oscillated between the sight of horror that hung in the sky and the man who had been their beacon of assurance, a figure of absolute certainty, up until this moment. Screams of terror sounded from the crowd, but most were stupefied by what they saw.
“You have spoiled everything, you insufferable, self-important human scum!” Aziel was dumbfounded, his gaze still unshakably frozen upon hearing this accusation, spoken at a menacingly slow pace.
“We needed them unspoiled and ready for our consumption! We wanted their pure devotion, but they are only bound in madness and fear! Broken, tainted and defiled, they serve you with nothing but demented insanity left for us.” The words contained only pure, cosmic rage. “They were supposed to be ours for the taking. The feast of their pure souls was the only thing we needed for our ascension, and now you also trespass upon the sacred boundaries of life and death by tampering with the woven thread of mortality. Such arrogance is unheard of!"
Although as flummoxed as everyone else, Erisey questioningly shouted,
“You used him... to lure this entire empire into-”
“Our grasp, yes!” they interrupted with ominous laughter in their voices.
“Admission into the highest levels of godhood has its price,” they continued, “which is the one thing this mortal got right. But to think we would actually let him, or any of you, take part in this ploy is nothing short of absurd.” The last word echoed between the mountain sides.
“The prophecy said you wanted to be united with your people at all costs,” the vizier spewed, “I did everything in my power to make our faith and commitment clear!”
“That faith is worth nothing to us! They are impure and gross. They have been robbed of their spirit, so their taste is void to our tongues. Their will is crushed, so their declarations of loyalty are hollow!”
Erisey finally turned to face the vizier, “So... you saved them?” she declared doubtfully.
- “What?” the vizier replied with a faint hope of recovered success.
- “You saved them from being devoured by that foul god. If it wasn’t for your horrid ideas of worship, we would have all been fodder to their unholy goals”
- “Saved them?” The god said mockingly. “He practically summoned us. We were looking for a source of pure devotion to gorge on.”
The god let out a ridiculing snarl, “the greed in his heart meant he was not hard to persuade into assisting us, albeit unknowingly. Indeed, we will not indulge in their innocence for it is gone, but look at them.” Both humans turned to view the disfigured population, the empress with a sadness in her heart knowing that she had lost her people, and the vizier with dread, realising that all he had done had been for nothing but bloodshed, fear, and invalidated aspirations of holiness.
“Still, you cost us this. Your arrogance made them useless to our cause.”
Suddenly, a large portal opened in the air behind Aziel. It was flaming red, emitting tortured screams while a dousin black and boney arms grabbed at him from within the realm beyond. He defended himself, blocking the hands and casting damaging spells at them while still more emerged to seize him. He reached out for Erisey who got a hold of his wrists and his of hers. She tried to pull him out of the arms’ grasp, determined to be the one inflicting revenge upon him; her, the one who'd lost everything to the greed of both a god and a mortal man, not them, who were merely robbed of time spent on one of probably countless potential victims of their aspirations and hunger.
But the agents of this hell were, if not more determined nonetheless still more powerful than her. Her grip and the force of a man desperately clinging to the world of the living failed, and so he disappeared into the flaming portal which then vanished into the nothingness from which it came.
"We have no further undertakings here," the voices in the sky declared. "We do not care enough for the rest of you to end your misery."
The rumbling humming returned as the god began its climb through the sky to whatever realms from which it had come.