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Chapter Two - Raziel - The Underworld

Dark Chronicle - Raziel In The Underworld

Raziel is on his knees before the Elder God, weak and apparently at the point of starvation.

Elder God:
Surrender, Raziel. Abandon this petty rebellion. It was I who made you. Your life had played out, and in my grace, I spared you. You are my reaper of souls. You have no other purpose, no higher destiny - just this. Accept your calling, Raziel. Let go of these vain hopes. Relinquish your will, and feed.

Raziel: (weakly defiant)
No.

Elder God:
What do you profit from this defiance?

Raziel:
There's some grim satisfaction in infuriating you.

Elder God:
My patience is eternal, Raziel. How many aeons can you bear to languish here? The Wheel of Fate must turn; all are redeemed in the cleansing agony of birth, death and rebirth. This is the Engine of Life - the purifying rhythm of the universe - to which all souls are irresistibly drawn. Yours is a necessary and noble function, Raziel.

Raziel:
Enough of your sermonizing - are you trying to bore me into submission? Why must this game go on? We both know what you are. You're no better than the vampires you so despise - a voracious parasite cloaking its appetite in a shroud of righteousness. I refuse to do your will.

Elder God:
I can see into your heart, Raziel. It is not your will, but cowardice that keeps you here.

Raziel: (bristling)
How so?

Elder God: (contemptuously)
You know what fate awaits you when you leave the underworld. That phantom weapon you bear is a constant reminder, isn't it? The Sword is waiting for you out there somewhere, and you tarry so as not to meet it.

Raziel V.O.:
I could not deny it. As long as I lingered here, defying my captor, I was able to postpone what I feared was my inevitable doom: to become the ravenous spirit imprisoned in the Reaver blade. But that sentence was no worse than the stalemate I now endured. Better to face one's destiny than cower from it.

Elder God:
Harvester of souls I created you, and to this function, my angel of death, you will return.

Raziel: (apparently resigned)
Enough. Yes. I submit.

Elder God:
Very good. Indulge your hunger.

A soul is presented to Raziel who hesitates, then quickly consumes it.

Elder God:
Yes... Embrace your calling, Raziel. You will find that, just as defiance has its price, so obedience has its rewards.

Two of the Elder God's tentacles uncurl, revealing a doorway. Raziel rises.

Raziel:
And submission is not always what it seems.

The Underworld

Raziel enters the next cave and looks down at the mist below.

Raziel V.O.:
Below me swirled an ominous-looking mist. I knew that if I fell, it would mean my peril.

Two of the Elder God's tentacles block the exit of this chamber as Raziel attempts to leave.

Elder God:
Do you believe your worthiness is so easily proved? Your way is sealed until you have offered further evidence of your obedience.

Six souls manifest in the cave.

Raziel:
I must feed you before I depart this place.

Elder God:
You must feed yourself, Raziel.

Raziel (resigned):
'The Wheel must turn...'

Elder God:
Ah - now you understand.

Raziel consumes the six souls, and the Elder God withdraws his tentacles from the exit.

Elder God:
You may go, but remember - you are mine. You can no more escape from me than you can escape yourself.

As Raziel attempts to leave the next chamber, The Elder God chuckles and his way is again blocked. Sluagh appear.

Raziel:
You want this room cleared of its vermin.

Elder God:
If you wish to leave it.

Raziel: (sarcastically)
Your will be done.

Elder God:
My good servant.

Raziel defeats and consumes six Sluagh (or they consume each other), and the Elder God again unblocks the exit.

Elder God:
You see? Obedience brings prompt rewards.

The Elder God apparently has a change of heart in the next chamber -

Elder God:
Where do you think you are going little soul?

Lethal mists appear, forcing Raziel to race to the top of the room. As he runs, the Elder God smashes the walkways. The Elder taunts him at various stages of the ascent.

Elder God:
You can't escape! or Run faster!
   and Raziel... or Embrace your destiny.
   and Clever, Raziel... Clever indeed. or (Laughs)
   and (Laughs) or You will never escape.
   and I've endured your game long enough! or I grow tired of this, Raziel.

Raziel leaps for the final platform, nearly falls, then recovers and escapes.

Elder God:
No!

Enraged, the Elder God causes a cave-in which blocks the return.

Raziel V.O.:
Clearly my escape had not been anticipated, or my benevolent master would not have expended such efforts to prevent me from going. And if my departure displeased him, then that was a victory, however small, for me.

Raziel finds a side chamber. He sees that this area is filled with water in the Material Realm, and there is an exit above him.

Raziel V.O.:
In the Spectral Realm, water is as thin as air, putting this opening far beyond my reach. But once I found my way into the physical world, I might be able to swim up there...

Raziel finds a closed door.

Raziel V.O.:
This door would only open when fitted with an appropriate artifact. But to use such an object, I would first have to find a way back into the Material Realm.

Raziel finds a Planar Portal.

Raziel V.O.:
At last. I discovered a conduit into the Material Realm. I would finally escape the spirit world, and take one step farther from my tormentor...

Elder God: (chuckling)
Did you think to receive the same favors after your rebellion as before? No Raziel. I have no need for you to enter the physical world, so no conduit will be granted. You serve me adequately as a wraith, and a wraith you will remain.

The portal vanishes.

Raziel V.O.:
So my restraints had not been removed, only loosened. I would not be held prisoner in the Spectral Realm - there had to be another way.

Raziel phases through some grating. On the other side, mysterious creatures - Archons - swoop through the air, devouring the unfettered souls of the underworld.

Raziel V.O.:
As I emerged, I was granted a vision of what I would become if I did not escape the Spectral Realm. For these too were agents of my master, hunting the lost souls that struggled to escape the endless twilight of the underworld.

Raziel defeats the Archons.

Raziel V.O.:
My master's plan for me was ominously clear. Like these mindless hunters, I existed only to fuel him with souls, siphoning their energy to feed him and his Wheel of Fate. I had to break these bonds, while I still possessed my own will.

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