The stars above me were legion, diamonds strewn across celestial black sand.
My breath was visible in the cold air, and a crescent moon crooked like a beckoning finger, leading me along the stony path.
The dark spirit that walked beside me was lost in her own thoughts.
“I don’t understand,” I said, breaking her reverie. “Surely you have others to choose from.”
She considered my words before she answered. “But you were the one who wept at how bereft of purpose you were; the Master has given you one.”
“It still seems pointless, telling the tales of things past, things dead.”
“It is, now. It may be that later, it makes all difference in the world.”
“I doubt that.”
“He can do it. Indeed, he already has, at this moment.”
“You would have me believe my own Master died for nothing?”
She laughed. “I would have you know that.”
“Is the soul then nothing, that one would risk his very life?”
“Believe as you will. Your fate is all the more intertwined with ours.”
We walked on in silence; it seemed she would say no more.
We went up the mountain path, me behind her, the gusty wind threatening at times to pluck us off and cast us down; but handholds were plentiful enough, some provided by those who’d gone before, others naturally formed.
“The dwelling is around the bend.”
It was the mouth of a cave, one that I had to bend to get into, with the wind getting relentlessly restless, the sky black crystalline velvet behind a silver-white moon.
The dark spirit was docile, her dark robes barely stirring.
“I’m to go in there? Alone?”
“Yes. You’re to tell our stories..”
“For how long?”
Her smile was enigmatic. “I have to go, and you must soon get started. You’ll see that all has been prepared for you.”
“But how am I to tell these tales?”
“In verse. In story. It matters not. Each one will bear their tale, and tell you what you need to know.”
“And if I say no?”
Her arm extended. “Feel free to roam, but you’ll never descend from here.”
She waited, watching me. There was nothing more to say.
I entered the cave, found stairs descending, and walked what seemed endless flights until the bottom finally appeared. The ensconced torches that lit the way extinguished themselves as I walked past them, the only light from the eldritch one’s eyes and hands.
When I finally reached the bottom, there was a lantern placed on a meager desk with an ink jar, a pen with a black quill, shining with blue highlights, and stacks of journal books with blank pages.
The spirit emerged from the opposite side. “Come, sit down.”
She pulled out the chair, arching her brows.
I sat, and she turned the chair to face her.
“What do I do now?” I asked.
“You wait. You listen. You write.”
“But when will they be here?”
“When they are ready.” She took the pen from my hand, laid it on the desk.
“Be patient,” she said. ” I must go.”
“I’m to sit in silence?”
“Yes, if need be. They will come to you of their own choosing. Farewell, my friend.”
Bewildered and lost, I found myself giving way to a quiet despair.
She faded, and the cave got colder. After some time, my body began to shut down, reacting to the cold.
There was nothing I could do to stop it, and then I heard a whisper in my ear, though no one was there.
“In the beginning…”