Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 186,904,163 Issue: 171 | 31st day of Celebrating, Y6
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Darkness Binding 3: Part Four

by nomad2


Cray watched as the shadow preached his reasons to escape to the other denizens of the plane. As he listened, he could make out what it is that was being said. He was quick to learn most of their language, yet somehow, he felt it was due to the energies direct from their plane he drew in. It's as if by doing so, he became a shadow in a way.

      With great passion and zealous, the shadow said to his people, "We are imprisoned in our own lands. A land of wondrous sights and sounds rests just beyond the boundaries of our universe, and we can pass into it. Just look at what we do here; eat and recycle darkness, and float in endless circles. Out there, the possibilities of what one can do are endless, and the feelings are intense. It is a million times better, and it is up to us to ashasanari them."

      During the pause at the end of that sentence, Cray spoke out with the question, "What does ashasanari mean? I'm still adapting to your speech."

      "Experience," it answered so Cray could understand. "Now please keep your questions for when I'm done." Looking back to the audience, he continued in his native tongue, "You need to just remove the bonds of ignorance we were naturally cursed with. Our makers, whoever they may be, didn't want us to have the experiences awaiting us beyond the darkness. It is up to us to finally feel."

      The other shadows hissed amongst one another for a moment before scattering like fish near a sudden ripple in the water. Whatever they were muttering about was a mystery to Cray. There were too many voices to keep track of.

      Cray drifted over to the shadow and quietly asked, "Is that how your friend described it? A blissful paradise full of wonder and excitement?"

      "He didn't have to describe anything," it explained. "He showed me his memories from your world. From his first visit and through the eyes of an ally he made when he was there."

      Cray narrowed his eyes, "An ally? I'm afraid you were misinformed about that. The owner of those eyes hated that shadow for tormenting him."

      The shadow rose up a tendril with a hiss, but kept from harming Cray again because of their arrangement. "I don't need your lies, creature. He told me everything he knew of your world when he was here, and it was something to get use to, but overall a wondrous place. He didn't harm anyone."

      "Is that why he didn't bring you with him during his return? And I thought you two were friends," Cray said with a tone of mockery in his voice. "No, it's because he couldn't come back without doing nothing but harm to others. You were kept as ignorant as your nature made you."

      Another hiss was given before the shadow said, "You need to watch yourself. He gave me memories to prove what he said. What do you have other than simple words? As far as I'm considered, you couldn't tell the truth to save your existence."

      Cray yelled back, "What reason would I have to lie? I'm tell you the truth so keep us all alive."

      "Oh, I don't know," the shadow replied, "perhaps to keep your land free of us? It would certainly give your people more space without us moving around. You're all so selfish."

      Cray moved even close and said, "Then take my memories and see the reality of what you've been preaching about."

      Yorvick, staring into the shadows, widened his eyes and softly said, "Cray, don't do it..."

      The Lenny glanced his eyes over to Yorvick and said, "Don't despair. Perhaps this is what we need to do to end this. It will be a relief if he succeeds with this."

      "But what if Cray is harmed? We don't know how they take memories from someone," Yorvick protested.

      The Kau said, "There's nothing we can do for him right now. We can just have faith that it will work."

      Cray remained face to face with the shadow as it thought about the offer. Apparently, there was much consideration going through the shadow's mind about the memories straight from a corporeal being.

      Cray slowly drifted back after a moment as he said, "Or will the truth about your friend scare you too much?"

      With a nod, the shadow said, "Very well. Come closer and I will see the way things went through your eyes. I just hope you haven't been lying to yourself, or it is you who will be scared. You can think what you want of your experiences, but I will see them without your convenient rationalizations."

      Cray came closer, but kept what he felt was a safe distance. The shadow rose up one of its tails and positioned right above Cray's head. It was held there for a brief moment, which gave Cray enough time to sweat with anticipation of things to come. The tail was slammed down into Cray's head, passing through as if nothing was in the way. Cray let out a scream, which echoed through the plane for all to hear.

      The first sight was of a dark room with a gray Kougra on the ground and the shadow standing over it. Following that was it striking at Cray from behind, and the vision fading to nothing. Then came a door flying into his face and a shadow Kougra stepping out. In an instant, it switched to the pain of claws stabbing into his back. As if moving in fast forward, it flashed by the council of shadow and back to Yorvick striking the Kougra down with a flaming sword.

      The shadow removed its tail from Cray's mind and said, "I think I've seen enough of that. You have a rather pained mind within."

      Cray didn't answer because he was busy catching his breath. In that instant, he was exhausted from the stress of his mind racing so fast.

      "You certainly made a point there," said the shadow. "He did lash out. But I can't just accept and leave it be. He himself didn't end anyone's existence. It was only your kind who killed."

      Cray looked up at the shadow and said, "What other choice did we have? There was no other way to stop him."

      The shadow yelled out, "You could have let him live! I will stop my people from going into your world, but I can't just let your people get away with their crime. You have your rationalization, but I lost someone dear to me for it."

      Cray asked, "And what do you plan on doing about it? The one who gave the final blow can't come here, and you're too weak in my world to defeat him. All there is to do is accept and move on."

      "There are many things I can do," it answered. "I could go after that group you consulted before his death, I could send shadows after the one who killed him, or I can accept a sacrifice as reparation for his loss."

      Cray said, "Or you could let all of us live and not waste any other lives."

      The shadow stared at Cray for moment and said, "You will do. It is you who told the executioner to kill my friend. It will be you who sacrifices his life so everyone else can live. Now turn around. I promise to make this swift and just."

      Yorvick yelled to the council, "Get him out of there! Do it quick!"

      The Jetsam said, "We can't. If we do, they will continue the exodus."

      Yorvick grabbed the sleeve of the Mynci, who was next to him, and yelled, "Get him! You can't just let him die!"

      Cray turned around and said, "I'm sorry...old friend..."

      The shadow sent all three of its tails into Cray's back, still not damaging the skin. He grunted at the blunt coldness, which moved like a wave through his being. As it spread, he lost feeling in his entire body. When it reached his head, the memories of the warm days at Mystery Island passed through his eyes before fading to nothing.

      The council rose their arms up, and as if he was in a pool of water the entire time, Cray came up in the middle of the room. The shadow at the center rippled until he was completely through, then returned to being solid. Cray was laying lifeless on his back.

      Immediately, Yorvick ran over to Cray and kneeled down next to him in tears. The council lowered their heads in reverence and the only sound that could be heard was Yorvick crying.

      With water streaming down his face, Yorvick yelled, "Why!? You had plenty of time to save him! You just stood there and watched! Why!?"

      The Lenny said, "Because it was the only way. It is a very tragic loss, but it was better he die than have the shadows kill everyone else."

      Yorvick jumped at the Lenny swiftly and put his hand around the council member's throat. "You people certainly know how to rationalize death! Have you ever thought about what your decisions do to others? Fist I lose Skotados, now Cray! Who next will you have killed for the sake of your little council?"

      The Lenny, who remained calm and kept a straight face, responded, "Not everything can end the way we want. We don't like the fact that people die, but we aren't always given a choice. If the best way is not pleasant, then we have all learned to live with it. You should do the same."

      Yorvick loosened his grip until his arm fell back to his side. The entire time, he cried even harder and eventually fell to his knees. He wanted to speak, but couldn't get any words out at that point.

      The Jetsam went over and put a flipper on Yorvick's shoulder, "Someone is waiting outside to take you home. We will perform burial rights for Cray here in the canyon, as is the way of our people. You should go now."

      Slowly, Yorvick got up, gave one more look at Cray, and headed for the exit. When he reached the outside of the temple, a shadow Uni in a black cloak nodded to him and led him to the closest tent. In it was another mirror of shadow, where Yorvick stepped through it without giving it a second thought.

      When he emerged, he was back in Cray's house, but he did not care about how dark it was in the room. He walked over to the wall and leaned against it as he sat on the ground. Surrounded by the memories of those he lost, he went to sleep cursing the darkness to himself.

To be continued...

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Other Episodes

» Darkness Binding 3: Part One
» Darkness Binding 3: Part Two
» Darkness Binding 3: Part Three

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