'm so glad
that you've come, Myraec!"
Lord Myraec of Caedwyn nodded silently in the wing chair he was sitting
on. He felt comfortable and content in the here and now for a change, and
enjoyed it quite a bit. Ah, how he had missed these quiet hours away from
any hustle and bustle the town life inevitably brought with it! Besides,
the evening promised not only relaxation and good wine, but also a chat
with someone he hadn't seen for ages. One couldn't ask for more.
"What are friends for, after all, Raeis?" he replied to his host. "I
needed a couple of days off anyway from business in Denring, so the
pleasure is entirely mine. You know, it's an outright shame. For when the
cat's away, the mice will play. Point in case: As far as the management of
shipments along the Vandrina is concerned, whoever I hired to do the job
for me, chose to drop a clanger, not once, but trice actually, pinning his
own shortcomings on unforeseeable circumstances like bad weather, staff
shortage, even local quarantines he dug up as an excuse for his lazyness!
Too bad for him that I had to send him away. Into a future he'll enjoy,
well, elsewhere. Hmm... maybe it's at least sunnier there?"
His host smiled at the remark.
Lory Myraec rubbed his nose. "Frankly, as far as I'm concerned helping him
to make plans elsewhere was quite a foreseeable reaction from my part. Oh
dear! Decisions, decisions, and they all fall back at me... – But now that
things have been settled, I needed that break, badly." The corners of
Myraec's mouth pulled up and suggested a slight, satisfied grin.
The other man nodded, but ignored Myraec's detailed account when he spoke
himself. Instead he simply repeated: "Believe me, it means the world to me
that you've come!"
"Anyway, I'm sorry to bother you with a merchant's daily troubles, Raeis,
and make you listen to such rants," Myraec continued. "Or should I rather
say 'Sage Raeis', now that you've received your official title? Well
earned, and a toast to that." He raised his glass. "'Sage Raeis' - sounds
noble, I have to admit. Finally proof that the time you put in your
research paid off!"
Raies took the carafe on the coffee table nearby, topped up his glass and
followed his friend by raising his glass as well: "To research!" he
produced with a hoarse voice.
"To research, yes indeed," Lord Myraec joined in the toast and took a sip
of the Bard's Own. "Ah... delicious!" he commented, then leaned forward.
"Well, if you want my humble opinion: The good thing about being a
researcher on behalf of the New-Santhalan Library is that you can stay
clear from all things commercial. Saves you a lot of chagrin, I tell you."
He let out a loud, bellowing laugh. "After all, for you there's no need to
worry that your promised shipments won't arrive in time and disappointed
customers will threaten you, hit you with sticks, even tear up contracts
fuming with rage - ah, it has all happened to me. I could tell you
stories, my friend, stories you wouldn't believe..."
He paused for a moment, waiting for his host to finally talk, yet the
latter just continued sipping his wine while listening.
"But enough about me now..." Lord Myraec concluded his ramblings
impatiently. "I'm doing all the talking, and you haven't even told me how
life has treated you since we last met, Raeis!"
Sage Raeis sat up and cleared his throat. "There are indeed things I have
to tell you," he then said. Important things."
"Well, what's evident is that you bought yourself this new mansion, or
rather: a pretty old one by the looks of it", Myraec suggested. "May I
assume you're planning to renovate it anytime soon? If you need any help
with that, I'm sure I can recommend you a bunch of decent people who can
assist you with that effort."
"Myraec, listen: I'm dying."
All of a sudden silence descended over the room like a pitch-black blanket
that sank down from the ceiling to cover and quieten everything beneath.
It lasted a long, painful while before another word was spoken. The
ominous revelation had come so unexpectedly and its shocking effect had
hit Lord Myraec like an unforeseeable blow from behind. He was still
gathering his thoughts as Raeis added:
"It will be over soon, very soon. Actually, you might be the last person I
ever speak to," he said in a tone laden with finality. "And that's why
you're here, Myraec." He paused. "Thank you for coming," he repeated for a
third time, but by now the simple expression of gratitude had dramatically
gained in weight.
Lord Myraec looked at his old friend as if he had turned into a stranger.
He recalled that the maid had led him into the sitting room, where Raeis
was already sitting by the fireside. While he had seen the face of his
host lighten up briefly upon entering, his friend hadn't got up, probably
due to the condition he must have been suffering from all along. If he
only had known!
Myraec looked at Raeis once again. Now that the news had been broken his
perception of the person in front of him was bound to change. Indeed, the
scholar appeared older, thinner and more frail in general than the many
years ago he had last seen him, so much was certain. Well, at any rate, it
had been a while. The outlines of his host's skull were clearly visible
beneath flesh and skin that covered the face. Or rather it seemed that way
– after all Raeis was sitting in his wing chair next to the fireside in an
otherwise almost dark room and the fight of the crackling flames with the
murkiness around them cast weird dancing shadows on him, bathing his
features in an eerie, unnatural light.
A moment ago Myraec had thought of it as a cozy scene, the fire exuding
comfort and warmth. Now he only saw shadows everywhere, shadows that
engulfed them completely and whose oppression more and more began to
dominate the room. A dark sentiment took hold of him and wouldn't let go –
a harbinger, a premonition of their own mortality.
It was almost as if it weren't the flames that challenged the shadows,
rather that the shadows chose to play with the light. There was no doubt
that the flames would eventually have to resign in this uneven contest and
be consumed by its counterpart, the endless night, once and for all.
"How... how do you know? What makes you so... so... certain?" Lord Myraec
"It is terminal," Raeis confirmed. "I should know."
"But... " Myraec struggled desperately for answers. "But... what is it
you're suffering from, Raeis? Consumption? It must be... You've always had
a weak lung!"
"Don't worry about the details. You will learn more soon enough, don't
concern yourself with it now. There are other things we have to discuss
"Raeis, there must be someone who can find a remedy, or whatever you need
to make it through, by the Twelve! I know so many people – healers,
Nehtorian Whitecoats, well respected mindsmoothers – not only here in the
province, but throughout the whole kingdom... Let me know how I can help,
and I'll gladly move heaven and earth to save an old friend! If there is
any possibility we'll grasp it!"
Raeis coughed, but waved the proposal aside instantly. "I appreciate the
offer..." A smile flashed over his face. "It is well meant. However, I beg
you to respect my wish: I've settled my affairs here, my dear friend, and
I've given all aspects of the matter long consideration. I've never felt
more confident in my whole life than about this decision: I've accepted
it. I will die."
"And I tell you: You can't be serious!" Lord Myraec replied agitatedly.
"Look, in all..."
"If only I knew what you're..."
"Myraec!" The sage's hand shot up in rejection. It was a quick, determined
movement, accompanied by a harsh command that cut the air like a knife:
The gesture was as brutal as the message that had given reason for making
Lord Myraec's heart race with anxiety a few moments ago. Almost
intimidated by the strictness of the display of refusal from his friend he
fell silent, only managed a helpless look to the other side, his eyes
quietly pleading to allow reason to prevail.
But finally he shook his head as there was no further reaction from the
other chair aside from the still held up flat hand.
"Why then..." Lord Myraec finally began. "Why then did you want me to come
if you've given up on life already so easily?"
The sage slowly retracted his hand, let it sink in his lap. "Because maybe
I can make you understand."
"Understand? That you are committed to just end it there, not even having
considered all options? Make me understand why it makes perfect sense not
to try? How can you even think that I'd agree with you?" Lord Myraec was
"I hardly seem to recognize you when you say things like that. Tell me:
Are we merely born to die? Is that what you believe in your heart? That
once the Gods confront us with adversity we let Queprur whet her scythe,
so that Her harvest is going to be richer by one more soul She'll reap? Is
that what you want to say? Aren't man, and elf and dwarf, and all the
other created races for that matter meant for some higher purpose? A
purpose that transcends the hardships of their humble existence, and that
it is thus our duty – against all odds – at least to try whenever we are
confronted with a challenge?"
The sage nodded. He pulled the blanket that he had spread over his knees a
tad higher before he replied.
"Well then, let me explain," he offered. "Like you – and you can take my
word for it – I believe in the foresight of the Twelve, actually I put all
my trust in it, I live by that. Even though as a mortal I'm also aware
that our insights can only be limited, and that our actions need be guided
by that knowledge. It is the Gods who know the whys, we're merely here to
follow the path they set out for us. But we need to try to understand,
that's what we're here for."
Raeis sighed. "See, back then I accepted that it was the Gods' will when
Bredda died of the black fever during childbirth. Not that I understood,
but it was what the Gods chose for me, and it must have happened for a
reason. While I struggled for years to overcome my melancholy, this stroke
of fate – Seyella knows I'm not lying – taught me also more than anything
else to be humble and thankful, to be content yet ambitious in whatever I
did as long as the opportunity was offered to me. I was shaped by it, was
pushed in new directions I otherwise would never have headed for, not even
tried to. Today I know that."
His friend listened attentively. He was about to object something, but
then reconsidered and let the sage finish first.
"Not only perhaps, but for certain, this tragedy made me love Vanya, the
only child Bredda bore me, more and more – even more than her mother...
Ah, I was so proud when she was coming of age and beginning to dabble
herself in research, just as I did back then in my own youth. She so much
wanted to be like her father! Butterflies were her great first passion,
then she set out to hunt for beetles all day... Meticulously she studied,
read up, made drawings, described and catalogued all those tiny little
creatures and helped to enrich the Santharian bestiary with her work. Oh,
Vanya! She adored the beauty, the uniqueness every single one of these
little miracles had to offer, and even enjoyed working with spiders and
snakes, which the others so shunned..." He sighed and paused for a while,
collecting his thoughts.
"It must be painful remembering her now. She was..." Lord Myraec began,
but couldn't finish his sentence. Ancient memories crept back into his
mind and sent shivers down his spine.
Raeis' eyes seemed to glow from their sockets in the darkness. Tears ran
down his cheeks. "Alas, it wasn't meant to be."
Image description. Shadows of the past
keep haunting Sage Raeis... Picture
sank back in his chair, breathing deeply. "If only she hadn't ventured
into those ruins... It were ancient ruins where it happened, wasn't it?"
"She was looking for a very rare spider, and then fate hit again," Raeis
said and stared for a while completely motionless into the darkness before
he continued. His voice sounded distant and forlorn, almost like an echo
of the past reverberating in the present.
"You know, we often talked about her work," he whispered, "and she once
said to me: 'The ugliest creature, the fiercest monster only appears ugly
or horrible to us, father. A common spider does no harm whatsoever to
humans, yet people run away shrieking when they see one, because it has
eight legs and scuttles in a way that it makes one's hair stand on end.
But you only need to look at their webs: Spiders create the most amazing
things, a trap for other insects, but a work of art no human could ever
produce...' Ah, she was so sincere when she said that..."
Sage Raies wiped away a tear. "'Every such creature has purpose and
meaning in itself,' she used to say. 'Only we don't always understand
their actions. But we should strive to, because living beings all have a
soul.' – Ah, it is as if she said those words just yesterday. I can still
hear them ringing in my ears..."
His friend's memories touched Lord Myraec profoundly. He had known Vanya
all her life and still remembered the last moments he had spoken to her
about the endeavour she was about to undertake. "Raeis, let's not reawaken
your grief. You must have felt very bitter when she died, and about the
way she died as well... She spoke lovely words, and I appreciate her
thoughts, but it was her wrong conviction, her naivity that caused her
"Naivity perhaps," Raeis conceded, "wrong conviction, no," he countered
adamantly, shaking his head with fervour.
"What do you mean? She was warned beforehand that the place might hold
more than just the odd insect? I remember that clearly, because I was with
you then over there in the 'Limping Quagga' inn in Linfill when she
prepared to set out on that doomed last journey. Travellers who tried to
spend the night there warned her that the place was haunted and evil!"
Lord Myraec shook his head. "Raeis, it was naive to go given such advice,
and she did it nevertheless, unflinching, even against your very own
doubts! And it was her fatally wrong conviction that whatever was out there
would do her no harm if she only approached it the right way. It was her
conviction that killed her, her conviction that she was immortal due to a
mere intuition, a feeling, not actual knowledge. It's like walking into a
dragon's lair with the confidence that you might stand a chance talking
the beast out of exterminating you. – For all the wrong reasons! Even if
you think there must be more to the creature than its lust to destroy you
for destruction's sake, it won't save you, and neither did it save Vanya.
Raeis, we've been through all this before!"
Sage Raeis let his head droop. "She didn't know what horror she'd
encounter there. But this doesn't mean that her ideas were all wrong," he
said defiantly, "only that her juvenility made her jump to conclusions –
rash, bad conclusions for which she paid with her life." Raeis looked sad
but stern into his visitor's eyes. "She just wasn't prepared for this...
She was still so young..."
"I'm sorry that I have brought this up at all," Lord Myraec added. "But
the mystran didn't care about fancy ideas of researchers. Let's face it: A
creature like this is malevolent, pure evil, this has been proven again
and again. Its sole intention is to kill for killing's sake, and nothing
but. Whenever it has the opportunity, it will do so, without mercy. It is
one of the most horrendous netherworldly demons that devours its prey
inside out – first the soul, then the body. One should never venture in
its vicinity! Never! Even to this day no one knows how to actually kill it.
Wherever it lurks, the place is doomed."
"You don't know anything about the mystran," Raeis retorted. "It's a
spirit unlike any other. However, you treat it like a spider that one
finds abhorrent for being itself, for being what the Gods created it to
be, and all you are thinking about is how to eliminate it."
"It possesses, it feasts on souls, it kills!"
"We make it to!"
"What are you trying to say? That the mystran killed Vanya because it's in
his nature to fend for his territory? That you therefore have decided to
forgive this abominable creature?"
Myraec shook his head once more, then almost out of desperation remarked:
"It is useless discussing about it. Why are we having this discussion
anyway given the sad news about your illness?"
"The mystran didn't lure her into its home, it didn't hunt for humans.
This is not what a mystran is about," Raeis said stubbornly. "A mystran is
a creature of the darkness that lurks in the shadows for ages and ages if
need be. It has no shape, it is a pure spirit, a consciousness if you so
want, a phantom. When it kills it acts like a living veil that dazes the
senses, and it defends itself by possessing intruders that come too close
to it. Vanya's curiosity made her a victim, while others who spent the
night there a few days before her sensed its presence, but remained
Raeis sighed. "No, Myraec, it was I who failed, it was I who served him
his prey to feast on. Believe me, no day has passed by since Vanya's death
that I haven't regretted that I didn't try to prevent her from undertaking
this expedition. – But her life musn't have been in vain. She must have
died for a reason."
"What reason is that, Raeis? What could it be? You still fail to accept
the truth. You're chasing shadows so many years after it happened!"
Raeis voice was strained, but it grew louder as it tried to make a point:
"Yet you talk yourself about the Gods, Myraec, about the challenges they
confront us with, and how we should overcome them."
"I do, and I'm sticking to it."
"And I accept to build on what the Gods have handed to me, as
incomprehensible as their gifts may seem with two deaths that weigh
heavily on my life. But I must face that challenge, heed the gifts, pay
"You're talking in circles." Lord Myraec vehemently shook his head. "I
tried, but I fear I cannot follow you, Raeis, I'm sorry. You speak so
fervently of the past, of Bredda and Vanya, and their memories clearly
live on in you. You remember how both of them died right before your eyes,
how helpless, how desperate you were that you couldn't save their lives.
And yet whatever happened you insist that it was all part of the Gods'
will to guide you, that you accept it only as such. But towards what did
the Gods guide you if you now give up on the challenge to save your life
when you say you are dying? Raeis, come to your senses!"
"My mind has never been as clear as today, Myraec," Raeis replied. "You
only need to listen."
"I hear you, my friend. But with all due respect, you're not succeeding in
convincing me." Lord Myraec decided to pour himself another glass of wine,
this time not out of enjoyment, but frustration.
"I haven't finished yet," Sage Raeis said without batting an eye. "Now –
see my desk over there?" He pointed towards a spot in the other corner of
Lord Myraec turned around and found that he had difficulties seeing in the
dark. The light of the fireplace hardly reached further than the two
chairs they were sitting on, especially now that the evening sun had set
and the only window the room had to offer had turned into a black slab. He
waited until his eyes adjusted to the darkness, then rose to his feet.
"There are some papers on top of the desk. You should have a look at
"As you wish..."
Myraec returned with a large bulky folder, in size almost as thick as two
or three weighty tomes. At the request of his friend he opened the strings
that held it all together, spread some sheets on the coffee table nearby
and began to study the first pages.
"Why, they are texts on demons, spirits, spectres. Investigations in cases
of possessions, accounts of sightings, comparisons, theories, essays, that
sort of thing. Hmm... Many of these sheets bear your handwriting. Looks
like serious research papers, but it's not your regular field.
Interesting... – is this indeed your own work, Raeis?"
"Yes, it is," Sage Raeis answered. "The papers deal specifically with the
creature you labeled 'malevolent and pure evil', because that's what you
were told. The phenomenon commonly known as... the 'mystran'." Lord Myraec
looked up from one of the papers he held in hand and raised an eyebrow.
"I've spent several years accumulating these resources, making notes,
considering ideas, possibilities, suggesting assumptions, drawing
definitive conclusions. I've learned a lot, more than you could ever
imagine without seeing it for yourself. My work is now almost done."
"So... You've delved further into the matter, Raeis, I see. Well, this
explains at least your unique views, which I haven't heard expressed
anywhere else..." Myraec nodded in appreciation as he flipped through the
vast amount of material in front of him. "I guess it was all done in order
to support Vanya's notion that we should try to understand creatures for
what they are before judging them from a human point of view. – Is that
what you've been trying to achieve with this work? Any substantial success
beyond your hypotheses?"
"I owed it to Vanya, and I needed to pay tribute to her. I've worked on
this over a dozen years. And yes, there are successes."
"Well, I've only got glimpses of your opinion on the subject as of yet,
but I trust there's more to be found herein to support what you've been
trying to convey in our discussion. The New-Santhalan Library will be very
proud to integrate your work, and so would Vanya – if she could only see
what her father has been up to in order to honour her memory..." Lord
Myraec raised his glass and at the same time bowed to his friend.
"There's one more thing," Raeis brought up with sudden trepidation clearly
audible in his voice. "It concerns my death."
Lord Myraec instantly put his glass back on the table. The moment of
celebration had passed as unexpectedly as it had arrived.
"And it is about why it was so important to me that you have come."
"Go on then, I'm listening..."
"When Vanya died," Raeis explained, "her remnants were found at the
doorstep of an abandoned building where she was looking for insects to
study. Instead she met her fate there as we all know. It was only her
mortal shell that was discovered days later, and one could barely
recognize her." The sage pointed towards the door. "That happened just a
few peds away from here. On that doorstep – of this very manor."
"What...?" Myraec gasped. Whatever thoughts shot through his head and
wanted to get out, the words remained stuck in his throat.
"I bought the house about a year ago. It's the same old manor, nothing has
been changed since, and nothing has been changed since Vanya's death
either. That's why it still looks like an old crumbling ruin, at least
from the outside."
"You couldn't possibly have..."
"I have, Myraec," Raeis said cooly in the hoarse voice of his. "I have."
The constantly shifting light thrown at him from the flames at the
fireplace made his face appear more and more ominous and forbidding. "It
was the right thing to do."
A sudden loud crackling of the burning wood almost made Myraec jump. He
anxiously changed position in his seat. "What..." His voice trailed away
and he had to begin again. "What... about the mystran?" he finally managed
to produce with a trembling that had gripped him. "How did you get rid of
it?" he then almost shouted.
"I've studied this spectre, this demon, this spirit if you so want for
years, Myraec," the sage tried to assure him with a calm that came across
more as a disquieting threat. "Whatever you might call it, there was no
point in getting rid of it."
Myraec couldn't believe his ears. "You mean... The mystran is still...
existing?" The surrounding darkness now seemed to close in on him. Then he
uttered the word that made his blood chill even more now that he spoke it
out aloud: "Here?"
"Myraec, for whatever Bredda's and Vanya's death are worth: They both led
me to where I am at this moment, and I have to fulfill my part. Bredda
died for Vanya and Vanya died for a conviction she couldn't prove to
anyone. It is my turn now to do just that and bring her ideas to fruition.
It was bound to happen," the sage said thoughtfully. "True knowledge -
knowledge that goes beyond what we can put together by collecting and
comparing the accounts and ideas of others - such true knowledge needs to
be experienced. It only comes through sacrifice, Myraec, as those in doubt
need proof, the proof they can build on, the proof that only one of their
own can deliver to the others who doubt."
"What in the Twelves' names are you talking about, Raeis?" Myraec snorted
nervously and jumped up. His legs were suddenly shaking with terror and he
had to grab the arm rest of his chair in order not to lose control of his
legs. Beads of sweat formed almost instantly on his forehead as a dark and
foreboding notion entered his mind.
Sage Raeis however remained seated. Despite his friend's agitation he
didn't move at all. "It's been with us all along," he said calmly, "and
I've recorded the mystran's behaviour for many months now to be sure that
you are safe from it. Do not fear what it is, Myraec, it was I who has
been touched by it, it is I who will have to give his soul – as that's
what I promised." He paused for a moment, then added as he saw Myraec's
disquieting expression intensifying: "Have trust in me, stay where you
are. Do not threaten and challenge what you don't know..."
Lord Myraec felt dread and disdain, accompanied by a dizzying sensation
that completely overwhelmed him. He staggered back as apprehension finally
dawned on him. His eyes darted here and there, expecting any moment that
the lurking spectre might emerge from the darkness, devour him from the
inside out and scatter his bones and innards like toys around its shadowy
But for now nothing happened.
"The mystran is a beautiful creature," sage Raeis continued unshaken by
his friend's reaction. "Something unlike anything else we've ever known, a
creature that can connect with your inner self, your being, that, what
constitutes a person's essence, the soul – if you only want to let it
happen, allow it to.
I've gone through long preparations before I finally decided to take that
last step, but it was all worth it: Merging your being with a mystran
takes yourself to places you could never experience in corporeal form. I
know, because there were several occasions in the past months when I
allowed the mystran to enter my mind, and I entered its – in mutual
understanding." Raeis voice sounded firm, presenting his cause with
enthusiasm and determination.
"Yet I've retreated from the creature again, as was my wish, and you find
me unscathed by its touch. While you are convinced that the mystran is
intent on killing, I can assure you this is not the case. Curiosity is its
form of existing, it senses and draws on feelings to relive them again and
again, as it has none of its own. Believe me or not, but I've felt
something of Vanya in and around me in the brief instances when our
consciousnesses overlapped, and it felt like heavenly bliss descending on
The smile that had formed on Raeis's face momentarily changed to a frown
when he added: "Of course, there is no doubt that the mystran feasts on
strong feelings like fear, but it extinguishes only if its presence is
rejected. If you are open for it, you are safe."
Myraec was still on his feet, mouth agape. The scholar's accounts seemed
so fantastic, and yet so shockingly real and close when his friend talked
about his experiences, that the only way to handle this discrepancy in
perception was to just stand there and stare in disbelief.
After a long silence, Raeis spoke again. "It's all in these notes,
Myraec," he said and pointed to the folder that contained his researches.
"Take them with you when you leave, show them to the staff of the
New-Santhalan Library, so that the world will finally begin to reevaluate
creatures they've failed to understand so thoroughly. May they look again
"Raeis..." Lord Myraec began pleadingly, but he knew that it was already
too late, too late to change a mind that had just arrived at the point it
had set out to reach years ago.
His friend just went on: "As for me: I will now conclude my experiments
and abandon the body you associated with Raeis Canthwin, and head off to
whatever awaits me there on the other side of what we know as the mystery
that is the 'mystran'. I want you to be my witness when it happens as I've
always admired and trusted you, Myraec. Let it be known that I went by my
own volition – for Bredda, and for Vanya, and in order to give my life as
a researcher its purpose and meaning." He nodded for a last time, then
closed his eyes, not expecting an answer anymore. "Farwell, Myraec, take
Myraec knew there was no possibility to escape the horrific position his
friend had tricked him into. Even though every fibre of his body resented
what was going to happen, he followed the given advice and tried to keep
his emotions in check.
He stayed where he was, transfixed. Having no choice he simply whispered
"Goodbye!" to Raeis and waited for whatever would follow.
It lasted only a few moments until he sensed a shift in the darkness
around him. It was not that something could be made out clearly, something
one could pinpoint, something that one could observe as moving from here
to there, nothing like that. Rather the light of the flames in the
fireplace and around Raeis' wing chair were briefly suppressed by an
intensifying, almost palpable darkness. Instances later the spook
retreated again, as if the blackness had been breathing for a blink, then
everything returned to the way it had been before. The wood in the
fireplace kept on crackling unperturbed, but something had changed.
Lord Myraec gazed at his friend. Raeis' eyes were tightly closed and he
had put his hands in his lap in wait for the creature – the ghost, the
spectre, the spirit, whatever it was – to enter his being and merge with
his self. Myraec stared intensely at his friend, and the longer he did so
and the longer he couldn't notice anything different he more and more
began to doubt the words he had just heard him speak. Maybe it was just an
illusion after all he had seen when there was an unexplainable shift in
the darkness around him, a whim of his all too vivid imagination. Maybe
Raeis was delusional and his sick mind had made him draw conclusions where
there wasn't anything to find. Maybe someone had even sold him this old
manor which might not even be the actual place where Vanya died, simply
because he knew that the old stubborn fellow could be fooled and one could
get some profit out of that fact. Maybe...
Lord Myraec had almost convinced himself that he had been right all along.
Self-assured, he finally stepped forward.
"Raeis?" he asked tentatively. He was about to lay his hand on his
friend's shoulder in order to awaken him from years and years of
self-deception, a nightmare he must have been following for so long.
But as he approached he saw something unusual. There was a sparkle in the
old man's face. At first he thought it to be a tear, but as he got closer
Myraec suddenly had difficulties recognizing the features of the man...
Then he froze.
He was struck by realization. What he had seen was not a tear on the
trusted face, but a button on the backrest of the wing chair, right there
where he had looked Raeis into the eye only a few moments ago... What
Myraec almost forgot to breathe as he tried to make sense of what he was
looking at. There was no doubt: Raeis was still there, he could positively
discern the outlines of his face, and yet only barely. However, through
the face's skin the skull was clearly shining through, and now even the
bone he was looking at retreated more and into nothingness, as if taken
over by an invisible entity. The sage's existence as he had known it was
being swallowed up completely right in front of his eyes: As the features
of his friend disappearing entirely only the backrest of the wing chair
Myraec tumbled back in shock as an agonizing moaning noise suddenly
emerged from the scene he had been watching. Then the already scarcely
recognizable shape of his friend turned into a blur, and the next moment
the blury figure became the blackest of shadows he had ever seen. Suddenly
what once was Raeis seemed to rise from his chair and as the shadowy thing
did so it emitted an ear-splitting shriek, before whatever was left of
Raeis slumped violently to the floor. A lifeless corpse remained, barely
resembling a human, wrapped in torn clothes.
The black shape in form of a human however had been absorbed entirely by
the darkness of the room, leaving Lord Myraec alone with himself and a
bulky folder full of notes. A folder about a misunderstood creature as
some claim, otherwise known as: the 'mystran'.