The Call of the Void
Hello all! I've had this idea for a while now, and I thought I would share it with you. I've always enjoyed Kassadin's and Malzahar's back story. I was inspired to write this, which gives a little more detail into their origins. So, thanks for reading, please comment, enjoy! (Questions, comments, critiscisms and reviews would be greatly appreciated)
Part 1: The Beginning
In the blazing heat of the Shurima sun, Malzahar closed his eyes and opened his mind to the sights within. As they had of late, his visions seemed less coherent. They were less focused, more abstract and distant. Though he knew this second sight was a gift, he couldn’t discern what they had to do with him.
“Mal!” someone shouted, breaking his concentration and ending the vision. Malzahar shook his head as though to clear the murky, insubstantial apparition from his mind. Opening his eyes to the physical world, he turned to the newcomer. Cassandra waited, her hands on her hips, an impatient frown on her face. “Stop day dreaming and get to the village.”
Malzahar resisted the urge to roll his eyes. It wasn’t like her attitude was something new. Cassandra had teased and taunted him since they were both children. Some part of him, the naïve part, had thought she would have stopped when he’d become a seer. The rest of their village had instantly sought him at every turn, listening to him as though he were a sage.
“You know, in some places, people treat their seers with respect and dignity.” Malzahar waited to see how she would react to his statement. Instead of apologizing, or kneeling and offering fealty, Cassandra rolled her eyes and threw up her hands.
“Whatever, oh great seer,” his childhood friend replied snappishly. Her fresh impertinence caused Malzahar’s eye to twitch in agitation. Ignorant or uncaring of how obnoxious she was being, Cassandra turned heel and headed back toward the village. “I just know the new well isn’t going to find itself.”
Update: I've decided to bail on telling both Malzahar and Kassadin's stories side by side. For now It's just going to be Malzahar. And on that note:
Part 2: The Calling
Finding the well had proven more difficult than Malzahar had thought. While a ready source of water had been found, it was tainted. What had been wrong with the well water was unclear. In his mind, the seer had seen an inky blackness, like toxic sludge had leaked into the underground water supply. However, it was more than that.
Curious, he’d looked deeper at the sludge. The source of the taint had been his primary concern, but when he’d looked deeper he hadn’t found a pollutant. Instead, he’d found more, more of the darkness, more of the underground water system. At least that’s what it had looked like. It was as though he’d stumbled upon something so immense that it existed beneath all of Runeterra. But, that wasn’t possible, was it?
Yet, Malzahar couldn’t deny what his inner sight had shown him. He’d found a vast well, darker than the deepest cave, and all the more alien. Had something twisted his visions? Had the entire experience been nothing more than a figment of his imagination, a nightmare disguised as the truth? Part of him hoped that was the case. Yet another part of him desperately wanted it all to be true.
Initially, the visage had been terrifying. However, as he considered it further, Malzahar likened the experience to the first time he’d witnessed a thunderstorm. As a child, the desert storm had been terrifying. With time, though, he’d come to appreciate the beauty of such raw, savage power.
Taking a long gulp, the young seer tried to calm his mind, to make sense of what he’d glimpsed in the dark. The moonlit night was cool, and offered a biting chill to his fevered mind. When he had looked into that vast emptiness, he thought he’d seen something. At first it was only a vague notion of worry, the same he imagined wild animals felt when they were being hunted. As he’d watched, Malzahar could have sworn he’d seen something moving, something alive.
“Are okay, oh mighty seer?” For the second time in only a few hours, Cassandra had snuck up on him. Rather than aggravation, Malzahar felt gratitude. He was grateful to have someone familiar nearby. Rather than respond with words, the seer merely smiled at his childhood friend.
“You look a little pale for someone who spends their days staring at the sun.” Disturbingly, she put an arm around his shoulder. The sudden display of intimacy caught Malzahar off guard, and tied his stomach in knots. He tried to remain perfectly still, like a rabbit hiding from a hawk. Just as abruptly, Cassandra stood and moved away from him. “Take care of yourself, Mal. I know you’re the great seer, but you’re important for other things too.”
A/N: This story will be only five parts long, and I'll be posting them as I finish editing each one. Let me know what you think.
I know this hasn't been here long, but is anyone interested in this? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated. Thank you! :)
Part 3: The Journey
For what must have been the hundredth night in a row, sleep escaped Malzahar. While some part of his insomnia might have been caused by simple restlessness, it was more than that. Every time he closed his eyes, the darkness would return. The thick, heavy ink was suffocating and overwhelming, and at the same time alluring. Within the endless shifting emptiness, he could catch feint glimpses of beings beyond his imagination.
Moreover, they called to him. In voices that were alien, monstrous, and overpowering, they whispered to him. What was more, he was starting to like the idea of listening to them. While every foreign will was terrifying, they were also strangely beautiful. They were pure, immaterial… perfect.
Consigning himself to the waking world, Malzahar left his bed, feeling drawn toward the desert. The cold air helped to clear his mind, like a splash of water in his face. In place of the half remembered fever dreams, the seer felt the lure of the desert even more so. Without petty distractions, he could focus his mind and seek out the voices that called to him.
“Mal?” For a moment, the seer believed that the new voice had come from within his mind. However, when he turned and found Cassandra watching him at the edge of their village. For a moment, the sight of her illuminated by moonlight broke the overbearing control of the dark calling. It was only a moment though. “What’s wrong? What are you doing out here this late?”
The concern in her voice, genuine, human concern, caused a sliver of doubt to enter Malzahar’s thoughts. The two of them had always been friends, and recently, maybe something more. As Cassandra entered the desert, nearing the seer, the worry on her face was frightening, as though he had something to lose by leaving his village. Maybe that was the solution. Why not simply convince her to join him, to show her what he’d seen?
“It’s so beautiful, Cass. You have to see it,” Malzahar explained, crossing the distance between them. For a moment, Cassandra faltered, her worry seemingly replaced by confusion. Gently, the seer grasped his childhood friend by the shoulders and opened their minds to the dark, emptiness that called to him. He’d never tried anything like this before, letting another glimpse his vision, but he knew he had to share this with her.
So, he opened his mind, body and soul to the voices and alien shadows, and let them flow through him and into Cassandra. While his mind was enveloped with the sheer joy of letting the inky blackness fill him, his ears heard a horrified scream. By then, he’d lost all concern for her. All he could think of, all he could work toward, was fulfilling the wishes of the voices calling to him. He had to seek the dark emptiness, to find his way into the void.
I personally feel as if you could flesh the description of the story more, But this is a good concept, That I haven't seen before. Nice Job!
(I hope this post makes you finish your 5 parts atleast.)
This is very very good. I love your interpretation of Malzahar's visions. The vivid description when he's having a vision is really well written. However, Cassandra waking him up from his premonitions every time was a bit redundant.
On another note, I think it would have been even more awesome if you had portrayed the POVs of Malzahar and Kassadin side by side. I always loved that structure.
Do keep writing please. :)
Thanks for the feedback!
@Hybridkenal: I've worked at putting some more detail into this next post. I hope it shows!
@ShadowMantis: Admittedly, I've been using Cassandra as a device to anchor Malzahar to Valoran. Every time he started to get too close to the Void, she would call him back.
Regarding Kassadin's story: I wrote Malzahar's first, and then started on Kassadin's with the hope of splicing the two together. However, when I'd finished, it seemed like Mal's story was overshadowing Kass's. I intend to put Kass's here once I get it looking nice enough.
Thanks again for the feedback.
Part 4: The Void
Time had ceased to matter. Fears, doubts, the endless, crippling agony that had seized his weary and starved body were all irrelevant. After only a few days of crossing the desert, Malzahar had given up all his material concerns. His village and everyone in it, was little more than a distant memory with all the importance of a half remembered dream. Only the calling, the draw of the void had any relevance anymore.
The fear that his body would fail him became almost unbearable at times. What if he couldn’t make it? What if he was simply too weak to do what was required of him? However, if he had a choice in the matter, Malzahar was unaware of it. Even if he couldn’t cross the nearly endless desert, he would rather die trying than to surrender to doubt.
Only when his body had reached its physical limit, every cell crying out for water, every muscle aching with exhaustion, did his journey come to an end. With his physical self on the very precipice of death, the seer at last found what he’d been called to find. At first, he thought the towering obelisk must have been some kind of hallucination. However, when he lay his sun-baked hands on the cool stone, Malzahar knew he’d found his destiny.
This was what he’d been searching for, what he’d been drawn to. Even though his ragged and bloody feet screamed in protest with every staggering step, the seer forced himself onward. Beyond the towering monolith, the battered seer found an entire city, an effigy and monument to the voices that called to him.
Even as the last of his strength left him, the city opened his mind, its alien geometries tuning his shattered psyche to the void. Unlike the veiled glimpses the seer had witnessed in his visions, this was raw and unfiltered. The darkness, the sheer empty shadows of the other side cascaded into his mind like a flash flood. He wasn’t so much overwhelmed as drowned, consumed and ultimately usurped within his own mind.
All his petty, human desires were replaced by the divine will of the void. Its purity and beauty rewrote his whims and gave him a new purpose. What resided within the Void was waiting, patiently biding their time until they could share themselves with all of Runeterra. They had been waiting for Malzahar, who could now act as their messenger, their harbinger, their prophet.
Part 5: The Aftermath
Once, Malzahar had been weak. His frail body had needed sustenance, but after his trip to the lost city, he was sustained by the dark energy of the void. Weariness and fatigue were things of the past. While he had been called to find the voices, the seer was driven by a will beyond doubt. The heat of the Shurima days, the icy chill of the night, held all the importance of the casual passing creature. Even the scalding, withering torrent of sandstorms offered nothing in the way of obstacles.
He no longer needed his eyes to view the world around him, anymore than he needed a map to seek his destination. When he, at last, reached his home, a location that had blazed in his mind like a bonfire in the night, Malzahar knew what the next step would be, what it must be. At first, as he had suspected, his former friends and family were wary of the wanderer who suddenly appeared form the desert. However, their mistrust was replaced by relief at the return of their gifted seer.
“Mal?” As it always had, Cassandra’s voice cut through the din of the village to the forefront of his awareness. She ran to him, obviously more concerned than fearful. Without warning, she wrapped both arms around the former seer’s shoulders. Though the feeling of another person so near had become more alien than he remembered, Malzahar was grateful that he could still enjoy basic human intimacy. He returned the gesture, wrapping one arm around his friend.
“We thought you were dead. You just disappeared, and… and I had the most horrific waking dream of you being dragged away.” How much her uninitiated brain had remembered of his visions was uncertain, and some small part of the prophet’s mind could understand her concern, her worry. However, that part was not important anymore. Seemingly sensing his withdraw, Cassandra pulled away to look in his eyes. “Mal, is that you?”
“No, I’m so much more now,” he responded confidently, noticing the change in the pitch and tone in his voice. Whether it was the coldness in his words or his gentle push that forced his childhood friend to take a step backward, he neither knew nor cared. Instead, the prophet lifted himself into the air so that his village could see. “I have traveled far and seen beyond the veil of our world. What lies beyond is the endless perfection of the Void.”
As he spoke, Malzahar opened the minds of those around him. Unlike the crude experiment he’d tried the night he’d left, the prophet ensured that he slowly let the Void flow through him and into the villagers. Some cried in panic, while others clawed at the air as though to remove the specters from their vision. In time, he knew, they would come to see the beauty of the Void, all of Runeterra would.
Well, that's all for now. If you liked this, or want to see more stories similar, let me know. Reviews, criticisms, questions and comments are all welcome and appreciated. Thanks for reading!
I thought I would bump this...
Also: Does anyone like it? Or hate it? Anything?
Wow I must say I was enthralled by your story. I told myself to stop but I had to keep on reading and finish this. This was short yes and wish there to be more but you got so much across with it. I praise this and say look forward to future writings
1. I do value your opinion;
2. I do respect you for taking the time to reply;
3. I sincerely apologise for the hostility I gave you on my thread and the other thread.
If there's anything I can do to make this right, do not hesitate to call up on the story's thread.
PS: that was a good start in deleting your posts on the other thread, I'll delete mine as soon as Gragas does so too on his post.
Now, moving on to my perspective of this story, I like the way you portrayed the heat and visions in the first paragraph, and that caught my fish into the net. It's a very effective start, yes, and I do look forward for more.
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