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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.