Andersworth, Adviser-Knight for the Brotherhood of the Armored Bear
Andersworth opened his eyes, closed them again. There was no difference. He stood, or thought he did, looking down at himself he saw that his legs made the motion, but nothing changed. He was floating, it seemed. It was odd, he thought, to be floating, since for as long as he could remember, he had always been on the ground.
"Or am I on the ground now?" he thought, amused by his pondering. It certainly could be that he was not able to move because he was on the ground, potentially dead, but his mind was wandering in it's last moments. But...no that didn't FEEL right. Sighing, Anders tried to turn around. At that moment he realized he had no idea if it worked or not, he wasn't sure if it felt like he turned around and everything around him was the same.
He looked down, seeing the marble courtyard where... He had trouble remembering what had happened. He...recalled seeing the Ambearsador... "Oh yeah" Soupcup had been standing near the platform where Volibear had pulled Anders up to stand beside him. Briefly, he wondered what he was doing here, briefly because at that moment, gravity decided to kick in.
And he fell, speeding towards the ground as if a bolt released from the tautest crossbow. Any moment, he should wake up, he thought, so he did not fear the ground.
...It took him a few moments to stop his head from spinning, trying to stand up. Looking around him, he noted that the marble ground had not been marred, scarred, mangled, or any other word meaning distorted, destructed, or otherwise defaced.
Standing up, dazed, Anders attempted to make out which direction the platform was in. Looking ahead, behind, to the left or right, he wasn't particularly sure, he saw the opening through which he traveled to stand beside Volibear. Curiously, he had the urge to run, so he took off. He just kept running, partly being blinded by the light shining off the brilliant white marble. Stumbling through the opening, he almost leaned against the wall, but he remembered the feeling he got. That he would be sucked in and fall, forever and ever into eternity.
Catching his breath, which seemed to come laboriously despite years of keeping his body in shape. Standing up, having been bent over with exhaustion, Anders looked into the crowd in front of him, seeing the blur of robed men and women. One stood larger than the rest, in armour instead of cloth. "Soupcup.." he thought, smiling at his friend. The Ambearsador turned, a smile upon his face and joy in his eyes, and then he saw Anders.
The smile shifted, distorting the joyous visage into a disturbed one. The crowd, Anders just noticed, had been talking, a slight murmur upon the wind. They were silent now, turning to see the newcomer. Soupcup's smile remained on his face, a smile upon the faces..no...all their faces were naught but a smile, their eyes blurred, all other features distorted. All that remained was the smile, the grin, the dissecting feature composed of flesh that adorned human faces. They all faced him, as if to await an action and mock him if he failed. Beginning to ask a question, he realized his mouth and throat were dry, making it hard to speak. After forcing his body to produce saliva, he tried to ask again.
His mouth refused to move, or it would move but it would be pulled back shut. The sounds he made were sharp, pitiful sounds. As it got harder to open, he realized, suddenly, that he no longer had a mouth. The fur and skin had fused as one, refusing any crevice or fissure in the skin. His hands shot up to his face, trying to find any hole with which to pull his mouth open. Suddenly, he realized his hands were less fingers and more..mittens, slabs of flesh that slap against flesh, trying to force what used to be his fingers apart.
Every time he blinked, strands of flesh threatened to stick his eyelids together. The crowd in front of him stood there, smiling with their entire face. Soupcup being the one with the largest smile of all, it appearing to stretch off the physical limitations of the fleshy mound resting upon his shoulders. The Ambearsador began striding towards him, the smile somehow growing larger and larger, stretching farther and farther, with each step. The world began to turn black as Soupcup got closer, allowing only enough light to make the two of them visible.
The smile widened even more, raising it's lips to show teeth, sharp..jagged teeth. Teeth unlike any Anders had seen before, sharp enough to seemingly cut light, allowing the owner of the teeth to force light to do it's bidding, lest light be eaten. Soupcup smiled that dreaded smile, and began to transform. The darkness around him seemed to give him the fur he needs, his limbs growing, muscles stretching, body distorting. The tips of each strand seemed to glow with an unnatural light, like it was the reason why the world was black. Soupcup roared, distorting the air, rippling the sound across space itself.
Andersworth went limp, a strange force having taken over his body. He felt...intimidated, he felt.....worthless. He was aware of a presence behind him, but he was unable to move his head away from the figure in front of him. The presence behind him whispered, a quiet voice, echoing through his mind as though it was being repeated by thousands of people.
You see his might, frightened by the possibilities. Fearing his roar, awaiting his fury.
It could be different, it could be reversed, but he remains tall throughout it all.
Yet you remain threatened by all, but there is a way to change these circumstances.
For I can lend you my strength, making you stronger than all before, or after, you.
Anders felt the truth behind the words, that despite all his training, despite all his power, he would be forgotten to the ages, being ignored by historians, by his comrades. That Soupcup, despite having all his power and might given to him, through chance at birth. Not having to work a single day to gain anything, just having natural prowess at fighting, at being a uncultured barbarian. Anders had to fight for every scrap of power he has, had to spend countless hours working on transcribing, practicing, reading, meditating, doing everything for one goal.
The Ambearsador looked down on him, smiled wide, and laughed. A deep, rumbling laugh, that carried the weight of every muscle in his body, of every kill on his shoulders, of each drop of blood on his claws. It was him mocking Anders, for trying to overcome the precedent of the Shifter being lord over the history books. The strongest mage being naught but a foot note beside the 'chosen' as they were called.
The chosen are naught but the lazy, the spoiled.
You know true power, power that has been worked and strived for.
Power that is the result of hundreds upon thousands of hours spent on the path for power.
Anders knew, now, that the voice was his only chance to prove that his power was true power. That Soupcup, and the other 'gifted' individuals are naught but fakes. Shadows of their potential, content to sit on their gifts, growing lazy. In order for Anders to show them, he must gain their powers and show they are nothing but pebbles on the path he walks.
Accept the power...
And he did, standing up despite the great force pushing him down. His fur fell off, leaving behind a tall human body, whose lanky frame hinted of a strength unlike the world has seen since the dawn of time. The Ambearsador in front of him saw this, and showed fear, his smile fading, the teeth being hidden by the darkness that made up his fur. He roared, that same roar that pushed Anders out of existence last time. This instance, however, was much different. Saying a couple words of power, learned from The Great Library, Anders returned his own shout, an unrelenting force that shattered the veil of darkness surrounding Soupcup. That forced the once great man to be forced through his gift, his shifting, constantly, losing size and power each time. His adviser-knight was literally shouting him to death, using his only claim to strength against him.
As Soupcup laid in front of him, all life snuffed out of the once 'great' man, Andersworth looked at the crowd of summoners, all laid dead, their flesh torn apart and large sections missing. He looked down at The Ambearsador, his features blown wide by the force of his shout.
A bitter message, through his head
Rang out the voice, the presence that gave him the power to do as much. Turning around, Anders tried to make out who it was that was speaking. But all he could see was marble, the opening slammed shut and formed up as part of the wall.
The head holds the brain, the brain holds the mind.
Equal exchange, for all things that change.
When power calls, the mind is that which answers.
Suddenly, the brilliantly white marble turned a much darker shade. A red that called for blood, for sacrifice. Tendrils shot out of the wall, grasping his limbs, wrapping around his body and mind. The wall pulled him in, and all he saw was black.
He closed his eyes, then opened them again. There was no difference.
Then he slammed into the ground.
Andersworth jerked awake, practically flying out of the makeshift bed, immediately into a coughing fit that lasted for several minutes. The entire time, his body shook violently with each cough, as if his very survival relied on him making it through. For the first time, he saw blood from his cough, a speckled distortion of his paw, barely being any different in shade than his fur, noticeable only because of the difference in colour. When the fit had finally subsided, Anders struggled to stand, finding himself weaker than he had been even the day before.
"Why was this place of such power draining me so?"
he wondered, sitting down at the table, as he's done every day since coming to this magnificent place. Resting his head upon his paw, he closed his eyes, briefly, to try to think. Having a falling dream was relatively common, yes, but something about the location that he landed- that is, in the middle of the marble courtyard -has to say something about the significance of having this dream, at this time. He tried to recall the details of what had happened.
"The darkness that turns to light, floating high above the courtyard where-"
Scraping his chair back, a screeching noise piercing the deafening quiet Library, Anders stood, getting the urge to walk suddenly. And so he did, walking for several hours, seconds, minutes. Walking so long that time seemed to flow strangely, putting him away from his table, then back to it, appearing halfway apart.
After what seemed like ions.. "Eons?"
..he found himself in front of a strange door. A door unlike any he had seen before and yet like one he walked through every day. He examined the door, felt it, smelt it, licked it, stared upon its face for a millenia, trying to find some way to open it. When he finally decided to go check some archives about it, he heard a sound. Stone across stone, a low rumble as the door began sliding open. Staring through the widening crack, Anders hoped to see what laid beyond, but there was nothing but darkness.
A black so absolute that it threatened to envelop one entirely, be it their mind, body, or soul. The light grew dimmer each moment, as the door slowly slid open. It was almost fully open when a large eye appeared in it's depths, vertical rather than horizontal on most beings, singular and standing by itself. The pupil twirled madly, as if trying to find something that floated in it's vision, refusing to be focused upon. Suddenly, the pupil fixed itself upon Anders, staring deep within his mind. After what seemed like ages, the door slid completely open, a sound was heard, signalling as much.
Anders jerked upright, his head having slid from his paw unto the table. He must be more tired than he thought, if he could not keep his grip. After his vision cleared from the impact, and the resulting dizziness, he noted ahead of him a passageway, completely open and letting in an insane amount of light. Blinking so his eyes could become adjusted, he stood, walking to investigate the new feature in the Library. Around his feet, rats swarmed, all a black so pure that it swallowed the light, no features visible but their eyes. Wide, mad eyes, that constantly moved, searching for something.
Stepping through the passage, he was blinded, again, as an even more intense light shined. He kept walking forward, as he tried to regain vision. Slowly, with each blink, his vision began to come back to him, fuzzy at first, but then cleared. He found himself on the outskirts of a village, devoid of any signs of life. Everywhere one looked, there were dark shapes, but Anders saw these none. What he saw was what was in the center of the town.
A statue of Soupcup, towering high above the houses, holding his arms up. On one side, he was a bear, on the other, a human. In his hands, he held a tablet which told of how The Creation was possible-
"Thanks to the all mighty and powerful Ambearsador Soupcup" Anders growled, realizing what had happened. The sky darkened, turning a dark red, the colour of blood, the sound of footsteps appeared, coming up from behind him. He turned, coming to face a crowd of people, all of which faces where covered. He heard among the crowd whispered voices, out of sync with one another yet clearly heard, almost singing, like a lullaby..
Orange and Lemons,
You owe me five farthings.
When will you pay me?
When I grow rich!
When is that?
I do not know.
A candle flame appeared in the crowd- Here comes a candle to light you to bed
Anders grew aware of a swishing sounds, the sound a blade makes as it twirled through the are, constant, growing louder.
Here comes a chopper, to chop off your head!
An executioners axehead came flying out of the dark, barely missing Ander, visibly distorting the air in front of him. The crowd charged at him, everything completely silent, except for the distant ringing of church bells. Even his thoughts fell quiet, as if a single sound would shatter reality. He heard not screaming, grunting, gasping for breath, but he saw death, beheadings, and dismemberments. He raked his claws out, slicing a man's, or woman's, face completely open. He ran, being turned around town by more people coming to get from any direction. He kept defending himself, getting cuts and gashes, but returning with death and destruction.
A couple of the strange humans began firing arrows. He was caught unaware during their first volley, being shot in the shoulder, the back, one arrow even catching his knee and bringing him slamming down atop of it. Anders ground his teeth, forcing himself upright. He was the strongest bear-magi who ever lived, why was he allowing these puny humans, who worshiped a shifter so, force him to fight physically.
He clenched his jaw, drawing the energy he had stored within himself since the day he found the first book in the library at the keep. That he learned to control over the course of several years. The energy that had been expanded during the past week. Looking forward, he realized he was at the point of the town where he had entered, which means the doorway was behind him. Which means he could escape...
Anders reached deep within him, forcing his mind to delve into his primal roots, harnessing the power of a bear's roar. A roar that chilled the blood of even the fiercest hunters, that sent the bravest warriors running in terror.
And then he forced the energy out, with that roar. At first, all remained silent, even the bells fell quiet, but then the silence broke. Houses came crashing down, people fell away from him, the magick in his roar forcing their souls to be trapped within their bodies, never allowing them to be free from the grips of life, despite the body being dead. Silence fell again, as Anders was struck once again by a coughing fit. Halfway through the fit, he lost consciousness, his body fighting to stay alive.
From the dark passageway behind him, tendrils leaked out, grasping his ankles, his arms, his entire body. Slowly, they pulled him back into The Library, for he was not yet strong enough to be let loose. Or, perhaps, the problem was that he was too strong. His mind fought to remain whole, causing his body to fight the new power rushing inside him. But it was only a matter of time, before he would be completely mad.
Throughout the village, rats swarmed, biting through flesh and bone, the souls hosting the bodies were desperate to scream in pain, but their mouths refused to work, the flesh having fused shut, the only thing that worked was their eyes.
Their wide, painful eyes, trying desperately to focus on something that was in their vision, but refused to be seen. They tried, first, to see what the bear had seen, when he was staring up into the air, but there was nothing. They tried to see what had caused him to growl Thanks to the all mighty and powerful Ambearsador Soupcup
, but there was nothing. They tried to see what had caused the bear to attack them all, the attack that resulted in their destruction, but there was nothing.
Finally, they simply tried to see, but there was nothing.
They closed their eyes, and opened them. There was no difference, a darkness that was such a fact, that there was nothing that exist within it.
Except, of course, for the pain.