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Monday, August 11, 2014

The Necromancer's Blade - Part 4 - The Nether

"The Nether?" Arolan asked.

"It's believed to be a place between worlds" started Narimm.  "A place of unholy creatures and horrors that make the Hell Planes seem tame."

"Oh please," Kellinar said, throwing his hands up. "Are we back to fairy tales now?  The Nether is a myth, told by mothers to bad children to get them to do their chores and stay in bed at night.  This is ridiculous."  He stalked a short way away while the others watched him go.

"It's not a myth," Larthios said coldly, his hand moving to the hilt of his broadsword.  Responding to his emotion, the sword hummed lowly and glowed faintly.

"You want a go with me, Tin Grin?" Kellinar goaded, twirling a dagger in his left hand.  "We could put that shiny suit of yours to the test--see how it does against a real opponent and not some thugs living in caves."

Kellinar slowly walked back up the tunnel towards Larthios, one hand on the dagger, the other toying with the invisibility rune adorning the ring on his right hand.

Larthios growled lowly, slamming the sword back down into his hilt.  At once, the humming stopped and he stalked back to the cave entrance and sat, looking out over the vast expanse of nothingness known as the Nether.

"Maybe next time then," Kellinar called after him.  He laughed and slid the dagger smoothly back into its sheath.  "Where were we? Oh yes, fairy tales.  Do continue!"

"Why must you taunt him like that?"  Narimm asked. 

"Who, Larthios? He's a Knight of Orinn.  He's oath bound to honor, integrity, and other pious nonsensery.  As a rogue most of those concepts are quite foreign to me, as you no doubt have gathered.  Truth be told, I'm curious." Kellinar shrugged.  "That, and it's just fun."

Aarming let out a sigh.  "The Nether is not a myth."

They had all moved back to the cave entrance and stared out into it, a vast, swirling, mist-like material.  Arolan and Kellinar squinted, staring hard and trying to make out any details possible.  Occasionally regions of the mist condensed into what appeared to be shadows, but they just as quickly dissipated.  When Aarming began speaking again, they gave up and turned to him to listen.

"Long ago, when the gods warred amongst themselves, they divided the universe into today's known realms.  We know them as the three Physical Realms--one of which is ours, six God Realms, and the Nine Hells.  The gods erected massive metaphysical boundaries to wall off each of the new realms, both as sort of territorial markers and as protective bastions against the others. 

"In the process, dark pieces of that once whole universe seeped through the forming boundaries and expanded to fill this new space between the realms.  This is what we refer to now as the Nether.  No one knows how long it has existed, whether it has always been, or if it came to be after the separation.  All we know is that it is vast, seemingly endless, and that it is filled with unseen horrors."

"If it's so bad, then why does Larthios sit freely at the edge of it?" Arolan asked.  "Doesn't he fear what lies beyond?"

"A Knight of Orinn does not know fear, and Larthios has more reason than any when it comes to the Nether."

"Oh really?" laughed Kellinar, "And why might that be?  Does it fear shiny armor and singing swords?"

"Because the Nether took his son."

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