Traveling through the vastness of all time and existence is an instantaneous act that stretches beyond the concept of infinity.
It’s touching every surface in every dimension of space while taking but a single step.
It’s existing at every moment in time in the passing of a single chronon.
It’s seeing the entirety of existence bloom, wither, and blossom again; understanding that every particle in the cosmic garden is you.
It’s all at once logical and the most contradictory experience in any universe.
And it’s fucking terrifying.
Thelios’s vision blurred as a sudden sharpness caused every neuron in his brain to simultaneously wretch in fire. Clutching his temple, he managed to howl aloud, “Dammit Jaycee! What in Gods’ names…”
You have no Gods. They have abandoned you.
Thelios froze. The burning coldness of fear raced through his veins causing his muscles to tense and his visage to become fraught with dread. Even his breath ceased as his chest clenched tightly to still his now rapidly beating heart.
For what God would have you? What they desire from you, already belongs to me.
As the pain began to subside acuity returned to the Tiefling, although for only the second time in his life, he prayed that it wouldn’t.
Did you think I would not sense your presence when you tried to travel through all of existence?
Fighting the great terror that preyed within him, Thelios slowly opened his unwilling eyes.
You cannot travel along a single thread without disrupting the whole fabric.
Panic began to overtake him. As Thelios looked out, all that lay before him was a darkness greater and deeper than any loss of vision could ever achieve. His pupils widened trying to capture even a mote of light as his eyes frantically darted to all corners of their sockets, searching for anything to attach focus. Tight against his skin, his linen undershirt grew heavy with a cold sweat. His horns pulsed and fingers twitched as they unconsciously tried to summon the familiar hilt of their reliable blade.
The Void rumbled with a heavy laughter.
Do you not remember who provides you with your weapon of judgement? You have no faculty here against me.
“Wha… wha…” Thelios finally managed to stutter, “what is it that you want?”
The Void bristled and spoke with much intent.
You have not been faithful to our arrangement.
“I am trying-”
The Void venomously hissed in return.
Our agreement was not for you to try! Deliver me what you promised!
Thelios shooked with great trepidation.
“I have delivered to you many-”
They have been weak and frail. You promised those spirited with strength and hard of will.
“I am tracking them. Finding those deserving of-”
The Void hissed again.
There is no deserving! All shall succumb to me as they pray in my fearful shadow!
Thelios winced at the sharpness of the vibrations around him. He meagerly muttered,“I will deliver. I promise.”
Yes, you will. And until you fulfill your obligation to me…
“What is it that you want?”
A smirking delight seemed to enter the encompassing resonance.
Those who also traveled with you through all of existence.
Thelios’s eyes widened. He quickly swiveled his head from side-to-side, looking for someone, something, to express his bewilderment.
“No. No, they aren’t who I promised you. They… they are my friends.”
You have no Gods and you have no friends. You have only your debt to me. Bring me what I ask or you shall know a suffering greater than any natural death could deliver.
Thelios was speechless. He tried to swallow but there was a heaviness in his throat. Desperately he started searching in his mind for solutions.
“I… I need them. I need them to deliver everything, everyone I’ve promised to you. Don’t you see?”
The Void was silent.
“But… perhaps… one…” he finally resolved with great reluctance. “If I deliver you one… will you let me live to fulfill our agreement?”
Another silent moment passed that felt like an eternity to Thelios.
Conflicted feelings of relief and guilt suddenly washed over Thelios.
But for your insolence, I have changed the terms of our agreement. I expect to receive my offerings from you in the passing of three nights.
“Yes… yes, I understand. Will… will you send me back now?”
I will return you when I desire! In mere seconds in this place, all of history can pass you by. Perhaps a thousand worlds will have grown from the ash of the planet you once knew. Or, after years here… it can be a matter of minutes where you’re from. For now, it pleases me to leave you in this shattered night.
After a quiet moment, the Void expressed a final warning.
Tiefling. Do not make me rescind my generosity to you.
Unsure of how to respond, Thelios carefully nodded his head and sank into the silent dark.