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The Tedium of Time


The days followed one another in swift fashion as Scar kept to himself, self-quarantining as it were lest there be another outbreak of wrath to confound him. His wound had all but healed over. The scar was nigh to vanishing - the blessing of the curse - the only one. He remembered Latifa's interest in his wounds and condition; she seemed very intrigued and he got the impression her fascination would not end with salves and bandages. He welcomed any aid, from anyone. This curse had to end. It must. If death was not its remedy, and if there was no cure, he had to find some means to adapt, to control the urge, the rage, that lit the consuming fire of his disease.

He lay still on his bed, his hands placed under the pillow on which his head lay. He closed his eyes and images came to mind unbidden but nevertheless most welcome...

"One day, my love, we shall be free, together, I swear it," he had told her.

The image wavered, to be replaced by another, his crying out to her as his body and soul were ripped into the nether world, one of many where the souls and entities roamed as tortured spirits, quarreling and fighting one another in eternal battle, bereft of final victory. He grappled with his father, the necromancer Scaramandine, after whom he was named, after which he cast off the name, only to answer as simply Scar. An appropriate title as his stigmata were many, slashed across his heart and soul by good and evil some not his own.

How long the two remain locked in combat not mortal, he could not tell. Time was of no counting there. Wounds were made and they healed. Pain brought cries but only momentary. Eventually the uselessness of combat became realized. The two faced off, glaring at one another, snarling with hate and loathing... and then they turned away, glancing back at the other, as they sought solace and, most of all, a means of escape from this grey prison of mist and shadow.

Scar opened his eyes suddenly. He lay on the bed but raised his head. This was how it was when he began again. It was if he woke from a nightmare. Yet he knew it was no nightmare, but reality. He had returned from the Abyss! The spell of Banishing had failed. Somehow he had come out of it, yet by nothing he did; his wanderings therein accomplished nothing. He lay his head back down.

If it was not he who had escaped, it was his father! But how? And why had he?

His thoughts led him to the nature of the spell he had cast to draw his father into a union of souls, so that together they would be banished. And he realized that when his father had found a means to escape, it brought him out also, and if that were true...

Their souls remained intertwined even until now.

He closed his eyes, inviting the purification of mind found only in sleep. But he could not. He knew he would have to meet his father again, and that his father would seek him out. He had something the Elder wanted. A piece of his soul, his life force, and he would surely want it back.


The Elder Scaramandine

The gods of fortune have smiled upon me at last! Not only have I escaped the dark recesses of the Abyss but now full restoration of my being is within my grasp.

Little did my son, Scar, know but I had prepared for such an eventuality as he inflicted upon me. I had allowed the charade to continue only because I wanted to leave him in the Abyss alone after pummeling him to my satisfaction. Once complete, I then waited for the time necessary to build my strength for the return to Sosaria. Becoming a lich was certainly worthwhile in that regard. My acolytes had already prepared a body and their collective summoning rites guided me back to where I am, and who I am, now. The only unforeseen drawback is that his physical body contains a sizeable portion of my distinct essence of being which I must get back from him. It is fortunate indeed that our life forces were blended, for without him having returned as I did, life here would have been nothing more than a daily quest for life-sustaining blood, which would only stave off the decline in my mental faculties and physical existence for a brief time. My vampirism would not have aided me for long. It is fascinating to live as both a lich and a vampire, but without the immortal essence of being there is no living for either in this material plane. That was a lesson I almost learned too late.

And now, I have her! Deminatza, brought from the other realm by coercion and power. Speaking to her last evening filled my heart with joy in the certainty of my soon-to-be deliverance. She is resting now, not a prisoner, but a guest in my castle. We shall speak again later, in depth. I will tell her of my need to meet my son, and the truth that, once I have what he stole, I will let them both go free, never to disturb them again.

Then, again, maybe I will lie. My vengeance and hate run deep.



The first diffused rays of dawn illuminated the quarters where Scar lay sleeping. The flapping of wings woke him and he rubbed the sleep out of his eyes to see an abnormally large raven perched on a nearby window. Clasped to its leg was a note. He roused himself out of bed and walked slowly to where it sat. The creature waited until he had untied the note and then flew off, cawing as it went.

"My son, Scar.

Greetings. I have someone near whom ye seek. Ye have something within thee that I seek. I shall offer thee fair exchange. Come to my castle behind thine own sanctuary at dusk tomorrow. Thy keen senses will tell thee immediately of whom I speak. If ye will agree to my terms, I shall allow ye both to meet and be reunited. Torak's scheme to keep thee apart will have failed. I shall not interfere in thy life any longer. Ye will first give me what I need and that, freely. I shall explain more then. Do not disappoint me. I trust ye shall not.

The Elder Scaramandine"

Scar could not believe what he was reading. Deminatza, here, now?! Would it be better for him to find her himself? He knew what his father wanted from him. Would it be right for him to surrender the very thing which he took with him into the Abyss, at the cost of his life with her? Did it even matter now that he held that within him? Why was it so dear to his father to recover it? Might him keeping the essence destroy his father eventually? If faced with his demise, might the Elder seek to destroy them both?

These and other thoughts raced through is mind. He returned to sit on his bed and mulled over them one by one. No, he would obey his father's wishes, trusting he would keep his word. If there were any subterfuge, he would kill him or be killed trying. The end of their separation might be at hand and his heart raced excitedly.