One Hundred Tales of the Mhortae
Introduction: A History Unwritten
The heavens themselves were ablaze, dunes of gray that devoured the sky split in a half-second at the roar of rapture. A fragment of this rapture fell from above, tearing through the sky and enveloped in dancing flames.
They gazed skyward, those things of fang and scale that dwelled beneath the Heavens. In curiosity and alarm, they watched - blissfully ignorant of what hurdled towards the earth. Those of keener eyes could spy the writhing and screaming figure imprisoned within the inferno. Nigh mummified by obsidian chains; this immaculate creature was of impossible, argent beauty. Such pulchritude, they had never witnessed; and remained mesmerized before it.
Immolated feathers of alabaster trailed the falling one's wings rapidly rotting to only ash while it wept blood and screamed out the same.
Why it screamed, they could not know - nor ever grasp what it screamed to them. All they could do was observe.
The struggling stranger, how it tried desperately to escape the chains that bound it so, was only as hapless as those below. Faster, it fell, quicker toward the countless creatures that called ground-zero their home.
With a thunderous explosion, the forsaken one struck the earth and upon every wind sailed a flood of fire. Nothing was left unscathed.
Rivers and seas were vaporized, blues and browns pluming upward in sanguine. Forests were devoured in flame, the swirls of orange eating away everything green and leaving only black and gray; rolling hills reduced to rocky tombstones amidst an endless sea of ashes. The sun fled from sight as rising sulfur and spiraling infernos swallowed its domain. Columns of magma bled from the ground and as the moon was hurled away from its beloved brother, islands of stone sailed to where clouds once roamed. Flesh became gray sands, and bone blackened.
The stranger cast down to this place felt it all and screamed louder. All of the agony of a million lives snuffed out in seconds, the souls ripped from their bodies by the breath of destruction, and the collective sorrow of so many silently screaming to know what they would never learn; these things converged together upon the chain-bound figure.
It howled out, breaking free of the chains at last and ripping into its own flesh. He could no longer bare it, the crushing weight of all the suffering. Sadness turned to rage and the shrieks of agony to insane laughter. Those black chains, they arose from the ground and danced about the figure who would rend away every last ribbon of its own body. Wings, once so white, had become so tainted by the ashes of its surroundings that they forever turned gray - attached to the skeletal phantom of their owner.
As its skull angled to the blazing Heavens, it spread out its shackled, warped limbs and vowed tonguelessly to scar everything that drew breath with the malice of all before them. And in the sky, those who betrayed it looked upon the scene with faces of stone; their perfect wings still aglow with light; unlike their brother's; whom they had cast down like a blight.
Over the carcass of the world, they built a new one; entombing their forlorn kindred in obscurity. They, who had been victorious, would decide how to immortalize themselves and their treachery, a story gilded in gold so that none could ever again rise against them.
This could not be allowed, nor would it be tolerated thus by the phantoms of their actions. A hundred-thousand years would pass; while the fallen one waited. It would keep its promise; finding vessels through which its malice would gain voice.
It would only be they that knew reality's so-hidden secrets. Only they, who had seen more than any other, would endure so that all who could not avenge themselves could release the lives of their oppressors. Undying and ageless, they would become predators amongst predators; chosen.
And so-born, were the Mhortae.
"For some, death does not come. For others, death is refuge from the undying."