He crested the edge of the Earth-Plane.
A void stood before him, a starless one. He reached over the side of the earth and his arm vanished into the darkness. The wreathe of plane-light could barely reach his fingers and he recoiled. Letting his boot slide back down into a foothold, his bunched muscles relaxed and he slid down the rock-face. His cloak snagged a sharp rock. He reached for it, feeling its familiar texture through his gloves.
‘No!’ he roared and then he leapt into the darkness.
He drifted through the cosmos, he was alone. Little would he know it but he would pass worlds at war, held in common by bridges across the empyrean. He would be seen and ignored by great minds, unable to comprehend his role in the universe. Or perhaps indifferent to him, for perhaps he deserved only indifference. He could see nothing, although he could sometimes feel the breath of gods upon his frail form. Even that subsided. He thought he had a hum, the distant beating of a dragons wings.
The thought occured to him that maybe he had fallen so far outside of time that he could not possibly turn back now. The last of his sentiment drained and he found himself desiring nothing. Finally, something tangible began to form before his eyes. Upon a flat rock of smooth obsidian, a tower seemed to rise, bands of light pulsing out from it and dissipating into crumbling rings. It was impossible yet ge accepted it as it was, having abandoned the power of logic long ago. Nor did he think much of the spindle which rose out of the tower and surrounded him like a net of crystal, gently guiding him to an open dais. Between gargantuan sculpted hands he was drawn and he accepted it. Figures stood there, vast men in vast armour, impassively staring at the drifting man. As he set down upon the smooth rock, Beorec bowed slightly. A low voice carried across the void and echoed inside the traveller’s helm.
‘It has been long since one has visited this place from your obscure plane. Who are you?’
‘I am Beorec Sertanus. Or at least I was, for my family does little to understand me and I have abandoned them. I would bargain with Azymuth.’
‘Then despair thyself. You do not belong here and shall gain nought from us.’
‘Let me. I would bargain with you, however you please. Anything!’
‘One does not simply bargain with Azymuth! Besides, what would you offer?
Beorec held himself tall and gazed into the pitless helm of the sentinel. ‘My blade’
The armoured giant lowered his hands, palms upturned. Beorec held the sword upright, smiling as the cosmic torchlight played upon its elegant hilt. With gentle ceremony he handed over his father’s old sword, and then he stepped away with a slight bow. The sentinel of Azymuth grunted and snapped the blade in half, crushing it to dust in his gauntlets.
‘Is that all?’
Beorec thought of offering his heart. He thought better of it.
The armoured giant sighed with a slight shrug. ‘Begone mortal, this is no place for you.’
‘I will slay you and take your place.’
The vast sentinel stood patiently, as if he was perplexed by what he had just heard. ‘Unlikely.’
‘Face me!’ cried Beorec, drawing a hand axe from his belt.
Beorec hurled himself at the giant and hacked into his armour, the axe-head scraping against a domed pauldron. The sentinel remained as he was, gazing down at the little man.
‘Ah, but this one has pluck. Very well, I take pity on you.’
Beorec backed away, gazing up confusedly. He swung his axe back and struck again. His arm hung in mid-air, caught by a vast gauntlet. Beorec screamed as he was lifted in the air and slung over an immense, rounded shoulder guard. Blackness followed as he was hauled into the tower like a sack of grain.
When next he awoke he was again wreathed in darkness, yet felt utterly connected with the one he had sought.
‘Is that you, great one? Where-‘
‘I am already here,’ the voice raced through his head and Beorec writhed on the ground. ‘I am inside you, as I am inside all mortals.’
‘I am Azymuth, and all that is sentient, all that reflects upon Nature, is part of I.’
‘What…are…you?’ he cried
‘You cannot comprehend me, for you can perceive only things only through the weak prism of your mind. To the thousandfold dimensions that make up the rest of the cosmos you are blind.’
‘Then tell me, master…tell me…’
‘I will tell you nothing if you continue to call me master, for you are not worthy to be called my slave. You are less than a slave; you are finitude to my infinity; you are nothing.’
‘Then I am no slave, but dirt, dirt at your feet, but tell me what you would have me do.’
‘You are not dirt, you are nothing.’
‘I am nothing, nothing! But tell me all I must know for I have left my home to find you! Tell me what I must do!’
‘Embrace me, seek me. Avoid me, hide from me. You shall find me, I am the void inside you. I am the feeling of carnage in your heart which loves the sight of war; I am the impulse which has you reach for your sword without provocation; I am three cups of wine too many on a night of hedonistic delight; I am that which disappoints you and yet keeps you coming back for more; I am the disconnect between morality and action which makes hypocrites of saints; I am that which prevents you from feeling empathy for life; I am that which causes you to despair at the suffering of the cosmos; I am the cyclical ennui which flattens your spirit; I am that which makes you feel alone in a full room; I am that which makes you hate yourself such that every day is a struggle against self-annihilation; I am the destruction of life, all life; I am the resolution of the universe; I am the supreme end; I am absolute entropy and negation for all of eternity. I am Azymuth, and my acolytes are legion, and I will destroy my brothers and sisters and children, and nothing will remain to oppose me.’
For a moment the voice formed into an image and Beorec’s heart exploded and his veins sundered and his ribs burst open through his mail as he saw what no mortal had yet seen and lived. As he lay upon the smooth rock and waited for the end of the vision he dimly heard the conclusion.
‘And then I will destroy the last of the Planes…’
He awoke again, against the crest of a tall, dark rock. The void lay before him, a distant city lay behind. He turned his back on the void, so that now the distant city waited before him. But now he knew he could not leave the void, that it came with him wherever he went. Beorec reached for the broadsword at his belt, it was gone. With a grim smile he trudged toward the city, he had abandoned, thankful just to feel hard stone beneath his feet.