For the soul of the devil bought hastens not from its charnel clay but fattens and instructs the very worm that gnaws, until out of such corruption horrid life springs.-Abdul Hazred, Al-AzifA monster took my sister and I to its realm some twelve years ago now. We are to us the only two children we know of from here in Azarath, for all around us there is ivory and gold and a refined beauty behind which lurks something terrible and monstrous. Hell made in the form of Heaven. We have learned many terrible and ominous things because our minds have grown faster than our bodies. We are at an age where we would be children by the standards of normal flesh and blood humans and we see and perceive across multiple worlds, reality itself bends to our own will.
My sister is all that I really have in this world, which is kind of ironic when you think about it. The worst irony of them all is that she's not my sister, not by bloodline. My abilities and hers alike rely on the interweaving of light and darkness. I have learned to flow into the darkness, to hide in it, to send my voice in an echo that fractures it. I have become it and it shields me and it can be the most dreadful and nightmarish weapon out there. Hers......she is more of a dancer where I am a monster. The demon's daughter heals and has compassion for others, and I? In my veins flows blood akin to that of the monstrous God on the Gilded Throne who rules this hellscape.
I see too much, I know too much. I am developing knowledge and power that should not be wielded by people born to mortals. I see across time and space, I have seen her wading through the city of our birth. Slaughtering it all and what is to the mortals a force too fast for eyes to see moves to me at a normal pace, and I see the looks of pleasure on her face, her laughter and I go into convulsions at the psychic resonance of what she calls the Trump of Doom.
I see the rest of my family, and he who is my own father. I see him young and desperate and drinking of the Fountain, the draught that reforged a young and desperate child of a steppe people into the God who rebuilt a world in Unification Wars. And the changes and shifts that worked within his flesh. His casually reaving across the world leaving blood to the bridles of horses, growing into a figure of splendid power and perfect beauty. A being who could destroy the monster who has taught us these dark arts, who teaches us our place with gauntleted fists and blades and then we have to heal each other or we perish.
He could destroy her in a thought and he hasn't. The only ones to shield each other are us, one of us born to destroy worlds, one of us born.......for whatever my sister in blood but not in heart wishes. Yet when she forms the great dark bird that is both herself and how she sees herself, a being that is simultaneously highly intelligent and a devourer of carrion she shields me from that wrath. And when I create darkness in the everlasting light and the darkness leads the creature that seeks to harm us to roar in its midst, unable to find either of us, I shield her.
This has been us for twelve years. Taught things of terror at the feet of a strange dark god who seems perpetually seated on a Gilded Throne and seldom seems to move and yet we learn and practice. Scarred in body and in mind and in soul. Twelve years of this kind of existence that is no existence at all, just a nightmare that never ends. Today we turn thirteen. and the monster has summoned us. We have been raised alike in a surprisingly orthodox definition of Judaism, of the Old Ways. We keep Shabbat, we eat no pork, we put on prayer shawls and pray the Eighteen each day. When we pray the nightmares vanish. For a time.
We have finished our prayers and an Avatar has spoken to us saying the God on the Gilded Throne wishes to speak to us directly. I remember that entity has stepped down all of twice in twelve years since I've been here. Once, in a story my sister has had speared into her psyche when one of the high lords of Azarath, longing for death, sought to take her with him beyond the Doors of Night, the vast gates beneath the Gilded Throne. The gates opened and a beam of red light seared him to ashes, my sister unharmed.
Ever since she fears she brings death to those who cannot have the physical brutality to withstand her presence. And once when I found very old artifacts with a mystic script and a word that I knew not how I understood, only that it was there. Domdaniel. That time she was furious and my arms still bear the scars of how she responded. We are thirteen and we are clad in robes, mine a bright gold with black trim, hers a deep black with blue trim.
As with all in the Citadel we wear these hoods with an avian motif, beneath which our eyes glow. I look around and in all of Azarath only two beings cast shadows. Myself, and Rachel. Her blue eyes gaze into my white ones and we flinch, slightly, as we tun the corner and stare at the titan mountainous hulk that is the Gilded Throne. Beneath it are the Doors of Night, a gate charmingly inscribed with the snarling face of a demonic figure with four eyes and pointed ears and white hair. Above them a throne shaped like the skulls of my non-human half, covered in a spiderweb of white around which there is a gilded aspect. Gilded, not golden, and if ever the Gilded aspect should fall it would simply be a Skull Throne on which sits a monster craving the shedding of blood.
Though she be nearly thirty meters above us we see her as clearly as though she were sitting next to us. Her muscles rasp with movement, a terrible sound the more loud for the utter silence of the center of all that is or will ever be in Azarath. Her lips peel from her teeth and bare with a grinding sound as her teeth gnash together and then she speaks:
In honor of your becoming daughters of the Commandment, I send you on your first task as agents of mine.
A glowing light began to form around us and I grasped her wrist, looking to her with a nearly imperceptible movement of my head to still her. Her eyes glared and she spoke:
Send us to whatever realm of Hell you wish, it can be no worse than this.
The monster smiled and spoke with the sonorous voice of a God:
Your wish is my command.
We screamed and a sense of weightlessness overcame us. We awoke in the iron citadel of Pandaemonium, seeing before us the awed and angered face of a monster clad in dark armor with four glowing yellow eyes and a snarling bestial face, complete with gigantic curved horns like those of a ram. He looked at Rachel and said:
So you were sent home by her, then? Child of my heritage you may be but you are no spawn of my thought.
He then grinned at both of us in a fashion horribly reminiscent of her.
But now you shall learn the kind of things of which I am capable, especially when my foes deliver into my hands two such lovely pawns.