Valhaske I: Dreamscapes of the Aspect

Ashen horizon stretched forth unhindered, gray skies surmounting a land in the voiceless throes of decay, broken intermittently by silent flashes of skeleton’s fingers, rapidly grasping and clutching at the empty air like a drowning man’s feeble bid for salvation. An expanse of empty and discard sprawled forth in either direction; So still and quiet, so unfettered by the slightest sound or breeze that the silence and empty became a companion in it of itself, an inanimate witness to his aimless journey. What little life had been there manifested as long dead birch and vacant sage devoid of any foliage or fruition; they spotted here and there about the dead land like tombs and cairns erected for long forgotten kin. Decrepit flora spaced far from one another, with no source of sustenance or water as if it was for the sheer purpose of reiterating Death’s prevalence and principality in these lands that they existed to begin with. After all his wanderings, he had finally found a land that was truly and wholly God forsaken.

Solemn, trudging footsteps broke the silence as he made his way along the unsure path. Though he had no definite destination in mind, he knew he must be here, he knew that in the end, he would find what he was looking for; whatever it may be.

There was a definite sentience in this place, not one living thing but many acting as one, malignant, dissonant entity. It was made up in the earth and the shriveled trees and the tepid, stagnant air, like a sick, lifeless parody of the ecosystems all life subscribes to. An antithesis to the machinations of his creation, a defiance in answer to the accordance of his design and manifestation of his will. All that lay about him scorned his presence and whispered about to one another various ways to desecrate his spirit and reduce him to a lifeless husk. This scorn manifested as a heaviness in the air that muddled his thoughts with toxic clouds and made every motion seem aimless and without purpose. There was a very tangible feeling that something was watching him with a seething anger and a malice beyond measure, that the very earth beneath his feet despised his presence. Every hope within him seemed far and away, as if it belonged to a different aeon and was wholly irrelevant in this place. The air felt shallow and seemed like he could not draw enough with each breath, bringing a claustrophobic panic even though the land stretched forth unhindered in each direction.

Little hills and knolls of ashen earth and dead branches from long gone trees obstructed his view from time to time, offering a hope of escape that grew more and more hollow as he climbed over them. He could hear the snap of branches and animal bones underfoot, breathing in a harsh plume of sawdust and detritus that scored his lungs with every step. Yet each time he would look out onto yet more miles and miles of empty, decaying earth.

He had found himself in a valley utterly eclipsed by the shadow of death, an endless, wretched place bereft of all hope, life, or vital force. Just the ever present, listless prose of absence.

It was the perfect place for a God to die.

His silhouette cut a stark contrast across the wastes, a robust, virile frame atop a desolate expanse of tepid earth and endless decay. Hair so blonde it seemed as shimmering silver pulled tight over a symmetrical skull. His shoulders were as pommels, immense and stalwart with arms like two oak branches coming out from beneath a black cape inscribed in a translucent silver blue. Ancient runes and glyphs adorned the raiment and all along its border lay spells written in languages only the wind remembers. His jaw set in grim determination and wistful longing as he looked out across the horizon, eyes like cut diamond shone from within sockets chiseled out of stone. His gaze cut through the hearts of man and perceived the constellations as they continued their spiral dance around the sun. His countenance bore such reverence and regality that it seemed to  consume all who met it with  a cold fire, stripping them bare of all the facile trappings and deceits of man. His right hand bore a five pointed star, carved into his flesh at his conception far beyond our realm and within the crucible of time and being. That furnace where life’s primordial forces clashed and clamored at one another, birthing worlds and galaxies in their wake.  In his left he carried a sword. Long and elegant with a double edged blade forged from a dead star and refined in the fire that lies within the hearts of all men. Upon its pommel an onyx was set, so black it shimmered as well as any diamond.

His stature and prominence surpassed that of any man, yet for all his majesty, for all his abject principality he was beginning to feel the vermilion bindings of time draw the life from him, he began to know the mortality he had doomed upon all his creation, he began to feel the degrading weight of desperation within his breast.

With a grim forbearance at his brow and the inescapable burden of time at his chest The Aspect walked.  He knew not why he wandered, or where his journey would meet it’s end yet still he continued.  For he knew all too well, that oftentimes it is on the path without form or reason that one finds fulfillment. Though his body was as ancient as humanity itself he did not falter in his step,  countless years he had wandered and still he showed no signs of either stopping or slowing. A being without need of rest or respite he set his heavy gaze ever towards the path ahead, with a rueful glance that pierced past the horizon itself and perceived the conception of constellations being forged in the very place of his origin.

Yet for all his omnipotence, for all his disregard for mortality and though he had given birth to all of mankind and forged the genesis of being itself, he was wholly and readily aware of his coming demise. Ordained long ago by powers beyond even his reach and revealed to him through occult practices of his own design he perceived the very day of his death.  And so he wandered, searching for meaning in the world he had created, demanding from creation the same answers it had sought from him. It is now, in this principality of death that he began to understand what he had always felt within the countless corridors and catacombs of his consciousness. The eternity of existential anguish he carried with him, the same yearning, gaping maw he had carved  in man.

He walked further along the path of rot. The ground seething and writhing at the presence of a heartbeat in this place. from time to time he would hack a path through a dead fall, his sword snapping and cracking through the logs as if they were the sun-bleached remains of some long dead creature. Glancing at the sunless sky he could see the violet tones of dusk painting the drawing firmament. Taking a gamble  that there would be no moon to alight the heavens or stars to guide his path he stopped to gather some tinder for a small fire. pacing back to the deadfall he had cut through he stooped to collect the fallen wood when suddenly a loud cracking was heard. something was moving about him, worse yet, it did not make any attempt to mask its presence. He stood up to survey his surroundings when again he heard it, only this time far behind him.  Feeling the oppressive weight of whoever stalked him grow undeniable he squared his shoulders and set his feet in the earth. Though a stranger in these lands he was still sovereign. Even with finality drawing close he still held dominion over all others. A furtive scurrying resounded all around him, there was not one being but many and if he were to make it through the night he would have to make a stand. With no kin at his side and with his lifeforce waning he readied himself for the promised violence ahead. Feeling the presence devising his demise he gripped his sword and readied to meet it


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