Things moved swiftly. Perhaps a little too swiftly. Ravener’s about face had been surprisingly swift, and this indicated something was wrong with the Plan. The Master was very big on Plans, and Revenge knew what would happen to him if he screwed up this particular Plan. Of course, if he pulled it off he would be commended. Maybe he would get to feed off of some Prisoner’s soul. It had been some time since he took in sustenance that solid.
He had already done quite well. The Enemy had made a serious mistake here. If everything went according to Plan, Ravener would return to the fold and a Glutton would be created. Double whammy! Wouldn’t that shake the Enemy’s feeble heart!
It was quite odd, when Revenge thought about it. Ordinarily the Enemy was a believer in “absolute good,” meaning that you couldn’t do something evil to one person to prevent something evil from happening to someone else. So what had caused this aberration with Ravener?
Probably this confirmed what the Master had said all along: once you went just so far, the Enemy’s so called “mercy” no longer applied to you. He claimed to be all-forgiving, all-loving, but He was a fraud, of course. Revenge had always had a nagging suspicion, perhaps his conscience, telling him that this wasn’t true, but Ravener’s rejection seemed to prove it. Intriguing.
Hm, speaking of Ravener. Revenge crept out of a shadow to take a quick glance at his charge. Ravener was sleeping peacefully, or somewhat peacefully at any rate. Revenge swallowed. He’d been slacking again. Well, it was always fun to torment an old superior.
Who’s the big one now, little fool! ME! ME!
Revenge leapt onto the eater’s throat, clawing at the shining wound, the spark of horribly holy light trapped within reacting to him and igniting into a flame. Cackling with wicked delight, he slunk back into the shadows as Ravener was jolted rudely into wakefulness. He watched with bulging eyes, shaking with laughter and rolling on the ground, practically paralyzed by his evil glee.
Ravener had been dreaming of ‘home.’ In particular, he’d been dreaming of the few happy days before his final banishment, when the Starborns’ powerful magic had turned him into a human. He had contained the hunger within him, and had been allowed to live among humans, as one of them.
In his dream, he was walking along a cobblestone path. He saw someone up ahead. A female human. She looked familiar…
Ravener found himself running, trying to catch up to her. As he approached, he recognized her. It was a woman who had lived in his village. But hadn’t she died, along with all the others? When his brother revolted, he had destroyed most of the village and the rest… well, he preferred not to remember the rest. But this woman… her name leapt into his mind. Eloise. He had believed he loved her. When she died, he blotted out her memory, but now…
He grabbed her shoulder. “You’re alive?” He couldn’t believe his eyes.
She whirled on him, and he froze in horror. Her glowing blue eyes stabbed into his brain painfully, and a cruel smile spread across her face. “How could she be? You destroyed her.”
He backed away, nearly falling. “You are not here!” He willed the image to disappear, and found himself somewhere else. He was in a structure, a crude wooden hut. There was a fire crackling in the corner of the single room building, and several people were crowded into the small building, talking and laughing with one another. He sat and observed, a strange feeling coming into his heart. What was this? Happiness? It was difficult to tell; he had not felt anything like this in so long...
He began to see faces he didn’t recognize amongst the people in the room, which seemed larger and more heavily populated now. Who were these people? They fit right in; they seemed to be farmers. But he didn’t know them… did he?
Suddenly, the dream began to take a sour turn yet again. He felt an all too familiar pain begin to grow in his throat. He swallowed painfully, glancing around the room to see if anyone had noticed his discomfort. He realized that the people had a new topic of conversation.
“I heard that the monster attacked a farm near Westershire, and nobody survived.”
“Such a terrible creature. It ought to be cut to pieces!”
“Send him straight back to the pits of Hell!”
“Really, who can expect anyone to show mercy to something like that? What a monstrosity! Extermination is the best it can hope for.”
With a shock of terror, he realized that they were speaking about someone he knew. One of his… friends, perhaps? He knew he knew someone who had done something like that. But did he have any friends? He thought. He used to have friends. What happened to them?
The pain in his throat grew steadily worse, and was almost unbearable now. He clutched at it, feeling flame and lightning spreading through his neck and into the rest of his body. The conversation grew louder and louder, almost deafening, adding to his agony. He looked around. Didn’t these people see how much pain he was in?
As if a blindfold had been torn from his eyes, he suddenly recognized all these people. They… they were dead! Something had killed them! Something terrible had happened to them! But what?
Suddenly a terrible noise drowned out everything else. The conversation stopped and the people looked at each other in horror. With a crash, the wall burst open in a spray of wood and dust, and a horrible monster rushed through, seizing the people and devouring them. Its skin was an unnatural sort of dark, charred almost. Its teeth were not sharp, but were very long, and while its body seemed almost humand it mouth was large, incredibly large. It fixed its burning eyes on him, and stepped forward…
Ravener awoke with a strangled cry, barely audible as the pain in his throat made it nearly impossible to breath. He lay there for some time, feeling the pain flowing through his body as his own throat glowed with that foul light.
Curse them. They have done this to you! You must seek Revenge.
Yes. I must…
He arose, the flames in his eyes hot enough to burn worlds.
None can stand before you. You are Frytharm, terror of all! The Insatiable Hunger!
Abruptly he sank to his knees. What was the point? Alone, he was helpless, and alone he was, alone with his memories of the past and of long-dead friends.