The shadow wends its way through the dusky murk, neither making a sound nor being seen by any living soul. A dark cowl covered her face, obscuring her visage and any inkling of her intentions, not that anyone would have seen anything in the gloom. Mist swirled around her feet as she moved through it, the vapour seemingly parting of its own accord, as if it recognised her purpose, or feared it.
Her path brought her to a shifting house in a forested vale. Not the regular kind of vale however, surrounded on all sides by dark looming trees, that threatened to consume the ethereal house. The shadow paused, admiring the smoky form of the building in front of her, and the way the vegetation pulsed malice and malevolence. Rather suddenly, like a blade to the heart, a scream pierced the vale, making the walls of the shadowy building, vibrate and appear to destabilise.
The woman began to walk towards it, slowly, cautiously, as all manner of spirits and poltergeists began to fly out at her. From knives pointed threateningly at her head to harmless pots and pans flying about, the spirits attempted to scare her away, but to no avail. This is something she had dealt with many times before, hundreds even. Every step brought her closer to the shifting form of the homestead, the apparitions practically forgotten. The stranger reached the bottom of the steps and watched as the door swung wide and teeth sprung from the frame, the windows gained motion and glared at her as she kept walking, one step at a time, ever onward. With a mighty bellow, the wavering form of the house-beast attempted to spear her with the wooden teeth that encircled the door frame, watching in frustration as they passed through her form unsuccessful.
The scream was heard again, just down the hall, more desperate this time, causing the stranger to start and rush towards it. Turning around a corner, she found the source of the scream, a little girl around eight years old, huddled against the wall, a small puddle of tears streaming onto the ground. Above her a mess of spirits and wraiths all haunting and hooting at her tiny form. Paying no mind to the malicious apparitions, the shadow knelt down next the girl and held her palm over her head. A stream of green light began to be absorbed into the child, being taken from the stranger and with each essence of light, the shadows grew dimmer, fading away. The wraiths began to writhe in anger as they began to dissipate. Still, the green light flowed from the stranger to the girl, curing her troubles, curing her nightmares.
As the last vestibule of the malicious spirits drained away the girl looked up straight into the hidden eyes of the stranger. “Who are you?”, she asked timidly but directly. The response was just as direct, “Seris”. A light began to glow underneath the small body of the child and she began to slip through it, appearing effervescent as she did so. “Thank you…Seris” the child said as she was taken through the light, a light that Seris could not pass. Her home was the Abyss.
This was her life. Seris had no idea when she came into being, or who created her. She roamed the twisted biomes of the Abyss, never stopping, stumbling upon helpless souls beset by nightmares and altered dreams. Seris thought she was good, and maybe she was, but every time she took away the pain of a nightmare, some of that evil got absorbed right into her. Now Seris wasn’t malicious, not by a long shot, but constant exposure had left her with a dark sense of humour and a propensity for coldness that would overshadow the Arctic.
The vale in which she now stood, lay empty and desolate, holding no trace of the little girl or the shadowy homestead that contained her worst fears. Seris, with head bowed, listened, for a call. A call to her next destination, the next victim, the next horror. A voice whispered out, into the windless air of the Abyss, “Seriiisssss”, the voice teased, “Seriiiiisssssss”, it said even more forcefully, dragging her mind to a darkened corridor that had appeared in the undergrowth of the vale. The trees, formerly so malignant, now lay back, almost in supplication to whatever was deep within those depths.
Seris strode forward, timidly at first, but then with reckless abandon, to meet the waiting darkness, of whatever the Abyss had in store for her wretched form. Hours appeared to fly by, but in reality, it could have been seconds, time means nothing in this place, all the while the whisper enticed her deeper into the dark, “Seeeerrrrriiiisssssss”. Eventually, after a particularly tangled set of thorns, Seris emerged into a small clearing, beset with a single stone pillar. The pillar was bare. A simple stone holding no secrets she could see but still, the voice persisted, “Seerrrriiissss”. Trying to escape, Seris turned back to find her entrance, sealing up replaced with briar so dense she would not get through.
“It seems it is my turn for a nightmare”, Seris mused in her raspy voice. The voice grew louder and more persistent until Seris panicked, trying to find a way out, but the grove grew smaller, shrinking in on her. Her head shaking and eyes wild, she glimpsed a flash of colour, hidden on the pillar. With fear in her usually unshakeable heart, she approached the stone. Walking around it, Seris found that it only revealed itself at a certain angle. So, she reached into this little pocket of light and pulled out a hanging orb. It floated amidst a hanging sconce, chained to a small handle. Seris grasped this handle and as she admired the orb, a dark force lashed out, delving deep into her soul, ripping through her soul with ice cold blades. Just when she thought she could not lose anything more, everything went black.
Her sight was gone! The panic set back in and tears streamed down her now closed eyes, which was exactly when the voice set in, “Seeeerrriiissss. Loooook Seeeeerrriiisss”. With trepidation, she opened her eyes, and gasped! Patches of light burned in front of her vision, giving glimpses into other places, other worlds, other dimensions. She felt that the light was communing with the orb she now held. A connection had been made, she felt in her heart and her soul. She did not understand this soul-connection but she trusted it. Seris looked back around the Abyss, her home, her prison. She would be back, she could sense that the orb wasn’t going to let her leave permanently. She was Seris the Abyss Walker, here and there both always and never.
Categories: Paladins: Champions of the Realm