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Opaque Malevolence

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Prologue:


He drew in a quiet breath through his dark lips as he sat on the floor of his chambers. His body was relaxed although he was tense with anticipation inside. He grew dizzy with yearning as he stood in his throne room moments ago, so he had decided it would be best to move to his dark chambers. It made little difference, however, in the sickening sensations he felt inside.

Murath slowly opened his eyes to see the room around him. The smokey curtains were closed over the window and the linens of his bed had still been made from when he had awakened earlier that day. His eyes wandered, moving from his bed to the floor, then his gaze crawled across the dark carpet to the brown wooden door that was directly across from his bed. The chains that were hung on them hadn't rattled since he had closed the door himself. No news.

With a sigh, and a worsening feeling of dizziness, Murath stood up and moved slowly over to the window with the closed curtains. He pushed them open to see the window was dirty along the edges on the outside. This annoyed him. He liked cleanliness and felt bitter hatred towards anything in disarray or stains. The only thing he liked to have imperfect was his attire. He wore smokey-black robes that were several layers thick and several of those layers were shredded. He liked this to be so because he felt as though the clothes flowed better as he moved when they were shredded. He had always felt so restrained in his movements before he had begun shredding his robes.

The shredding of his robes stopped, however, at the black-and-brown leather belt he wore around his waist. The upper torso part of his robes were well-fitted but comfortable for him. The sleeves were rather loose around his arms, and had several leather straps going up his forearm to match his belt.

Murath had long, black hair that reached to about his waist, and it hung both in front of and behind his shoulders. His face was a very pale white and his lips were black. Often times, he would paint black lines from the edges of his lips to his jaw, as well as the area above his eyes and below his cheek bones. This was one of those times.

As Murath rested his arms on the windowsill, a knock sounded on his wooden door. His head snapped towards the door with wide, dark eyes just as it began to open. Murath slid his arms off the windowsill to his sides and he turned towards the opened door. "Murath?" came a voice. It was the voice of his servant, the servant he had been waiting for.

A smile crept across his lips.

"Enter, Xemru," Murath said quietly with a dark voice. It seemed as though it had a slight echo to it.

The door to Murath's room closed quietly, and a torch along the wall beside the door was lit and the entire room came to life. Immediately, Murath threw his arms over his eyes and hissed. "Augh! Put that out!" he demanded as he stumbled backwards, slumping himself against the wall beside the window. He looked out from between his arms to see that his room had returned to darkness, and he straightened himself once more.

"Problem, my master?" Xemru said with a quiet, almost shy, voice. Murath looked at him with eyes that pierced through the darkness even though they were dark themselves.

"I retreated to my quarters because I had been dizzy whilst waiting for your return, my slave," Murath said as he turned to face the window once more. "Come to my side and tell me what you have discovered."

"My master," Xemru said hesitantly as he sluggishly made his way across the room with a slight limp, "if the fire bothers your eyes, then why doesn't the light from outside?" Murath placed his hands on the windowsill and looked down at them. His eyes seemed distraught. Xemru looked at him with utmost curiosity. It seemed as though Murath was fading into another time, a memory of some sort. Xemru was captivated as his master's eyes seemed to glow, changing from the dark, so very dark red that they were to an almost-rose color.

Xemru coughed. Murath snapped his head up to the window once more, his eyes immediately turning back to the dark red they were moments ago. Xemru frowned. "The light?" Murath whispered. He snickered quietly to himself, and then reached up to pull the curtains closed once more. "There is no light in this world. Only clouds, only darkness. A constant omen of an unforeseen future." He shrugged, and turned towards his slave. "So tell me, what news have you?" Xemru moved closer to his master while still keeping his distance.

"I regret to inform you, sir, but it seems as though the messenger you sent to Atrinth will not be returning home." Xemru spoke with a nervous, shaking voice. He had delivered bad news to Murath before, and he had seen his temper, but the thing that Xemru had hated the most was telling Murath that one of his people had fallen.

Murath clenched his hands and closed his eyes. "Have you proof of this?" he questioned through his teeth, obviously angered by the news. Xemru nodded, but then noticed that Murath's eyes were closed.

"He was returned to us in pieces this morning. A package had arrived at the gates. The guard was traumatized by the sight. He said-"

"I do not care for the guard!" Murath burst out. "He will be better, he more than likely already is. Ventra is dead, and all he had done was deliver a message on my behalf! That d*mned king cannot control his temper!" Murath turned his back to Xemru, ashamed. He'd had problems with Demritar, the king of Atrinth, in the past, but never before has Demritar slain one of Murath's messengers. He also knew that he himself was not very good at controlling his temper, and he figured that Xemru knew this as well.

"I apologize, sire," Xemru choked out, petrified. Murath turned his head to look at the petty slave. He was disfigured, his clothes were filthy, his one leg slumped limply at the floor, and one of his arms was longer than the other.

"Twas not your doing, Xemru," Murath said, suddenly calm. Xemru looked at him with curious eyes, and he noticed that the edge of his master's lip curled up in a sinister smile. Murath turned the rest of himself around to face his slave. "But, if I cannot get my hands on Demritar, then someone must be punished...and, I suppose since I heard the words from you, you are the next best option." Suddenly, Murath's arms shot out from his sides towards Xemru and his hands burst into flames at the exact moment that the entirety of Xemru did. A cry of agony erupted from Xemru as he half-ran around the room as Murath's diabolical flames licked at his flesh. Murath would slowly bring his fingers together into a fist, and as he did this, the flames that encased Xemru grew hotter and hotter until he was nothing more than a smoldering pile of ash on the floor of Murath's room.

When he was satisfied, Murath straightened out his fingers and the flames died out on the floor. He let his arms fall to his sides again, and waited a few moments for the chains of his door to rattle with entrance. He heard light, quick footsteps cross the floor to the pile of ashes. The footsteps stopped for a few moments, and then they began again but this time back in the direction of the door. "Thank you, Dalmara," Murath said. The room fell silent for a moment before the chains rattled as the door closed once more, and then Murath was alone.

Murath looked back to the curtains and he slowly reopened them with bitter delight, just in time to see the first snowflakes of the season fall leisurely to the ground. Good, he thought, they will wash the window when they melt.





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