Eighty four days, seven hours, ten minutes, thirty seven seconds.
Eighty four days, seven hours, ten minutes, thirty eight seconds.
Eighty four days, seven hours, ten minutes, thirty nine seconds.
It cocked its head. Noises, talking and arguing, from outside. What it was, It couldn't hear past the preservative blight and the thick glass. But It had come to learn that whenever there was talking, that It would be taken out of the tank.
It's assumption was correct. The liquid rippled, ever so slightly, and It heard a soft thunk as something tapped the glass. It opened Its eyes.
Hard as seeing through the viscous liquid was, It could clearly see the face of one of Its makers peering in. It couldn't read her expression; fear, maybe, or perhaps sadness. But It was sure that she wasn't happy. Which was odd, because whenever It had been taken out of the tank, the Maker was overjoyed to poke and prod and test.
The liquid rippled, even more this time, and It slowly tilted Its head to eye the two pairs of muscled arms that wrapped themselves around It. With what It could discern as great effort, the acolytes who owned the arms hoisted It up and out of the blight, and onto a metal platform that hung in front of the tank. It looked down, observing Its surroundings.
It was in the same laboratory that It had always been. The same stacks of books and scrolls piled to the ceiling, the same rows and rows of operating tables and blight-tanks, the same acolytes and necromancers and fleshworkers that always populated their workspace. Except, this time, they were all staring at It with rapt attention. It glanced down to the Maker for an explanation, but she simply stared at It, concerned, long ears plastered flat to her head.
It rolled Its shoulders as the platform was slowly lowered to the ground, blight dripping off of It's hulking, muscular frame. It easily stood over everyone else in the room, and could certainly obliterate them all in a fight. It didn't catch the first few words that were said to It in the midst of It's thoughts of violence and destruction.
"...and you are to be armored and armed. You will take a portal to Acherus once you have been properly equipped," said one of the muscled Acolytes that had pulled It out of the tank, reading from a soaked scroll.
It looked to the Acolyte, narrowing Its eyes and nodding. They had It don armor before, during the training, but they had never seen fit to give It a weapon. It was deadly enough without one. As It started towards the stairs, the Maker stopped It, grabbing It by the arm. It turned around, staring the elf down. She ran a finger along the bottom of Its jaw and leaned up to Its ear, whispering.
"Go, and live forever."
With a contemptuous snort, It spun on Its heel and marched out of the laboratory.
It ran an armored finger along the blade of the wicked, runed war-axe that It now held. A fitting weapon, thought It wished they had given It something even more powerful to channel Its power through. From what It understood, all of the various beings gathered around It in identical armor all shared the same powers It had. Of course, It doubted that they could even come close to besting It.
The ominous, powerful voice in Its head commanded It to start advancing, and It begrudgingly obeyed, along with the Legion that It marched with. It didn't quite know what to think of the Voice that called himself The King. The King certainly hadn't earned Its respect, and although the King was certainly horrendously powerful, It went along only because It had nothing else to do and It would most likely be destroyed otherwise.
As the legion of warriors-- Death Knights, It had heard the Overseers call them-- advanced over the blighted ground, they were soon joined by other, lesser Undead. Ghouls and geists, gargoyles and banshees. Hordes of zombies and packs of plaguehounds all moved forward, one massive legion of the dead. The Death Knights around It cheered and praised the King. It remained silent; It was busy thinking of how to kill the things that they were supposed to fight. It tilted Its head mid-march-- what WERE they supposed to fight?
The answer came to It as they stopped at a hill. In the distance, It could see a small building that It recognized as a Church. A small army of beings stood guard around it, chanting and roaring at the sight of the Scourge. The undead roared with equal fury, and It saw the leader of the Death Knights-- A human on a horse with a large green sword-- ride to the front of the legion and point his blade.
With a horrific, guttural cry, the Undead advanced as one being toward the Church. Bolts of necromantic and holy energy flung back and forth among the ranks, and several of the Death Knights next to It were felled. With a snarl, It bolted with unholy speed ever faster towards the ranks of the Living. As It reached them, It spread Its arms wide, and let loose a massive blast of Runic energy that knocked the group of defenders before It onto the ground.
As It leaped upon them, Its vision became a red blur, and everything-- pain, movement, even time-- lost its meaning.
The next thing It recalled was a scream, by none other than the King.
As It lifted Its head from where it knelt in Its exhaustion, the towering figure obliterated the stream of Crusaders and let out a dark chuckle. A blur of events followed-- The King taunted the Crusaders, the Death Knight Leader threw his sword to one of the Paladins, who then used it to fight the King. The King growled, and retreated into a portal.
And then it was over. The Battle had ended. The surviving Death Knights all rubbed their heads, and started talking of "betrayal", "Ebon Blades" and "homes".
It just growled and stalked away. They called after It, but It ignored them. They were weak, weak like the "King", weak like the living. And It wanted nothing to do with them. It wanted to leave the weaklings, and go on to greater things, like.... like....
It growled as It walked. Like what? What would it do? It couldn't fight the paladins and It certainly couldn't return to the "Betrayers". Yet it had to do something.
But WHAT? What do I do? It thought, gnashing Its teeth. WHAT?!?
Just then, It recalled those last words Its maker had spoken. "Go, and live forever."
Live forever. That is what I will do. It thought, stopping dead in its tracks. I will live forever. But as who?
A tiny voice, no louder than the most quiet whisper, echoed through his head.
Taldarg. That will be the name.
It stopped and growled. It certainly wasn't any thought of his, yet, it wasn't an outside force either.
That will be your name. Our name. The name that the centuries shall be endured with.
It-- no, HE-- nodded. The words, though he didn't know why, held a truth to them.
You, I, we are perfect. You, I, we are immortal.
He, Taldarg, growled in affirmation. The voice was right. He was perfect, he was immortal.
You, I, we, are Taldarg, and you, I, we, are an engine of the apocalypse. You, I, we, will destroy and obliterate until we have the answers you, we, I seek and require.
Yes, that was what he needed. Answers, knowledge, and most of all, power.
You are Taldarg.
"I am Taldarg."
We are Taldarg. You are me, and I am you.
Taldarg nodded. It was growing hard to tell if the voice was his, or something else-- or was it always his?
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