Tales of Lore: Erwhindal’s Story Part 2

Part One: http://legionofchaos.org/?p=128

Whatever just happened, I absolutely didn’t like it.

I don’t remember specifics, but it’s probably better that way. I felt more alone and naked than I have ever felt before. And I’ve been to some weird parties. For several seconds, I knew what it was like to be dead. Well, almost dead. Dead again?

It was horrible.

It felt like the most depressing waiting room you’ve ever been in, for years on end, compressed into a few seconds.

Not recommended. Dont believe the post-card.

Then I gasp and I’m breathing once more.

“Have I made my point?” asks Death, looking down at me totally not groveling on the floor. “I’ve let you experience Death’s Door, the entrance for souls into the afterlife. Mortals have trouble staying sane near it.”

Anger at what he just did to me floods through my chest. I totally glare back at him. “Screw you. It will take more than that to break me.”

Death actually ponders me. “Such spirit. I’m impressed. Maybe I’ve misjudged you. I should probably give you back your life right now for being so strong.”

No, sorry, I can’t even lie to myself. I haven’t said anything intelligible yet. I think I’m lying in a puddle of my own tears. I’m too messed up to check. Or care.

“And now that we have an understanding,” says Death for real, “you will do as I ask. You have been loosed from the Underworld to accomplish a task for me. Do this, and you will be given back your life and greatly rewarded.”

I cough and moan.

“Stop being so dramatic,” says Death, lacing his boney fingers around his scythe. “Now you see why your memory is erased when you die.”

“So I really did die…” I sputter. “How?”

He looks at the back of his knuckles. “Confidentiality clauses in my contract prevent me from telling you.”

“Confidentiality…what?” I thought Death himself would be above such legal arrangements. “Death does paperwork?”

“Everybody answers to somebody,” Death shrugs.

“So, I’m not quite dead right now, right?” I venture.

“Correct. With you as my champion, you cannot fully die.”

“Why me?”

“To be honest, you weren’t my first choice, but it’s a job that must be done.” Death raises himself to his full height. “The key to the afterlife has been taken, and it must be returned to restore balance to the cosmos. I have freed you from the constraints of your death to return the key to me.”

“Wait, wait,” I say, hauling myself off the floor. Despite the horrors I had seen, a thought occurs to me. “You’re…locked out of the afterlife, aren’t you?”

“I ask the questions here!” says Death, his mini blizzard fluffing his robe again.

Despite what just happened, I laugh. “Death got locked out of his apartment!” I laugh some more. “And now you need me to get the key back from the bad man that took it. This is rich!”

“You want to experience Death’s Door again?”

I decide to shut up fast. “Right. So where do I find the guy I need to take back your key from?”

“Actually, he’s right outside.”

I blink. “Well…that’s convenient.” I glance around. “Is there a door, or…?”

“Yeah, yeah, over there.” He points a white digit.

Now that is a big door…wait, I hope that’s not the door to…

“No, that’s not Death’s Door,” says Death. He pauses. “I mean, it’s my door, they’re all my doors down here, it’s just not the one you…or the one that’s locked…it’s just one of my normal…anyway, you get it.”

“So I just go out there, get your key, and we’re square?” I ask, knowing it sounds too easy. Aside from the whole dying again for 3 seconds thing, my whole waking existence has been me chopping things apart. No sweat.

“That’s the deal.”

The chains on the door fall aside, and a crack of bright white light spills into the chamber. I shield my eyes, unable to resolve the blur of green and blue outside.

Why does this door randomly lead from the Underworld to a grassy knoll?

“It just does,” says Death.

Wow, can Death read my mind?

“When it is dramatically appropriate…” says Death.

My eyes adjust and bring the scene into focus. A figure stands at the edge of a large drop. Unlike the skeletons I had fought up until this point, this guy looks all business. Spikey dark armor? Massive oversized sword? Glowering personality? Totally the bad guy of this story. That’s one cliche I haven’t forgotten.

“Hey, you!” I shout. “Give back Death’s key!”

I brandish my sword for emphasis. He totally gives me the key.

I should probably stop using the word totally…

What he actually does is…

And then he…

And he pitches me with superhuman strength off the side of the cliff. Well, not off exactly, because I fly from the precipice with such force that I puff through a fluffy white cloud and keep climbing. My feet and head keep swapping places as everything becomes a blur of color beneath me.

My first reaction? Copious yelling. My second reaction? Well, even more yelling, because I still haven’t landed yet. Actually how long has it been? I think I’ve lost track…

What a place to end up, spinning through the air. Did Death know this would happen? I bet he did. Jerk. He wanted this to happen to me. Not doing him any more favors.

Okay, time to go back down now. Anytime. I’ve kind of got to pee, but I feel bad just cutting loose above what might be a populated area.

I end up doing it anyway.

Where does that dark spikey dude work out? I am still going…

Wait, I think I see something down there. I’m coming in a bit fast. Way too fast. Here comes the —

Woah, what? What just happened? Something unyielding beneath me, aches and pains everywhere. Oh, please don’t tell me I am waking up in the Underworld again…

But this stone feels warm…not a hint of the cold lonely stone from Death’s domain. And the fire is much brighter. Oh wait, that fire is the sun. Where the heck am I?

Oh, the caption is convenient. Now how do I pronounce that…?