You may pass! They were the most wonderful words he had ever seen, and as they etched themselves with an invisible quill onto the rock, Isais waited.
And waited some more.
“It has to be right!” he shouted when still nothing happened.
And then another sound punctured the air. A glorious sound. The sound of long-unused machinery coming to life with a whir and a clunk and a whizz. Ever so slowly, the door began to move.
Dudsscrsst-dudsscrsst. Dudsscrsst-dudsscrsst. Dudsscrsst-dudsscrsst. Dudsscrsst-dudsscrsst.
Isais spun, just as the monster’s shriek tore the air. It towered over him, filling the pool of light that dripped through the ceiling. Isais tried desperately to pull at the energy within himself, but all he ended up with was the pounding protests of his drained body.
HP, 2,412. Atk Power: 42 Speed: 7 Def: 25 Magic Def: 9 Agi: 2
“What the hell am I looking at?” Isais shouted as a line of numbers flickered brightly in his mind.
The thing’s stats.
“Its stats? It has stats!?”
Yes, but this isn’t right. This shouldn’t be here.
“What do you mean!?”his voice came out far shriller than he intended, fear stripping it of authority.
You shouldn’t be able to see these! Not here. Not in this zone. You should be safe here. This thing will kill you. I feel it. There is a power at work. It has brought down the sanctuary spells and this monster has crawled inside.
“It says the thing is weak to fire. Do we have fire? Can I make fire?”
No. Not the kind that is needed to kill this. Pure elemental magic is beyond humans.
“Well, of course it is,” Isais shouted and spun once more to the door, the gap even now only a few fingers wide. He strained, and he searched for any last lingering strand of power inside himself. What he was able to draw together probably wouldn’t have given a mouse a migraine.
So he was to die then. Down here, in the dark, alone with this…thing.
“Sod it then. Come on!” he shouted,though even to his ears his voice was weak and full of fear. The beast stopped, dozens of blinking eyes looking Isais up and down. It was all Isais could do to stare back in return. A full head taller than the tallest man, green, bubbling slime made up its skin. One leg was drastically larger and thicker than the other, while three huge arms erupted from a torso of black tar. The head was the most monstrous of all, red eyeballs above a grotesque maw lined with teeth and a mouth that exhaled the strange black tar with every breath and shriek.
Balling his fists, Isais croaked and willed his legs to respond. But he was caught in the beast’s aura, in the image of death that hovered all around it. The door behind him was moving too slowly. He would be dead before it opened wide enough for him to slide through.
You’ve had your fun. Now let me play.
“What do you mean?”
Dudsscrsst-dudsscrsst. The creature took a heavy step forward.
It’s my turn. Sink into yourself. Just fall into the black. I’ve got this one.
“Fall into the black?” At the sound of his voice the monster leaned back its head and roared. Isais felt his fresh new trousers turn warm and wet.
Look inside! Quick!
Isais suddenly became very aware of his body. Of his arms and legs and all the bones that carried him. And there, beneath the skin and the organs and the blood that pumped through his veins, he could see it. The blessed black. It called to him and he let it; let his consciousness fall.
Down, down, down, he tumbled and fell.
I’ve got this.
The voice gave him direction and he aimed his plunge towards it. Darkness filtered through the edges of his awareness, growing until his muscles were no longer his own and his body was no longer under his control.
At the last, the blackness swallowed him.
I’ve got this brother.
But the words were no longer for Isais alone. They were spoken from his mouth, erupting into the air as the berserker took control. It flexed the fingers of Isais’ body, cracked the neck. Fresh strength poured into muscles. In front of the berserker, the sewer beast roared. The berserker matched it with a snarl of its own; and ran. But it did not run away from the horror. Like an arrow released from a taut bowstring, the berserker flew straight.
And leaped. Curling its body, the berserker landed in a roll, hands stretched out. When it rose to its feet once more, it held two broken skeleton bones in two eager hands. They were thigh bones, the top of each splintered and sharp.
The beast swung a great paw. Isais’ head would have rolled from his shoulders if the berserker hadn’t already dodged. Spinning away, Berserker thrust a bone-blade. The creature roared as the makeshift weapon sunk through leathery skin. Berserker was quickly moving again, ducking under another mighty swipe and thrusting a splintered bone into the thing’s arm. Green-black blood bubbled out of the wound. Where the blood landed, the ground hissed and burned.
The second hand swung, Berserker dodged, but too slow. A small cut opened near an eye. Blood trickled down Isais’ face. Berserker wiped at it, before licking the fresh crimson from the back of his hand and grinned with teeth stained red.
The beast roared.
And the two charged once more. Three monstrous arms swiped and jabbed and swatted, but Berserker was equal to all of it. He moved with controlled anger, hands a blur. Again, and again shattered bones slashed and shredded bubbling green flesh. A left hand stabbed at the giant’s back, a right sliced at the smaller of the two legs. The behemoth lunged in desperation, its blood leaking to the ground from a hundred cuts. Berserker rushed at it, rolling once more and coming up behind the sewer creature. Body twisting, arms rising, Berserker brought the two bones down into the giant head of the thing before him.
It howled, but it was a shrill sound and absent of terror. The howl became a croak, then a flail, before the thing finally died. The two bones, now covered in fizzing blood, fell to the floor. And only then did Berserker noticed the burns from where the blood had stained his hands. Strange, Berserker thought, that the pain of Isais’ body was suddenly very real. As the mad rage slowly wore off, the discomfort of a thousand scrapes and burns settled over his body. Everything ached. Isais’ body screamed as irritation turned to pain; pain turned to agony. One wound hurt more than all the others. Berserker examined the great cut on Isais’ stomach then. It bled freely.
Berserker fell to the floor. Inside, Berserker could feel Isais’ self begin to struggle weakly.
Up ahead the door clicked open. Berserker tried to crawl, but all strength had gone from the battered body.
Eyes closed; breath slowed its escape from Isais’s throat, winding down and preparing for its last.
Something warm began to swell and build inside Isais’s body then. Berserker’s eyes flickered open. There was a golden aura that hovered over Isais’ broken body. It grew, in both size and intensity. Shapes and colors flickered inside Berserker’s mind.
They became words.
Golden light bathed Isais’ body as the wounds began to close and heal over. Berserker sat up, let out a roar that quickly became a laugh. The laugh rose in volume and power until it became the cackle of a person on the brink of insanity. For when Berserker looked inside, there was nothing. No memory of who, or what, it was. Only the lingering flavor of Isais on the edge of a consciousness otherwise empty of identity. And yet there were some things Berseker did know. It knew of Isais’s magic. It knew what these creatures that inhabited the sewer were. It knew to guide Isais.
And most strongly of all, it knew that somewhere, in the world above them, Berserker had a body.
Race: ?????. Corrupted Twinsoul.
Berserker laughed again.
“Come back, brother. I do not want to remain here any longer.”
Somewhere in the deepest part of Isais’ body, something stirred. Berserker reached down and latched onto it, pulling it up and up. As Isais came back into awareness, so to did Berserker’s control fall away.
Feeling returned to Isais then. He found himself standing, confusion momentarily flooded his mind. He blinked, pushed two fingers to his temple.
And then he vomited.
It was impossible to tell what his last meal had been for now it was all just a brown mush on the floor. Groaning and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand he paused. Was that blood he could taste? He quickly checked over his body. Despite throwing up, he found that he felt surprisingly good. Better than good. No wounds covered his arms or legs, only rips in his clothes that suggested there should have been wounds. There was a great tear in the abdomen of his tunic and his fingers scrambled at it, lifting the material. But no matter how much he probed and prodded, he could find no sign of a cut.
“What the Pasht happened?”
I levelled up.
“What in the…” Isais jumped. “Pasht’s balls! I’d forgotten about you! This was you?”
Aye brother. Ah, but it was a mighty battle.
Isais saw, then, the horrifying sewer creature. Even in death, the thing was hideous to look upon, He felt nausea build once more, and with it came recollection. Recollection of the sewer; of the rats and the skeleton and that… thing that lay before him.
An uncomfortable realization struck him then. “You killed it. You took control of my body,” Isais’s voice was low- as if he couldn’t believe the words he spoke.
You gave me control. I took nothing.
“But you can control my body. My body!” Isais felt outraged, violated.
If I couldn’t, you’d be dead.
It was hard to argue with that.
Besides, I’m always inside your body, the voice continued.
“Don’t say it like that.” Isais calmed himself, not wishing to dwell on the recent events. Already he had more questions than answers. “What is going on?”
I don’t know, brother. But I know that somewhere out there lies my body. Perhaps if we can find it, we can undo this mess.
Isais liked the sound of that very much. “Do you think it has something to do with that message? ‘Find her. Stop him.’” He quoted.
I think it has to.
“So, what do we do?”
Well, I’m no expert, but I suggest we find her. And stop him.
“Thanks for that,” Isais muttered. “I guess we start there?” he said, pointing to the big, perfectly round hole in the wall before them where once had been a stone door. Outside, were a set of blackened, broken stairs. And at their top, Isais was sure he could see a sleepy, golden ray of sunlight welcoming him forward.
Straightening his shoulders and clenching his jaw, Isais stepped outside into an unknown world.