With an exhausted wave, Ivanson pulled forth a minute amount of power from his soul, channeling the force into a compact ball. Like a firefly it whirled about him, radiating a soft blue light. The meagre sphere cast long shadows as it drifted, struggling to illuminate the great structure that Ivanson had approached.
The once regal tower now lay in disrepair. Cracks crossed the marbled stone, great chunks broken off here and there. Monstrous effigies and gargoyles painstakingly sculpted into the structure were battered and chipped, the weathering of time making them far more hideous.
Ivanson marvelled at the tower’s scale. His faint light illuminated but a fraction of the expansive structure, much of the building consumed by shadow. “Almost takes your breath away,” he hummed, a pained chuckle escaping his lips.
With a gesture he commanded the sphere to hang above his shoulder. With enough light to walk by he rounded the hulking tower, flint grating under his hobnailed boots. Past the edifice stretched a field of tall, rectangular rocks, stuck upwards unnaturally. Ivanson eyed the stones as he passed, cautious of everything in this strange place. His meagre light revealed scratches upon the faces of the rocks, most so faded as to be unintelligible. Now and again, however, Ivanson could make out letters and names.
“Headstones,” he mumbled as he shuffled past, “A field of bloody headstones…” Ivanson shook his head, doing his damndest to stay focused. His knowledge of this place was spotty at best, as all who once crossed it and returned had died ages ago. He was left with a mess of poorly translated, second-hand accounts tucked away in rotten tomes and moth-chewed scrolls. “Let’s just hope I don’t run into Him…”
Ivanson pressed on through the sea of forgotten souls. A number of headstones bore freshly carved names, yet before them an empty grave yawned. It was these stones that Ivanson studied closest. He would curse under his breath and continue on when he failed to recognize the names. His frustration mounting, he increased his pace, the frenzied tapping of his sword-turned-cane bounding into the darkness.
A rattle drew Ivanson from his search. Spinning, he raised his blade and readied himself for combat. Hampered by his wound he was forced to take a low guard, his blade pointed upwards towards any would-be attackers. What he saw, however, forced him to drop his sword.
A swirling mass of darkness coalesced before him, solidifying into a shroud of utter blackness. It twisted and fluttered in an ethereal wind, wrapping itself around a humanoid frame. Shadow condensed into steel, enveloping the figure in jagged plates of armour. Smoke poured from the gaps in the armour, gathering in the figure’s right gauntlet. In an instant it ignited with a sickly flame the colour of amethyst. The inferno shaped itself into a blade of violet fire, illuminating the surrounding gravestones.
Finally, a pair of eyes manifested above the headless torso. Like stars they flickered with a white light, cold and distant. These eyes bored into Ivanson, and the traveller’s heart skipped a beat.