Trial of Ascension

this is the story of what has happened to Zaros during the years he was absent from gielinor. written in first person, i try to shed light on who Zaros became after he lost his Godhood at the hands of Zamorak.

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1. The Land of the Dead

My world was silent and still as I moved ever onward between worlds. Once upon a time, I could have done this freely in all my power as a god, but my power is no more. I can barely remember my own name, the core of my very identity, but the name Zaros still clings to me as a small sliver of hope.  One minute felt like an eternity as I drifted in the cold empty spaces between worlds and I finally knew what it was like to be a spirit, forever trapped to drift between the material and the metaphysical. A bright light winked into existence, replacing the void with luminescence like the spirit of a holy god. I attempted to scream at such brilliance but I had no voice as I was drawn closer to this light. It melded into my being filling as I felt the strings of my own destiny, or demise, force me to endure this coldest of hells. 

            Suddenly I found myself on land, the air knocked out of my lungs as I landed on the hot cracked earth of some foreign desert. I stood and drew my hood over my face, the golden cowl with my famed and feared mark only reminding me of how far I had fallen. I surveyed my surroundings with a glimmer of curiosity, by all means I should be dead, my power a faint echo that reverberated through my being faintly. Red sand flung around in the maddening daze of a sandstorm, the red clouds obscuring what could be a bright sun in the heavens above, the cracked earth a sharp contrast as I stretched for as far as I can see. My golden robes flapped around in frenzy as I began to walk, my sharp purple eyes searching my path forward.

            I could not say how long I walked, be it for years or for a few minutes until I was contacted. At first it came as a joy to me to communicate with whatever lived on this barren dead world, but with my joy followed fear, the same fear I had when that pathetic Zamorak plunged that staff into my back. Instinctively my hands drew to the small of my mortal back, grasping for a wound I felt would not be there. The red dust that choked the air began to form into a humanoid shape and the next moment I found myself staring at an old man, his face wrinkled and wise. I could not speak for I had nothing to say, my mind weary and weak from what I had lost. 

“It has been ages, Empty Lord, since I have seen a living creature on this realm,” spoke the old man. His voice came from everywhere and nowhere. I could feel it thundering through my being like a spring rain through soft dirt, soaking through what soul I still have left, refreshing yet commanding in its presence. It permeated through the gritty sand and choked skies and my mind knew that this indeed was the guardian of this world.

“Where am I?” I said, drawing my robes close to me to protect myself from the sands. The old man did not answer at first and I feared I had gone truly mad, viewing just a mirage in this endless blasted plain.

“ This is the world where many a dead god have come when they are not destined to fade, your soul still clings to life when fate has turned ill, for the world still has a need for you, “ proclaimed this wise specter.  I swiftly drew in a sharp breath, defiance glaring within me.

“I am more powerful than just a simple god, even the most mighty I have lain low, and I will not dare remain here for a moment longer and trifle myself with the musing of an old man made of sand!”

I glared at the specter, unable to make out any features on that stoic face.  I nodded to myself in silent agreement for I had no need to trifle my time with this fool. The stormed forward, and made a dismissive gesture destroying the guardians form with a mere backhand.  Then all was quiet until the sand roared increasingly harder, my progress slowed and even halted as I tried pushing onward with all my strength, the winds sapping my will, weakening me to the very core of my being. My joints popped and creaked like an old man as I felt the wind sap my energy.

Finally, I could take no more and I fell to my knees, my final act of defiance was to roar to whatever heavens existed in the realm of the dead. My vision blurred and I realized that for the first time, this is what it felt like to truly die. It grew silent and as much as my spirit begged and defiantly push onward, my body gave out, this mortal form a mere shadow of what I had used to be. I hovered between realms, the glimmering light of death and the hot shadow of the world I was leaving behind. I, again, felt a push shove me back into this desolate world and I found myself on my knees, weary but alive. I realized the sands had stopped but it was still hard to see more than a yard in either direction.

Climbing to my feet a stared at the ground and shock flitted my being, my mortal heart racing like a gallop of horses. Black tar bubbled and popped from the cracked earth like a diseased wound, festering and growing with such short time. More poured out and it began to form, not into a puddle, but into the humanoid shape of a man. I thought for a moment this would be the old man from before, but my instincts disagreed. Death and decay reeked like black mold over this monster as a pair of hands formed from the muck. It chucked the sounds of a choked gurgle and I wrinkled my mouth in disgust.

“Great Zaros, wise and powerful Empty Lord,” spoke the bubbling tar. “ I muse at your disgust of me; I should be a welcoming sight to your magnificence, a reminder of your…unsavory allies.”

It moved like a disease, flowing around me like a living death as I turned to face it once more. I searched for a proper response but could find none, leaving me with only one alternative but to listen to this thing some more.

“I can offer you the power you once so gloriously wielded; it is but a gift I could offer such a mighty god,” said the wretched tar, its hideous form bowed. His snakelike voice and cunning only elicited a grin from me. I had millennia of such whimpering from servants but nothing like this. But the offering, the power I once wielded the revenge that still beat bright like a flame that both enlivened and burned my soul. I outstretched my hand, temptation consuming me. The tar burbled in a silent laugh as it goaded me onward, its hands seeking mine to meld with its chest.  

My hand was just out of reach with its murky chest when flash of light slammed into the creature eliciting a dreadful scream as part of it burnt away to ash. The spell it had over me was broken and I stood shock shelled as the old man was back, sand flew around his gritty face as he raised a staff made of pure light at the bubbling tar. The tar screeched and flung itself back into the dirt, vanishing in mere moments leaving me with the old man. I tried coming to terms with what was happening, but everything was so foreign. Once a god, I felt I could have perceived everything around me and understand the world more intimately than any mortal, yet this was something entirely different.

“Will you heed my words now, Empty Lord, “said the old man. I stared down at the ground where I tar disappeared and came to the only conclusion there was.

“What am I meant to do here? “I said. The old man raised his staff once more and like a knife, slashed away the clouds leaving me to gaze at a barren flat earth with the same cracked desolate features as the ground I stood upon.

“This is the world of the dead, built for gods to endure the trial of redemption. Your trial here is to decide…and ultimately to endure,” the old man whispered, his voice a solemn mournful tone which depth I could not fathom.

“This dead world I do not understand, great guardian, but with time I feel I will, “I said, determined to understand.

“Time is really all you have left,” replied the old man. “Continue to walk and this world will test you. Beat the test and this world will reward you.  And with that the old man disappeared, the sand flowing away on a light hot breeze, leaving me to stare into the distance.

 

 

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