Moros mage: a Necromancer on the Path of Doom
It started out like any other day, the last day that I, Artemis Jewel, died.
I woke to the sound of my alarm going off, my roommate groaning, and the sun piercing the dingy dorm room I called home. It was the last semester I had in college, not because I was done, but because I couldn’t pay the loans and they were about to default. It had already been 5 years of college and I was no where near a degree, not because I couldn’t cut it but because I always jumped from subject to subject, always interested in parts of the knowledge not the curriculum. But forgive me for my tangent, that is the life that was once lived, not the story I wish to tell here.
The day continued and I attended my advance physics class, one of the few I truly enjoyed. The topic was solid state harmonics and it was actually interesting until I couldn’t follow along. The material wasn’t the issue, it was the instructor. He began to speak in a language I had never heard before, I thought at first it was gibberish, a joke, but no one else in the class had appeared to take notice. I asked some of my classmates what was going on and they just gave me strange stares. When I started to listen again it was back to my instructor spouting the value of material engineering and the importance of useless knowledge.
I wasn’t sure if was just stress or bad food, but that wasn’t the last incident of the day. In history all the books were filled with text that wasn’t of this world, at lunch I saw the essence of everything in the room (I couldn’t think about finishing my burger after I had seen what its essence was), and in philosophy the world grew dim and bright again, over and over. Something strange was going on and I thought I was really messed up.
I decided that I had to clear my head and get help, serious psychiatric help. I set up an appointment and then went on a walk to cool off and clear my head I guess that would e the last anyone would ever see of me. I went down to the park and just enjoyed the beauty of it, passed by the cemetery taking in the serenity, and then headed back to my dorm.
On my way back, on a bridge that crossed the river (five years and I never learned the name of that river), I was blinded by light. A pick-up, you know one of those suped-up ones loud as hell, came swerving down the road with the high beams on. I pushed up against the railing trying to make myself as small as a target as possible, but to no avail. The driver, a drunkard or incompetent fool, plowed right into me . . . killing me.
As I reflect back on it I’m not quite sure if I died, but at the time I was fairly sure of it. The pain of the impact, the despair of my life slipping away, and the harsh impact of the water sealed my fate. As I was enveloped my the water I believe I was just feeling terror and pain, no epiphany, no calmness, no closure. But then I was grabbed and pulled from the water, was I saved? No, for my rescuer was nothing short of the grim reaper.
I knew I was dead, I had to be. There I was in a land that looked like hell, sitting in a gondola with a reaper, what else could it be. I thought I was going to be taken along the river we drifted on to my final resting place, but no. The reaper guided the boat from landing to landing exposing me to creatures, ideas, and truths that I couldn’t have imagined before. It seemed like ages that the reaper and I traveled the river Styx, he always silent and I unresisting and accepting of all that came. Even the tests that weighed my soul that tested my mettle I solemnly undertook and passed to some degree. It was a journey that I will never regret, but I wish no other person to ever have to take.
After what seemed to be an eternity of experiences the reaper and I came to a landing unlike the others. This place was simply a stone floor and a wall, a wall or skulls. It reached far beyond my sight to the sky and stretched out beyond the horizons, countless skulls all slightly different, but all seemingly the same. The reaper grew near to the wall and pointed to one skull. I walked to it and unconsciously reached out to it. As my hand grasped it the skull began to grow hot. Hotter and hotter it became, I tried to pull away but I couldn’t, my hand wouldn’t obey. As the heat became too much, all went black.
As I opened my eyes I was still grasping the skull, but I was no longer in my ‘hell’. smooth stone walls, cool dry air, Gothic architecture, and the remains from centuries ago told me this place was a crypt. The skull was now not hot, but slightly cool and I could feel something between the skull and my hand. As I pulled away I was holding a lead coin with intricate designs on it and the skull bore my name, “Artemis Jewel”. An instant later the chiseled letters melded into the skull as though they were never there, leaving alone in a crypt with noting more than knowledge and my coin. As I made my way through the halls and rooms I recounted my journey and the truths that had been revealed to me, what the world was, how I was involved, and the life I could no longer live.
I pushed the heavy wooden doors open and a wave of warm summer evening air filled my lungs, hot, muggy, but full of life. The graveyard where I stood overlooked a city, I did not know its name at that time, but I did know that I would make it my new home.
Artemis Jewel was dead, all that remained was myself, Styx.