"Indeed indeed, the point," said Death languidly like he had all the time in the world. "I come for you, Crow."
He pointed at Sckelg and suddenly everyone who had previously been around him had retreated to a safe distance like he was going to be struck by lightening.
Sckelg laughed nervously.
"Hahah...what's so special about me...hehehe...surely nothing...hehe...I'm sure your mistaken...I'm not going to die am I?"
His eyes bugged out and his knees started to shake.
Death sighed, no doubt having seen this a hundred times over.
"No, fear not your life is not at it's end...yet."
"Hwooo...what do you mean by that!" said Sckelg, his hand going to his throat as if he could already feel the grip of death.
"Be at peace Mortal! I come not for your life!" said Death.
Sckelg sighed and looked more jovial, with that same nervous laugh that was verging on the hysterical.
"I come to offer you a bargain."
"A Bargain? Like...what kind?" asked Sckelg shrewdly as if money was involved now.
"A Bargain, that if you should accept, will bring your beloved back to you, to the Land of the Living."
Sckelg was listening now.
"Now wait a second I know your tricks, you could say that then produce her to me as a corpse! I want her living and in perfect health, with no disfiguring diseases or mental trauma, you have to be specific and not take anyone else to replace her with-"
"You're a shrewd man, you have my word that there will be no trick or play on words in this bargain, your beloved will be restored to you as perfectly as the day she was born-"
"Uh! And by that you mean presumably at her current age?"
Death looked caught in the act and knew he couldn't pull the wool over this Mortal's eyes.
"Very well! You have my word she will rejoin you in the land of the living as sound as any healthy mortal her age."
Sckelg looked pleased that he'd won this victory.
"And what do you want me to do?"
Raystlind grinned and Sckelg didn't quite like it any more.
"You, Crow, are the only Mortal ever able to enter the Land of the Dead, through the Nine gates, and the Mists of Limbo, across the Valley and the Planes of the Dead, through the Forest of Thorns and to the very base of my Throne. It was you who gazed upon me at the very creation of time and took to the Sun King the meaning of true sorrow and despair! Thus said, it is you I wish to enter Caliga Ovissa now that you have the necessary power to do so, and confront the cause of my missing People. In doing so you will also find what took your beloved."
Sckelg looked apprehensive.
"So you know what it is then?"
"Indeed I do Crow! It is something known as a Devourer, you see...there are many types of Devourer, the kind you saw earlier that had poisoned the wood in the Heavens, I believe also they have some that can be enslaved by Mortals, but alas, the Devourer of which I speak, resides in Ovissa, hunting and devouring the souls of my lost flock...like a wolf you could say." said Raystlind grinning at Darren exposing a double set of sharp canines. "This...creature, is known only as Morovi, I have heard my people speak of it for it haunts the borders of the Mists. All I ask is that you find Morovi and destroy it."
Sckelg shifted on the spot.
"Can I take someone with me?" he ventured.
"Take as many as you like, but Morovi will devour any it comes within reach of! And you Crow, have no soul, am I not mistaken? It was taken by the Senif Eye leaving you destined to wander Ovissa? Then Morovi will smell you faster! Do you really want to put such...long lived Mortals at risk as well as yourself?"
"I'll go with you! I don't have a soul either! I gave it to Aylind!" said Rozen stepping up to back up his friend.
"Go who will, the portal is open for you, all I ask of you is to kill Morovi, only then will the Bargain be fulfilled. I might even throw in a few souls to sweeten up the deal, if you impress me Crow as you did before when I offered you the Flower amid the Thorns. Back then you were but a boy, let's see what you can do as a man, destroy Morovi and I will see. What say you?"
He held out a thin hand.
Sckelg gripped his arm in a firm shake and they sealed the Bargain.
"It's done! I lost my chance back then, I don't intend to lose it again. Morovi is as good as gone."
"You have a lot of confidence, that is good, when you see Morovi you will need it."
"We'll see." said Sckelg releasing his arm.
All Characters names and places are (c) to me.
Darren and the Garden in the Heavens are (c) to *ShadowFoxxx