Eloric stood in the hallway before the throne room with tears in his eyes. After this, things would never again be the same, for him, for anyone. As his tears of grief rolled down his cheek, it occurred to him that this was the first time in his life he could recall crying.
The dagger felt cold in his hands as his fingers absently traced the pattern worked into the hilt. Passed down from generation to generation, the crimson seal of the Entruid royal family still stood out as though recently engraved, despite the dagger having been crafted by the first of the Entruid a thousand years ago. The sacrificial blade of the Entruid family was always passed on to the eldest son of each generation upon whose shoulders lay the burden of carrying on the dynasty. A dynasty that Eloric had decided would end with him.
Wiping away his tears, Eloric placed his hands on the massive solid oak doors in front of him. His father’s throne room lay just beyond these doors, and upon that throne sat the sole object of his burning hatred. Beside his father he could expect to find Art’riel and Art’arsin, both demons who followed his father Entrosis around like dogs. Always silent, ever vigil, these demons never spoke, instead single-mindedly guarding their charge with the utmost devotion. Their dark hulking bodies a solid mass of muscle framed by giant leathery wings.
Taking a deep breath, Eloric pushed slightly open the massive doors guarding the throne room. Like a moth to a flame, his eye was immediately drawn to the sight of his father, sitting on the throne with a book open on his lap. The demon bodyguards, arms folded in front, gave only a slight flap of their wings in response to the appearance of their master’s son.
Though he’d been here countless times, it never failed to give him pause, the simple majesty of the room, it always seemed so incredibly massive when first entering due to the height of the vaulted ceiling and the size of the six statues surrounding the room, tall and made of granite, with flowing robes open only in the face wherein lie nothing but shadows. The seventh, and largest statue was standing directly behind the throne itself, an onyx representation of the Father Betrayer himself, it’s black as night wings open above the throne in an almost sheltering fashion. Always reminding him who sat upon the dais of Him who was really the master of this palace, the statue radiated evil like a flame heats a room. Just seeing the statue, feeling its evil presence, was enough to make the weak cry out in terror, the strong, tremble. Today, the room was of no concern to Eloric, even the evil gold eyes of the statue and it’s oppressive presence failed to cause Eloric a moment’s hesitation; the focus of his hatred sat upon the throne itself and the thin frail skeleton of a man that sat under the statue’s wings.
Eloric’s heart was hammering in his chest; sweat beading on his brow, breath coming in ragged gasps as he fought to keep his overwhelming hatred from carrying him away into a foolish mistake. His decision had long since been made, now all that mattered was finishing the deed itself. Ending it all, his father, his reign, even at the cost of himself, was all that really mattered to Eloric anymore. His son was gone, his life, in ruins. Though he’d spent years preparing for the eventuality, that his son was chosen by their god himself to be sacrificed should’ve brought him great pride.
It was all gone now. His son, his faith, he would make his god pay, and his father for betraying him to such damnation.
Eloric forced himself to slow and calm his breathing, steadying himself for what lie ahead. His father, finally taking note of his son’s arrival, let the book fall from his lap to the marble floor as he realized that not all was well with his son who stood braced within the doorway, one hand on each massive oak door seemingly for support. His demon bodyguards to each side slowly unfolding their arms as they sensed something was amiss.
His body trembling with anger, Eloric whispered, “How could you?”
In one heart stopping second, Eloric shifted his weight off his palms still resting on the doors, and unleashed a shockwave of power through each fist. With an ear shattering crack, each door folded in half at the point of impact and launched itself across the room like an arrow released to seek its intended target.
Within the space of another heartbeat, both demon bodyguards were caught by the airborne missiles. Art’riel on the left was torn in half by the impact, his legs simply falling flat while his upper torso was carried off and embedded in the back wall by the top half of the oak door, the bottom half sent careening through one of the stained glass windows surrounding the room after ricocheting off the raised throne dais. Art’arsin’s managed a single flap of his wings before being caught by part of the other door, it’s lower half knocking the demon’s legs backwards while the upper half of the door reached the demon’s throat. Art’arsin’s was dead before his body reached the wall.
Both demons dead, Art’riel’s body continued reflexively to writhe from the back of the throne room, both having been carried off from the impact of the massive oaken doors. The room was now silent beyond the sound of Art’riel’s body refusing to accept its fate, the leathery wings twitching as the demon’s remaining upper torso fought to flaw its way back to its master’s side.
The emotionless voice of his father rang out in sharp contrast to Eloric’s own tortured emotions. “My son, does something trouble you?”
“He was my son!”
“His sacrifice was demanded by our god. You should be honored, that our master would choose your very own son to remake in his own image.” Entrosis made a show of bending over slowly and retrieving his book and returning to his throne.
“My son is dead, because of you! Because of your fool’s religion. Because of your false pride; you who cannot accept what is right in front of you, you who cannot accept that our god does not exist. My son died for a lie! Your lie!” He shouted, pointing his dagger at his father.
Entrosis’ eyes took on a deadly, icy glare, his previous calm demeanor now gone. “You go too far my son; I’ll not allow you to blaspheme our lord.”
Abruptly, Entrosis’ eyes refocused on his own son before him, recognizing at last, the anguish and torture masking Eloric’s face as he approached the throne. “You are upset now, but you have always known this would be the way of things, that your son was chosen! Even now he is with our master, and we are to prepare this world for our master’s return.” Standing now, Entrosis’ voice rang out loud through the empty chamber, though the words felt hollow to Eloric’s ears.
“He is my master no longer.” Eloric said as he came up the dais steps to stand before his father.
“My son, I forgave you your anger, but now you go too far! You will bow before your god now,” he cried as he turned towards the onyx statue of Melkur. Arms up as though beseeching his god to interdict on his behalf before continuing, “or you will bow before him in person!”
Eloric glanced up, past the throne to the enormous onyx statue of the dark god, its gold eyes, seemingly alive with delight at the dispute now raging before it. He turned his attention back to his father, now standing on his throne, hands held high above his head.
“Your god has deserted you. This,” he gestured towards the dark statue, “cannot save you.”
Suddenly Entrosis spun about, thrusting both palms forward towards his son. A bright flash filled the entire chamber, blinding Eloric while knocking him off the dais onto to the floor, the resounding crack echoing through the chamber. Eloric landed on his chest, his face smashing into the marble floor. Pulling his knee underneath his chest, Eloric spat blood onto the ground as he got back onto his feet, the whole while glaring at his father.
“My son, I never wished this. But if you stand against me in this, I shall send you to bow before our master in the abyss!”
“He is my master no longer!” Eloric spoke as he picked himself from the floor and began slowly walking again towards his father, the dagger still clenched tightly in his fist.
Movement drew Eloric’s eyes back to the statue of the dark god. The wings had drawn in against the body and its head bowed down, gone was the menacing light in its eyes. Entrosis felt the presence of his dark god suddenly vanish and spun towards the statue, face pale and eyes wide in horror at having been abandoned.
Now standing directly behind him, Eloric whispered into his ear, “be sure to give your master my regards, father.” With that, Eloric drove his dagger to the hilt into his father’s back.
His father tried to speak, while reaching back in a feeble attempt to remove the dagger. He then abandoned his efforts and slowly turned to look at his son. Eloric couldn’t be sure if the shock registering itself in his father’s gray eyes was the shock of being slain by his own son, or of being abandoned by the god to whom he’d devoted over a quarter of a century worth of his life to.
Either way, it made little difference as even the shock in his eyes faded away to be replaced by the cold empty gaze of nothingness.
Eloric then stepped back, and closed his eyes as the madness washed over him.