I wanted to do a little something for Aramaeus' ascension, and this ridiculous nonsense is the result. While this won't make much sense, with most of the significance lost to anyone that doesn't know his background - I thought it was fitting. Majority of this was done in Think, which is fun!
Atop the peak of Asper, having accumulated sufficient essence and clarity of intent, Aramaeus finally judges that he is ready to begin his ascension.
Having ascended to the summit of the frigid isle, Aramaeus removes his gloves and coat, meticulously folding the heavy garment into a neat square before setting it aside, a black portal in the pale snow. Folding his legs, the Tekal settles into a cross-legged seated position, maintaining a rigidly upright posture, and resting his scarred, ruined hands upon his knees.
Inhaling deeply, his warped chest expands to its fullest extent, before gradually deflating in the beginning of a glacially slow, meditative breathing cycle.
Focusing intently on his mental landscape, Aramaeus envisions himself standing upon an endless expanse of frozen ocean, the great, curving arches of waves casting no shadow in the stark, unrelieved white. The lone stroke of black in this bleak canvas of tundra is a tiny speck that grows larger and larger as the Tekal's mental focus magnifies, solidifying his transposition from the physical to the spiritual. He appears as he had prior to the transformation into the Hollow state; Tall, almost fey in the delicate construction of his features, with hair as black as strands of midnight. Wearing a tastefully cut outfit of fine ebon fabric, the sole break in the severe palette of white and black is the silver chain that extends from the manacles that encircle his wrists. Peculiarly fine in form, the thin strands of gleaming metal are gripped tightly in each hand, the links descending down through the thick layers of ice and far into the still depths below, where something vast lurks.
All is silent, unmoving. Not even the faintest whisper of a breeze stirs in this land of frozen intent, and the tableau remains undisturbed for a long, suspended moment as the former mortal contemplates the chains in his hands. His expression is blank, a dearth of emotion so complete as to be uncanny, his features rendered an expertly carved mask of alabaster. "It is time to bring your imprisonment to a close." The words are quietly spoken, yet not softly delivered - filled with steel as unyielding as the bones of the earth. With a peremptory twist of the wrist, he pulls upon the chain only once - and the presence that dwells in the depths of his soul stirs, jarred from hypothermic slumber.
The ascent is not swift, not initially - it begins painfully slowly, as if the massive form is moving through cold treacle, but the accumulation of momentum is inevitable. By the time that it nears the surface, the speed of the climb is appalling, hurtling through the sea with the calamitous speed of a comet. The consequence of its impact with the crust of ice is comparable to a heavenly body crashing to earth - the mile-thick layer of ice is shattered with a detonation powerful enough to rupture tectonic plates. Jagged chunks of ice as large as entire countries rain down like the hail of the apocalypse, sending up great, shuddering plumes of powdered snow as they thunder into the neverending white. Throughout all of this, the lone figure remains, still and calm as a statue.
The cloud of pulverised ice is as dense as fog, obfuscating all from view for what seems an age. When the obscuring screen finally disperses, it reveals in glacial increments a form so vast as to block out the sky. Vaguely draconic, it is a twisted thing of purest darkness, an amalgam of black memory and emotions so intense that the pressure they exude is a palpable malevolence. Malformed eyes open in sudden jerks and spasms, thousands of slitted gouges in the uniform black snapping open to reveal every hue imaginable - and each one contains a different expression, conveys an emotion subtly different from its neighbour, wildly separate from those adjacent. The effect is akin to staring into a rent of kaleidoscopic madness, though the calm, deep blue of Aramaeus holds their gaze without flinching. The two figures regard each other for what seems like an eternity, unmoving.
The one to break the silence is the twisted leviathan, in a voice that is an infinity of voices, each one the same as Aramaeus', but altered, pitched subtly different and filled with so many distinct and blurred emotions as to meld into one titanic, mind-shattering roar. "TIME TO DIE, MADE A MISTAKE. WEAKWEAKWEAK. OPENED A RENT, OPENED A RENT, OPENED A RENT, A HOLE A HOLE A HOLE, LITTLE LONELY BOY LET HER IN, LITTLE SWEET BIRD OF FIRE, TO MELT TO MELT TO MELT." This bizarre cacophony leaves Aramaeus largely unfazed, though the corners of his eyes tighten with near imperceptible anger. A projection forms between them, a hawk formed of flame and light, which dances and twists through the air in a graceful pattern that brings it closer and closer to the ice - which begins to lose cohesion in the wake of each cavorting pass. "KILLCRUSHMAIM ONLY WAY, ONLY WAY, ONLYWAYONLYWAYONLYWAY!" screams the mountainous abomination, growing increasingly agitated with each looping circuit the illusory bird performs, until it is shrieking fit to deafen all of creation and leaping up and down on its many front limbs. Each juddering impact with the ice causes it to shudder, sending out crazed cracks for miles in every direction with every footfall.
Throughout this appalling tantrum, Aramaeus' anger grows subtly more intense, minute lines forming about his gradually downturned mouth, until the muscles of his jaws bunch and twist in contained fury. When he speaks, however, his voice is colder than the tundra upon which he stands, and soft enough that it would be a struggle to hear even in complete silence, let alone when contending with such a tirade of such impossible volume. "No." The single word is driven between the two with all the quiet menace of a sword hissing from its sheath, and the instant it cuts through the babbling madness, the titan stops, head cocking and twisting in grossly exaggerated confusion. "NO?" It gurgles, as if speaking a word in an alien language, utterly unable to comprehend its significance. "No.", Aramaeus repeats softly, the inexorable intent behind the word driving the beast back onto its myriad hind legs.
Rather than respond with any coherence, the creature begins to bellow a sound that, at first, seems as random and meaningless as its earlier spewings - though this slowly resolves into a laugh so twisted as ot be nearly unrecognisable, woven from so many disparate strands of insanity that it only the unmistakable mirth allows it to be discerned for what it is. Abruptly, the leviathan's merriment dies, cut off as completely as the air of a crushed throat. Sinuously, it lowers its vast head to regard Aramaeus with such disdain that the derision manifests as hissing globules of viscous acid, which eats through the ice in furious spume wherever it touches. The sudden clarity with which it speaks is chilling, the voices settling into a cadence and timbre that is identical to that of the man before it. "You are a fool. Mother taught us better. You know this will end only in your downfall." Lips curl back in a contemptuous sneer to reveal row upon row of teeth in every twisted form imaginable. "You cannot even claim her entire, you mewling little wretch. You deserve whatever woes befall you from this."
The lucid scorn achieves what the gibbering, garbled gouts of madness could not - Aramaeus' composure cracks, his lips drawing away to bare his teeth in a mundane mirror of his nightmarish counterpart. "You are a cringing -coward-. All Mother taught us was how to be -weak-, you pathetic amalgam of failure and fear." Lashing out with shocking suddenness, Aramaeus' hand blurs through the air to connect with the jaw of his gargantuan opposite - and, despite the comical disparity in size, the impact is accompanied by a detonation powerful enough to send the creature tumbling back to land in a boneless sprawl, fetched up against a frozen wave of dizzying height. The pale figure stalks forward, a lifetime's worth of resentment and repressed fury boiling up around him in a growing mass of liquid dark, tendrils curling and lashing about him seemingly unnoticed.
The monster scrabbles dazedly to its feet, swaying drunkenly on its innumerable array of legs. Giving its massive head a shake, it rounds on the advancing human with renewed ferocity, a savage sound of outraged fury bellowing forth from its cavernous chest. It leaps forward, an immense paw slamming down to pin Aramaeus to the ice in a concussive blow that widens the fracture lines in the ice to the size of canyons, black water seeping up to ooze from the wounds like the blood of the void. With a low, vicious hiss that roils with malevolent triumph, the abomination croons, "Now I will consume you. You will be subsumed, as you should have been in the beginning - and -I- will be ascendant. -I- will walk in your frail flesh and it will be with -your- hand that I slit her throat, -as you should have done in the beginning.-"
Putting action to words, the huge, monstrous manifestation snaps the pinned form of Aramaeus up so swiftly that the man has no time to respond, swallowing with a sickening writhing of its throat. It begins to crow with childish delight, dancing about in a capricious, thundering jig of victory - only to jerk to a sudden halt. Its gullet begins to squirm and distend, the midnight flesh bulging as if pressed from within. It coughs abruptly, sending out a spray of atramentous fluid that spatters across the ice in growing puddles of purest black. Gagging, it hacks and chokes, clawing at its throat in an increasing panic, spewing forth great gouts of dark fluid that flood the landscape.
The desperate, feverish attempts to dislodge that which is rending it apart from within grow weaker, and weaker, until it slumps on its side bonelessly, gasping like a beached whale from a nightmare sea. Its many disparate limbs twitch and shudder in a disturbing, staccato rippling, while the kaleidoscope of eyes bulge unseeing, rolling madly, as if desperate to escape their prison of flesh. With a sickeningly wet tearing sound, the skin of the aberration's chest swells, splitting apart like rotted fruit, claws of solidified dark slicing their way free of the ropey, clinging mass of fibrous muscle. Pushing through, a humanoid figure coated in uniformly black viscera staggers out, dragging behind it a heart large as a whale. Hauling his grim prize further out onto one of the few remaining floes of the shattered tundra, Aramaeus turns upon it with the look of a man starved his entire life - and begins to rip off chunks of dripping gore, stuffing them in his mouth so swiftly that he barely has time to swallow.
The grisly meal eventually comes to a close, Aramaeus' gorging having eliminated any trace of the vast organ, devoured bite by impossible bite until naught remains. The draconic leviathan sags, collapsing in great, snapping heaves and shudders until it abruptly liquefies, flowing out in a great tide of lusterless midnight liquid. It washes over Aramaeus, who makes no move to resist it, and it sweeps across the inner landscape, dissolving any lingering traces of ice until all is a limitless pool of perfectly still black. The sole exception to this is a figure of purest white, which sits upon the liquid in a meditative posture, eyes closed and expression serene. All is still, as it was in the beginning, but the quality of this new sensation is not that of enforced, frozen intent, but of a calm so complete that nothing stirs within.
Resolved, you still your thoughts and bend your mind to the task of completing your hollow form. The essence within you roils as you ineptly attempt to manipulate it. Then, with horrifying suddenness, you feel the constraints on your soul unravel, allowing the very essence of your being to spill away and evaporate, taking swathes of your material form with it. Your fraying psyche begins to collapse beneath its own weight, and as darkness laps at the edges of your vision, understanding finally blossoms within you. In a fevered instant, you grasp what must be done, and from the rapidly disintegrating remnants of your body you weave a new form, an echo of your imperfect self; a cage of flesh and bone to contain your wild, unfettered mind. Your spirit once again settles uneasily within your transformed flesh, and with bone-deep certainty you know you have become an Idreth.
A shiver runs through Creation, rapidly swelling into a thunderous, echoing tone that heralds the rebirth of the Idreth, Aramaeus.
Aramaeus opens his eyes, exhaling in a plume of white. The smile that curves his lips is a subtle thing, a faint suggestion of satisfaction - but it is within the striking surface of his eyes that the exultance is visible, a gleaming light of sheer, undiluted triumph.
He is a wise Idreth of Human heritage and is as a creature sculpted from an artists ideal of elegant, cold perfection. With flesh as smooth and flawless as polished white marble, the broad shoulders and narrow waist form a frame for a lean, graceful musculature that emphasises the balance of power and speed. The thick, lustrous locks of alabaster hair are so meticulously styled as to appear spun from purest snowfine, swept back from the brow, save for an artful array of tresses that arch down on the right. The features that make up the chill, remote visage are almost delicate in nature, though they retain a masculine air overall. The cheekbones are high and fine, complemented by an elegant jawline and a straight, modestly proportioned nose. The eyes are perhaps the most striking feature of this being, providing the sole source of colour in the unrelenting monochromatic palette. Like shattered mirrors set upon pools of lustrous black, the polished chrome is splintered, fractured apart by the ebon that is riven throughout - which makes the brilliantly saturated slivers of fluorescent colour all the more prominent. A dazzling riot of hues form a fragmented kaleidoscope of lambent energies, scintillating in every imaginable colour, limning the fractured silver discs in sporadic, lucent levin. The throat and hands are coated in glossy scales of varying thickness, the peculiar scutes formed from a slowly flowing liquid of utter black which occasionally drifts into the air in languid, atramentous splashes of night.