Have you ever heard the tales of the lower planes?
The stories always rang in my head as a child. Tales that were meant to frighten me, and scare me into being a good child.
However they did nothing more than intrigue me. Tales of great monsters rising from the depths, to reign punishment, to show their power, and to punish the sinners. These are the stories that i grew on, Never showing my true thoughts.
I lived a fairly normal life. I became a quick study of the arcane arts, And soon became know as an apprentice to the masters of the Elven libraries. Our Forest Sanctuary was one of the greatest Sanctuaries of knowledge left standing in our world. I was held in very high esteem for my interest, and my Ideas about new ways to use magic. I quickly became one of the most prized apprentice’s that the library had ever know. However the Recognition that i got would never be enough after the things that i had been learning.
My passion for the Cursed realms of this universe never ceased.
Many people thought me to be a Dark or Twisted person, Due to my interest in the lower realms, However i could never see it that way. For the stories that i grew up on, Showed the Demons as creatures of Slaughter, Whom were there to punish those whom were damned for what they’ve done. Avengers, Clad in Fire and Brimstone, Ridding the world of the Sinners that litter our world.
I was young, And naive, I knew not the nature or mind of the demon. Not like i do now.
The library was a vast place, Many of it’s halls and cloisters were not available to the public, But were reserved for arcanists and researchers. These were homes to some of the most ancient spell-books and rituals that existed, Many spells that no one left alive have seen, let alone heard of. But the lower halls were worse.
The Library was built into the oldest tree to exist in elven lands, carrying off far into the bough and branches, which were thick enough to carry entire wings of the library, The inside lived and crafted itself around the books, and around ourselves. It seemed as though the Tree itself took the knowledge that is housed here, and moved it into it’s own life force. However the older the tree, the deeper the roots.
Deep underneath the surface of our citadel were the Roots were we kept all dark Magics. Few knew this place Existed, and of the few that did know of it. I was the only one whom would dare to cross the threshold. Many people said that even being in the halls beneath was enough to drive them mad, the Dimly lit halls, Most say they can even hear the whispers of those whom never left the Deep musty halls.
Most of my Waking hours were spent in this place, many forgot my place at the library, i was seen so scarcely. It was here that i learned more about my obsession than even i wished to know. I read the tomes carefully, Knowing which ones not to touch before even handling the leathers of their binding. Many times could i have lost my life by stroking the spine of the incorrect book. However one day even through all the maps that I’ve seen of this place, i found a room that was Unmarked. There was no notes of this place in any diagram or map of the library. This room was not supposed to be found.
When the Cases at the far end of the hall were cleaned off, I noticed something then, Carved into the great wooden bookcase. Dusting the Polished wood revealed a very old carving, The language was old. Older than most care to remember in our world. But i could make them out. “Daimonas Sarka.” Demon Flesh.
When i spoke the word aloud, The root began, Twist beneath my feet. The Room shaped itself around me, The Book cases Shifting to create a room of their own, and Soon, I was there. The room before me was unlike anything i had ever seen before. A great room full of various test Subjects, i could see creatures that had been stuffed, different body parts in Jars. This room was well used for whatever it was used for.
The size of the room didn’t make sense, however with magic things rarely did. Peering through the gap made by the book cases, I saw a scene far more gruesome than those I’d read about.
A small set of stairs declined slightly into the pool. The floor had a small pool of blood, not even enough to cover my feet, but enough to make the floor a solid pool of crimson.In the middle of the pool, Sat the altar, The flickering light of candles surrounded the pool, revealing the large tome on the pedestal. It seemed like a normal book, Until getting closer, When looking, the fine cover and binding of the book had a very strange leather.
It was Human.
The Binding was stitched.
It seemed as though someone had created the book through the same methods that one would stuff an animal.But the runes around the edges told me otherwise. The dull brown they were written in was unmistakeably blood. Dried and left for many a century. The chills running down my spine almost rendered me unable to walk, unable to speak. However that level of paralysis didn’t come until i stepped into the pool of blood.
“What do you offer?”
The voice resounded in my mind. I looked around the room, trying to discern if there was an echo to what i heard. Unfortunately there was not. The voice was calling from within my own mind.
“What do you take?”
Those were the gravest words I’ve ever spoken.
I heard the laughter resounding in my head. Not just one. But many.
“You’re a brave one. We like that. We don’t repeat ourselves very often.What do you offer?”
The Sweat began to pour down my face, I was trembling, I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t think. All i could do was Answer.
“I will give whatever it takes.”
The book slowly began opening. The cover fell hard with a thud on the altar.
“You will give us that and so much more.”
The Laugh began again, echoing in my head, As i stood, terrified of what I’ve just done. I’ve never managed to experience the mirth of demons first hand until this moment. At this moment i understood the True ruthlessness that demons are capable of. Two great arms slowly reached out of the book. These hulking arms reached their way towards me, I felt them wrapping around my body. Lifting me into the air. Then another pair began to emerge, these ones however weren’t like the book, They were made of Shadows. The darkest void in created form. I had no idea what was about to happen to me. The shadow arms slowly slid my shirt to my neck. I still couldn’t move, I could only watch in horror as i became the plaything of this book.
“The Libram of Flesh will use you well.”
The Voice rang out again. The hands reached back down to the book, Flipping through the pages. The arms began to pull a page from the book.
“I believe a fiend skin should work fine for your first.”
The hands held a red patch of flesh, It was a dark red, much like the pool i walked into. The arms moved Closer, Seemingly fitting it to my Chest. After placing it in the shape of a Diamond going from the bottom of my neck, to the bottom of my ribs.
I heard that horrific cackling again.
Then i saw what they were doing.
The Arms clapped their hands, and when they came apart from each other i knew what was going to happen.
The hands seemed to pull a needle and thread from themselves. They got closer, Bobbing and weaving, Then i felt it, The Injection, In and out, They began Stitching the patch of Flesh to me. It was agonizing.
I almost fell into a state of shock. But these needles, They were something completely different, The pain seared my whole body every time the needle entered and left.Then the pain stopped. Underneath the patch of demon flesh, all i could feel was the my own skin burning, almost as though it was melding itself to me. I knew i would no longer be the same.The arms went back into the book slowly. Setting me down in the pool of blood.
I managed to move again, To stand, And i felt Invigorated. I felt Different, My blood felt like it was Boiling, i felt as though there was nothing that could stand in my way. I quickly took the book from the altar, And threw it in my satchel. I needed to leave this place. The library was no longer a place that i could call home. Walking out of the pool. I found the room re-arranging itself back to the hallway that i had originally entered.
As this place would not be Easy to escape if anyone were to know what has been removed from here. Taking a few tomes of old magic, And a couple little magic trinkets that i can find. It seems that this Large library was not large enough to keep me entertained.
Leaving the city i looked back from the trees outside my former home. I never saw myself leaving this place. I never saw myself becoming branded like i did. I never saw the true evil that demons were possessed of. But now i understood. Running my hand under my shirt over the red patch of skin that was grafted to my chest.
I could hear the whispers from the book, As the strands of shadows slowly began to emerge from my Satchel, Taking a form Different from the arms that had extended previously, These streaks of pure void rose from my pack slowly leaning down over my shoulder.
The Globes of Darkness slowly opened, Revealing a mouth of twisted jagged teeth, They spoke with a Chilling tone, Almost childlike.
“You will make the perfect vassal for us, The Libram thanks you greatly for your offer, Hellgrafter.”
I could tell this was only the beginning.
That was something the laughing voices would never let me forget.
They call me Hellgrafter. After hearing it so many times, I’m starting to have a hard time remembering my real name.
Maybe now i can achieve the true power that I’ve heard of since i was a child.