Chapter 31: Dark Consequence

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"Without remorse they will march out of the Shadows

Returning to Reality to finish what they began.

A dark horde of demons kneeling only to Chaos,

Filled with fel intent and evil purpose.

And all of the universe will quake at their coming."

- from Roshan's Dark Verses, Crimson Empire 

The Chancellor let a long sigh ease free of his nostrils as he re-solidified, the dark energy and matter forming his body bending to his force of will to become a flesh shell into which he poured his shadowy essence. Such was the price they paid to exist on this plane, this place of Light. Another thought coiled more darkness around him to form clothing, sheathing his shell in pitifully thin fabric. Why they had to adhere to this fool's custom, none of his people knew. But it was a dictate from their dark masters and thus law.

With one final glance back into the seething morass that was the Abyss and his home, he turned and strode through the shifting fields of the great portal and back onto the plane of light the fleshlings who made it their home called Reality. Immediately the weight that was the Light struck him with enough force to make him grimace. Yet he resolutely walked on, winding his way between the massive machines carrying supplies and equipment out of the Abyss to the rapidly rebuilding city the demons had claimed as their own on this world, called Ramnor by its inhabitants.

The Chancellor's goal was the angular building some 200 paces from the portal, where he convened the demonic council that controlled the dark masters' forces here. It was known as the Anvil of Shadows, where the great hammer that was their masters' will shaped their demonic servants into the weapons they would need to be to conquer Reality. Gathering his heavy cloak around him as scant protection against the searing light, he pushed forward through throngs of black armored soldiers mustering on this side of the portal in the great courtyard facing the triangular gateway, and between less protected demons like himself, sheathed only in a shell of flesh and fabric.

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, he stepped into the welcome cool shadows marking the porch protecting the deeply inset entrance into the council building and barely managed to stifle yet another sigh of relief. A cool hand to the crystal plate set into the wall to the door's right and it irised silently open to admit him.

Stepping inside, he instantly felt the ebb and flow of dark energy increase, its power both soothing and invigorating as it filled the building to overflowing. With the building's interior a labyrinth of corridors and chambers, he let the dark energy flow guide his steps until, with another hand on a crystal plate set into a wall, a final door opening led him into the council chamber's meeting place.

>Honored Chancellor,< the nearest council member greeted him in the churning demonic tongue of the Abyss, standing to bow in his direction. If any mortal had heard the words of that language, they would've gone instantly insane from its perverse evil.

"Councilor," He replied, using the human tongue, Taren, willing the words to form in his mouth as he had no lungs to push air through non-existent vocal cords to create them as fleshlings would. As they now had human allies, it seemed prudent. He let his empty eyes swing around the long, oval table of black crystal that dominated the chamber, lit by gently glowing crystals set into the walls to just above visible threshold. By that faint light, he could see each seat was already occupied by pale skinned, black robed demons, both male and female. As one, they stood and bowed respectfully in his direction.

"And members of the Anvil of Shadow, welcome," he continued, gesturing for them to take their seats. While they were beings of dark energy and matter, it didn't take them long to adopt the mannerisms of the mortal fleshlings inhabiting this plane in mockery of their bizarre vitality.

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