Darkness was all that could be made out for miles upon miles. There seemed to be no end to the impenetrable obscurity that covered the strange world in the midst of which there sat a lone man, staring into what appeared to be a purple crystal ball. The man was dressed in a faded black tuxedo, which clung so closely to his body that one could easily see that his body was quite a thin one. In fact, he seemed so thin that even the most gentle breeze would blow him away. What largely contributed to his apparent fickleness was the fact that most of his limbs appeared many times longer than they would be on a regular person, making him look completely absurd; monstrous, actually.
His face, which would already have been impossible to make out due to the darkness, was further obscured by a crude, theatrical mask, which was tightly strapped to his face, almost as if it was part of his face.
The crystal ball, which he was holding, was glowing strangely in his hands. In fact, it didn’t appear to be glowing, but rather radiating darkness, which further solidified its owner’s identity as that of a monster.
Masked, as he was, one couldn’t make out what he looked like, nor which emotions were apparent on his face. However, if one were to look and listen closely, they would notice that the man was humming an imaginative tune, which he appeared to be making up on the spot.
It seemed almost ethereal, the tune, because of the creativity with which it was composed. It consisted of fluctuation highs and lows, which were switching, just before any potential listeners would grow bored. In short, his humming was quite impossible to describe as either tiresome or monotonous.
One didn’t have to fill in many gaps in order to know that the lone, masked man was unique in more ways than one. The grace with which he hummed, and the concentration with which he fiddled with the ball in his hands were both quite unattainable to the average person.
But then again, it wasn’t like he had much to do, seeing as the surrounding scenery was that of complete, perfect darkness. Actually, darkness would be the wrong word to use. Because even though there was only dark and shadows, anyone present would easily be able to make out the masked man and even see the colors, or lack thereof, on his person.
For the first time in a while, the man stretched his arms. He looked like he had grown tired of whatever he was doing, and rolled onto his back, seemingly satisfied with himself.
That was when his voice cut through the silence.
”Could this be the one?”
The question appeared to be one that wasn’t meant to make sense to others than the masked man.
He raised the crystal ball above his head, and stared deep into its purple, misty core, which was still glowing in its strange, backwards way.
The man sighed, before indifferently throwing the crystal ball away, as if it didn’t mean anything to him. As it flew through the blackness, the sphere slowly merged with the dark. It became less and less clear, until it had completely fused with the nothingness that seemed to occupy everything in the strange, barren world.
”Looking for pets again, Evi?” someone asked.
The masked man, who had been referred to as ’Evi’, turned around to see a redheaded woman, who had seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
Her beautiful, red locks of hair, which reached halfway down her back, seemed to almost bend the blackness around her. It looked like the darkness wouldn’t dare touch her, as if she was a goddess of some kind, yet would seem as if she wasn’t, however, because out of her forehead stuck two long, black horns, which testified to her lack of relation to anything divine. She wore a long, red and black victorian dress, which reached her ankles, which were neatly placed in a polished pair of high heels. Her most noticeable characteristic, however, wasn’t her alluring, womanly beauty, nor was it the awe-inspiring expensiveness of her dress, but rather the intelligent, blue eyes that completely contradicted everything about her otherwise red and black theme.
”Pets? Nefaria, I have no pets, nor do I have the time to spend looking after any such tedious creatures,” responded the man called Evi, as he stood up.
”Yet you tend to spend years on end peering into the lives of others’. Do you even have one of your own?” asked the woman.
She was about to open her mouth again, but stopped, as she saw the long-limbed man in front of bend backwards, laughing in sheer amusement over what Nefaria had said.
He kept laughing and laughing, until his lungs couldn’t keep up anymore, turning his laughing into a forced, unhealthy-sounding wheeze.
”A life? Don’t you think that’s a little too much to ask of me to have? I mean, I’ve been here for who knows how many thousands of years, yet you expect me to retain something as advanced and time-consuming as a life. I’m sorry, but I think I’ll stick to—how did you put it? ’Peering into the lives of others’?”
Once again, his not-at-all unpleasant laugh filled the nothingness, much to his female counterpart’s annoyance.
”Have it your way, but please don’t mess with the lives of too many people at once. Remember the last pet you kept? Do you remember all the lives he took, not to mention how unpleasant he was to be around? I mean, the guy was a genius, I won’t deny that, but the way he went out of control when you stopped caring about his endeavors-”
”I got it,” interrupted Evi. His voice had a hint of annoyance in it.
Nefaria looked like she had more to say, but she didn’t. She nodded, seemingly satisfied with the response she had gotten.
”As long as you understand.”
She then went on to reveal something she had been keeping concealed in the palm of her previously clenched hand.
”Now, I didn’t come to talk about your pets. I wanted to discuss something else; something I suspect you’ve done.”
Evi looked at Nefaria. One couldn’t make out whether or not he recognized the item in her hand. In any case, he reached out for it with one of his gloved hands, and received the thing, which appeared to be a dark-grey crystal the size of a regular person’s index finger.
”What’s this?” he asked. He appeared genuinely curious, even though it couldn’t be seen on his face, for obvious reasons.
”I assumed you would know,” came the response.
Silence ruled the darkness for minutes to come. Neither of the two said anything, and just stared at each other. It was likely that Nefaria was testing Evi, who remained unfazed by the inquisitive nature of the person he shared his loneliness with.
“So, with that out of the way, I’m going to have to ask you to leave,” said the masked man, as he laid down on his back, yet again.
“I suppose I should, anyway. Well, I’ll be back, at some point.”
And just like that, she disappeared. She didn’t walk away, nor did she gradually vanish. One second she was there and the next she wasn’t.
Left alone in the desolate void stood Evi. It was hard to imagine what he was thinking, yet one could still get a glimpse of the inner workings of his mind, as the sound of his lips separating into a faint, yet audibly noticeable smirk.
“I do so dislike lying,” he said, as he plucked out what appeared to be a chunk of the caliginous void around him.
He tore at the dark lump he was clutching, ripping it out of the thin air as if it was nothing. Evi proceeded to mold the darkness, until it took the form of a ball. He then waited a few seconds, staring at the ball he had created.
Suddenly, it started turning purple. Yet, even though it had become purple, it still appeared black because of the darkness it was radiating, just like the ball that had been discarded earlier.
The monstrously disproportioned man stared into the purple mist, which had formed inside the dark caliginous sphere. In actuality, there was so much more than purple mist in there. If one were to look for a bit, they would notice the shapes of buildings, animals and nature itself take shape within the spherical piece darkness.
“Where are you, young one?” he mumbled to himself as he noticed a certain building he had been looking for.
Slowly, but surely, however, the cloudiness started to dissipate, leaving the landscape, which the monstrous man was looking at, plain to see for everyone.
Inside the sphere was a courtyard; the courtyard of a church or a monastery, which was clear due to the many religious ornamentations that decorated the plant-filled courtyard. In the midst of the plaza stood a massive statue, carved in stone, of what could only be described as a deity.
It held a massive scale in one hand, and a an even larger, spikier hammer in the other. The statue was encased in plate armor from the back of which sprouted two massive, white wings, which were like those of a beautiful, white swan.
One might have been taken aback by the beauty of the statue, but the masked man known as Evi didn’t seem to care for it, because as soon as he had gotten a clear view of the yard he continued to tinker with the sphere, making it zoom in on the main building; the church itself. He trifled on with the ball, until he could see inside the church where two people stood. Or well, one of them stood up; the other was lying bleeding on the altar, which stood in the far end of the room.
“Oh, what have you gotten yourself into, young one?” he mumbled, trying to get into a sitting position.
On the altar laid an elven boy. The back of his shabby monk’s robes had been torn open, so the priest-like character, who was standing beside him would have an easier time flogging him.
It was quite gruesome to watch him get tortured, yet the masked man endured it. Whatever emotions he might have been feeling were still obscured by the mask he was wearing. He may have been smiling, he could have been crying. There was no way to know. All that was clear was the fact that he watched intently as the boy endured for a long time. Many people would’ve screamed, cried, perhaps, had they been forced to endure the same, but the young elf on the table showed no such emotions. Instead, he simply laid there and took his punishment for whatever it was that he had done.
“You are every bit the person I thought you were,” Evi mumbled to himself.
He appeared satisfied with himself, as he threw his new ball into the darkness, before starting to hum yet another one of his melodies.
Hours passed, before Evi stopped humming. When he did, he laid down on the ground, bored. It was plain for all to see that the masked man was bored out of his mind.
“Now let’s see how you are doing, young one,” he said, quite loudly this time.
And just like that, the lone, disproportioned being watched the boy. The masked man alternated between sitting, standing, and lying down, as he watched the elf go about his everyday life.
“Keep enduring, keep growing, young one, and our paths shall cross one day. I have so much to show you—so much to teach you. I have so many things to give you, to sell you, if only you keep amusing me, dear customer.”
He then broke out into a spine-chilling laugh which he once again kept doing until he was out of breath. And once again his lack of breath didn’t stop him from sharing the joy, the amusement he was feeling with all of the nothingness around him. He fell from his standing position onto his back. His mask seemed on the verge of falling off of his face as he drew breath and exhaled so hard that it seemed unhealthy. Unnatural.
Evi then stood up as if nothing had happened. The sound his dry skin grinding against itself resounded throughout the darkness, as he closed his mouth, which had been open in a grim, disturbingly large smile for hours on end.
“Now, I had things to do,” he said, and wandered off into the unending darkness that was his world.