Rise of the Dark IV

"Why me?" Cothrael mouthed, feeling still more blood trickle around the corners of his mouth. The man did not immediately react and he tried again, forcing the effort. He got no more than a choked cough.

The man blinked distractedly. "What? Oh, yes…" He seemed to just now notice the poor condition Cothrael was in. Waving his hand in a dismissive gesture, the man muttered, "No, no, that simply will not do." Suddenly, Cothrael felt his body recovering. The yellowish liquid stopped flowing, congealed, and reformed into new skin. There was an airy pop and suddenly he had two eyes again. His throat felt moist. Cothrael swallowed, his throat clicking. He could speak. Vigor spread through his body.

As he rose to his full height, Cothrael realized that he was physically far more imposing than the man before him. He towered a full foot above the man, and he was deeper in the chest and bulkier in the arms. And…he felt as though he could use magic again. He ran his tongue lightly over his fangs, feeling his muscles tensing involuntarily. This man had cruelly plucked him from reality and placed him in some hellish void… had mocked him…and for some reason thought that Cothrael would cooperate in whatever plans he had concocted - any one of those was enough reason for Cothrael to kill him. He took several slight breaths, realizing as he did that the man could destroy him. That realization angered him further. Still, he knew that any aggressive action would be suicide. Plus, the man had literally prevented him from dying, going so far as to alter reality to do so. Whatever dim capacity Cothrael had for gratitude also held him in check. He let the moment pass and did nothing.

The man spoke almost offhandedly, though Cothrael knew that the man was fully aware of the inner battle he had just fought. "You are the first to pass the test. It would have been a pity if I had to squash you."

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Written by Michael D. Wisebaker aka Chyn/Assh