Part 8: Journal of The Nameless One: Part 5Journal of The Nameless One: Part 5
The Mortuary (Music)
My stride down the empty halls of the Mortuary lacked my earlier confidence and vigor. The conversation with Deionarra still echoed through my head. Those crystal blue eyes had been downcast in wistful rememberance, and burned into my own with an ardent fury. They gazed into mine with a soft pleading that I never leave her again.
I was lost in my thoughts, oblivious, and a small, wiry frame bumped into mine. The Dustman was startled, then backed away with a low hiss.
"Oh! Uh, excuse me," I apologized lamely.
"Greetings..." he took me in, making a slight bow. His eyes were oddly bloodshot... no... rather, they seemed to have a naturally red tinge to them. A few flickers of crimson and he had eyed me up and down suspiciously. It looks like he wasn't going to let me off without an explanation. "I am Soego. How may I..." he twitched as he analyzed my scars, testament to a thousand wounds that should have killed any other man, "I'm sorry, sirrah, are you lost?"
"No, I'm just visiting one of the memorials."
His eyes narrowed in suspicion and gleamed red in the fitful light of the torches, "I do not recall admitting you. May I ask what you are doing here?" His voice carried a bit of that odd hiss again. A tiefling, perhaps?
I gave a sad smile, "I was here to pay my respects to an old friend earlier. I'm ready to leave, but I seem to have gotten turned around. Can you help me find the exit?"
"Why... of course," Soego nodded hesitantly, as if only half-convinced. The corner of his mouth twitched, "These halls can be confusing to some visitors. No harm done, but you are not permitted in the Mortuary after nine bells. Let me open the front gate for you."
We made our way to the exit. Soego walked with a strange, nervous gait, his hands quivered a little as he unlocked the door with a bronze key, then motioned me out. Morte happily floated past, but I looked to Soego, yet not wanting to call attention to his blood-red eyes, "If I may ask, are you all right? You look... tired."
Soego managed a weak smile, and the corners of his mouth twitched slightly, "I have recently taken ill... minor fevers, nothing more. Sometimes they make sleep... difficult."
"Anything I could do?" I offered.
He shook his head, "No, no. Thank you for the concern. I will endure," he frowned slightly, "Is there something else you wanted?"
"Do you know someone named Pharod?"
"Pharod? Of course I know him," he scowled, and his eyes gleamed red, "A ghoulish man. No respect for the dead, and even less for the living. He is a scavenger. A Collector."
"Collector?" I was reminded of the note that stated Pharod as my 'Collector.'
Soego nodded, "Collectors make their living gathering corpses and bringing them here to the Mortuary. We then make sure the bodies receive a proper burial."
"So if a Collector found a body... mine, for example... they might have brought it here and sold it to you?"
Then I knew this Pharod after all, "So this Collector, Pharod... do you know where I could find him?"
He sneered, as if disgusted by the idea of associating with a Collector, "I know he resides in the Hive, the slums outside the Mortuary, but I do not know exactly where. Some of the other Collectors may know, if they'll talk to you."
"Hey chief! You gonna rattle your bone-box all day or are you coming?"
I gave Soego a polite smile, "Thank you, Soego. I hope you feel better."
He nodded and closed the gate behind me as I caught up with Morte.
"Chief, welcome to the center of the Multiverse."
Worming like blind maggots through a carcass of stone and iron, the inhabitants of the Mortuary went about their tasks. Many paused, suddenly uneasy, and for a moment few dared to tread the halls of the second floor.
Dhall, perhaps one of the oldest and most hardened of Dustmen beneath Factol Skall himself, looked towards the southern preparation room. The scratching of his quill ceased, as he wondered whether that bleak new void that just appeared had come to claim him.
Shadows Follow (Cutscene)
Ei-Vene's stitching paused, blood and ichor trickling down the thread in misty red pearls. Her dead-yellow eyes squinted, curious of this new thrumming resonance of death and decay.
The key was suddenly cold in Soego's hand as he twisted it in the lock. Looking upwards to the floor above him, he caught an ancient, musty scent. It was a familiar smell, something he came across every day in the Mortuary. But to have it so close, like the brush of a dark mother's talons, unseen and yet keen as a razor's edge... Soego twitched nervously.
In the memorial halls, a blue and silver spectre wrapped her arms about herself and wept, shivering. It wasn't the cold that forever surrounded her. It was a familiar terror that she knew, that hunted and hounded, always seeking revenge with black claws and smoky gray tendrils. There was a cold rage behind that placid, shadowy surface, with hate as deep as the depths of the sea. Deionarra wept at how helpless and useless she had become.
And somewhere outside in the Hive, a stranger walked with his whistling companion. He was just happy to escape one danger, oblivious to the darker one that followed him.