The Curse of Immortality
‘Without your precious crystal, you fear Subexistence will remain locked forever. But you never needed that trinket, little god,’ Kunai said to the Gold Mask Man. ‘It wasn’t the crystal that did it. It was you. For sure, the crystal is mighty and it can summon much power. Yet for one to access the hidden dimension of Subexistence, one needs to be knocking on death’s little door. And where may one find a more fitting creature than him who was cursed to die for eternities on end? The ever-moribund man, neither living nor dying? You don’t need the crystal to close in on death, Ashlar. You are the closest someone will ever come to their bitter end, without ever touching it.’
‘Why are you telling me all this?’
‘Because I need you to understand your position, little god. He who has cursed you, has blessed you as well. You have been bound to the Pattern and to Creation itself. As long as reality exists, you are unable to die—’
‘You think I don’t know that? You think I performed acts of cruelty for mere cruelty’s sake?’ spat the Gold Mask Man, shaking his fists. ‘Why else would I try to tear the Pattern asunder? Why else would I wish creation destroyed? My pain and my torment, I want it to end!’
‘Your torment will end, Ashlar. And so will creation,’ said Kunai, leaning forward as he folded his hands. Ashlar noticed the warm kindness in his eyes had been extinguished by a vile, writhing shadow. ‘You have been bound to the Pattern to keep creation alive, yet in doing so, you’ve been given access to the path of all paths. Look how far back you’ve travelled, little god. Subexistence is your domain, where all of our history is being remade. He who controls Subexistence controls the future.’
‘Subexistence is a maze of discarded choices,’ said Ashlar. ‘It is chaotic and arbitrary and filled with dead ends. It would take thousands of lifetimes to learn one’s way around it. I may be immortal, Kunai, but even I can’t hope to navigate it.’
To be continued...