The Spirit knew her companions were either lost in the halls or eager to kill each other.
And until she left that dark place, she was gleefully happy about that.
As soon, however, as the dark haze lifted upon reaching the tunnel leading out of the dreadful walls.
It dawned on the Spirit how the shadows had used and manipulated her. Now, her rage was focused again, condensed to the familiar deadly calm.
The Spirit dived back into the Halls without Light, did her best to guide, trick or threaten her companions towards the exit.
But seeing them return to safety was not all she had in mind. The now Deeply Troubled Sage cowered behind a steel door that was just as unhinged as he was, while theDiscgraced Bandit was not so subtly threatening him; theGirl of Too Many Words, for the first time on this journey, had no words to say, instead she tried to comprehend what just happened.
Sadly, no one had their wits about them to acknowledge this temporary blessing.
The Spirit, however, did not lose time.
Though the Unlikely Company was free of the Hall’s grasp, the shadows were still lurking down there.
They would claim more lives, they would wait there for the companions to return, at the very least.
No, no… This spirit was no woman for deeds half done.
With one thought, she was back in the Halls Without Light and read their very memories.
They were the memories of a disturbed place of grief and violence, where death reaped so gruesome plentiful, even she was staggered for a moment, when the memories of the prison resonated through her.
Focusing only on these halls, though, brought her the enlightenment she was looking for,
The shadows were nothing but meek scavengers, following in the wake of something, someone else…
He seemed like a man of science… A Doomstruck Alchemist from the Eastern Island, a spirit very much like she was. Unlike her, though, he has never been called upon. He was born free, a child of the death and despair ravaging the Fallen God’s pyramid years ago.
And he continued spreading death and despair, feeding off them and growing stronger, for he knew nothing else.
But just as any other spirit anchored to this world, his bond had been sealed by his true name.
And within the memories of these walls, there was also the memory of the name’s whereabouts…
You see, it is hard to call or even vanquish a free spirit. Their ties to our world are strong. Binding a free spirit is a feat worthy of legends.
But… It is possible, and no one knows this better than the spirits themselves.
What our fallen guardian also knew, was that no spirit could call another spirit, or bind them. It was an agreement old as the stars.
True names, though… They are more powerful than any agreement.
The moment she touched the twisted metal arm hidden in the Doomstruck Alchemist’s lair and saw his very nature, his name, engraved on it, he instantly knew of her.
It was too late though.
The Spirit summoned him, breaching the old contract, to save her companions and everyone ever passing these halls.
Holding is true name, he had to comply in silent rage and hatred.
Seeing the Alchemist, the Spirit realized he was much stronger than she was. This was his domain and she was weakened by her own choices.
What fool she had been!
Seeing the Doomstruck Alchemist, the fresh memories of so many dead with no one to speak for them,and all the crimes unpunished made her realize that, no matter what she had been telling herself, no matter what she promised: This place cried out for an avenger.
And its cries for one would no longer echo unheard.
Fueled by the poison she no longer refused she threw her very essence against the Alchemist, subduing and chaining him to her will.
He resisted, of course, almost breaking free, but both spirits were of equal rage and determination and so her will clawed into him once again. Pale and bleeding ephemeral blood into her binding circle, chanting and cursing, the Spirit had the Doomstruck Alchemist in shackles.
For a heartbeat, she realized what heinous act she just committed, something she’d never forgive herself; she wasn’t done with him yet, though.
Anyone strong enough can vanquish a spirit.
Words carefully chosen, for some say, you can never truly kill a spirit, other than undertaking a journey to the spirit realms and slay him there.
The fallen guardian knew this was not true.
There is another way. A painful and atrocious way, reserved for only the most callous and vile of summoners.
The spirit cast a simple, little spell, a harmless cantrip for communication.. And told the Alchemist, bound to servitude, to sustain it with his own essence.
In helpless anger, he complied.
The fallen guardian sneered and sat down, took her time to talk to the Alchemist.
She was neither curious, nor particularly gloating. She did not care for his motives. She let him tell his story, assuring him, that these were his final hours.
That the dead would have their vengeance and were no longer without a voice.
That he would fade into oblivion forever.
That he would pay the ultimate price for every light he had snuffed out or stolen.
The Doomstruck Alchemist’s anger turned into disbelief.
After the first hour, when he felt his essence fading under unimaginable pain, disbelief turned into utter horror, as he began to understand that the Spirit was not enacting a lesson, but an execution.
He bargained, threw insults, tried to break his chains in desperation and eventually collapsed, sobbing. Stripped off all of his power, a mere thread was barely keeping the Alchemist’s pale, pitiful apparition in existence. Then, the tearing and boring into his aura suddenly stopped.
The avenger enjoyed her work. A bit too much, perhaps.
But she also remembered the precious gift of second chances.
She was free to choose, and so she chose.
The Spirit banished her prisoner with the last service he owed her to a graveyard. A place of death, but also of healing.
She knew, this one would never feel gratitude towards her.
But in his pitiful state, he was no longer a hazard.
Maybe he would learn… If not, at least he learned to fear the consequences of his deeds.
With the rush of poison flaking off of her like dry, dead skin, the Spirit returned from the Halls without Lights.
There was little solace in knowing that they were a safer place now.
Beaten, guilt-ridden, her anger barely contained, she returned to the prison to see how her companions had been faring…