The face of the mountain rots. The sky wails with anger brought by our perceived hubris; from the clouds, tears descend to the ground. The village below is set ablaze by the Nightstalkers; all of the children would be as Phatomay, great Necromantress of the past, stolen away from her mediocre dwelling as a babe and bred to rule the flesh of men. I, Ellasin, have known no man - and yet am mother to thousands of children; babes who seek not sustenance from my body, but the power to be more than man. To ascend to that of a God who walks among mortals. And you, Alistair, are one of these darling children of mine. One of my most talented; a man who commands respect wherever he walks. Yet you do not wish to operate as we do - it is beneath you, in your mind. To slaughter mothers and whisk away their children, to beat men down with our flails and raise them as an undead army. No . . . you would follow your own path. You say you want to create true immortality, as if Lichdom is not true in your eyes. As if we are all below you.
We are not below you, young one. You are below yourself - what you could come to be, if only you abandoned your idealism, your want to immortalize man.
"I need a break," he said to himself. He stretched his torso and stood up, looking out of the window of the room he'd been staying in while in Lamonte; a family friend's home. There was so much life in this city, with families rushing off to the beach with their screaming children and droves of bards and artists crowding the streets looking for patronage. This was his home of Venora - enchanting, unique, it was the only world he knew. And to think - she wished to tear it all down, start up her undead apocalypse and make a world such as this a dream of the past.
. . .
He had to stop thinking about it. About her. Not to mention the bloody war, his impending marriage to Celeste Andaris, the need to follow in his grandmother's footsteps despite her leaving a difficult example to rival. Every day was a circling of vultures in his mind, picking away at him and supplanting his small shrivels of joy with thoughts of fear and doubt. That was his life now, and that had to change. Ever the dutiful man, he would bring about change himself. Today would be... his day off, from thinking, from frantically writhing about. The man had brought a short pair of trousers with him from Sabaissant, figuring he'd probably be swimming with Theodore when they were set to meet on the twenty first trial. It seemed he would be swimming early, as he had thought about it before, and only fully consumed this thought: the last time he'd spent a nice day just watching the sun set on the ocean's horizon was about twelve arcs ago.
That meant something to him. He'd given up his whole life, and his golden years, for duty - and fixation on things that quite frankly had yet to give him the joy he sought. It was time, and he knew, to mix things up.
The man brought only his undergarments and the swimming trousers he'd come to possess. There was no golden silk brocade outfit donning a shiny Venora pin, nor a contingent of guards to walk him to the shore, nor a ridiculously savvy Lich by the name of Damien Noch. It was just him, his bare chest, and the most impulsive thought he'd had since childhood: just go out there and find something to do!
And, it turned out to be an utter failure. A few hours later, only shortly before the sun would begin to set, the man was doing only this: laying about on the sand and staring awkwardly at people having a lot more fun than he, ever the wallflower. He frowned. "Gods, I'm hopeless." He laid his back against the sand and stared empty into the sky, and he thought about it all. He would rather observe upon others than himself, he would rather witness a great achievement from afar than take part in it . . . he would rather have the scenic view on glory than be submerged into the atmosphere of greatness. That was his life, and it had always been his life. And to be honest, the more he lived it, the more it became who he was. Nothing but a man from below looking above.