Searing pain shot through his body like jolts of forked lightning, splitting and burning any pieces of flesh they intersected with ruthless abandon. His skin cracked and split open, leaking his life essence across the burning skin he still retained. It felt as if a thousand hot knives were piercing through his muscles and veins, reaching deep into his core. For what felt like centuries he endured, needing to scream out his anguish but finding no physical form to do so. How could he experience such agonizing physical pain and yet be intangible to reality? He thrashed in the confines of his mind, finding no solace in what should have been the inner sanctum.
It soon started as a whisper, the barely audible ramblings of some voice in the back of his mind. What he thought was his inner conscience became two, and then three, before long the voices multiplied until there were too many to distinguish. He was drowned out of his own mind. The pain only grew more ravaging across his frame as they continued. Insanity gripped at him with icy claws.
A voice, not in his head but coming from outside, almost like a whisper into his exposed ear. As the sound flowed over him, the other voices were silenced. With the force of a whirlwind, the voices were blown from his head, the lapping waves washing over his form and dissipating the searing agony he had been enduring.
Within seconds he was calm, the pain was gone, the voices were extinguished, and he was left alone in the white of nothingness. The voice grew louder in his ear, which he realized he know had. Hands that were his and not his roamed over the chest of a body he did not know, but had had since the beginning. Legs reached out from his torso, strong and muscular stretching with relief into the void around him. His head swiveled on a neck that was just perfect for him. He looked up, grey eyes peering around for the source of the voice that was determined to be approaching him.
From the white nothing, a figure slowly materialized that wasn't his own. A ghostly aura radiated from the vaguely feminine frame. It had no color to it, seeming to be as absent of light as it's surrounding had an abundance. The man examined the figure closely, there were no distinguishing features such as hair or clothes, it lacked facial features as well except for two glowing white eyes that seemed to peer directly into his soul. It approached him slowly, walking on the emptiness like there was a path spread out before it.
"O child mine." It spoke to him in the same voice he had been hearing in his ears, stopping right before his curled form. "You have endured much to be here with me now."
He looked upon the form in front of him, struggling to find his voice in reply. To speak, to say anything felt so out of reach for him that he almost gave up. What he at first thought was fear keeping him from replying was soon reconsidered as awe. This figure had literally left him speechless, not in physical form, but from the power it exuded.
"Where... Where am I?" He finally managed out, hearing his voice for the first and thousandth time.
"You reside on the in-between, what exists between life and death." She replied, for it was a she, he now realized. "All that has lived and died, as well as what is to come, pass through here."
"And why am I here?" He croaked out.
"You will know soon enough. Come, It is time for you to take your first steps in this new life I have breathed into you." She finished before slowly fading out of sight, like a blur from his vision. His eyelids drooped closed.
With a start, his head jolted from the metal he was resting on, vision quickly darting from one area to the next. It took him a few moments of jerking around in his haze to realize his arms were held down behind him to something cold and hard. As he slowly came to his senses, he took a closer look around himself.
It was definitely a room of sorts, most likely a cell judging by the bars in front of him and the bare appearance of the small room. Walls closed in on him from three sides and his vision only extended a few feet out into the dark exterior of the cell. He gave an experimental tug on the material behind him, holding his arms out of sight. Pain shot up his right arm, causing him pause as his other arm felt fine while being in the same predicament.
He sat still for a few minutes, trying to take in what he could. To rationalize his situation. He had woken up in this strange cell, tied down and restrained from free movement. His body felt fine, so obviously he was not injured in whatever had happened to cause him to be here. But where was this? And how had he come to be there?
The last thing he had remembered was…Nothing. He couldn't remember anything at all from before waking up here. The man started to panic, frantically searching his brain for any information he could have. Well, he was human right? That was a start. He was a man with a muscled physical form and dirty brown hair that fell in waves over him. He had blue eyes... No they were definitely grey now. And his name, He couldn't recall that either.
Just then, the heavy slam of a door rolled down what he assumed was a corridor until it reached his cell, shocking him from thought. The sound of multiple pairs of boots thundered down the hall in his direction at a moderate pace. Whoever it was must not have been in a hurry. But why would they be? If they wanted him it wasn't like he was going anywhere. They could take all the time they wanted.
But as the noise got closer, paranoia began to set in. What did they want? He couldn't remember a single thing but obviously being chained up in a dark cell wasn't a good sign for him. If they were looking for information, then they would be out of luck. He probably had more questions then they did. The footsteps stopped right outside his field of vision from the bars.
"Guards, the door please." A strange voice called out, feminine. Two shapes emerged from the dark, black and blue skin tight suits adorned their bodies with visored helmets obscuring most of their faces. But what he did see of them was a surprise. They were blue, and glowing. Their lower face was exposed, pink and red lips surrounded by dark blue and light blue skin that seemed to pulse with some kind of energy.
As the door opened wide on it's rusty hinges, the two figures stepped back when a third approached from the shadows. She wore a similar suit to the other two, presumably, guards but without a helmet to cover her face.
She was striking, the same blue glowing skin as the guards. She had piercing blue eyes that luminess like stars, well one eye. The left eye was covered by a metal patch of sorts that had a brush of strawberry colored hair pulled over it and tied in a bun behind her head. His thoughts were running slow, trying to take in these strange but vaguely familiar forms of beings, that he hadn't even realized she was speaking to him.
"Answer me." She had said, seemingly losing whatever patience she had.
"I'm-I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Where am I?" He replied.
"I asked for your name, stranger, what is it?" The female came back, a little less terse seeing his demeanor he had.
The man thought about his name. He tried, he really did, wanting to remember for his sake as well. But as he thought harder and harder, a voice began to whisper to him from the back of his conscience, growing louder. Before he knew it the words were spilling from his mouth without even a thought.
"I am Seer, Child of Riven."
That had seemed to trigger something in the woman. Her eyebrows had shot straight into her hairline after the words left his lips, quickly walking over to him and reaching behind towards his arms.
For a moment, he thought he had said the wrong thing. Well, he had said the wrong thing. What he regurgitated had not been what was on his mind, meaning to tell her he didn't know what his name was. But now that he had said it, he realized how right it felt. It must be his name, or title.
The fear that Seer had felt at the woman reaching out and behind him was dissuaded when her course was directed towards the shackles binding his arms, quickly undoing them like it was a piece of twine.
His arms fell down to his sides, sore and tight from being stuck in the position behind his back for however long he had been asleep. Seer flexed his shoulders up and down a few times while rising from the small metal cot he had been resting on. The female backed up to her original position.
"So you know my name now, but I don't think I've had the pleasure returned." He chuckled awkwardly, more to himself than anything. The female continued to watch him with surprised eyes for a moment more before seeming to shake herself out of it.
"My name is Petra Venj, retainer to the Queen of the Reef." She replied, raising her arm out towards him in a universal gesture to take it. He did so, reaching his own arm out to meet hers.
And that's when he got the second shock of the day, because his arm wasn't as human as the rest of his body.
What should have been a copy of his left arm, was actually a grotesque parody. The arm was an almost sickly shade of light purple, looking as if the skin was opaque and cloudy, with hard scales like a lizard running across the whole appendage. The scales on the outsider of the arm were thicker and harder than the ones on the underside. The elbow had a three inch spike jutting out from the bone, almost like an extension of it that breached the skin. Oddly enough, this hand that was attached to the arm only had four appendages, three fingers and one thumb. With long nails that covered the fingertips and smaller spikes of bone leaving the knuckles pointed up the arm.
Seer quickly jerked his arm away from Petra, never once dropping line of sight with it as he moved. A million thoughts rushed through his mind, questions about what he was, if the arm was actually his, if he was seeing things in his still weary state. Or even if this was all some elaborate joke played on him. Any minute now he would wake up from a bad dream, remembering his whole life and laughing back to this weird experience.
But no such reprieve came. And he was left standing there looking at his arm in front of the three women. The guards eyed each other, heads moving between pointing at him and themselves. Petra Venj only continued to watch him, a blank expression on her face being lost in thought again.
"What the fuck is this thing?" Seer almost yelled, frantic over the monstrous limb attached to his body and following all muscle commands he gave it. The fingers waved in front of his face for a moment before his eyes trailed up his arm and over his shoulder.
"I didn't want to believe it, but if that name you've given me is true then I have no choice." Petra finally answered, eyes meeting his. "We need to seek an audience with the Queen."
Before Seer could ask any more questions, she turned on her heel and left the cell. Not wanting to be stuck there any longer, he quickly followed.