Purging of Emotion

There he was, sitting at the edge of Elder Rise. Shalkis had insisted on doing this the gentle way. Tziak, the would-be Aspect of Hir'eek. She had cared for him. Loved him. She had wanted to grow old and die with him. But those things got in the way of the Aspect's work. Hers as well. An Atai cannot hesitate when the Emperor's life is in danger. Fortunately for her, she never had to make that choice. And this would ensure that her feelings would not get into the way of the Great Task, either. Shadra had to be freed.

Slayrith had given up too easily, but an agreement is an agreement. As a condition to her agreeing to let the Vessel take over, she insisted that he would not be disposed like male spiders would. Instead of giving him happiness for the rest of his life, she chose this.

Tziak was with an another female. Shalkis had known this one. Voulan was her name. Only half-jokingly, other trolls had nicknamed her the Black Widow. One mate dead in the hands of the elves, and the other driven insane by the corrupted blood coursing in his veins, she had certainly had poor judgement in viable mates. But this was an interesting choice. Had Shalkis been here, she would have ripped her throat open. Probably both their throats. Despite her choice, Tziak was still her mate until she chose otherwise.

But the Vessel was here today, to put an end to such distractions.

"Greetings, Aspect of Hir'eek.", she said in perfect Orcish.

"Shalkis?", answered Tziak in Trollish.

Tziak rose up and looked at the arrival. Voulan looked too, and her cheeks turned instantly purple. She quickly looked away.

"Good news. The trials are complete. The Work may start now."

"Who are you? You are not Shalkis. What have you done to her?", asked Tziak, his anger evident in his voice.

"I am the Vessel of Shadra. I have not harmed her. This is what she wanted."

"What she wanted? Where is she?!" Tziak was barely holding back his rage. Very unfitting behaviour for an Aspect towards an another.

"As I said, only what she wanted. She wanted to be worthy of Shadra. She is safe. This behaviour is highly unusual. You should be glad for her. Does Hir'eek not cleanse His Aspects of undesirable qualities?"

"Yes, but.. but I held onto myself! This is one of your tricks, isn't it?!" Tziak snarled towards Slayrith the Spider, who was walking slowly around, behind her.

"This is no trick. See for yourself."

Tziak opened his eyes, revealing the milky-white orbs. Tziak had lost his eyesight during his own trials, but now Tziak he could truly see. More than he ever could before. He looked at her.

Shalkis' spirit was indeed gone. The spirit made of cold flame and two blazing orbs as eyes was nowhere to be seen. Instead, there was a sculpture in the shape of her. A sculpture of crystal-clear ice, clothed in elaborate robs made of.. spider webs. Her eyes were as cold as the rest of her. And inside the ice.. it was snowing.

"It's.. it's true. She is gone.", Tziak said in a defeated voice.

"I will look forward to working together with you, Aspect of Hir'eek. Oh, and one more thing. She wanted you to have this."

The vessel pulled back her cowl and removed a Magebloom rose from her hair. She gave it to Tziak. Not even looking at her, he crushed the fragile flower in his hand, letting the thorns pierce his skin. Blood trickled from his fist, and tears from his eyes. He had given that rose to her. Shalkis had given up on him.

"Goodbye, Shalkis.", he sobbed.

"Too late for that. Until we meet again, Aspect."

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