Chapter 1 - Awakening
I woke up in a dark chappel, the cold stone of a blood covered altar beneath me. Every single atom of my body seemed to hurt. I wanted to close my eyes again, just sleep.. long... but I forced myself to turn my head.... and stared into a dark shadow leaning over me. I croaked: "Where..?... who...?"
The dark shadow answered: "All your questions will be answered soon. But first things first: Do you remember who I am?"
I fixed the dark shadow with my eyes. Considered. His face was covered with a black mask, his eyes were glowing red in the darkness. I shook my head, which caused another stinging pain.
"I am your Lord", the shadow said with a deep voice, "and your name is Mammon."
I croaked "My Lord?", and he nodded and continued "You were...are still a Dark Warrior. You are known for your skill in the bow, Mammon."
I repeated the name. "Mammon...." and let the name echoing in my mind, waiting for any bells to ring, for the slightest sign of memory.
"Yes - Mammon. Blood brother to Orcus.", and he pointed to a dark figure next to him. I looked around, recognized another dark shadow and repeated sheepishly "Orcus... blood-brother?" and the smaller shadow reached his hand up, removed the hood of his cloak, but his face was covered by a mask too. He quietly said "Brother...?" and his soft voice seemed to warm my heart.
I tried to get up and sit with some problems, needed all my will to lift my upper body on my ellbows, then finally could sit on the cold stone, trying to get on my feet, but the Dark Lord's hand gentle on my shoulder held me back. "Relax, Mammon, there is no rush. You have been though a rough path.", he said in his calming deep voice. "Do you remember what happened?"
I shook my head again, which caused more stinging pain and I grimaced "No. Don't remember anything...."
"You were captured, my friend, by some do-gooders of the red caste. You were tortured and killed."
I raised an eyebrow "Can't be! I feel a bit weak but not dead at all!" and flexed and stretched my muscles to confirm my words. Amazed I recognized red glowing patterns on my skin.
"The power of the Dark Path is strong, my friend.", my Lord answered. "You have been returned to us with signs you walked with the Priest Kings.", and he ran his hand over the markings on my skin.
Again I tried to get up on my feet. The shadow who was called my brother came closer, giving me a helping hand. The touch of his hand as he helped me up warmed my body and while getting on my feet I looked into his red eyes behind the mask and whispered "... brother..." with a smile.
"You two were so close", said our Lord and I believed him without any doubt.
The soft voice of Orcus confirmed "My brother..." and in a slow motion he removed his mask and showed me his face. Suddenly shreds of memory flashed my mind. Memory of fights, of battles. The certainty, that this man was at my side for a long, long time. I smiled and repeated confirming "Brother!"
The dark voice of our Lord cut our family-reunion: "Mammon, you need time to relax and learn the fortess again!", and he handed me a key. "Guard this key with you life. This will give you access to most of the fortess."
I reached out my hand and took the keys "Thank you.... my Lord", then I looked down my body, recognizing ugly blue shorts. "Why am I wearing blue pants and you are all in splendid black?"
The Dark Lord laughed shortly "Not to worry. The Priest Kings move in strange ways. We wear black to remember who we are. Our existence, secret, shrouded is mystery. We are neither here nor there. The Dark Path is simply to fight against the darkness. We have little other purpose. We do not engage in politics. We do not turn history. We are the Dark who cloak themselves in the night. We are The Dark Path. We tarnish the minds of people. Drag them from the light side of their minds to the dark side and make them submit to it. Seducing them to follow their darkest desires. Into their Dark Path....Your desires brought you to me a long time ago.", he started to pace up and down. "Your familes were killed by the cruel red arses of a city near by. Since than you have fought by my side as dark warriors."
My eyes followed the moves of the Lord, listening inside me, if his words caused any memory. But nothing.
My brother turned to our Lord "Thank you my Lord to bring back my brother to our side."
Our Lord just nodded and continued "The warriors of Tabor and Silver Tree are our sworn foes. Many have died at the hands of those manics, who call themseleves warriors!"
My brother growled angry at the names of the cities. My lips formed the words "Tabor"... "Silver Tree" silently, trying to keep them in my mind, so that I'll never forget their names.
Our Lord continued bringing my memory back: "We fought to bring the city of Tabor but they used tricks to capture you both. - But now you have returned to us. The Dark Prince will be happy!"
I raised an eyebrow. Too many news for my dizzy brain I repeated foolishly "Dark Prince, my Lord?". The Lord nodded and confirmed "Yes, the Dark Prince. The one we all serve. You both swore to him and me to serve us with your lives."
I was so confused, tried to follow the Lord's words, watched my brother from the corner of my eyes, looked around in the dark chappel, tried to search something... find something... ANYTHING in my memory and wondered about the necklace with the symbol of a dragon on my chest which I just recognized. All this at the same time and my head started swimming.
Our Lord recognized my confusion. "I am sure you have many questions. Please ask them."
While my brother asked "Who are the ones who killed us, my Lord? Do you know their names?" I reached for the necklace on my chest, ripped it off my neck and stuffed it in my pants.
"Aye! An evil and cruel twisted warrior known as Rio of Sliver Tree", the Lord answered. "He has killed, back-stabbed and destroyed all to get to were he is today! We have sworn an oath to make him pay for the things he has done to many in the name of truth.". He spit on the floor.
I repeated silently "Rio..." and vowed to never forget the name of my biggest enemy.
Our Lord continued: "He lead the raid that killed your familes. He was a young warrior then, keen on making the grade. He raped your mothers and killed your fathers in front off you." the Lords voice belled full of a hatred which also took possession of me. "You only managed to escape as I sent in my man to save as many as possible and bring them to satefy. Many say what we do is outlaw but we protect the weak and destory the foolish."
Orcus took his mask and put it back on his face, maybe to hide his anger.
The Dark Lord suddenly calmed in his raging speech and continued softly: "Come, Mammon, you rooms is waiting for you! We will give you time to rest and..", he hestitated and looked up and down at me "...dress."