They were fools. Fools without the minds capable to understand. They would never comprehend the true nature of the mists… They knew nothing of the power contained within the font yet they thought themselves to be so superior that they could mock me- the only one who truly understood its powers- for not falling in line with the others. They did not understand my relationship with the font. It was a well of power that no one before me had ever bothered to investigate further. Every newborn was bathed in its mists but I was the only one who had ever truly recognized them for what they were. They were not simply vapors meant to serve a ceremonial purpose and imbue those of the House Avernus with a slight boost to their capabilities they were much much more. These mists came from a primordial place and had a purpose, a calling that came with them. We had always explained our motivations to hold onto this desolate, craggy and dark piece of land as a valiant and noble defense of the House Avernus but I knew it ran deeper than that. The mists had allowed for us to deceive ourselves in this way but it wasn’t about the House Avernus or our honor it was about protecting this place of power and the mists that swirled up from within from those who might seek to use it for their own unscrupulous means. I knew this because the mists had spoken to me. They saw the potential within and sought me out.
As I was placed in the mists everything became clear. They held so much more knowledge than anyone ever realized or knew. But it was not so simple as telling the others about the powers of the mists. They would not understand. They could not understand. From that day onward, from the first moment where I could fend for myself – I embraced the mists and delved deeper into the mysteries that they held within themselves. With time came comprehension and as I grew more familiar I could reach further into their powers and the knowledge that they offered me. I gained clarity regarding the precarious balance between life and death and how one might succeed in achieving control over its unruly nature. I was capable of imbuing weapons and armor with the power of the mists, calling upon energies held within myself to bolster allies or decimate my foes and of conjuring an impenetrable shield to surround a being of my choosing. A shield of such power that it could protect them from harm, cure them of any ailments and push enemies back when it comes to its glorious end.
My brethren trained with weapons and armor and mocked me for my relationship with the mists. They made jests regarding my lack of a partner and her apparent replacement with the vapors that swirled about me day in and day out. They questioned the absence of a physical manifestation of my powers but those questions were quickly put to rest when I handily defeated any comer in hand to hand combat. Yet, they still lacked understanding and failed to see what I was accomplishing during my time spent in commune with the mists. Those above me questioned the utility of my meditation and unhealthy obsession with the mists. After my display of strength, which was meant to create respect for my time with the mists, they pressed harder demanding to know why I wasn’t putting those talents to use with training, and swords and armor. The friends that I had made in my youth grew distant as their patience regarding my devotion to the mists grew strained. All they saw was a shirking of traditional duties that a royal of House Avernus would be beholden to. They did not see the concentration that my studies required or the battle raging inside between myself and the mists. They would not understand but they could not stop me either. They could never keep me from achieving what was meant for me.
As my relationship deepened with the mists I began to lose touch with the physical world. I was slowly becoming one with them. Some claimed that I was being consumed by them. That I had gone too far. That I was losing control. That they were taking me from their world forever. But I knew better. I had learned from the mists and realized the weaknesses that a physical form forced upon you. A need to sleep, eat and drink. Susceptibility to your surroundings and environmental conditions. Emotions that toyed with your better judgement and encouraged you to make poor decisions. Becoming one with the mists meant that I could tap into their cool, calculating power and bring them to bear on behalf of House Avernus. I alone understood our true relationship with the mists, and, I alone would be capable of extending our reach beyond the caverns of Avernus and out into the world that awaited our noble presence.
Finally, after years of preparation the time to prove myself had come. I finally would have the opportunity to prove all of my naysayers wrong. Our foes had gathered once again for an assault on House Avernus. Except that this time they had a new ally. Streghal, a general known throughout the lands for his combat prowess, his ability to marshal his troops and most of all the strategic depth with which he executed his maneuvers. The House Avernus had fought off many assailants but this was a whole new type of foe. We’d heard stories of their blood thirst, their ruthlessness and their obsession with the font of Avernus held deep within our ancestral lands. They thought themselves superior to us. They called us mist-addled madmen. But they knew not of Abaddon, my years of study and deep relationship with the mists. They would see the power held within me. They would see the true power of Avernus!
The battle grew nearer. The time had come to surrender my flesh to the mists. I paid the font a final visit. As I approached the familiar cracks in the stone the mist seemed to rise up in anticipation of my arrival. It must have sensed my intention to give myself fully to it. To finally achieve my true form. I knelt down, lowered my head and let it take me in. My flesh, forever an impediment to my interactions with the mist slowly faded away. As my muscles and bones left me, I felt my powers growing. The connection between me and the mist grew stronger. Memories and thoughts from long-ago rushed through my mind. Far-away lands, plans laying in wait for the right time, aspirations for the House Avernus and the origins of this blessed mist. It all became clear. Through the mists I could see everything. I could see it all.
I stood up and turned my attention to the battle raging outside the caverns of House Avernus. The yells of the bloodthirsty warriors echoed through the caverns, orders being barked by Streghal reverberated off the walls, swords sliced through flesh, clashed against armor and clattered to the ground. It was unclear which side was winning the battle but it was more feverishly fought than the battles I’d calmly observed many times before. I covered my ethereal body with the armor of my house. The armor glistening and glowing as it found its place on my limbs and torso. I was ready. I’d prepared for this moment for all my life. My time to prove the worthiness of my studies. To show that I was a valuable contributor to the House Avernus. I mounted one of the few remaining steeds and made my way to the battlefield. Everything slowed down as I examined the chaos that was raging before me. And then, I laid waste to those who chose to oppose me.
I struck faster than the foe, saved our warriors with injections of vitality as they were about to fall, sucked away the life of their archers from afar with coils of death, protected our fragile but deadly elders with energy shields that shimmered and exploded as they dissipated, and rallied the troops around me as I struck down our foe with the mark of frost snatching their dexterity for my own uses. Gradually they began to flee in terror as the creature of the black mist (a name granted to me by my comrades that I accepted reluctantly with a hint of pleasure) bore down upon them. The mists surged through me as I delivered swift justice to my foes. Gradually I drew closer to their general, the foundation of their newfound strength, as I struck aside any who opposed me. Streghal had his brow furrowed in confusion as he sought to understand this being of power before him. He’d planned for any eventuality but hadn’t ever considered this possibility. That confusion quickly turned to determination as he rallied his troops for one last strike at the heart of House Avernus. Abaddon himself.
The troops, encouraged by their commander’s decisiveness, rallied beside him and rushed in unison towards Abaddon. Abaddon shielded himself and annihilated those before him as his fellow warriors fought beside him. But Streghal’s soliders gradually gained ground. Without Abaddon to support and protect his allies they began to fall and as he fought so many at once there was only so much he could do to mitigate and avoid their strikes. Gradually he began to weaken as the occasional stray stab and well-placed projectile took their toll. As the colour began to fade from his vision more bloodthirsty savages set upon him. This was not the way it was meant to be. He could not fall to these vagrants. Streghal’s sharp-toothed grin filled what was left of his vision he laughed as he spat at Abaddon.
“Looks like even House Avernus’ champion could not stand against me.” He snarled. “I will make short work of the rest of your clan and let you fade away into the nothing that you are.”
“Finish this monster!” He barked as he turned to lay blow upon viscious blow to the noble members of House Avernus.
The hordes tore into him with pleasure as they exacted their revenge. But, as the blades cut into him, Abaddon began to feel a new power surge within him. What should have been ending him was making him stronger. Each blow brought him further to full strength and finally Abaddon fully understood the depth of the power available to him. He had truly mastered the balance between life and death. He shoved his assailants aside and shouted a challenge to Streghal.
“You thought me bested by your puny forces. Are you ready to face the Lord of Avernus, fool?” Pride welled up within Abaddon, he knew he’d proven himself to be a champion of the House Avernus. As the mists swirled around him he let the satisfaction envelop him. Streghal would lose this battle, of this he was certain and the mists needn’t even whisper it to him. He was Abaddon, creature of the black mist, Lord Avernus himself. Let all who stand against him fall. House Avernus would not be belittled ever again.