“Wake up for me…”
The water was clear, but the sea was just too deep. A few dozen meters out could be seen clearly as the light shined from above, but after that, there was only darkness. Orno jerked awake. He floated deep under the sea’s surface. He looked up, the top of the water distorting the cloud filled sky as the waves twisted about. All around him was dark, and below, it was darker still. A place too far for the light to reach; a forsaken world.
“Wake up for me…” Orno was holding his breath. A subconscious reaction. His lungs were were tight and were near bursting. Orno needed to breathe. Kicking out, he swam up, struggling to reach higher. But no matter how much he swam, the surface never seemed to get any closer. The pressure on Orno amplified. His lungs feeling as if they were ripping apart; as if they were screaming.
And at this point a small voice echoed in Orno’s mind. “Breathe!”
And Orno breathed.
Water rushed into Orno’s nose and mouth, burning the nasal cavities and throat; his lungs filled with the clear liquid. Orno was drowning.
As Orno struggled to get a grasp on air, to get a grasp on life, the voice echoed in him again, and this time it was so loud, so strong, that it shook Orno, enough that it stunned him and he just stopped struggling; and at that, it became as if Orno was breathing fresh air. A calmness overtook him. It was at that moment that Orno realized what had happened; where he was. He was in his own mind. Trapped by whoever put him in there.
Orno sunk in thought, but it did not take him long to know who it was that did this to him. It could only be one man. As only one man had the opportunity to do so and keep it hidden. His right hand, The Chancellor.
“Orno!” The voice came again. But this time it did not resonate from within him. Orno swirled around, searching. There was only darkness in the distance. “My sweet.” It whispered. The voice echoed here and there, right by his hear. The sounds tingled, but as Orno turned and turned, searching the nearby waters, he saw nothing but the distant gloom.
“What do you want!?” Orno screamed. His voice echoed out in the water as if he were in a room on land and not in sea.
“He he he. You’re not any fun. Getting straight to it… Didn’t you need to know who I am?”
“You’re the one that man has sent to watch over me. My jailkeeper.”
The voice snorted. “Jailkeeper? Do you think there is anyone powerful enough to enter someone else’s consciousness so easily? Entering and trapping someone are two different realms of power.”
Orno paled. “Then… Who are you?” He was less sure of himself now. Before, Orno had thought that the voice came from whoever trapped him within his mind, taunting him, but now? Orno was doubtful. Mostly because the voice was right. There was no one he knew who could enter his consciousness so cleanly and be unaffected. In fact, in his consciousness, his body was the representation of his consciousness; a construct. If whatever breached his mind can do so easily, it can kill him here. If they kill him here, he would be brain dead. Orno trembled
“Do you not have a desire. The other one had a strong one. Is yours stronger?” The voice asked, ignoring Orno’s question.
A sudden angry burned within Orno. He did not know where it came from, but when the voice asked him that it was as if something broke within him, something that was holding his pent up frustrations inside. Desires? Of course I have desires. I want to Kill the ones who did this, and step on their bodies as they drown in flames. And then be made to rule the entire empire!
“Tsk. Tsk. Tsk. So much desire. So much hate. Too much, too much. The emperor’s power is well beyond me. You cannot rule them all under my contract. But I can help you with your vengeance.”
That voice. It can hear my thoughts? Orno wasn’t to bothered by that though. Startled, yes, but not shocked. He was locked in his conscious. If the other party could reach him in here it was no wonder they could read his thoughts “If you can help, then get me out of here!” He yelled.
The voice laughed. The laughter swirled around Orno. The darkness seemed to squirm. And a black cloud billowed out from the depths. It came from all around him, but did not get close.
“Too small. Too small. Think bigger.”
Orno’s heart trembled. He felt an icy chill penetrating his gut and chest. He just wanted to get away. But he could not. There was nowhere to go in the black sea world. No matter how much he swam, he could not go any higher. So he played along.
“I want to more power! Enough to have everyone in this small country bow before me. And I want Makron dead!”
“That’s two. You only get one. Besides, you cannot wish dead a fellow contract holder.”
Contract holder! Those two words ran through Orno like wildfire. He thought this was some demon or magical beast. Maybe some human sage. He could handle that. But a contract disseminator? “You’re from the immortal realm?” Orno squealed.
The voice laughed. “Just a mere descendant. If I were an immortal, making you ruler of all would be a much simpler task.” The voice paused, then spoke in a louder tone. “Now, what is your choice?!”
The entire black sea world seemed to shake. The light above dimmed further as if he were being drawn in deeper. A suffocating pressure landed on him.
And as everything was going to go dark. A black, narrow cloud billowed from the depths, twining around him, and a face formed from the tip. It’s hollow eyes and silent wail shook his very core. The face split, collapsing into a gaping hole and a coldness emanated from deep within.
“I wish… I wish…”
The voice laughed.
“You will be my second.”