If I should turn away from the good Lord in search of a darker fate, I think I would travel the path of the cold and gray. An ashen and empty landscape, void of color and drained of any saturation, unwillingly bearing a road as of cobblestone; only in place of each stone, a skull. This is the world of the quiet despair, where blurred and formless things from your peripheral might make your breath catch in your throat and your stinking limbs freeze with the sort of panic that grips you from the inside out. This is the world of icy silence, which crept out of the darkened chasms without purpose, frozen over all those who were too foolish or too bold to remain in the shadows.
Now I could choose the path of heat, the path of fire, the path of smoldering fury. In that world, destruction has no name, as it is in everything or everyone. In place of silence are deafening screams and perpetual moans. There reside the towering forces of vengeance and malice, cruelty and hatred, unseen and yet present in that world like gravity, pinning you down in your place like an abysmal weight, permitting movement only for actions manifested in these evils. That world is driven by a burning rage, fueled by the very blazes of hell, whose fiery tongues lick at you and curse you forward as you attend to unspeakable deeds.
However, mine is the path of the dark and cold. And I plan to set foot immediately, even tonight. For there are empty tomes in hell’s catacombs, whose blank pages are all too eager to capture the devious horrors that await me in my journey. This is not a fate to be sung on high, but whispered about in moments of despair.
Yet even as your eyes pass over these words, I must now impart to you a secret which I’ve taken morbid pleasure in withholding from you until now; seeing as you’ve taken part in this delightfully disturbing scheming of mine, so it goes that nothing comes without a price. Yes, you, my dearest reader, have been marked. Indeed, your very name has been etched in fire, set into stone among the rest of the condemned in hell. True, you may find rest tonight without disturbance. You may awake tomorrow morning feeling refreshed and alive, excited for a new day’s hopeful promises. You may not even remember having read these words. But let me assure you that I will remember you. For you have been marked. And even as the last grains of sand slip through your hourglass, I have finally prepared myself for this madness. Yes, I much look forward to meeting you, my dearest reader; my first task.