The echoes of shrieking steel faded as Nekrill stalked further down the tunnel, a hellish world dissipating behind him. The cavernous trench became his reality, his forward and backward. The air was particularly dull here. One would think an eternity or two in the Below would harbor an adjustment to the blackness, to the dust-ridden, windless milieu. In truth, the irritation just grew.
Nekrill was an irritable demon.
Exactly how many eternities had it been? He'd lost track.
Pickax in claw and obscenities audible, he lurked down the endless hall until all activity was out of earshot, banished from his thoughts. The Below truly was the ultimate curse. This was not his world. This was a cruel dream of some greater being, fickle fate's mistake. He'd been stolen from beneath destiny's wing and caged, Devil's eternal slave.
'Slavery' was not a word taken lightly. For all practical purposes the demons were workers, granted a portion of the goods they mined. Devil's ingenious. The harder the slaves worked the more profit they received, and since only a fraction was rewarded the more profit Devil received. Nekrill had only heard Devil's word through messengers, which he believed a smart move on his boss's part. When fate provided long-overdue retribution Devil's neck would be in his bloody grasp.
The demon got to work, his arm hacking away mindlessly. Dirt tumbled forth as it always did, blackening his charcoal skin. The fiery glow of Phyrestone blazed somewhere deeper in the tunnel wall, taunting him. Curse that familiarity. The blandness, the monotony, that was the eternal torment of the Below. Sleep was pleasure but not essential, and so was viewed as avoiding responsibilities. It was rewarded with lashes. He sneaked the odd nap in when he could, but soon enough fate robbed him of bliss and forced itself upon him once again.
The hole widened as the day--night? the tunnel was too black for light--crawled ever-slowly on, dust enveloping his crimson fingers. Still the Phyrestone glimmer seemed distant, as if it were floating away, just beyond his reach. Fate mocked him yet again.
Fate would not be the victor this time.
Rage seeped through him, numbing his muscles. Mad focus locked on the wall, he lost sight of his own body, the pickax guiding itself. Insanity overwhelmed rationale as fury took hold, now flooding through him by storm. Mutterings became growls, growls roars, roars mad shrieks. The hole deepened and deepened, now full yards across. He lost all sense of time and reality. No light entered the cavern, shadows only gathering and coalescing as he dove further and further inside...
Dirt crashed above him, blinding him. Fury raced from his throat, screams pervading the cavern and echoing until his sanity was all but lost. The world fell upon him, unholy, unfathomable might burying him, smothering him in death and rot--
It dipped through the pores of his imminent grave...sunshine?
What tortured dream was this?
Rage became confusion. A sensation of...of what? A wave overcame him, passed through him. He felt utterly lost, trapped in an endless expanse of emptiness. His mind was overcome and had lost grip on truth and reality, but all its ties to his body had been severed. He climbed, forcing his way through the force of whole worlds. Some spirit not his own must have guided him, for he felt the weight of gods push back and he won. His eyes were forced shut by the shadows above.
He broke surface.
Nekrill opened his eyes, and the world flooded them with light.
He staggered, tumbled, felt a falling sensation for a forever. He hit ground and felt pain emerge from his throat, but no sound reached him. White light became his shell, crushing him and caressing him. Bliss. Tortured, glorious bliss. Miracle bewildered him.
The sensation faded as a storm's echo to the ocean wind. Color swirled and materialized. The demon took his first steps on a new world as an infant.