I approached the nightgoyle as it struggled against its restraints. Its red eyes fell upon me, and when it imitated a smile, my stomach lurched. As much as I hated to admit it, these things and I were cut from the same cloth. This thing was the offspring of the Oneiroi, and I was of the Oneiroi. I would have to speak to the beast in its own guttural tongue. I hated having to put its low base speech in my mouth. It addressed me first.

“Hail, Thanatos, Lord of Death, son of Nyx, father of none.”

My wings unfurled. I had my scythe at the ready in case it was able to break its bondage. I inclined my head at the thing in greeting. I could feel Artemis and Orion’s eyes on me while we spoke.

“Hiya, bondsman. I command the truth from your lips. The soul of the mortal, Kara…where it is? I sense it not in you,” I said.

It began to laugh, a low throaty noise like stones in a cement mixer. The heckles on the back of my neck stood up. My grip tightened on my scythe as I felt a hot anger rise in me. It sneered.

“Kara’s soul? I’m afraid I know not what my Lord speaks of, although my Lord’s Lady Mother on the other hand, sucks cocks in Tartarus!” it said, letting out another round of its throaty laughter.

A thing most people didn’t know was a soul and an aura worked the same way, and I called both to me.  The rage I felt over the insult to my mother was palpable. I gritted my teeth as I raised my hand to its chest and pulled. It shrieked as I pulled a ghostly looking doppelganger away from its body. I twisted my wrist inward and the doppelganger twisted with it, eliciting several shrieks and howls from the beast.

“You will not speak of my Lady Mother in that manner again! Now speak truth! Now speak prophecy! I command it, beast!” I yelled, slamming its doppelganger back into it.

A stream of black ichor ran from one nostril and the corner of the creature’s mouth.

“I have not..the soul, my Lord,” it struggled to get it out.

“Then whom?” I asked.

The nightgoyle sneered at me, full of contempt. His red eyes fell onto Artemis and the contemptuous sneer grew larger. I looked over to see what he was looking at and I tensed.

“Give to me the flesh of the goddess of the hunt and I’ll tell. Let me sup on her sacrifice, then give to me the eyes of the hunter Orion. I will tell my Lord all for their sup,” it said.

“No, you shall tell me where the soul is, and since you do not have it, you will also tell me who you are bonded to, bondsman,” I said.

I let out another round of it laughter.  I clenched my teeth even tighter. This was getting tiresome, and I felt time and my patience growing shorter.  I reached, I pulled, and I slammed. It howled and shrieked in pain while I continuously slammed its doppelganger in and out of the body. I stopped, and it laid limp in the restraints as the streams of black ichor turned into a small river. It picked its head up weakly. Its red eyes blazed with rage.  It flew against the restraints, snapping its jaws as it spoke, hot spit flying from its mouth with the black ichor.

“I will, be free! My Lord! To have the goddess for my own! To slay the hunter! To catch you and bring you back to my Master, where you will meet your end!”

I moved in closer, pulling at its aura, lifting it above my head and slamming it back in hard. The beast roared. 

“Truth! Prophecy! Speak, fiend!” I roared.

“Zakar! Zakar! Zakak, lord of the deep,” it said weakly.

“Where does your Master keep, bondsman?” I demanded.

“The fall, a cave behind the falls,” it whispered.

I turned to the hunters.

“We need to go back to the waterfall, where you first saw the nightgoyle,” I told them.

Orion asked me about the nightgoyle, and what was to come next for it. We didn’t need it anymore; it had served it purpose. I strolled back to the bound beast. I leaned in, its labored breathing sweet music to my ears. It raised its head regarding me, the fire in its eye dwindling from our conversation. I whispered into his ear. “I send thee to the darkness and release of oblivion, fiend.”

With that, I severed its head from its body. The Huntress and I spoke as we raced to the falls where we met Zakar. As we approached the cave entrance, I could feel the souls in the crystals crying out for their release. I need to get them to the Underworld. I need to put Kara’s soul back in.We entered to see the demon sitting cross-legged in a Pentagram. At each corner of the symbol sat a cluster of souls trapped in gems. I could hear and feel their fright, anguish, confusion. All I wanted to do was comfort them, but the demon needed dispatching first.  Orion moved first and was defeated. Poor boy.  I moved in with my scythe to his neck, gave my ultimatum, and he attempted to strike up a Faustian bargain.

Thanatos (Marc Tizura)
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