Chapter 8: The Tale of Onnus


Consumed in grief and anger, Onnus vowed revenge and called upon Oida to ferry him to the shores of Herophet. As Onnus neared the edges of Herophet, the River Mothex boiled and a great mist consumed them. And the watchtowers set along the shores of the River Mothex by Themex, which he had filled with his servants, were now consumed by Gort's evil minions instead, for Themex held no power there. So it was, as they journeyed through the silent mists, that Onnus heard the fair voice of Desdemar calling to him, her golden voice carrying to his ears from the tallest window of a watchtower they passed. And for a moment he thought that indeed Desdemar lived and that all that had gone before was yet more of Gort's trickery. But his ears were deceived and he realized his folly, for the pain in his heart spoke to him of the truth of Desdemar's murder.

So he knew the deception before him and leapt from the ferry and tore down the doors of the watchtower and there met with Sarax, whose deformed features set a chill even upon his stoic heart. Yet from her foul mouth was such a beautiful song sung and even yet Onnus could hear the fair tones of Desdemar and his hand was stayed. But Sarax had no mercy and her great wings carried her to where he stood and she raked at him with her claws and so ensued the great fight between Onnus and Sarax.

The struggle was unlike anything that had gone before as Onnus and the powerful minion of Gort were locked in mortal combat. Several times did Sarax grab Onnus in her powerful claws and drop him from a great height, smashing his body upon the shores of the River Mothex until she thought him defeated and gloated over his body. But Onnus was not yet defeated and as Sarax gloated, so he reached up and grabbed her throat and began to pound her body into the ground, until the very rock did split. But still he pounded her foul form and with his great spear, Ered, thrust it into her, until the life within her was all but gone. But with one last great struggle, Sarax broke free of his murderous grasp and crawled into the hole that opened below her, where she hid from his great rage.

Such was the violence of their combat, that the very foundations of Herophet shook and Gort thought that all the Aslah were upon him in a great rage and were set upon his destruction, that he did force himself upon Aras as a final gesture of defiance, before fleeing for fear of his very existence and made his way to Mulhata, where Olmus ruled, and there hid from those that he imagined were hot upon his heals. But Voln was not so easily deceived, for news had come to her of Gort's deeds and even she was at first shocked by his depravity. Yet a smile came to her, for she also new his weaknesses and when he had left Herophet for Mulhata, so Voln sent Hakkan to fetch Aras and bring her to Sota, where she was thrown deep within the dungeons, to be at the mercy of Voln.

With Sarax defeated, having crawled into a hole carved out of the rock by her very body, Oida transported Onnus to the shores of Herophet. And he was shocked at the hellish vision that was before him, for the fires of Herophet cast upon the land an orange glow and the land was cracked and rugged and filled with lakes and rivers of lava, which spewed from the ground in the violence of volcanoes or as geysers which gave no warning. And the lands were filled with the horrors of Gort's making, cruel and spiteful, with hate in their fiery eyes.

Even though the fires burnt his very flesh, Onnus pushed forward, determined to save Aras from the clutches of Gort and fought countless fights with the minions that stalked every fiery rock and swam in the molten rivers, until he stood before the blackest of the citadels that ever there was, Herophet itself, the vile home of Gort, and there he stood and called Gort to account. But there was no answer, as Gort was long since gone, hidden in the arms of Olmus.

Onnus tore down the doors of Herophet and there fought the beast Synti, the first guardian of Herophet, who was a fearsome foe who had fire for hair and whose very breath did scorch the burning air. And he did punish Synti with the might of Ered, his mighty spear, which he threw at him and which cast him aside, though Ered was lost. Though he suffered from the pain of the fire of Herophet, still he continued his search for Aras. Through Hul, Thyro and Karsia did he pass, hellish lands carved out below Herophet by the hands of Gort and his servants, lands of fire and ice, barren wastelands populated only by evil and malice.

So it was that deep within the frozen wastes of Karsia that Onnus met with the lord of that land, Zykerathox, as spiteful and twisted and full of malice as existed anywhere and he set upon Onnus with such spite that Onnus was shaken. The fight that ensued was greater than anything that had gone before, even greater than that of Onnus and Sarax and even the River Mothex shook, causing the waters to rise and flood the gardens of Damarkan, bringing much ruin and destruction, and as the two foes clashed, so the very air clapped with thunder and snapped with electricity and the land beneath them cracked under the weight of their assault. And it was here that Zykerathox, with the aid of all those that he ruled, cast Onnus down upon the ice and defeated him and, victorious, threw his remains into the fires of Tuska.

As Onnus fell, so did Aras scream from the labor of childbirth, as Angoras was born, the daughter of Gort, who had forced himself upon her. And as Onnus fell, so was Fellias conceived, daughter of Gort and Olmus. And as Onnus fell, so did Voln plunge a dagger into Aras and kill her.

And as the body of Onnus crashed down upon the floor of Tuska, so a spring of water emerged under him and mingled with his blood and not even the fires of Tuska were hot enough to drive this spring back. And as the life of Onnus flowed into the spring and the waters of the spring flowed into Onnus, so he awoke and looked down upon the beauty of the spring and felt some of his strength return. Long after, the spring was called the Fountain of the Immortals and the essence of Onnus himself flowed through it and those who were pure of heart, who drank from it, would step immortal into the realms of the gods.

So Onnus, lost deep within the hells of Gort's making, wandered alone, fending off the beasts that tried to thwart him and he traveled through Valvara and finally Gorodin and he walked there long, lost in the frozen wastelands of the deepest hell of Herophet. And during this time Fellias was born, as was Condos, also the daughter of Gort and Olmus and Gort returned to Herophet and gave to Zykerathox all the lands of Karsia in reward for his great victory. And from Voln did he receive the lie that she had spied Aras making her escape from Herophet and that she had sent forth Hakkan, who had brought about her end, but said nothing of Angoras, who was hidden deep within the halls of her dungeons below.

So Onnus wandered for long, alone and lost, his heart still rent from the pain of his history. How long there in Gorodin Onnus wandered, none can say, nor when it was that Voln was first made aware of him. For while the other Aslah no longer had news of Onnus and thought him perished, Voln watched him in the deepest hell of Herophet and at a time of her choosing sent him aid in the form of a walking dream, a spirit in the form of his beloved Desdemar, who did guide him to Sota and to Voln, where she took the guise of Desdemar and brought comfort and relief to the ailing Onnus, who was but a shadow of he who first called to Oida to ferry him from the shores of Damarkan to those of Herophet.

Voln brought much comfort to Onnus and in the guise of Desdemar did conceive his child, who would be Yerraz. And when this was done, still she did not reveal herself, but instead tricked him and had him led to Angoras, who was now fully grown and the mirror of Desdemar, and when Onnus cast his eyes upon her, he thought he was still in her presence, for his mind was clouded with delusion and malady and there he lay with Angoras and impregnated her with his seed, only then for Voln to reveal the truth to him and for the cloud that shrouded him to be lifted as he lay with the child of his own daughter and knew what was done.

And the rage that did consume him brought him great power and he threw aside Voln and Hakkan and Xagraxsus and went straight to Herophet, where Gort had long since put him from his mind. So was the surprise all the greater when Onnus did break through the doors of Herophet and in his madness expose the lies of Voln to Gort. And the two of them fought with all their sinew in the great hall of Ferrank in the heart of Herophet. But the rage which consumed Onnus and gave him great strength was not enough and though Gort suffered greatly at his hands, so Onnus was at last defeated and an end brought to his torment and the whole of Damarkan shook and Thoran, the palace of Onnus, was sundered from Damarkan, as Golgoria had been, with only the silver waters of the River Mothex bridging the two.

Gort, suffering from the pain of his struggle with Onnus, remained long in Herophet while his wounds were healed and during his long absence Voln did have the child of Onnus, Yerraz, who she sent with her son Xagraxsus to hide in Talokas, her home of old, for fear of Gort's revenge. Also, Angoras did have twins, the children of her mother's father, Onnus, who were conceived in deceit. And their forms were as hideous as their mother's were pure and they were filled with spite and hate and deceit and the boy was called Gygafrak and the girl Babbarax and upon casting her eyes upon her children, Angoras did cry and wish for an end to her own misery.

When Gort's wound had been repaired and his strength returned, he took the most powerful of his minions and went to Sota and challenged Voln. So did she send out the foulest of those that served her and a great battle took place there. And for a while none were greater than the other and Gort could not break through the doors of Voln's citadel, but nor could she dislodge him from her gate. So it was that Xagraxsus turned on his family, in hope of favor and greater power, and emptied Talokas, where he had been hid, and sided with Gort, and Zykerathox also came to him and Voln was defeated.

So it was that Voln took a disguise and fled Sota to Damarkan, in the hope of some respite. And to Xagraxsus was given the dominion of Sota, in reward for his treachery, and Zykerathox, the greatest of all the servants of Gort, was released from his servitude and, being immortal, he became Aslah himself and the true master of Karsia. And Hakkan, brother of Xagraxsus and child of Voln and Gort, was cast out of Herophet and he fled to Talokas, where Xagraxsus had been before him and where the despicable children, Babbarax and Gygafrak, were still, as was his half-brother, Yerraz. And to Herophet was taken Angoras, where Gort did murder her and place her head alongside that of Onnus, upon the gates of his palace.

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