“I told you two things, Elezar,” Zarrek said as he drew his broadsword. “One, that I will not submit completely to Métius. Two, that I would help you get your family back home. I intend to stay to my word!”
His sword ignited with flames, and he glared at the fae woman. From the shadows surrounding him. there came terrible screeching and hissing. Now matter where he looked, he could see nothing but darkness.
“You are a foolish prince,” she told him. “Master, why do you require a fool such as this in your service?”
He wondered for only a brief moment to whom she was speaking. He realized soon enough, though, just from the context of her words, exactly who it was. Her amethyst wings fluttered as the room grew colder, and her lips took on a slight grin as the torchlight dimmed. The chamber began to smell of decay, and Zarrek knew that he had been right.
“He has been, and always shall be, mine,” a voice above them replied. It was deep, rumbling as though the very earth moved, as though its words were not spoken but growled. It carried all the weigh of his surety, his power, and even his wrath.
He emerged from the shadows, immense, his skin black, flecked in red in places as though he were scaled, horns curling back from his head far larger than a mortal beast would have been able to uphold. This was no mortal. Zarrek knew from his visage who stood before him, arms crossed over his chest, staring down at him as a father might stare down at a young child who had just misbehaved. His brow, jagged and long, like the outstretched wings of a dragon, was used to symbolize him.
“Metius.” Zarrek spoke only that one word, his name, as he stared back at him.
Beside him, Bazalus crouched down low and murmured, “Master of all masters.” Zarrek scowled, and vowed to deal with his loyalties later.
“You force my hand, child,” the demon god replied. “Kneel before me now, and all of this shall be over.”
“I kneel to no god!” Zarrek told him.
The Destroyer snarled impatiently. “You have long enjoyed my power. It is time that you repay me for it.”
“I would not call the pain that I have endured enjoyment,” He retorted. “I paid for each of my powers with blood. I let your priests cut and scar my body; I owe you nothing more.”
Métius grinned, baring row after row of narrow, sharpened teeth. They were blood-stained, and his breath had a metallic smell to it, aside from the smell on rent flesh.
Elezar shot him a warning look. “This is the Dark One’s territory, Zarrek,” he hissed. “He can manifest himself anywhere in Thiizav, and he came for you. Show some respect!”
If Zarrek was at all impressed by the situation, he did not show it.
“And what… delicious blood it was my priest offered to me.” Métius took a step forward, but Zarrek did not flinch. “Now I want more. Take back the words that you spoke in Kaj’Darem. Swear your obedience to me, spill your blood so that I might sate my thirst, give me your fire!”
Métius reached out for his flaming broadsword, but Zarrek slashed it downwards and took a wide step backwards. He narrowed his eyes and said, “I shall do nothing that you demand. If I want power, I will come to your temple. I shall use your spells as I see fit so that I may protect my kingdom.”
These words only served to annoy the Dark Lord. He looked at the fae woman, then at Elezar, who went to his knees as soon as his eyes were on him, and then to the woman and child in the cages.
“You would rather have them die than serve me?” Métius asked him. “I can give you so much more than what you have now. You would not need to trade power for flesh, one by one, as you do now. You could have all the power you needed to protect Onsira, if only you gave to me your Zeah and pledged to worship me.”