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Visions of Fish

Vazra lifted his goggles from his eyes, trying to clear his vision. The rear outpost he had left earlier that day stood before him, though it was nearly unrecognizable. The once sturdy walls stood charred and blackened. Tables were overturned, and the dirt floor had been saturated with blood, forcing the mage to slog through the gruesome mud. The bodies of his comrades lay strewn around the outpost, butchered by blades or scorched by spells. He was overcome. Vazra dropped to his knees against his will, his eyes beginning to water.
Where he thought tears would come, however, there was only a sharp pain in his stomach. Wretching, Vazra added the contents of his stomach to the mess upon the ground. Between episodes, he tried to catch his breath, inspecting his handiwork. A pile of blue fish had stacked itself where he had been kneeling, writhing without water in which to swim. His stomach turned again, and a wave of nausea washed over him. He felt a wiggling in his throat, working towards his mouth. His lips parted and out poked yet another fish. It twisted and turned to face Vazra, opening its mouth to speak, “They have found you, Vazra. He has come.”
Without another word, the fish wriggled free and fell to the ground, flopping around with its last breaths. An unearthly scream escaped its mouth, tears of black flowing from its eyes. As the life leaves the fish, it settles to the ground, lying still for a moment before erupting into maggots, showering Vazra with the larvae. The maggots coalesced at his feet, piling high to take the vague shape of a man.
Watching the form take shape, Vazra’s eyes were drawn upwards. Ragged black leather boots were the first to form, torn trousers giving glimpses of rotted flesh beneath following next. Chain mail fell into place, rusted and mangled, quickly covered by a gleaming white and blue tabard, unsoiled by the death, dirt, and blood around it. Plate bracers formed upon the wrists, the bony, fleshless fingers extending from them grasping the hilt of a massive sword, the blade seemingly forged from a single spine. The blue and white crown sat on a skull adorned in a chainmail coif, the eyes burning with unholy fire. A skeletal hand raised slowly, a single finger extended, grazing against Vazra’s chest. The fire in the skull’s eyes extinguished itself as the eye sockets locked with the mage’s own. The hand on his chest shot up, clenching around Vazra’s throat. With profane strength, the mage’s body was lifted off the ground, gasping for air.
“…My…” An unearthly voice echoed forth from beyond the skull and beyond the grave. “…opponent…”

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