He wakes, to darkness.
The carrion-stench of battle. The pillars of black smoke, spilling into the sky. The screams of the women, as they were put into fetters. The children whimpering beneath the obsidian blade.
These are the things he remembers, these are the things that he sees.
He sees himself: a priest, in his butcher’s apron. He sees the path, from his crypt to the altar entombed alongside him in the ossuary. He steps above his memories, of channels for blood carved into the stone. He remembers the rust-black stains and the guttering torch-light.
He mutters, and catches himself, hears what was once his voice. It is now a dry whisper.
He is King of the Underground and of the Oversky, the Blind Abbot. He has been, for a long, long time. He reaches up, to touch his face, and feels beneath his fingers the cold bone where warm flesh should be.
He draws his obsidian knife, and staggers forward, into the darkness.
He can feel the heat of her. He can taste her.
The taste of her fills him with yearning.
He strips her life, takes it as his own, dons it like a cloak of rainbow feathers. He consumes her. This is his blessing, his curse.
The darkness swallows him whole, and she steps out into the world, seeing it anew.