The Labyrinth

Blake didn’t know how long she walked down the cold, dark path in front of her, but it was certainly a lot longer than she intended to.  Yet somehow she continued, one foot in front of the other, heeding a beckoning call that she could not deny.  Black rose petals in her path nudged her on, affirming she was right where she was supposed to be.

In a massive, circular room, lit dimly by red crystals in the domelike wall, she felt the urge to stretch her limbs and engage in the martial arts forms she has been using on the ghostly assassins recently.  It seemed so long ago, but also seemed like mere minutes.

Soon a shadowy presence was palpable nearby.  Its voice, a bare whisper in her mind, began making corrections.  As she snarled in her stance, the voice guided her to find the deeper, purer rage within.  As her hands became like claws, the voice taught her to feel the black essence from her core whirl around them and add strength and sharpness.

Soon, she felt it was satisfied, and led her deeper, down twisting, maze like tunnels and caverns, until finally Blake stood at the edge of a cliff, overlooking the Void itself.  A great, black cold absence of being far below, it consumed anything fed into it.  Even ideas.  Even names.

Blake felt the urge to recite her full name and feed it into the Void.  But she suddenly realized that urge was not truly coming from within but was in obedience to the voice that had been guiding her.  She backed off a step, reluctant to part with her name and her connection to the Night Feathers.  She could feel those were inextricably linked.

With a sigh she could feel now that this step would help her grow in power, and she would be limited without it.  She longed for the embrace of the Void, the cold completeness that was her new home.  Distracted and confused, she took another step forward before realizing the voice in her head was putting feelings in her mind as well, making her yearn for Oblivion.  But these were not her own yearnings, and she did not appreciate being manipulated in the slightest.

“No, you will not have my name!”  She chanted at nothing in particular, and turned on her heel to leave.  Then a new sensation washed over her: by clinging onto her name, that of a living thing, she would stunt her growth, and her patron would abandon her to her dark, unpleasant fate.

Blake shrugged and started walking back.  Somehow, despite having been in the Labyrinth for what seemed like months, she could feel as she walked out that it was a mere hundred steps back to the land of the living, and she would arrive no later than she had left it.

These hundred steps became the longest journey she had ever taken, because now she was becoming barraged with sensations and emotions from her erstwhile dark lord.  She clung steadily to her name, finally shrieking against the ruckus in her own mind, “MY NAME IS BLAKE!”

Somehow that seemed to quiet the storm, but she also felt a single drop of the Neverborn’s wrath coil into her soul.  Resonance, that which she had heard of but had never experienced before, was now hers.  The mysterious thing that had been watching over her had been shielding her from Resonance, and it would no longer do so.

No, that wasn’t quite right, she realized.  Her power had grown too much, she had attracted the Neverborn’s attention.  With a whirling flourish of her newfound Martial Arts abilities, Blake realized she had somehow transcended the limitations of an Abyssal, and had grown in power despite still not claiming a title from the Void.  She could also feel the surprise of her secret visitor wash over her, and then fueled by that startlement she hastened her steps until she was back in the tunnel in the Shadowlands, with the twisting, maddened Labyrinth long behind her.

In-game effect: Blake is now Essence 4 and has mastered Hungry Ghost form.  She is now susceptible to resonance from expressing positive intimacies for the living and for actively claiming her own name, despite lacking a title.