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The Warden: The Warden was constantly, constantly scanning the rebels. It came naturally to her. One had to keep up with her enemies, even former ones. She recognized many of the minds she brushed across, although she didn’t dare make contact with any of them. Until she noticed one…very strange individual making their way through camp. 

Her curiosity couldn’t be satiated. A tendril of her consciousness reached out to him, fingering his mind lightly, and her confusion deepened. There was something very off about him.

Akira Skye: Skye could feel the light touch of another presence in his mind as he quickly started to walk once more all the while thinking. ‘You can want inside my mind all you want… But the deeper you delve, the more nothing you’ll find… Ahaha… Ahahahah…. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” His laughter came out loud as he continued to walk.

The Warden: That is not possible…

There was no way he could have detected her. She was sure of it. Unless…

The Warden pushed harder and spoke to him. I have no desire to see what lies in your mind, strange one. I only wished to know your identity…and perhaps gain a clue of what plagues you. For she could certainly sense some kind of dark sickness within him.

Akira Skye: Skye simply stood there smiling like the true insanity he now embodies. As if you’ll need to know! I don’t think that’s important right now… What is… Tell me who you are first and maybe I’ll talk…

The Warden: Older than you, child. The Warden’s voice rumbled in irritation. And from the looks of it, a bit smarter. Very well, I will play your game. I am she who guarded the dungeon and possessor of many minds. Most know me as the Warden. Now, if you would oblige me…who are you and from whence did you travel?

Akira Skye: Aha… Ahaha… I’m more than a mere child. Skye taunted back towards The Warden. I’m hardly what people would call stupid. Just ask that one called Grey… And my name is Skye. I traveled back from the clutches of death itself… He smiled and laughed insanely once more before continuing his disheveled walk.

The Warden: Death itself? The Warden did the mental equivalent of a frown. Another one back from the dead. This is unbelievable…soon the rebels will be nothing but a group of walking corpses. Humans used to stay dead. What changed?

I’m sure that is a most…interesting account, she finally said. One that would likely repeat all others that I have heard. And how did you come to find your way to the rebels?

Akira Skye: Yes, death itself! Ahahahahahaha! But at the risk of my sanity… Skye seemed dishearted by the words and then quickly resumed on his insanity. I doubt that it will… You see, I’m sure you’ve noticed the dark presence in my body. I was once an innocent bystander learning necormancery and when my village was ambushed I was almost killed. But the magic I learned solidified into a crystal and then a demon-like form popped from it. It offered me a deal. Life for my sanity. I did that only to survive you see… So I’m not with anyone. Kindly leave. Now.

The Warden: Oh, we’re far from done. The Warden suddenly tightened her hold on his mind, latching onto him as though with claws. You’re going to tell me who offered you that deal. Her temper was slowly beginning to rise.

Akira Skye: Skye actually stopped in his tracks and put his hands over his head and started to scream out loud. Get out! GET OUT! I’ll never tell who offered me such a great deal! GET OUT OF MY BRAIN YOU WENCH! Skye just sat on the ground as he writhes in pain; his body almost convulsing.

The Warden: WENCH???

A series of raging images burned through her memory and she finally snapped. The Warden constricted her hold further and jabbed into his mind, finding the part that processed vision, and began to project an image of herself in front of him. A humanoid form, indistinct but growing stronger as her anger pounded through his head. 

Akira Skye: Skye just lay on the ground once more writhing in pain and screaming loudly. He felt every poke and prod into his mind and it made him feel unsafe… When he saw the image he grabbed his spear and rushed at it to kill it. “DIE YOU WENCH!” He jumped in the air swing it once and then dove into the ground. GET OUT OF MY HEAD! GET OUT GET OUT GETOUT!

The Warden: TELL ME AND I SHALL LET YOU BE.

The Warden’s newly made pact with herself to avoid bringing harm to any more rebels was instantly broken as she gripped him and slowly pried apart his thoughts. Their innards were dark and scrambled and she twisted her half-formed face in disgust. He’s mad, she realized. Absolutely, stark-raving mad. That’s no excuse, though, the information must be in here somewhere…She had to know. She had to. If it was a demon as he said it was…

THIS IS YOUR FINAL CHANCE. Her form became more clear, a tall, catlike woman with hair obscuring her dark eyes and curved tusks emerging from her jaw. A forked tail bristled and swirled around them. When the man swung his spear through her, she smirked, as it was just a hallucination she was causing. 

Akira Skye: I WILL NOT! LEAVE MY MIND AT ONCE! Skye just stood there dumbfounded as to what he was seeing. He couldn’t believe how much hs eyes had been manipulated so easily. I will not be so easily tricked by you! Get out! GET OUT! GETOUTGETOUTGEOUT!

The Warden: The ghostly figure moved forward, bending down to put her face in his. Or what? she snarled. You’re powerless against me, mad-child. 

Akira Skye: Skye just lay there on the ground with his eyes closed tight so he couldn’t look at the figure approaching him. Mad? You think me mad!? Aha… Ahaha… AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I Am FaR fRoM mAd YoU wEnTcH! YoU wIlL pAy ThE pRiCe FoR yOuR wOrDs!

The Warden: Oh my…what’s this…?

Somewhere within his tortured mind, the Warden’s razor-sharp, probing mind brushed up against something sickly and black. It appeared to be at his very core, something that pulsed and fed darkness to every part of his soul. It was…keeping him alive. Some foul, ancient remnant of necromancy, no doubt. Wouldn’t it be a shame if this was…taken away?

And with no significant amount of caution, the Warden began tugging at it, drawing it out as though cleansing him of a poison.

Akira Skye: Skye felt his lifeforce draining from his body as his only way of remaining alive was being yanked from him. He lay in the real world screaming in pain and squirming around as if there were some force pinning him down. But to no avail did he find solace and a way to escape. His screams echoed throughout the nearby area and into the camp N-NO! That was all it took and Skye’s mind began to push The Warden out of his mind while keeping the mass of concentrated magic keeping him sustained in this world inside of him.

The Warden: The Warden’s black eyes burned and she set her face in a snarl. TELL ME!! she screeched, mental claws dragging across his mind as he slipped away. YOU HORRID, INSIGNIFICANT, FILTHY LITTLE—

She suddenly gasped and choked on her words. A different rush of memories came back this time, from the early days of the dungeon, all the way to the moment when she was dragged down to Hel with Stonegit. All of the pain and destruction she had caused came back in a flash, and she instantly released her grip on his thoughts, stepping backwards in shock. The death. The hacked-up memories. The deal. The sorcerer, the half-cat, the king…the scout. It was as though she had pulled her claws out of the boy’s chest all over again. 

I…I didn’t…

Akira Skye: Skye sat there wondering what happened for a moment. Did he…? What did he do? He couldn’t have… ‘Hey! A-are you okay!? Hey! Tell me if you’re alright!’ Skye sat up in the real world and nothing plagued his sight. He let out a sigh of relief and carried onward.

The Warden: The Warden retracted completely from the madman and retreated deep within Stonegit’s consciousness, brooding on what she had done. Harming Treepelt had taught her valuable lessons—ones that, apparently, she had forgotten in her time apart from the cat-child. And she had just re-learned them again all in a heartbeat. A madman’s pain it might have been, but it was still pain, and the Warden was loath to inflict it and feel it once more. So she simply left and watched.

Akira Skye: Skye reached his thoughts out prodding into the minds of everyone he had seen until he found The Warden residing in Stonegit’s mind. ‘I’m sorry. I just… I don’t know what came over me… Ah…! No…! STOOOOOOOOP! Ahahahaha! YoU pItEoUs FoOl! yOu ShOuLd KnOw BeEtTeR!

The Warden: The Warden shoved him out in a sudden burst of protectiveness. Get out, she growled. You may torture me, mad-child, but don’t you dare touch anyone else in this rebellion or you will sorely regret it.

Akira Skye: Skye simply came back to reality laughing as if he really had lost his mind. Oh wait, he had, long ago… “Yes, let’s hunt them all down! AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” His smile was truly that of a madman.

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