Wednesday, March 6, 2013


Wyver and I teleported to just outside the Department of Enforcement.  It was just as eerily calm outside as it had been inside.

"Okay, Wyver," I said.  "Where to?"

"This way, sir."  He led me up the stairs, away from the enormous steel door at the front of the Department of Enforcement.  Somewhere three flights up, two hallways over, and two more flights down (assuming I'd kept track properly) we exited the building and faced a broad, landscape of the most hellish variety I'd seen since I'd been in Hell.

The cracked, burnt-red shale at our feet spread out before us in a perfectly flat plain interrupted by only a few jagged spikes of rock.  These spikes were collected in bunches at various intervals, poking up from the dry surface in a manner halfway between a peaceful copse of trees shading an oasis and the claws of a monstrous hand erupting from the earth.  Beyond the plain, almost at the limit of my sight was what appeared to be a sharp cliff extending in both directions beyond visibility.  The lighting from below the precipice seemed to indicate a pit of lava, glowing furious shades of red and yellow and orange.  Descending from a ceiling I couldn't see was a massive inverted conical formation of the same burnt-red rock that hung like a single gruesome fang.  The scene was immense, barren and stark.  It gave a sense of heat, oppression and utter, inescapable despair.  I had a feeling I was walking into the kind of Hell Jonathan Edwards warned his congregation about way back when.

"Sir?" Wyver said.  I realized he was several steps ahead of me, wondering why I'd stopped.  "I was under the impression you were in a hurry."

I quickly caught up to him as he headed across the desolate plain.  "Where am I, exactly?" I asked.

"You are currently somewhere between the Department of Enforcement and the Barracks of the Damned," he replied.

"Do me a favor," I said distractedly, staring at the vast expanse of lifelessness and fierce imagery around me. "Dispense will all that formal crap for a while.  I don't want that sanitized tour guide crap.  Where am I, what's over the cliff, and what is that spike coming from overhead?"

Wyver, still ahead of me and moving at an impressive pace, turned back to give me a proudly evil wink.  "Well, sir, you're heading into the heart of darkness.  Most of the Department of Torture is over the edge of that cliff.  That's where Kivra and her friends stick needles in all the best places, tear out organs, spin lies, crush hopes and mutilate flesh.  When you hear people talk about the pit or the eternal flame or the lake of fire and brimstone...this is what they're talking about."

He actually took a moment to stop and make direct eye contact with me.  With a sentimental choke, he said, "This is where all the magic happens."

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