Coming to Elgar


Logrus nodded, a look of sadness on his face. He took a several deep breaths, then heaved a great sigh, and began. “I never knew my father. He left, or he died. My mother told me both, at different times. It doesn’t matter.

“We were poor. My mother entertained men for money, so we could eat. One of them was a soldier. He came often.” Logrus paused, looking wistful as he relived old memories. He pulled his blade again, and began cleaning his fingernails with it. “I think maybe he loved my mother. Maybe he loved me, too. He taught me things. How to hunt. How to kill.”

“What sort of beasts did you hunt?” Aiul asked.

“Deer, mostly. Sometimes wolves, or bear. And once a man.”

“A man?” Aiul gasped. “How old were you?”



“That is unusual?” Logrus asked.

“Indeed,” Aiul assured him.

Logrus nodded, absorbing the information. “Perhaps he was like me,” Logrus theorized. “He knew little but his own trade, I think.”

“But why did he kill the man?”

“He was angry with him,” Logrus said. “It was another man who came to see my mother. I think he may have hurt her, or stole from her.” He shrugged. “I was very young. I just remember that he told me it was necessary. He said that as her son, it was my duty.”

“And this man raised you,” Aiul guessed.

“No,” said Logrus. “He went away when I was nine. To war. He never came back. I missed him. But that did not change things.

“I was thirteen when my mother died.”


He had made her tea and toast. Usually, she awoke earlier and did the same for him, so it had seemed a kind gesture.

With eyes still a bit clouded from sleep, Logrus did not understand at first, why she was so cold, so stiff. He shook her, panic growing within him, and drew back the thin quilt. It was then that he saw the dark bruises around her throat, and understood.

The dishes in his hand fell, taking hours to reach the floor, as his scream of horror and pain echoed from the drafty timbers of the tiny cottage.

Time, it seemed, had lost its meaning. He had no idea how much had passed as he sat by her bed, holding her cold hand. Only the urgency in his bladder served to mark the passing of time. He ate and rank, he relieved himself, he returned to her side, over and over, until there was nothing left. Then he had no reason to move at all.

A part of him understood that he needed to go out, to find food, or at least water, but the fear in him was overpowering. What else would change if he allowed his attention to waver, his guardianship to lapse? It was unthinkable.

The world grew smaller and smaller for him, keeping time with the shrinking of his own body and soul. His lips grew cracked. His throat became a desert. Yet he remained at vigil, as if his mother might return to her body, as long as it was kept safe.

There came a point where he knew he would not survive, that he was too weak to change his mind and seek sustenance, even if he chose to do so. The knowledge came as a relief. The vigil was too hard, his fear too overpowering. Death would be a welcome lifting of his burden.

It was then, in the darkness, surrounded by the stench of his mother’s rotting corpse, that he first heard the voice.

It was like none he had ever heard, a comforting, warm, fatherly voice. It seemed to stroke his cheek with compassion, and drive away the fear in his heart.

“How long will you suffer here, child?” it asked.

Logrus waited in the darkness, unable to respond. His throat refused to form any words. The fear soon returned, but somehow, it seemed weaker, his hunger and thirst more noticeable.

Time passed unmarked for him. He no longer had the means to measure it, though he knew that he had been in and out of consciousness. He longed to hear the voice again. He became convinced that it was a herald of his death, his release from suffering, and he hoped fervently for its return.

“Blood calls for blood,” the voice said at last, the same voice, but different in form. It was not warm, now, but cold, the scream of winter wind, the clatter of hailstones on a roof, the bite of water so icy that it can kill in seconds.

Logrus struggled to speak, but his body would not cooperate. Despair welled within him as he struggled with his last reserves of energy to answer, to ask the voice for help, but he was simply too weak. At last, he felt the darkness close in as his body slipped towards death.

He had not thought the dead would dream.


He was in a tiny room without windows or even a door. The walls were smooth, dull metal that turned the slightest sound into a symphony of echoes. The light was dim, without a source, as if the walls themselves emitted some tiny luminescence. Fear gnawed at his gut, vague, undefined, fear of nothing in particular, of everything in general. The world was simply too much for him, and thus, he preferred the box. How he had come there was, to him, a meaningless question. He had always been there, and he had no desire to leave, no need to understand. Cold comfort was the best he could hope for.

After an eternity, or perhaps only a few moments, he was startled by an alien sound. It was a click, followed by a grating. There was scarcely time for him to contemplate it before a door sized section of the blank wall opened, flooding the room with searing, brilliant white light.

Logrus turned his head away, the pain in his eyes so intense that he was momentarily blinded. Metal rang on metal as someone, or something, entered the room. The grinding sound came again, and another click.

Fear welled in Logrus’s chest, strangling him, but with it came hope. Perhaps this was the end. That was the only comfort he could imagine. He closed his eyes and prayed for a blow, but none came. The newcomer remained silent, the stillness broken only by the sound of Logrus’s panicked breath and an intermittent dripping sound.

“End me,” he begged.

“I am not come for that.” It was the voice again! Yet, in the dream, he could not remember where he had heard it before. He only knew that it was an anchor in a world that seemed to be slipping from beneath him.

“Speak again,” he pleaded.

“What would you hear, child?”

“Anything,” Logrus sobbed. “It makes the fear go away.”

“Look upon me.”

Logrus shook his head in denial.

“Look upon me, child!” The voice was changed, now, a hammer striking against an anvil, a command that brooked no defiance.

Logrus opened his eyes, and raised his head slowly, his lips quivering with fear and other, less identifiable emotions. The figure before him was a tall man in battered armor, powerfully built. Cold, black eyes stared at him from a familiar face. Logrus struggled to remember where he had seen the sharp features before, and with a shock, realized that they were his own. They were older, with lines that did not yet exist in his own smooth skin, and with a pointed beard that he could not yet grow, but there was no denying that he was staring up at himself.

Logrus could not understand, but neither could he tear his gaze from the figure before him.

“It is not your time, child,” the figure said. “You see this, now, do you not?”

Logrus buried his face in his hands, unable to bear the undeniable truth the man spoke. “How can I go on?” he croaked. “I am afraid!”

“It is necessary,” said the newcomer.

“Who are you to say so?” Logrus asked, angry now despite his terror.

The man stared at him, his black eyes seeming to bore into Logrus’s very soul. “I have many names,” the elder Logrus answered. “Destroyer. Violator. Monster. Hater. Elgar.”

Logrus shuddered at the words. Yet, again, he knew, without understanding why, that they were true. “I know the name,” he gasped. “What do you want of me?”

“There are few who can understand,” Elgar said. He knelt beside Logrus and touched a hand to his cheek. Logrus gasped at the warmth, the compassion that flowed through him, driving out the crippling fear in his heart. “Those precious few, I am permitted to aid. Those who are cheated.” Logrus saw, in his mind, his mother’s cold, agonized form, stilled forever by a callous hand. “Abused.” He saw, as if he were there, her murderer choking the life from her, heard her strangled cries as she struggled against the inevitable. “Abandoned.” His vision was of a half boy, half man, lying in his own filth beside a rotting corpse, too dehydrated even to shed tears.

Elgar grasped at something, and Logrus felt a wrenching sensation deep within his chest. As Elgar drew his hand away, he seemed to draw something out of the boy. A wispy, shimmering, barely visible streamer hung from his hand. It was like a living creature, with tentacles like an octopus, nearly liquid, and as it struggled vainly in Elgar’s grasp, it became more visible, turning a putrescent, mottled yellow and red. Logrus stared at it with loathing. There was a malevolence about the thing that Logrus had no words to describe. He hated it, wanted to destroy it, but, with a shock, he realized he did not fear it.

He did not fear anything at all.

Elgar shook the viscous, slimy thing once, and it changed form, oozing into a flat, diaphanous sheet. He shook it again, and it changed substance, becoming a simple black cloak.

“I take the fear from your heart, and forge armor for you,” Elgar said. He stepped forward and draped the cloak over Logrus’s shoulders. To his surprise, Logrus found the garment warm and comforting.

“Is there a price?” Logrus asked.

“A small one,” Elgar said. “What you do in my name, I would have you record.” Logrus felt a sudden weight in pocket of the cloak. He reached in and withdrew a small book. The cover was red leather, embossed in black with a mailed fist shot through with spikes. He flipped through the pages, but they were all blank.

Logrus looked at Elgar, confused. “What am I to do in your name?”

Elgar smiled, and raised his hand to Logrus’s cheek again. “What is necessary,” said the Dead God. “You will know. I swear a pact to you, this day. Your flesh will not fail you while you do my work. Our work. You will not know defeat.”

Logrus nodded. “So be it,” he said.

Elgar smiled, and waved his hand. The walls of the room shimmered, and vanished. Blinding light shot through Logrus as if he stood in the heart of the sun itself. He felt his flesh melt from his bones, the agony beyond anything he had ever known. There was nothing but light.

And yet he endured.


Logrus woke with a start. Time was once again flowing normally. The small cottage reeked of rot and filth, and his stomach was howling with hunger.

He struggled to his feet, staggering with weakness. Something slipped from his lap and clattered to the floor as he did do. With supreme effort, he bent to retrieve the book he had seen in his dreams, marveling that it could be here. The dream had, at least in some way, been real. He lit a candle and looked about for the cloak, but it was nowhere in sight. He shrugged. Perhaps the cloak was just part of the dream.

Whatever the case, he was clear minded, now. He knew precisely what he needed to do. With a wistful smile, he looked on his mother one last time, seeing her not as she was, but how she had been. He laid the burning candle to her bedclothes and left.

As he staggered away from the burning cottage, he paused briefly, staring back at the conflagration. He would have liked to stay, to watch until it was truly done, but hunger and thirst gnawed at him with terrible urgency, stronger even than the fear that had ruled him before. He had to find food and water immediately.

There was a stream nearby, where he usually fetched water. He drank until he felt he would burst, and it still seemed too little, but the thirst faded to a dull throbbing in the back of his mind. Now, he had to find food.

He set off down the worn, rutted road to town. He had no money, and knew no one. How he would eat there was a mystery, but it was the only place to go. The three miles seemed more like three months, but Logrus was determined. Had Elgar not promised that his flesh would not fail? He endured the pain and hunger, because there was no alternative. At least there was moonlight, so that he did not stumble from blindness as well as weakness.

The town was a tiny hamlet of no more than two hundred citizens. Its few buildings huddled about the road like vagabonds at a campfire, their aging walls barely shelter against the wind. A small cemetery stood outside the town limits, the final destination for most of the townspeople, who lived and died all within a few miles of where they started.

Logrus felt a change within him as he neared the graves, an urgency that dulled his hunger. Images crowded into his mind unbidden, gray visions of peaceful death in sleep; of disease wracked, final throes; of precipitous falls that ended in darkness. Each of these, while jarring, gave him little pause.

But one was different. Through a red haze, he saw the pair, a girl his age and an older man. She was gasping for breath as he held a pillow over her face, the muscles in his arms corded in effort. More images tore through his mind like lightening strikes: the girl being raped by the man, over and over, through many years; brutal beatings and dire threats of consequences if she spoke; a whispered conversation with another woman. Logrus closed his eyes, staggered at the train of horrific images, praying that they would end. He felt himself drawn into the cemetery, at last settling before a particular grave. The ground and tombstone glowed red, pulsing as if in time with his heartbeat.

Logrus nodded. He pulled the book from his pocket and opened it. A black stylus, depending from a silver chain, fell from the pages and hung in the air, waiting, as pained, whispering voices filled his ears with names. Logrus took the stylus and wrote:

“It is necessary that Jerado Arvina die for his crimes.”


Aiul, fairly drunk, nearly fell over as he gaped in shock at Logrus’s tale. “Mei!” he slurred, catching himself. “Did you kill him?”

Logrus nodded. “Ate his food, too,” he said with a slight smile.

Aiul shook his head and chuckled, then grew somber. “I would never have guessed you had such depth,” he said. “Did you hunt down the man who killed your mother?”

“I tried,” Logrus told him. “But he had fled town the night before.” Logrus sighed as he contemplated what was clearly a long-standing source of frustration. “I have tracked him off and on over the years, but there is always something that comes up.”

“Elgar?” Aiul asked. “He blocks you? To keep you in his service?”

Logrus shook his head. “There are…so many,” he sighed. “They can’t act for themselves. So I must. My vengeance seems less important. I take theirs while I can. Mine will come when there is more time.”

“A dark avenger,” Aiul marveled. “Elgar is much maligned.”

Logrus’s eyes narrowed as he regarded Aiul. “Perhaps,” he said. He reached into his pocket, produced a book, and tossed it to Aiul. “I am tired,” he said. “The rest of the story is there.” Logrus flattened himself on the ground and closed his eyes.

“Good night to you, too,” Aiul muttered as he turned the book over in his hands. It was just as Logrus had described, but it seemed too small to hold the rest of Logrus’s story. He flipped through the pages in growing amazement as he realized that there were far more in the book than he would have guessed. It seemed to grow more pages as he neared the end, and absorb earlier pages, never changing size.

As Logrus began to snore, Aiul read with growing fascination and horror. There were twenty years worth of bloodshed recorded on its pages in Logrus’s spiky, clipped penmanship. The writing was stilted, matter of fact, and dry, but for all that, it was meticulous. Aiul was transfixed by his companion’s attention to detail, his relentless pursuit of his quarry. For every entry declaring that it was necessary for some villain to die, there was a series detailing the hunt, sometimes covering years of dogged pursuit. And for every entry, there was a final description of how the villain had met his end at Logrus’s hand. Apparently, they had all died in screaming horror. They seemed to see Logrus as something from a nightmare. Logrus had dutifully recorded their last words. Aiul was uncertain, but it appeared that each final entry was written not in ink, but in blood. He counted over a hundred deaths before he closed the book with a shudder, unable to continue.

Drunk as he was, sleep was a long time coming, and when it did, he was plagued by dreams where Logrus, Kariana, and Southlanders struggled against one another as Nihlos burned.