Death had not been the release I had hoped, and was an unfamiliar experience. Strange, as I had been dead before and this was nothing like my previous experience. I re-lived my life in brief spurts, seeing events unfold over and over before me.
I see myself standing over a young sidhe boy, a boy who had rescued one I cared for. I was fighting the Sidhe then, among other races, but I spared him, and gave him a gift. That gift would prove to be the catalyst that proved the downfall of the ancient Icharii. It all goes black, and I see myself once again meeting the Sidhe, no longer a boy, not knowing who he is, and him not knowing me. I was... human? or was I sidhe? no, both. A mixture. A farce, implemented by my mother. A ranger, with no memory of his past.
I see a demon, Khelestra, and... once again, the Sidhe boy, battling with me against her. There are others, a small funny elven female, and a grown elven woman, a lost love. A female sidhe, a powerful sorceress who witnessed my first death, and apon my return a creature of... shadow? I ran the Sorceress through with my sword... but why? Was she not my friend? The memories come rushing to me, out of order, and confusing. Millenia of life...
I see my nephew, a powerful sidhe assassin, and once again the she-demon. More battles, the elven beauty... what was her name? Too many memories. Cannot think. Destruction. A land of dragons, and... another winged race. Elf-wings. Destruction happens, and I flee, but I am not myself. The demoness possesses me. A retreat to a lost stronghold, and another encounter with the Elven Huntress. A powerful explosion, and I realize who I am. My ancient memory returns, and my soul, rejoined. I am Icharii, and I am royalty. The demoness escapes, and I seek her, search for her.
The search is to no avail, and I return to my lands. My kingdom is infiltrated, and my people betray me. I am to be put to death, but my nephew, He rescues me, and spirits me away. I am beset by sorrow, but determined to return to my claim. He agrees and joins me. On the way, I once again meet the Sidhe boy, my friend, and am also joined by the elven huntress. We fight our way to the capital, and apon reaching my palace, I subdue the demoness. I am overcome by rage, and slip into the darkness within every Icharii heart. I throw my friends out of my lands, and begin to torture the demoness.
Eventually, the ghost of my mother comes to me, and shows me the truth. That the demoness was an ancient Icharii battle mage. She was bound to me, to test me and to keep me in check after I had awakened. I had bound her to an Icharii corpse, as they do not decay, and restored the body. For years afterwards, I sought her forgiveness for my transgressions against her, and she begged for mine. In time, she became my confidant, and after the fall of Maxim, she became my wife.
My wife. My children. The pain felt fresh, and they were not here with me. My rage sparked anew, and I began a cycle, reliving my life, and reliving my memories, trapped in this place, between life, and the world of the dead.
The years pass in an instant and an eternity. Every time I see the death of my family, my mind breaks. I beg for release from the torment, from the pain, but no relief comes. Eventually I shut myself away, and do not notice my life replaying itself over and over.
After what seemed like aeons, I hear a female voice, ancient, but familiar.
"Juriel. Juriel. It is time to awaken my son."
Another female speaks.
"You have slept long enough my lord. The world calls to you again."
I am confused, but the replay, and the torment has stopped. I look around, and see two familiar figures floating in the darkness. My mother Men`a and Sythlini, an ancient confidant. Both souls made up the essence of my longsword, Pandemonium.
I try to speak, to ask how, but my mothers shade smiles and puts a finger to my lips.
"We would never allow you to die by way of us. The wound you caused took a very long time for us to heal, and you have been asleep for ages. Wake now, for the world needs you."
"Yes, milord. The Icharii are alive, and so is the hunter that killed your family. They all need you."
Again, I endeavor to speak, but am instead silenced by a sensation not felt in an eternity. Cold, I feel cold as I lay on the stone floor. I open my eyes, and there is nothing but darkness. I take a breath, and sit up, feeling for the wound in my chest, but there is naught but a grisly scar. I weave a rune in the air, and stand, watching as the room illuminates. I see my family, lying as if asleep, undamaged by time, as the Icharii do not decay. They are however, covered by a layer of dust, and I gently clean them, and feel the pain anew.
My face is set in grim determination however. I have a job to do. There is a sidhe hunter out there that I must pay my respects to. Closing my eyes, I cast a rune of seeking, and within moments I know where I must go.
From the Ashes of Death, I arise