A ghastly orange grin, tearing through the virescent woodland. Unfettered flames, devouring madly, twirling and swaying in a dance without rhythm. Blackened bodies, charred bones, unsettled souls, snatched before their time.
Fire tainted the earth beneath him, and his mind as well. Twenty years, and it made certain that none forgot.
Many had likened the Rift to a scar in the green flesh of the forest, a festering wound that would simply never heal, but only serve to irritate the unfortunate being who bore it.
And irritate it did- these dead lands were plagued with anima, unrested ghouls which revelled in death and disease.
Warriors trailed behind their king, scythers marked with his sigil on their foreheads, a golden eye, dotted with a coal-black iris.
"The air has soured...",muttered one of his kin. Akuma could only grunt in response , for he felt it too. He shuddered as the spiracles in his back feverishly sucked in the impure air.
"Entities of the rift.", declared the monarch in his rich, metallic tones, "I'm aware of your presence. Due to a series of murders and mysterious disappearances in these parts being linked to you, I declare your gathering unlawful."
His declaration hung in the air, unchallenged.
Far above, he heard the raucous, throaty caw of a murkrow. "I believe every pack has its alpha, as does yours. This is directed at you. We can come to an agreement, and your kin shall be spared."
Once again, silence lingered in the air, thick and heavy, like a void waiting to be filled.
Then Akuma found himself staring straight into a great, lidless red orb.
"And where must we go, we who wander this wasteland in search of our better selves?"
The dusknoir stood tall over him, bigger than any ghost he had ever seen, its head nearly brushing the dry canopy. Behind it, wisps of purple hung in the foggy air, beings of another dimension, gawking blankly with their eyes of diamond.
"You and your paltry band of larvae leave me no choice."
He faintly heard one of his brothers make a jape, something about a great grey sack of suet. The sentence ended with a wet, choking noise.
[•CONTINUED IN COMMENTS •]