There was darkness again. Not the comfortable darkness of a restful sleep, empty darkness... But it did not last. Thinking back, Cuauhtemoc would have been grateful if it had. For that empty darkness became a hellish nightmare worse than even what he had experienced in Morkoth.
It was different this time, death. He no longer worshipped Sher'Gor, for he had come to realize that it was he that controlled his fate and not some far-removed deity. Icchen of House Doja had unwittingly helped him realize this by teaching him the way of the samurai and gifting him with the Book of Five Rings. Sher'Gor had forsaken him when he accepted Glaceus as his liege and now the Lion goddess held no power over him.
It was not like before when his hell had been the constant struggle of trying to escape the vicious lioness as it tracked him down, seeking to return him to the cycle, ending his existence as he knew it. Then, he had barely escaped the loss of his spirit. The Lion was ever closing on him and he had nowhere left to run. But some power disrupted the will of the Lion goddess and returned him to his mortal shell.
His companions had undertaken a great quest and recovered the missing Godstone for a powerful genasai named Feylavar. In return, he had used the two Godstones to restore Cuauhtemoc to life...
No, it was not the same, it was very different this time. This hell had been a blur of leering demonic visages as they lured him to become one of their own, to join their ranks. He had refused, always, unwilling to become twisted by the Taint as he had been before. And his refusal made it a constant struggle, a struggle for his very soul.
He remembered being enslaved again... a mockery of those four years he had spent toiling away under the suns for House Kashra. An equal term he had served for those demons. And the heat in that damned place was more intense than even the fires of both Arzok and Mezok during equinox out in the Xar deserts. And in this hellish place his memories faded and he had forgotten that he was dead. He had lost himself...
Then, a great she-wolf came to him. Her eyes blazed with a blue-white light in defiance of the hellish world around her. She had beckoned him, and in those blazing orbs, Cuauhtemoc had seen the reflection of his former self... And he remembered!
It was then that he felt the cool steel in his hands. His blades! He had invested so much of his spirit in them that they had actually become a part of him, and even in death they were not lost. Arzok and Mezok, so named after the suns, for the bright steel of the blades from Thracia, the home of his father, reflected the rays of the suns so brilliantly. Yet now the blades were dark, as if the fires of the Abyss had scorched them. And the gemstone inlay along the keen edges of his blades, once jade, were now crystal that shone with a blue-white light. As he stared at his blades a righteous wrath grew within him and he realized what he must do. He turned, his eyes flashing as his gaze fell upon his captors.