begonia • black rose

It sounds like raindrops, the incessant tip-tap of perceived drops hitting the ramshackle structure about him, each punctuation echoed in the surrounding quiet, but he knows it is nothing of the sort. In the deathly silence of the world around him, a stretch of his domain all but swept through by creatures forged of his own influence, he knows it is nothing more than assurance of his confines in the wake of Blackheart: A safe haven turned on its heels by a being far more power than Henry had been, than Henry could perhaps ever imagine to be, now guarded by a swarm he knew from experience - from the very fact he had used them to lay siege to the island nation of the mutants at the behest and aid of the Goblin Queen - to be unrelenting.

It wasn’t unbelievable to think that he would have been bested by someone born of the very fire and brimstone of Hell, able to pass through various dimensions with ease and take dominion over the creatures within with something as simple as a thought, nor had it been unbelievable that such a trial could befall Limbo, a history of such ascension and descension littering the pocket dimension in the passing of otherworldly blades through demonic hands - something that in the cold humidity of sunken grounds seemed almost desired if it meant laying waste to current dissent; but really, it was just desserts.

But that didn’t mean Henry had any intention of staying down, rolling over and dying - again - when what had been his own forces of might and magic were being used against him. All it meant was that he would have to make use of other avenues, not relying so readily on the Darkforce and its portals or the realm they led to where the very creatures adding to the tumultuous chaos of Limbo now could see to his swift end. There were plenty of magics at work, plenty at his fingertips and plenty that he had explored through the pages of ancient iron-bound books and indestructible texts - though, truth be told, it would have been better for his situation if he had any on hand.

All he had was a void, one he could control and twist to his whims, malleable like clay and ever-binding to those it reached out to, and, through which, he would be able to see; but even as a time where action was required over the quiet gathering of thoughts and bearings that Henry blamed his self-imposed stasis on, there had been hesitation. There had been worry and uncertainty of just what it might have unleashed as the fate of Limbo remained uncertain.

Now don't think badly of me…

A voice, unfamiliar, echoing from the farthest reaches of the shadows around him yet in his ear at the same time, loud enough to warrant even the inclination to reach up and cover them as if it would do something to block out something that didn't bend to the rules of the human universe.

“Not again,” he muttered, widened eyes shooting to the far corner of the silk-spun tower as if expecting to see that demonic imp and his enveloped pages of etched flesh, another proposition extended for another page of a book he had closed the cover on long ago; but the hiss of this voice, this unfamiliar presence that seemed to stretch from distant facets of the universe, had been different; not kind, not pleasant, but knowing of its purpose - one that seemed fed by the destruction that had run through his best laid defenses for the throne.

This wasn’t the Darkhold or the deities that lived within; this wasn't Chthon, the dark and demonic manipulator of it all that had brought such a realm into existence, trapped among their pages until someone foolishly - someone like Henry had once been and perhaps still was - released them into a world that had long forgotten the elder powers; and it didn't carry the shrill cry of banshees or the other banished creatures sent into the dark by the Sorcerer Supremes of the world. This was something else, primordial and ever-present, fundamental to the cycle of human life. It was manipulative empowerment, the voice’s coaxing to eventual calm suggested under the encroaching urge to action, but desperate times called for desperate measures; and it wasn’t the first time - may not have been close to the last time - power was wanted, if not needed.

I am the void.

And, with it, he would build an army - but not until he had wiped the slate clean, the notion of history, however out of place in an otherworldly timeline - a dark multiverse - that no longer existed as it had collapsed on itself as many of such wronged universes did, repeating itself not lost on almost beguiled features.

He’d wash it all away not unlike before but with a much more valiant purpose, securing his feet on the ground and focusing available energy into the small pools and decrepit sewers beneath the ghost town he had built, forcing currents into what treacherous water lied stagnant from oceans unknown to change them from neutral bodies to an vicious torrent that crashed through the wooden structures. Where there had been streets, there were quick to be sinkholes, taking eldritch bodies with them in the inevitable collapse, and where calm skies had been, cyclones took shape to not only pierce the dark skies above, but tear apart the limbs of abominations that would find another calling once they had been put together again - one that wasn't under control of another.

The crash of the waves against the unstable structure around him triggered his ascent, limbs not his own grabbing onto whatever footholds there were to be found in one piece and stable enough to hold his weight until he emerged once more at the top of heights he had once been slammed through. They didn't recede back into the confines of portals they were summoned, not this time, not like usual, though it slipped his train of thought to think it had been Limbo's influence all along on his form they took more fitting shape to.

I am… the nothing - from which the everything springs.

The founts turned dark as the waters receded, sinking into unknown pockets if not dried up completely in the arid landscape of Limbo that seemed even less forgiving to its denizens in the backwash. The abyss clung to the creatures that remained, smothering the old only to put together the new, branching together unyielding limbs to take on new forms - creatures that existed in no dimension known, that served no one else, and, as their numbers grew, so did Henry’s vision in a mental feed of spatial information that was all at once as debilitating as the primal vehemence that came with it.

All the sorrow.

All the anger.

All the rage.

All his to manipulate the hive with as the newfound abominations seemed to rise up - not like a phoenix from the ashes, but an anathema from the depths of Hell itself - to scatter, to consume, to destroy all that stood in his way.