What if Pious had been working towards Mantorok's designs the whole time? After all, Mantorok is supposed to be this all-powerful, all-knowing god, right? And he's also the Keeper and the Warden of the Ancients. What if he got tired of Keeping and Warding them?
So he decided to get rid of them. And towards that end, he called upon Pious to insinuate himself with the other Ancients, in three separate timelines. He brings in all these others and has Pious work against them, testing and plotting, while also removing any obstacles that might be troublesome. And in the end, only Alexandra Roivas and Mantorok the Corpse God remain.
But what of the Tome of Eternal Darkness? What of that cryptic sentence Pious uttered before he was finally killed: "No… my death is just the beginning!" The beginning… of what? Mantorok's reign, of course; he's gotten rid of his other responsibilities, and now he has nothing to do. He could conquer the world… but that would be boring.
No…he and Pious are going to have a little fun. Not with Alex or the Roivas line; they've earned a few hundred years' break. No, they've got their eyes on another young person. A young man, just out of high school, living with and taking care of his bedridden grandfather.
Eternal Darkness: Boredom of Chaos
Prologue- Driven Away from All I Know
Pious… "Yes, my Master." You have done well. "Thank you, Master. Deceiving the other Ancients into thinking I was against you, and for each of them in turn, was no easy task." I know; I was watching. Now listen. The other Ancients are gone, dead, obliterated. I am without a purpose, as are you. You can choose to go back, to forget, to be human once again… "No, Master. I have served you for too long. Another life would be inconceivable." Ah… I had hoped you would say that. So then, you would stand at my side once again? "I will, although I cannot see how I can be of use to you when I am a shade." Is that your concern?
A rumble filled the cavern in which Pious stood and Mantorok festered. Purple energy gathered in the stale air and coalesced about Pious's glimmering shade. There was a flash, and Pious could be heard screaming.
When the light faded, there was a man standing there. A man in what appeared to be the armor of the centurions of ancient Rome. But it was black, and crusted with ancient, bloody rust. The man himself was gaunt, pale, thin to the point of being skeletal. But his body was ropy with muscle, and his eyes gleamed with otherworldly intelligence. In his hands was a staff made of bones; it crackled with inner power.
The man looked about him. "Am I… alive?" Yes, my servant… you live. You live as much as Alex Roivas lives. "Alex… Master, are we to torture her yet again? Hasn't she had enough? Indeed, hasn't that whole family had enough?" Indeed they have. No, my plan does not involve any Roivas; they deserve rest, all of them.
We will be going after another. And we will have no purpose, other then to amuse ourselves. "Ah, I see. Freedom is already boring you, so you seek to alleviate it." No… we are merely biding our time. And it may be a long time to bide, so why not find amusement? "Good point, Master. Who is to provide us with this amusement?" Another American… His name is Nicholaus…
"Nick… Nicky, come here…" "Mmmph, not now…" "Nicky…"
In my bed, there is, of course, me. I am Nick Dickerson, fresh out of high school and with no place to go. The voice one would hear would be that of my sickly, bedridden, senile grandfather, whom I was caring for. Grandpa has diabetes, and he is stuck in bed because of a diabetic shock some months ago. He was in a care home for a while, but eventually my grandmother couldn't pay their bills (damn them and their bills). So he had to come home, and someone had to be there to take care of him. Relatives were looked over and consulted, and I was chosen to be displaced and brought over.
Not that I didn't like my new position. On the contrary, I love my grandparents to death, and would do anything for them. But Lord, once in a while, couldn't You let him sleep, or make him sleep, so that I could take a stab at getting over my new-found insomnia?
No go, though. My ward calls, and I must go. What does the clock say? 3:33 am. Damn, and I was having such a good dream, too. Oh well.
Up I stood. I grabbed my lucky sweats and slid them on, to ward off the chill of too early in an Oregonian summer morning. I was inside, but all the windows were open, because when the sun rises the heat is unbearable.
Down the hall with me. Grandpa says he's thirsty; I go to the kitchen and fetch him some orange juice. Back to his room, which smells bad. I hand it to him, and he sips at it for a few seconds. Then he spits out the straw and mumbles something about the man he was supposed to see. I tell him I've already spoken to the man, and I leave, to go back to my room.
But I hadn't taken two steps when I heard this ghastly moan. Shambling steps come towards me; in the darkness, I can discern a humped, skeletal form. Then a green light emanated from the thing's eye sockets, and I froze. Screams echoed through my head, and I couldn't move for two seconds. Two seconds in which the zombie closed in and swung its open, grasping hand at my head.
The blow knocked me aside, into the wall. The pain broke through the paralysis that had been gripping me, and I leaped toward the things. I swung at it with my two fists, connecting three times and knocking it down. It groaned and was still, then it shivered and stood back up. But I didn't notice; I was running for my room, where under my bed was a sword I had purchased at the Festival just two days past. The only real sword in the whole lot, it was.
It was a long, two-handed Turkish sword, a shamshir or a tulwar, I couldn't figure out which. Didn't matter then; I brought it out, whipped it from its scabbard, and ran back into the hall. The zombie was shambling into grandpa's room; I couldn't allow that. I ran forward and ran the thing through its head, into the doorway. Blood and decomposed brain matter splattered out, covering the door with its foetor and rot. The thing fell forward and flailed about on the carpet; I stabbed down and twisted, through its chest, impaling its diseased heart. I tried to pull it back out, but it stuck for an instant, caught on some bone; I had to shove down with my foot before it would come out.
Then someone screamed; it was my grandmother. In my haste to dispose with the immediate threat, I had forgotten that zombies usually traveled in hoards. I ran to her room, but I was too late; before my eyes, the green light of insanity drove her to a heart attack.
I lost my mind, then, but not to insanity; to rage. I swung my long sword back and forth, slicing the monstrous beings into bits. Whenever one fell down, I stabbed it through where its heart would be.
When all the fiends were done for, my eyes cleared. I looked down at the body of my grandmother, and I swore to myself that I would hunt down whoever had done this and make them pay.
I remembered my grandpa, and went back to his room. More zombies were there; again I was too late; again I hacked, slashed, and impaled until I was the only one left alive. This time, it was literal; I was the only one left in the house who could claim even a semblance of life.
I looked down at my sword; it was covered in clotted blood and decomposed matter. I went back to the kitchen, grabbed a rag, and wiped it down. Then I went out to the garage, got some oil, and cleaned it off properly. Then I figured that I ought to sharpen it, if more monsters were about.
Sharpening my blade took long enough that the sun was up before I thought I was done. So, despite the fact that my grandparents were now dead, killed by the deadlights of impossible things, I went back to bed. And slept till noon.