A/N: I haven't read all ten volumes of the Sandman series, so I can't be totally sure that the subject of how Delight became Delirium hasn't been touched upon. But this is my take on it.
Disclaimer: Any of the known characters mentioned belong to Neil Gaiman and Vertigo. No intentional copyright infringement is intended through their use.
Reviews: Greatly appreciated.
She was once Delight
It is said that destiny runs ever forward, and never backward, just because too many thought that time moved only in one direction.
But those who knew Destiny knew that it was not so: that what is predicted and set in his book in the pages yet unread could change the pages which had been turned.
That the myriad of futures-nows may shift the fickle paths of nows-pasts.
Destiny was not one given much to reminiscing, for who is he but the greatest of the Endless? He who knew all that had happened, all that will happen, and all that will not happen and has never happened.
And yet he knew nothing.
Disturbed by that thought in a way he didn't understand, Destiny turned his eyes to his book, his sight lingering but briefly on the chain that shackled his wrist to the book.
And Destiny read as he walked through his gardens, not noticing each shift and change that occurred every moment, not in time, but through destiny. And it seems as if his gardens were as affected as he was, as he turned the pages forward, only to read the words of what had happened.
The winds cackled with what was not delight.
There is a race of people who revels in delight, so that whatever they do, and whatever they thought of, were open and free, as long as it brought them the greatest delight.
And their lives were full of brutal joy to some, and cruel fates to others, for living this way, the strongest of them took the greatest pleasure from the weak, stealing and plundering, torturing and raping without end, for which of them would stop?
In the midst of their tortures was delight.
But soon, their physical joys dwindled and they could not find more to satisfy themselves with. Their lust was not sated, and thus, they begun to desire more. And soon, their desire for delight overwhelmed them so much, that the She/He/It who took on that name took notice of them, and appeared amongst them as a stranger, finding out their wants.
Knowing then that what they desired was one of her/his/its own, Desire smiled and gave them herself/himself/itself: what they desired.
Destiny stopped reading for some moments, raising his face to watch the ever-changing landscape of his gardens. He frowned slightly, his heart still troubled by the whisper of ill winds across his realm.
"Be silent," he quietly ordered his realm.
The quietness was heavy as all roads paused for that instant, obeying Destiny's order.
He returned his attention to the book.
Desire then showed her/his/its form to the chief of the people, with a proposal: that he shall find delight in wherever he goes, if he so chooses. But he must give her his heart, to keep for eternity.
And the chief, who thought that he had been granted his wish, gave his word. But he asked that the most loyal of his subjects, which accounted to twenty, be granted the same privilege, for their own ways of pleasure increased his own.
Desire agreed, for why shouldn't she/he/it? But in return, she/he/it asked for all their hearts, for was it not in the hearts of all men that desire abode?
The hedges which lined the paths on where he stood quivered slightly, sensing their master's mood.
Destiny shut his eyes against the words, but he already knew what tale they told.
Desire gathered to her those men, and they spilled much blood: both their own and others, in whatever act brought most joy and pleasure to them.
Many were sacrificed, and each only increased their joy, their wild moods.
And when the most potent of hours arrived, Desire bade them carve their hearts out with a blade, and they did, all of them placing it in her/his/its hands, and then crying out and falling to the ground in swoons, passing to the realm of Death from the loss of their blood.
They thought that Desire had betrayed them, and cursed her/him/it. But it was not so, for Desire brought their hearts back to the Threshold, and stood before her/his/its gallery, calling the youngest of her/his/its kind.
Destiny now remembered why the eldest three of the Endless have never again played the games of the younger.
And for the first time since he has allowed himself to remember, he felt pain.
Delight was old, older than many of the sentient beings that roam the many worlds. But she was still the youngest of the Endless, and being younger than she was now that she is Delirium, she was susceptible to the tricks of her elders, not wary nor mindful of their deceits, for if she became suspicious of their intents, she would lose her delight at the world.
And when she stepped into the gallery of Desire's Threshold, Desire bade her behold the hearts scattered on the floor.
"Here are the hearts of twenty-one men, sister," said Desire, "who desired for you so much that they lost themselves to Despair, and went to their deaths. Shall you hold yourself unaccountable for their deaths?"
Delight did not believe in Desire's words, but looking at the hearts, she knew that they had longed for her so much.
"Do you think yourself blameless, sister? Delight?" Desire pressed. "Their passing into our sister's realm is caused by you. Is there no penance? Shall you not hold their hearts and give them what they desire?"
Destiny closed the book swiftly, harder than he should, and gazed without sight ahead of him.
Now that Delight had been lost to them so long ago, he knew, even without reading the book, what the fate of many worlds were. And, should men question one another, why there were so many wars, what could the answer be but the loss of Delight in life?
He allowed himself one sigh, and turned to return to the building which housed his servants and his abode.
No, the elders amongst them will never again play the games of the younger.