No sooner than Davin's last utterance fell, the room was taken by an unnatural silence. The crusader backed away from the fallen knight, immediately sensing the precipice he so suddenly found himself at. All light waned sharply and without relent. A distant laughter emerged amidst the choking darkness, reverberating inside the room in a deep bass tone until it threatened to blow out eardrums. Right before the violent bellows reached its damaging apex, the last flickers of light were extinguished and the room fell dead silent again. Nothingness consumed them. Not even the sound of breaths being taken or expelled was heard, though one could have argued it was equally likely because everyone present was holding theirs.
The crusader took the invitation and invoked Aldaron's holy light, blasting the room with divine luminence following only a short invocation. For a split second, the room appeared brighter than if the sun itself had taken residence within, before dimming down to an ordinary level. His back against the wall, he scanned the room, waiting, attempting to sense the source of the magic he'd been exposed to. Seconds passed and nothing happened. He took to entertaining the thought that maybe it was a final Dicaspian taunt, perhaps embedded in a talisman Davin bore.
No sooner than such a foolish idea took place in his mind, the laughter returned from every corner of the room, this time a manical cackle. Again, it started almost inaudible but with a rapidly growing loudness. Seemingly out of the very air above Davin, a swirling mist began manifesting. In the blink of an eye, it went from an almost unnoticable cloud of vapor to a blackness that teemed with life. Before any attempts at dispelling the dark blob could be made, it shot out at the crusader like a gigantic claw, pinning him to the wall he was so confidently perched by. Following the claw's trail, the silhouette of a tall man appeared. Two distinctly red orbs were definite landmarks in a shape that was otherwise difficult to determine if you were actually seeing or just imagining.
"Among the errands of fools, yours is truly the royal jester," Zyrphath sneered. "I don't know what madness led you to this place, but it will be a finality you had never imagined."
The crusader spat at what he could only surmise was the rough location of Zyrphath's feet, if he had any.
"So, Maedhros sends his lackey to the rescue. What a pathetic display for the "dark lord", who ostensibly values nothing more than strength and hates nothing more than weakness. How is it not Maedhros' will that the Dicaspian line ends by my hand? Or is he the dark lord of hypocrisy?"
Zyrphath erupted in mocking laughter, so boisterous, so deeply felt, that he seemed to tople backwards over himself. Even as he disappeared into his own shadow, the mad laughter was not silenced, no, it rose. It rose in the same way that it had risen before, and this time it did not seem to stop. The claw that pinned him to the wall grew tentacles that enveloped his limbs, circling around all parts of him like enormous python snakes. Beset by otherworldly constriction and assaulted by sounds loud enough to drive ordinary men mad, the crusader was visibly under severe strain. Aldaron had always been annoyingly enduring, Zyrphath thought, but had no mind to let such a fact change anything, summoning a nightmarish visage to set fear into him. The tentacles grew teeth, boring into his flesh like slow-motion saws.
And yet, the man stood unbroken, a fact Zyrphath took with little grace.
"Dear paladin, if visions of my power on your flesh is not enough to grant you true wisdom... what if you were to feel it on all the things you love?"
The very room they were in seemed to evaporate before the crusader's eyes, along with all of Zyrphath's constructs of terror. They were in ghostly, ethereal forms, in some woodland village. Somewhere between Elenion and Andune, he figured. He tried to move, but couldn't. Some unseen force held him suspended, following the Shadowking from afar. Despite the distance between them growing, he could always see Zyrphath and hear his words with the utmost clarity.
He also recognized the town. He held ties to this place, he knew these people.
"I know," Zyrphath voiced, as if he could read minds.
The man's vision zoomed in on all the people he knew from his childhood, among others, his parents, scattering about their normal lives. Most of them were well beyond grown up, most of them old.
"I also know your true master. I know that it is not Aldaron. And I know her teachings better than you may think. But do not for a second think that it grants you any mercy!"
Night fell on the village in less than an instant, and out of the shadows crept little demonic beasts who had no other purpose than to attack the villagers. They would subdue them with claws and teeth, rending their flash until they could no longer stand. Beaten to within an inch of their lives, they'd be left alone, laying half-slain on the ground, in the dark. One by one, Zyrphath would visit them. With superhuman strength, he'd lift them off the ground by whatever appendage was closest in reach, and he'd skin them alive with a blade that was aflame. Those who survived were left to die however slowly their bodies would allow.
If the whole scene seemed to take an entire day to unfold completely, Zyrphath visited a thousand more scenes with the crusader, each one increasingly more terrible, vicious and cruel than the last. At the end of what could only have been a small lifetime of being forced to witness and take part in wanton destruction, as well as the torture and beastial slaying of friends, family and followers of his faith, and generally any life they encountered, Zyrphath released him. The illusion fell, and they were back in the fortress in Valgard. Still pinned to the wall as before, the sight of the man was something entirely different now. Outside of the illusion - in the real world - the tiny eternity he thought had experienced, so vivid that it couldn't have been anything but real, had only lasted a couple of seconds.
"If you still do not think that my power is absolute, watch as I reverse your work. Watch, you cretinous little stain of shit, as I dominate all spheres of existence. Where you can only see my destruction, you are ultimately blind to my creation. You would think Davin weak in the eyes of the Lord of Shadows, yet you are blind to Davin's true strength. What ignorance! The Dicaspian bloodline will build my empire, and now it is Davin's turn, as it had been Ataleu's before!"
Zyrphath's form became visible standing over Davin's limp body. He extended his hand to the region directly above the fallen Dicaspian, and as he so did, frosty smoke began emanating from his hand. The frozen air landed on the slain knight, seeming to fall into him, as if passing right through the skin.
"I know what lurks inside you, Davin Ragal... I know how you are plagued by darkness. And now, it will be so no more. Now, as you have paid the price, what was pain has become power."
Black, primordial essence oozed from Zyrphath's silhouette, as if siphoned into Davin's form. Slowly, so slowly that it was painful to keep track of, life returned. The crusader was broken, beaten, and in such a state of utter exhaustion and shock, that when he saw Davin's skewered body start twitching on its own, the terror was complete. His eyes watered with heartfelt despair, and in this moment, he knew truly and absolutely the terrible power Maedhros would exert to force his will upon Eldanar.
Zyrphath faded into the background, slowly becoming impossible to discern from the shadows that fell from various angles.
"Rise, now, as you are born again in His darkness. Arise, and bear the name of Dicaspia once more."
The world quaked as Zyrphath's last utterance fell like rolling thunder in a storm.
"I COMMAND YOU, AS I LORD OVER ALL DARKNESS IN THIS REALM, ARISE!"
With that, he was gone in an instant. So were the restraints on the worn out crusader, but a hazy Davin, fuming with emotions not describable in any language known to man, was already on his knees.