Long are the lonely years;
Slowly pass these days in undying land,
In the divine light where I wait
...in the dark.
The small, floating skull bobbed rhythmically up and down, fluttering leathery black wings as it stared blankly out into the purplish haze of the distance. The pinkish glow of it's one unbandaged eye lowered into a frown, and it spun back on itself, drifting a short distance to rest upon the shoulder of it's blue-skinned master, who was lounging haphazardly between two spiky turrets of an enormous drawbridge, which looked to be set on an island floating entirely on magenta air.
"You do realise we've been here for 72 and a half hours now, Crowley?" spoke the skull in a low, well-spoken tone, "You've barely moved an inch, and all this purple is giving me a headache."
"Your head is full of cracks anyway. I doubt some purple fog is going to contribute much at this stage" replied Crowley, his voice an odd mixture of sarcasm and weariness. "You must have sustained some extensive head injuries when that skull was attached to a body."
The skull sighed. "So, are you going to tell me why we're sat here like morons or not? I realise I have rather a lot of unlife yet to go, but I'd rather not spend it staring at a smouldering ravine, you know?"
Crowley threw a sideways smirk, shifting his lithe form to a more comfortable position. He twirled a long-nailed finger around the colourful collection of long locks to the right of his face,
"We're waiting for something. Thought that would have been obvious even to you, Godless my old chum. Is there a brain still rattling around inside that skull?"
Godless made a noise of distaste, and batted Crowley in the face with a careless wing as he flitted away in a huff. Unfortunately, he knew he could stray only about 10 ft before his body (what was left of it) disintegrated into glowing ashes; which he would rather avoid, so he moodily drifted back to Crowley's slouching form. Crowley turned his head round and grinned toothily at his companion. He rested a hand on Godless' bony head as the skull settled sullenly back on his shoulder, ruffling the black fur on the collar of his grand white coat.
"My, my, you're so easily offended, old friend" said Crowley in his rasping tone, "It's too easy to wind you up. You must know by now that I'm only joking."
Godless shifted awkwardly, and offered as much of a reluctant smile as he could manage. He'd been with his master for almost a millennia now, and sometimes he thought they knew each other so well, that they really didn't know each other at all. Crowley's personality was so erratic and spontaneous sometimes, it was like being around a different person. Some days he could be bouncy and upbeat, gleeful and talkative, and other days he would be brooding and cold, sour and unforgiving. Other days he would be painfully apathetic; nihilistic words piercing the air like stinging hornets.
And on days such as this, Godless admittedly feared his master; feared the bond they shared, although somewhat forced, would tear asunder, taking them both down with it. Crowley would speak of 'ends without beginnings', 'tainted life' and 'rivers of disgust', in a harsh, dangerous voice which (metaphorically) made Godless' skin crawl. He would stay very quiet on such days, listening and silently praying for something to break through the miasmic hate filling his master and bring him back to his senses. Luckily, so far those dreadful days had always come to a peaceful end; Crowley's faith in life somewhat restored.
Godless had very good reason to fear this state of mind, in this dank, hazy void beneath the crushing throes of the earth. This was a place founded entirely upon ends and beginnings, each as important as the other.
Crowley was a Mortician. A wraith-like being who has descended below death to become both judge and reaper of the deceased. This fate had been chosen for him; presumably to do with factors surrounding his own demise, a subject which Crowley had never discussed with anyone, to Godless' knowledge, not even him.
The procedure of the appointment of Morticians was heavily shrouded in mystery; knowledge of which belonged only to the highest authority residing in this violaceous pit. All that was known was that they were beings who demanded utmost respect and obedience from lower orders, and their job was one of immense importance in the Scheme of Evighet; the eventuality that was followed religiously by all.
There were only three known Morticians in this world below worlds; Crowley was the best-known and most striking, often making his presence known amongst the other inhabitants. Although considered one of the more pleasant Morticians, his renowned Schizophrenia and unpredictable actions also marked him as untrustworthy and suspicious.
Another was Nekromancer; a female who was widely feared for her vile cruelty, and whose anger and ruthlessness made many wonder how on earth she was able to carry out her duties on the deceased with any fairness. She possessed a Valkerie-esque demeanour; strong, confident and not to be crossed. Desipite this beast-like nature, her appearance was somewhat delicate, with a thin, supple frame and heavy voodoo style adornments covering her cat-like body.
Lastly, there was Exitus; the narcissistic Demon lord whose incredible vanity made him equally loved and hated amongst his many admirers. His heavenly beauty was the envy of his kin, as most demons aren't blessed with the best of looks. His clothing was always lavish and exquisitely decorated, his long hair hung in sheets of shimmering silver, his long porcelain fingers always sweeping in fanciful gestures through the air. His personality was obnoxious to say the least; he rarely spoke of anything but his beauty, and when he did, the tone was always flat and disinterested, as if anything not concerning him wasn't worth bothering about. Again, his appointment as a Mortician was often questioned, but generally accepted as the choice of a wiser power.
Three Morticians, the fate of the dead resting in their hands; some unclean, some exquisite, but all holding a power and virtue which commanded total esteem.
Godless' deep reverie was interrupted by a sharp movement, as Crowley sat bolt upright, his face a wide grin from ear to ear. Godless gazed over the horizon to see a tiny solitary figure stumbling wearily into sight, the thin twisted path stretching far behind him. Crowley's wide orange eyes were shining with delight.
"New arrival, by the looks of it" said Godless slowly, staring confusedly at Crowley's elated features, "First of the day. Is...is this what we've been waiting for? There's been hundreds of new admissions over the last few days, what's so special about this guy?"
Crowley looked sideways at Godless, his grin slowing to a mischievous smile.
"They said he'd come. I didn't think it was possible, but he DID! What a day in history this is...OUR history! THE history! Ohhh, exciting times ahead, my fluttering friend, exciting times!" Crowley's voice was rushed and gabbled, his face abuzz with excitement.
Godless couldn't help but frown; WHAT was so important about this pathetic-looking deceased? He hardly looked capable of walking, let alone bringing monumentous change to their realm.
The figure got closer; and Godless saw.