"Remain here," Tharion said to the others shortly after the Umbral Eclipse had slid its way into that space between planes. "Guard the device. We cannot let him or any of his minions disarm it."
Araatris frowned at him and opened her mouth to protest, but Tharion shook his head and held up a hand. He cut her off with the motion. "I am going to find Eraelan. Then, after that, perhaps find the others."
The huntress frowned even deeper, her features turning down in an expression of disgust, but she did not say anything after that.
Fethas just growled.
"Sraath is aware that we have done something, so we have lost the element of pure surprise. However, we may be able to use his curiosity to our advantage. If he comes here to investigate, we want to be here to face him. If only a fraction of our number is here, however..." Tharion let his voice trail off.
"Fine, Thar, go." Araatris mumbled and turned her attention back towards the device itself. It had successfully been connected to the Umbral Eclipse's systems, and was now pulsing with a thrum that was more felt than heard.
The Greyseer nodded once, then vanished down one of the adjoining corridors.
* * *
The felsworn Illidari's bones cracked as he was slammed against one of the ship's bulkheads. He grunted, but did not give up. The infusion of demonic energy that flowed through him allowed his injuries to knit quickly, and the traitorous demon hunter made use of every advantage he had.
Eraelan lunged at the felsworn, his dueling blades scissoring outwards in an attempt to cut the enemy demon hunter in half, but the Illidari blocked the attack with his own glaives. The two men became locked, their weapons pressing against each other with the sharp grinding of metal.
"You bested me once, Illidari," Eraelan snarled. "And because of you, she was taken. Do not think I will not make you pay."
The Illidari grinned, then exploded in a flash of felfire. The circle of flames erupted outwards, pushing Eraelan back a few steps. The elder demon hunter's instincts took over, and he threw himself in a backwards roll as his transformed enemy landed where he had stood seconds before.
"You are old and obsolete, Netherbane," growled the demonform straightening before him. "All of your kind are. The new Shadowed Sun will rise soon, and we will become ascendant!"
Eraelan frowned as he stood, slashing his blades through the air and planting his feet. "Ascendant? What sort of fool are you? Damnation isn't ascendance!"
“For you, existence is damnation,” the Illidari replied, a grin spreading across his malformed features. “For even my old brethren, existence is damnation. We, however, will be saved by the Lord of the Eclipse.”
“He is lord over nothing more than a dead ship, felsworn,” Eraelan snarled. “Regardless of where he thinks he is taking us, it changes nothing. He is living his last hours as a free soul.”
“Oh, the ship is not dead, Netherbane, far from it. He has harvested plenty of souls to power his apotheosis at the Outer Gate. Some of us have even been gifted as he gifted you, Soulshaper.”
Eraelan roared and rushed forward, his blades shimmering in the dim fel-light. The honed steel weapons cut through the Illidari’s demon-flesh as if it were nothing more than rotting meat. The felsworn cackled as his form split apart at the abdomen, separated by Netherbane’s sudden motion. Both the torso and legs collapsed to the deck plating underfoot, making little more than a wet thud they did so. The demon hunter’s transformed remains then began to dissolve, boiling away into nothingness.
The Illidari’s laugher, however, echoed through the hallways for a few seconds longer.
* * *
Tharion heard the wet thud of a body hitting the ground, and a laughing echo made its way through the corridor. He moved faster towards where he heard the sounds, and came suddenly into a small chamber.
It was filled with bodies. Scraps of flesh hung from hooks dangling from the high ceiling. Blood of all colors pooled across the flood, mixing together like a deranged painter’s macabre palette. Another wet thud turned the Greyseer’s attention to the center of the room, where a large demon stood holding something bloody and unrecognizable in one hand, and a glowing ethereal orb in the other.
“It gives me sustenance, Greyseer,” Sraath said through his rictus, turning to face Tharion. “The flesh is nothing to me--it has been nothing to me for millennia--but the soul… the soul is life. It can be reshaped and repurposed. It can be used as fuel. It can be used to heal. It can be used to destroy...”
Just then, the Umbral Eclipse shuddered again, its deck lurching upwards and downwards in an instant. A wave of unreality washed over everything and nothing, and with an unheard but noticeable pulse, it was over.
“...and it can be used to create.” The demon lord turned towards a panel behind him, which immediately sprang to life. Upon it was the image of what Tharion could only think of as outside: a barren blank wasteland of nothingness. The expanse extended for eternity, except for one dominating feature.
There, in the center of the emptiness, stood a singular immense doorway.