Envy left Hell’s Keep and began traveling toward the City of Iron wearing the skin of the legionnaire to ward off the attention of the Legion scouts. The book that his master, Maliken, had given him guided him toward the next unwitting avatar. He marched for four days and nights without ceasing or breaking for food or water. The demon did not feel the pain of the body he inhabited and did not notice the bloodied and blistered feet of his host until his gait began to falter. Noticing the strength of his body beginning to fail as dehydration and fatigue took its toll, Envy decided that he no longer needed this form and destroyed it from the inside out, tearing free of its flesh. Envy always relished the sensation of terror as his host felt the demon emerging from his flesh. The demon longed for the exquisite pain of death and release that he could never have. That was his curse– to always want to be released from the pain behind his wicked grin.
The Grimoire had indicated this was the place to stop and thus he did. He sensed the life in the forest around him and was sickened by its energy. The demon was about to move on when he heard a noise from deeper inside the foliage. The tome pulled him in the direction of the noise and Envy followed its lead.
The great beast sneezed and its snot covered the trees nearby. Several birds and small animals ran out covered in goo.
“Sorry creatures. I did not mean to get you all grimy. I am still allergic to all this fighting it seems.”
The spine covered behemoth sat on a stump in a small clearing, leaning his massive flail against a nearby tree. He stretched and yawned. When he brought his hand down he saw that a small furry creature was sitting at his feet.
The chiprel placed its goggles on its head and spoke, “What troubles you Armadon? What are you longing for today?”
“It is funny that you ask, friend chiprel. I was just thinking back to the days before the war. Long afternoons of sunning myself without a care in the world, watching the birds build nests in the trees and butterflies sip nectar from the flowers,” said Armadon. “The time of peace, when I did not have to be of two minds, one at war and one wishing it away. When men could venture forth with beasts and there was harmony. A time of rest. That is what I am longing for little chiprel, a time of rest.”
“Then why not take a moment and let yourself enjoy the peace of this clearing,” said the chiprel. “Surely there is no threat to one as powerful as you in these serene woods. You deserve a break from all of this fighting and war.”
“I do not know,” said Armadon. “I have responsibilities to the Legion. I should be on my way soon.”
The chiprel looked slightly confused. “But certainly you can rest for just a short while. Your responsibilities can wait while you get what you truly deserve. You never asked for this war and you tried to stay out of it.”
The armored beast wrinkled his brow in thought and dismissing his concerns he spoke again, “True enough. A little rest will not hurt anything. I do deserve some time for myself. The war will still be there when I wake up.”
And the great Armadon lay his head on the stump he was resting on and drifted off to sleep.
The chiprel bound off into the bushes and pulled out a great book. With a wicked grin on his face he opened the pages and began to read aloud the ancient script. Quickly, a black mist filled the clearing, seeping into the crevices of the hide and around the spines of the ancient Armadon. Its ancient skin began to crack and crumble, letting the summoned sin take full hold of the beast.
When the mist cleared, Armadon was no more. In his place was a slumbering behemoth of two minds– literally. Each head snored loudly in the forest. Over the next several days one would wake and try to rouse the other, who would refuse to move and thus the beast was unable to leave the clearing. Each time the heads could not agree, the small blue cyst on its back grew a bit larger and more imbedded in its hide, holding it even more firmly in place. The nearby birds began to gather on his back, picking at the insects that were now collecting on the beast. They began to nest in the safety of the shadow of the stone and calling back and forth to one another.
The chiprel sat and watched for the beast to finally awaken. The Grimoire did not bid him to move on, so he waited and watched its power grow. Finally after 6 days his patience was exhausted and it gathered the nuts fallen from the trees nearby and began to throw them at the great beast’s heads. First one eye, then another, then a third and finally a fourth eye opened. Both heads looked at one another, shrugged and struggled to its feet. Ignoring the flail sitting there it reached over and grabbed a great fallen log. The beast then turned back to the chiprel that contained the demon Envy and spoke, slowly and deliberately,
“You have woken the mighty Sloth” said the first head.
The second head yawned in response. “Who are you to wake us?”
Envy scampered up to the shoulder of the ogre and whispered in the ear of the first head who laughed aloud and whispered into the ear of the second. Envy burst free from the chiprel to refresh his strength.
“Go now Sloth. I will gather the rest of our brethren,” said Envy.
The Grimoire glowed with power for a moment as Envy gathered it up with his massive claw. Sloth lumbered off toward Hell’s Keep and Envy went back to the path towards the City of Iron, following the call of corruption…