“He’d been hunting down and battling the demon for many hours now and could barely recall what his beloved, once idyllic homelands looked like before hellfire had rained down upon them. Exhausted, he stumbled into the clearing in front of him and took a moment to gather his strength.  The air around him smelt of fiery death. The ground at his feet had begun to melt from the heat. Wiping ash from his eyes he peered through the smoke and flames searching for his target and spotted him limping towards the hellish gate from which he’d emerged. Knowing that the demon was momentarily unaware of his whereabouts he leapt into the nearest pool of tarry blood and, as he’d done many times before while hunting his prey, covered himself in the gooey substance. He was now completely shrouded in black and indistinguishable from the pool he was crouched in. Determined to prevent the demon from escaping to the sixth hell and returning with renewed power, the elvish archer took a shallow breath and nocked yet another arrow.

“”No match for me. This demon shall perish at the gates of hell from whence he came.”” the archer muttered to himself as he prepared to unleash it upon Maraxiform.

An unimaginable, searing heat surrounded him as the demon unleashed one more blast of hellfire as his arrow flew towards its monstrous target. The elf, seeing the immense balls of fire rushing towards him, knew that this time he would not be able to cheat death as he had done so many times before. The pool, in which he had sought shelter from the heat and the demon’s gaze, would now ensure his end. As the inferno drew closer he dropped his bow, fell to his knees and closed his eyes. He took solace in the fact that the last arrow would find its mark and take the beast down with him. Surrounded by the pools with which he was ever so familiar he found peace in the cool, liquid calm. It was over.

His eyes snapped open as his body writhed with pain. There were flames everywhere and the pain was bright, blinding, white and all-consuming. The world beyond the incredible pain made no sense. Why was he still here? How was this possible? He set his gaze on the distance where the demon had once been and saw Maraxiform’s corpse collapsed on the steps to the gate. The demon was dead but he was still alive. If anyone could call this state of pain and suffering alive. He glanced down and saw that all that remained of himself was bone. Where once there was astute and nimble Elven fingers there were now flaming and exposed bony hands. He flexed them and felt yet more pain course through him. Restless, he sought distraction in exploring what was left of the Hoven.

As he moved through the scorched landscape his exposed bones clinked together and it began to become clearer to him. If he was still alive despite being engulfed by hellfire it had to have been the result of magical intervention. Someone had granted him protection from death and left him in this damned state. But what good was that protection? He could no longer smell beyond the sulfurous flames engulfing him nor feel beyond the endless torment that the hellfire brought him. Where once he had flesh he had naught but bone. All that was dear to him was taken away. His home now a burnt shell of itself, all those he’d loved consumed by hellfire, and himself rendered into a horrifying creature that was continuously tortured by the constant, violent flames. He could feel the good burning away as hatred began to bubble up inside him.

WHY! After all he’d done. After saving the Hoven lands from further destruction. After chasing down and defeating Maraxiform rather than turning his back and running like so many others had done. Why did he deserve eternal suffering? The hatred bubbled up again. He tried to hold it back. To think of a solution for his awful fate. Perhaps he could seek the help of the king-mage Sutherex? But the injustice combined with the pain overwhelmed and consumed him.

Whoever played this cruel joke on him would have to pay. And in the meantime, the entire world would come to experience the incredible pain that he was stuck with for all eternity. Village by village they would burn with the same fire that he was bound to. They would all come to know the fiery rage of a being now known as Clinkz.

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