The temptation witch, Itch, was glad for the interference of the meddlesome Gnomish girl. Though it had been touch-and-go for a few moments, the unforeseen result was that she was able to expedite the process of entrapment. When Efren had chosen her after seeing her true form, it afforded Itch the luxury of ending her energy-draining pretense of being a good thing. Addiction is a fine thing indeed.
Almost immediately, Itch began to feast upon his character. She stripped him of things he had previously enjoyed and isolated him. She was insatiable as she drained his personality and priorities. Her breath encompassed him in a fog of tormenting wormwood and acid.
As the horrible days blended together, Efren could feel his identity slipping away as he became a ghost of his former self.
Bitterness, grief, and regret were his constant mental companions. He occasionally remembered the haunting sound of a Gnomish girl calling to him to stop. But he could recall only faintly details of his life before the Witch had been exposed; the one exception was the strange fire… he could clearly remember that.
The only thing pleasant in his life was the memory of the fire. If Itch could have seen his thoughts she would certainly have taken that from him, but she couldn’t. As he dwelt upon the memory, it changed from a memory into something more. The fire spinning around in his head would sometimes speak to him. Efren couldn’t say what the voice sounded like or the exact wording, but he could understand it.
He was losing his strength as he felt himself nearing the edge of a bottomless pit. He was certain the Witch planned to completely devour him, leaving him only a tormented consciousness. He would be thrown into the pit alive, or, if not alive, at least aware. He would forever be falling and never reaching the end.
Efren wasn’t sure how he knew this. Perhaps he just sensed it, maybe Itch had told him, or it could have been the fire in his mental wanderings warning him of what was to come.
The fire told him to escape, but it was too hard. He had missed his opportunity that day long ago. He had no strength left to run or to fight, he was in too deeply. All he could do was stumble on towards his destiny.
The fire knew his hopeless thoughts. It showed him an image of what his life could be. The seemingly impossible possibility finally gave him hope. The hope gave him determination, which led to resolve. He released the Witch’s hand and reversed his direction.
To be continued…