Arkadin was surprised at just how pink everything suddenly was. One moment he had been surfing along the boundaries of his universe, swimming in a sea of black, and now suddenly he was drifting in currents of pink, with navy blue clouds. None of this looked right. Worse, there was a weird tingling sensation all over his skin, as if the air didn’t quite feel real.
Arkadin shook his head, trying to focus on the strange voice. It came from a massive, armour plated monster with a crown of six horns sticking out of its skull. A heavy set of four golden claws placed itself on Arkadin’s tail, stopping him from trying to run away.
“I’m awake. What are you and where am I?”
The creature hissed, looking up at something behind Arkadin, a twisting serpent with leaf-like appendages and limbs that could have been spiny claws, wings or possibly even both.
“Our universe!” the serpent hissed louder than the draconic being in front of Arkadin. “Our universe. You help. Death God. Kill…”
The serpent paused, then looked at the draconic being, hissing more quietly. The draconic being leaned forward, pressing itself against Arkadin.
“You are Death God. I am Time and Death God. We need Death God to KILL Hunger. Kill Hunger. Then you go home. Or you cannot kill Hunger. So you kill us instead.” The creature leaned back, pointing at itself. “I am Thassalin. That is Peris. We are Gods. Like you. But of this universe.”
Arkadin raised his hand. “I’m Arkadin. I assume you need me to help you deal with some corruption?”
“YES!” Peris shouted. “Corruption! Is what called! You kill! You kill good! Or…” Peris trailed off. “Or… Not good.”
Thassalin grunted. “It killed our Death. Tantai. You would have liked her. Now I do Death and Time together. But cannot risk fighting Hunger. We have contained it. Small area. It tries to break out. We contain it more. It breaks out.”
“So you’re… pretty desperate.”
Peris glanced up at Thassalin and hissed.
“Peris says you need to be fast.”
Arkadin climbed to his feet, pulling his tail out from under Thassalin’s claws. He glanced around, trying to orientate himself. The gravitational and electromagnetic forces here were far stronger than what he was used to. There was something odd about the sky. The clouds glimmered softly, mostly glowing shades of purple, blud and red. But Arkadin could see something else, very thin lines of black, sneaking around the stars directly above them.
“You’re already infected, aren’t you, Peris?” Arkadin finally asked. “The Corruption has broken in and is taking over, isn’t it?”
The serpent nodded. Across her left limb was a thin, black streak.
“How long have you been infected for?”
“Your time does not match with ours. We cannot tell you!” Thassalin interrupted. “Time is not important to you. You are Death. You are End. But we have hope. You are not our End. You can help us.”
Arkadin took a deep breath, then nodded. “I’ll do my best. I can’t promise that you will all come out of this, but I will do my best to save you…”