Percival - for it was Percival in these days and nothing else aside from the occasional use of his official title - sometimes wondered how it had come to this. He knew, of course. He was hardly so foolish as to not understand how it had come to pass. How his slow descent into darkness had become a sharp drop and then a plummet, all at once. But he sometimes reminisced on the days when he thought there could perhaps be something more for him. Something better. Days long gone.
Gunfire. Loud in his ears, so much louder than it had ever been before. Wide blue eyes staring at him with shock and an edge of accusation. A body crumpling to the ground in a spill of white streaked brown hair and so much blood. Smoke and vengeance. His humanity burning away from him in increments.
And now he was here. Not human. Not for so long now. Something different. Not more. He could still remember a time when he had tried to be more. When he had tried to be good. But he didn't suit it. He wasn't worthy of that. And everything that had ever tied him to that was gone. Long gone.
Darling, take off the mask.
Now he served the Dark Lord as his Shadowhand. A clever name for a spymaster and advisor, Zaul'Nazh no doubt thought. He privately found it a bit too on the nose. But it was hardly his place to judge. Simply to serve. And, on occasion, to create beautiful, horrible instruments of death. There had been a time when he would have shied away from that, not wanting his legacy to be one of blood. But that time was long past.
It was a quiet day in the Bloodkeep, and there was little for him to do. The forces of darkness seemed to be at something of an impasse with those of light. He'd heard whispers that the Cult of Vecna might be trying to rise yet again, but he would dispatch them as he always had. His personal little project. His Lord did not need the competition, and he would never stand for Vecna gaining any ground. But he had time to deal with that and little concern for it. He'd consumed the souls of Vecna's servants before, and would do so again and again. Keep the petty godling from rising.
For now, he simply idled, looking for some source of amusement before spotting Leiland. Disappointed as ever by Zaul'Nazh and his lack of appreciation, no doubt. The Dark Lord was still infatuated by that girl. It would have been almost amusing, if it weren't so tragic.
"Kraz-Thun," he greeted the pactwraith, slipping to his side like so much smoke, his voice a quiet, rasping thing. "How fares the Vinguri on this day."