The Last Remaining Light
The Black Man
aka Al-Aswad or the Nameless, Qlippothic Oracle of the Nephandi
A tall, gaunt man entering middle age, with jet-black skin and vaguely Egyptian features. Al-Aswad may at times take other forms as well. Like any shrewd devil, he uses every tool at his disposal to cripple his adversaries, but in this case his favorite weapons have been doubt, despair, and the truth.
Distant, aloof and eternal, he has been here since the beginning, and means to bring about the end. In mundane lore, the “black man” presides over Satanic ceremonies, witches’ sabbats and the like, carrying a large book containing the names of those who have consigned their souls to the Devil. His millennia-spanning work is purportedly to make the world ready for the advent of its true masters. Gaining his attention is a rare thing, and not necessarily to the good at all.
Morgan and Joshua have met the Black Man once, at Sojourn Station, a Deep Umbral outpost built by Dr. Carlisle and his Etherite and Virtual Adept comrades. The Nephandus’ power warped and corrupted their shapeshifting, magick-absorbing armor, and left both of them with a lasting impression. After their first meeting, Joshua felt certain that his war with the Technocracy, however well-intentioned, ultimately weakened both Traditionalists and Technocrats, making the job of the Nephandi that much easier.
(black man) You have spirit, lasting this long. Perhaps I should allow you to go. It changes nothing for this place.
[Power clashes furiously between Joshua and the Nephandus, but the Black Man seems more than capable of chatting with Morgan while holding the Marauder at bay.]
(Morgan) Who are you?
(black man) Your friend, or your most hated foe? I can see his choice…but you still have yours. I know why you’re here, what you’ve been doing. An interesting vision. Have you decided yet?
(Morgan) I have been offered mortality before, Black Man.
(black man) Mortality? Death is not what I mean. That would be simple. But giving you what you’ve been missing for a little while, before the end…
(Morgan) You lie.
[To Morgan’s medieval sensibilities, the Black Man is the Devil, and the Devil always lies. As they converse, Joshua weakens visibly, still focusing his will against the unruffled Nephandus.]
(black man) Am I? Make your choice, Morgaine. I know your name, and your vision. Tell me you would slough off your curse, take back your magick, and it can be done…right here, and now.
(Morgan) I will not bargain with you! Stealer of Souls! Go back to the Pit, Devil! FULMEN!
[She extends her hand with the enchanted ring. Although the ring’s blast of lightning is sucked away into nothingness, it gives Joshua a moment to burn vitae and leap at the Black Man. Morgan joins him, and they swiftly, easily rip the man to shreds with their enchanted blades. The Nephandus seems oblivious to the pain and injury.]
(black man) There is no hope for you, here or on Earth. You know that…but you have yet to accept it.
[The man’s black blood pools on the gleaming metal deck of Sojourn, and he simply closes his eyes, seemingly dead. Morgan kicks savagely at his corpse. It seems clear that the battle was a sham, staged for their benefit.]
(Morgan) Prince of Liars…!