Where his face should have been was just a void. A black hole of corrupt senselessness, a sight so unexpected a shout of shock came out my mouth and raced through my body like an electric current. I stumbled backward and caught myself on the hanging vines that had taken over the Cathedral, pieces of walls and ceiling crumbling down around us as I was unable to remove my gaze from the pureness of the dark that encompassed the Dark Magician’s visage, my limbs becoming entangled in the abundant woodbine and bindweed the more I struggled, the less I struggled; the vines had taken on movements of their own. As the creeping plants tightening adjacent to my jerking and writhing, a blue wisteria bloom entered my sight, and in feeling it’s tickling touch wrapping round my neck I ceased my struggle. The air had become suffocatingly moist and fragrant, filled by the sudden arrival of the climbing stems and blossoms. And, through the pollen mist and colored tangling, twining life the Magician stood, unmoving. Although he was faceless he seemed quite amused, his stature lined with slumps and bends of a struggling youth.
Had it not been relentless dark matter that swirled like oil in placement of his nose, mouth, and cheeks, it would have appeared he was a whole person. The suit he wore was plain, stark navy and strangely suitable for the vibrant whiteness of his gloves, silver cufflinks, tie, and wingtips. I would have thought him without skin if his neck, ears, and hairlines had not been visible, but they were. The skin that showed was in fact peachy, and had the rosy hue of a woman’s. His body lean and masculine, and his hair thick, waved and tied tightly into a long, high pompadour with what looked like a white ribbon, leaving not a strand to hang in front of the space that should have held eyes. His head was cocked to the side as he undoubtedly looked upon me. His arms had remained folded across his chest since the moment of my unexpected glimpse of him. It was a position he must have took often, as his shoulders seemed permanently rounded and the lower of his back arched lazily. I felt on edge but the fear I once felt was gone. The night of the Cathedral had faded as my eyes had somehow within these minutes adjusted to the dark. All was dim, as the glow of the forest in the early dawn. The vines that had once held me captive now cradled me, the Dark Magician before me. I had no words to speak. Yet out of the void of the Magician’s blank expression came a voice, in a most charming tone that once again doused me with chill just moments after it had left.
“Feed me and I live, give me drink and I die.” the Magician said, and then as he whipped his head in a dramatic turn of profile he purred, “What am I?”
I was frozen, motionless, my arms drawn above me and my waist wrapped in nature’s literal grip, my feet but barely brushing the floor. In the acceleration of my heart and breathing my throat closed, as I fumbled wheezing mumbles, my nerves stripping me of my mind.
“I – are you asking, me?” I swallowed, my quiver unmistakable. Though he made no motion, and even with the black of his face turned way for me I knew his expression.
“I’m waiting.” he said.