(Edit: Exploring my options for the tense and perspective the Chrysalis setting should be written in. Leaning towards either First/past or Third/present, but I don’t know.)
All at once I was here, as if trapped in a dream or a nightmare my senses straining to absorb the onslaught of information that assaulted me. Blinding arrays of prismatic light exploded in every moment, enveloping and drawing me in. I was overcome, the sounds at once both cacophony and symphony, everything I knew and could not, parsed and mingled with perfect clarity. Feeling at once familiarity and fear of the dreamscape I found myself in, I drifted through this chaotic purgatory which held no concern for my sanity, until a crystal of order coalesced before me and peeled back space like the lid of the eye of reality.
Pain! Deep burning agony cracks my flesh, tearing me from my nightmarish vision. I don’t know how long I lay there, cursing my frailty, twisted into a tight ball. Retreating into the reaches of my mind I prayed for release from this torture. Death could not have been more welcome in those moments, my life’s work and ambition forgotten in the face of this suffering.
Through aching, gritted teeth I growled my defiance, my stubbornness and fury proved stronger than my weakness. With every muscle screaming, I uncoiled and rose, inch by hateful inch. Pressing my bloody, nail bitten, palms into my knee, spitting blood from where I had bitten the inside of my mouth, I straightened my unsteady shaking legs and stood tall under the bright light of the near noon sunlight.
My vision swum as I opened my eyes, black spots covering my vision as I fought for clarity. I reached tenderly into my pockets, feeling my clothing was burnt and hung raggedly from my frame, as I searched. I could feel myself fading even as I drew the injector and positioned it against my chest, pulling the trigger I winced gruffly as the needle punched into my chest. A refreshing wave of healing numbness seeped through my body and invigorated me, giving me the strength to throw off my pain and bring myself to a human stance at last.
The dark spots dispersed from my vision being replaced by the strange dreamlike clarity of the elixer. I remembered where I was, the roof of the haunted Ancient Cathedral. A surge of victorious pride escaped me in a harsh laugh that burst the dam, soon my laughter filled the forbidden wild expanse that isolated the Cathedral. Sinking to my knees, deep wracking laughs shook my chest as tears overflowed and streaked down my cheeks.
“I’m still here, you old bastard,” I pledged softly as my laughter ended, only nature and the Cathedral to hear me. Breathing deeply I closed my eyes and centered myself, anchoring myself to the present once more and casting out the emotional shadows of my past. Confident I had once more control of myself, I opened my eyes and raised my head, taking in my surroundings for the first time since completing the ritual that morning.
In front of me, sharing the overgrown rooftop with me, a wraith hung in the air, moving slightly as if rippling in the wind, the creatures was a deep blue, almost black, and shone as if lit by lightning. It bore the shape not unlike that of a serpent crossed with a fish or great sailed reptile. Though inhuman in form its eyes struck me as terrifically intelligent. Fear fuelled my response, taking an involuntary step backwards, I raised my palm, directing it towards the monster summoning my magic to face this new threat.