It was to be his moment of triumph. All his life had been building to this moment. All the pain, the blood spilled – his own and others – would come to fruition in this moment. The Eye of Vecna would be his and with it would come his own ascent into godhood. Paramonos momentarily wished that the eladrin woman could have joined him in this moment. He rather liked her, and after all, what god would he be without a consort? But were she here, she might try to stop him. She knew too much, and she would have to take her secrets to the grave. Besides, Lord Vecna would approve of his decision.
The fool bodyguards that Quintilla had hired came into the room of what had once been a great temple to the Lord of Secrets. The blood of such warriors would please Lord Vecna. it was an honor, really – they would witness his apotheosis and be the first mortals to experience his vast new powers. Calling out to them, he declared "I am unsure who you interlopers are, but you are quite blessed indeed – for you will be the first victims of Paramonos, the chosen of Vecna, made godlike through the Eye of the King of Secrets!” He hefted the a milky white globe with a red circle, not unlike an iris, and jammed it into his empty eye socket – such power would not come without sacrifice.
As the eye settled in he suddenly saw thousands of years of history as if it were dancing upon the head of a pin. “All the secrets of Lord Vecna, are mine to see! You would not believe, you could not understand…” Suddenly a cold wind swirled in the room and a heavy, oppressive feeling settled upon the chamber as if it was stealing his very breath. A rumble of words echoed in the chamber, “YOU ARE FOUND UNWORTHY”. Paramonos spasmed, feeling a shock running through his body that seemed like the unholy offspring of ice and lightning, and then Paramonos felt every atom within his body being ripped apart from each other.
For what seemed countless centuries, Paramonos dwelt within a dungeon of that pain. He did not know what he had done that so displeased Lord Vecna, and his confusion and rage only exacerbated the unceasing agony. He no longer lived, merely existed as an angry and tormented bundle of thought and pain. And then suddenly the pain stopped, and Paramonos blinked his one remaining eye as he looked upon something beside memory for the first time in gods only knew how long.
When his sight returned he realized that he was being held in the palm of a giant desiccated hand. He followed the bony arm up and for a moment, only the briefest of moments, looked at the face of Vecna himself. His mind could not perceive the features of the Lord of Secrets except as a shapeless and nameless dread, yet still he knew that he could only see one burning eye. The god spoke – whether aloud or only in his head Paramonos did not know.
“YOU WERE UNWORTHY TO CLAIM MY EYE, CHILD OF BAEL TURATH. THE LIVING ARE NOT PREPARED FOR THE SECRETS BEYOND THE VEIL OF THE MORTAL WORLD. BUT IN YOUR SUFFERING AND DEATH YOU HAVE BECOME WORTHY OF SERVICE IN MY NAME. I WILL RESTORE YOU TO THE WORLD, BUT NOT TO LIFE, FOR TO LIVE IS TO KNOW THE SECRET FEAR OF DEATH IN YOUR HEART.”
Paramonos bowed his head deep, throwing himself down upon the leathery flesh of his new master’s hand. “I am honored my lord. My body, my mind and my will are yours.”
“RETURN NOW TO THE MORTAL PLANE AND SERVE ME WELL. TAKE THE SECRETS OF THOSE WHO WOULD OPPOSE ME AND DEFEAT THOSE WHO WOULD SERVE GODS BEYOND ME.”
“It shall be done, my Lord.”
“TO BRING ABOUT THE GLORIOUS DAY WHEN I ALONE RULE ALL PLANES OF REALITY, I GRANT YOU A GIFT – THE GIFT OF PAIN. HENCEFORTH YOU WILL ALWAYS FEEL THE MOMENT WHEN YOUR VERY EXISTENCE WAS TORN APART. YOUR SUFFERING WILL BE A CONSTANT PRAYER TO ME AND THROUGH IT I WILL GRANT YOU MY FAVOR.”
Paramonos felt the pain shoot through his body again, the same as he was drifting through the void. In a reconstituted body he felt on the verge of it all ripping apart again, and yet it did not. But this time, in his pain, he found a white-hot clarity. He gave in to the pain, stopped resisting it, and found himself not merely wracked in pain but a channel through which it could be set upon his foes. As this revelation took hold in his mind Paramonos found himself naked and alone in what seemed to be an endless desert. He gasped, but drew no air. His heart did not beat. The pain was all there was.
The Lord of Secrets had given him a gift, and unlike the mysteries of his Lord, this gift he would share with every last mortal who walked the earth.