The darkness was stifling. The cold damp air was stale and putrid, reeking of filth. Laying in the corner, gaunt and pale, was a lone old man. The shackled binding his wrists and ankles, once tight, now hung loosely. If he had cared the man could have slipped from them easily.
Pale white hair reached down to his knees. Anyone looking upon him would mistake him for a ghost, so pale was his skin. He'd been here so long he had forgot what the sun looked like, forgotten his own name. But one thing the old man would never forget, was why he was here.
His family had starved. All but one of his children had died the year before and his wife would not be long for the world. All around him the people were starving. They were dieing, while the in their palaces the lords and ladies grew fat on their sins. No one had the strength to fight. They were to busy trying to live one more day, or so they thought.
He was from far away. Some place no one asked. His clothes were fine and his voice was strong. Tanas was his name, or so the people said.
Crowds flocked to Tanas. They rallied around his call. "Rise up" he would say! The lords tried to put down the rebellion but as long as Tanas lived, he would raise the call of freedom.
It looked like they were going to win. Tanas had organized the leaders of the many local groups. They were going to plan it all out. The final push. But some one had betrayed them. The lords and their armies came forth in the night. The old man was there, he remembered that night more clearly then anything else. It looked liked they were trapped, but the old man saw a way. He managed to distract the lords, and give Tanas a chance to flee. The old man expected death. Instead, they locked him in this hole to rot.
"You won" said a voice. A voice the old man knew.
"Tanas? Is that you?"
"Soon, the cell doors will open, and after 45 years you will be free" said Tans, with almost a chuckle.
"Tanas! You came back! I knew you would! I knew as long as you lived there would be hope!"
A dim red light began to bathe the room. The old man blinked. His eyes taking several seconds to focus on the form before him. It was Tanas. It was the Tanas he remembered. Exactly as he remembered. Almost
"It is you! Oh thank the Lord! But, you haven't changed? You haven't aged a day!?"
Tanas looked down at the pitiful fool and smiled. "It took quite some work to keep them from just killing you. Some times, a martyr is needed. But for this one you were worth more alive."
Tanas crouched beside the dazed old man. The red light glinting off Tanas' wickedly sharp teeth. Small horns just peeking above his sharp dark hair. "Soon, they will fling the door open. You will be a hero and a new age will be ushered in. A age of peace."
"What? What are you talking about Tanas?" cried the old man. This is what he had lived for, so why was it all so wrong? "You are the hero! I followed you! We all followed you!"
Tanas through his head back and laughed. A deep laugh that shook the old man to his soul. "Me? Oh no it was all you! You called my name. You gave yourself to me, in exchange to see an age of peace. Peace for your children, for your grandchildren and so forth. Shame none of them survived."
"I. I. I don't understand!!" cried the old man, burying his head in his hands.
"Oh, but you do! You just wont admit it! Face it my old friend. You made a deal with the devil. You asked to see an age of peace, and you will."
Tanas stood up and spread his arms, looking up at the harsh stone ceiling. "The forces of good will prevail. Love and joy will spread across the land." Turning to the old man, with the cruelest smile on his face "And they will grow weak and content. An evil will descend and they will be swallowed by darkness. A darkness all the more horrifying for the knowledge of the light that was lost."