They were in trouble.
He had rushed to help his friends. He had made a deal with Phage, his laughter to somehow be brought to his friends who desperately needed him. What did that even mean? His ability to laugh, so trivial. For a spell so important. But phage seemed to be quite happy with it as pleased as a gas filled sack of skin with a face could feel he supposed. That gas, seeping from phage, creeping around him before he found himself running through that door into this mess.
Maybee this was all his plan, some twisted plot to beat them all down and kill them here in this pit.
He started setting up his traps, kneeling before the smoky door to their hiding spot. The seam of the Exodus door merged completely with the wall, they were invisible. The bright lanterns inside the room turning the nearly transparent portal into a mirror reflecting the party behind him like odd shadow puppets. He focused on the shadow of what was now book. The huge fearful killing machine reduced in size so much. Booklet now, was the colonel just as small too? his booming voice once like a hammer crushing plate mail now was like a hammer on nails. It was almost funny. He almost laughed at the absurdity of it.
The shadow of book that seemed so incorporeal solidified before him, becoming darker, crystalizing. It turned and strode across the phantom reflection of the room. He tried to move to shrink away but his whole body was numb and cold with sudden sweat.
The dark shape moved towards him, congealing into the shape of a man as it moved. He couldn’t look away! He couldn’t move at all! The shadows behind it convulsed and twitched into dancing shadowy daemons. It was almost at the door now! It was comming through! The form was so familiar but it couldn’t be him! It wasn’t real! His muscles cramped with the cold. His heart beat in his throat. he pulled his gaze away he couldnt look! it wasn’t real!
He stared into his own eyes, reflected thought the door. But they went his, they weren’t his it wasn’t him! The shadow of himself, a haggard, sunken thing stared back with malice, and grinned insanely, impossibly wide. Rows of yellow jagged teeth cracked open and laughed! it was his laugh! It wasn’t him though! It laughed at him, at how scared he was at how small he was, at how helpless and tired he was. But this wasnt real! It wasn’t it couldn’t be real.
A claw shot out from the demon thing. where was the door! there wasnt anything between them! It grasped him by the neck, impossibly strong fingers crushed the breath out of him, racing lungs and heart screamed for air.
But this couldn’t be real. It was real! It was real and it was choking the life out of him! His own laugh echoing in his ears, muscles screaming for air, the demon effortlessly lifted him into the air and stepped through where the door should be. behind it the swirling shadow crystallized into his brother from the tapestry before, the same demons dancing and laughing wildly at him.
Standing before him, solid and menacing the shadow thing taunted him with his own mad laugh, as it slowly crushed the life out of him. He couldn’t even move, it would choke him to death and move on to kill his friends one by one with his brother and those demons and they would think he had betrayed them because this thing had his face, his laugh.
the laugh seemed so far away now, like an echo in his mind, bright spots of light exploded in his eyes, his muscles were so cold, but on fire screaming. He tried to scream, to yell, to book, to Bronath, to anyone. Run! Take Oswald and Helena and run! But all that came out was a gurgle and the iron acidic taste of blood and trail rations.
His mind reeled they had to get away run away from this thing that wore his face and laugh. His vision blackened and that hysterical laugh continued, even as the floor came up to meet him, in a heap.
An icy vice like hand closed down on his shoulder and he could hear a voice through the laughing.
" Robert, Robert." The high speaking metal on metal sound made. “what is it? What do you see?”
He looked down, he could move again! He was kneeling on the floor. The shadows danced in the doorway like an odd puppet show. He could see on the floor where the splatter of blood met the seam of the door the slow creeping of noxious gas around him. he could still hear the echo of the laugh in his ears.
“I see a big problem” he coughed out. And pulled his mask over hiding his face.
Roberts delusions: shadow of myself
They were in trouble.