It sat there on the table, silently mocking him. It knew the power that it held over him. It was an inanimate object, incapable of thought, and yet it knew. And it knew all too well.
The fire caused shadows to begin their nightly dance, and they were drawn to the darkness surrounding him. Shadowy hands reaching for him, pulling on him, clawing at him, hunting for a soul to claim. They would find nothing in him, nothing for them to feed on. His soul was long gone, crushed and trampled into nothingness. They would not feed on him that night, but they would help pull him further into the darkness.
The barmaid took the object that had held his attention and replaced it with another that could judge him. The liquid inside was a cold, bubbling ale, and foam spilled over the lip dripping down onto the table, forming a golden ring. The barmaid had tried to be generous by filling it to the brim, and he hated her for it. Didn’t she see that it caused him pain? That it controlled his mind and made him live through things that one should never live through even once? Did she not see that he could not escape from it? It took over his mind just as easily as the other one had.
Deeper and deeper he was pulled into the darkness of his mind, shadowy tentacles wrapping around his neck and limbs, pulling on him. There would be no escape this time.
Flash after flash the memories surged forward, claiming his mind. He was back in the numerous battles he had fought in the past, fighting just as he had fought all those years ago. Then he was in an inn much like the one his body was currently seated in.
A warm fire, ale, friends, and laughter. That laughter could never again happen, the friends creating it long since claimed by the black mass that called itself Death. He could feel tears fighting for their release, and so trapped as he was, they fell free. The memories became more horrific, he remembered things that he had fought to forget, and saw things that he had prayed to never have to see again.
All danced across his mind now, and there was no stopping them.
How much longer would he have to suffer like this? When would he be able to enjoy a drink in peace? How long had he already suffered? Why was he the one targeted like this?
Why did a damned cup torture him so?