The Veldriss's Voice
Greetings to those below. I am Death, though Azrael is the name I go by. Today we . . . ah, dear. How do I begin to talk about Cell? In truth, this hasn’t been the first time I’ve attempted discussing him, but I’ve never quite been able to find the words. If you knew Cell, you’d understand why it’s challenging. But, I’m fulfilling one of my promises. I said I would tell you about him one day, and so that day has come. I’m ready.
Like when I discussed Vānima the Veldriss, I hesitate to write this, but not for the same reasons. I hesitate because Cell is one of my favorites. I won’t be shy in admitting that. Other than Helios, my greatest fan, Cell has left the greatest impact on me. He is one of few whose beginnings I witnessed. Considering that and all that followed, it is the rare person who can love Cell. But for me, he is an eternal sunset. Brilliant. Beautiful. Bittersweet.
Origin of a Name
Being Death, people’s beginnings so often elude me. It is the endings I know best, the last gasp before I come to collect as my master bids. However, there are a few, as I said, whose beginnings I’ve witnessed, if only because someone else’s end happened nearby. In this case, it was Cell’s mother I had come to collect minutes after Cell was born. So I suppose in that sense, Cell is one of the few people I can say I’ve known for their entire life. Not that he knows me, of course, but that’s to be expected. No one knows me. But, before my regular presence in his life makes Cell look too bad, I should say he does not cause my presence so much as others around him do. Vānima certainly keeps me busy. Only every once in a while will Cell provide me work on behalf of Vānima, but for the most part, I’m what you might call a constant shadow of Cell’s, for better or worse. Which is why, the day he was born, I can describe in great detail. By now I’m sure you’ve noticed the name Cell is a bit odd. Speaking frankly, it comes from Vānima being unaware how big a part Cell was destined to play in the future. Had she known then, perhaps she would have named him differently. But, as it happened, Vānima had arrested Cell’s mother for traitorous acts against the throne directly before the Battle of the Royals Dead. During the slaughter where everyone in the kingdom over the age of fifteen was killed, Cell was born in his mother’s prison cell. Still reeling over the events and having only just survived the onslaught herself, Vānima named the newborn Cell as a reflection of his birthplace. She took Cell into her care after that. As for Cell’s mother, Vānima had her . . . executed. As I said, she had performed traitorous deeds against the throne. It was all one tangled mess amidst the Battle of the Royals Dead. But, at least one thing came from it that I can be grateful for. However ugly the surrounding situation, at least Cell survived.
The Goddess Who Loved Him
This was the beginning of Cell, and what a horrible beginning it was. However, this next part may confuse you. It certainly did me, if only because I did not expect it. In fact, I dreaded what this unfortunate boy’s life would be, until . . . well, nothing dreadful happened. At least not after that beginning. Believe it or not, but Cell was raised like a prince. He wasn’t a prince, of course. Vānima never once claimed to be his mother, never saw him as a son, and she never named him her heir. You see, at least initially, she wanted a bodyguard. A protector. And for the first twenty years of Cell’s life, that was what he was. The maids raised him, and Vānima educated him. She taught him language, history, science. Most of all, she taught him how to fight, training all that raw power inside him into one of the most lethal weapons alive today. I wonder if even Helios could beat him. I think it would be the luck of the draw if it ever came to that. And, even more surprising, for as cruel as Vānima can be sometimes, I am happy to say she never mistreated him. She never judged or ridiculed him. She never lied to him. Vānima is many things, but I think in this one instance, she and I have something in common. She is the rare person who can love Cell, too. Of course, her kindness is all the more confusing when you remember how Cell came to be with Vānima in the first place. And also when you consider Cell’s reaction to the whole thing. Or rather his lack of reaction. Because I will say again, Vānima never once lied to him. Cell knows exactly what she did to his mother. He just . . . accepts it.
A Bodyguard's Profession
by J. L. Gryphon via ArtbreederAs I said, Vānima saw potential in Cell as a bodyguard. Even as an infant, he showed talents in his ability to create storms. What better bodyguard for a goddess than one who can summon lightning? Not every jeenta can do that, you know. But, as it happens, Cell was not to remain Vānima’s bodyguard for long. One night, during his twentieth year, something changed. A death happened. Naturally, I was there to collect. Cayl Sulissurn, the founder of First Chosen House Sulissurn, had just experienced his last breath. Vānima had strangled him, you see, though in this instance, it would not be wrong to say it was self-defense. Distraught and screaming for help, Vānima’s cries summoned Cell. He dashed into the room and found the scene I have just described. But what happened next, well, let’s just say I made a graceful exit. They would soon need their privacy if you catch my meaning. From then on, Vānima withdrew from the public eye. In fact, she locked herself in her room and refused to leave for an entire month. Cell was the only one who remained calm because only Cell knew what was happening. And indeed, when the month had ended, Vānima emerged from her chambers having written the Velherr Tenants, the six holy texts of the Religion of Velherr. Vānima had no intention of leaving the palace in the near future, but in place of her face, she would provide her words to the people. She would also provide her Voice. This was when Cell became the Veldriss’s Voice, the royal vizier of the kingdom, and also Vānima’s royal consort. All these roles he has held ever since. Also from this day on, he made his now famous vow to Vānima that has shaped their relationship to be . . . well, there are several words I could use: Odd. Unsettling. Intriguing. Enticing. Independent. Wicked. Alluring. Sad. Brilliant. Beautiful. Bittersweet. As I said, to me he is an eternal sunset—a sunset tinged with purple. What he said to her that day was:
“I am and will be whatever you need me to be.”—Cell the Veldriss’s Voice
But here we come to the other reason I hesitated to discuss Cell. Because with everything I have told you now, I think it would be natural to misunderstand him. In fact, I think most people will misunderstand him. To align with Vānima as he did despite everything, well . . . I do think some would say he is heartless. She did kill his mother, after all. Others might say he is a monster. Vānima has certainly done many monstrous things. Still others might say he has no feeling at all. It would seem so with that elegant, aloof demeanor of his. Maybe all those things are true about him. Then again, I suppose it all depends on what you value that will determine whether you can love him or not. For me, I can love him. I love him because I agree with him on many things, at least in principle if not in method. I love him because I am fascinated by him. I love him because he is a flurry of biting snow, but amidst the storm, there lives a heart that beats for at least one thing. One person.
For better or worse, Cell is the Veldriss’s Voice. And all that, that entails. But I don’t know. If you are still confused by my affections, those below, then consider this. I am Death, after all. Endings are what I do. And Cell’s ending is a lightning strike that crackles across your skin. Cell’s ending is shattered glass and a scream. Cell’s ending is a sunset—a purple-tinged sunset that twists up your insides and leaves you gasping for someone you never dreamed you’d miss. A brilliant, beautiful, bittersweet sunset. How could I possibly resist a man like that?“I am and will be whatever you need me to be.”—Cell the Veldriss’s Voice
To learn more, hop on over to the books page OR hop on over to the teaser and get a sneak peek of Chapter 1! For more articles like this one, have a peek at my Worldbuilding Journal and explore Orosta.
Image by J. L. Gryphon via Artbreeder
Honorary & Occupational Titles
- The Veldriss’s Voice
- Lord Nomarch Osena
- Royal Bodyguard
Previously Held Ranks & Titles
Date of Birth
The Month of Asmodos, Day 7, 14851 NS
Year of Birth
14850 151 Years old
The White Citadel Dungeons
The White Citadel
- Zishlyn (1st - fluent)
- Sithuli (2nd - fluent)
- Orostian (3rd - fluent)
- Lingua (4th - passing)
Remove these ads. Join the Worldbuilders Guild