Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters of AtS, or The Sandman, and make absolutely no profit off any of the following material.
"This looks like a really miserable living room." the voice boomed.
Illyria was shocked, if one such as It could be shocked. How did this interloper come into the throne room without the notice of any of the sentries, or Its awareness? He, She, or it, no matter, had to be destroyed for such impudence.
It raised a tentacled limb, ready to rend the insignificant irritant into a million pieces.
"I come with a warning." the speaker stepped into view, armored feet crashing loudly against the black flagstones. His red beard flowed over his bright armor, and his eyes twinkled in good humour, although there was a cold hard glint within their tawny depths. A sword hung from his hip, sheathed away. His shadow stretched out before him, appearing much larger than his physical form.
"Warning?" Illyria, if it could deign to scoff, scoffed. "Why would I need warning? My power reaches to all corners of the universe; I crush the skulls of those who dare to imagine they are my equal in power, and never know their names."
Despite Its boasts, which were mostly true, Illyria sensed the danger that surrounded the being before It. A true leader was not proud enough to imagine absolute infallibility; that was a fool’s prerogative.
"Aye, you have precious little to fear, and what little is fearsome indeed." the Man, if he was indeed that, said as he strolled around the large throne room, gazing at the gory carving. The corner of his lips twitched as if he was keeping himself from guffawing out loud. "The artwork in here is...interesting."
"Speak what you will, before I lose all patience."
"Wouldn't want that. You'll be needing it." he turned his flaming eyes towards the Illyria.
"Who are you?" the mammoth ruler asked.
"Let’s just say that like any natural offspring, you choose to defy your sire." he looked deeply at It, and Illyria felt uneasiness waking in the pits of Its stomachs. "You resist the way of the universe, to create even as it destroys; and you wreck destruction so well...in your...hands? Tentacles? I would not like to offend."
"Enough." It said, and moved like a terrible phantom towards the Man.
"Soon, it will be. Enough that is, of all of this." the man gestured with his hands towards the world at large, and walked towards the shadow of a pillar. His own silhouette stretched out behind him, touching Illyria's form. "I come to warn, not that you may avoid what is to come, but that you may be prepared.“
“I do not understand your words. I do not care to.” Illyria said, voice terrible in its rage like a hundred thousand stinging hornets.
"Then have a care child." the voice said in the shadows, and the great hall was empty but for Illyria.
With a howl of rage, the pillars tumbled down in a majestic cloud of dust.
Within a span of two centuries, It was trapped beneath the world, lost to the realms of dreams and madness, which surprisingly, did not mix as well as Illyria had imagined it would.
In the darkness of the Sarcophagi, It heard a voice babble,
“SO YoU aRe my nIece/nePheW/thiNG. WOUld you LIKE to plAy BoGgLE? I toOk oUT the voWeLS BECause thEy haD TheiR dessert BefOrE diNNer.”
Illyria didn’t know what a ‘Boggle’ was. It kept silent.
“Oh weLL. i’Ll coMe BAck latEr.”
At length, it found itself facing a Gryphon, a Dragon, and a Winged horse.
“Who are you?”
“What is your purpose?”
“Why should we not destroy you?”
They asked without moving their mouths.
“I am Illyria. You dare threaten me?”
“We dare.” They answered as one. “We protect our Master’s home.”
“I have no interest in the figments of dreams. Else, I would crush you like you were dust.” It said and turned away into the gray void.
In truth, for the first time in Its long life, Illyria knew that It had finally encountered beings who could and would destroy It with barely a thought, and made it so that It had never, ever been.
That was terrifying.
It was a relief, therefore, to find herself, as she came to think of herself, in a human shell, awake and aware. True, it lacked majesty, scrawny as it was. But all the same.
“This will do.” She said, and shook off the vestiges of mania and sleep.
In the corner of her mind, she thought she heard a voice she had come to know well say,
“coME bAck anyTIME oK? I MiSS my brOTHer anD its NICE tO HaVe FamILy ovEr.”
If she could help it, she would never.