Kurux roused from black dreams and returned to himself from where his sleeping mind had wandered. He never seemed to fully sleep, not any longer. Instead his mind departed and ventured into vaults of nighted visions, and drifted through realms unseen by mortal eye. He felt great presences moving near to him in the dark, and when he woke they seemed to linger about him, like smoke from a slumbering fire.
He was cold, always cold now, and he rose from the bed and wrapped himself in his black silks. He had no need to command his servants with his voice, and indeed, they lacked the capacity to understand words any longer. He summoned them with the power of his mind, and they came silently. Blinded, their eyes sealed and their tongues cut out, they were pale, hairless remnants of humanity, existing only to wait upon him, to act as extensions of his great will.
They brought him his robe, and they carried the black-scaled train behind him as he went down the steps from his chamber to the shrine below. Here the walls were lightless and gleaming, and the smell of blood was intense and cloying. He detested it, but the warmth of fresh crimson was all that warmed him now. He passed down the wide hall between towering pillars, the walls lined with motionless guards encased in armor they could never remove.
The pool was deeper than he was tall, the sides cut into channels so the blood poured into it in dark streams. A hundred prisoners a day were sacrificed and poured forth to make his bath, and then their empty, pallid bodies were burned in the furnace beneath the palace. It made for a great, black plume of smoke that rose up high into the dark sky, and the smell of burning bones hung over the city of Zur like a curse.