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Out of the Gull.

Out of the Gull.

Timeline:

The time for war draws near.

Friends come and so do the foes.

 

Yet, the stance of some is unknown,
for friend and foe is a matter of perspective..

..and side.

 

For nature has neither and holds neither..

 

 

The beginning of this shortly
goes as far back as
Vivid Visions,
Temporal Insanity,
“I believe this belongs to you..”
and ends after
Kumse Beetles and Pixie Dust!

 

 

The undead were relentless. They came at them moaning, howling, and did they come at them shrieking!

And side by side with the dearest man of her life, Alor’Nadien ne Feymist, fought, tooth and nail, and did she deny herself of her heritage, for, at that very moment, she was not the princess of the high elves, but the Queen of Death, herself..

And behind them, her cousin, Anglenna Sunsear, rained her own kind of death and destruction and she was immaculate at it, as she had been in everything she did. Deep down, Alor’Nadien ne had always admired her cousin’s cool and somewhat aloof demeanor as she had, when she had been, but a tiny little thing, yearning to go and knock at her aunt’s door in Bari Na-ammen and beg her to give permission so her cousin would play with her.

 

The irony in that was lost to all but herself.

 

Alor’Nadien ne had never yearned to actually play with Anglenna, so much as she wanted to observe her..

..and be awesome like her!

The games had been a mere excuse and sort of a bonus..

..and she had had the chance to make someone eat her cakes, her cookies, and her pies, though, looking back, said cakes, cookies, and pies shouldn’t have had raw onions because she’d thought they made her pies crunchy. Her cookies also shouldn’t have had baby powder because she’d thought cookies ought to have that white thingy on them, nor should her cakes have had her mother’s hand cream because she’d strongly believed all cakes just must have whipped cream on them..

Yet, her cousin Anglenna had eaten them anyway, which, in later years, told her several things;

That her cousin had preferred her, quite horrible, hideous, even, cooking skills, coupled with her highly creative ingredients, than to spending time with her own mother..

That she must have enjoyed her little baby cousin’s presence, even against the prodigious, one hundred and fifty years age disparity..

That deep down, she had, in fact, been fond of her and cared for her, looked out for her, and perhaps most important of all, believed in her, even against all of her own mother’s indoctrinations..

That she would make her the queen she, Alor’Nadien ne, had never yearned to be, whether she wanted it or not..

And that she had, at some point, stopped seeing her as merely her cousin, but started viewing her and ‘that young man’ as one, and had started protecting them both..

 

Alor’Nadien ne was not sure why all these had crossed her mind at that point, but at some subconscious level, she felt that they all meant something.. something more that changes in characters, or choices, or perspectives, but change..

..in a sense that could only be defined as ‘total’.

 

And that was when she had come face to face with the Draugr, the undead monstrosity her cousin, Anglenna had warned her about. Unwittingly she’d stared at the soulless creature’s voids, where there were supposed to have been eyes and seen..

..Abyss.

 

Alor’Nadien ne blacked out.

But she did not back down.

 

With the savagery of a High Woods lynx, she slashed and hacked her way through the undead until there was only the Draugr.

She did not hesitate.

With her near three-yard long glaive and the thirty-inch deathly steel, she stabbed it..

..in the heart.

And for a bare moment, she felt the death throes of that heart carried all the way from the deathly blade, down the long shaft of her glaive, and in her hands.

She thought she felt something familiar about that final tremor in that heart..

 

And then she came around.

Staring in horror at the fallen and bloody form of her Udoorin.

 

It all went sideways after that and try as she might, Alor’Nadien ne just couldn’t remember anything.

Only that it had been she, who had slain her love.

And in her post-madness insanity, there had been that howling scream of some churning wind, followed by a brilliant flash of light..

..and that’s it.

 

She was no longer down in the stinking sewers of the once glorious city of Arashkan.

✱ ✱ ✱

Sheriff Standorin stood silently as he stared down at the rickety bed, and the tall, alluring figure lying in it with a horrible expression on his face.

Much like all the other dormitories in the temple, this small room was also comprised of a single bed, a chair, a nightstand with a washing dish, a lockless box for personal effects, and..

..that’s it.

The only variation to these had been the addition of extra beds in most of the other rooms since the arrival of the half-born, making the already small dormitories rather cramped, though the new, otherworldly guests never complained. For them, this was Heaven, as opposed to their previous ‘Hellish’ pits..

 

The tall, alluring girl, Constance, had tiny beads of sweat on her contorted face, her brows frowning, her bright red lips pressed together and though her eyes were open, there was a glossy shimmer about them; pained and somewhat glassy, as tears ran down and disappeared in her long and disheveled black hair.

She was trying, very hard, to put on a ‘happy’ front, but was failing quite miserably.

As much pain as she was in, she still managed to be quiet and dignified about it and the only other sign that would have given her apparent pain away, was her fisted hands, blessedly hiding under the itchy blanket that covered her up to her chest.

She managed to turn her head to make sure they were alone, then unclenched her lips and tried for a smile.

 

“There.. really isn’t any cause.. for such ruckus, dear Sheriff.. Standorin.. Shieldheart.. And.. I do not believe.. my actions merit.. such a scowl..”, she whispered.

 

Sheriff’s face became even more horrible.

“What did you do?”, he growled in his deep rumbling voice.

 

Constance stared at him, her gaze glassy and a bit off.

“We gave an oath.. Sheriff. To sweat.. to bleed.. and to die, to attain.. our Ascension. I have bled.”, she said with a forced smile.

 

“And now.. I am sweating..”

 

“I am not very good with levity, Miss Constance.”, scowled Standorin, as he fumed.

“Then I shall refrain.. from it..”, she smiled even more, though she had closed her eyes tightly and her frown bespoke of much pain.

“Sheriff Standorin..”, said a shy, soft, earnest voice from the door. “You should go. Constance needs rest and time to mend.”

Standorin turned to the door to see the small Inshala standing there. He inadvertently scowled at her as well, causing her to flinch, but she refused to back down. Blushing furiously, she held her ground. “Sir. Please. What she is going through is a delicate matter and requires tender care. If you are willing to give her that, you may stay. If you wish is to intorodate her, you really should leave, because she is hurting and is in much pain.”

“Intorodate?”, the sheriff asked a bit baffled.

“My Aager knows what it means. You may ask him later if you wish.”, she replied, blushing even more.

“I only want to know what is going on here. She was fine two days ago when she suddenly disappeared and this evening she was found, lying unconscious and beat, in the dirt, several miles away from the village. If there is a crime done against her, the felons must be found and face the harshest of punishments!”

“No crime was done here, Sheriff, sir.”, Inshala said, quietly. “What has befallen her, is something she has brought upon herself.”

“What is that supposed to mean?”, the sheriff growled.

“I.. I am very sorry, sir. That is the best I can explain.”, she struggled. “I do not have the right to say any more for.. certain other.. people are involved.. Should she wish it, she may share it with you. But her sacrifice is not mine to reveal. Now, she needs to rest and mend.”

“People? What other people? What sacrifice? What the heck is going on here?!”, Sheriff Standorin very nearly blared.

“Sherif Standorin.”, said a young, sharp voice, and Thomas Dimwood appeared behind Inshala. “You will refrain from such demanding attitudes and you will not raise your voice in my temple. And you will respect the privacy and sanctity of my guests and those under my care. Must I remind you that the Temple of Light is not under your jurisdiction? You, on the other hand, are in mine, now, as you are not even a guest, but a visitor. I do not want to have to remove you from my grounds, but if I must, I shall.”

 

The room’s temperature suddenly plummeted and an ominous silence spread.

 

“That was a tad uncalled for, young man.”, Standorin growled.

“So is your attitude towards my guests, the Ritual Guardian, Liaison Constance, and your free reign of my temple.”, replied Thomas cooly.

“Old Demos would never have taken that tone with me—”, the sheriff said scowling fiercely.

“You would never have done what you just did, had our Father, Demos were alive, Sheriff. Perhaps you imagine his absence gives you some leeway?”, Thomas said and his tone had taken a frosty edge now.

“Dear, Thomas..”, came the brittle voice of Constance as more tears came down her closed eyes. “..please. Friends should not fight over such technicalities. I and my brothers and sisters are new, here, in this Mortal coil, but we watch and we learn; I am certain the esteemed sheriff means no disrespect to your, your guests, nor your sanction. He.. he is merely worried.. Which is understandable and was my doing.. I shall.. tell him.. what he wants to know, and what he needs to know, also.”

“I agree.”, came Inshala’s small voice as she stared at her own feet. “I really am sorry, sir. I can say some things, I can not say some other things. There are forces in this world and.. other places.. that are beyond understanding and mustn’t be put to words on a whim for they may hear, and bring their retribution upon us. Please, sir. You must accept what I say, and stop there. I apologize for making this harder for you to understand but I am young and silly and I lack words.”

 

Standorin stared at Constance, then at the little girl, Inshala, then at Thomas, who was staring back at him, not quite as coldly as before, merely as adamant and immovable as him.

 

“I apologize for my attitude, Temple Guardian. I overstepped my boundaries in my moment of pique.”, the sheriff rumbled, though it was rather obvious, he was quite furious the way the young man had ‘man-handled’ him the way he had.

He then he walked over to the door, dropped on one knee before Inshala and with a much softer voice, he said, “And I apologize to you as well, again, and twice; once to the Ritual Guardian, and once you, dear Inshala. You have been nothing but good to this town and the refugees and probably doing more than I can see and comprehend. It would seem I am out of my debt here and trying to understand things quite beyond me, much like, it would seem, I am doomed to kneel before you and apologize, time and again, every time I turn around.”

 

Inshala’s face smoldered.

She was so embarrassed, she seemed like she was looking for some tiny hole to hide in.

So she did the only thing she could think of.

She hugged the huge, kneeling, man and hid her face there!

 

“Please do not kneel like this again, sir. Not to me, not to anyone. Decent and honorable men should bow to no one. Your son, Udoorin, never did, accept that one time when he was trying to learn me what it meant to love. He was always nice and polite to me. My Aager shows respect to everyone but feels only for very few and you are one of those few.”, she spoke from where she hid her face.

 

Sheriff Standorin blushed.

“Well, I—”, he faltered.

“—Lost?”, offered Thomas with a grin.

“I suppose I did..”, he sighed.

Then he kindly parted with the little girl, got up to his feet, and looked at the two of them.

“I would like to stay here with our Liaison until she gets better and is able to return to her duties. Lady Inshala, I would be grateful if you would go and inform Master Aager, that until such time as I am able to return to my duties, he will take over my duties as the acting sheriff, effective immediately.”, he said.

 

“Uhhmm.. Your sheriff is telling me somethings to tell you, but I have no idea what he just said, my Aager.”, Inshala whimpered in her head.

“What did he say, love?”, came Aager’s voice.

“He told me to tell you that you are something something acting something sheriff, escaping immediately!”

“Shit!”, Aager cursed vehemently. “As if I didn’t have enough on my plate..”

“AAGER FOGSTEP!”, gasped Inshala.

“I am sorry, love. Not in a very good mood today. I just can’t seem to teach this lot why we go for the jugular instead of the kidney in an ambush. I guess some people just like the drama of watching a violently struggling victim in an abhorrent amount of pain who is likely to manage a scream while he is kicking around in massive spasms as opposed to silently lowering him down with the least struggle while he quietly bleeds out!”

“Ow.. Tigers always go for the jugular! Nature is the best killer!”, Inshala said enthusiastically. “But I think your sheriff just wants to stay with Liaison Constance until she gets better.”

“Ahh.. that sounds.. familiar..”

“Ow, my.. I suppose it does, doesn’t it? Where are you? He told me to GO AND TELL you, so I think I must go to you, mustn’t I? I mean, I can’t just tell him, I just told you!”

“Yes, that would be hard to explain. Might as well come, love, perhaps we could take an early break and go home?”, Aager offered.

“I’d like that.”

 

“Alright. I guess I will go now, then?”, Inshala said with an exaggerated and guilty sort of tone and left.

 

Standorin stared after her, shook his head, then turned back to Thomas.

“Liaison Constance is a member of my office.”, he continued. “I must make sure she stays as part of my office, well and healthy, hence I invoke my right to sanction, Temple Guardian Thomas, and I believe anyone who invokes such sanction must be admitted without question or hindrance.”, he said and grinned at Thomas.

The young senior temple guardian frowned.

“I see you have been reading jurisdictional and temple laws, Sheriff. A bit out of your way, isn’t it?”, he mused.

“The esteemed Liaison has made me aware, I have been lacking in that area. Hence I took the time to remedy it. Now, if you will..”, the sheriff said and let it hanging..

“Very well, sheriff. I shall send some food to both of you soon enough.”, Thomas conceded.

“I would like to pay for them.”, Standorin said.

“We do not charge here, sheriff.”, reminded the young temple guardian.

“No, you don’t. But as small an amount as it may be, I am sure it will go somewhere better than where I’d have spent it. Accept it as a tithe, if you will. Unless you want two of your guests under your care to starve.”, Standorin said sternly.

Thomas frowned.

“What is it about you Shieldhearts and your obstinacy, I wonder.”, he said.

“It’s all about the Heart, really. The Shield, we use to bash out the obstinacy from young men! Now, if you will, I have a young Liaison to care for.”

✱ ✱ ✱

She is waking up.”, whispered a petulant voice.

“She is an early riser. But then, she’s been falling asleep where she kneels, crying all day.”, replied another voice, also in a whisper, though this one was soft and sounded like she laughed a lot in her normal merry voice. “It breaks my heart seeing her like this, day after day and it’s been weeks. I’ll admit, her boy is sort of cute, in a puppy-eye way, but the bushy thing he’s got on his face irks me.”

“Ow, yes, Temessa. It totally creeps me out! Did you bring her something to eat? I brought her my best peaches yesterday, she didn’t touch them.”, the petulant voice said.. petulantly.

“It is possible she might not like peaches, Yamara. Some Mortals do not and it even irks them. It has to do with the hair on the peaches, I think. A bit like how the boy’s bushy face irks us.”, explained Temessa in her hushed voice.

“That was not a nice thing to say, Temessa. My peaches are delicious. She didn’t eat your apples, either, if I recall.”, Yamara said in a hurt voice.

“True. But my apples are always dark and red and sweet and juicy. Just like me! Some Mortals prefer the hard and sour kind.”, shrugged Temessa.

“She didn’t touch Cherriot’s cherries, Shyad’s grapes, Kardenymp’s quinces, nor Veraminks’ berries. She is Mortal. She must be hungry by now. She will suffer scary visions and horrible dreams and die if she doesn’t eat soon.”, Yamara said a bit freaked.

“Maybe that’s why she is so skinny?”, Temmessa mused. “I wish Aremela were here. She’d know a way to make her eat and stop crying. She was the only one among us to very nearly understand Mortals.”

“It has been nearly twenty years since she’s been gone, Temessa.”, Yamara reminded her, though she said it with a very slight tremor in her own voice.

“Yes. But she was my friend and we always had the bestest fun when she was with us.”, Temessa signed.

“That’s true.”, Yamara admitted grudgingly. “Even though she snitched me to Mother, once.”

“She didn’t snitch you, Yamara. She told Mother, yes, you were being rude to everyone and, yes, you did charr Cherriot’s cherries because I snitched you to Mother and Mother asked her if this was true!”, Temessa replied simply.

Yamara made an unhappy noise.

“Did you know Mother was thinking of talking to that Blom Bundlebim Hobim so he would write all his adventures? That way, everyone will remember Aremela Berrybush!”, Temessa said suddenly.

“Ow, wow! Will we be in it, too?”, Yamara asked eagerly.

“Probably. I mean, we were there when they met, weren’t we?”

“Yes, we were. We are going to be so famous!”, Yarama beamed.

“Shhh! She is opening her eyes.. She has lovely eyes. Like dew grass after a spring rain.”, Temessa said with an adoring tone.

“Yes. But she also has dark circles around them and her face is swollen. She must eat.”, Yamara observed critically.

“Good morning, Yamara. Good morning Temessa.”, whispered Lorna..

 

..because that was the only strength she had left in her;

A whisper.

 

Temessa and Yamara just stared at her.

 

“Sweet Alor’Nadien ne. We have brought you new apples, peaches, grapes, cherries, and berries this morning. We give these to you freely and Mother knows this.”, Temessa almost pleaded.

“Yes, she does, even though she told us we could bargain for them if we wanted to. Please accept them. We already lost many of our sisters here some time ago to some villainous dwarves and it has made us very sad. We do not wish a pretty Mortal to die, as well.”, Yamara begged.

“I am sorry for your loss, dear Yamara. But it’s alright. Once my beautiful Udoorin is gone, I shall take my leave and die elsewhere. That way, I shall not ruin the sanctity of your beautiful valley.”, Lorna replied hoarsely.

“Please, pretty Alor’Nadien ne. Eat at least one peach or one apple, or even some grapes and cherries and even some berries. Before Mother comes and asks you again.”, Temessa said, this time actually pleading.

“I thank you both and your sisters. You have been nothing but kind and generous to me. My answer to Mother will be the same as it was yesterday, and the day before that, and I shall carry your kindness to my grave.”, Lorna breathed rapidly..

..and vaguely realized this rapid breathing was a new symptom.

 

Yes. Her time was coming to a close and.. rapidly..

 

The fact that she had survived as long as she had, was likely to her connection to the Spirit of High Woods. But like her woods, she too was ending.

At least she would get her moment to say farewell to her Udoorin one last time before she crawled out of Gull’s Perch.

And with that thought, she looked down at the strange,  quartz-blue, crystal-like coffin she was leaning where she lay, and where she’d woken, day after day, and fallen asleep, night after night..

..where, under layers of the quartz-blue crystal, lay the young man she had slain in her moment of insanity.

She could see his unmoving face, peaceful, yet oddly faceted and fractured in the crystal and the bloody hole that was his heart.

She remembered that moment they had first met.

In her anger, she had charged at the people that had come bursting into the room, down in the dungeons below the ruins of Themalsar, her dark, smoking glaive raised.

Whether it had been a matter of luck, initiative, skill, destiny, or fate, the young man had reached her before she could swing her blade.

He had reached her with both of his great battle-axes already at the end of their radius, and just about to cut into her slender neck.

But in his moment of madness, he had stopped, both blades nicking at her. He had stopped and opted not to slay her. And furiously blushing, he had grinned at her and said;

“Uhhmm.. Hello. I am Udoorin.”

She hadn’t.. In her madness, she had stabbed him, in the back and in the heart..

 

Inevitably, her eyes teared.

 

“I am so, sorry, my Udoorin. Today, I shall beg her again; mine life for yours. Perhaps today she will see reason.”, she whispered. “For if she will not, I am afraid you will be staying here for a while, but I shan’t. I feel the claws of death and I am all but spent. I deserve what is upon me. Should you wake, please think not too unkindly of me, for I loved you..”

“With all my heart..”

 

Heart.

 

And that single word broke her all over again.

 

“Dear child. How long shall this mourning last?”, asked a rich, throaty, mature voice asked.

“Will you not see reason?”

 

“Oops. Mother is here!”, hissed Yamara. “Better scram!”

“Right..”, agreed, Temessa and the two girls, one dryad, the other a fire nymph, took off in a haste.

 

“Your offer is beyond me, Mother Summer. And isn’t a choice I may adopt on my own. It involves him, his life, his future, and his line. Should I make that choice for him, never shall he gaze upon my face again. But at least he shall stay here and.. live.. forever..”, Lorna sobbed.

“My dear child, he may stay here, but not forever. One day, he may rise. Mortals have always been thus unpredictable. Have you given any thought as to what he will do, should that happen? His father, his friends, and you, the spark of his life, all gone and past, centuries over. Perhaps you think this a wise course of action and a mercy on his part. I do not. Mortals do not cope well when their loved ones leave. But in time they learn to live with it, for time prepares them for such losses and fills the gaps they leave. However, they never cope when they are suddenly made aware, all their loved ones are dead and gone and centuries ago. I have witnessed this before. And he was not even a Mortal, but a fey. It drow him mad; a once noble of a Court became the vilest of us all. I believe he haunts this world still.”, replied the rich, mature voice.

“Mother Titania. I beg of you.”, Lorna pleaded, her eyes tear-stricken, her voice already near hysteria. “Take mine life and give it to him. Give my beat so he would live..”

“My dear, girl, you did not do this to him. The madness of Draugr-kin is not a fairy tale. It is as infectious as it is corrosive.”

“But it was I who did this to him.. I stabbed him in the back. I destroyed his beautiful heart. I do not deserve to live when he is dying.. Take my beat. Please. Take it, and give it to him..”, Lorna wept.

“I do not take lives on a whim. And never from a Mortal who has done me no wrong. This is something the Queens may not do. This is the Law of Nature. Much like I may not give, without balance. This is who we are, and this is what we are.. A life for a life was my wont. But not yours for his. Mortals always do rush to give what they do not know. But then, how could they? You have never lived it all!”

“M.. Mother, please.. Just take it.. I give it freely..”, the beautiful princess of High Woods begged.

“You will give your life for him, and expect him to accept that, do you? Perhaps you think too little of him, after all.”, mused Titania.

“Give it to him. He does not have to know..”, Lorna cried.

“You wound want a Queen of the Fey to lie? Will that not destroy my own reputation?”, the Queen of Summer asked mildly.

“You will not take my life for his, but you would take the life of my unborn child?”, Alor’Nadien ne wept. “What will he think of me when I have given away his child?”

“Your child shall live long and happy, dear girl. She shall be the Summer Lady. The time nears when Mortals shall require all the help they can get. I am summer, and I may not mingle among Mortals. The Summer Lady can. She will have her Summer Knight to defend and protect her. And she will be much loved and honored among us. Your daughter will help shape the world and aid Mortals free us of the foul demon infestation. I have seen it. And have I also seen, how the lack of the two Ladies has caused the end of one cycle after another. This, you must know, and this you must understand, for this was why your great ancestors, Terandel Solace, Sinderel Tranquil, and Elorellen Feymist abandoned their homes to come this far and settle where they did; to prepare the Mortals for the day they would grow and gather to fight and end the demon infestation. Know this, young Alor’Nadien ne; the demons are coming. Gullem the Damned is preparing to move against the Humans at Heaven’s Hand and the elves at Tranquil even as we speak. And they will bring the numbers to overrun them.”, Titania said calmly, then paused as if considering, and arriving at some monumental realization herself.

“Know also that your arrival here was not by chance. Of all the Mortals that have ever come to my sacred sanction, only two did appear by the whims of fate. One, to cleanse my valley of uncouth Mortals bent on lustful greed and to make it whole again, for which both he and I paid a terrible and costly price. You, dear child, are the other.”

“He.. If he must know. He must agree..”, Lorna moaned.

“He must not.”, the Queen of Summer said kindly.

“Why? Why shouldn’t he know?”, cried the princess.

“My dear, dear child, as much as he loves you, cherishes you, cares for you, and honors you, he is still Mortal and can not see beyond his years. Not now, not in his lifetime. Humans are not mentally equipped for such impartial decisions, hence they must not be put to task with such a verdict. Know though, shall he be long gone by the time I come to collect my charge. Willy-nilly, this bargain is between you and I, dear child.”

“And should I fail to make a choice?”

“Then he will rise, one day, and mourn, for the first thing he sees, shall be your remains and thus he shall rage, for there shall be nons he has known left; his home and his town and everyone he has thus loved and cared and cherished shall be long gone and beyond his reach and beyond his comprehension, also. He shall come to realize that he is not mere alone but in a world forever gray for him. He shall roam the lands, never to feel love, nor luster, for what he feels, he feels only for you. Thus shall his rage be without equal, and in his unquenching madness, shall he sin and slay, and thus shall he be hunted, slain over, and thrown in a pit where there shan’t even be a stone to mark his grave..”, Titania said with a certain finality.

 

Lorna’s vision darkened, her heartbeat hammered harder than she could ever remember, her mind swirled, she was breathing harshly now.

 

“Dear child. I would ask you to take my offer. Should you prolong it any further, I am afraid, there will not be anything of you left that can regain any health. The things you feel now are the accumulation of your self-imposed hunger, fatigue, irregular slumber, and your heart-felt devastation over the course of weeks. It is time, child. Know, though, I do not make such an offer lightly, nor have I ever made this offer to any Mortal in this cycle and not because I have deemed Mortals unfit, but nons have I found a Mortal worthy.”

 

Alor’Nadie ne never realized a whole day had passed just in that single conversation.

✱ ✱ ✱

What is wrong, love?”, said Berete Hamna Vir, her voice very worried, as she came and sat next to the little boy. “You have been sitting here in the dark all night. I know it is quiet and serene down here, but you should come and play with us.”

The little boy, Dar Derune didn’t move. He just sat where he was and staring off, somewhere, far, far away, and beyond the cavernous crypt.

“Here. I brought you your favorite sam-wish. And I managed to grab two sugar canes for you.”, the girl with the sharp features said in hopes of raising some kind of response from the boy.

“I am not hungry Hamna Vir.”, mumbled the boy and sniffed.

“You.. Have you been crying, love? Yes, you have. I can see the streaks on your face. Why are you crying, my baby mate? Did someone hurt or upset you?”, asked Hamna Vir and a frown appeared on her face.

 

The boy sniffed again, then, just like that..

..he climbed into her arms and started to cry with heartbreaking sobs.

 

“Ow, my dear, dear baby. What is wrong? Please tell me. You know you can. And we two have never had any secrets.”, Hamna Vir pleaded as her own eyes blurred as she fiercely hugged the little boy.

“She.. she..”, sobbed Dar Derune. “She’s gone!”

“Ow, love. She was gone but she’s back. Constance is back. Yes, she is hurt, but she will be alright.”, soothed Hamna Vir.

“No.. Arezme.. She is gone!”

 

Hamna Vir froze.

 

“What do you mean, she’s gone?”, she whispered.

“I have been looking in on her every day to make sure she was alright, ever since she entered the Door.”, sobbed the boy.

“But.. why?”, asked Hamna Vir.

“Because.. because I can see, Hamna Vir. And I saw a spark in her heart that day when we walked out of the Door and gave our oaths, and she went in.. The spark all Mortals have, yet none of us do. The spark of a Mortal’s heart! That is how I knew she was the first amongst us! And this evening, when I looked at her again.. I saw her spark.. bloom! Then the bloom spread and spread and became incandescent. It.. its light was so bright, it almost burned me. And just like that, it was gone. I can not see her anymore, Hamna Vir..”

“I can not see Arezme, I can not see our Merisoul.. There is only light.. Brilliant, burning light.. She’s gone!”

 

..and Dar Derune broke down in her arms and cried, uncontrollably, like the little boy that he was and spluttered.

 

“What are we going to tell mirima Temez? They were BFF!”

✱ ✱ ✱

Are you feeling any better?”, Sheriff Standorin asked.

“Will you return to your duties if I said I was?”, replied Constance with a weary smile.

“Master Aager is a trustable man. I am sure he is handling things just fine.”, Standorin said, trying for a smile himself, but not quite getting there.

“It has been days, you have been here, dear sir. What ails me will wear off, given enough time.. Just not in my lifetime, I am afraid.”, the tall, alluring girl said. “Apparently, some things end up being much more costly than we ever anticipate. I feel almost Mortal in my folly.”

“You speak in words, I do not really understand, Liaison Constance.”, Standorin said with a frown. “But I will ask you one thing because I am hoping it will be something I shall comprehend.”

“You wish to know why I asked you out.”, Constance said. It wasn’t a question so much as it was a statement, really.

“Well.. Yes..”, the sheriff admitted with a flush. “I mean, I am quite older than you. Shouldn’t you find someone your own age, perhaps? Someone young and.. handsome?”

 

Constance closed her eyes, drew one of her slim hands out from under the itchy blanket and placed it on her forehead, and sighed.

 

“What is it about you Mortals and age? It is merely a number that signifies how many years ago you were conceived and absolutely nothing else. It tells me nothing about who you are, about what you have done in those years, nor about what entails you. Tell me, sir, does that number truly encapsulate you? Does it tell me your accomplishments? Or how decent and caring and how honorable you are? Would it matter if I were to tell you it has been five hundred and thirty-two years since I was conceived?”

 

Standorin gulped.

 

“I.. wouldn’t have thought you were a day older than twenty-five, ma’am..”, he mumbled. “Are you really—?”

Constance sighed again.

“Years pass differently where I come from, Stan. Yes, by your Mortal years, I guesstimate I am five hundred and thirty-two. By our standards, I am twenty-eight— which still tells you nothing about me. Not of my sins nor my deeds. Nor why I and my kind chose to abandon the only place we were perpetually abused but would never stand out. And it certainly does not tell you why I chose to date with you, does it?”, she asked wearily.

“No. I suppose it doesn’t.”, Standorin conceded.

“I promise, I will tell you. Only if you would but help me get out of this bed and wash up, as I am, very likely, quite unseemly, and perhaps even help me change. And then maybe you could take me out for lunch, or dinner? I honestly do not know what time of the day it is as these rooms have no windows. I must admit, I am quite famished. Perhaps you would go as far as a dare and we could eat at your place? I have studied Mortal cooking some. Maybe I could try my hands on it. Should you honestly like it, we can eat that. If I fail, I suppose we can go someplace where I can embarrass myself less. We can then sit there and talk or perhaps take another long walk, though, as tired as I am, you might end up carrying me back.. I leave the choices to you. In the end, I shall never take what you are unwilling to part. All I would ever want from you is to know I have someone to lean on, and that someone would make me feel mildly wanted. Should you agree, however, I would like you to expect, and accept, similar trust and care from me.”

 

Standorin gulped again.

 

“We.. could eat at my place.. though it hasn’t been touched by a woman for many years. But only if I cook while you rest. I.. can’t invite you and make you cook. That would be just wrong.”, he said, both flustered and abashed.

“I am in your care then, Standorin Shieldheart.”

 

Sheriff Standorin was a man of his word. As embarrassed as he was, and with a very flustered face, he helped the tall, alluring girl out of the rickety bed and sat her on the simple wooden chair, brought the washing dish over and with strong, calloused hands, he washed her slender hands and arms, her very appealing face, her slim neck, ran his wet hands over and through her long, silky black hair, and went as far as washing her proportionate, narrow feet, all without any sensual implications, but with tender care, and Constance silently watched his face with a demur blush but refrained from even the smallest smile.

The tall, alluring girl was a surprisingly perceptive and considerate creature.

Then, he went over and opened the door, and to the red-headed, bewitching little girl who had been silently sitting there with a naughty smirk on her face and an ear on the door, he said, “Young Demelze.. It isn’t nice to eavesdrop. But since you are here, I would consider it kindness on your part if you would bring the esteemed Liaison a brush, a pair of shoes, and a dress appropriate to her station.”

The smirking girl blushed furiously, jumped on her feet, and took off, while she mumbled to herself;

“Blistering Bloody Imps!”, she cursed. “Busted!”

 

He turned around to see Constance smiling at him.

“Uhhmm.. Is there something amusing?”, he asked a bit gruffly.

“No, no.. Merely admiring how aware you are of your surrounding even under duress.”, she replied. “Demelze won’t be able to decide whether she should be embarrassed for getting caught or feel happy you remembered her name, even though you met her only once.”

“Occupational hazard, I suppose. And I have been a lawman for quite a number of years. And.. I wouldn’t define.. uhh.. washing you a matter of duress, really.”, he replied uncomfortably.

 

There was a knock and the sheriff turned around and opened the door again to see the same red-headed, bewitching girl holding a long, elegant dress, a pair of high pumps, a hairbrush, and an odd expression stuck somewhere between a flush, a wicked smile, and a pout as if the girl just couldn’t decide on which one she should settle.

 

“Thank you. I would be happy if you would also compile a detailed progression report on the Pixie Project and have it ready by tomorrow morning.”, he said as he took the dress, the pumps, and the brush, but left her expression where it was.

Demelze squinted at him and the wicked smile on her face disappeared.

“Homework? Really?”, she said in disgust.

“You are a fully grown woman and require no homework, young lady. But Master Aager will need said report as soon as possible, and you seem like a person given to details. Unless I am totally mistaken, of course.”, Standorin said with a straight face.

Demelze’s squint turned into a distinctly deploring pout. With seething vehemence, she spun around and started marching away, all the while stomping her tiny feet!

Constance gave out a refrained, bubbly laugh.

“You have a unique way to deal with people, sir.”, she said.

“Let’s get one thing straight.”, the sheriff frowned a bit. “I would rather you didn’t ‘sir’ me when we are alone.”

“But we are in a temple, and your official standing puts you in a ‘sirly’ disposition, as silly as that sounds.”, she replied with a smile. “Though I am open to suggestions as to what you would rather I call you on a regular basis, other than Stan.. sir.”

 

Standorin fumed a bit.

Limnia Karya, his beloved deceased wife, had never played these games with him. She had been a ranger, and a decidedly practical, no-nonsense sort of woman, though, in all candor, she did act like a much younger girl when they had been alone. Then he remembered something Aager had told him about never to compare and once Standorin gave it an even cursory thought, he came to the conclusion that the young man had been right; one, they were not some fruit, vegetable, or furniture, but people, both distinct and both unique, and two, comparing was doing them both much disservice.

 

Silently he put the brush and the pumps on the bed and came near the young woman and just stood there.

It took a bare moment for the tall, alluring girl to comprehend the pause. With a shy blush, she turned around and..

..let her dress fall.

 

Standorin stared at the rather slender, curving back of the tall woman, gruffly cleared his throat, then, with decidedly clumsy hands, he helped her put on the new dress, from head to feet. 

Then, while he was down there, he reached over to the bed, grabbed the pumps, picked her feet, and put the high-heeled shoes on them, each and one at a time, as Constance watched him, silent and still.

 

“I would like to touch your hair.”, she whispered down at him. “A girl may not be tortured thus thoroughly and not be given even a crump of surcease.”

 

Sheriff Standorin didn’t say anything.

He just stood kneeling where he was, as he did the tiny clasps on the pumps and long, slender fingers ran through his hair and a sensation he hadn’t felt for nearly twenty years rippled down his spine.

 

“Stan.. Stan will do, for now, Constance..”, he whispered back.

✱ ✱ ✱

Something woke Sheriff Standorin from a deep slumber. He felt slightly groggy and looked around to see he had fallen asleep on his couch that was facing the fireplace in his two-room home.

The fire had died down to a smoldering kindle, giving a low, red-orange cast and gave the young, beautiful face sleeping peacefully on his chest a whole, different kind of glow, as Constance breathed quietly at his face, her body limply sprawled across his.

Standorin tried to recall at which point he had fallen asleep but failed. He remembered having cooked something that involved diced beef, fried onion rings, and mashed potatoes, along with some chilled apple cider. Then he and the tall, alluring young woman had taken their plates and drinks and sat on the couch and quietly talked, while they stared at the fire dancing in the grate.

The sheriff had been quite surprised and had felt not a small amount of embarrassment coupled with some guilt when he’d found out how much he’d had to say.

Standorin had never really been the talk and laugh, type.

She, on the other hand, had kept silent most of the time and had only spoken to inquire about things she couldn’t quite understand or relate because she would lack the individual reference points.

At some point, though, she had fallen completely silent and with a certain sense of frustration, the sheriff had noticed, she’d dozed off.

He berated himself on a number of levels at that point, foremost for being a boring man to have made a girl literally fall asleep in the middle of a conversation.

Then he came to the ultimate, logical explanation; Constance had gone out of her way, for the past few days, and quite beyond, to put up a ‘good’ front for his sake, making light of her pain and extreme fatigue until they both had come crashing down on her with compounded interest.

Ahh.. that was when he had taken her into his arms, and sort of leaned back..

..and had fallen asleep, with her pillowing her head on his broad, rumbling chest.

 

Then he remembered something had woken him.

He wasn’t quite sure what it had been, but he thought it sounded like an animal in pain.

He heard a careful knock on his door just then and very carefully, and with no small amount of unexpected revelation and resignation, he slid the young woman off himself and stretched her on the couch and into a more comfortable pose.

For a man his size, he padded over to the door with surprisingly quiet steps and opened it to see Aager Fogstep standing there and behind him, his little mate, Lady Inshala.

Standorin immediately knew something was wrong for the young man lacked his leather hood and half mask, his face was stricken, contorted, even, and the little girl was holding on to him from behind and sobbing into his back.

“What is it Master Aager?”, he asked in his low, rumbling voice.

“You.. you had better come, sir.”, Aager growled through clenched teeth.

Standorin cocked an eyebrow.

“Where are we going?”, he asked.

Aager paused for a moment before speaking again.

“Is.. is the Liaison here, sir?”, he asked.

“Yes. She is.”, Standorin said with a frown.

“We.. we will need her as well, sir.”, Aager replied with a decidedly determined voice.

“Why? If I might ask. She is still recovering from her.. predicament and is sleeping at the moment. I would rather we didn’t wake her.”, the sheriff said, his frown deepening.

“She is the Liaison, sir.”, Aager grinded his teeth. “And we will need her to do her job, right now, and fast.”

“What is going on, young man?”, Standorin asked, fuming a bit now.

 

Aager paused again. When he spoke this time, Standorin was astonished, for he heard a certain tremor in his voice.

 

“The leader of the Escape, Perigren Ostlanna Temez, has gone.. feral, sir. She.. and quite a number of them are breaking and burning everything that gets in their way. Thomas, Morel, and the other temple guardians have managed to get as many of the children out as they can but they are fighting amongst themselves now and against Thomas, Morel, and the temple guardians. Thomas has asked you to bring their Liaison to speak in our steed and perhaps find a way to defuse the situation before it goes any further and make sure the remaining children are not injured or worse.”

Standorin stared at him.

“They gave their word. Their oath. Why would they break their oath and risk everything they have forsworn?”, he fumed angrily.

“They.. they didn’t break their oaths, sir. They merely received some quite distressing news and.. they are hurting.. Apparently, they do not know moderation when they are upset.”

“What news? What could possibly have happened to have riled them enough to risk everything they gave up to come here?”, Standorin asked harshly.

“Perigren Ostlanna Temez just found out she lost her BFF, sir.”, Aager replied quietly and Inshala hugged him even tighter and her sobs grew louder.”

“BFF?”, asked the sheriff, a bit baffled.

“Best Fiend Friend, sir. You see, Perigren’s BFF was no other than Merisoul Xyrotwu, and she and Ranger Lieutenant Laila and Master Gnine had all gone to Silent Hills together. I don’t know how, but they just found out that Meriso.. they found out.. that they..”, he said as he tried to gulp down the lump rising earnestly up his throat. “That Merisoul is gone!”

“I.. see..”, said Standorin silently. “I.. did not know her very well. But she was the nicest felon I apprehended in my entire life.”

“She was my friend..”, came Inshala’s sobbing voice. “She was always nice and always alone. She saved me. She helped and saved everyone!”

 

It was apparent, nothing else intelligible was going to come from her anymore and not any time soon.

 

Aager turned around and hugged her tightly and held his scourging stance for as long as he could as a low, infuriated scream escaped him.

“WHAT DID YOU DO AGAIN, YOU STUPID, STUPID GIRL! I DIDN’T SEND YOU WITH GNINE AND LAILA TO KEEP THEM SAFE. I SENT THEM WITH YOU TO KEEP YOU SAFE!”

 

Then..

..with rage unseen in Serenity Home,

..he howled at the night sky

..and winter spread in jagged, sharp, spiking icicles

..as cobblestones popped, cracked, and shrapneled

..and brittle-blue, chilling frost covered everything

..a hundred yards

..in every direction.

✱ ✱ ✱

Two figures stumbled into view two days later from the east and up the banks of Arashkan River, both leaning on the other and both with severe, grim, lived, suffered, and ‘paid in full and done’, expressions on their faces.

 

Liaison Constance Alure Smithen
standing next to Sheriff Standorin Shieldheart..

 

..and Inshala ‘la Fey’ Frostmane
standing next to Aager Fogstep were waiting for them.

 

Right behind them, another pair stood,
Anglenna Brightleaf and Armethelius Riverblade..

 

..and another;
Bremorel Songsteel and Thomas Dimwood.

 

 

AND JUST BEHIND THOSE,
FIFTEEN THOUSAND HIGH ELVES STOOD IN RIGID,
SILENT, SOLEMN MILITARY FORMATION, AND BURNING
WITH RIGHTEOUS EXALTATION, AS THEY WAITED
FOR THEIR KING AND THEIR QUEEN.

 

 

And Princess Alor’Nadien ne Feymist came
with Udoorin Shieldheart..

 


 

book 06 books dungeons and dragons modül the plot thickens Whispers; A Cabal

Çok Uzaklardaki Gullem

Çok Uzaklardaki Gullem

Timeline:

Adalar Krallığında ürkütücü bir sesizlik hakimdir.

Elf’ler, Dwarf’lar, İnsanlar, Gnome’lar ve adı geçmeyen diğer bütün ırkların hepsi sanki nefeslerini tutmuş, ölüm ve felaketin ön habercisi olan bu sessizliği dinlemektedir.. zira sessizlik sonrası gelecek fırtınanın adı bellidir.

Bir araya gelip hazırlık yapma zamanı gelmiştir.. yada bunun için biraz geç kalınmış da olabilir çünkü ‘düşman’ çoktan harekete geçmiş durumdadır. Bunun ilk göstergesi, gerçekte Büyük Arashkan Şehrinin, hemen sonrasında da kadim elf şehri Bari Na-ammen ve High Woods’un yok olması değildir. Bu iki ‘cinayet’in kendileri başlı başına hayret verici ve kahredici olsa da, en nihayetinde ve ‘büyük plan’ açısından iyimser bir şekilde sadece birer dip nottan ibarettirler.

Kötümser olarak ifade etmek gerekirse;

Bu bir başlangıçtır..

 

Sonun başlangıcı.

 

Ve uzaklarda bir yerde, unutulmuş binlerce yıldır bütün bunları ‘keyifsizce’ bir şekilde, Büyük Kuzey Tundralarının en ücra batı köşesindeki muazzam şatosundan seyreden Gullem bulunmaktadır..

Bu hikayenin ne zaman yer aldığı kati olarak bilinmemektedir.

Ancak kronolojik olarak;
A Demon’s Plan (Part Four) – All End.
ile
The Fog, The Path, And The Door.
Knock, More, And Ascend.
,
arasında bir zamanda gerçekleşmiş olması muhtemeldir.

 

Kapkara bulutların arasında, kızıl yıldırımlar vahşice çatallanarak harlamaktadır. Kara bulutların altında ise belki bir zamanlar koyu mor olan, ancak artık grinin ürkütücü tonlarıyla kirli pas renklerinin karıştığı devasa, demir bir şato bulunmaktadır ve şatonun büyüklüğü, ancak ‘göz alabildiğince’ ifadesi kullanılarak tarif edilebilirdi. Şatonun muhtelif yerlerinden, rastgele serpilmiş izlenimi veren ve daha çok kanlı birer mızrağı andıran sivri kuleleri ise, gökyüzünü kaplayan kirli bulutların arasında kaybolmuştur. Şatonun devasa, girintili kapısı dışında bir başka girişi görülmediği gibi, ana kulesinin kara bulutlara yakın bir noktasındaki tek delik dışında da herhangi bir penceresi yoktur. Bu pencereden ise, dışarı kızıl-sarı bir ışık süzülmektedir. Gecenin karanlığında duyulan sesler, şatodan gelen çığlıklar, vahşi havlamalar ve ne olduğunu kimsenin bilmek istemediği seslerden ibarettir..

Burası yaşlı, mel’un ve şer kelimelerinin gerçek sahibi olan lanetli Gullem’in şatosudur ve buraya canlılar ayak basmazlar. Ama cansız bir çok şey buradan sürüler ve tümenler halinde ayrılır ve güneye, Demon Wall adı verilen, insanların, elf’lerin ve dwarf’ların korumaya çalıştığı İblis Duvarına doğru yollanırlar.

Şatonun ana kulesinin tepesindeki, kızıl-sarı kötürüm bir ışıkla aydınlanan kemerli pencerede bir gölge belirir. Uzun, sıska ve uğursuz bir gölgedir bu.

Gölge, bıkkın, isteksiz ve kataraktlı gözlerle güneyi süzer. Güneyde, demir şatonun iki buçuk üç günlük mesafesinde Demon Gates/İblis Kapıları vardır. İblis Kapılarının ilerisinde ise uçsuz bucaksız, yarıklar ve çatlaklarla dolu, keskin kayalar ve zehirli gazlarla hayata dair hiçbir şeyin yaşamasına imkan vermeyen Fiend Pits/İblis Çorakları, onun da ilerisinde, yüksek uçurumların altında, Demon’s End/Sonsuz İblis vadisi bulunmaktadır. Bu vadide bir zamanlar belki bir medeniyet var olmuş olsa da, söz konusu medeniyetlerden geriye kalan şeyler sadece yüzlerce, daha gerçekçi bir tahminde bulunmak gerekirse, binlerce yıl önce yıkılıp talan edilmiş harabelerden ibarettir ve bu harabeler ise artık, adı konulmamış on binlerce yaratığa ev sahipliği yapmaktadır. Bu vadinin sonunda ise, Gullem’in görüyormuş gibi baktığı Demon Wall/İblis Duvarı durmaktadır ve yaşlı, uğursuz adamın keyifsizliğinin kaynağı da bu duvardır..

..son, yüzlerce, unutulmuş ve umutsuz yıldır!

 

“Bıktım..”, diye kendi kendine mırıldanır yaşlı adam yılgın bir sesle. “Ama ölümlüler bıkmadılar bir türlü..”

Melanet adamın arkasından bir inleme sesi gelir.

“Sen hala yaşıyor musun?”, diye arkasını dönmeden sorar Gullem.

“Ce.. cehennemde yanacaksın..”, der inleyen sesin sahibi anca duyulur bir fısıltıyla.

“Hayır, evlat. Ben cehennemin ta kendisiyim.. Hiç merak etmiyor musun ailene ne oldu, yada şehrin güvende mi, diye? Ben olsam merak ederdim..”, diye kendince kıkırdar lanetli adam.

“Onları.. bir gün göreceğim.. Ama seni bekleyen.. hiç kimsen yok..”, diye bitik bir şekilde hırıldar sesin sahibi.

“Benim kimseye ihtiyacım yok. Asla da olmadı..”, diye çirkefçe cevap verir Gullem. “Ve sana bak. Bütün sevenlerine rağmen buradasın. Aslına bakılırsa, sevdiklerinden ötürü buradasın..”

“Bu.. dünya nasıl biterse bitsin.. seni bekleyen son aynı.. İblisler def edildiğinde.. senin de sonun gelmiş olacak. İblisler bu dünyayı.. ele geçirseler de.. senin sonun.. yine gelmiş olacak.. çünkü efendilerinin.. seninle de işleri bitmiş olacak..”, diye zorlukla fısıldar ses. “En nihayetinde sen.. insanlığını ve insanları satmış bir.. hainsin.. Ve kimse bir haini sevmez.. ve ona güvenmez.. Bu dünya ile işleri.. bittiğinde, senin de defterini dürecek ve ipini kesecekler.. ve seni hayatta tutan güç her ne ise, o da son bulacak..”

Gullem arkasından gelen sese döner.

Yüzünde çirkin bir ifadeyle, kızıl-sarı kötürüm ışıkla aydınlanmış demir kulesinin devasa zindanında, karanlıkta kaybolmuş tavandan sarkan bir zincire tutturulmuş havada asılı duran dikenli kafesin içindeki erimiş tutsağına bakar..

..ve yüzündeki çirkin ifade yerini tamamen çirkef bir ifadeye bırakır.

Gullem bir omzunu silker ve pis bir kahkaha atar.

“Ama sen bunların hiç birisini göremeyeceksin..”

Demir dikenli kafesin içindeki bi deri bi kemik kalmış tutsak acı bir şekilde ‘hıh’lar.

“Verebildiğin.. en iyi cevap buysa.. bahsettiğim sonu.. zaten sende biliyorsun.. Sadece.. duymak istemiyorsun.. o kadar..”

Gullem bir elini pençe yapar ve kötürüm, kızıl-mor yıldırımlar kafesi ve içindekini vurur.

Kafesten acı içerisinde inleyen sesler yükselir..

..ama çığlık gelmez.

Dakikalar boyunca melanet yaşlı, demir dikenli kafesi, ve içindeki tutsağını kaynatır.. Kan ter içerisinde yıldırımları kestiğinde, kafesin demirleri kor halinde harlanmış, içindeki ‘şey’ ise yarı yanmış bir şekilde tütmektedir.

“Belki bu cevap daha çok hoşuna gitmiştir.”, diye horlayan bir sesle mırıldanır lanet Gullem ve tekrar tutsağına ve demir kafese arkasını döner ve kulenin penceresinden dışarıyı, İblis Duvarını seyretmeye başlar.

Aradan ne kadar süre geçer bilinmez. Bununda gerçekte çok da bir önemi yoktur.

“Teşekkür.. ederim..”, diye inleyerek gelir tüten ses.

Gullem nefret dolu bir ifadeyle başını kafese çevirir.

“Be.. Beni her.. yakışında.. günahlarımdan da.. arındırmış oluyorsun..”

 

Gullem demir dikenli ve paslı kafesin içindeki yarı kömür olmuş ‘şey’i oracıkta öldürmeyi düşünür. Ölümün eşiğine getirdiği ‘şey’den istediği bilgilere ihtiyacı olmamış olsa, onun buraya getirtilmesi için verdiği emeğe de, planlara da gerek kalmış olmaz, onu öldürüldüğü yerde bırakması yeterli olmuş olurdu.. Yada özellikle acı çekmesini istiyor idiyse, onu aşağıda, yerin çok derinliklerindeki zindanlarından birine tıkar, ve beyin emici iblislerine yedirmiş olurdu çoktan. Ama Gullem’in bilgiye ihtiyacı vardır ve tutsağında o bilgilerin var olduğundan da emindir. Sorun, onun cinsinin kati inançları vardır ve kırılmaları da oldukça zordur.

“Sorun değil, sorun değil..”, diye söylenir içinden habis Gullem. “Burada çok uzun bir süre kalacaksın.. Çooook uzun bir süre.. Seni ve inançlarını kırıncaya kadar.. Dünya da bir çok şey değişebilir, ama senin için bu gerçek değişmeyecek..”

 

Yaşlı melun adamın odasının kapısı tıklanır ve içeri, pıhtılaşmış kan kırmızısı cüppeler içerisinde bir ‘şey’ girer. Giren şey her ne ise, ancak genel hatlarıyla bir insanı andırmaktadır ancak sırtında koca bir kamburu, ayaklarından birisinde yenmiş, pırtık bir çizme, diğerinde ise öküz toynağı bulunmaktadır. Yaratık içeri girer ve kapüşonunun içinde olması gereken yüz yerine sadece karanlık bir boşlukla, kıpırdamadan Gullem’e bakar.

“Ne var?”, diye hırıldar yaşlı adam.

Ve sanki adamın emri, yaratığı canlandırmış gibi hareketlenir ve garip, yankılı, derinlerden gelen, bir hortlak ulumasını çağrıştıran, ve herhangi bir vurgu yada duygu içermeyen bir sesle konuşur.

 

“Geldi.”

 

Yaşlı adam tiksintiyle yaratığa bakar.

“Söyle geliyorum.”, der kısaca ve odasının köşesinde duran bir sandığa doğru yönelir.

Yaratık, kendisine verilen emri duyup duymadığına dair herhangi bir tepki göstermez. Bir anlığına yerinde kıpırdamadan durur, sonra sektiren adımlarla ‘tok’, ‘tok’, ‘tok’, diye toynağının yankılarıyla geldiği gibi çıkar odadan.

“Lanet Renfield’ler..”, diye neredeyse tükürür Gullem ve sandığı açar. Yaşlı, mel’un adam bir süre sandıktaki eşyaları süzer, sonra uzanıp, çarpık bir asa, kömür karası bir çubuk, iki yüzük, bir madalyon, ve ne oldukları anlaşılamayan bir-iki eşya daha alır ve sandığın kapağını kapatır.

Kapıya yönelmeden önce madalyonu boynuna geçirir, yüzükleri takar ve diğer eşyaları kirli cübbesinin muhtelif yerlerine saklar, kömür karası çubuğu da kemer niyetine kullandığı altın ve gümüş simli sicime sokuşturur sonra bir elinde asası olduğu halde kendisi de odasından ayrılır.

 

gullem-01

Yaşlı Gullem tam kapısını kapatacakken demir dikenli kafese, ve içinde hala tütmekte olan bitmiş tutsağına bakar.

“Benim canımı sıkmayı başardın. Sırf bundan dolayı, duvarı yıktığımda Korduba’s Watch’ı kuşatacağım, ama almak için özel çaba sarf etmeyeceğim. Ana ordularımla önce senin şehrine gideceğim ve ilk katliamımı orada yapacağım.. Bunu da senin ailenle başlayarak kutlayacağım. Bunun için sana tarih bile verebilirim. Ama bilmemen daha iyi. Merak kediyi öldürmüş derler. Seni öldürmeyecek ama delirmen için kâfi gelecek.. Herkesin bir kırılma noktası vardır. Bu da seninkisi olacak..”

✱ ✱ ✱

Face!..”, diye saygısızlığın ancak kıyısında denebilecek bir tonla hırıldar mel’un Gullem, devasa, loş ve boş salona indiğinde. “Hangi rüzgar attı seni buraya? Gelebilmen için harcamak zorunda kaldığımız büyü gücü ile yarım düzine iblis müfrezesi çekebilirdik cehennemden.”

Kardax’Trakxa “The Face”, ölümcül bir sükûnetle yaşlı adamın salona girişini seyreder. Aradan geçen onca yüz yıldan sonra yaşlı bunağın hala yanına bir güç asası, kendince kendisini koruyabileceğini sandığı bi düzine oyuncakları ve sihirli çubuğu ile gelmiş olmasına hem şaşırır, hem de bu durumu komik bulur.

Şaşırması, beceriksiz adamın her geldiğinde oyuncaklarıyla gelme noktasında gösterdiği azminden kaynaklanmaktadır. Ahmak bunak, aynı azmi Demon Wall surlarını yıkmak için değerlendirmiş olsa, ölümlülerin ‘Adalar Krallığı’ diye kibirle adlandırdıkları toprakların tamamı zapt edilmiş olurdu çoktan.

Komik bulmasının sebebi ise, bunağın kendisine karşı oyuncaklarının herhangi bir işe yarayacağını sanıyor olmasındandır.

 

“The Face”, içinden tiksintiyle ‘hıh’lar.

Bir ölümlüye yirmi altı bin yıl verseler dahi, kibrinden, ahmaklığından ve aptallığından hiçbir şey kaybetmemiş olmasını hayret verici bulur.

Ruhunu eline alıp sıktığında, yaşlı ahmağın surat ifadesini görmek pek keyifli olacaktır ve Kardax’Trakxa, bunağa neden kendisine “The Face” dendiğini o zaman hatırlatacaktır..

..iş işten tamamen geçtikten sonra —ki bu da an’ların en güzelidir, Trakxa için!

 

“Senden beklendiği gibi göndermen gereken raporlar gelmediği gibi, gelen düzensiz raporlar ise en iyi ihtimalle yarım yamalak, eksik, kusurlu, tutarsız ve yanlış yönlendirmelerle dolu.. Neredeyse bilinçli bir şekilde öyle hazırlanıyormuş gibi.”, der “The Face”.

“Rapor edilecek bir şey olduğu zaman, ve gerekli gördüğüm kadarını paylaşıyorum.”, diye kibirli bir kinle cevap verir mel’un adam.

“‘Gerekli gördüğüm kadarını..'”, diye düşünceli bir ifadeyle yaşlı bunağın cümlesini tekrarlar “The Face”. “Sanıyorum, Efendi Gullem cehennemle yaptığı antlaşmasını tamamen yanlış anlamış görünüyor.”

“Cehennemle yaptığım anlaşmamda sen yoktun, Trakxa. Yanlış hatırlamıyorsam o zaman sen daha basit bir iblis müfreze komutanıydın.”, diye hatırlatır Gullem küçümseyen bir ifadeyle.

“Eskiyi yad ederek kendine mutlu anılar oluşturma zamanın sona erdi bunak, zira işler artık değişti. Buraya gelme sebebim, sana bunu kati olarak hatırlatmak içindi, zira sen istediğimden biraz kıt çıktın ve bu döngüde geçen 7,600 yıl seni bu gerçeğe ayıltamamış belli ki. Önünde sadece iki seçenek var, ölümlü! Bunlardan birincisi; benden sana gelecek olan emirleri harfiyle yerine getirmen ve kati, özlü ve dakik bir imtina ile sonuçlarını rapor etmen, ikinci seçeneğin ise benim seni yok etmem.”, der “The Face” sakince.

“Buna cesaret edemezsin, Trakxa.. Tahtımı bana sen vermedin, Krolum’da Xora vermişti. Ve kendisiyle yaptığım antlaşmaya göre de ‘sonsuza’ kadardı..”, diye hırlar Gullem.

 

Kardax’Trakxa “The Face”, gerçek tiksintiyle bakar melanet Gullem’e, zira bu ahmak tam olarak tahmin ettiği kadar geçmişte takılıp kalmış bir sürüngenden ibarettir.

 

“Bu konuyu istersen Krolum’da Xora ile konuşalım. Kendisi acaba ne diyecek senin beceriksizliklerin hakkında.. Aaa.. sanırım Krolum’da Xora ölmüştü.. Ad Ara onu öldürdüğünde ben oradaydım, bunak. Bunları sana söylüyorum çünkü bu sana vereceğim son şans ve tek uyarı. Ve açıkçası Cehennemin, senin gibi bir fazlalığı beslemesi için herhangi bir sebep görmüyorum. Ama Xora benim eski kumandanımdı ve ondan ‘aptallığın’ ne olduğunu öğrenmiş olmamdan ötürü küçük de olsa bir boyun borcu hissetmiyor değilim.. Her ne kadar kendisini defalarca uyarmış olmama rağmen kendi aptallığının kurbanı olmuş olsa da..”, der “The Face” aynı sakin ve ‘alttan alan’ gibi görünen yanıltıcı sesiyle.

 

Yaşlı, mel’un Gullem öylece Kardax’Trakxa’ya bakakalır.

 

“Siz ölümlülerin ‘hayat’ dediği şey gereçekten kendi ironileriyle dolu. Sana ölümsüzlük vaad eden acımasız Krolum’da Xora, kendi ölümünü bile ön göremedi. Onu ‘merhamet’ meleği olan Ad Ara öldürdü. Ve ben de Ad Ara’yı öldürdüm.. 1,600 yıl süren, adı konulmamış işkencelerden sonra. Önce onun kanatlarını kırdım. Teker teker. Sonra onları yoldum. Ve köklerinden kopardım. Bir daha kaçamayacağını anlaması için.. Ve kaçabilse bile bir daha asla Göklere geri dönemeyeceğine ayılsın diye.. Sonra onun parmaklarından başladım. Onları kırdım, kopardım ve iblislerime yedirdim.. Kolları.. Sonra kollarını omuzlarından yırtıp kopardım. Canı o kadar yandı ki, çığlıkları bütün şatomda bir sanat eseri gibi yankılandı.. O güzel saçlarını yolup hatıra olsun diye kendime bileklik bile ördüm. Göğüslerini, onun gözlerinin içine bakarak kestim. Pek sevdiği ölümlülere benzerliğini de bu şekilde gömmüş oldum. Ve bacakları.. Evet bacakları en keyifli yerleriydi. Onları yüzerken o kadar çok ağladı ki, yanlış hatırlamıyorsam gözleri yuvalarından akmıştı. Ve ben bunları ona çok uzun bir süre yaptım.

 

Tam.

Bin.

Altı yüz.

Yıl.

Boyunca..

 

Halbuki ondan hoşlanmıyor değildim bile.”

..diye anlatır “The Face” sessiz ve korkunç bir sükunetle.

 

Yaşlı Gullem dehşet içerisinde önünde duran Cehennem Komutanına bakar.

 

“Şunu çok iyi anlamanı istiyorum, Gullem.”, der Trakxa, bir eğitmenin, biraz kıt bulduğu bir öğrencisinde kullanabileceği bir üslupla. “Ben ondan sanıldığı kadar nefret etmiyordum. Ben Ad Ara’dan sanıldığından çok daha fazla nefret ediyordum. Ama hoşlanıyordum da. Çünkü o becerikliydi. Giriştiği bütün mücadeleleri başarıyla ve en önde idame ve idare ediyordu. Ve asla bir melek olduğu için kendisini ‘garantideymiş’ gibi düşünmüyordu..

 

Kardax’Trakxa “The Face”, ilk defa yaşlı ahmağa bakar gerçekten bakar.

Ve o bakıştaki tiksinti ve nefret o kadar yoğun ve derindir ki, bir ölümlüde asla görülemeyecek derecededir.

 

“Ve sen, Gullem.. Sen onun yanında tam anlamıyla bir ‘hiçbir şey’sin ve ona duyduğum saygıyı da sana karşı hissetmiyorum..”, diye sessizce tıslar.

“Ba.. bana bir şey olursa bu şato çöker ve yerle bir olur.. Ve Sonsuz İblis vadisindeki bütün iblis ve yürüyen ölü saldırıları durur. Bu dünyadaki tüm girişimleriniz de sekteye uğrar..”, diye kekeleyerek ve sırılsıklam terlemiş bir şekilde cevap verir Gullem.

Kardax’Trakxa “The Face”, ona acınası bir şekilde bakar.

“Ne kadar aptal olduğuna karar vermeye çalışıyorum, ama her ağzını açtığında bana yep yeni bir tavan seviyesi gösteriyorsun, yaşlı, ahmak, çürümüş bunak! Bütün bu toprakları yerle bir etme pahasına seni gözden çıkardım zaten. Sana bunu anlatmak için geldim bugün. Ama görüyorum ki sen gerçekten aptal ve kıtmışsın ve bir türlü sana ‘nazikçe’ anlatmaya çalıştıklarımı anlamamakta ısrar ediyorsun. Sen, Gullem, gözden düştün, ve gözden de çıkarıldın. Senin defterin son sayfasında ve ben sadece o sayfayı okusam mı, yoksa okumayıp ‘sobaya’ mı atsam diye düşünüyorum. Dediğim gibi. Bu sana olan tek ve son uyarım ve önündeki seçeneklerde belli.”. der..

 

..ve harekete geçer.

 

“The Face”, olağan üstü bir hızla ve hiçbir ön uyarı olmaksızın gelir ve melanet Gullem ne asasını, ne her bir yerine gizlediği büyülü eşyalarını, ne de belindeki sihirli sopasını değerlendirme fırsatı bulur.

Cehennem Komutanı onu gırtlağından tutmuş, içi saman çöpleriyle doldurulmuş bir bez bebeği kaldırır gibi havada ve gırtalağından tutar.

“Bu dünyadaki ‘bütün girişimelerimizi’, senin kadar beceriksiz bir aptala bırakacağımı düşünmeni de şahsıma yapılmış bir hakaret olarak görüyorum. Ben buraya çeki düzen vermeye geldim, bunak. Bunun için de sana ihticayım yok. Bunun için ya varlığınla yolumu açarsın, ya da sereceğim yolun altında kalırsın!”

 

Yaşlı Gullem, kan ter içerisinde kalmış ve morarmaya başlamış bir suratla bir elini beline götürür. Titreyen eliyle belindeki sihirli çubuğu çekip çıkartır ve kendisini gırtlağından yakalamış Cehennem Komutanına doğru yöneltir ve..

 

“ÖL..”

..diye tıslar..

..ve tetiği çeker!

 

Sihirli çubuktan uzun, ince, ve kötürüm bir hale, muazzam bir hızla “The Face”e isabet eder..

..ve İblis Komutanının göğsünde, kısa bir anlığına, girecek bir delik arayan kertenkele gibi oynaşır, sonra da kaybolur.

Kardax’Trakxa “The Face”, sırıtmaz, gülmez, yada küçümseyen herhangi bir şey söylemez. Dipsiz ifadesiyle, kendisine hayret.. ve korkuyla bakan mel’un adamı süzer.

 

“Vurduğundan emin misin, bunak? Bir daha denemek ister misin?”, der sakince.

Gullem bir daha dener, ancak bunun sonucu da ilkinden farklı olmaz.

“The Face”, diğer eliyle sakince uzanır ve yaşlı adamın elini, elinde tuttuğu sihirli çubuğu ve neredeyse kolunun tamamını kavrar..

..sonra da acımasız bir sükunetle sıkar!

 

Gullem en son ne zaman canının bu kadar yandığını hatırlamaz.. On bin? Yirmi bin? Yirmi altı bin yıl önce belki..

Bir önceki döngüde..

Kardax’Trakxa, yaşlı, lanet adamın çığlıklarını duymaz. Aynı sükunetle sıkmaya devam eder.

Aradan ne kadar süre geçtiği bilinmez ama kendi acı sümükleri, göz yaşları ve silik inlemeleri duyulan mel’un adamı “The Face”, akıl almaz gücüyle fırlatıp attığında, Gullem’in sol kolunda kullanılabilir, değerlendirilebilir, yada iyileştirilebilir hiçbir kas, tendon yada kemik kalmamıştır. Kol, dirsek altından itibaren çamura dönmüş, kanlı bir balçıktan ibarettir artık ve sihirli çubuktan da geriye, birkaç acınası kıymık dışında hiçbir şey kalmamıştır.

 

“Yarın yeni bir kapı aralayacaksın.”, der “The Face” sakin bir şekilde elindeki yaşlı adamdan geriye kalan kanlı pise bakarak. “Buraya üç komutanımı gönderiyor olacağım. Onlardan çay, kahve, kurabiye.. —hürmetten hiçbir şey esirgemeyeceksin. Burayı hizaya getirmek ve gerekli değişiklikler için öngörülen.. siz ölümlüler nasıl diyorsunuz? ‘Performans değerlendirmesinde’ bulunacaklar ve istenmeyen, eksik yada gereksiz görülen her şey ‘shred’ edilip ‘çöpe’ atılacak.. Umuyorum atılanlar arasında sen de olursun.”

Kardax’Trakxa “TheFace” bir omzunu silker ve yerde inleyen habis Gullem’e bakar.

“Ama bu da senin ‘elinde’..”, diye ekler soğuk bir şekilde gülümseyerek.

✱ ✱ ✱

Gözleri acıdan kanlanmış ve faltaşı gibi açılmış bir şekilde odasına döner habis Gullem ve sessiz bir kinle elinin olması gereken yerdeki kanlı ‘şeye’ bakar.

Yirmi altı bin yıldır var olan uzvu artık yoktur..

Zorlukla ve ayaklarını sürterek sandığının yanına kadar gelir, sonra olduğu yere çöker.

“İnlemeni.. uzaklardan duydum.. Gullem..”, der demir dikenli kafesin içindeki ses. “Efendilerin.. senden memdun değiller mi yoksa?”

“Değiller..”, diye acıyla itiraf eder yaşlı mel’un.

“Bunu.. bekliyor olman.. gerekirdi.. halbuki..”

Mel’un Gullem acıyla ‘hıh’lar ve kıvranarak sandığını açar, içini biraz karıştırır ve aradığı şişeyi bulur. Şişe, yuvarlak, koni şeklindedir ve bir buçuk – iki karış boyundadır ve muallak, çamurumsu yeşil bir sıvı içermektedir.

Lanetli adam şişenin tıpasını dişleriyle açar ve kafasına diker..

..ve sonuna kadar içer.

Uzun bir süre sonra elindeki acının ‘tahammül edilir’ bir hale geldiğini hisseder ancak elinde herhangi bir gelişme olmaz ve hala iğrenç bir balçığa benzemektedir.

“Belki bir birimize yardım edebiliriz..”, der neden sonra mel’un Gullem.

 

Demir dikenli kafesten boğuk, anlaşılması zor bir ses duyulur.

Kafesteki her kimse, ‘kıkırdamaktadır’..

 

“Sen.. Mel’un ve Hain Gullem.. Benden.. sana yardım.. etmemi mi.. istiyorsun?”

“Hayır.”, diye cevap verir sızlanır acıyla Gullem. “Kendine yardım etmeni istiyorum. Heavens Hand ve gerisindeki şehirler ve kaleler hakkındaki bilgin azımsanmayacak kadar çok. Bana istediğim bilgileri ver, beraber ikimiz de ‘Efendilerimizden’ kurtulmuş olalım..”

“Ben.. ‘Efendimden’ memnunum.. Sen.. olmasan da.. Benim.. sonum belli.. hain.. Bu.. değişmeyecek.. Kendi hayatımı kurtarmak için.. bu dünyada yaptığım en son şey.. bana güvenenlere ihanet etmek.. olmayacak..”, der fısıltılıyla demir dikenli kafesten gelen ses.

“Bu sadece kendini kurtarman için değil. Aileni kurtarmak için de bir fırsat.”, der mel’un adam.

“İnsanlığına.. ve insanlara.. ihanetinden sonra.. şimdi de adına ihanet ettiğin efendilerine mi.. ihanet edeceksin..?”, diye hayretle inler sesin sahibi. “İhanetlerinin.. bir sonu yok mu senin?”

Habis adamın kaşları çatılır. Büyük bir kinle demir dikenli kafese, ve içindeki yarı kömür olmuş ‘şeye’ bakar ve hırlar.

“Ben senin aklının alamayacağı kadar uzun bir zamandır bu dünyadayım. Ben kadim ejderlerin ateşinden kurtulmuş kadim bir zatım. Ben iki döngü arasındaki boşluktan kurtulabilmiş tek kişiyim. Ben—”, diye çığlar aynı kinle.

“—Sen.. sadece çok.. uzun bir süre iblislerle yatıp.. kalkmış bir hainsin, Gullem..”, diye inleyerek araya girer demir dikenli kafesin içinden gelen ses. “Kadim ejderlerden.. kurtulabilmiş tek kişi olman da.. sana hiçbir onur kazandırmamış.. Kendi kibrin ve müritlerin.. sana.. ölümsüz.. olduğun sanısı vermiş.. Ama bir gün.. bir anda.. elin gibi.. sen de kuruyacaksın.. Şunu.. anlamalısın.. habis.. Gullem.. Yaşadığın bütün.. bin yıllarına rağmen.. gerçekte.. hiçbir şeyin yok.. Varlığının tamamı.. iblislere.. ait.. Ve senden istediklerini.. hasat edecekleri gün.. geldi..”

 

Yaşlı, melanet Gullem’in suratı daha da çirkinleşir ve demir kafese, ve içindeki tutsağına kaynayarak bakar. Ancak medeni tutabildiği bir sesle ona hırlar.

 

“Bana oldukça sınırlı bazı tercihler verildi bugün.. Şimdi ben de sana benzer bazı tercihler de bulunacağım. Ya bana yardım eder ve buradan kurtulup tekrar halkına ve ailene dönersin, yada yok olursun.. Evet.. YOK OLURSUN! Seni Oblivion’a gönderirim ve oradan da pek kıymetli Göklerine hiçbir geçiş kapısı da yoktur!”


 

book 03 books bounty hunters dungeons and dragons endless watch groups karakter analizi modül role play serenity tarihçe the plot thickens tundra walkers Whispers; A Cabal

The Pit (18+) / Çukur

The Pit (18+) /  Çukur

Timeline:

The final war between Good and Evil draws near.

In the end, however, whoever has planned the furthest and deepest, shall win.

And evil plans are seldom simple.

 

In this cycle, the mind behind everything is cunning, far-sighted, and encompassing. If the mortals and their allies can not undo the knots binding them with these plans, they shall perish. And when they perish, so shall this world and it will become another feeding ground for the demons where mortals will be bred for the sole purpose of being food for a very horrific banquet!

They shall be born,
slaughtered,
and be fed upon,
in an endless, gruesome cycle.

 

This story takes place some twenty years ago,
and crosses path with another story;
A Bard’s Tale VII, “1598. yıl”

 

 

How is the gate going? Are our engineers making any progress?”, the uncanny voice asked.

The uncanny, beautiful and masculine voice..

The voice was followed only by a short pause that could barely hide the fear of retribution.

“I am afraid not, my Liege. Whatever that fool Arcanton did with his colossal miscalculations, our mortal engineers have yet been unable to find..”, replied a thick, sultry, comely woman’s voice. “..The numbers are extremely delicate and hard to read.. Not to mention, coded! The paranoid midget coded everything he did. Deciphering them all is both time and life-consuming..”

 

Another pause was heard, followed by a deep, deadly sign.

The illustrious, very woman-like demon flinched.

 

“We must get that demon gate up and running. At the current rate, we can only push so many minions through it at once, and all they provide is entertainment for the mortals..”, the beautiful, masculine voice said.

“Yes, my Liege.”, agreed the thick, feminine voice.

“But then, they are also keeping the said mortals pinned at the Demon Plains.. Otherwise, they would all coalesce at the Demon Wall and push The Damned Legion all the way through the Demons End, Fiend Pits, and on to the Citadel of Gullem —does the old fool still live, by the way?”

“Yes, my Liege, he still lives..”, signed the thick, luster, feminine voice.

“Bother..”, breathed the masculine one with unhidden contempt. “I was really hoping he’d croak. Rather irksome when mortals stay past their grave time, is it not?”

“Perhaps we can arrange a decent send-off for him, my Liege?”, the feminine voice asked hopefully and more than eagerly.

“Ow no, my dear Irine. When I want him offed, I certainly do not wish any decency in his demise. In fact, I have a special cage prepared just for his soul, down in my guest quarters. But until then, he is performing an excellent service by petrifying where he sits while terrifying the mortals and keeping them busy at Demon Wall..”

 

The masculine voice gave an unearthly chuckle.

 

“Demon Plains, Demon Wall, The Damned Legion, Demons End, Fiend Pits.. Mortals can be so unimaginative. You would think they would avoid naming their world with things that which they avoid!”

“They are fools, my Liege. That they name what they fear, with what they fear, makes us stronger..”, smiled the very feminine demon.

“Indeed, they are.. Irine.. Indeed, they are..”, the beautiful, masculine voice said lazily. “What of our ‘Seeds of Dissension’ project coming along?”

Irine, the illustrious, comely demon clapped her hands in delight.

“We are making excellent progress on that front, my Liege. This batch of ‘seeds’ has produced an exceptionally beautiful and promising progeny. She is filled with hate and spite and despite her young age, she loathes mortals and is incapable of comprehending mortal love.”, she gloated..

“Soon, she will be ready to be pulled out of her pit. She will then be put to conditioning. Then her real training will begin; on seduction, magic, and combat. We shall than unleash her upon her former tormentors. And once she has shed their blood, there will be no turning back for her.

“Her former tormentors..”, said the masculine voice. “It’s a pity they must die..”

“They are mortals, my Liege. Fools and easy to replace. They shall have fully performed their part only by dying at the hands of our ‘seeds'”, Irine sneered.

“Fools, yes… but devout fools. Wasting them seems like.. wasting them.. It appears mortals do not lack for fools, and neither do we..”, said the beautiful voice with little effort to veil the menace in it.

 

Irine froze.

 

“You have great expectations from this seed, then?”, asked the handsome voice, skimming over his unveiled threat.

“Yes.. yes, my Liege. She will become a great asset to your plans..”, agreed Irine, her voice unable to hide the tremor that clutched it.

“Hmm.. and perhaps my BRIDE.. If she performs as you have promised..”, smiled the masculine voice.

 

Irine froze again, but not of fear this time.

She froze and her face darkened with lust and black hatred..

 

“Come now, Irine.. I am well aware of your desires.. and your appetites.. But I am afraid you would make a poor bride..”

“My.. my Liege.. I would wish nothing less, and nothing more; to be at your side as your bride has been my only, deepest, darkest desire.. This too, I am sure you are aware..”, she said with such lusty longing, that her breasts heaved with hoarse, heavy expirations and tremors of unbidden delights zagged and throbbed through her whole body as her dark, penetrating eyes bore into her master.

“Yes. Your deepest, darkest desires have been long noted. But I am afraid you have too many ideas and ideals petrified in you. So much so that I would have to break you, for you can no longer be bent. It would be a shame to do that; to break you.. Then I would have to burn you down to the core to remold you to my liking.. Too much effort for too little gain.. Not to mention, the loss of one of my greatest and most illustrious concubines..”, the handsome voice smiled.

 

Irine slumped as her life long wish was crushed, quiet cruelly before her eyes as she awakened to the one, ‘unbending’ fact that forever she would be her masters ‘greatest and most illustrious’ whore..

 

“Do not despair, my lovely Irine..”, said the masculine voice. “For you are more than a mere concubine. You have nearly a great and cunning mind as your great and cunning curves!”

“Now, you shall take this ‘exceptional progeny’ you so seem to pride upon, under your wings, and personally see to her training. I want her educated in all mortal and non-mortal aspects.. I want her to know what drives us, and what drives mortals. I want her to see into us and into mortal hearts. When she speaks, her voice must be heard by our kind and followed by mortals with mindless lust. And because she will also be half-mortal, she will be unbanishable.. She will roam the mortal earth like a plague. Where she goes, death, destruction, and dissension shall follow..”

 

The beautiful, masculine voice paused.

And when he spoke again, there was power in his reverberating words..

“Make it so, Irine. For this is a task I shall trust no one but you. When she is ready, you shall bring her to me. Know this also, Irine, that her accomplishments and successes shall be yours to claim. This then, shall be your solace.. But so shall her failures..”, and this time, the beautiful, masculine voice did not bother veiling his threat.

 

Irine started shivering with true fear.

“And see if our greatest failure, Themalsar has been able to find Priceptine’s Light..”

“If we can get that weapon, Priceptine himself would be vulnerable. And as long as he lacks his precious sword, he is nothing! Nothing but a shame to his own kind; an angel who has let his soul blade go missing.. Do inform our dear Themalsar that his time is long overdue and if he is not successful in this, one endeavor, remind him I have his blood, his hair, and quite a few parts of his skin.. Remind him that I could do to him, what I let him do to that elf whore he was so riled about..

We have their Ad Ara here.. We must rid of Priceptine as well.. Speaking of which, I believe I have another 12 o’clock appointment with my dear ‘Dara.. I adore ruining an Archangel’s lunch hours, though I doubt she has any appetite left in her.”

 

Irine shuddered..

 

And with that, the great throne room shivered as one of the greatest minds of the demonic horde, Kardax’Trakxa “The Face”, gave a chuckle..

..not the maniacal evil boss cackle, just a chuckle.

 

“I believe that will be all for today, Irine.”, said “The Face”.

“Yes, my Liege..”, bowed Irine and departed, a smolder of a look on her face..

✱ ✱ ✱

The Face” sighed, rose from his massive, scarcely adorned thrown, and glided to the great table nearby. Unlike his predecessor, “The Face”, found little taste in flamboyance and grandeur. He had destroyed so many of his competitors and enemies alike by his ‘nondescript’ glamour. For him, everything he showed, was something they learned.. A ‘something’ they would certainly use against him.

The irony that he would be known as “The Face” was not lost.. or perhaps lost that he still, with mechanical precision and determination, had grinded down every enemy, every obstacle, and every challenge he’d faced..

He sat down and took the notes of the day into the black-bound, rather unostentatious book lying open on the great table.

The book was old, shredded at the sides, and very nearly as old as he’d been a mere demon squad leader. Into that book, he’d written down his ideas, his plans —long term or short, it didn’t matter, certain critical rituals, the details to his trademark spells, small, minute details he’d noticed about anyone or anything, and even little drawings morals called ‘doodles’. It was the one object, mortals or otherwise, would probably give their souls to get their hands on.

 

“The Face” smiled.

 

Too bad mortals gave their soul anyway, and for so much less..

Too bad mortals and quite a number of immortals would lose their souls if they even set eyes on the old book..

 

Before rising for his daily routine of going down into the dungeons to feed upon the agonies of a certain Archangel, he noted down a few more notes about what he would do, and accomplish, and the advantages of actually taking a half-mortal for a bride. For “The Face”, the mortality aspect of a potential bride was not really an issue but a matter of practical inconvenience. What mattered was the quality of devastation they could accomplish, rather than the number of years they would spend together.

Irine was many things and had more than her share of faults. But she was always accurate on her assessments and if this ‘seed’ was anything she’d hoped for, a pure and molded succubus half-blood would make an excellent bride, indeed..

 

“The Face” smiled once more as he caressed his book, the KARDAX CHRONICLES, rose from the table and departed to tear what little flesh was left on the Archangel, locked down in the dungeons..

✱ ✱ ✱

Kısılmış gözleri ve sıkılmış dişleri arasından, zorlukla zaptedebildiği duygularının oynaştığı solgun yüzü gerilir ve kısık bir sesle sorar Anglenna.

“Nereden biliyorsun bunları?”

Succubi melezi bir süre ona bakar ve sonra, ancak duyulur bir sesle cevap verir.

“KARDAX GÜNLÜKLERİ..”

 

(Excerpt from: “Eski Efendim, Sahibim ve Çok Daha Fazlası..”)


Irine the Erinyes Concubine; (pronounced as ‘Ai Rie Né’, a word that derives from ‘irin’, meaning ‘fester/pus’) a more powerful version of the succubi demons. She was also ‘Auntie’ Irine for Merisoul Xyrotwu, the same demon whom the Serenity Group encountered during their final fight against Themalsar. She was a vicious and cunning adversary who nearly slaughtered through the companions and broke Moria Alicia Jean Hooman’s arm by sheer strength.

She was finally slain with the combined power of the group and a half-ton Inshala Frostmane when she inadvertently dropped on her in her gigantic scorpion form!

 

The ‘elf whore’ referred to, is the Ranger Marshal Selendenien Sindarin of Bari Na-ammen, who caused the first Themalsar War to stretch over four years. She was slain by Themalsar himself when he used a little-known spell called Malocchio, a trademark death curse of Kardax’Trakxa “The Face”. She was the youngest sister of High Lady Angrellen and Ri Grandaleren.

 

Lyrics to the song; “Devil, Devil” by MILCK

Devil, devil
Clever Devil, Devil
How quickly they do sell their souls
For the feast and the promise of gold
But devil that won’t be me

Devil, Devil
Bones of metal, metal
You torture saints with a single glance
Make them think, they ever stood a chance

Do not try me Devil, Devil
Cannot buy me Devil, Devil
You won’t make a fool of me, oh no
What makes you so special, special
To think I would ever settle
For that devious dance between you and me, Devil, Devil

Rebel, rebel call me rebel, rebel
I walk the plank, not a tear in my eye
I won’t go down your blushing bride
Under the water, I’ll be sharpening my knife

Do not try me Devil, Devil
Cannot buy me Devil, Devil
You won’t make a fool of me, oh no
What makes you so special, special
To think I would ever settle
For that devious dance between you and me, Devil, Devil

You take the shape of
Everything that I’m drawn to
You take the shape of
Everything that I’m drawn to
But your eyes
Are dead and red
Red as rust

Do not try me Devil, Devil
Cannot buy me Devil, Devil
You won’t make a fool of me, oh no
What makes you so special, special
To think I would ever settle
For that devious dance between you and me, Devil, Devil