A pact by night

Posted in Uncategorized on November 19, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

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And because the drow recently obtained enlightenment at the figurative teat of Lloth, and because she was fresh from the darkness, her vivacity overwhelming, eyes as a dark as pitch, Isobel felt compelled to help her, this Mizlika.

“You earnestly give yourself to the pact,” Isobel, in wraith form, hovered above Mizlika, absorbing the drow’s ardent passions radiating from her soul.

“I do, vampire,” Mizlika said, teeth clenching for the decision. This would forever sever her tie from Lloth, from the drow, from family, but the power promised was too great to pass up.

“The herald that approaches,” Isobel warned, “will hear your plea, and if you are as darkly honest as you seem, he will hear your pact as Herald of Tharizdun, Great Old One from afar.”

“So shall it be,” Mizlika nodded, eyes yet locked to the earth. And because she had elven sensibilities, she heard the approach of that dark herald, could distinguish how trees moved for its bulk, felt the ether tremble as if its presence in the here and now bordered somehow on entropy.

“What is this offering?” Herald Nyarlzen asked, his voice a growl, a boom, a thing disembodied. Isobel looked with detachment at the shambling bulk of the thing. First, he was a sheath of whirling tentacles affixed to a goat’s abdomen, but then, as if unsatisfied with its appearance, the herald shifted form to an armored ghost, tall and imposing, eyes blazing green, set deep within a rusted helm. She smiled even as the thing’s tattered cape nosed its way to her ethereal form. It could not hurt her, but to bully was to be in such beings of timeless age.

“Drow blood,” Isobel said, extending a hand to Mizlika’s huddled shape. “I broker for your almost forgotten sovereign in the Far Realms.”

The thing’s cape whirled like a thing alive, writhing wormlike out to the trees, to the drow herself. “Power,” the herald boomed, “the lust for greatness. So palpable in one some young. I had forgotten the narrowminded elves. Steadfast to a fault.”

“Will you accept my plea? My life pact to you?” Mizlika dared.

Isobel felt the eternal moment pass over them all, fate balanced on the precipice of decision. Would the herald devour the drow? Would the herald accept the pact for his dread lord? Chaos was a hazardous preoccupation to those cursed to live out their lives in the flesh.

“I grant an initial boon,” the red-eyed knight, now shifting to the form of translucent mollusk with bat-like wings, said. “I will bare these promises to my sovereign in the Far Realm for weighing, yet beware. If he refuses, then the drow is mine to keep…forever.”

“These are the terms, girl,” Isobel said, drifting to the drow’s warm body still huddled in a kneeling posture. “Do you accept?”

“Yes, by Lloth, I do,” she squeaked.

“Good,” Herald Nyarlzen gloated. “It is my hopes he rejects you, for I have not had drow in such a very long time. Kiss me my hand and seal your pact.” The thing shifted to flesh and blood, becoming a human from toe to head. He extended a hand.

Mizlika looked upon the herald for the first time. She wasn’t opposed to humans, so tall and so pink, but the beauty of this one from his hairless pate to his nude waist was a far cry from the slouches she’d witnessed thus far in her young life.

Distant stars blossomed in the man’s eyes when she put her pursed lips to his hand, a hand that coaxed and stroked her lustrous black hair. “Well done,” he said, his attention averted to a distant dimension as if hearing a call she could not. “We will talk again.”

The being vanished in a blink, leaving Mizlika doubting the moment. Standing, she turned to speak to Isobel the vampire, but the being had vanished just as mysteriously as she came.

And because Mizlika had done the unspeakable, a surging power–wave-like–shot from her hands in verdant bolts. Trees sundered, bushes fizzled under the acidic power. Breathing in, Mizlika fell to the power of the Great Old One, an intoxicating dance that whirled to a maddening, distant beat.

——-

Author’s Note:  Herald Nyarlzen is an obvious Nyarltothep archetype I invented for the Greyhawk version of Cthulhu, Tharizdun of the Far Realm. Also, the drow picture credit goes to an artist from Deviantart, her name is inscribed on the image. Look her up, for she is marvelous!

Transcendence

Posted in Uncategorized on November 5, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

Dolwyn put another log on the fire back in town, stoking the embers until the log began to sizzle. He had a mind to retire to Ataraxia, buy a room right in town, hang up his cleric’s cloak, and take up being a fisherman. And why not? Sure beat the Khyber out of following the blasted elf monk around, throwing a heal here, a bless there just so the redhead could kill all the undead she felt like.

He glanced over at the monk, her thin body wrapped in only in a thin blanket to keep out the cold sea wind. She was definitely not your usual elf, he reminded himself. She could flash out those little shuriken with incredible speed from just about any position, her accuracy unquestionable. She loved her Silver Bow, and made a practice out of using it as her primary weapon. In a fight, the elf was unbeatable it seemed, shrugging off magic spells and deadly sword strokes with ease. Next to her, what was he? Just a tired old dwarf ready to spend the rest of his days listening to the ocean and hunting troll when he got the itch.

“You will not move,” the voice said, accompanying a frigid hand that grabbed him by the throat from behind. He nodded, forcing himself to relax, soften, go void—just like the monk taught him.

A second hand, fingers thin and cold, wrapped around his mouth, forbidding any evocations to the gods he might wish to make. There would be no pleas for help, Isobel thought, no ruination of the ambush, and no mercy.

Isobel nodded her chin, a motion that placed her skeletal guard in motion, a rickety pile of bone  on bone, a dragging of an overly heavy blade. It knew her intentions. The sleeper. Its blade. Death. Its eyes glowed with green glee.

Dolwyn flinched when Kailifae moved because he had never grown used to her supernal agility and otherworldly speed. In less than a blink, Kailifae vacated her blanket, rolled into the shadows, and flipped five ice-enchanted shuriken into the bony body of her tormentor. It swayed as if deciding the next moved, bony hands swatting at the icy steel embedded in its ribs.

“No more or I kill the cleric,” Isobel said, her eyes two embers in the darkness.

“What do you want?” Kailifae asked, throwing her voice, intending it to come from behind Isobel, but the woman—the vampyre—didn’t buy it.

“No,” Isobel chuckled, “I am at your service. What is it that you want?”

Silence as the monk thought of a reasonable excuse for chasing the vampyre. She was quick, but not quick enough to lie to an undead creature like Isobel. “You lied to me,” Kailifae said at last. “Back in the graveyard, you lied to us.”

“Of course,” Isobel said, sliding a gleaming knife under the dwarf’s throat. She retrieved her right hand, the dwarf would say nothing with cold steel on his throat. And if he did make that mistake, well then, Khyber would have a new soul tonight.

“Alright then,” Kailifae said, stepping into the light of the dying embers. “I’ll come to you.”

“Close enough, monk,” Isobel hissed, her eyes dilating with wrath. “I see you. Now sit down right where you stand, and this whole excursion can turn into a warm little hello and how-do-you-do meet up.”

Kailifae collapsed like a drunkard, propping herself on her left elbow, just like “Lohan Considers the Stars,” a planking position she trained earlier in her life with her sifu. The thing was, this was a coiled position, a position providing her the advantage should emergency demand.

“That’s a good monk,” Isobel smiled, releasing the dwarf. “Tell your pet that if I blink, he will not live long enough to ask his gods for deliverance.”

“I understand,” Dolwyn said bravely, understanding exactly where the chips of fortune had stacked themselves.

“That’s a good dwarf,” Isobel said, retracting her hands, her arms, herself back into the green healing aura of her body. “Now, tell me. Why do you want to kill me? Because I awoke under the moon against my will? Because your gods say I have no right to stride amongst the living?” Her skeleton slave registered the anger, and with creaking joints, bone on bone, strode to her side, standing behind her, its green eyes staring at the horizon, as if it knew how to study the movement of the stars above.

“You are an abomination,” Kailifae said, “a thing that should not be. You walk amongst us only to feed upon us–”

“–and do you not do the same with your cattle? Your chickens? Your vegetables? How is it my demand for your life aura is condemned? What saint has decreed this?”

“Well,” Dolwyn started, too dumb to remain silent, “there’s the reading of the Silver Text, especially verse five that demands: “all will believe in the right to thrive rightly.”

“And do not I thrive…rightly?” Isobel challenged, her red eyes the only shapes visible in her state of perfect darkness.

“Well,” Dolwyn stumbled.

“The point is…you lied,” Kailifae pressed.

“And I suppose you have never lied? Or is it that I—a more intelligent life form—got the drop on those who supposed themselves above skeletons, ghouls, wraiths?”

Kailfae looked at the stars and laughed. The thing was right. Ever since leaving her sifu to pursue the perfection of the Jin Gong, she had become lost in her own philosophies, her own myths, and Dolwyn had been a large part of that too. What he saw in her was a godlike being, and that had been most intoxicating, had it not?

“I see you have no answer,” Isobel mocked, “so I press the question: What if I said I did not really exist. Not in the way you see it anyway.”

“Not exist?” Kailfae started, suddenly aware she had been goaded into a fall. In truth, the vampyre had a point, for even if you stared straight at her, Isobel was nothing but two embers in a whirling gyre of mist.

“Yesssssssss,” Isobel said, “I am only these fiery orbits and a smidgen of desire; ergo, why desire my extinction when I barely make an impression in this wide world?”

Dolwyn gawked, stumbling for an answer in this scripture, but he knew before he looked, the vampyre, this Nothingness had them. Why? Why deny hunger? Why deny need? If I went without wine and a chicken leg or two, would I not collapse soon enough?

“He understands,” Isobel chided, “even if you, the follower of the dark Jin Gong arts do not.”

“Enough of this philosophy,” Kailifae stood suddenly, a move so quick and supernal that even Isobel blinked at its polish. “Go. Follow your dark interests, but beware, come again across my path and neither I, nor the dwarf,shall blink your existence again. Now leave us to our sleep and we shall do the same, or else we both go into the void tonight.”

“So be it…monk.” Isobel chuckled, a sound that was more of a gloat than an act of humor. With a nod, she had her slave in tow, vanishing into the inky night.

After a few moments, Dolwyn moved. He was hungry. Famished even. He didn’t want to talk, but he did want to eat a goodly portion of cold chicken and toss back a quantity of good wine. He did not look at Kailifae, for there was a question in him, a question that only smelted out confusion, embarrassment, bewilderment.

Kailifae left her partner to his desires, walking out in the sea-brine and the inky cloak of night to confide in the stars. What path now? What direction? Where do I belong in this world? And of course, neither the stars, neither the lunar bodies, nor the sea could answer her.

But she did find respite in the sound of the ocean and its rhythmic beating against the shores of her life.

Ataraxia

Posted in Uncategorized on October 29, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

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Have you been to the pearled shores of Ataraxia?
Heard the sea eagle’s call, and the troll’s roar?
There the sands run ripe with scorpions,
And the night winds whip the ocean to a
White fury, until you wish you were anywhere,
Any other place but the white sands of Ataraxia.
(from the Diary of Isobel)

 (0)

The Orchard had been too obvious in the long run. The elf and her stumpy cleric partner had the gall to search for her there. Perhaps it was the body count she left in Phiarlan? An unwise elf here in the tavern, a human–just like her–in the alley. They all added up to the living, added up to a score they called getting even.

Routed, Isobel fled the soggy bottoms of the Orchard, trusting to the winds of night to guide her memories–those awful lost stones rattling around in her head–to somewhere no living soul visited.

And that’s when it hit her: Ataraxia’s Haven.

Who would go there? Nothing but troll-kin, scorpions, and those dark runty dwarves who thought they ran the place. She could sink herself into those sandy warrens, exterminate a dark dwarf or two, and there she would have it, an empire by the sea.

She arrived by ship in time for the solstice rains. Dark skies, rumbling clouds, jagged bolts of lightning. Even the trolls were submissive in this weather, but she lived for it. It made her undead blood move in such a way as to come close to the pulse of a living soul.

They met her with rude tempers, those trolls. First they sent their devil dogs, but it didn’t take much to dispatch them. A wall of flame or two, and the last canine corpse cooked as well as any picnic steer on any random ranch.

Coming from the rugged hills, the sea trolls roared in their anger, brandishing their claws, daring the lightning to strike them blind. But Isobel didn’t run. She called on the power of darkness to call forth a skeleton minion, sending it forward, her left hand burning with the power of necromancy’s flame.

The skeleton was braced well, its frame cast in magic armor, wielding a large blunt sword that acted more like a brain-busting mace than cleaver. It did its work well as a distraction, until her necromantic flames could render the trolls to dust.

Night seemed eternal in Ataraxia.

Resting on a broken island off shore, listening to the rain pelt the ocean like a bard drumming a tightly skinned drum, she felt the intruders before she saw them.

Cloak blowing in the wild ocean wind, the moon showed her where the hunters had stopped for the night. High up on a jagged cliff wall, one slender shadow stood scanning the oceans next to an short shadow.

It was them.

The two she first back in the graveyard when the Mabar moon pulled her from the limed earth of the Necropolis.

It was then that Isobel knew for certain: She would have have to kill both the elf and the clumsy dwarf before she rested in the earth every again.

And Isobel could kill so well, just her and her skeleton friend.

Author’s Note———
This time around the image artist is known: Jenya – Dark Brotherhood Necromancer by Pijuan. 

Orchard

Posted in Uncategorized on October 28, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

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(0)

Isobel gave up finding a hovel with a root cellar after a week of sneaking into the sewers at daybreak, rising at night to search. She would starve to death this way. One cannot serve two masters, or so the saying goes.

With the rise of the hunger, memories came back to her.

The Orchard! Of course. What ever had she been thinking? There were ready made crypts in those ruined hills just waiting for a thing like her. Sure, it meant she would have to uproot the undead already housing itself in a crypt, but that never stopped her before, to the best of her recollection.

When the hunger became insatiable, Isobel cloaked herself in shadows, and slipped off in the direction of House Philarin with great determination.

She would feed somewhere, anywhere, along the way.

redheadedelf

(+)

“I have a feeling we let a something…maybe a vampyre slink out harm’s way,” Kailifae said. She was aiming for the ear of Dolwyn, but the cleric was still clonking a practice dummy on the head with his dwarven mace.

“Huh?” he said, suddenly aware he missed something important.

“That woman in the graveyard,” Kailifae said, picking up her bow swiftly, knocking an arrow, letting it fly at the practice dummy. “Vampyre.”

The arrow shivered into the bullseye mark.

“Oh, yeah. See, I told you something was funny,” Dolwyn said, running his stubby fingers through his sweaty, close-cropped hair. “I think she was one of the bad folk.”

“I don’t like being lied to,” Kailifae said, knocking a second arrow, this time pulling the bowstring back slowly, gracefully, closing her eyes, seeing the target without sight.

The arrow thawked deep into the dummy, sand spilling out like quicksilver.

“Why’d you go and do that?” Dolwyn asked, rolling his eyes. “I hate it. I hate it when you get mad and destroy a perfectly good practice dummy.”

“I’m not mad, Kailifae said cooly, “I’m focused.”

“I remember what happened the last time you got focused,” Dolwyn said worriedly, remembering the thundering sound of fire giants chasing them in Gianthold. If it weren’t for his divine graces and…he hated to admit it…the monk’s bow, doom would have befallen them for sure.

“We’re going back to Mabar. We have a little hunting to do.” Kailifae said.

“A hunt? A hunt for a vampyre? It’s about time we do something like that. I can’t wait to tell my brethren back at the Silver—”

“–if you want to come along,” Kailifae growled, “save the heroics for after the fight. This isn’t just any two-bit vampyre. This one….she’s savvy. Very savvy.”

Dolwyn nodded thoughtfully.

He hoped his mace could handle such a creature.


Author’s Note:
1. Vampyre: I use this term because it fells right. It feels archaic. It feels old. So I used it.

2. Malabar: Yes, I indeed misspelled the Mabar festival. Nobody noticed, so I’m admitting my fault. Malabar sounds delicious, but it’s Ma-bar. Mabar.

3. Isobel: This character goes all the way back to my Ultima Online days. I brought her to DDO, resurrected her, rebuilt her—a few times. Now she’s back as a necro-monk. She’s loving it!

4. (0) and (+): the 0 denotes the undead section, and the + denotes the portion devoted to the living.

5. The model and the artist in the pics: I have no idea. I wish I did, for I would ask permission to use such fabulous art. If you know them, give me a nudge.

Mabar Rising

Posted in Uncategorized on October 23, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

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(-)

There were memories of power, prestige, dominance, but the dirt in Isobel’s eyes made it hard to believe she was alive. Rising protectively over the graveyard, the moon pulled at Isobel’s body, pulled it up from the earth that had so long entombed her.

Dead? No, not dead. Narratives were coming back to her now. A rise to power, or at least the path to power. She once had summoned flames from her hands, a true paradox. How could the undead, whose flesh withered under the cleansing power of the flame, drop walls of fire on those who sought to eliminate her?

But life itself was paradox enough, why focus on the negative? What mattered was…she once possessed the power.

Her clothes were in the process of falling off of her emaciated frame, and then again, the worms of the earth hadn’t done the cloth any favors. Looking down, she found it odd to see the bones in her feet glaring back at her. There were rents and gashes in her pale flesh, and her left breast? A puncture so deep she could see the dark clot of what she once called a heart.

I was a sorcerer, she mumbled, recalling the perpetual black stains on her fingernails. That came from the flame spells. But the wounds? What of them? She paused, half-expecting to hear a rattling lung full of air to hiss from her lungs, but that wouldn’t be happening. She was undead, and it was that word that triggered her memories.

   (–0–)

Years ago, the ritual of undeath conducted by the lich, Halizar, hadn’t been all that ornate. She brought him the proper reagents for the event, and he brought the proper scroll, the scroll of Eternal Night. Being in the lich’s lair, to Isobel’s surprise,  had been a comforting experience. Deep underground in a lost burial chamber, deep underground where old party members she had back-stabbed on her rise to power couldn’t find her.

During the day when the lich regenerated his vital force, Isobel had made good use of his scroll library, taking notes about old cantrips, reading over lost tomes on the quaint subject of skeleton crafting. That’s where the real power hid…the darks arts. Master necromancy, and you could eventually discover a power beyond the limits of mankind.

And at night, in the court of the lich, Isobel trucked with dread in the shape of wights, shadows, and the lich himself. They clawed gently over her, gloating about their “living pet,” teasing her with mouthfuls of ancient syllables taken from ancient spells. Just enough to pique her interest, just enough to tease her down the road to undeath.

And the night of the ritual, the night she gave away the great of life to undead master, the baptism in shadow: She had not been told what to expect.

She had been restrained on a cold altar, the red mask of the lich glowering down at her, his skeletal hands arranging the dark locks of her hair “for ultimate effect.” He went on that way, torturing her expectation for the sudden ecstasy of dark power. He chained her right hand to the altar, but the left remained free. Her feet were bound by the black webs of the deep spiders that populated the undervaults of the lich. The black fiber tingled at first, but the longer it clung to her, the sharper the pain, a pain that culminated into what Isobel would later describe as searing.

There was more to it all than that memory, but that was all she could recall in the graveyard. There was the vague intimation of her frail body being pulled up from the altar by the fingers of an unseen hand, and then a toppling back to the cold slab, all bodily functions ceasing. What occurred next in her unlife was only a series of moments, moments that fell and clattered to the floors of her psyche, clattered like a thousand lustrous pearls sliding off a necklace string, sliding off…never to be threaded again.

        (–)

Look closer,” a voice shouted from behind, “Malabar brings out the dead, but they are not going to stand up and wave at you. You have to really look for them in the shadows.

Isobel saw the owner of the voice emerge from a tangle of tall cane, boldly striding through the glade with only the glowing gauntlets on her fists to protect her from the Malabar haunts. She bore the temple tattoos of a monk, not to mention the build of lean muscle rippling under her wiry frame. A long lustrous fall of autumn-red hair swept over the monk’s pointed elven ears.

What manner of thing are you?” the red-headed monk asked.

I–,” Isobel began, “came to the graveyard to pay my respects to my husband’s tomb, but—”

She came alone?” a second mouth ask. The dwarven cleric had emerged from the cane just as Isobel spoke. He took a look at her tattered dirty gown, narrowing his eyes in disgust.

They,” Isobel began a mask of tears, a glamour that came easily to her surprise, “waylaid me and my servant. He was a halfling, and he fought bravely against them, but the pack of ghouls that assailed us eventually overpowered him, and that’s all I can remember before something bumped me on my head.” Isobel began rubbing the fictional sore spot.

Kailifae, the redheaded elf, exchanged glances with her portly cleric, Dolwyn. She looked back at the pale maiden who sat sobbing into her gown. If this was yet another of the Malabar undead, the maid would have attacked by now. “Where did you get those rags?” Kailifae asked sternly, stepping forward.

I woke up in a tomb, no stitch of clothes on me. So I borrowed these. They are beyond horrible, and I need a bath. Can you lead me out? I’m not sure if I can make it past the horrors they await me.”

Come now, miss,” Dolwyn trundled over to her, his heavy mace on his girdle knocking rhythmically on his armor, “here’s a true cleric of the living host who aims to save ye. Let us take her to the gates at least, give her a few silvers. It’s the least we can do, Mistress Elf.”

Kailifae glared at Dolwyn. She felt like releasing him from her service right about now, but she bit her tongue, looking at the frail maid. Perhaps the dwarf was right this time.

Very well,” Kailifae barked, “but then we come back here and look for the body of her servant. Did your servant have a family name? At least a guild to whom we might report the death to?”

He was a wag, one of the street rogues who lives hand by mouth. And provided nothing but the name, Shadow Hare.”

Nodding, Kailifae watched as Dolwyn pulled stalwartly at the maiden’s hand, rooting his feet into the earth, seeking the power to pull the tall female up. She was as beautiful a human female as Kailifae had every seen. A stately bearing, long black locks, a pale countenance that would give a lily a run for its money.

And what may we call you, lass?” Dolwyn asked, blushing behind his beard.

Isobel,” she said, “Isobel of clan Wolgoth.”

An hour later, Isobel watched her saviors trundle back into the graveyard, the cleric looking back longingly for a glimpse of her, but the tall elf cuffed him on his helm, and the night eventually cloaked them from her view.

She was back amongst the living again, and there was much to do. If she were to make good on her rise to power, she would need a hiding place during the day, a ramshackle shack she could eventually turn into a makeshift lair. True, a cellar would be a boon, but she could always dig one herself, or if she remembered how, summon dark servants who would do it for her.

VI: Debellatio

Posted in MMORPG Fiction (Fail) Attempts, Uncategorized on June 25, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

 

darkelffemale

And as Trrask’s spirit sank  with the loss of his henchmen, so did his cunning. The exact method he used to make me–the winner–into a villain, I cannot say for sure. Perhaps he had connections to the queen? Perhaps he had powerful friends in the drow household? Any guess is as good as my own.

All I know is the humiliation of the next day, and the next week. Stripped of my weapon, stripped of armor, stripped of hope, I was shackled and was afforded the chance to feel the sting of our drow lash.

“Maybe House Sulatar will know how to use you best,” the head warden of milady’s house said. “Maybe they will use you for pleasure, or perhaps sacrifice you in their lava pits? In any case, the gold for your flesh will only fatten our pockets.”

“Perhaps she is silent because her master did not bid her to speak,” said another jailer in the shadows behind me.

“In that case, let him appear,” the warden said.

“Yes, let him tumble forth,” said a third.

By the light of their torches, I saw a familiar face roll to a stop against the tunnel wall. I looked, but I refused tears. It was the severed head of my master, Balok.

“Perhaps,” the jailer said, “she realizes the Spider Queen has no place for a blasphemer.  Perhaps, she is silent out of fear?”

“Well, pretty one, is that true?” bellowed the warden, twisting my shoulder so that I stumbled in my leggings, stumbling hopelessly to their knees.

“Humbled by by low caste men is what she’s thinking,” the jailer laughed. “O how hard the mighty fall when dark fate bucks them from their roost.”

The jailer stooped low to look into my hate-filled eyes, so I spat at him. He was still for a moment, like the moments of congenial silence that follow the accidental breaking of a favored vase. But then the jailer found his ire, he matched his hate to mine in this shape of his fist, and made me succumb to the bleak shadows of unconsciousness.

–*–

When next I woke, I woke to the smell of sulfur and molten rock. I was on the floor of a small cell, a cell whose only bed was a lump of matted hay. The door was locked by three iron locks, each beyond my petty picking skills.

The only window was above the reach of my eyes, and it was barred with iron. With a jump, I latched onto the bars, and since I am drow, and since I am nearly light as a feather, I was able to pull myself up for a brief glimpse of my surroundings.

I saw the burning lakes of fire promised by the jailer and the warden. I saw burning entities drift aimlessly across seas of flames, waiting for a foolish adventurer to bumble into their lair. I saw the surface world wrapped in the shadows of a pregnant moon, and heard the muttering of ships that sailed in the sky above in an ocean of clouds.

This was the surface world, worked and guarded by House Sulatar.

This would be the beginning of my  life as a slave.

Author’s Note

I wish to credit the art, but I could not find the name of the artist. 😦

 

VI

Posted in MMORPG Fiction (Fail) Attempts, Uncategorized on June 13, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

salavskali

VI: Salasso!

Kailifae had a distinct flashback to the crypt of Karsmore. The fecund scent of rot that permeated Karsmore’s crypt also occupied Salasso’s labyrinth, a labyrinth Kailifae would later realize was shaped like a bat if one was peering at it from the top down.

The entire maze was broken into separate chambers, and each were eventually opened by the manipulation of guarded levers haunted by any number of abominations set upon the destruction of both Artha and Kailifae.

“Go back,” Artha said, “this lever cancels the magic barrier of that last passage. All we need do is cleanse the room for the next clue to Salasso’s whereabouts.”

Kailifae nodded, mind centered in the jin gong, an immovable path of razor-sharp alacrity. She was both in her body and outside it, merging with her will, the labyrinth, and the ancient voices that murmured in the very walls of the dungeon. They were past liberators killed by Salasso’s minions, lost souls trapped within the crypt by magic wards and vampiric necromancy.

“This one,” Artha whispered, pointing at a blank opening that was only moments ago sealed off by a screen of blood-red energy.

“May it be the last one,” Kailifae said to herself, her body already creating the curving arc of a backward sweep, her left leg sweeping in a wide arc mimicking the tail of a dragon. She connected with the ankle of a wight, and felt his disgusting sack of a belly shiver with the force of her follow-up palm strikes.

“It’s this or nothing,” Artha said to her god, yanking backwards on a lever.

The hisses and hoots of more undead was her reward as yet another door opened to vomit forth the walking contagion of carrior feeders and a brace of charnal wights.

“Well done,” Kailifae laughed, her body once again forcing itself into the moment, at first mimicking the ferocity of a tiger, and then—with a flourish of effort–taking on the spirit of a leopard. Artha, well practiced at timing her divine magic, filled the void of Kailifae’s stuns with laser-like light, which shot from her hands in controlled bursts, the bolts disintegrating undead flesh upon contact.

***

“He is awake,” Artha said suddenly, rousing from their hasty rest at a shrine.

“You know this how?”

“It’s in the air. The stillness is broken with the aura of a greater evil. Salasso knows we are here.”

The left wing of the maze vanished in the shadows behind them even as a greater shadow swallowed them ahead.

Artha “knew” the way the way a wolf knows how to find its way to prey. Her face was lit in the aura of the divine light whirling restlessly in her right palm, a lantern of righteousness uncloaking shadows and lesser evils that wished to remain anonymous. “In there,” she said, her chin nodding to a greater darkness brooding just past a beautiful arch littered with grinning skulls.

“My lord, the illumination of the sacred text is complete. This chapter of the Great Work is ready to be bound with the others,” said Brother Salasso.

“You have served me well Brother, but I sense a disturbance within your crypt. Attend to it quickly so I may begin my ascension!” a wriggling shadow bid, raising a withered finger, pointing to Artha and Kailifae who stood only yards away.

“At once Master,” Salasso, the vampire, said.

“Do not speak to him,” Artha said directly to Kailifae, “no matter what wisdoms he shares, no matter what truths he mutters, it is twisted by lies.”

“Yes,” Salsso said, voice booming, “ignore me at thy peril.” Salasso’s hands whirled, a hypnotic trace of blanched whites against a perfect abysmal black. “You cannot harm me, I am invulnerable thanks to my lord and master, the Black Abbot.”

“The gods have revealed to me your weakness,” Artha shouted, a ray of pure white light blasting from her hand, “your great secret was revealed in a dream, for the chaste have power enough to put down even one creeping serpent. Kailifae! Take him now!”

Kailifae’s body slid into action, skipping backwards towards Salasso with a whirling salvo of strikes that increased their ferocity and power with every step. And later, upon meditation, she would not be able to remember the battle except for a series of frantic counter measures, a time of gaming with Salasso as Artha sought out the end of her own silent mission.

“You cannot harm me with your palms, monk! I am immortal, as immortal as the night. Better you box with the wind than me!” Salasso was no slouch in counters, nor was he a stranger to cruelty, but Kailifae’s training on the plum blossom stumps saved her, allowed her to wheel suddenly out of Salsso’s reach like a drunkard, only to rejoin with a series of blinding flurries that would have killed an orc. But Salasso’s invulnerable body took the blows easily as if the monk were nothing but a wispy gnat.

Artha also would not be able to speak of how she was lead to the object Salasso dreaded the most. The best she could say was that a hand guided her soul toward a coffin in a sea of coffins on the second floor of Salasso’s balcony of coffins. She had not been jesting. The gods did indeed favor the chaste with their own special brand of favor even when the powers of darkness used deception to deceive the ignorant and the weak.

“Found it!” Artha cried, opening a coffin to reveal a beating heart snugged away in the coffin’s red, satiny interior. “Isn’t this what you feared I would find, vampire? Your heart? A heart you sacrificed to evil long ago?”

Salasso, his hands around Kailifae’s neck, cocked his eyes suddenly at Artha, the iron will in his arms suddenly draining, allowing Kailifae to break the hold with a whirling strike to the vampire’s arms. The strike was a combination of drifting right suddenly, left leg curving behind her, allowing her right forearm the momentum to strike Salasso’s arm like a hammer ringing upon an anvil.

Light from Artha’s palm disintegrated Salasso’s beating heart as her fingers curled cruelly into piercing claws. She shut her eyes against the divine light, seeing only a ebony afterimage of the heart withering to ashes.

***

It would take the duo two days of deep sleep and meditation to wash the last of Salasso’s evil aura from them. It was as if the vampire’s soul had followed them from its crypt, willing them to collapse in exhaustion after their task.

“I think it is time we part,” Artha said quietly at breakfast two days later. She had been mulling over her bread and meat, picking at the sandwich thoughtfully as if it would suddenly reveal her destiny to her in a series of omens starring marbled fat and mottled cheese. “I have a feeling my order is going to need me.”

Kailifae nodded solemnly, discerning the meaning of the cleric’s words. “Salasso and his master’s evil go deeper than that crypt, don’t they?” she asked.

“I had a dream of the Black Abbot,” Artha confessed, “I believe the destruction of both Salasso and Kasmore has goaded him into action. I feel the call to return to the order, a call as loud as a church bell.”

“I understand,” Kailifae said, forcing a smile. “We were a powerful duo.”

“You will find others to fight beside,” Artha said, eyes suddenly boring into the table as if she could see the future play out before her. “You will become a powerful monk soon, even more powerful than you suspect. That is all I can see.”

“I wish you well, sister-in-arms,” Kailifae stood, embracing the cleric.

“Right back at you, monk.” Artha hugged her friend briefly before drifting away,  a tear clouding her eye. “Let not your faith weaken, nor your heart become greedy for power.”

“If it does,” Kailifae said, smirking, “I know the right priest to confess my errors to.”

Narrowing her eyes at Kailifae in mock menace, Artha left enough coin on the table to cover the breakfast, and with a nod, vanished from Kailifae’s life.

Thus ends the early saga of Kailifae’s life, the telling of levels 1-11.

———-Author’s Note———-

Thanks and credit goes out to http://ddowiki.com/page/Brother_Salasso for:

  1. The lines spoken between Salasso and the Black Abbot
  2. The Salasso image