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!