Archive for November, 2016

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!

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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.