Archive for the MMORPG Fiction (Fail) Attempts Category

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

 

V

Posted in MMORPG Fiction (Fail) Attempts, Uncategorized on June 6, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

kaivsadran

Kailifae looked down upon the blanched face of Adran ir”Karsmore, a silver arrow knocked in her enchanted bow. The arrow was ready to deliver, but Kailifae hesitated, a bit confused, a bit saddened at the wretch before her.

“You have the wrong man,” the vampire repeated, syllables cut by his pointy incisors set oddly in front of his mouth, in front of his mouth like a serpent. “I am not , the man you seek.”

“But you are a vampire, are you not,” Kailifae asked.

“Kill him now,” Artha the cleric said at her side. The cleric’s nose wrinkled in disgust at the very thought of allowing this filth to “live” a second more.

“I am the keeper of this vault,” Karsmore repeated, “no one else in House Phiarlan cares about the dead as mush as myself. I am not a monster.”

“But are you a vampire,” Kailifae repeated sternly, bow lifting.

Instead of answering, Karsmore sneered and clenched his hands into bony fists. His form began to dissipate, shifting to shadow.

“Oh, no you don’t,” Artha said, summoning divine fire from above.

Kailifae let loose the arrow where Karsmore’s corporal form had last been, heard it “thunk” solidly, heard Karsmore howl in pain at the fire…at the silver that now raced through his undead body like poison.

“I curse you both,” Karsmore said, now a flaming mass. He did not run. He did not use his magic. Instead, he approached his final end with a single dramatic statement: “Salasso, my brother in blood, will finish you both.”

And that was the end of Karsmore the vampire.

Kalifae and Artha stood watching the vampire’s frame sink into the floor of the crypt, flakes of what he had been drifting into the air as if caught up by a draft or stealthy wind. And when the wind stopped, there was no evidence of Karsmore’s corpse except for a puddle of silver that had been Kalifae’s arrow.

“Leave it,” Artha said stoically, “that metal is cured by the flesh of the undead. It will contaminate you if you reclaim it now.”

Later, after reemerging from the church’s condemned halls, Kalifae stood staring at the night sky from the vantage of Phiarlan’s walks and arbors. Artha stopped, knowing what was on the monk’s mind.

“Where will we find Salasso?” Kailifae asked.

“Like I said before, our first move was the Necropolis, and had you followed my advice instead of your intuitive, monkish feelings, Salsso would be long dead by now perhaps.”

Kailifae gave the cleric a playful sneer. “I’m beginning to trust you, cleric. If you know where to find this Salasso in the Necropolis, please by all means, lead the way.”

Of Monks and Ninjas

Posted in MMORPG Fiction (Fail) Attempts, Uncategorized on May 19, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

kailifaeninja

Note: I’ve decided to synthesize my experiences with Choi Li Fut and Zen Buddhism into my blog thread about Li-Li and Kailifae. I know this might make purists blanch in horror, but there are times I wonder where the creators of the lore got their information about martial arts in the first place (for their lore is nothing if not synthesis). Enough of that, else I begin ranting on and on.

 

II

 

I could feel Li-Li watching me closely, her eyes hidden behind the wide brim of her douli. I couldn’t read the halfling’s expression; nevertheless, I let myself go into the jingong, drawing  the bowstring back as if I were reeling silk. I was blindfolded, but that didn’t stop me.

The arrow hit its mark, shattering the clay jug Li-Li had placed in the crook of a tree only moments before.

“That’s jingong alright,” Li-Li praised me. “But that’s not how I taught you.”

“What?” my elvish temper rising.

“I said it’s not the way I taught you,” Li-Li chuckled.

I pulled at my scarf, pulled it just far enough so that it still covered my face from the nose down. I felt like kicking yelling, but I knew that wouldn’t go over nearly as well as my anger told me it would.

“That’s shadow skill,” Li-Li said. “That’s ninja training. You’re not one of my monks any longer.”

“Sigung,” I began–

“–you think sitting pillow all day long is for you? You’ve moved on. I told you this path you tread was dark.” She met my gaze, her hat trailing comically on her back now. “My followers are monks. You are shadow-ninja. Understand?”

I nodded because I thought it would cover my confusion. Images from the Eight Heroes painting from Li-Li’s sitting room floated back to me. Each of them were monks. Each of them practiced, mastered, and taught our Meteor-Hand technique, but none of them ever took a life.They were saints, using deadly hand-to-hand techniques in order to gain enlightenment, never to kill.

“You are a killer,” Li-Li said. “I was once too, but no longer. All that is behind me now.”

“Then what am I to do, sigung? I will do as you say.”

“Each of us takes a part in this dance. You are the only disciple I have ever taught that walked the jingong, the dark path. You kill, yes, but what is it that you kill? Saints?”

“I kill creatures that would kill me first,” I said.

“There, see? You are an agent of the jingong path. You are a life-taker, a handmaiden to balance. Remember this icon,” she asked, tracing a circle in the air with her finger.

“The True Balance,” I said, “the Great Ultimate.”

“I abide in the lighter portion, a mere monk,” her finger pointed to the right of the imaginary circle, “and you, girl, you abide to the left. I seek liberation from this life and you create the balance so that monks like me can sit pillow without fear of an early death at the hands of bandits. Yes?”

Li-Li began the walk back to the ramshackle temple, leaving me in her wake, a bit broken, a bit dumbfounded.

“Thoughts lead to actions, and actions lead to destiny, ” I said to myself, suddenly proud of my progress. But what of the jingong? There was so much I did not know, so much I ached to know. But I suppose that’s the dance…just like Li-Li said. An intricate dance swallowed whole by light and dark, all bound together in the Great Ultimate with the jingong river flowing in between.

 

Drunken Longbow

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

kalifae

(A quick glossary exists at the end)

The next day…

Li-Li’s chamber was audaciously decorated by a fresco, a fresco featuring the historical teachers of the Meteor-Hand sect at play with strange golden dragons, regal white cranes, and bold tigers.

A cloud of ceremonial incense cloaked Li-Li’s wizened face, making it appear as if she was both permeable and impermeable.

Even this is a teaching, Kailifae said to herself as she meditated, meditated and waited for her sigung to open her spirited eyes and take notice of her. Even this moment changes, even I  change moment by moment, spilling into the–

“–the Jingong,” Li-Li said, eyes snapping open.

“Yes,” Kailifae said, bowing to her teacher, hands clasped, head bowing.

“Jingong doesn’t care who you are or what you want,” Li-Li laughed, “and like these ancestors on the wall behind me, it teaches you all the same.”

“It is as you say, sigung,” Kailifae said, eyes cast to the wooden floor.

“Look at me girl,” Li-Li said, her almond shaped eyes alive with the moment. “What is this attitude you bring to such a holy room?” Li-Li playfully pointed to the ancestors who played immortally with the cranes and tigers on the wall.

“Monks from other temples,” Kailifae confessed, “they doubt your wisdom.”

“They are dried dung on a stick used to measure the poo in an orc’s bedpan. Girl, surely by this stage of training, you know that some temples produce sleeping monks?”

“Yes, sigung,” Kailifae said, hands to her forehead again, bowing again to the wisdom radiating from Li-Li.

“You worry too much for starters,” Li-Li laughed gruffly, hinting at a season at sea as a pirate, “the fates have woven in different notes into this tapestry of life and it confuses you. For instance, the Red Hats train strength in order to make sweeping raids against strongholds only for profit. They rush to mayhem. They trust their muscles to bring them fame and wealth, but yet they sleep…spiritually.”

Kailifae nodded, drunk with the wisdom of her sigung. “They rush,” she said, “and often stumble in their mad pursuits.”

“Yes!” Li-Li nodded, clapping her hands, filling the room with a bang.

Kailifae’s eyes opened wide, startled.

“That is Jingong, girl,” Li-Li admonished, “or did you forget that I do not teach those who sleep?”

“Never, sigung!” Kailifae said, suddenly alive, suddenly aware.

“This is Jingong,” Li-Li nodded, thumbing backwards to the fresco, “you just became more aware than your sect’s ancestors. What do you think of that?”

“I think I like the longbow, sigung. I think I like this Jingong. I think I will slay the foe in spite of the sleeping monks who labor for profit. I think I will be the only one awake.”

“And do you have it? The book I gave you?”

“Yes,” Kailifae said, bringing the book to court.

“Ah, yes. The manual of bow-and-arrow exercise from The Order of Syncletica. Heretical teachings, girl. What were you thinking?”

“You left it in my cell, sigung,” Kailifae giggled.

“Ha! Already you understand,” Li-Li bowed, her hands to her forehead.

“Sigung!” said Kailifae, her cheeks red.

“Understand now?”

“Not exactly,” said Kailifae, her voice a tad daring.

“Jingong is dark exercise, girl. Understand now?”

“No,” Kailfae dared, her elfin ego blooming.

“Then go drink wine, girl. Drink deep from the cup, drink deep in some stinking tavern, and then suddenly, like a tiger, your mind will become a crane. Go!”

Kailife nodded suddenly, getting it, obtaining it–unceremoniously leaving even as she tumbled, tumbled over and over in her mind. To become intoxicated by the idea, by the delicious contrary itself! Was this enlightenment, finally?

——-Glossary———–
Jingong: Quite literally, a Buddha’s Warrior Attendant (or symbolically: a flexible mindset, a mindset both made of gold and inflexible metal).

 

 

 

My kingdom for an arrow!

Posted in MMORPG Fiction (Fail) Attempts, Uncategorized on May 8, 2016 by isabellawolgoth

elvenmonk

*following the narrative you will find a small glossary*

                                       I

Sweat swathed Kailifae’s brow, and exhaustion settled in. But she refused to stop, for to stop the drill would be tantamount to telling Sigung Li-Li that this elf couldn’t hack the training.

Li-Li, sigung of the Meteor-Hand Labyrinth style, glared impassively at Kailifae. The elf was thinking she would be cut from training, cut from the promise of more, cut from a stab at seniority. True, the style Li-Li sigung now presided over favored large shoulders and large fists, it could in theory benefit a slim, emaciated elf monk as well. It had worked for Li-Li, and Li-Li was a mere halfling, a mere tough-as-nails halfling.

“Stop,” Li-Li said, her voice shrill and sharp. “Drink water, then stand on the stumps.”

Kailifae nodded obediently, reserving the frown for herself. She knew what that meant: “the stumps.” Constitution training. Climb up the first pole of sixteen and balance there on one foot, ignoring the ground ten feet below. And while she was hoping to be ordered to stand in the old horse-of-iron posture (feet out to left and right, your bottom  sinking to the ground as if you were riding a horse), Kailifae knew it wouldn’t be that simple.

“White Crane” Li-Li said even as Kailifae turned her head for orders. Kailifae nodded, shifting easily to her left leg while tucking her right foot up and over her left knee in a sweeping posture; simultaneously, her right arm swept up straight, pointing to the sky while her left, straight and rigid, shot out palm first at shoulder level.

Kailifae shivered in the wind.

“Your brothers and sisters tell me you think you are worthless to our lineage,” Li-Li said, “and that you expect to be cut.”

“This is true,” Kailifae said, her brows arching in surprise.

“True, you are no half-orc, and while you move like lightning, your arms are not strong enough to harness all the power of your waist. A shame really, for if you had as much strength as speed, you could be a titan of our lineage…in hand-to-hand combat that is.”

“I am ashamed, sigung.” Kailifae’s voice was firm, but Li-Li knew different.

“And yet you outrun even Kragga, our strongest. What does this tell you?” Li-Li asked.

“That I can be a swift messenger monk?” The reply was dipped in enough sarcasm to make even Li-Li smile…slightly.

“That arrow has already passed me by,” was Li-Li’s formal response that meant Kailifae’s sarcasm was noted, but it had no power. “Stay there for one-hundred breaths, and then climb down. You are to report to your cell for early meditation apart from your brothers and sisters. Meditate there on this problem of yours until I knock.”

“It will be as you say, sigung,” Kailifae said, bolstering her faltering one-legged stance.

Because she felt like punishing herself for not being human or even half-orc, Kailifae stood in the White Crane posture for two hundred breath cycles until she felt like a pair of lungs shivering and sweating on top of the pole–it was the least she could do for her sigung.

And when she did allow herself to dismount, she fell, rounding off into a ball, rolling off the impact diligently like a novice acrobat.

 

Her cell was bare except for a blanket and a bucket of water just like any other monk of their lineage, and that’s what made the book’s presence very odd. She slumped onto her blanket, examining the book’s red cover, running her fingers across the fine parchment.

Instead of meditating like she was ordered, she fell into the strange book, examining the illustrations, admiring the cadence of the words, the strength of their wisdom. Never in her life had heard of such a tome, a tome simply entitled, The Order of Syncletica.


—————
Glossary 
1. Sigung: a classic Chinese title for the elder-father of a style’s lineage, not to be confused with Sijo, creator of the style.

2. Kailifae is a respelling of Cai Li Fo, which we moderns recognize as Choi Li Fut, a southern Chinese kung fu system.

3. The Order of Syncletica: A grand site devoted to monks, especially monks of an elvish flavor. I owe the site big time for bringing me back to DDO.

Author’s Note:
So where have I been for two years?
Working, studying, writing. Never satisfied, I have burned through a few drafts of my proposed novel. It’s in this journal, it’s in that journal over there on the shelf, and it’s up here in my head. Sure, I thought I’d be finished by now, but things change. 75 pages becomes a hundred, and a hundred becomes twenty again.

Will I ever finish this damned thing?
I sure hope so.
Sorry for the absence.

 

“Perchance to dream…”

Posted in MMORPG Fiction (Fail) Attempts, Uncategorized on August 3, 2014 by isabellawolgoth

nice-goth-with-purple-stockings

But sleeping like the dead, dear reader, entails many, many things. And not all of those things are splendid or joyful. 

Unbeknownst to my sleeping body, the voice I trusted, the voice I practically worshiped, pulled my soul from my sleeping body and hurled it into the gray seas of Oblivion. 

If one voice had been my world, then imagine a nameless plethora of them gibbering at once at you in total darkness, each vying for your attention and pity. If you can imagine that horror, that is the dark dimension that is Oblivion–a place designed eons ago for souls with nowhere to go. 

Oblivion was cold. I mostly scuttled away to a quiet corner in the Nowhere and hugged my knees to my chest. I had to time to burn, the voices advised me, might as well settle in until your pardon, or at the very least, you found a new body to inhabit. 

This mystery of finding a way out was rather promising, but even the saner voices–relatively speaking–were filled with dense metaphor and cryptic instructions on how to proceed. I have no idea how long I existed in that dark well of absolute nothingness, but my lady, my spirit guide finally decided to come back to me. 

“How do you like this plane of existence, girl? Does it suit you?” 

I cannot say how quick I was to speak, for such things are all relative, nor can I say how long it took my soul to recognize that singular voice again. But I did respond…I think.

“I do not understand why you damned me and put me here,” I was forward, confrontational even. How could the lady, how could the voice treat me in such a fashion after I served her so patiently?

“Damn? Is that what the others told you? No, girl. I have striven to find you a new body, the right plane of existence for you. And I have done this because you are my most faithful priestess. You cannot die and not be rewarded by your goddess.”

I was quiet out of respect, not because I was sullen. “I thank you goddess, for I have ever only served you, even when other gods tempted me.”

“And do you wish to serve me again,” her voice came back promptly, louder than it had been. 

“Yes,” I said simply. “I wish to make your name great, your divinity greater.”

“That is what I wanted to hear from my favored one. Oh, if I had flesh I would show you my gratitude for your unquestionable servitude. I would show you such pleasures as only the flesh can know–“

–“and you shall,” I cut in. It was not rudeness, but temptation, but piety that drove me to it. 

“Very well, girl. You will sleep for one night, but then you awake, in shall be in a new body, a body that shall be your reward for being my most perfect slave.”

“And I shall work always,” I swore, “to be your most obedient one.”

“You will awake in a place called Norrath,” she said to me, “and you will begin your work at building a temple that shall be dedicated to me and the worship of me. Do you agree, girl?”

“The deed is already done,” I said, glad to be rid of the frigid cold of Nowhere. 

“Sleep then. When you next wake, this will all have been but a dream.”

I did exactly as my mistress demanded of me, and I slept. I fell into a well of comfort and warmth so lovely that when next I woke, I was instantly sad of the waking experience. But then my oath came thundering back to me, and I discovered my warm, curvy flesh, the wash of blood-red hair on my head, and the new strength in my limbs. 

If my goddess desired a temple, then as time is my witness, she would have one.