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Chapter 22, 1st Book of Serinity

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Chapter 22, 1st Book of Serinity

Postby SerinitysChild » Fri Dec 23, 2011 11:50 am

In the obsidian castle, chilly wind’s whisper secretes to one another as they play tag around black glass battlements. Far below, on time worn flagstones, slaves hustle about doing their master’s bidding. Snug in his casting room, where summoning circles and pentagrams’ stand idle, Sorcerer Darkling stands gloating, and a slippery smile playing across his full lips as he caresses his two trophies. Lying quietly on a block of granite the Sorcerer uses as an experiment table, a chunk of milky crystal twinkles in the torchlight. Next to the crystal is a withered bloody hand clutching a ragged scroll.

“At last,” Darkling prances a couple of dance steps, then quickly settles down to opening the vice like grips of ancient fingers, releasing the bloody bit of velum from the witch’s severed hand. “Patience,” he mutters, more to himself than to the cold appendage. Several minutes pass as he defuses potent spells of protection, and then, with a triumphant bellow of pure joy, Darkling clasps the bloody scroll in his own pudgy hands.

“A test,” he mutters to the empty room. “I must have a test subject to make sure my gold was well spent.” Quickly he casts summoning spells and tosses more incense into a copper brazier. Smoke fills the room followed by sulphurous fumes that bring tears to his eyes. When the smoke coalesces into the solid form of a summoned daemon Darkling grins evilly.

Blood red eyes glare from a horribly hacked face. Ancient scars flow across what was once a handsome face, marring the perfection of the daemon’s beauty. Thickening smoke shifts around the female daemon’s form, first hiding and then revealing the temptress curves of a Daemon Queen. Granash is Queen of the Screaming Hoard, daughter of the third leader of Hel, and favorite wife of the second leader of Hel. In her clenched hands, she holds a bloody heart freshly ripped from the chest of the first leader of Hel.

“You’ve picked a bad time to summon me, Sorcerer. Hel is rising in revolt, and I lead the insurgents.” Pausing to look over her tormentor, Granash notes his haughty demeanor, his filthy robe, and the scrap of paper he holds in his hand.
“Speak your need defiler, and then return me to my domain.” Granash can smell the sorcery in the scroll, and in her heart of hearts, she laughs at the Sorcerer Darkling. Never hurry a spell is her father’s favorite saying, and today, luck vindicates his saying.

“Hear and obey me, Granash of the Daemons. I hold in my hands the power to banish you eternally from your world into mine. I have summoned you to trap your soul in crystal, to serve me forever.” With a flourish, Darkling holds the scroll before his eyes and enchants.


“Trol arnath iscarath sobylsul. Ingrustus gronath extreipus!”

As the Sorcerer Darkling screams the final words of the incantation, he pulls a silver dagger from beneath his robes and plunges it into Granash’s chest. The vindictive smile that crosses his lips is short lived.

Granash watches the sorcerers face. Darkling’s triumph fades to consternation, then curiosity. She can almost read his mind as he reviews the words of the incantation, the placement of the dagger, and the expected results of the spell.

Pulling the dagger from her chest, Darkling repeats the spell, and again plunges the dagger into Granash’s chest, with the same lack of results. Staring at Granash, as if she should be dead, Darkling draws back his hand for a third strike.

Before he can perform the ceremony a third time, Granash steps across what should have been an impenetrable barrier and slaps his wrist, forcing him to drop the dagger. Her single step forward brings fear to Darkling’s eyes as he realizes that he’s forgotten to finish the summoning circle. Granash is loose in his castle. Delicately, with her left hand, the Daemon queen reaches out and pulls the scroll from Darkling’s limp fingers, then, with the brightest of smiles, she wraps her right hand around his throat. Time stretches as the Daemon Queen flexes whipcord muscles and squeezes until the Sorcerer no longer scrabbles at her hand. Just before he dies in her hand, Granash repeats the entrapment spell, casting Darkling’s soul into the crystal he’d intended to use on her.

“Foolish mortal,” Granash laughs at the wilted form of the sorcerer, and then wrinkles her nose at the odor rising from him. It’s obvious to her that he’s soiled himself. “Daemons feed on lesser souls, but have no souls of our own.” Her comment to the dead Sorcerer brings a cruel smile to her scar twisted lips.

Kicking the lifeless body away from her, Granash steps to the table and grabs up the bit of crystal. “See what happens when you play with forces you can’t comprehend?” Tossing the bit of crystal into the air, the Daemon queen catches it in her right hand as it falls toward the floor. “This crystal looks suspiciously like the great crystals my father created for the Afridale.” As her laughter echoes throughout the castle, Granash ponders returning this bit of magic to its rightful owner. Then, her eyes glowing hot as a forge’s center, she decides to give the trinket to her granddaughter. “It’ll make a nice plaything for her.”

Hearing the timid shuffle of slaves’ feet on cold stone floors the Daemon Queen turns to the doorway seeing three slaves staring into the room. “Just what I need, more problems,” Opening her mouth to show moss-green teeth surrounding four fangs, she yells at the slaves. “Gather your brethren and flee this cursed place. You have until the light of day falls to darkness. Then, I will reduce this pile of glass to splinters.”

Laughter chases the three slaves down emptying corridors, laughter tinged with a cruelty unknown to mortals. Some slaves pause long enough to grab valuable objects from display cases, others load themselves up with food and drink while a very few raid the castle’s strong boxes taking as much gold as they can carry. As the sun sets, Granash stands alone in the castle’s courtyard watching the last of the freed slaves stumbling away from the ancient volcano, burdened with their ill-gotten gains.

Lifting her hands skyward, the Daemon queen summons beasts from Hel, setting them to tasks that will move the ancient volcano, and all it contains, from this world to Hel. “After all,” she chuckles, “no need to waste such fine work.”

After the castle and volcano are translated home, Granash casts a final spell on the area, cursing the ground the volcano rested in. “Never more will life grow here. Never more will magic touch this place.” Looking over her handiwork, Granash nods once and vanishes in a puff of sulphurous smoke.


*********


While fifteen thousand of the finest warriors to ever-trod leather follow their leader’s northeastward, Rainbow Wing lands with a small thump on the parade ground of the barracks of House Serinity. Unstrapping from the special saddle on his back, Serinity turns in her seat and unlaces Shadow from her high-sided seat. Then, after scrambling down from the neck of the Dragon, Serinity bows to the dragon, giving her thanks for his swift deliverance of them to their home.

“I’ll return tomorrow for our flight to the north, but for now, please enjoy the hospitality of my home.” Serinity turns to the gate between house and barracks, and watches as Orc children run laughing at the dragon. Reaching the object of their attention, the children pull rags from buckets of warm water and set to cleaning the dragon’s scales. Smiling at the frown on Rainbow Wing’s face, the mistress of House Serinity walks quickly through the gate, across manicured lawns and into her home.

Striding through the front door, and on into the library, Serinity finds Pearim staring out the high window set between the floors to ceiling bookshelves. Hearing the Lady of the House as she moves into the room the major-domo turns, and bows to her.

“Good marrow Mistress, shall I have the cook prepare a late breakfast for you?” Pearim, as conscious of propriety as ever, ignores the sweat soaked leather riding clothes Serinity is wearing. Reaching out to his right side, he pulls a bell cord and summons two of the housemaids to the library. “Have a bath drawn for Mistress,” he orders one maid. To the other he says, “Have cook make a late breakfast for our Lady, eggs, ham, buttered bread, preserves, and hot tea.” Looking at Serinity he adds, “Add fried potatoes to that.”

Watching the maids hurry to carry out their orders, Serinity smiles to herself. “If only we could handle other matters so easily.”

“Thank you Pearim. I’ll be in my room soaking. If Ashera arrives before I’m dressed, send her up.” Turning to the library door, Serinity pauses, then turns her head to the right adding, “Might as well send up a second breakfast. Ashera’s bound to be hungry after an all night flight. Oh, and will you send someone to tell the Orcs that Rainbow Wing and Darganath will both be very hungry from their long flights? I suspect it’ll take at least two big buffalo to fill them.”

Night falls over Milesport with a soft susurration of sea waves caressing the sandy shore under cloudless skies. Neither moon rides in the darkening sky, so the great sheet of stars twinkles with the joy of early fall. Sea gulls float atop lazy waves, tuck their beaks under their wings, close their eyes and dream of plump fish that hover just under the surface of the sea. On shore the inns, bars and brothels are doing a brisk business. Ships’ captains have docked the fishing fleet along old piers. In the baking district, ovens cool, and the smell of freshly baked bread hovers over the area as loving parents’ call to their children to come in for supper.

Within House Serinity, no such quiet holds sway. In the dining room, which has been cleared of all but a large table and several high-backed chairs, Serinity, Ashera, and three Orcs point to various maps, suggesting the proper route for the advancing mercenary troops Ashera has hired. They point to alternate paths for the caravan of foodstuffs needed by the hungry troops, and the best route for the remounts where late grasses will still be available. Hearing the town crier call the midnight hour, Serinity stands up, places her hands in the middle of her back and pushes.

“Ugh! I thought dragon riding was a pain in the back.” Taking one last look at the marked up maps, Serinity nods her head. “We’ve done all we can to feed and protect the mixed mercenary army.” Looking at the various people around the table, she smiles at their looks of hope for a future. “Pass on the orders as we’ve laid them out, and then get some sleep. Tomorrow is going to be a very busy day.”
More rampant silliness.
SerinitysChild
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