I followed, from a safe distance of course, the warriors and wizards of the Parlinon Company while they stormed the mountainside fortress of the Dark Sorceress. First, we were met with orcs, foul smelling creatures bearing their rusty blades who streamed out from the great gaping holes in the rock walls. They were killed easily by sword, axe, fireball and lightning bolt, as I witnessed. I will note that in such a volume, some broke through the ranks of the nine and I was forced to defend myself with my iron shot staff and was even cut on the arm by the rusty blade of the foul creatures and my hair and homespun robes singed by the back blast of an errant spell. I still bear the scar.
Then came the goblins, vicious, even with their own kind, howling and sacrificing each other in a living wall of teeth and sharp bladed spears which tested my companions on their press through the dank halls towards our goal: the throne chamber of the Dark Sorceress, the consort of the demon lord Faxxus herself.
As I followed, solid footing became problematic, what with the blood, bones, flesh and severed guts of hundreds of the goblin horde strewn on the marble floor under foot. I wrapped a scarf over my mouth and nose, but that failed to reduce the stench. I made sure to cast into memory every slice of the warrior’s blades, the blast of the mages magic fires. This would be important, I knew, for the tome I would inscribe with their relentless heroism.
Halchon, Lord of Knowledge, but this was just the beginning, for the Dark Sorceress had many more minions to sacrifice though her dark manipulations. The trolls were next, and came upon us even before the goblins had been slaughtered utterly. Great ugly beasts they were, lumbering with their huge stone clubs, each missed blow smashing columns and smashing craters into the marble floors of the fortresses great halls. Nevertheless, true to their convictions the heroes I followed did not waver, even with the remains of the goblin horde grasping their legs, attempting to gnaw through mail and robes.
Their ichor flooded the hall, the green fluid pooling in the very craters the now shattered monstrous clubs had created. Giants spiders followed, then golems of solid granite, and finally even Wyrm from the deepest earth. The heroes defeat all.
We moved further, lastly the very throne room of our enemy.
There she sat, seated on her throne of bones and skulls, her skin bone white, her long hair, black as night, cascading down her shoulders. As beautiful a woman as could be imagined, the Dark Sorceress wore little, the jewels, dragon skin, and gold rainments more drew attention to her immodesty. Her body was truly that of Aretlia, Goddess of Lust and Covetousness. Even I caught my breath, despite the aura of evil she bore.
My companions were better than I, I must say, or so I thought. After all, I stood in the rear, and could not see the faces of my companions. Our leader, Straka the Brave called out to her crimes and promised her punishment would be death and damnation. She finally stirred in her throne, uncrossed her milky white legs.
“Do you think you can come here and offer such threats,” she stated, then stood, flexed her lithe and voluptuous body, and spread out her hands, each finger bearing a bejeweled ring.
I briefly noted all but one of her fingers were extended before a bright light blinded me, and a great thunder and a sizzling sound filled the throne room. When I recovered, I found I was alone. Alone, and against all expectation, still breathing.
My companions for all their magicks, strength, God’s given conviction and anointing were no more, their bodies crushed, turned to stone, burned, liquefied, frozen, shattered, vaporize, transformed into a swarm of flies, and, split from knave to chaps. I stared around me in horror…
Then, I glanced up at the sorceress, dread stopping my breath. She was descending the stone steps from her throne of bones towards me. I found myself paralyzed in terror. Nine rings, nine of the most powerful heroes in the world sent to the underworld in an instant. Her hips swayed as she walked, her dragon skin and jewel swathed breasts hypnotically bobbing as she drew closer. I clutched my tome.
“Tell me monk, what scribing do you hold so tightly?” she asked, effortlessly stepping across the spreading pool of blood that was all remaining of Lord Straka.
“Initiate,” I corrected, then bit my tongue.
“Initiate then,” she offered sweetly with an evil smile on her black lips. “Does that tome of your state the name of who commanded those other fools to attack my fortress?”
I shook my head. I had not been permitted to place that name down in ink.
She drew ever closer, to a point where she stood before me, and held up that single finger she had not stretched earlier, it’s green gem shining under my gaze.
“But you know who it is, don’t you?” she continued.
I could not help but nod, the fear of a horrific death filling my mind, and the horrible knowledge I would never, ever finish my work.
“You will tell me then,” she commanded, then looked up, licked her lips with a tongue also black as pitch. “But first, pour me a goblet of nectar from the flagon hence.”
She pointed a black nailed finger across the throne room to a table bearing a flagon and set of goblets. She turned her gaze back to me, some foul amusement lighting her crimson eyes.
“All this activity has left me with a certain thirst,” she explained raising her eyebrows. “And it would seem I suffer now from a lack of servants. You, I am afraid, will have to do.”