Malacairn Part 1

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Heroes hot on the trail of an evil sorcerer

The steps were gray and covered in a slimy brown moss, it squished softening our every step. The way to the inner chamber was just up a few more flights. We were hot on the trail of malicairn, a sorcerer and necromancer. His sorcerous machinations had siphoned all the resources and life from the surrounding area. Leaving a barren utterly blasted landscape stinking and festering with a putrid plague like sickness. Crops rotted and livestock died, the people became mad with hunger and pestilence. To add to the suffering the hated enchanter raised multitudes of the slumbering dead. Inhabiting them with a noxious type of pulsating green energy and sending them shambling in great maggot and rat infested hordes to harray the people of the nearby surrounding villages and towns. King Ogrim in despair sent several hundred of his finest soldiers to deal with the threat but after several weeks of fierce fighting even they had became battered down to sparsely a force of one hundred. With more and more people being added to the ranks of the undead, the size of the horde grew to epic proportions. King Ogrim sent word to the rulers of the neighboring kingdoms and they in turn held an emergency assembly in which mutual consensus was reached that the situation warranted the immediate intervention of the white council. Word came to Selaris.the fair, and then he in turn immediately conscripted me to put a party of warriors together. The wizards of the white council decreed that we must storm Malicairn's castle and put an end to his atrocities once and for all. Do to the sheer scope of misery and death directly caused by his actions, Malicairn was deemed too much of a threat to let live. This meant that instead of capturing him in order to have him face justice at the court of wizards. We had strict orders to execute him on the spot and bring back proof of his death. This would be another blow in ultimately defeating Drogok, as Malicairn was one of his principal collaborators in the east.

Despite the violent tempest harassing us with seering winds, lightning, rain, and thunder and the occasional shambling skeleton warrior. Our way had not yet met with any dire hindrances. The castle was however heavily laden with booby traps, but luckily Keyek had scouted them out managing to disarm most of them. Mara had caught a poisoned dart to her left inner thigh which stymied her ascent. I tossed her my flask of healing elixir and after two throaty gulps of the spicy green liquid, she was back on her feet as if nothing had ever happened.

"Many thanks Jamison. I would have used the salve of Bethea, but your green concoction tastes much better!"

Even amidst the howling winds and torrents of beating rain I could plainly make out her bombastic throaty voice. It was a voice that was deeply rich and harshly rugged like the great wild wilderness of Astynsia -her southern homeland. Although for all its booming power not for one minute did it lack the refined feminine elegance of even the most dainty courtesan. She smiled at me, fixating those large dazzling grey eyes of hers on my humble person. Eyes that were large and mesmerizing but as severely serious as a preying hawk in mid flight. Her face was scarred and hardened from years of grimacing in uncomfortable situations, this was none the more evident than with the stark aspect of her pronounced jawline. Although still evidently beautiful in her own sardonic way, her demeanor seemed to give off a most deadly serious conjecture. Her wide and prominent right nostril and fully pursed bottom lip were both pierced through by a silver ring. Although she often liked to exclaim quite unabashedly over too much ale that these were not her only I was certain.

Flowing from underneath her horned helmet, a long curly mass of unkempt blue black hair, which danced wistfully in the howling wind. Make no mistake about this woman, for many have perished agonizingly at the edge of her sword after foolishly daring to test her mettle in combat. She was one of the most skilled sword fighters I had ever encountered. Blazingly fast, and as ferocious as a mountain lion but twice as comely. Tall as any man, even without her signature stilletoed leather boots. She boasts a lean rippling musculature, unlike anything I'd ever witnessed on a woman. Her abdominals alone were strong enough to withstand a direct blow from even Turgg's mighty fists. Yet despite the rather disambiguous masculine auspices of her countenance and chiseled physique, she was also still quite plainly a member of the female gender. Meaning, she boasted all the voluptuous baring more than capable of driving any sane man mad. A pair of huge bobbing bouncy breasts, thick meaty thighs, a wide ranging set of hips, and the kind of hard voluminous arse you could crack blog-nuts in between. This woman would regularly out eat, out wrestle, and out drink all of us....even Galdar the barbarian. Draped from head to toe in a ornate set of expensive heavy burnished crimson mail-plated armor. She draped a heavy long black wool cape over the entire ensemble in order to keep away the chilly wind. She clutched the rose golden bejeweled hilt of her beautifully crafted long sword in both her hands as she ascended a little ways after me. The hilt and pommel were designed to resemble a rising Phoenix with outstretched wings. With two stunning sparkling sapphires in the spot where its eyes would've been. She once told us she claimed it as a trophy after slaying its original owner a dastardly cave-troll in combat.

Content with my actions, Galdar nodded at me in approval. He and Mara would be married come the new harvest season. I was happy for my friend, the big sullen golden haired barbarian. Throughout the long years we've adventured together, I've never known him to fall in love with any woman. He was as voracious a sex addict as myself. However it seems he had finally met his match with Mara, she had managed to subdue his wild nature once and for all. Fittingly enough considering what he had been through in his time, the Gods saw fit to finally bless him with a bit of happiness.

Galdar was a barbarian hailing from the bleak frozen northern lands of Fyorn. There are times there when the days last little over a week and the cold so blastingly dreadful they can freeze a man solid in ten steps. Yet and still the great hoary Northern kingdoms have existed for millennia. The people who dwell there readily adapting to a hard life of endless battle, biting winds, and blistering cold. Fyorn is a small mountainous hamlet which sits just within the edges of Vagdalk, the second largest province within the kingdom of Angliheim. Angliheim makes up one of the three ancient Northern kingdoms. The other two being Wulfgrar, and Valaheim. Fyorn is made up of several villages, each belonging to an ancestral tribe made up of descendants of the first people to settle the region the stone-throwers. Some legends say that these first people were a race of giants who gradually mixed their blood with those of wandering human tribes. If this is true it would account for the sheer size and strength characteristic of most norsemen. Galdar's people-the tribe of the great bear, worshipped the old gods and their totem deity, the great grey bear spirit Hrothij. It was shortly after Galdars eighteenth birthday, when according to the customs of his people he was set out into the forest to fend for himslef for ten days. Galdar the youngest of seven brothers, barely survived this ordeal but when he returned, he found that his entire village including his family had been slaughtered and everything burnt to a crisp. Grief stricken, he set about burying the dead of his village, all the while swearing revenge on the culprits. Taking up his Uncle's great axe, he left to seek refuge in the nearby village belonging to the tribe of the black eagle. Here he was told that marauders from Vagdalk had attacked the village when they refused to offer up their daughters to prince Herol and his men. Herol was the bastard first son of high king Tyr. Although he was a bastard, the king had no more male heirs therefore the crown would surely pass to Herol when Tyr died. Herol had been dispatched with a contingent of soldiers to keep order in Vagdalk, as a result of infighting between local tribesmen. Herol was a vile scoundrel and a cur, he abused his authority and took advantage of his position by attempting to extort the people of the steppes at every turn. One of his favorite "tithes" were a monthly "tribute" of ten virgins from any village he so chose. When it came time for Galdar's village to comply, his uncle Bodric, the village chief refused vehemently. Instead threatening to deliver a formal account of the injustices wrought by Herol to the high-king Tyr. Herol fearing this would lead to disciplinary action by his father, which in turn would jeopardize his legitimacy as heir, due to many questioning his capability to lead once he had acquired the throne. Ordered the decimation of the village by his men, who he had disguised as marauding bandits. Once he learned of Herol's treachery, Galdar swore revenge and single-handely waged a guerrila like war against Herol and his forces. Cleaving up a bloody path of death and destruction all the way to the very doorstep of Herol's castle. It was during this time that Galdar gained the moniker "bear-slayer" by his local kinsmen. For at the start of his murderous campaign he first killed a great bear with his axe, skinned it, and then adorned himself with its fur in order to disguise himself. Some say that this bear was the spirit of Hrothij himself, and by donning its pelt Galdar was gifted with added strength and prowess. Such was Galdar's rage and tactile proficiency with an axe, that no man living could hope to withstand him in single combat. He came upon Herol cowering in a secret room behind his throne. Covered in the blood and grime of his own manservant, whom he had slayed with a dagger after the poor wretch refused to help him escape into the night. Galdar spat upon the would be king and removed the bear skin pelt fully revealing his face. Then he brought his axe down on the head of the vile miscreant, completely obliterating his skull to pieces. Galdar made a necklace from some of the bits of bone which he has worn forever after. Knowing full well the ramifications for killing a member of the royal family, Galdar fled into the wilderness never to return to his ancestral homeland. With a few ornaments from the sack of riches he plundered from Herol's castle, he bought passage on a trading ship bound for the port city of Krreth, and once there looked for work as a mercenary sell-sword. Shortly after this period, I encountered him wounded and bloody. Deep in the forgotten ruins of Piy-akuun. He had joined a party of adventurers bent on exploring the ruins in hopes of treasure. Instead, what they found was death. At the hands of the numerous creatures who stalk those forgotten musty thrice cursed depths. A nest of shadow stalkers had carried off the remaining two members of his six man party. Galdar fought bravely but was outnumbered by the swarming gigantic insectoids. I was surprised that he was even still alive, knowing how shadow stalkers feed on their prey. I gave him a swig of my healing drought and instantly he regained his vigor. We fumbled around in the darkness for his supplies, weapons, and the remains of the rest of his company. We found nothing but the scattered pulpy flesh of those who had been eaten alive. We gathered up what we could and delved deeper into the pit in order to rescue the remaining two. I found that this tall, grim, axe-weilding, pale skinned, muscular, golden haired, bearded man, in the heavy chainmail and grey bear pelt was almost as good a fighter as myself. Our styles actually complimented one another. When we came upon the nest of shadow stalkers to our dismay, we were too late to save his remaining two comrades. However our journey had been for nought, after facing down with what had seemed to be around ten or so of the monstrosities. A stash of beautiful large pearls were revealed to us and we quickly filled our sacks with as many as we could carry. It was then that the caverns shook and a terrible deafening screeching noise could be heard coming from further inside the ruins. Suddenly several towering impossibly large hissing shadow stalker queens came scrambling out from inside the darkness of a ruined temple. Situated within the center of the cavern. They hissed and spat their putrid purple venom at us, hell bent on avenging the members of their brood, whom me and the barbarian had just slain. There was no way in all the heavens could the two of us even hope to defeat such gargantuan creatures. As we ducked and dodged massive gobs of poison, I activated a displacement spell and we were instantly transported to the mouth of the cave. Ever since that perilous ordeal me and the swarthy barbarian have been the best of friends. Besides Turgg, there is no other man in all of Thanidor with whom I entrust with the safety of my life.

"Thread carefully! I sense a malicious presence nearby. Perhaps awaiting us at the top of the stairway!"

Virago Yeffrek shouted a little ways ahead of me. He was our resident rogue sorcerer and himself a changeling. A good man who was cursed with carrying a terrible burden. He was unwillingly tricked into a contract with a daemon. In such in exchange for mystical might he would forever have to inexplicably change into a horrid monstrous being. At first this happened only under a full moon and at the witching hour, but over long years and many mad attempts to lift the curse. Virago managed to gain some semblance of control over this transformation. To where he can now perform it at will. Although grotesque and hideous as his daemonic form might be, it comes with an enhanced preternatural ability to manipulate the fundamental forces of magick. Making him quite the spellcaster. Do to his lifeforce merging with daemonic energy, he could never even dare hope to gain membership with the white council. Not even as an auxiliary agent. Thus he must resolve himself to being an "apostate" a rogue magic user. He was a dark haired, pale skinned, sharp eyed, thin, unintrusive spectacle of a man. His somewhat sheepish nature was complimented by his thin facial hair shaved into a tiny goatee. His simple brown wool tunic had seen years of wear and like himself was both plain and worldly. A fitting match to his otherwise calm and calculating demeanor. Unlike most sorcerers he did not carry a staff, instead he preferred to work his conjurations using both his hands. He wore a dizzying array of magical talismans, rings, and bracelets. Across his shoulder slung a large old dilapidated red leather satchel full of tomes, scrolls and various spells he had prepared. He carried no weapons save for a brightly gleaming enchanted Dirk attached to the brown leather belt slung across his waist. A belt containing many compartments each full of potions and other magical paraphernalia.

"Bah! Finally something to cut my teeth on! I'm tired of scraping around with rats and skeletons!"

The stodgy gargantuan brown hairy frame of a half-orc warrior grumbled menacingly, immediately in front of me. His great sword dangling from a black leather strap barely covering his massive set of exposed wet back muscles. He was Turgg, my eternal pit brother and stalwart companion. I'd known him since a boy, fighting in the slave pits of Thrakia. He'd follow me to the very ends of Thanidor and back if I'd asked him. He wore very little heavy armor, save for his high crested helmet, a guilded burnished silver breastplate and matching pauldron over his right shoulder. A dangling studded leather his drooping black loincloth. He was of old orc blood, his human mother Gretchna came from Orestia, a tiny province overlooking the slopes of Kun-duz, the lands bordering the ancient orc territories to the west. During a raid on her village, his mother was raped by an obscure war chief of the tribe. Uncharacteristically for an orc, the savage let her keep her life even after he ravaged her body. Turgg was born and allowed to grow but his mother's love quickly turned to hatred as he matured and resembled more of his father's face. At the age of fourteen, she conspired with thrakian pirates and he was sold into slavery. Like his ancestral people, Turgg preferred to rely on the natural safety afforded to him by the massive girth of his body. Aside from his huge two handed greatsword he also carried a short dagger like weapon in his boot. His upper torso and legs were completely exposed, but the tough leathery dense brown layers of skin overset by thick bushy mounds of red hair. Served to keep the elements from being anything more than a minor annoyance.

"Aye indeed we shall see. Keep a mind that I am behind you, lest you decide to clear your bowels in the evening air!"

Our entire party burst into laughter at my prodigious warning. Even Turgg cracked a sarcastic smile as he looked back at me.

The winds erupted into another violent maelstrom. Lightning and thunder pierced the blackened night, as sharp rain beat down upon us from the heavens.

"Is this nature's simple design, or something more sinister? Gods..mayhap this vile conjurer has sent even the very skies to impede us?!"

Keyek garbled in despair. He hated storms and hated being wet.

"Not hardly little man. There are very few sorcerers left in this world with sufficient power enough to affect the elements in such a tumultuous manner. Even damned Drogok himself would have had difficulty conjuring something such as this! Although you and Virago's suspicions are correct, something is amiss this night...I can feel it."

Kindorra the half-elven former priestess from the temple of the moon, answered him sharply. Seeking adventure she left the secretive order based out of the great black forest. Mainly because they devote their entire lives to the worship of the lunar diety Minerva. Kindorra was a very knowledgeable and capable sorcerer in her own right, but her holy devotion granted her a slew of other abilities like limited clairvoyance. She was stunningly beautiful, tall and graceful with smooth dark chocolate skin and a mane of long silverish hair that sparkled under the moonlight. Within her delicate human features one could catch a glimpse of the rich elven blood that ran through her veins. She wore a fine set of shining silver armor kept hidden underneath a rich long flowing dark blue robe with golden elaborate designs embroidered into it. In her left hand she carried a long white staff eclipsed at the end by a dazzling indigo crescent moon shaped jewel. Dangling from her right side she wielded an ornately designed golden scabbard containing a curved sword which she called "estana".

"Look alive! Another assailant greets us!" Keyek screamed and stopped in his tracks, causing the entire party to falter momentarily on the wet moss covered steps of the old castle. At the top of the stairway they're emerged another skeleton warrior, draped in old tarnished bronze armor. Its teeth chattered horribly and within the hollows of its eyes they're burned a fierce greenish luminosity. The spiked horned helmet it wore only served to add to its macabre appearance. It clutched an old rotted oak wood bow and dangled a thorny spiked arrow to its notch. Without warning it fired its black projectile embedding itself square in Turgg's guilded breastplate. The half orc champion let out a terrible shriek.

"Pthah! I will grind its bones into dust, let me at em!"

Galdar yelled out a warning to the rest of the party.

"Have a care, those are poisoned arrows it fires from that bow!"

Turgg leapt past all of us and baralleing up the steps to meet his attacker with unbridled fury. With one mighty strike of his sword he cleaved the revenant's body in two. Splitting the old helmet right down the middle. He kicked the bisected old body off the tower down into the mists below. Then pulled the arrow free from his armor, snapping in two with his massive hands.

"Stupid Orc, you almost knocked me down off this damn stairway! I couldve killed the thing easily with my sword."

Turgg annoyed at Keyek's tone retorted angrily,

"Watch your damn mouth you little slag! I knew what I was doing."

Just then three more skeleton warriors appeared from the inner chamber overlooking the stairway. The rest of the party scaled the stairs to meet them but it was Turgg who was already there to engage them head on. He rushed forth screaming at the top of his lungs with his sword held high over his head.

The skeleton warriors clambered to meet him with their swords and shields and teeth chattering. A loud metallic clang could be heard as Turgg's blade hit the first one's shield. Sending it flying out of its hand and taking the entire skeletal arm with it.

As big as he was, he could maneuver with the superb grace of a dancer. His battle instincts were as sharp as a razor, the obvious result of years spent honing them in a gladiator pit. I didnt want him to have all the fun seeing that our enemies were few and far in between. So I ran up to one of them and bashed its skull with the rim of my shield, knocking its helmet right off. It turned and with green smoldering eyes hacked at me with a curved scimitar. I easily deflected the blow then knocked it back with another shield blow. Unhinged, I launched a massive kick straight into its chest sending it flying backwards into the dirty limestone wall of the inner chamber. Unfortunately for it one of its leather stirrups caught in the shank of a lit torch pyre. Immediately engulfing the dry brittle bone if its body in horrendous blue flames. It screamed in teeth chattering agony and ran madly at me. I side stepped the fiend, tripping it and it tumbled head first onto the staircase and then off into the abyss. Screaming as it burned all the way down like a burning blue comet. I couldn't help but laugh at the whole spectacle.

Skeleton warriors were so damned comical to me.

Suddenly something whizzed past my head but a black gloved hand reached out and caught the missile in mid air. It was a jagged black dagger aimed straight at my head by the third skeleton warrior. I wasn't wearing my helmet but Thankfully Mara was close enough to me to intercept it.

"Look alive there killer! You owe me a drink when this is all over!"

Before I could reply she had already plunged her sword deep into the lower jaw of the last warrior. Totally extinguishing the green inferno that gave it life. Its decrepit bones dropped to the floor as lifeless as they had been before reanimation.

Mara spat on the floor in abject disgust and exclaimed boldy,

"Pthah! We waste our time with such nonsensical foes. Is this the best Malicairn has to offer? A few dead stiffs? Good henchmen must be hard to come by these days!"

Virago eyed her nervously as if dreading her comments.

"Do not be so quick to assume my lady! The wizard is most cunning and deceitful I'm sure there are a few surprises in store for us once we enter past that doorway. Let's be on guard and not get too cocky ok?"

She smiled at his words of caution,

"Whatever you say witchman....whatever you say. Shouldn't you be changing into your little pet right about now? "

Virago's eyes opened wide with admonishment. However he did not want to further engage Mara in anymore verbal sparring.

"I'll transform...when it is most needed. Right now my present situation is suitable for the occasion."

As much as I enjoyed hearing their banter, I did cautiously heed Virago's words. Our way up until now had been too easy a path. It was almost as if the wizard was trying to lull us into complacency. Perhaps a trap or two awaited us on the other side of the great bolted wooden doors leading to his personal chambers. Lucky for us we had an expert in all things mechanical at the ready.

"Keyek! My friend what do you make of it? Do check it out for traps!"

Before I even finished my sentence the dwarven halfling was already busy inspecting the door and walls for any mechanisms or hindrances. He even got on his knees to blow on to the wet limestone floor. Searching for any trip wires.

"Dont see or hear anything special Jamison. Nope...the door is made of old sage birk..with a bit of green pine. The metal bolt is aged and rusty, an old iron thing. I can have it unlocked in two shakes of a shingol's tail, but ill need a significant force to break the bolt lodging the door.

"Say no more scamp!"

Turgg walked over to the broad muscular little man and stood at the ready. Side by side their size comparison was almost too comical to any onlooker. Keyek barely came close in height to even the Half-orcs knees. Mara flashed a jest filled smile at me and Galdar. All three of us were thinking the exact same thing at the same exact time. Finally she whispered to both of us jokingly.

"The adventuring odd couple those two are. One minute they're at each others throats with insults then the very next they're quick to lend one another a hand."

We couldn't help ourselves... the three of us burst out into laughter after hearing Mara's very fervent observation.

Submitted: July 03, 2020

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