The Omega Stain: The Fall of Xenak Frostclaw

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Xenak Frostclaw: A Dark Elf and his final undoing. None living would recall it; none dead will confess it. That seed of madness had rooted itself in a human universe and soured in the hearts of men. But every disease has it's first carrier. Every carrier his first victim. His name was Xenak Frostclaw, an unbidden son to the darkest parts of the living. Mage, demon, ancient and unruly child.

Submitted: July 13, 2012

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Submitted: July 13, 2012

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The Omega Stain:

The Fall of Xenak Frostclaw

a short story by

L.H. Nail

copyright2012

Xenak Frostclaw: A Dark Elf and his final undoing. None living would recall it; none dead will confess it. That seed of closure will root itself in a human universe and sour in the hearts of men. But every disease has it's first carrier. Every carrier his first victim. His name was Xenak Frostclaw, an unbidden son to the darkest parts of the living. Demon, ancient and unruly child.

Part 1: Fiddle Faddle

"Five thousand, one hundred and nineteen!" Xenak Frostclaw proclaimed shoving his long nose into his treasured jar.

He glared down the neck of it, spying out the more recent of his precious things. An occasional gem glinted back at him, but the jewel was no more a treasure to him than the rest of it. Human teeth, a finger bone, hundreds of different kinds of seeds from every corner of the earth. He had one wishing stone and a petrified witch's eye. A tiny, ornate key and a knot of tightly bound hair from the mane of a lion. Some of this and more of that; all small things; unnoticed and overlooked. Not at all unlike their collector, as a matter of fact. A lot had gone into his goodie jar since his creation, one gift for every passing year of Xenak's dark life.

It had been his seedling's shadow place, the womb from which the elf had come. There were three others in the beginning, but they were gone now; two by Xenak's own hand. The other one was only as insignificant as the fact that Xenak hadn't laid eyes on her in three thousand years. Now, the magic marked clay was his. The jar was a humble beginning, the passing offering by a sand witch and slave. Perhaps she had thought the dead would appreciate such lovely painted pottery. Or maybe it was a symbol of her mourning on their burial day, while only a spittoon when it sat the corner of her squat desert tent. Whatever it was when first it was fired, the earthen jar represented everything that the old elf loved, and all else that he hated. Xenak transported it where ever he would go, and the dark elf had been everywhere. He had been in the city when the walls of Jericho fell. Witnessed a giant die at the hands of a child. He had seen the rise and fall of empires, and encouraged some of the most ruthless destruction in human history. Now he was reduced to a life in waiting, hidden in the bottoms of an old manor in the english countryside. A far fall for the Frostclaw, but Xenak was getting ready to change all of that.

"Fiddle faddle!" the old elf grumbled, shoving himself away from the tomb walls.

It was to be a great day, this particular birthday, and Xenak dare not waste a moment of preparation. Most all his days, he had whispered in every powerful ear, some of his minions carrying his will half a world away. A dark elf's bidding was a powerful thing, after all, and Xenak knew better than any just how far his word may go.

Years past, he had made a home in the forgotten bottom of english parliament. Day and night the humans schemed until a too long ignored elf decided he would again have his part in human misdeeds. That was when he perfected his most delicate speeches, picking about the sleeping brains of the most powerful of modern day aristocrats. From the Frostclaw came the beginnings of so many ends. Great men brought low and hanged, the bond of marriage sold for a romp with the devil in the lowliest of brothels. The well intentioned became lounging drunkards and an occasional servant became Queen. It was fun for awhile, spinning out his brand of retribution, but only for so many hundreds of years. After that, the thrill was ever gone.

Don't misunderstand. Xenak had his moments; pinpricks in the flesh of history. Some were ever bleeding and others festering even now. Mao and Stalin, Hitler and Che. The Frostclaw made heroes of monsters. Rewrote history and left the ignorant in awe of them. He tinkered in Hiroshima after his whispers destroyed Pearl Harbor. And oh how he so loved that bomb. He took down planes, and burned down towns. The innocent were slaughtered and the guilty went free. Serial politicians and their sweet sugared lies. Even the occasional morning cartoon had been inspired by him. And after five thousand years and so many long, lonely days, Xenak was determined that humanity was simply too hopeful, too healthy and too lucky by far.

This time, he swore, they will know my name. Xenak Frostclaw, born of witches spit and the sands of the old world. Ruler of the idiot, the unscrupulous and the down right mean! It had a nice ring to it, but all titles were better worn with a crown.

Part 2: In the Hall of Humans

Xenak gathered his red velvet cloak about himself, patted his goodie jar lovingly and began the long winding climb to the halls above ground. Funny really, how humans made such a big deal over their dead, and yet none above ground remembered the family buried beneath this place. Their bones were but dust by now, but their faces were ever preserved in stone busts. They were Xenak's audience; a silent guard as the Frostclaw wove his greatest scheme.

Of course, he had been working on this one a while. Sixteen years and so many days. It was no trial searching the minds of the humans in the rooms above his tombs. Their thoughts festered and stunk. Sick, sick, sick, these particular humans were. Always finding ways to make Xenak's temper flare. But of every servant, and all extended relation it was the host family that held the dark elf's interest.

The man was some low rent royal, but he held enough sway to worm himself into being a gatekeeper for his country's large arms. Everyday he came and went with a briefcase cuffed to his arm. The box held a man crafted magic in it. The Frostclaw had seen it in his own twisted dreams. Lord Simms possessed the key to Armageddon and it was the only thing that made him interesting, as far as the dark elf was concerned. Otherwise, the man known as Lord Hasley Simms was completely boring, lacking even the least among Xenak's most desirable of traits. He would not cheat, was not much for lying, and he loathed leisure. Hasley worked continually, in fact, even growing his own food in a garden on the grounds. Every ripening the manor stunk of fresh vegetables and blood red tomatoes. It was a horrible misuse of time, and yet this flesh walker adored digging in the dirt.

Hasley's wife, Virginia, had the gall to praise the joys of motherhood every time Xenak peeked at her innards. She was as prim and proper as any and more annoying than most, and Xenak avoided her with a consuming disdain. But it was the daughter that had drawn the dark elf's eye.

Julia Simms began as all humans did, a pink, wrinkled lump of loud. That first night, the old elf intended to introduce himself, but her mother coddled the baby all hours, cooing in her ear. By the time Xenak had an audience with the child she was all of three and a terror in diapers. The dark elf was quite surprised by the lack of fear the girl showed for him. In fact she had never once appeared frightened in his presence, and even attempted to squeeze him to death a time or two. The Frostclaw had tried everything to deter her; flashing his fangs, and straightening the hairy points of his ears. He puffed out his furry chest and growled like a mad beast, but the child still saw the old elf as some kind of unconventional pet.

The final straw was a late night visit Xenak made on the child's fifth birthday. He had brought her a teacup of earthworms and acorns to dump on her rug. Not there to make friends, mind you, but if a child does not trust, a minion she is not. It was a fair offering, by elf standards, but Julia only shrugged with disinterest, feeling particularly tired and had the audacity to fall asleep. After that, the dark elf spent an extra hour each eve, feeding her the most horrible dreams he could muster. If Julia would not fear him, then she would be terrified of everything else. Of course, even the best laid plans had unintended consequences, and as Xenak slipped into the girls room this night, he made note of his handiwork.

Part 3: Just A Girl

Julia Sims was already awake and waiting, sitting upright in her four poster bed. The radio played softly in the same droning tones the girl seemed most drawn to in her teens. She was not particularly unattractive, for a human, but Xenak had no interest in such things. For him, Julia Simms had one worth, and that was the ability to operate the mechanism to launch those lovely bombs.

"You're late, rat man," the girl complained, shoving a book off her lap and sliding off the bed. She pulled on a blood red robe that hung on her bedroom door and then turned the ornate knob. "Well, what are you standing there for? Let's go," Julia demanded and slipped into the hallway.

Xenak waddled after her, cursing in languages so old none living could comprehend them. This had not been his plan. The girl was to have Lord Hasley's case in her room when he arrived. How she got it was of no interest to the Frostclaw. But here they were, in the manor's dark halls at all hours of the night. Julia was already several rooms down, impatiently calling him onward with an upturned, frantic hand. He was loathsome of her impatience, but it was his doing, after all. So it was, Xenak endured her lack of respect with a grain of promise; certain that he would kill her as soon as this was done.

She had already slid into her father's study, leaving a crack in the door. The dark elf pressed in behind her, his ears brushing the lion's head brass handle and then he gently pushed the heavy door shut. What he found on the other side, was most like to be the death of him.

Part 4: Long Lost Elf

A light came on at his back, the electrical buzz of the age tweaking his inner ear. Even the hair on his misshapen head stood up. That should have been one of many warnings that Xenak Frostclaw had met his end. For when he spun to take his prize, expecting his willing minion to proudly hand him Lord Simms precious magic box, he turned instead to face Lord Hasley Simms standing at ease beside his traitor daughter. And there, on Hasley's large wooden desk, stood a squat replica of the elf.

"Xenak the Frostclaw," the she-elf growled, and Xenak was immediately smothered with a binding of air.

"Feraline Moonbane," he spit, "seed sister and traitor!"

The she-elf hopped from the desk, her ears twitching happily as she walked a slow circle around her equally squat brother. The smell of her made his head hurt. Fresh dirt and moldy green. Sunshine and spring air. He wished to scratch his inordinately large and sensitive nose, but could not lift his arms.

"What do want Feraline?" the dark elf demanded. "Whatever it is, you shall have it, and more. Now, let me go!"

Xenak pressed his power against her bonds, fascinated and flustered by how utterly ineffective it was. Feraline had always been the stronger of them, after all. It was the only reason she still lived. Xenak should know. He had battled her many a time over the ages, and had to use his superior wits to escape her ever superior magic, every time.

"Same old Xenak," Feraline soothed and then turned to Lord Simms and his idiot daughter. "So, Hasley, shall we end this farce. I wish to return to the garden. You've a new shoot coming up, you know."

"Of course, my sweet moon," Lord Hasley announced, and then scooped the engraved mallet into his hand. Hasley flipped the head about, the word 'omega' catching in the lowered lights and then was tossed end over end before the judge's hammer was handed to Xenak's sister elf and enemy. Feraline grinned a particularly wicked grin, tightening the binding just a hair more before she shook the mallet in Xenak's face.

"It took me long years to track you down, brother," she grinned maliciously. "You always were one for the aristocracy."

"Get it over with, Feraline," he demanded more bravely than he felt. "I have no stomach for any gloating other than my own!"

Apparently Feraline resigned herself to agree because she took that wooden judge's mallet and whomped Xenak on his distended skull. The first strike was but a tease, for it was the second and then third that put his world at a tilt and then he was knocked out cold. When he opened his eyes again, Xenak was in far worse condition than he had hoped, and immediately certain that dead would have been preferable. It wasn't the elf's green blood that had run down and stained his face that worried him. Nor was he too awfully concerned over the bruises or the broken bones that accompanied his more obvious injuries. No, what had him fearful beyond death was that he was buried from the neck down in that same black soil that Hasley Simms always planted in. To his left and right were tomatoes plants both newly harvested, their roots already winding about Xenak's submerged limbs. He would have cursed Feraline for all her worth, but could not choke a peep beyond the leafy vine that wound itself about his neck, up his distended nostrils and into the depths of the Frostclaw's throat. Worms nibbled at his flesh, and everything that crawls had determined to make a feast of Xenak Frostclaw.

Panic thickened in him until he thought he was certain to go mad. His eyes darted from window to window in the well lit manor house, seeking some curious comfort. When he finally spotted someone staring back, it was not his Julia, or her fawning mother. Xenak did not see any signs of Lord Hasley and his late day pipe. What he saw was a taut set of ears pulled upward at the window ledge, a shadow of his sister standing triumphantly in Hasley's study. She wiggled about, perhaps intending to perform a dance of triumph in light of his capture and slow death. However, when her clawed hands stilled, she bent from view. Then, when she stood upright again she hoisted Lord Simms sacred case, and the power required to start the next world war.

It had been such a beautiful plan when it had been Xenak's alone. But before the moon had risen full that night, alarms sounded across the continent. Governments in every corner of existence scrambled to bring Hasley's missiles to ground, but Feraline would manage to destroy nearly half of all known seats of power before she would exhaust her armory. She sat at that window, watching her handiwork leave fiery trails in the sky. Not long after, the Frostclaw had seen all he would see, as the crawling things had found his dimming eyes. His final thought, after five thousand and more years, was how much he missed that earthen jar with its insignificant treasures. Had he been smart, he thought, he would have found a way back in, and left the human world to its own devices. Had he been smart . . .

The End (or is it?)


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