A Darker Eye – Children of a false god
Fiction, not mockery? 😉
Ideas and Text © Andrè M. Pietroschek, all rights reserved
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The belit… Wizened wizard
For untrained observers and streetwise watchers alike it might have just seemed to be one more drunken, old man staggering home. Except that the nigh-narcissist, ornamented wizard-robes did broadcast a different truth, and nefarious opportunity, to looters, thieves, and robbers.
For Magister Magistorum Johann from Bannenfels it was the toughest walk he ever had to make. By all his medical knowledge he was walking straight into Boron’s realm, the Realm of the Dead. He was poisoned, back-stabbed, and bleeding. It did not need any scientific analysis to convince him that metal shrapnel still stuck in his own flesh, as he could feel the absence of astral energy. The flow of mentally refreshing, carefully studied magical energy which allowed him to cast spells, incantations, and rituals.
Balsam Salabunde, wound balm incantation, would otherwise heal him swiftly, followed by Clarum Purum neutralizing the poison or venom from his body. Poison was alchemically created, while venom was naturally extracted from snakes, spiders, and other oft involuntary spenders.
‘Now you lecture yourself in these damp, dirty alleys, ye old fool!’ scolded Johann himself.
The wizard stumbled forth, semi-conscious and harshly aware of his surroundings anymore. It did no longer matter, as even the highest and most eloquent could die like alley-skulking criminals do. Johann had never sacrificed his wisdom to academic hubris, and neither to arcane supremacy complexes. Or he hoped that such an estimation was true, as self-evaluation never escaped a certain influence by humanoid ego!
The old man collapsed without anything but the sound of his staff hitting the cobblestone being witnessed about it. Johann found himself distracted from the array of dead heroes, deceased ancestors, and all the students and the dutiful he had met in his active decades. Trained into an embodiment of discipline it was beyond him to outrage, but not beyond him to appreciate that one more lesson about why soldiers disliked being abandoned behind enemy lines. It did not feel, as if any educated and twelve-god serving man or woman would ever deserve such.
Oh, yes, distracted. Johann knew blood-loss burdened the mind, and no training that would not be undone by Death, Eternal Lord Boron. Still his mind resisted the urge to forget about it and drift into the final slumber, as merciful as that pain-suppressing exhaustion might seem. A seething hatred, and the long-known stench of… Witchcraft!
Well, kings and queens have their usurpers, criminals had their opportunists and betrayers, and wizards had their own agents of envy and doom, too. Johann watched, dreamy-eyed, and with befuddled senses, as the source of seething hatred stepped forward, straight into the emanations of looming Death. Some part of his mind remembered that such was one of the few risks spawning the superstitions about bad omens, and other folk hysteria.
‘Nameless One and Phexen’s right, empowered by Hesinde’s might, aid me in this sacred spell tonight. Boron, please, great lord, step aside!’
A strange, nigh-drug-like glee rushed through the body of the wizard, as the metal shrapnel was retreating, falling off his body with a harshly heard tingling sound. Life returned into his body, and the regeneration of arcane energy had already begun before the wizard could fully clear his mind.
Johann knew tests of faith, and he knew that more than one accredited university wizard would brown his underwear instead of opposing forces no aura shield could ever hope to hold back or absorb. The man who had just confessed being outside of the predominant pantheon, and sympathizing with the forbidden god, called on a force most rare, a component once known in greater miracles and old legends, when people were good, and evil was always overcome. The wizard knew this force, as he had lived through decades within which many confused it with pride. It was once known as honor.
The unconditional faith of doing it with less cultivated magic, like witchcraft or shamanic rites, be they elven, demonic, goblin or lizard in origin, was not only a rarity, it was an exception to the rule of dangerously flawed hedge wizardry, folk tales, and atrocities committed by any participating faction.
‘You studied folks and your despicable hubris! A favor was repaid, old man, and I was the last one even considering to pay back that debt. Pee off now, or play alley-rat with the criminals.’ spoke the bum-like helper, once more with seething hatred as an undertone, and nothing but hostility in his eyes.
His savior spat unto the cobblestone, gave one most displeased look into Johann’s direction, and began to leave. Johann watched the bald, fat, and sickly human who seemed to stem from a region with black-tobrian ancestry. His clothing was that of an alley-walker or traveler, robust and with leather reinforcements. He wore a rough vest with cheap fur inlay, speaking of someone spending many a night outside of Travia’s guestrooms or a comforting home. His belt carried the typical weapons of less genteel, streetwise folks, deadly but concealable tools of murder and mayhem.
‘Sir, I owe you my life, let me at least recompense you for your service, and discomfort?’ spoke Johann, who disliked the thought of being a useless wretch, even, if just for one fateful night.
‘The god’s already resolved that issue, Sir. And to remind you: Your robe alone could have fed the needy in this downtrodden city part, and that pouch of coins alone would tempt nigh-anyone here to rob you on the spot. Fare thee well!’ spoke his unnamed savior.
The wizard watched the warlock take his leave, for the first time not convinced that everything was as easy, as the most common prejudices about the disease ridden underclasses insisted it to be.
Kiss of the Succubus
‘Does my favorite crippled wretch succumb to blood-loss and gut rot once more?’ asked the woman of nigh-elven beauty.
‘Not that soon. I still suffer that delusion of striving to reach higher, succubine standards after all.’ smirked the warlock.
‘Proud of your prowess, dear? You returned a favor to the god’s, be they false ones or nameless reality.’ mocked the succubus.
‘Perhaps a tipsy, tiny bit totally proud to have overcome racism and indoctrination, lady of the brimstone nights.’
The Succubus displayed a dangerously convincing mimicry of shock, and confusion. ‘Sir Mageling, do you still insist that all succubi who are proclaimed horny, kiss-you-males-dead demonesses, could actually just been infuriated by absolutely every yokel treating them like easily defeated, mutated whores?
‘In his forthcoming book the anonymous, maybe even willingly nameless, author accuses established universities and arcane colleges alike to be egomaniac, craven bookworms considering one of the most diplomatic and violent free variations of the ancient elves to be accused by the only scum really delving in nothing but egomania, sexism, and depravity – the wizards who sold out to the suppressors of the free folks!’
‘Such a book wouldn’t sell well, and cashing the pay would result in ambushes by witch-hunters and Praios-crazed mobs time and time again!’ they both recited in unison, still chuckling though.
Staring into the nightly sky one instant the warlock spoke: ‘My lifespan is far more limited than yours, and even at best I have less than 4 years left.’
The Succubus left the bed they had shared, and strode over to the altar of vanity, the small makeup & dressing table with the mirror many a woman craved to own.
‘And even with all the burden, you still stuck to that old, flawed path. You know, sometimes I use the scrying pool, filled by my tears for all the crippled bums and starving babies, and watch your younger self. The little loser, a born bastard, trapped between being a petty criminal and a sadly desperate occult delver of abstract witchcraft.’
‘Sorry, wasn’t that scrying pool filled with the blood of rapists, child molesters, and children embracing monstrosity?’ asked the warlock in a humorously mocking tone.
‘No, holy virgins protect us! Such would imply that Praios alone couldn’t even uphold the law, and that thousands in every city are victimized by abusers and brutes, while Phex claims his clergy needs only a dagger as armament.’
‘Impossible, the twelve gods do not envy the Nameless One for his being god enough to handle it all, while they had to gang-up to keep their scheme running. Such would be madness, until one is among the mortals who had to survive the whims of the gods countless times before!’
Both knew that nobility and clergy were responsible for their own debauchery and corruption. Contrary to common believe the faithful found few enemies in the gods, but plenty in religions and mortal interpretations.
Subduing his anger the warlock reached out for the Succubus, but was gently reposed.
‘The stain of honor will force my beloved, knightly hero to pick the lock of my chastity belt later, as another valiant compatriot is in grave danger, and needy of battle-ready assistance.’
The warlock felt the truth of the statement even before he could verify it by divination or aura reading.
‘Oh, darling, you really wanna leave without kissing me goodbye?’ glared the black-humored Succubus.
‘No, but dead warlocks can’t save their beloved friends and families.’ foretold the warlock.
‘Lucky me, you are the fat and ugly type, in case you hadn’t noticed!’ snarled the gorgeous lady of the night.
The Succubus watched him grab his armored coat and satchel, striding away to keep another personal ally alive, or dying by his side.
She knew a lot more than her little pseudo-lover was told by her, and she had neither regrets, nor any urge to support him. Lilith, Desdemona, Borbarad, and science agreed on mortals being quite meaningless, and that insight struggling with mortal ego simply to make only the better ones survive for a while.
A cryptic lady scorned
The warlock hurried through the night, knowing the worth of reliable allies and companions left him not too much of a choice. Infuriating them by sitting safely at home was a nigh-guaranteed way to turn them into enemies or antagonists.
Graverobbers were one of the most common ‘misunderstood as criminal’ ilks on the soil of Aventuria.
Author Note: I take a break. Selling ebooks failed so far, my next real world job talks start this week, and I have workouts to do and an apartment to keep cleaner than before…
While harshly better than ‘Drakensang – River of Time’ I did enjoy some moments of ‘Blackguards’, and have the sequel on my list of cheap-purchase-games to rush through… Tactical fights are such a waste of time, if no auto-combat handles that.
The truth is that I am progressing, developing away from that reclusive, casual lethargy of gaming and writing alike. Since I returned from the urban homeless I tried to save some lives, worked six months through minimum wage physical labor, and am surrounded by criminals in real life. It spoils the joy of Shadowrun, and the joy of playing rogues. Fantasy rogues are charismatic and skilled, most real world criminals are unwashed, ill-educated, misbehaving, pestering brutes.
Oh, and because the chances for it are SO MUCH on my side: