lunes, 17 de enero de 2011

ALOF - Chapter Four

Asmode's Lair

“We are leaving,” Lilith watched her Master, as he prowled restlessly around the darkened chamber.

“But, we can still win..” Lilith winced in pain, her altered state causing her to speak without thought.

“I said leaving, not giving up,” snarled Asmode, “we need more troops if we are to face the one who is coming. You are not my only option. In fact, you can stay, can prosecute my orders here. Hold them as best you can, I will be back with an alternate option soon.

It will cost me most of my energy to reach the one I must find, even now she calls me.”

“She?” asked Lilith, jealousy colouring her tone.

“Fear not little one,” he crooned, “she is just a tool. Even now she brings my plans to culmination and I must concentrate on her. You will return to the city and rally our troops. Carry them away from the conflict. Let my brother’s forces think they have won and perhaps they will receive enough damage from our other enemies, that our task will be easier.”

“Where will you go?”

“Nowhere,” he laughed, “and everywhere. Now go!”

Asmode waved his hand and Lilith felt her body surge with his dark power. Then she was transported back to the depths of the city and the awaiting troops. When she was gone, Asmode smiled. Things were going to plan. He had lied when he said that he would use his own power to bring his new forces. That energy was even now being harvested, he could feel it. With only a few more sacrifices he could leave this world and Lilith would be left behind. It was unfortunate, but necessary.

Planet Goldburn
3rd Eclisiarch Protectorate

Sven Larson was young and hung over. He had spent the previous evening drinking away all manner of problems, eventually falling into a drunken stupor in some alleyway. His wife dead, his job gone, what else was there to live for? Now he staggered through dark and unpopulated streets, hoping for someone to end his misery.

Fate had heard him, just not in the way he wanted. On he trudged, becoming more and more disoriented. Where was everybody? Never had he seen the streets so deserted. At last, he heard a noise; someone was singing.


Skipping lightly down the steps, basket half-held over her tiny forearm and red-hooded cape banging restlessly against her knees, Chary sang. Her shrill, piping voice at odds with the large basket and the tattoo, which spiralled down the left side of her face. From the container protruded two knitting needles, their points spearing a large ball of brightly coloured wool. Further down rested a darkness, whose dullness was mirrored in the dead obsidian eyes of the girl.

A grin split her face, giving the manic creature a touch of further insanity, as she bounced her way into the shadowed alley before her. The incongruity of her demeanour was accentuated by her surroundings and the things which waited, skulking there.

Roaring in anger the first of them reached for her, his spittle-covered jaw half-ripped open, displayed sharpened teeth. His arms were long, double-jointed and ended in pincers. Another appeared, an abomination, bent double under the weight of its sins. Cloven hooves clattered against the cobbled floor as it scrabbled forwards, a large rusty knife brandished in its third hand. There were more, many more, yet still Chary skipped, gambolled and sang.

At the last moment, she dropped the basket, hands quickly pulling free her wickedly sharpened tools. Spinning on her back foot, she avoided the clumsily clashing pincers, burying one of her weapons in a weeping and distorted eye. It was a swift movement, well-practiced and Chary was now laughing, no longer displaying any outward sign of innocence.

As the beast crumpled she moved on, her speed and agility superhuman, her laughter cruel and heartless. It did not take long, roars became whimpers, lambent life became cold and dark. There was a moment of silence, a snicking sound and then once more Chary skipped free, her shrill piping voice raised high in praise of her Lord and Master.

A hulking shape moved out of a nearby doorway and Chary crouched, one pointed implement miraculously appearing in her hand.

“You shouldn’t be out here, Miss,” a panicked voice commented, “Not at this hour, not in this place.”

Coalescing as if from nothing, a body; its nature in tune with the worried, high-pitched voice. Relaxing, Chary grinned, displaying a pure white set of sharp teeth, jaggedly filling her mouth.

“In His Name!” said the man involuntarily shrinking backwards.

“Indeed,” responded Chary in her little girl voice, “and for all time!”


“Who are you?” asked Sven, following the girl as she skipped gaily long, still humming contentedly. “Where is everyone?”

“Everyone? Who else do you need?”

Sven watched her, convinced that she was unhinged, her actions had been cold, the killing nonchalant. She seemed human, yet... Without warning she leapt upward, spinning in the air, her laughter ringing out. Sven heard a roar behind him, and crashed to the floor as a crushing blow slammed into him. His face smashed against the hard stone, blood bursting from his nose. A searing pain was followed by the feel of teeth ripping into his neck and he screamed. Faintly he heard the girl’s maniacal laughter fading into the distance and gasped for breath, an oppressive weight falling onto his chest.

He struggled, fought like he had never done before, like a wild animal. Teeth clashed close to his face and his vision swam with the pain from his broken nose. “Frak this!” he swore rearing his head back and then forward again, his skull cracking against his antagonist. His reward was the momentarily lessening of the attack. One heave and he was free, his hand scrabbling along the ground. Something cold. Sharp. Please. There, he had it.

Now he was screaming, pounding the creature with the thing in his hand, time and again. Warm liquid bathed him, splattering his face and arms as each blow fell. At last it was over and he stood trembling. Sound behind him again and he turned. This time he could see them clearly and his knees weakened, causing him to stagger.

Standing in a rough semi-circle were six leathern-winged creatures. Long yellowed fangs pushed out of a wide slit mouth from which emitted an incessant hissing. Blood red eyes stared fixedly at him from white corpse-like skin. Terror took a firm hold, twisting his bowels and he clenched muscles tightly, trying wholeheartedly to retain some dignity.

No words left those horrid lips, as taloned arms were raised. The abhorrent monsters approached slowly and with intent. Sven backed away, raising his bloody weapon in defiance. He would have laughed at the inadequacy of his defence, if any humour remained inside him. The thing he had found and grabbed in his desperation bizarre; a child’s discarded toy, a semi-metallic sword, which was now bent and broken. Useless.

Weaving the object menacingly in front of him, he backed away. A bolt of bright light sizzled past his head, wiping the rictus grin off one of the faces in a welter of blood and brains. More flew by and a rough hand dragged him back, turning and thrusting him through a shimmering window. Sensation disappeared and he fell.


He was sure that he was asleep. This sensation did not belong in the here and now. A cold hand touched his face and a child of almost ethereal beauty beckoned him on. All shimmered; the walls, floor, ceiling, even the child, her grin less than friendship and more than hate. Black eyes; cold, dead eyes in a white corpse face. Then another figure approached, the female monster from his waking dream and she too encouraged his desertion of his fellows. Her method of attraction was direct; fingers hooked into his collar and he was dragged unceremoniously along.

Sven tried to fight, to resist, but her strength was overwhelming. White light announced his exit from the silvery hell, but his new abode was even less inviting than his former. A cordon of soldiers with raised rifles faced him, mirror images of the nasty girl, but male. Mouth after mouth opened in a grin, showing their sharp teeth and they began to laugh.

Still the girl pulled him along, shoving him finally into a circular room, whose centre was dominated by a flat plinth. Its scored surface was stained with a brown and flaking substance and an intricate design drew his eye towards its centre. A dark hole beckoned and disappeared down.Sven was almost sure he could hear a sucking, slurping sound, but he drove the thought away.

Silence and then a smile, “What am I doing here?”

Chary looked at him and sniggered, “We thought you all gone.”


“The harvest was completed to plan. Those that are left are the abominations, those created in the Seeding.”

It was unintelligible, Harvest, Seeding, nothing made sense. Where were all the people and who were the creatures he had seen? Who had attacked him?

He started to speak, but she placed a long, thin finger to his lips.

“We wondered why the ritual could not be completed. Now we know. You were still to be found.”

Reaching to her waist, her fingers closed around one of the needle-like weapons and pulled it free. The metal glinted as it was waved towards him, “There’s no time to waste. If you would be so kind?”

His resistance was nil and as others began to file into the room, he allowed himself to be guided to his place.

Chary continued talking as she tied his hands and feet, “You see, we needed souls, born of vibrant and violent life. Your planet, your people gave us that. Our ships delivered the Seed and the Harvesting began. We are on the cusp of the new beginning and you will deliver us.”

Sven twisted and saw he was now ringed by many of Chary’s sick twins, heads bowed in prayer. A low dirge began, rising in volume with each passing moment. He felt a weight across his thighs and saw Chary straddling him, weapon held high in both hands. Her shrill voice joined in the unholy chorus and with a final scream the knife plunged down.

Blood trickled downwards, filling each line and groove in the intricate pattern. It spilled from Sven’s torn throat and broken body, sucked unerringly down the central hole. Maniacal laughter followed, something stretched and moved. The stone surface shattered, ripping the dead human’s body to pieces as it exploded outwards. Darkness took shape and form and finally, awoke.

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