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Chapter 8—The Dawn of Threats.


In the pits of dark and mist lay menace and peril to behest all that is vile; and in the depths of foul intent does wicked spawn and thrive brutally, bent merely on not but the will of the One who is greater and more beautiful than them all.
And in the eastern end of the world lay this nature of places, the loathsome ground of Soren, long accursed by the White Lady on its first existence with its brother, Lameharrow. Soren lived within a forest of no name, a perfect dwelling of dead trees to equal its wickedness.
In this wood stood coldly the tower of Soren, in which the mighty clerics of the Dark Apparition stayed, always intent on heeding His voice and directions. They had evil minds open only for Him, and lived not but for Him, the submissive lives to malevolence.
These were the clerics Edelmar, Glanvark, Hamar, and the Lord Aeldra. Wicked names of cursed meanings, they only wore the black robes of Shades they had overtaken, and four crowns of evil magic upon their twisted minds.
It was on this night when it held its last cold of winter that the four clerics of the Dark One, were walking silently through the woods of Soren. They were not alone, for two captives of theirs had been brought along. The mere sight of them and their prisoners showed only that they were once again doing the bidding of the Dark Apparition.
And indeed they were. He had already given them commands to create his army. And there was one way in which He instructed his priests to accomplish it. Somehow the Dark One needed access to expendables no matter how vast the number, and knew of only one way to perform this.

* * *

Long ago, in the early ends of time, there was a society of alchemists who lived for breeding creatures, as it was to their great pleasure to create new living beings. And it had all began with one member’s idea to start a project of combining a man and a goblin.
They had their ways of doing this, and in the end was born such a abominable creature, one that showed the hideous appearance of a goblin itself, and without hobbling around like one, it stood as tall as a man and could walk as normally as a one.
As soon as it was made, it took orders from only one person, and obeyed that only One. Somehow wired in its cruel mind was only the capability of serving the Dark Apparition. And in the creature’s senseless brutality began to attack this society of wizards.
Undoubtedly the alchemists had the creature under control and killed it immediately. From there forth the group of breeders swore by documents that they would never again create such a ruthless thing. And those promises were kept, as well the documents which were sent to the rest of the world.
But the Dark Apparition had become attentive to what this creature was, whose mind was set only on serving Him. The Dark One was fortified with the thought of such beings existing, and in turn he did not heed the promises kept by the rest of the world.

* * *

And now it was time. Now was the time that the Dark One had instructed his clerics to begin breeding goblin and men once again to begin his army. It had taken some time for the priests to find out the way of breeding them—by magic.
So it was, as they sauntered through the forests, there was a both a goblin and a man along with them. The clerics led them on their way towards the tower of Soren, where they would proceed with the task that needed to be done.
And it was not long at all, before the shadow of the dismal sanctuary fell over them, and the large doors at its base seem to beckon, like a butcher who beckons its swine to the slaughterhouse. They entered just as silently, leading on the bewildered captives to some unearthly fate most likely.
Black marbles walls loomed over them all, and passed just as quickly as they came, for the priests were in somewhat of a hurry. They wished to allow their task to be done while the light of the moon was at its fullest. All wicked magic was done in the light of the moon….
Both the man and the goblin, even the goblin, could sense as they were being escorted deeper within the tower that there was something horrid beyond imagination that was kept in store for them. And the doors they were then presented in front of only bolstered their fears.
They were black just as everything else seemed to be, and the strangest carvings of beastly creatures twisted to unrecognizable forms stared helplessly at them, a wild rage of pain and fear seeming to emanate from their stiff eyes.
The pitiable man, within the grasps of the Lord Glanvark’s rugged rope, felt a lump grow in his throat, and the goblin itself even cowered back twisting its head this way and that, the beady yellow eyes trying vainly to find a way of escape.
One of the other priests, the Lord Hamar, stepped forward (or seemed to glide) to these doors and placed pale hands on the cold metal. With a hardly any effort, a simple push had opened them and gave view to a large circular room within. He walked forward still, and the rest behind him followed.
It was nearly unbearable for the man to see what he really was in this room, for everything was so evil, and the death of dark magic pulsed back and forth from the one round wall. As they entered, the man noticed circular stairs that aligned the margin of the room, and came down about five feet to the middle.
And in the middle of the room was set the strangest thing of all—a pool.
It was twenty feet in diameter, and also circular. Black water, like ink, filled it nearly to the brim. One could not tell for how deep it went. The water had an icy stillness about it, and it appeared to be alive almost.

On the sides of the room were set to stone slabs, on the black marble arms of gargoyles. These large statues on either side of the room stared back at each other with eyes made of rubies, and gave the impression that they could really see everything.
The stone slabs that rested on their powerful arms looked like alters, with the strange carvings of writing similar to the one on the door, and the dark stains that blotched the surface and sides. Most unfortunately for the goblin and man—they were. Almost at once they knew that they were intended to be used on them.
From there forth everything that went on seemed as if it were a ceremony, which, in truth, was. Each of the four clerics took his spot around the wall.
The Lord Edelmar then seized the man, and pushed him roughly to one of the gargoyles. Tears of fear began to well up in the man’s eyes, for he knew not what was prone to happen to him here.
The Lord Aeldra then did the same with the goblin, taking it to the opposite side of the room, towards the matching statue. The other two priests stood opposite to each other near the pool in the middle of the room.
There was an awkward silence as everyone stood there saying nothing, and the clerics seem to be conversing with each other only speaking to each other’s minds.
Suddenly, both Edelmar and Aeldra, reached within their robes, and revealed a blade, each. They were cruel looking knives; the handles were the brass heads of serpents, and the blade itself, a jagged razor that gleamed in the dim light.
Both the man and goblin were thrown roughly onto the stone slabs their hands still tied. Standing next to their victims, the Lords paused for a horrid minute, and a suffocating silence plagued the room, only the labored breathing of the man audible.
Then, to their greatest horror, both clerics slowly brought the knives toward their victims. Both man and goblin began shrieking with terror, straining to escape, though it was all in vain as they could not move by some magic restraining them to the altars.
The priests pressed their heads forward, revealing two vulnerable throats that they lowered the blades onto. The priests gave not so much as a little nick to their necks, to which they began screaming even further.
Then with a sickening sound, they slit the throats of their victims mercilessly, blood pouring onto the altar. The man and goblin gave a strangle cry, which was more of a gurgle, and then fell silent. The heartless clerics next to them held their pitchers to the necks of the dead bodies, gathering their blood within, one black the other red.
Then, having gathered what blood was necessary, all four Lords gathered silently around the still pool in the middle of the room; two on either side holding the pitchers, one to the top with a large book, the other standing opposite him with his head lowered.
There was another deathly silence that held place, before the Lord Glanvark began to speak.
“My Lords,” he spoke, his words drawling forth like poisonous air. “We have done a wonderful task here tonight, however it is not yet complete. We are fulfilling the desire of the Dark One, and he is pleased…begin with the process.” He hissed his last sentence.
The two other Lords, Aeldra and Edelmar raised their pitchers by the bottom high above their heads, and stood still, a synchronized dance of wickedness. And at that time, the moon shone through, above the hole in the top of the mausoleum, shining a bright and eerie light directly on to the pool of black water.
Edelmar and Aeldra began tipping their pitchers forward, and soon small streams of red and black blood began trickling down to the pool, dazzling in the moonlight. As this was proceeding, the Lord Hamar, who had done nothing all this time, began to softly mutter words under his breath, foul curses from an ancient time. As he spoke these, he circled the room, his concentration shifting from both pouring blood, to the suddenly disturbed and softly bubbling pool.
When both pitchers of blood had been poured, they too began speaking evil curses under their breath, barely audible muttering, yet powerful enough to cause madness in anyone. Soon all four of them were doing as the others, and they did this for at least two hours.
The pool began stirring itself, like a whirlpool in slow motion, dizzying itself in streaks of black and red. Though as it spun round and round, the color of blood began to grow smaller, as if it blended together, and the color of water was returning to full.
Soon there was hardly any distinction that man and goblin blood had been poured into the pool, and before long it was completely gone.
It was then, that the four clerics stopped their hushed chanting, and the pool stopped stirring itself. All four watched the still waters for a sign of something, anything that could be what they had gone through the whole process for.
And indeed it came, as first a few bubbles to the surface of the water, and then larger swells rocking around.
Then to the great surprise of them all, the water surface broke, and the vile head of a creature protruded, rending a terrible cry. It thrashed around in the waters toward the edge, and with powerful muscles, pushed itself out of the pool, and stood staring at the Lord Hamar.
None of the Lords had made the slightest indication that they feared this creature, and they stood just as still as before, watching it with hungry eyes.
The maddened, yellow eyes of the sick monster were alight with rage, and wet strands of black hair were plastered to its naked body, down to its chest. It stood as tall as a man, not hunched as a goblin would, though its skin was a dark shade of blue, as if it were a bruised body; deep red cuts lacerated it in every area.
Despite these intimidating features, the eyes of the Lord Hamar were yet stronger, and he did not fear this creature in the least. Instead he beckoned to it, knowing it would not attack him…it lived for evil, and that was the very thing the cleric was.
“Come here…beautiful creature of the Dark One.” Hamar raised a long white finger to it and motioned for the monster to approach.
This, the creature did, the slap-click of wet feet and long, yellowed claws echoing in the room. The creature could speak nothing, though it emanated a low growling from deep in its throat, warning all who tried to disturb it.
“Stunning beast of the waters,” Hamar addressed him once more, “you have begun the greatest army of the Dark Appartition…soon we will have what we want, and the world will fall at the behest of Him, and the might of your whip!”
He then turned to his fellow priests and looked at them all with an evil fire within his eyes. “Disciples of the One, we have a task to be finished…let the curses of darkness be spoken once again and in continuum!” He cried. The other three Lords smiled wickedly, and began the chant and spells they had just spoken over again, louder this time.
The creature, its growl still coming forth, knew not what these four were doing, but knew only that he took pleasure in it, and its snarls became that of evil joy.



------
Nathan D. Gage


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