Stone and Fire

           Jarron lay awake late that night, lying on the cold stone floor and staring at the blank stone ceiling.  His cell was quite nondescript, with not even a single decoration or candle nook adorning the walls.  The only descriptive factor of the cell that really stood out to Jarron was the faint smell of urine.Wonderful, he thought.  He had been given a few pieces of bread and a small tin cup of water since his arrival that afternoon, and both lay next to him untouched.  All he could think of was where to go, whom he could turn to after he escaped.  Escape was a foregone conclusion to Jarron; it was simply when and how he decided to do it.  Years of battle and training in many arts assured him of that.  He had trustworthy friends in the surrounding area, but how had they fared over the years?  

            He tried to dispel such thoughts and catch some rest for the night.  As he finally closed his eyes his thoughts wandered to Yathramar, the foreign land he had spent the last many years taming in service to its king.  It was a savage land that place.  He owed no allegiance to it, aside from his pledge of service.  He began to wonder if selling himself out had been the right thing to do.  Perhaps he could have negotiated some other way to secure the help of the Yathramar kingdom, or perhaps some other power could have come to their aid in that time of need.

            Jarron had been asking himself such questions for many years, but he knew that there had been no other way to save his kingdom.  The conqueror of Yathramar had wanted a champion to lead his expedition in the wilds of his kingdom, a man who could cut a swath through the savage wilds, taming the natives and eventually, enslaving them.  Suddenly angry at himself for continuing to mull over such thoughts, Jarron rolled over and tried to sleep.

 

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            Amr Launfel paced in his candlelit study uncomfortably.   He browsed the tomes on one of his many shelves, attempting to gather himself before contacting his master.  His master was an imposing, powerful force, and one that did not take being disturbed lightly.  He took bad news even worse, Amr knew.

            With a sigh, Amr drew a pouch from a drawer in his oak desk and walked over to his gold ringed mirror.  He lightly dipped a finger into his pouch, covering it in the powdery reagent.  Amr then carefully traced around the inside edges of the mirror, carefully making a perfect ring.  He then whispered a slight incantation, and stepped quickly back.  The transformation of the mirrors surface began almost instantly, as it flickered from a reflection to a roiling bluish black pool of churning darkness.  Amr composed himself again and waited for his master to answer his call.  Contact to the nether realms did not always occur in a timely manner, or without incident.  Certain tricky demons could attempt use the connection as a portal, though few bigger than a pesky imp could fit through such a small portal.  Amr was more than equipped to deal with a rogue imp, fortunately enough.

            This time, Amr’s call was heeded quickly enough; as he recognized his master’s visage begin to materialize.  The face that formed was not disgusting or hideous by any stretch of the imagination, but the very opposite at that.  The ghostly face was strangely perfect.  It was that of a middle aged man, but flawless, wholly unscarred and unblemished.  The man had short, close cropped black hair that waved slightly in a nonexistent wind.  His haunting black eyes may have been the most remarkable attribute he possessed.  There were no visible pupils or sclera, only darkness.  His embodiment was specter-like, so translucent that Amr could see the jagged, almost random terrain of the nether realm through his master.

            “Amr, what is so important that you would interrupt my work here?”  The voice that emanated from the mirror was ice cold and monotone, showing little emotion but carrying a deadly edge with it.

            “Milord Daemyan, Jarron Mirdraeg has returned to Terri’thas.  He is currently imprisoned in the castles dungeon.”

            The evil spirit paused as a look of surprise nearly overtook his countenance. “Imprisoned?  How much does he know?”

            “He knows that something is wrong, but does not know what.  He foolishly visited the king, who was drugged and out of his mind, and allowed himself to be taken.”

             “Steelspine cannot be held by that castle,” Daemyan intoned. “You will have to kill him before he escapes and causes any irreparable damage to our plan.”

            “Yes, Mast-”

            “Tonight!” the specter interrupted, his voice rising. “To wait any longer will be folly.  Contact me again when you hold his head in your hands.  If you fail, consider your life forfeit.  I wish that I could come deal with the situation myself, but I am still weeks away from completing my work here.”

            “Yes, Master,” Amr said as calmly as he could muster, but the face in the mirror was fading already.

            Several dimensions away, the spirit Daemyan held his head with his pellucid hands.  With an audible sigh, he spoke aloud to the annoying fire imp that had been tailing him since his arrival in this nether dimension.

            “So he returns.  I had hoped to be at the height of my power, but alas, I shall have to speed my plan along.  That fool mage will be dead in a matter of hours or days, but at least he served as fair warning.  Now I know the prophecy has truly begun to unfold.” 

            The fire imp only cackled and babbled incoherently in agreement.  Daemyan regarded the pathetic creature for a moment, and then gave it a powerful kick, sending it screaming across a wide crevasse into nothingness.  Soon enough I’ll be back on solid ground, more powerful than ever.

 

 

 

The End

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