The Power of the Dark Lord

                                                                                 By Bert McKenzie 

                                                                                  Copyright 2010

 

 


Chapter XIII

Morning came all too early for the humans.  They had gone to bed only a few
short hours before.  Alex had fallen asleep on Akuta's shoulder, and after
the briefing, the guard had carried his lover to their chambers and put him
to rest on a large, stuffed quilt that they used as a bed.  Scott and
Jennifer had escorted Sharon Gates to a guest room in the tower.  It was
usually reserved for visiting dignitaries from the outlying provinces and
kingdoms, and was lavishly furnished.  Jennifer then headed to the chambers
she shared with Caseldra, and Scott returned to the royal suite just as the
meeting on the terrace was breaking up.  "Sleep now," Robin told his
consort.  "I must go inform the high council of our plans.  I shall return
to you soon, my love."

The morning sun shining in from the terrace had awakened Scott.  He rose
and headed into the royal bath to perform his morning ablutions, and
encoutered the king soaking in the bathing pool.  Robin quickly climbed out
to embrace his lover, causing Scott to shiver at the contact with the icy
cold droplets of water on the fairy's skin, but their kiss rapidly warmed
them both.  Robin lifted the human into his arms and left the bath to cross
the inner chamber and drop his burden gently onto their reclining platform.
The raised wooden platform served as a bed for Scott, covered with downy
quilts and soft furs.  The two lovers resumed their kissing which gradually
shifted in intensity until they joined each other physically in passionate
love making.  The moment of their joint orgasm was exquisite.

As they lay in each other's arms, Scott asked Robin the questions that had
been bothering him since their conversation on the California beach.  "When
I make love to you I seem to lose all control and consciousness," he began.
"But when you make love to me it isn't the same, is it?"

"Of course it is," Robin assured him.

"But you said you consciously decide whether or not you are fertile.  It
makes your physical response sound much more thought out and calculated,
like you aren't really totally experiencing the moment, but a part of you
is sitting back, analyzing what you are doing and..."

"My love, it is not like that at all.  I cannot explain my internal
arrangements to you more than I have.  My fertility is more of an
unconscious choice than a conscious one.  It is like the moisture on your
palms, something your body produces, but not something you think about.  It
is not a thing I ponder in the middle of sex as a human may watch
television while making love."

"But you could decide to be fertile and make love to me?" Scott persisted.

"Yes, I could, but what difference would there be?  You and I cannot
conceive, and I promise you there is little other difference in the product
my body produces or the feeling you or I have from it," Robin said.

"I know, and I guess it's really stupid, but it seems like I'm not getting
all of you, the real you.  It's like you're holding back.  I know it makes
no sense.  I guess it's just psychological silliness," Scott stammered.

"You say it makes no sense, love, and yet it bothers you.  So of course it
makes sense.  We are of one spirit.  I will act in any manner that will
make you feel better.  If you wish my fertility, then so be it.  It is
sufficient that you wish it.  No other reasons are necessary.  When next we
make love you shall have your request."  They again kissed, then rose from
the platform and returned to the bath to prepare for the day ahead.

* * *

Rood was no longer dangling upside down in the dark.  He was now stretched
out on his back in the dark, his arms and legs fastened by chains to
distant points he could not see.  A number of the foul smelliing creatures
came and carried him through the blackness for quite some distance, only to
secure him in this different location and in this different manner.  After
they had finished their task, one of the beasts began to lick his bare leg.
The feelings brought goose pimples to him, causing him to shudder
involuntarily.  This must have attracted the attention of the other
creatures who did not approve, because the licking stopped and sounds of
two beasts fighting nearby rose at his left side.  Eventually the monsters
grew tired of their quarrel and left the chamber, leaving the fairy again
in darkness and silence.

What seemed like hours later, Rood became aware of a dim glow.  He turned
his head to the side and saw what appeard to be a black silhouette of a man
enter his chamber.  It carried a stone bowl that contained the source of
the blue glow.  The light from the bowl was strong enough to illuminate the
chamber.  Rood could see the room was carved from solid rock, being no more
than a small cave.  The only entrance and exit was the doorway through
which the dark figure had come.  The light from the bowl revealed that Rood
was on a stone dias or low table and that he was held in position by heavy
chains that were attached to the floor, out of his range of vision.  But
the glow revealed nothing of the dark creature.  It was as if the being
swallowed the light into its inky blackness, reflecting nothing and
revealing no contours other than its man-like shape.

"Gift bring I.  Dark world from it," the creature said, its green eyes
glowing in the area where a face should be.  It placed the bowl on the
stone table near Rood's shoulder.  He could hear its contents emitting a
sizzling and bubbling sound.

"Gift charged is.  Will mine into gift.  For thee is gift and upon receipt
shall thou will mine complete."  The creature reached out and touched Rood
with its hands.  His flesh burned with a numbing cold at the spot of
contact.  The black shadow of a hand gripped his jaw and turned his face to
the wall, then patted his neck.  "Move not command I," the voice said,
using its power to effectively paralyze him in this position.  Rood's heart
raced in fear as he wondered what the creature was doing, but his head was
turned sideways, his face away from where the shadow stood.

As the fairy lay helplessly, the creature picked up the stone bowl and
breathed onto the surface of its contents.  The vessel held a viscous
liquid, the consistency of runny mud.  It glowed with a bright blue light
appearing phosphorescent and bubbled and fizzed like molten lava.
"Darkness powers of so this liquid infuse.  Moon stone liquid shall bring
will mine to thee.  As the sun disappears bidding mine shall thou conduct."
Again the creature breathed into the bowl, then carfully tipped it.  The
thick substance drooled over the edge and fell to its victim below.  The
brightly glowing stream fell directly into Rood's ear and drizzled its way
into his head, burning into his brain.  The fairy emitted a blood curdling
scream of pain as the evil magic melted its way into his skull.

The shadow creature removed the bowl, having poured just the smallest
amount of its contents into the ear of its helpless victim.  "No more," it
said.  "Enough sufficient for task mine will.  More shall destroy thee to
purpose mine."  It then left the dark room taking the glowing bowl with it.

Rood lay on the stone table and thrashed his head from side to side in a
vain attempt to shake the burning liquid from his skull, but it was too
late.  The magic fluid had seared its way through his ear drum and burned
itself into his brain, setting up new pathways and making chemical and
micro-electrical changes in his neurons.  He slowly calmed down and relaxed
as the magic elixer took control.

* * *

Melcot and Akuta road forth with a small party to investigate the canyon
and if possible to journey out onto the plains and harvest a quantity of
flashweed.  Two thirds of the way down the canyon they came upon another
wall.  Apparently the trolls had again been busy overnight and had erected
another barricade.  "What say you, my lord?" Melcot asked his commander.

Akuta sat for a long moment and gazed at the stone structure.  He was
amazed at how quickly and how efficiently these supposedly undirected
creatures could move and shape stone.  They were better at it than dwarves,
and that was saying something.  Akuta also wished with all his heart that
Rood was here to make the decisions.  He missed his friend very much and
could not believe he had been killed as the others said.  The duties of
command had never weighed so heavily on Akuta.

"My lord?" Melcot said, jarring him back to reality.

"Take you two men and return a report to our liege lord," the new captain
of the guard finally said.  "The rest shall stay and examine this construct
and evaluate our options concerning it."

"I do your bidding," Melcot replied and wheeled his mount.  He chose two
men to accompany him and three of them headed back down the canyon.

"Forell," Akuta called.  "You be the best climber of all the guard.  Take
you a rope and see if you may scale this structure.  We need to know what
lies beyond, how thick this is, and what our chances of its destruction by
sundown."  The blond man to Akuta's left jumped down from his horse and
grabbed a rope.  He then began to work his way up the steeply inclined
rock.

Upon reaching the top, Forell turned to call back to Akuta and the men
below.  "My lord, it would take three days to destroy this wall," came the
voice from above.

"What see you beyond?  Is there any other change to the land?" Akuta called
back.

Forell disappeared from view for a moment, then returned to look down.
This time his voice came as a faint wind whisper.  "Two creatures scale the
wall on the opposite side, my lord.  One is a high born and appears to be
chasing the other."

This news came as a shock to Akuta.  A member of the high born was on the
other side of the wall and chasing another creature.  His heart leaped.
Perhaps it was Rood.  He may yet live and be pursuing one of the evil
trolls.

Forell disappeared from view again and was gone for quite a long while.
Akuta instructed his men to be at battle readiness.  Three of the guard
fitted arrows to their bows and took a relaxed aim on the top of the
structure.  Forell again came into view accompanied by two other men.  One
was obviously high born, but his back was to the men below.  As they
watched, he stepped off the top and was slowly lowered on a rope, walking
his way backward down the steep wall.  As he reached the bottom Akuta and
several others rushed forward to help him.  It was Alee, the man who had
been missing for the past few days.

"I am alright," he gasped as they helped him remove the rope.

"My lord, look," another guard called and pointed up.  Akuta looked up to
see a big, black man dressed in a muscle shirt and shorts climbing down the
side of the wall by way of the rope.  "What is it, my lord?"

"A human," Alee said.  "He has traveled with me and saved my life three
times.

"I have never seen a human the color of burnt wood," one of the men said in
astonishment.

"They come in a variety of colors," Akuta said.  "It is what they call
'race."  It is similar to our tribes."

"Why call they 'race?'" one of the archers asked.  "Is it because they
compete in speed with each other?"

"I know not," Akuta answered.  "But several times while I was in their
world, have I observed the various colors of humankind chase each other.
Although no one ever seemed to win."

By this time Stan had reached the ground and was immediately surrounded by
the curiously staring guards.  Forell quickly followed down the rope and
was soon joining them.  "We shall journey back to the castle," Akuta said.
"There is little that can be done here."

"What is that, my lord?" another of the men called out.  Following the
direction in which he was pointing, Akuta saw a dark spot on the side wall
of the canyon.  Looking more closely he could see that it was a partially
opened stone door, one of the entrances to the troll caves below.  The men
rode quickly toward it, swords drawn.

As they approached, Akuta spotted a pale arm lying on the ground, stretched
out from behind the door.  Disregarding his own safety, the tall blond
captain jumped down from his horse and ran to the opening.  He carefully
peered around the hinged rock and into the black cave.  Lying face down in
the dust was a tall, thin, high born elf.  Akuta dropped to his knees and
rolled the body over.  It was Rood!  Akuta placed his ear to the naked
chest.  A slow but steady rhythm could be heard within.  He yet lived.
"Come quickly!" he ordered.  "Help me place him on my horse."  They carried
the unconscious man to Akuta's horse, and then quickly headed down the
canyon and back to the castle.

As they rode, Alee tore a strip of cloth from his tunic and handed it to
Stan, telling him to blindfold himself.  The human was put off at first,
thinking the fairies were trying to keep the location of their castle
secret, as if his knowing would make any difference.  But Alee finally
explained that it was to protect his human eyes from a special trap.

* * *

Faylar was nearly completely recovered.  He was sitting up on his pallet
and had already managed to walk a few steps.  "I am anxious to return to
duty," he told his friend.  "The healers are overly cautious.  I have no
further need of rest."

"But you must listen to them," Alee replied.  "They know best."

"Look, man," Stan said.  "I'm sorry I hit you so hard."  He stared
uncomfortably at the floor.

When they had returned to the castle Elnar had anointed Stan with the
chrism so he could be easily understood.  He was then questioned by Akuta
and Melcot, and then sent to Robin who decided he would be under "house
arrest" and be supervised by Alee.  Robin's first inclination was to
immediately send the man back to the human world, but Stan said he was
originally sent to follow Dave Strahan.  Robin decided that until they had
determined what had become of the missing scientist, Stan could remain in
Tuatha.

"I understand," Faylar said.  "If you had not struck me with a rock, I
would have no doubt killed you with my dagger."

"Oh, here," Stan said and held out the small knife he and Alee had carried
and used on their adventure on the plains.

"Please, keep it," Faylar said.  "I give it to you as a gift for helping to
return my best friend to me."  He grinned over at Alee.  "And for keeping
him alive."

"I'd say we both kept each other alive," Stan said.

"My friend," Farlar asked Alee.  "Can you not speak with the healers, or at
least intercede for me with the king and Akuta.  I am ready to return to
the guard, and I am sure they can use me in these difficult times."

"I will see what may be accomplished," Alee promised.  "Rest now.  My human
friend and I have much to do before sunset."  The two men left the room and
headed for the white tower.  Stan had agreed to fight with the king's
guards in the battle against the trolls, and so they were off to the royal
armory to find him suitable weapons.

In another part of the halls of healing Sharon Gates was observing a
routine medical examination, done by a Tuathan healer.  Her first instinct
was to dismiss the entire procedure as no more than superstitious
mysticism.  But she had the concrete evidence of her very presence in this
strange world to prove to her that there was something to their magic.  She
firmly believed that it was not magic at all, but only a different
application of the unknown physical laws of this dimension.  But no matter
what it was called, or how it worked, the point was that it did work.  So
she quietly stood in the background and watched the tall, thin woman with
albino white skin.

On a flat table made of what looked like polished marble, lay the nude body
of an unconscious man.  He was the epitome of physical perfection, and with
his golden skin and pale blond hair, he could have been the brother of
Sharon's friend Akuta.  The healer, on the other hand, wore a floor length,
white gown trimmed in green and was accompanied by a young girl in her
early teens.  Akuta explained that the young girl was an apprentice and
hoped to be a full fledged healer herself one day.  She had the same
bluish-white skin as the older woman, only she was obviously younger,
shorter, and wore a knee length tunic that matched the older woman's in cut
and color.  The two of them leaned over the body on the marble slab and
occasionally whispered to each other.

The healer turned the head from side to side and looked closely at the
bluish marks on the chin, along the jaw line and on the neck.  She then
placed both hands on the body's chest and closed her eyes as if lost in
deep concentration.  The old woman reached down and gently stroked the
man's left leg, then moved back to look closely at his left ear.  She
mumbled something to the young apprentice, and the girl quickly left the
room.  "There is something deeply wrong with your friend, but I cannot tell
what it is," she finally said as she addressed Akuta.  "Come look at this."

Akuta and Sharon both stepped to the side of the table.  The woman gently
reached down and pulled open one of the eyelids.  The eye was turned upward
so far into the head as to not show any pupil.  "This indicates damage to
his physical mind," she said.

"Brain damage," Sharon said.  "It's possible."

"What can be done for him?" Akuta asked in a hushed voice.

"Nothing now.  We must wait to see if his physical mind can regenerate
itself."

"What caused this?" the guard asked as he clutched the edge of the marble
table for support.

The old woman closed her eyes and seemed to slip into a trance.  She
reached out and placed a hand on the slowly rising and falling chest beside
her.  "An evil creation of darkness has touched this spirit.  He has
brought with him the cold of the nether world.  He has burned and wounded
your friend, and has completed this action to a purpose..."  Her voice
trailed off.

"To what purpose?" Akuta pressed.

The woman slowly opened her eyes and looked down at the reclining form.  "I
shall have him moved to a chamber where he may be supervised.  We can only
wait now.  I have performed all that I can to restore him, but his spirit
is almost gone.  It seems to be buried deep within him.  I cannot reach it
to call it back.  It must return on its own."

Two young women entered the room carrying a small pallet between them.
They placed it next to the marble slab and moved the body onto it.  They
then lifted the pallet as if it weighted no more with its occupant than it
had when empty.  The women then turned to leave carrying their burden with
them.  Sharon wondered how they knew that the old woman's examination was
complete.  How had she managed to summon them at the appropriate time while
she had been engaged in conversation with Akuta?

"I must go now to see to other patients," the old woman said.

"Please, my lady," Akuta asked her.  "May I stay with my friend for a
time?"

"I am sure he can only grow strong with your spirit in his room," she said
and turned to leave.  Sharon and Akuta hurried down the hall to follow the
two women who carried Rood's unconscious form.

"You need not stay with me," Akuta said to Sharon.

"No, I'd like to stay," she said in sympathy.  The two of them followed the
women into an empty chamber and watched as they expertly shifted the body
onto the hard wood pallet.  Rood and Sharon then pulled up stools that sat
against the wall and made themselves as comfortable as possible for their
long vigil.

 

 

 

 

 

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