The Portal Queen (part 4)

Private Gillespie makes his rounds around the encampment, in his full tactical equipment. It was a beautiful day, the weather had been perfect. After spending months here in this unknown location, he discovered the weather remained constant. The seasons never seem to shift. He found this awkward unlike the seasons on Earth.

Today was different. He was off to explore outside of the place he called home. On his back he had a small sack, equipped with small rations of the fruits that bore from the local trees, and water to drink on his journey.

All of a sudden he heard rapid footsteps approaching from behind him.

It’s the woman. The woman that’s been taking care of him. Her arms are outstretched and her eyes are the widest he has ever seen. A look of panic. She got his attention and got in front of him, rapidly shaking her head no.

“I want to walk… you know, walk around?” He said to her. She persisted on stopping him.

“What the hell? Why is she scared?” Tears fell from her eyes and her pointed ears dropped a little.

“Something bad must be out here, but how the hell am I going to find out what it is?” He said out loud.

The woman practically shoves him back and pushes him back into the encampment.

“Okay okay okay! I’m going back!” He said to her raising his arms up, showing submission. She was still teary eyed as she snatched him up in her arms, holding him tightly. She sobbed softly as he held her to comfort her.

“I was gonna come back, I wasn’t leaving forever. What the hell has her so spooked?” He said looking around, seeing other people come out of their little huts.

“I need answers.” He carried the woman and took her back to their home. Private Gillespie walked back out of the hut after calming her down and walked up to the other villagers that saw him attempt to leave.

Private points out, “what the fuck is out there?”

A young man held his hand up to stop Gillespie, and ran off. Soon he came back and had a little book. It was something drawn to tell a story.

The young man gave Gillespie the book and motioned him to open it.

Private flipped through the pages, seeing the town built in little drawings. The villagers in brown. The trees bearing special fruit. The portal from the sky. People left the town to settle elsewhere, and these weird gray colored people that were drawn attacked the brown villagers. Lots of red scribbles.

Gillespie pointed to the gray drawings, and then pointed outwards at the young man, and he nodded in response.

“So there’s a possible rival or maybe a group of pillagers that slaughtered these people. So what’s keeping them from coming here?” Flipping back to the different drawings trying to piece it together.

Looking for clues, but didn’t did any.

“So she’s afraid if I leave, I’ll get killed by whoever they are. She must have had someone who went to resettle elsewhere and they were involved in that bloodshed.” It was the only thing that made sense to Gillespie.

Gillespie banded over the book back to the young man, and then it dawned on him.

“Do you have more of those?” As he points to the book, the young man smiled brightly and nodded. With no hesitation, he yanked on Gillespie’s right hand and took him quickly to the young mans personal library. It was a small shelf, but there were a ton of books stacked next to each other. It was the size of a nightstand, just with shelves.

The young man pulled the books out carefully and dumped them one by one onto the desk.

“Holy hell, they are recording their history maybe…” Gillespie said as he started to grab a book. He grabbed a random book from the stack and flipped through the pages. Setting down on the floor, he started opening all the books and trying to piece together the entire story.

It all started by the Portal Queen.

There was a picture of who he believed was her in an orange like color, and she was drawn standing in front of the villagers here, with her stick arm raised and the trees had been planted and growing.

“The Queen raised these trees?” He looked outside, and then back at the book.

Flipped over another page, and it was a picture of the Portal Queen going back in her portal. On the other page, a ton of portals had opened up, with more brown stick figures falling from them. And on a split of a page, objects fell from the portals.

“She put all of these people here. Gave them a place to live.” Gillespie said.

The book was completed, and the young man was smiling at him. He handed Gillespie the next one in, he supposedly was in chronological order.

Opening this book up, was more drawings of their current village. And there was those gray figures again. But they stood outside the village in front of the Portal Queen. Between the Queen and the gray figures, there was a black line between them. Flipped the page over the other side, and saw the Portal Queen depicted, a gray figure depicted next to her, the black line, and then the group of gray figures on the other side.

“She let one person cross this barrier.” Gillespie said as he looked at the drawn pictures.

The young man looked up from Gillespie and it sent a tingle up Gillespie’s spine.

In a blink of an eye, he grabbed his Glock 9mm from his holster with a click, and aimed down the sights of a man, as he was still knelt down at the ground.

Slowly rising to his feet still aiming down the sights, the young man backed himself against the wall.

It was a man dressed in a gray robe.

“The Portal Queen let me pass the protective barrier.” He spoke.

“I know you have a lot of questions, and I have answers that I owe you. So let’s not do anything foolish like putting a round in my head.” The man spoke, and dropped his hood.

Gillespie didn’t shake, nor waiver his stance.

“My name is Stephen, according to your name tape, it says ‘Gillespie’ am I right? Let’s sit for a moment, I’ve been walking around a bit, and I need to rest.” Stephen kept his hands raised.

Gillespie lowered his Glock and holstered it.

Stephen walked past him, and sat down in a chair. The young man in the corner was relieved and started to gather the books in the appropriate order, and re shelve them.

“Thank you my friend, you are an excellent recorder.” Stephen said to the young man, and nodded with a smile.

“They can understand our language, but they cannot speak it. It is why they can’t communicate well. The Portal Queen made that possible.” Stephen looked at Gillespie.

“You are in Heem, a village. If you haven’t noticed by now, they aren’t human. They are half human, to be exact. Other half, is elf.” Stephen paused as he reached for a flask of water.

“I unfortunately cannot tell you what year you are in, or what day it is. It is not known to me. However, I will tell you, I have not aged since my arrival. I suspect that our biological age has been paused. Please sit, Gillespie, you’re making me nervous.” Stephen motioned to the young man to bring a chair and he did for Gillespie.

Gillespie sat down.

“I have a lot of questions, I’m not sure how much time I have with you.” Gillespie said to Stephen, as they faced each other.

“I am the man that crossed the barrier per the Queen in the drawing. I reside here. We have plenty of time.” Stephen responded.

The Revolution at the North Pole

T’was the night before Christmas, and all through the North Pole, the elves worked tirelessly to produce and wrap as many presents for the good little boys and girls in the Nice Department.

But this was far from nice, or naughty.

With no breaks, barely fed, and being forced to keep working.

The Naughty Department was filling the work orders for all the naughty boys and girls, with efficiency. Elves collapsed on the job, their supervisors snatched them up to send them immediately to Sick Bay.

Even the supervisors had been pushed to the max. Two of the most senior staff were found dead by hanging themselves from giant peppermint candy canes in their offices.

Sick Bay tallied up the losses suffered from the Naughty and Nice Departments, and their dry erase board was filling. The Medical crew got to battle rhythm and knew what to do with each exhausted elf. Milligrams of sucrose, hydration fluids, a protein supplement, and a sedative to allow them to rest.

Their beds were filling up.

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer trotted into the factory, after flying around in the cold misty hair to stretch and prepare for the Christmas journey. After time, he learned to get physically stronger as he remained as the lead Reindeer for Santa.

He saw the chaos, and the misery of the elves. It brought a tear to his eye, and his red nose blared.

“It just gets worse every year.” Rudolph said as he looked on at the meekly dying elves. Some were passed out from exhaustion. “But not like this.” He said as he trotted in further.

He almost stepped on an elf that was collapsed on the verge of death.

“Oh my heavens! Are you alright?” Rudolph squatted down and tried to lift him up a little to sit him up. The elf was pale, sweaty, and gasping for air.

“Must.. meet.. quota..” the elf recited. Over and over.

“He’s delirious!” Rudolph grabbed him with his teeth and heaved him over his back. He flew over the Naughty and Nice departments immediately to sick bay.

And he saw the mayhem.

All of the elves lying in beds, hooked up to IV’s, the groans and moans of pain and exhaustion. It was a surprise to Rudolph that even the staff were functioning at this overwhelming capacity.

“Doc! I got one! I need a Nurse!” Rudolph screamed as his bright red nose blared. It got the attention of the staff at the desk.

A nurse elf ran over and reached over to grab the dying elf off of Rudolph’s back, laying the elf down on the floor.

“Oh Rudolph! We are in trouble! I don’t know if we have have beds open!” The nurse elf frantically took vitals on the ground with the dying elf.

“Must..meet..quota..” the dying elf recited.

“Nurse! We’re losing one at bed twelve!” An elf assistant screeched over the desk. Rudolph looked past the desk and saw the elf in question. He was convulsing and flailing around, spitting up peppermint candy juice.

One of the nurses began to suction and maintain an airway. The Doctor elf came storming in and tried to sedate the dying elf at bed twelve to ease the convulsions.

“This is outrageous! He’s the fifth elf in the past 30 minutes!” The doctor yelled, pushing a sedative into the elves right thigh.

The nurse suctioned what was in the way in the dying elves throat.

Rudolph, stood there, watching them work on one elf.

He looked down at the dying elf at his hooves.

The elf looked up at him, reaching out with his right arm.

“Rudolph, I don’t wanna die alone.” The elf whispered, as he knew his time was coming. Rudolph frantically looked down at him, and back at the doctor. And at the nurses station which was unoccupied because all the staff were on patients.

Rudolph flashed and blared his red nose, “Help! He’s dying!”

The nurse elves and the doctor elf rushed over, grabbing the elf at Rudolph’s hooves, and carried him to a bed. The dying elf locked his eyes on Rudolph and his bright red nose, reaching out to him.

“Rudolph! We have a ton dying here, and that son of a bitch Santa and that bitch Mrs. Claus are the reason why!” The doctor yelled as he sedated the dying elf to comfort the elf as he passed onto the next life.

“You’ve got to do something!” The doctor finished.

And at that moment, something happened inside Rudolph, something snapped.

He trotted out of Sick Bay, and felt nothing but anger. He took flight back to the Naughty and Nice Department, soaring overhead. Once he reached up above everyone, he preached, “Elves! Stop what you are doing! Now. You all need rest, and food. The madness needs to stop!” Rudolph thundered his voice down below.

“Take your weak first to the mess halls, get them fed. Rest of you behind them.” Rudolph finished and soared over them to head to the mess hall kitchen.

Rudolph’s nose blared bright red and he announced as he entered the kitchen, “Prepare meals for the work crew! They are sending the weak and the injured first. Dispatch a small team to Sick Bay, feed the wounded and staff. Now!”

The elves started running frantically and getting trays out, opening pots and pans of fresh food of all sorts of varieties of meats and fruits, vegetables alike. A small three elf team took two carts of food for Sick Bay.

Rudolph supervised the operation briefly.

Then, he took flight to the Reindeer Den. Flying in with swift speed, and landed in the middle.

“There is chaos in the Naughty and Nice department, there are dozens of elves dying in Sick Bay. I need all of your help!” Rudolph commanded.

Donner trotted out of his cubicle and stared at Rudolph.

“It’s that unbelievable quota that fucking guy wants these guys to do, Bro. We all tried to tell him!” Donnor trotted closer to Rudolph, Cupid overheard the conversation and peaked his head out from his cubicle.

“Wha… what do you suggest we do?” Cupid asked. A couple of reindeer heard the clatter and commotion.

Rudolph trotted over to his cubicle, his right front hoof moved the pile of hay, revealing a glass plate with a button behind it. He then smashed the glass, exposing a giant red button. A quick buzz sounded as his cubicle floor opened up and arose a metal closet.

“We arm ourselves. And arm any able bodied elves. We are taking this fucking place over!”

Inside the closet were sharpened candy cane spears, peppermint grenades, and gumdrop mines.

Rudolph commanded, “Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, you are Alpha Team. Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen, you are Bravo Team. I will be Romeo One. We’re gonna storm the gates of North Pole Sanctuary, breach, and clear any elven hostiles. End goal, we need to take out Santa and Mrs. Claus. No prisoners gentlemen, no mercy.”

Each reindeer armed themselves appropriately, Blitzen smeared peppermint candy in tiger stripes across his snout and face. The others followed suit and smeared peppermint candy across their snouts.

“Let’s go bag this fuckface!” Rudolph yelled as the other reindeer cheered in motivation.

Cupid punched the intercom pager with his left hoof, to get on the loud speaker in the Mess Hall.

“Attention to all elves, we are arming a resistance force to take North Pole Sanctuary. Any able bodied elf that is able to fight, come to the Reindeer Den, we will arm you appropriately. Time now.” He clicked off the intercom pager.

“And now we wait.” Comet said.

“Let’s see who shows up!” Dasher huffed.

They heard a clatter up the stairs, cheers and grunts from over a dozen elves.

“Elves Squad, reporting for duty!” The tallest elf saluted with his candy cane staff.

Comet nodded off to the side, “arm up!”

Elves grabbed what was left of the sharpened spears, peppermint grenades, and gumdrop mines.

“Okay, Alpha Team, we need you to grab six elves with grenades. You will penetrate the gate. Eliminate any resistance. Once you are clear, Bravo will approach from the west side of you, and breach the access point. Mine that area in case anyone escapes. Exterminate any one. I’ll breach from the south, I’ll meet you all in the center.” Rudolph commanded, and everyone nodded understanding the plan.

The elves saddled up almost two on each reindeer, with Rudolph empty. They took flight from the Reindeer Den, and swung a hard curve around to all face the snowy cold North Pole Sanctuary. Three stories tall of magnificent structure.

The dark dressed elves spotted the reindeer in the sky protecting the gate. There were several of them posting guard.

“Why is Rudolph coming over?” One of them asked.

The senior guard shrugged, “probably to update us on progress of the quota.”

And as the dark elf responded, a candy cane spear pierced through his chest from the back, spraying blood across the snow, the gate, and the guards.

“What the fuck?” The nearest guard yelled as blood splattered his face. “To arms! We are under attack!”

More spears flew from the hands of the elves, striking their intended targets. An elf threw two grenades at the wounded dark dressed elves and the gate, two good massive peppermint explosions erupted. Hard candy shrapnel went everywhere slashing the remaining elves, brutally dismembering them.

A dark dressed elf crawled to the intercom, with no legs. Gasping for air, he punched the button.

“We are under attack!” Rudolph’s hoof crushed through the skull of the squealing elf, and smashed his pink cotton candy brain.

“What?! Who is attacking?” Santa said over the intercom.

“Santa! I’m coming for you, and your bitch!” Rudolph yelled as he smashed the intercom.

Alpha team strapped explosives to the gate and blew it as they all stood clear distance. The bodies of the dead elves disintegrated from the concussive blast.

“Alpha go! Push through! Bravo! Get to your spot!” Both teams dispersed rapidly and made their way to their designated spots. An alarm blared and dark dressed elves came out with their weapons to meet the aggressors.

It was a slaughter fest. Just a night before Christmas.

Bodies of the dark dressed elves littered the place like trash left on the side of the road. Bravo team rigged the exit access point from the west in case anyone escaped. Alpha lunches through the front door, tossing peppermint grenades and getting into fist fights with the darkly dressed elves.

Rudolph took to the skies and went through the south access point. He saw a reinforced door. Unwrapping four peppermint grenades, he charged with mighty speed, and breached the door with his body.

He immediately took flight and released the live grenades, expecting to meet resistance. Dozens of darkly dressed elves threw their spears and chucked grenades at Rudolph. He whipped around and dodged the grenades as his weapons exploded, sending shrapnel and pieces of the elves across the lobby.

Alpha team committed to the breach on their side, as did Bravo. They all met in the bloody lobby.

“Everyone up?” Rudolph commanded.

“Alpha is good!” Dasher replied.

“Bravo is good!” Comet responded.

Rudolph surveyed the area, and looked at the stairs leading up to the offices of Santa and Mrs. Claus.

“This is going to be the worst part. They have the best position. We have to avoid getting near that door, approach it on both sides. Stay clear, breach it, and I’m sure they’ll be expecting us to walk in.”

Without hesitation, Alpha and Bravo stacked up on each side of the door, avoiding standing in front of it. The elves gripped their grenades, and their spears.

Two elves planted gum drop mines at the bottom of the stairs in case anyone walked up on them.

On the other side of the door, Santa Claus was armed with a peppermint mini gun, he wore his red pants and boots, Santa hat, bare chested with chain linked peppermint bullets in an X pattern across his bare chest and stomach. Smoking from his cigar. Mrs. Claus mounted a gumdrop grenade launcher, she wore a red dress, with black boots instead of her black pumps. Sporting a red bandana. Her eyes were trained down the sights.

“Rudolph! You’re a naughty reindeer!” Santa yelled through the hallway. “Come in and lets be civil!” He smiled through puffing his cigar, as he prepared the rotary spin on the mini gun.

He pulled the trigger, and peppermint bullets pelted the door, shattering pieces of oak.

“Christ!!” Dasher yelled.

“Nah, fuck all that!” Comet said, briefly turned around to expose his behind, and kicked the door in with his back hooves. The door clambered open and more peppermint rounds whizzed by, barely skimming past Comet’s buttcheeks.

Prancer approached their side and kicked it the same way to breach their door. Unfortunately, Santa expected this, as he sent a volley of rounds towards that door. Dozens of rounds slammed into Prancer’s flesh, severely wounding him.

An elf screeched and grasped Prancer’s antlers, pulling him out of the way.

“I’ve got him! You get in there and fuck his Jolly Saint Nicolas’ ass up!” The elf yelled as he pressed into Prancer’s wounds to stop the bleeding.

An elf leaped off the back of Dancer.

“Give me all your grenades. I want to throw as many as I can. I won’t haven much time.” He said as he snatched off peppermint grenades.

The elf ripped off his shirt, and showed his bare chest.

“Nah, you won’t make it past that door!” Rudolph exclaimed.

Santa let out a volley of peppermint bullets, Mrs. Claus fired a few gum drop grenades down the hallway. They all ducked for cover.

The bare chested elf had a peppermint grenade in each hand, and licked a couple of the peppermint grenades sticking them to his chest.

“It was an honor, Rudolph.” The bare chested elf was about to approach the door.

“Wait!” Comet yelled.

The bare chested elf stood looking at Comet.

Comet leaped over the door, avoiding the onslaught of peppermint bullets, yelling over the loud weapon fire.

“We’re gonna breach the roof on top of them!”

Comet snatched up the bare chested elf and burst through the roof above them.

Dancer and Blitzen broke ranks and assisted the breach efforts.

“We need to distract them!” Cupid said as he peaked down the hallway. “Hey you fat fuck! I hope I ram my antler up your wife’s ass!”

Mrs. Claus launched a volley of grenades, “I’m in Santapause! Hot flashes here we come!” She unleashed more grenades.

Dancer, Blitzen, Comet, and the bare chested grenade Elf was ready. They slammed their hooves into the roof above Santa and Mrs. Claus, crushing the infrastructure to gain access. Santa pulled up the peppermint mini gun and opened fire. The elf leaped down through the hole and latched onto Mrs. Claus’s back. She frantically screamed in horror.

Santa pulled his mini gun down and aimed it at Mrs. Claus.

“Shoot him!” She yelled as the bare chested elf hugged her.

“Night night, bitch!” The peppermint grenades exploded, and Mrs. Claus absorbed the shrapnel and concussion blast, turning her into a pink mist.

By the time she exploded, Rudolph and the rest of the team stormed the hallway.

Santa snapped to, and opened fire down the hallway. Some of the elves and reindeer hit the ground, some weren’t so lucky.

“Get the fuck down!!” Rudolph yelled to the unwounded staff, as they low crawled quickly to cover. Several of the elves had been wounded.

Vixen and Dasher were wounded as they were the first ones to enter, and laying all low. Yelling from their injuries.

Dancer, Blitzen, and Comet breached quickly down and landed on top of Santa. Santa shoved the mini gun into Comets chest and opened fire, turning his insides into a peppermint factory. He was dead.

Dancer pierced the stomach of Santa, and tore outwards, as he snatched and unraveled his intestines. Blitzen kicked Santa straight in the chest to knock him down.

Rudolph stood over the dying Santa. He was coughing up blood, as it splattered across Rudolph’s fur.

Without hesitation, Rudolph stomped on Santa’s skull. With a loud crunch, his hooves caved into his skull, and he kept stomping into the smashed skull until it was unrecognizable.

“Come on Rudolph, he’s dead. We gotta get our wounded to Sick Bay. It’s over man!” Blitzen yelled at Rudolph, and shoved Rudolph to get his attention.

“It’s not over, it’s never over.” Rudolph replied.

Rudolph trotted over with his bloody hooves, and tried to pick up as many wounded on his back as possible, the remaining survivors grabbed the wounded reindeers, elves, and made their way back to Sick Bay.

Blitzen stayed.

“I need some explosive charges, I’m blowing this place North Pole high!” He searched, and found Mrs. Claus’ gum drop grenade launcher.

“That’ll work.” Blitzen armed himself and took to the snowy cold skies. He pulled the trigger and let the drum magazine full of gum drop grenades fly out the barrel, hitting the sanctuary with everything it had. The explosives set a chain reaction to the weapons area where they kept their weapons, and set off the flammable and combustibles that caused the sanctuary to explode from within.

Santa and Mrs. Claus were no more.

* * *

Christmas Day came.

They rush delivered to all of the nice and naughty boys and girls, as if nothing ever happened. Kids and adults opened up their presents and either cried from seeing coal, or shouted with glee seeing a new toy.

Many elves died in the Revolution, and the events leading to it.

The bare chested Elf that sacrificed himself in the name of freedom, was hailed a hero and he was honored in song. They began to construct a statue, holding a peppermint grenade in each hand.

Comet sacrificed himself also in the name of freedom, as they erected a statue to honor him at the center of the Reindeer Den.

Vixen and Dasher eventually healed from their wounds, and returned to Reindeer duties.

Rudolph and the rest of Alpha and Bravo team protected the elves, and ensured fair treatment of all elves. They were now tasked to carry out the traditions of Christmas. Rudolph, the lead reindeer, with the help of Vixen, took in all naughty and nice lists. Prancer was in charge of letter mail to the North Pole.

And the rest is history….

The Shadow (part 6)

(MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES!)

The Master Magician suddenly appeared in Moludri’s quarters. Moludri looked over his right shoulder with his palm still raised off the desk.

“Hello Moludri.” The Master Magician’s face remained hidden in the shadow of his over sized hood and open his arms in a peaceful gesture. “It appears you discovered a secret!” He said.

Moludri stood up and knocked the chair over.

“What did you do to me?” Moludri replied as his teeth clenched and grind against the molars.

“Moludri…” The Master Magician raised his hands up in a motion to surrender to him. “Allow me to explain. Just a moment.”

“Speak quickly.” Moludri agreed with his hands in tight fists, prepared to deliver the worst blow to the Master Magician’s head.

The Master Magician walked over to the open window slit with his hands held behind his back. “The frost troll toxin that coated the claws, was extremely deadly. And it’s the worst toxin I’ve ever seen. And I’ve been around for two hundred years. The toxin invaded your vital organs, killing you very slowly.” The magician turned his head over his right shoulder, looking at Moludri.

“In all purposes, you were dead by the time you were carried to my chambers.” He paused.

“Once I discovered how badly you were injured, I had to regenerate the good undamaged cells, which wasn’t very many. I had to tap into very dark and evil magic that I haven’t used in a long time, to save you. And with that, I had to… resurrect you from the dead.” His head faced back to the window sill.

“I am not proud of what I had to do. I swore I would never use the dark arts of the arcane, Moludri. I have killed scores of people, warriors, mages, I killed many people. I devoted my time to learn to save lives instead of take them.” The Master Magician said as he faced with his whole body towards Moludri.

Moludri relaxed his stance and slowly released his fists.

“I granted you an ability to be able to heal yourself, and unfortunately it is very permanent. You may think this is a wonderful thing, but I assure you, it is a curse, Moludri. You are in all aspects, immortal.”

The Master Magician took two steps backwards, and his tip tapped the window sill.

“Allow me to demonstrate your ability.” The Master Magician said as he leaned back and over the window sill. Moludri rapidly closed the distance between them to grab the Magician but was too late.

Moludri watched the Magician plummet to his very death from several stories. He heard the disgusting gross wet popping sound as his body hit the pavement below.

Moludri panicked. His hands gripped the window sill as his body was half way out the window peering below.

Then, with his vision, he saw The Master Magician come to life, and then vanished into a wisp.

“As you can see…” The Master Magician appeared from behind him. Moludri snapped around and saw his figure. “I fell from a great height, and broke essentially every bone in my body. My soul never left my shell, and I regenerated.”

The Magic Magician approached Moludri very closely, and they locked eyes for a first time.

“Moludri…” he reached out to Moludri and held his shoulders and paused, “I had no choice. I had to save you. Please understand.”

“You should have let me die, Master Magician. I never wanted this!” Moludri snapped back at the Magician. The magician retracted his arms off of Moludri and back pedaled to avoid a physical confrontation.

Moludri absorbed and played back the Magicians words in his chaotic mind.

“What did you mean by ‘had to save me’?”

“Speak to me tomorrow morning, I will answer your questions. I promise. I owe you this.” The Master Magician faded into a wisp and vanished from his quarters.

Moludri stood in silence, looking over at his bed and his new replaced equipment. “And how the oblivion am I supposed to rest?” He said out loud. He sat in the middle of the room, legs crossed, and tended to his deep meditation techniques. He fell into a trance and allowed himself a brief moment of peace.

What Darkness has fell upon me? What evil lurks in the shadows? Is it me now? Theodmer, what were you telling me?

* * *

The Master Magician re appeared in his healing chamber, clutching his chest. The pain buckled his knees out from under him as he clawed the ground. “What have I done, great Divines? What choice did you give me?!”

The pain became gradually worse, as he crawled on the floor. He eventually made it to one of his work benches. Grasping with dear life of the tables front leg, pulling himself up to the flattop of the table. Gritting his teeth, gripping an ink pen, and a piece of ripped off letterhead. He propped himself up by his arms and his neck strained.

His hands shook from the pain, sweat poured from his face, gasping for breath through the waves of pain that pulsed through him. The magician tried hard to focus each letter onto the parchment.

O….M….N….O….C….

The ink pen slipped from his hand as he collapsed onto his back into unconsciousness.

The Shadow (part 5)

After several days of intense magical spells, potions, solvents, salves, and diligence, Moludri survived the horrendous endeavor.

Moludri, unconscious, laid on a cushioned altar, covered in a medicinal blanket to help extract the remaining toxins that may have lingered in dormant to strike again – and possibly kill him. The Master Magician patted the head of the damp skinned Moludri.

“You are very lucky to be alive. Alive indeed.” The Master Magician said, as if Moludri was wide awake.

His assistants were busy brewing up new potions and creating new solvents to replenish the exhausted supplies hastily. They were all experienced chemists and a couple were arcane savvy. The smells of red mountain flowers and lavender filled the room to mask the pungent smells of the stronger materials used to create new items.

Cerlith was never told that Moludri came back.

She knocked on the door to the Master Magicians room, and one of his assistants answered the door.

Cerlith entered the room, talking to the assistant that greeted her, and looked over at the man on the table. She didn’t recognize him, and didn’t want to bother the Magician. She walked around and watched the assistants work creating more items.

“My Magician, you emptied your shelves. It’s like you prepared a division for war!” Cerlith laughed a little. “You are always fully stocked!”

The Master Magician smiled and looked over at her over his shoulder. “Ah yes, well, we used a ton for a scary toxin that plagued one of our brothers. He’s lucky to survived the ordeal.”

“Well, thank the Divines for your knowledge and your assistants.” Cerlith nodded in gratitude.

And then she walked closer and saw the man wrapped up in the blanket.

“Wait, is he a Red Blade? Or one of the King’s 5th?” Cerlith couldn’t recognize Moludri, he lost a tremendous amount of color and appeared to be lifeless.

“My Cerlith! Don’t be silly! Look at him closely.” The Master Magician said, and moved the blanket off of Moludri.

Cerlith gasped and stumbled back, stricken by surprise. Covering her mouth as to not let out a scream.

“Moludri was badly poisoned by a frost troll on his mission. No normal man would have lived. But he’s alive. We’re not sure the extent of the damage yet, but I am hopeful for a full recovery.” The Master Magician said as he smiled at Moludri.

Cerlith grasped the hand of the Magician, and he turned to her.

“Please take care of him, I was not aware he returned.” Cerlith’s eyes were filled with flowing tears.

“Oh now! Don’t you cry! He’s perfectly safe here. You can come see him anytime you wish. I am very aware of your…love interest with him.” The Master Magician said as he laughed, “I may be old, but I am certainly not blind!”

“Oh I will.” Cerlith wiped her face and held Moludri’s head.

* * *

Khodesh and Haezid sat at the inn in Yagos next to each other. Their back was towards a warm fire being stewed to keep the common area warm. The bard was strumming his lute and sang the story of various heroes come and gone.

“Let’s spend one more night here. And see if Moludri pulls through.” Khodesh mentioned to Haezid.

“I agree. He looked dead by the time we found him. They say he’s gonna make it! The Eights willing, of course.” Haezid finished his mead.

“And this time, no separate beds.” Khodesh got up to talk to the innkeeper.

Haezid was startled as she walked off, looking at her.

“What did she just say? Nah. That’s the mead taking!”

* * *

Moludri was in a deep state of his subconscious.

He sat criss cross in a giant, quiet, empty room. Bright white walls. The only sound was his breathing. Eyes closed. Deep in focus.

Theodmer appeared in front of him.

“Hello cousin.” Theodmer spoke and Moludri’s eyelids ripped open.

Moludri tried to speak but his voice fell silent.

“You can’t talk because you aren’t dead. Don’t panic!” Theodmer shrugged. “So that’s good news for you.” Theodmer walked around to the left side of Moludri.

Moludri could only track him with his head and eyes.

“You are one lucky little Elf I say! Very lucky son of a bitch. As much as I love your company, and miss it, you can’t stay here. The Red Blades need their hero!” Theodmer pats Moludri on the left shoulder and arm as he knelt down.

“There is an evil within your own ranks, and you are the only one that’s going to stop it. I have already foreseen it. Let no one know of your intentions to seek the truth.”

Moludri looked right at Theodmer in his eyes, as Theodmer smiled back.

“I know you can do this. Now wake up! Times wasting!”

* * *

Moludri gasped raggedly and sat straight up, the magician room was dark, and no one was in his room to tend to him. He lifted off the blanket and felt, unusual.

“I know you can do this…”

Theodmer’s voice echoed in his mind.

Moludri felt numb, void of everything. He felt as if he was now just a shell. He was careful with getting off the altar, absent of any clothes. He grabbed the blanket and kept himself covered appropriately.

“I don’t feel right. It must be from my extended mediation.” Moludri said to himself.

“Yet I am not cold. Nor hungry. Not even needing to quench my thirst.” Moludri puzzled, his dark elf vision allowed him to see in the poorly lit room with ease.

Moludri cracked open the door and peered out the little opening. And then he stuck his whole head out of the door.

“Well, perhaps I’ll tiptoe up to my actual room.” He summoned his shadow form, as Moludri turned into a black wisp. The blanket that covered him fell to the ground. He cruised through hallways and rooms, bustling and active training arenas, dining area, and passed through all of the quarters to his.

He reappeared on the other side of the door.

All of his items were exactly how he left it, with a new uniform staged up. He put on undergarments to keep himself covered, and sat in his wooden chair at the desk.

“Oddly enough, I’m not tired either.” Moludri said to himself.

A weird sadistic idea crossed his mind. He wanted to see if he was still stuck in his subconscious mind, so he grasped a tiny throwing blade on the desk in his right hand and poked his left palm. He felt nothing.

Moludri’s facial expression changed.

“Odd. I didn’t feel that.”

He then shoved the blade completely through his hand, tearing through flesh as it started to bleed. The hilt stopped the blade from going further.

He withdrew the knife and laid it on the desk. The blade was covered in his blood from his hand.

Moludri looked at the wound he gave himself, closely analyzing it. But something odd was happening inside him. He felt a weird rush of blood flow, almost like feeling a sense of a flush, and a tingling session go down his left arm.

As he peered into the hole in his hand, his hand started to heal, and started to cover the stab wound that he inflicted upon himself.

“What in the Divines?” Moludri stared at his hand as the hole closed itself up, and left no mark.

“What the hell happened to me?” Moludri said as he turned his hand around back and forth to see the palm and the top of the hand.

The Shadow (part 4)

Moludri had been wounded from the frost troll battle, and with local remedies, and his knowledge of first aid, he’d done his best to prevent infection. Unfortunately, he needed a magician to help heal his wounds as it began to do internal damage.

It has taken him longer to get back to Yagos. He’d been on foot for almost a month. The pain from his wound reached his joints, it affected his energy, and sometimes, he would throw up from being very dizzy. Moludri refused to give up and kept going. He never prayed before to the Divines, but he felt this was the best opportune time to start asking for help.

Moludri, after meditating in the forest, getting closer to Yagos, another three days of travel he estimated in his condition. The meditation he figured would help buy him time to muster his strength.

But as he started to move, his joints in unison ceased to move. He felt what was like an arrow pierce his flesh internally across his chest with searing pain. Clutching his chest, gritting his teeth, he forced his joints to function. He collapsed to the ground, propping himself up on his left hand, both knees into the ground, and his right hand and arm grabbing his chest.

Blackness started to fill his vision. Moludri was not afraid to die, he was a shadow. His remaining strength had diminished, and he collapsed onto the ground.

* * *

“Hey, that’s a Red Blade!”

“What the hell happened to him?”

“He’s barely breathing. We need to get him to Yagos.”

“Wait, he looks familiar. Haezid, look at him.”

“By the Eights! That’s him! We need to move!”

* * *

Haezid was carrying the barely lifeless Moludri in his arms, cradling him. He entered the town of Yagos. Khodesh was calling for help frantically. Some of the soldiers from The Kings 5th Army recognized the assassin immediately, and rushed like a wildfire to come to Haezid.

“Get your master magician! He’s dying!” Haezid yelled as he kept carrying him down the path to the windmill. One of the infantryman scurried quickly to the Red Blades lair, beating on their door.

The Red Blade Guard opened the doors slit at the top with a clank. Her dark elf eyes scanned the guard.

“You are not Red Blade. What is it?” She inquired, as she gripped her daggers handle from behind the door.

“It’s Moludri! He needs help!” The infantryman huffed and looked at her with his wide blue eyes. “He’s being carried!”

The dark elf gasped and took a step back. She closed the door slit quickly and opened the door. As she opened the door, Haezid, Khodesh, and the lifeless Moludri in his arms.

“Thank you, infantryman.” Khodesh nodded to him.

“By the Gods, I hope it’s not too late.” He looked away.

* * *

Haezid and Khodesh met with the Supreme Council, and their Master Magician of the Red Blades. Haezid carried him to the chamber of healing, and laid him down on the concrete slab on top of an altar. The magicians began quickly getting to work, cutting off his gear and stripping his armor. Spells were being performed with a quickness, glowing green and blue auras were floating around and creating their own light.

“The Frost Troll had some form of a poisonous toxin..” the Master Magician G’wilt said. Analyzing the injury closely as Moludri was levitating off the altar. His giant crimson robes and his hood covered G’wilt’s face and long white hair. “Any normal person would have died from this. We will do our best, the toxin reached all of his vital organs. We must not be disturbed.” The Master Magician escorted aggressively everyone out of the chamber and closed the door behind them.

Raelgae looked at Haezid and Khodesh before he spoke. Omnoc stood behind them.

“The Red Blades are in debt to you both. Tell me, how did you know who he was?”

Haezid explained the story of how Moludri helped them defeat Tadena the Evil to assist in saving the King’s children.

“We owed him our lives, without him we wouldn’t have been able to defeat Tadena.” Khodesh finished the story for Haezid.

Omnoc nodded, “We are eternally grateful, deeply. You knew Theodmer then…”

Haezid felt a rock hit his chest.

“Theodmer was my friend. I was there when he was killed. I watched him take his very last breath.” Haezid finished.

“You’ve done us a great service in bringing back Moludri. I will be sure to inform him, if he wakes up from this.” Raelgae said as he reached out to shake both Khodesh’s and Haezid’s hands.

“I wish to offer you each an item from our armory, and I wish to offer you a Red Blade medallion. It will grant you passage to our sanctuary. You show this to the guard on duty, and they will know to let you in. Come, follow me.” Raelgae motioned them out of the hallway, Haezid and Khodesh following closely.

As they disappeared from Omnoc’s view, he stood there as he heard the magicians chant different healing spells and could see bright flashes of different colors from under the door.

“The Divines I beg of thee, do not take our Shadow.” Omnoc said, as he sat cross legged onto the floor and meditated in deep thought.

“I do not know many magical spells, but I will offer Moludri my strength to heal.” Omnoc said to himself as he channeled his inner strength to Moludri. A dim orange color emitted from Omnoc, as it turned into a steady stream of a wisp under the door to the dying Moludri.

The Portal Queen (part 3)

Private Gillespie, (Bravo Five)

Date and time: Unknown.

Location: Unknown.

It’s been three months since I was sent here by the Portal Queen. So I estimated according to the tally marks I etched into the concrete slab I found. No one from my team, nor anyone that I’m aware of, has come to look for me.

This woman who took me in since day one, although she has strange mannerisms, she’s been my caretaker. Feeds me, cleans my clothes, she’s shown me around this…place. I’ve met other villagers and they’ve welcomed me into their homes. I haven’t quite grasped their language yet, and they appear to not treat me as an outsider. They have not brought harm to me.

I do my best with hand gestures, or I say things a certain way, and they seem to understand. Which I find interesting, and also frustrating. I’m not sure what race they are, but it reminds me of those fantasy children stories with elves. Or half elves? They have facial features of humans, but their ears are pointed.

I do routine foot patrols on my own, I carry my MP5 and my Glock, in my full gear. It’s the only thing that’s normal for me. I feel the need to protect them from dangers, which I haven’t met any. It used to scare the townfolk, but they got used to it. They know I’m here and I haven’t hurt anyone.

It’s strange. It’s peaceful here.

This woman, who has been my caretaker, took me to what resembled a carnival. They have games and mostly the prizes are money. It’s their currency. Mostly coins, no paper money. I was shown little stores that sell certain commodities such as towels, clothes, food products, metals, bedding, even this kind of vanilla candy that is very addictive. I’m sure the dentists wouldn’t recommend, it’s very sweet. But gives an opioid like after effect. It’s how I found this empty paperback book I commandeered as a journal in the general store. The owner is my neighbor. Every time I enter his store, he gives me a hug and a smile. And ushers me around to show me everything he has. I made a bad habit of spending money in his store.

I wish I knew her name, my caretaker, she’s been so kind to me. And in her way, she’s shown her affection to me. She smiles at me all the time, and always goes out of her way to treat me well. I’ve done my best to return the gestures. I’ve grown very fond of her. She’s beautiful! Head to toe. Even her heart is pure gold.

I got used to her sleeping naked next to me, although I’ve been afraid to touch her in a seductive way, because I’m not sure if that’s something they do. And the last thing I need to do, is cause some kind of trauma to her. I’m surrounded by a town that has been nice, and the last thing I need to do is piss the entire town off, and I’m sure I’ll meet a bitter end.

Some of the kids here didn’t know how to play soccer, it was something they’ve never seen before. Amongst the rubble, I found a ball that was very close to a soccer ball. I showed the kids they can kick the ball back and forth, and I was able to construct with materials a goal. Eventually with time, the kids made their own little soccer field in the rubble near the town, and they are playing it.

Even became a spectacle sport for the adults cheering for their children’s teams they made up themselves. It took a little bit, but I decided I had to show them something fun for the children. Felt the need to do something for them.

I need to venture out and try to find an elder, maybe he or she can help me understand where they came from, and why are they here. I have a lot of questions, and answers I’ve been trying to create on my own.

Even though I’m sure I’m stuck here and I’ll never return, I need to know where THIS is.

The Shadow (part 3)

Mount Artentis, cold and snowy at this time of year.

Moludri traveled for three weeks, through different weather patterns, stayed at local inn’s, gained intelligence and gossip from patrons and workers alike. He bumped into some of the Kings 5th army and tried to get more of a picture as to what could have happened.

He knelt down in the snow during the winding path up the mountain next to a skull, analyzing it with his eyes. Lifting the skull up carefully with both his hands. The blood had clotted and due to the weather conditions, some of it had congealed under it, leaving a jelly puddle.

The jaw was missing, no eyes, and the back of the skull had been broken, revealing a cavity the size of his fist. Moludri turned it around to inspect it further.

“Hard to tell if this was an unlucky traveler, or one of the scouts. His or hers brain is completely gone. Jaw severed.” He thought to himself.

Moludri stood up, after placing the skull back where he found it, and began the trek up the winding path into the mountain. Fresh snow crunched against his boot soles, looking around for more clues.

After about a half hour, he found his next clue.

It was an arm, severed at the shoulder as he pulled the arm out from the snow. It too, unfortunately, wasn’t enough to convince him that it was the remains of the scouts. It was just flesh, frozen and rigid from rigor mortis. Whatever did this, it wasn’t a blade.

“Someone ripped his or hers arm off. But where was the body?” He thought to himself.

He stopped and scanned the area as best as he could through the frozen tundra. The trees and bushes were beautifully dusted with snow and ice accents. Blood would be easy to show up in white. Then, he saw through the snow, the unmistakable crimson splatters. Or was it a red berry winter bush? Moludri walked up closer to see.

And there it was. The biggest clue of them all.

A scouts mutilated body was impaled through the chest and abdomen from the front, shoved into a wide tree trunk, and with both arms and legs ripped off. The scout wore the King’s colors for their regiment. The snow camouflaged the scout and his blood.

As he looked past the tree, he saw the rest of the scouts, or in this case, what was left of them. Moludri approached each tree, slowly, visually examining each mutilation. All various, most of them kept their heads, few were decapitated.

Moludri stood still, examining the last corpse he found, and he heard a crunch.

At an instant, he drew his katana and went into an immediate battle stance in the direction where he heard the sound. Waiting for movement. Something shifted not too far from him. A shape perhaps? What moved?

Then it blinked.

Moludri stood stiffly, and watched for it to blink again in case he was hallucinating.

It blinked again.

It’s white fur was an excellent natural camouflage in the environment. Once Moludri moved slowly forward, the frost troll then roared ferociously, showing his bloodied set of teeth. His hot breath deployed a mist in the cold air.

It rapidly closed the distance as it ran on all fours towards Moludri before leaping in the air to tackle him, and presumably remove his extremities as the troll did with the others.

As the troll leapt into the air, Moludri ducked and rolled under the gap between him and the angry frost troll. Immediately getting up he slashed at a diagonal fashion against the frost trolls back. The creature roared in pain as blood splattered on its fur and the snow. The troll turned around and swiped with its right arm to snatch up Moludri.

With a high kick, Moludri’s foot met the arm of the troll to deflect it, as the troll turned completely around to face him. They were at an arms distance, and Moludri knew this was dangerous. Moludri dropped and rolled back and left to gain distance as rapid as he could and went into a defensive stance with his sword to block an incoming attack.

The troll wasn’t slowing down, it wanted nothing more than to rip Moludri apart.

The trolls right arm came down with a swing, and Moludri met it with cold steel, slicing the flesh of its forearm. In return, the troll clawed the back right shoulder blade of Moludri leaving him stumbled and off balance. The claws sheered through his hardened leather and exposed flesh.

With a surprise, the troll kicked his injured side and sent him sprawling into the snow, katana still gripped in his hand.

Moludri rolled on his uninjured side through the fresh snow, and was on his feet again. Feeling the sting and his hot blood trickling down his cool skin. He sheathed his katana and prepared two daggers.

He had a plan. And it was going to be risky.

Dagger in each hand, he kept his stance low and aggressive. The troll roared in anger as the pain from its two injuries began to slightly blind its judgement.

“I guess you don’t like it when food fights back.” Moludri said to the troll.

“Let’s dance just a little longer.” Moludri finished.

The troll charged again and went to grab Moludri to wrap him up in its arms, to squeeze Moludri to death. He found an opening between the trolls legs and dove between them, he then got to his feet and stabbed both daggers straight down into each side of its neck. The blades sank deep with a wet chunky sound as the troll roared, grasping behind it to grab Moludri.

It grabbed Moludri by the arms and flung him like an insect about ten feet away into a tree trunk, slamming his back into it. The wind knocked out of him, gasping to regain himself. He was used to being beaten badly in training, so he could handle it in a real fight – for his life.

The frost troll roared and couldn’t reach the daggers well with its clunky arms, but Moludri had a secret. The dagger blades were poisoned, and since he introduced the blades into where he suspected the vital blood flow of the troll (assuming it resembled close to a human), it wouldn’t be long until the troll would die. Eventually, the troll removed both daggers after it gained its composure, blood leaking from two fresh new holes.

Moludri scrambled to his feet and drew his katana again. The troll began to stumble, whether the poison or the blood loss was significant enough to disrupt proper function, something slowed it down.

It’s roar became faint, as it dropped to its knees. Moludri noticed the face was turning into a dark green, and blood poured from its eyes and mouth, and the ear canal began to ooze blood. The poison was working it’s way through and killing it.

Moludri stood and watched the frost troll die slowly. Without providing it mercy by removing its head.

After the poison took full control, it’s eyes burst like bubbles in boiling soup, blood spurted from its nose and ears. The troll fell onto its right side, as the poison seized its brain and stopped all functions.

Moludri stood over its corpse, bleeding slightly still on his upper back, making sure the troll wasn’t breathing. He stuck the flat end of the katana blade next to the entrance of its nose, to see condensation indicating breathing. Moludri saw none, but wanted to make sure.

He lifted his katana up and came down on its neck, severing the trolls head completely from its body. Moludri used the dead trolls fur to clean his katana before he sheathed it back, and had to make the trek back to report the mission being completed.

As Moludri made his way down the path, he knew he needed to stop somewhere to properly inspect his wounds, and ensure no infection took place. It would be a day or two until he got somewhere to be seen, so he cleaned it the best he could with the snow. He headed to the previous town he stopped at prior, and checked himself into the inn for much needed rest.