Friday, August 21, 2009

Turning the Tables

A chill wind howled through the tournament grounds, catching tent flaps and snapping them forcefully to create a canvas applause that echoed across the nearly empty fields. Fulguralis pulled his violet cloak tighter around him and clutched the stack of mail he carried tightly to his chest as if worried that the malevolent wind would reach down and attempt to make a delivery of it's own to recipients unknown. His wife would be quite angry if he inadvertently lost the fruits of her labor.

He scowled at the thought. He loved his wife with a fiery passion that consumed his sharded soul, but being married to a being of the Light had it's downsides. Mostly, she always insisted on doing things the right way. There was no cutting corners or taking shortcuts. For a warlock, it was torture. Torture, when done right, could be quite pleasurable, however.

That's the succubus talking, Ful, a voice in his brain warned. Fulguralis shook his head as if to remove the unwelcome thoughts by force. Consorting with demons did strange things to one's mind, and it was a constant struggle to remain true to one's sense of self. Fulguralis knew that if he did not keep his mind right, he would be become the minion instead of the master.

Beside him, his succubus let out a mirthful, seductive laugh at her master's struggle. Fulguralis didn't take it personally. He knew she was just teasing him, reminding him that she was there. She didn't like it when he turned his attentions elsewhere. He eyed the winged she-devil with a look of admonishment. She grinned back shyly, glancing over her shoulder as if to say: spank me, I deserve it. In response, the warlock just glared at his minion.

The mailbox stood in front of him now, and he carefully withdrew the letters from inside his cinched cloak. Depositing them in the slot, he turned around and squinted up at the coliseum that dominated the landscape. A single white flake drifted down and lit upon his upturned face, sending a shiver down his spine. It appeared as if they were going to get some more snow.

"Great," he muttered aloud, "just what this place needs. More snow."

As if on cue, the skies opened up and white flakes began to descend in earnest almost as if the clouds themselves had grown tired of flight and longed mingle among the beings on the ground. Fulguralis pulled his hood up over his head and glanced at the succubus beside him. She was twirling around with her tongue out in some kind of girlish display of pure ecstasy. It was as he was observing her odd behavior that he noticed two burning blue eyes watching him from the darkness of one of the coliseum corridors.

"It's her again," he whispered at no one in particular. "I've had about enough of this."

Turning to his minion, the warlock gave a quick order under his breath and she came to his side instantly, eyes alight at the opportunity for mischief. Fulguralis spun on his heels, his red cape flaring out dramatically behind him and began to march towards the coliseum, succubus in tow. He was heading for the entrance on the far side of the arena where he'd been sneaking away often to challenge other champions alongside several fellow adventurers. He knew that his stalker would follow him to the doorway and then sometimes wait outside for the event to end. He planned to use that knowledge to his advantage.

As he approached the entrance, he glanced furtively over his shoulder to ascertain that he was, indeed, still being followed. He was rewarded by the sight of two burning blue orbs floating as if disembodied in the soft white blanket that had been cast across the grounds. There was no doubt about it, death knights just did not make good spies. The whole glowing eye thing sort of took away from the stealthiness.

Stepping up to the large iron gate, he pulled the rusty lever set in the wall to the right, expecting the gate to raise immediately and admit him. Nothing happened. He pulled again, nothing. He glanced up at the rafters in anger and spotted a gyphon-mounted guard huddled under the eave. He was apparently trying to escape the sudden onslaught of snow.

"My friend," Fulguralis hollered, "what's wrong with the gate? It used to always open straight away."

The guard, a rough looking Dwarf, shrugged and hollered back, "Yeah, yeah. S'pose yer gonna be cursin' the gods too. Tis been like that what with the influx o' champions. The builders keep promsin' ta get it a fix, but ne'er do. Yeh'd do well ta find yerself an ale and settle in, could be a while."

Fulguralis glanced around at several other adventurers that were sprawled drunkenly around the entryway. He was about to ask where the ale could be found when the heavy gate rattled open on it's own accord. Apparently the gates no longer responded to the command of operator or guard, but worked on a schedule that seemed entirely their own. The warlock shot the guard a questioning glance, eyeing the arena beyond the gate. The dwarf just shrugged.

Quickly, before the gate could mysteriously shut itself again, Fulguralis entered the coliseum. No sooner had he entered than the gate crashed shut behind him with a resounding clang. There were a few groans from the other adventurers that were The sound echoed off the stone building, but was swallowed whole by the fluffy monsters that spawned from the clouds above and drifted down from the sky to aggro on the ground. Fulguralis turned and glanced back through the gate, wondering if his plan would work and the death knight would wait around to see what he was up to.

At first, he saw only the shadows of the corridor and the white curtain drawn across the world beyond. Then, faintly, two blue orbs glowed at him from the darkness, quickly extinguishing as their owner hid herself back behind one of the many columns that supported the structure.

The warlock grinned and rubbed his hands together in anticipation.

No comments:

Post a Comment