Andril’s long hair was blown back by the whoosh of the wind from the dropping cocoon. The screaming echoed inside of Haryk’s mind. Haryk tried to contemplate what he had just seen, but there was no way to do it. Not for even the grizzliest and saltiest of soldiers. His ravaged mind, now raw from the savageness of seeing so many innocent people falling to their doom, could only be interrupted by an even more sinister sound. Haryk looked up to see the beasts beginning to crank the chains once more. Another of the cocooned prisons was inching it’s way towards the ceiling again. Along it’s surface more of the alien, spiderlike creatures clawed. Around it hovered several of the mindflayers and one of the massive eye beasts, the beholder! But before it made it, there was a frantic shout from inside, as if many voices cried out at once. Suddenly, from inside the structure, a blade pierced outward. It cut a swath across the side. The outer layer peeled off like skin on a roasted chicken, and the twisted forms of bodies clamored over one another to get out. The frenzy of bodies was so chaotic and so smooshed together that it looked as though they had all been mashed and fused in a great pile. The lump of bodies churned and one of the men dislodged himself and tried to climb out. Reaching out, he couldn’t grasp anything and fell into the blackness. Then a head emerged, followed by another. Neither could move for the rest of them were too tangled. But Haryk could see through the darkness well enough to know that one of the men’s heas belonged to none other than Hojo, the King’s jester!”
At just that exact moment, two dark figures appeared in the tunnel behind them! Haryk began to feel the penetration, the protrusion into his psyche once more, but this time he felt himself fighting against it too! It wasn’t a fight he could win, but it gave him some time.
Andril saw the two figures advancing upon them, so tall they had to stoop over. Their long claws scraped the cavern sides. Their eyes aglow with hatred! Neither was in a hurry. “Looks like my silence spell doesn’t work so well with these fellows!”
COME SLAVE. COME.
“Hey, I ain’t nobody’s slave!” Cried Haryk. He fired into the tunnel, expelling one then a second round. But both of his bullets struck something invisible in front of them and ricocheted off the tunnel wall. Zing! Zing! “Fuck these force fields!”
He heard laughter in his mind. OUR MISTRESS HAS BEEN LOOKING FOR YOU TWO. IT IS GOOD THAT WE HAVE FOUND YOU.
“Well tell your mistress, that the Lords Haryk and Andril had fun with her, but we’ve decided to go back to our wives.”
Andril stepped back to the edge of the ledge, his heel reaching the end quickly. “Looks like they’re immune to bullets and a sense of humor, Haryk.” Then to the beasts, he cried out in some unholy language that Haryk figured he learned from a book.
There was no reply but Haryk heard more sinister laughter tear it’s way in his mind. The figures came closer, and closer. They were only paces away now.
Andril pointed his staff at Haryk. “Whatcha say we go out being the good guys for once?”
“Only because it’s not expected of us,” snarked Haryk.
Andril spoke a word of magic just as a blast of energy that was both powerful and invisible struck Haryk’s mind. Once more he felt the part of him that was him begin to leave his body. Like an acid eating away at metal, he was dissolving into nothingness. Nothing except pain.
He felt himself lifting up and out of his body. Here I go he thought. They’ve got me now Andril. They’ve flayed my mind.
“Not just yet!” shouted Andril into his ear. Haryk looked down to where his body should be and saw only that the two creatures were standing on the ledge of the tunnel. His body wasn’t there, nor was Andril’s. I must have fallen into Ket! Figures. Then, he saw his hand in front of his face, and realized he hadn’t left his body at all!
Andril cried, “I hope you’ve been practicing your flying, Lord Haryk! You’re going to need it!”
Haryk watched as the mage, like a sparrow, fluttered about him, twisting this way and that. He was using his arms and legs to guide him and Haryk remembered how he once did the same. He flapped and mostly spun around but somehow moved in the air somewhat. Over and out into the chasm they floated, levitating upwards. Haryk could feel the mindflayer’s power slipping. As he felt his own coming back, a thought occurred to him. A thought he had never had before. There’s mind over matter, that’s your department Bookworm. But there’s something else too. He loaded a new munition into his gun and aimed it at the mindflayers who were now levitating upwards towards them. There was no expression on their cold faces, but Haryk could feel the sense of superiority through their mind weapons. He knew, although he didn’t know how he knew, that they were savoring his death. There’s also matter over mind. And that’s my fucking department!
His weapon fired but this time the bullet was not obstructed. Explode Haryk thought deeply in his mind–he felt himself calling out in places he hadn’t known he had, in places he had only just realized existed. There was an energy there that wasn’t his. Lights in the darkness, Haryk. We’re all just lights in the darkness.
And then, he found something. And even better he felt a sense of fear that wasn’t his.
Around the savage creatures a fireball erupted. It blasted them both against the side of the cavern before they could act. Their limp bodies, ablaze with flames, fell into the darkness!
“Holy wyvern shit!” Cried Haryk. “I am a magic-user too! Andril did you see that fucking shit?”
“Don’t get too excited,” muttered Andril. He was floating next to Haryk and looking upwards. Above them, the cocoon swayed, and nearly a dozen of the mindflaying creatures were drifting down to them! Above it all, behind the apparatus and the massive machinery, the slime beast’s tentacles writhed as if directing orders like a conductor in a Cellinese symphony.
The gems on the walls began to glow a darker shade of green–pulsing with a faster interval.
“I have no idea what we’re going to do by the way!” Sighed Andril. “Best I can do is congratulate you for realizing you can harness some magic, and take a few of these fuckers with us.”
“Actually Andril, that doesn’t sound too bad to me,” answered Haryk, who couldn’t believe he had a brain left, again. “By the way, just so you know, you snore.”
Andril looked over at his adventuring companion and nodded, “You do too you fucker.” Then, the two magic-users pointed their weapons upwards, laughing out loud.
“Damn right you guys snore!” Shouted a voice. A boy’s voice! It rang through the cavern like a tsunami siren in Far Realm! Below them, somewhere, but where?
It was the absurdity of the voice that stopped Andril and Haryk from firing. They twisted their heads around and beneath them just in time to see a gleaming steel shape burst from the darkness of a tunnel. The gaping mouth was followed by a neck and massive wings of a dragon! At high speed, the dragon hurtled through the air, tipped it’s wing to redirect it’s enormous body and it swallowed the mindflayer whole! Pumping it’s wings and throwing back it’s tail, the steel dragon then hovered in mid-air, and belched out a bolt of sizzling white-hot lightning. The beam of energy sizzled a second of the creatures. Next to them, the scorched remains of it fell into the black abyss!
Haryk cheered he was so happy. He had never thought he’d be happy to see a dragon! But this was no ordinary dragon! For atop it, clutching the sides of it’s neck, smiling from ear to ear across his youthful face, rode a boy! “Tahg!” Haryk called out, firing his weapon at another of the blasted mindflayers. The recoil of his weapon caused him to , spin helplessly around and around until he caught his flying balance and stabilized himself clumsily.
“Hiya old chums!” Cried Tahg. “Come on Drongo, my boy! Let’s teach these Ketian bastards how we do things in downtown Far Realm!”
“Not without my help!” called a proud voice and out from the same tunnel flew a second steel scaled dragon. This time though Haryk could see the rider clearly for his armor shone in the dim light as brilliantly as the scales of the dragon on which he rode. The knightly armor shone like a diamond in the sun, and behind the figure, waving in the breeze of their flight, his emerald green and gilded cloak fluttered behind him.
“Let’s teach these Ketian scumbags how Celns fight! For Cellinor! And for all the goodly folk!” Cried Genoran, the now king of the realm had made it to the fight at last!