EoT_Chapter I: 09 Servant of the Goat

. Previously                    ¦             The Beginning of the Story





IMMERALDamn. It didn’t work. Despite the uniform and the skillful performance of Undir – really strange the boy – the guard at the door was adamant on his demand for a pass to the Keep Tower. All this security, this zeal in complying with the order, however, is auspicious. The tower must be the place where they keep the Fire Opal. I have no doubt of that.

“We have to find this Galleret” declared Francisco. His calm expression and devoid of feeling, as a verdict. Undir nodded. “Yes, the guard was very clear. We can access the tower only with a pass, signed by Lieutenant Galleret. “

“The more we stay motionless in the parade ground and the more we risk attracting the attention of the other guards and orc patrols on the walkways along the walls.” The voice of Elarik did not hide his concern. “Elarik’s right. Two guards alone accompanying so many prisoners .. Our cover is already fragile by itself. We must do something..”

“Elarik said it already!” The reasoning of Azulenia was abruptly interrupted by the acid cawing of Reed. “But where do we find this lieutenant? We do not even know what he looks like. It will be like looking for a needle in a haystack. It would really take a stroke of luck .. “


“LIEUTENANT GALLERET.. LIEUTENANT GALLERET ..” The voice came from across the courtyard. A soldier ran, out of breath, toward a man of medium height. The unkempt appearance, his uniform in disarray and his plump and ruddy face betrayed a penchant for the wine, by the part of the officer, who received a dispatch from the quartermaster, walked toward a low building along the inner walls of the fortress.

“Reed, here your stroke of luck!” chuckled Tordek.

– – –

Fifteen minutes later we go out in compact formation from the same building where Galleret had slipped in only minutes before, and we had discovered it to be his quarters and office, and our passes too! The lieutenant proved to be a coward and he issued the documents at our first threats. Now he was stark naked and tied up like a sausage in the wardrobe of his room. “We cannot hope he stays bound forever, and someone can find him so we have to hurry.”

“Leaving him alive was your idea woman.” Tordek was deeply disappointed. “If he frees himself and runs off to alert the others I hold you personally responsible.”

“Shut up Tordek!” shushed him Francisco. “We are not murderers, we do not kill in cold blood.”

“And then he surrendered.” Even Undir had supported the lady paladin of Petra when it was time to determine the fate of the man.

“Now quit it, all of you. Here we are. Now let’s see if all this, AT LEAST, was useful for something.” I was the first to be surprised by the hardness and the unusual tone of my words. The tension was consuming me.

“You again!” The guard’s voice comes muffled and distorted throughout the massive wooden and steel door which is the only access to the Keep Tower. It is a square, squat building, as tall as it is wide, about twenty feet. “Umpf. It seems that this time you have the permission to enter.” Then he opened the heavy door. “I hope you have good reasons to come to the tower. Paurillian seems particularly irritable today.”

“We search for Aurelian” I say to the guard. The information collected so far in fact lead us directly to the apprentice of the wizard Bargle, the great adviser to the Baron Ludwig von Hendriks. We also know that the Infamous – nickname given by the wizard’s detractors – is absent from Fort Doom. If the Fire Opal is in the fortress it must be in the hands of his personal assistant, Aurelian indeed.

DDA3_Paurilian“Who beseeches him? And why?” The voice, that we hate immediately, is scratchy and full of wickedness. The man in front of our face is tall and gaunt. With a large balding forehead that is turning out to be all forehead, but at the same time long and greasy grayish hair that come down from the sides of his head and past the shoulders. The eyes are small black pitch puddles. Expressionless. A hooked nose reminiscent of a rapacious bird, as well as the long fingernails, more claws than nails. He is dressed in black; the robe covered with wide strips of leather and metal studs. But what is impossible to miss is the heavy burnished iron chain that hangs from the neck. The mesh is composed of large riveted rings that end upon a sacred symbol, also made of wrought iron. It is the head of a goat with large curved horns, like those of a ram.

“Orcus!” I hear Francisco whispering and from the tone of his voice I am sure that it will not end well. The intransigence toward the servants of Entropy and the undead creatures by a cleric of Ixion will eventually get us into trouble.

“Not a word Francisco” I whisper hoping the servant of Orcus doesn’t hear me. “Think of our mission, the reason why we are here.” But my words fall on deaf ears.

I turn quickly to seek solace in the eyes of the others. Elarik seems more responsive, his hand already on the hilt of his sword, ready to move. Azulenia, to my left, already murmurs prayers to her goddess. Tordek, oddly, seems the most comfortable of all. Probably because of his small stature he missed the implications of the twist in the situation.

DDA3_SkeletonWarriorI go back to look to Francisco. His hand, often shaky, is now firm and resolute. I see it moving towards the chest and naturally expose the golden fire wheel, attached to a chain, also made of gold, hanging from his neck. The sacred symbol of the Lord of Light is exposed.

“IXION !!” hiss venomously Paurillian. His eyes are reduced to narrow slits.

The challenge was launched. A wave of the hand of the Black Prince servant [1] and the two doors to our left, closed so far, are wide open, by magic. In the room pour in some skeletons, animated undead creatures through necromantic magic, and soon we are surrounded!

This is the end.

To be continued.

Cast of Characters

[1] One of Orcus names, as well as the The Goat, Ordog, Oruguz and Ou-Rong. Other names are the Lord of Darkness and the Dead and the Patron of Violence.




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