SoB_Chapter IV: 26. In Orci culum incidas – May you fall in Orcus’ ass (“Adagia” Erasmus of Rotterdam)

Previously         ¦       The Beginning of the Story


A cave in the Dymrak Woods


A day, Glimreen was again in the cave of the big green dragon, his efforts to please the dragon family with jokes and tricks, were abruptly stopped when a few goblins arrived and, with them, the only man he had seen in a long time.

Not a pleasant sight at all in fact, a tall and young man, at least for what a gnome could tell, but not with an athletic body, quite pudgy in fact and with a repugnant face. He would have been handsome, in truth, if not for the utter cruelty in his blue-gray feral eyes. When they looked to Glimreen he felt his preternatural hate, while the stranger caressed the handle of so black a whip, that it seemed to suck all light away. The gnome tried to look elsewhere and studied the man: not only his whip was black but the clothes too, a seemingly silken tunic cut out from shadows. The only contrast was in his eyes and the hair, blond and cropped short. But the most horrible thing was the medallion, a rough burnished black iron thing, worn openly on the chest: a demonic head, similar to a cow or goat, with huge ram horns. He started to speak – Marvelous, he knows the draconic tongue? – soon to be stopped by the huge green.

“Do not offend my ears, human, with your foul pronunciation of our noble and ancient language” – replied angrily the beast, in Elvish – “What do you want? Be quick.”.



The unperturbed man, answered with no troubles and a cultured voice, a big contrast with his savage look – “Bernal [1] is here to confer with you, noble dragons, on behalf of his Queen. As you may have heard, they are gathering forces to strike and punish this puny Dukedom: many humanoid tribes pledged their loyalty to his Queen! And they have other, well placed, friends … They will win, for sure, but it will be easier with your help and there will be plenty of rewards for they all!”

“Yes, I heard of your … “Queen”” – said the beast in disgust – “but I will not help her: you are few, you are small, Karameikos has strong armies, I don’t search for troubles. I don’t even kill humans, a part for a few adventurers and trespassers in my domain, not even that tasty villagers not far from here! I do not mix myself with human politics, it’s between your Queen and their Duke or King or how he wants to call himself. My children behave in the same way as I, because I order them so, a part for a few halflings or strangers they bring me as meal” – said the dragon appraising the human … – “Tell her never to send me again her slaves!”

Bernal is no slave but he has two royal masters: to his Queen he pledged his life and to The Black Prince [2] he pledged his soul. Neither are known for their patience, nor mercy! Pray you don’t have to see it first hand, dragon. Her Majesty instructed Bernal to leave open for you Her proposal, for a while, don’t wait too long, She has a long memory …” – and that said, with no fear of the beasts, the Orcus follower went away without waiting for the goblin escort, which run after him in shame.

“Father …”

“NO! Leave that man and his Queen out! They are insane, their endeavor is dangerous. Here we have all we could want and you will obey me!” – said the father dragon to his sons.

I sense family issues there, maybe something I can take advantage of …. – thought Glimreen before being spirited away by his draconic master.

In fact the gnome cautiously probed and found that the youngsters were not fond of the father, like human teenagers with sterns parents, but in a few weeks, his kidnapper grew bored of him and decided to give him to the goblins, trying to align them more with himself than with his father, in case he decided to act against him.

The goblins were, well, goblins and Glimreen was only just about able to not be eaten, convincing them that, in eating him, they would never be able to absorbGoblins_-_Steve_Prescott his magic. He helped them with small cantrips and feigned to teach them, while searching for information about his position and a way out from the clan base. His powers expanded a lot: a day he suddenly woke up from a profound sleep, in the darkness he had felt a deep voice amidst the cries of seagulls and the angry waves: “I’m older than the sea itself, you cannot escape my reach, nor my pledge …”  said the roaring voice, slowly fading away in the distance …

That morning he found under his pallet a strange book, with similar symbols to the one he read in the Great Library … actually it WAS that same book, he lost hundreds of miles away, up in the skies! It had been The Mariner for sure and the book was ivory white, as Glimreen remembered it and covered in, slightly moving (when you were not looking), waving symbols. It was a thin book, and he opened it with apprehension, but he was not deeply enthralled like the first time and inside he found strange but understandable symbols that expanded his magical repertoire. He also learned that his mind could read the simple minds of the goblins and he was confident he could even attack them but he never tried. With his heightened senses he was also able to find a good arcane focus, a small shiny pink quartz crystal, in the “prized” gifts for the Dragon-god, but was unable, otherwise, to succeed in his escape. Often beaten, famished and thirsty, he felt more and more hopeless with every passing day. Maybe he should use his powers soon, in a foolish trial of escape …

To be continued!

Cast of Characters

[1] Bernal is a quite disturbed man, maybe because of his creed or he has this creed because he is disturbed: anyway he always speaks in the third person.

[2] The Immortal of Entropy Orcus is also called The Goat (from his looks and symbol), Master of the Dead and The Black Prince. His favored weapon is a black +5 Whip of Draining.





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