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Email Magnus Drake: Jorem thorn@aol.com

 

Songs of the Lost
Magnus Drake

The clouds and thick oppressive fog robed everything of its color and distinction until each tree, rock and bush ran together into some grim, limbo scene. It seemed natures only defense against the human intruders who were invading her dark woods for the first time in centuries.

He knew they were out there, he could hear their thoughts, feel their malice. Hatred directed at him. Their foul smelling torches filled the dark wooded valley with a sea of hellish light and as points of flame glowed and flickered amidst the dark like the eyes of demons.
They were coming for him, as he should have expected, their fear of the unknown and hatred for the unique finally having taken control. A maddened mob hunting him like a beast, a cornered beast now, but he would not be taken easily.
He though about all his years of study, all his work and dreams come now the nothing. He was beaten now, beaten by the one opponent he could never conquer; ignorance others. Images of his wife and two beautiful children; now dead, burnt to cinders at the stake, flashed through his haunted mind. They were gone, as he soon would be, but he would not leave humbly.
With a sneer he raised his hand and the wind howled away from him, tumbling down into the dark valley where his hunters stalked him like ants hunting for sugar. Suddenly the flood gates of the clouds opened to pummel his oppressors with driving rains as the wind screamed like a banshee. Lightning began to crash to earth midst the raging horde bellow. Their torches , completely soaked, sputtered out.
They saw his form between bursts of deadly light and darkness. His waist long silver hair flying in all directions with the wind, his torn and muddied cloak framing his tall gaunt form as the wind carried it this way and that in the wind. His bony Left hand held a sturdy oak staff of about his own height, his right was raised chest high to summon his dark and misunderstood powers. Gasps of fear and surprise filled the valley and shouts of ìWitch!î and ìDemon!î filled the storm torn sky.

Wearied he stumbled from the lip of the cliff and staggered into the dark ravine. His head bowed, his shoulders slumped and leaning heavily upon his staff he hobbled to the cave hidden at the top of the ravine. He had covered the mouth of the cave with a strong oak door long ago. He stumbled into his sacred haven, his hidden library, and barred the iron re-enforced door behind him. That would slow them at least. As he glanced at the large fire place and candles they all burst into merry flames. The same flames that were bound to eventually end his sad existence, as they had his loved ones.
The walls of this lovely sanctuary were smother to a marble like gloss. The floor was of rose quartz and complex spirals and circles covered itís surface. Sturdy wood furniture filled the room along with extensive book shelves all filled with his sacred resources and diaries.
He could sense them at the bottom of the cliffs, searching for some path, and then relentlessly they began to climb...
In his youth he had hoped to find the powers of a god, and the sweet treasure of immortality. He had lost much in that search and often paid the price for his child like folly. When he had finally found the secret, he saw the price was to great. Now it was time to die, it had found him at last like some hunter far more patient and relentless that those who stalked him now. Wearily he prepared himself for the ultimate rest and inescapable price of ever having lived at all.

Staring into the fire and sipping sadly from an ancient bottle of wine he sat. The flames began to writhe into a face, and then began to talk. A whisper at first.. ìEverything.... everything...î Then growing in strength, ìYou could have had everything...î each word ended with the cruel hiss of flames and steam. Now it was almost like the purr of a cat, or the whisper of a soft woman. ìEverything...î Over and over the word echoed through the library which now seemed more like a crypt. ìEverything.... could have been yoursssss.... everythingggg... sssstill can be yourssss....Everything! HEAR ME!!î The voice grew into a commanding presence. Maddened now the lone ragged form launched the wine and bottle into the flames. With an evil hiss the flames shot skyward. A single word echoed into the night from where the face could have been..... ìLife.....î

The mob had reached the top of the cliff and began to search. Yet they did not immediately find the hidden ravine. The storm had passed and large fires were kindled along the cliff face, new torches were made for the search.

He paced his now cold library. The fire still burned buy and unearthly, otherworldly chill had settled over everything. There was much to do, deals to be kept, loose ends to be tied up. He sensed the men searching the cliff and knew the time was coming.
Quickly he cleared a table, throwing candles, cups, pen and paper to the floor, and began to gather his most valuable treasures. Books, scrolls, charts and finally his sacred journal and book of Secrets. Opening to the last remaining page he entered the last sentence, his final and greatest secret, and then he closed the black leather cover.
Suddenly the fire and candles flared and then died to slivers of light, little more then sparks. The room grew dim and a great gong echoed from the core of the earth. A shadow formed into the shape of a man who stood before the embers of the fire.
ìSo it is done.î The cold, emotionless voice said. ìPoint and Game.î A slight smile lit his face. ìAnd so I win!î The mortal faced the shadow, his silver hair hiding for a moment his eyes. Then suddenly he stepped back and cast his arms to the side. The candles and fire flared and burned brighter then before.
ìThis is no Game!î his old voice quavered with human weakness. ìIt never was, not to me.î The shadow sneered in response.
ìAll is a game, and I make the rules. You know, you could have had everything, you still can. You donít have to die.î His super human voice throbbed with malicious humor.
ìAnd my family?î Asked the old man. The shadow smiled.
ìThey were expendable,î he shrugged. ìThey had to die, eventually...î The man flinched as if hit, and then ran his hands over his precious books, and gently lifted his journal.
ìYou may make the rules, but I can break them! Be gone beerer of the blackest sword! BE GONE walker of the left hand paths! Ruler of Flames, Master of Lies, Seeker of Dark, Lost and Accursed! Be Gone Asmodian! Luciferís Son! Lilithís Lover! Caineís Childe! Dark Father! May the flames take thee, return to the abyss and torment! I make the rules Now!î And with that he cast his journal through the shadow form into the flames where it was quickly consumed. The mountain shook to its roots. His other treasures soon flew also into the flames. Ancient books of power and lost knowledge he had spent his life searching for, all burned. All went up in flames as the earth roiled and shivered beneath the old manís feet. The shadow was gone. Suddenly flames took to the book cases, everything went up into a white hot inferno. The frail seeming old man stood alone in his beloved library as everything burned about him. He stood rigid as a board, pale as a corpse for a moment, the collapsed like a pile of rags and bones on the ground, weeping uncontrollably.

Out on the cliffs the mob cowered and babbled about the devil as the earth groaned and shifted beneath their feet.

He crawled to his feet, the fires having ended taking with them hem the last of what he loved. The earth shuddered once more and was still. The ashes sifted about in the calm air. The room was dark now, dark and empty. Ashes, only ashes. The book shelves and books, gone into ash, his lifeís work gone with the treasures of countless ages. The furniture all burnt to ash. Nothing remained. The designs on the floor were gone, lost in piles of char. The shinning walls were now black and harsh, the rose quartz was black as coal. Everywhere was the musty reak of loss.
A chill seeped into the black empty room in the wake of the flames. Shivering, alone and empty in the dark the old man summoned up a soft ball of light to end the darkness. The wind whispered softly outside, sounding like the moans of the dieing.... or dead.
ìEverything......... Life........î

Filled with the need to escape the now crypt like room he unbarred the door and threw it open. To him he clutched his one remaining treasure, his staff.
He saw them immediately, a sea of light, an army of torches marching up the empty ravine. They spotted him as well, halloed by unholy light, and cries for blood filled the mob. Cries calling for his blood, calling for him to be burned. As if he hadnít lost enough already.
He spun and re-entered his crypt, barring the door behind him once more, shielding it with his unearthly power, as the pounding began. He had now only a very little time.
ìDid you think you could escape?î Spinning the man faced the demon once more. The shadows of his form were torn and rent open now, like wounds, to reveal a furnace of hell fire beneath the surface. ìThey will have your blood. You WILL burn!î The monsterís face was distorted to grotesque horror with wild lust and glee. ìYou - Have - Failed! You achieved everything you had in life through me. Now I come to collect. Did you really think by returning everything you could win? This is your last night, enjoy it while you can.î The devil grinned. The old man spoke slowly, his eyes sad.
ìYour wrong. I made the deal when I was young and foolish. I repent now, and I did NOT give up everything.î He ran his hands along his smooth oak staff, the symbol of his power. ìI still have this.î The demon sneered.
Then, fast as the winds, the mortal broke the staff, and with it his power, over his knee and cast the shriveled remains at the spawn of Satan. There was a violent burst of blinding white light and pure energy, then a deafening rumble. The door burst inward as the mob moved in on their prey. Then they halted as the earth began to heave. The stone writhed and the walls and floor began to crack and shatter. The terrible scream of violently torn rock filled the night air and lightning flashed as the storm broke in howling rain once more.
The cliff, the entire mountain side, upon which they all stood heaved and broke away from the mountain to tumble into the valley bellow with a deafening roar.

 

The sun rose in all itís glory, filling the now open sky with shinning shades of pink and rosy red. Birds burst into song, ignoring the terrible rubble where many a man had died just hours ago. The day had come at last.
The life giving sun rose to smile in the sky and the mists and shadows of the night before departed at last. And then, from out of the rubble, climbed a man. A simple humble mortal, alive but old, his hair no longer silver but rather a dull gray, rose to meet the sun. He strode wearily into the shadows of the woods, carrying a handful of ashes and a shattered oak staff. The sun cast a passing blessing on this sad soul and then he was gone.