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White Elephant for Epee102- The Chill of Terror [Fiction]

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  • White Elephant for Epee102- The Chill of Terror [Fiction]

    I thought I'd try my hand at some fiction this year, and because of this it took a bit longer than anticipated. Still, I hope you enjoy it, as I had a lot of fun writing it.
    The Chill of Terror

    Beginning in the Realm Year 1276, 892 years after the end of the Ochre Fountain Era, 625 years after the formation of the Deliberative Council, 127 years after the eradication of Saigoth -Azorn, but 25 years before the pogrom of Archrajah Daelryath and his subsequent assassination by Gentle Inquisitor Kestrel the Peregrine. There, during this period, Malgigi the Viiolet, Twilight caste Solar; soothsayer, exorcist, and general miracle man, traveled with his beloved, Smiling Ollia, Waxing Moon Heroine, and their boon companion, Orlando the Lion, No Moon Engineer, as they wandered the White Valley. Veterans of the various northern campaigns, this peaceful vacation was a welcome respite from their constant battles. However, this would all change, as they discovered true horror...

    “There goes another one,” Malgigi mused, looking up as the trio ambled along the crisp white roads of the Deliberative. Far above, the stars of the evening sky twinkled, and sure as Malfgigi announced it, a star fell, then another, and another still. Pausing to take in the spectacle, the wiry man tossed back his auburn ponytail in sympathetic appreciation of the mystic power at work., even removing his smoky quartz spectacles to wipe away a single tear.
    “It's a veritable shower of the Heavens,” Ollia, his beloved, breathed. The diminutive bespectacled woman, garbed in a grey borcka skin bodysuit, nevertheless radiated immense energy, both of optimism with her constant smile, and her calculated, graceful movements that belied her intense martial arts training. Beside them, their boon companion and mutual friend, Orlando the Lion shrugged. The largest of the three, Orlando was a veritable mountain of a man, all muscle, sculpted like an anatomy lesson of human power, his leopard skin toga straining to contain his frame. Despite this, Malgigi knew better than to take the man's intellect lightly, for even still, his mind was as sharp and bright as the blades he was so fond of creating.
    “This isn't anything to be happy about. Such a massive amount of Sidereal energy is sure to cause disruptions or even ripples in Fate. We best leave this place soon,” he rumbled, as Malgigi laughed.
    “My dear friend, stars fall all the time. Whenever the Viziers wish to attend to new tasks or when the Maidens seek to pursue new Fate. All these things rewrite the Fate that guides reality. Besides, we're not so beholden to such things. I'd not worry about it,” he called, as Orlando growled in irritation, but said nothing else.
    “Oh, come now, Orlando,” Ollia called, patting his massive arm gently,” Malgigi studied these things, he knows what he's talking about.”
    “That's what I'm afraid of. He's like a cat, too curious to notice the perilous fall awaiting his jaunt up the tree for the canary,” Orlando countered, as Malgigi snickered to himself. He greatly enjoyed these little barbs, as he paused in his walk looking over the road., then to his chart of the valley Despite what their map clearly delineated, the paved through-way suddenly stopped, and the trio found themselves in the middle of a sparse forest.
    “What's all this?” Ollia asked, scanning about the desolate field, before returning her gaze to Malgigi, as he shrugged.
    “Something is afoot, methinks,” Orlando growled, as Malgigi chuckled.
    “Then all the better for us. Tis much better for us to spring this trap than some luckless mortals., eh? If the stars dropping from the sky is indeed related to this sudden shift in the terrain, then we may meet something prodigious indeed soon,” he mused.
    These words stood prophetic indeed, as the pleasant spring terrain soon gave way to chilly breezes, hard, frozen earth, and naked, dead trees. As they trudged along, Malgigi felt the essence of the place dim, as if this unnatural snow dampened the spirit of the world along with his own.
    “Even the energy of this place is bizarre, like something's affecting it,” he warned, as Orlando furrowed his brow.
    “This wind is unnatural. I feel it. The wind flows opposite this ordinarily,” he growled. As if waiting for Orlando's pithy comment, the winds slowly rose, pummeling the trio as they walked along with ice and snow. This continued as Ollia tried yelling to the others, but her voice vanished into the incessant howling of the gale about them. Indeed, it was only when the choker around his neck strained that Malgigi gained new perception on their situation.
    “My dear pet,” his choker purred, as Malgigi paused. His jewelry was no merely accessory, but also was his godsmother, the ancient faerie Anscyllrie the Sugar-Garrote Poet.
    “What is it, Godsmother?”
    “My dear sweetmeat, my little rabbit doll, you are in utter danger,” she purred, her velvet voice rubbing over his mind like a silk shirt over his form.
    “What sort of danger, Godsmother?”
    “Beasts from an earlier age. Not seen in this land since days long lost,” Anscyllrie explained,” However, fear not, my dear pet. You will not die yet. Not if I can help it.”
    The wind stopped. Malgigi blinked, and the trio found themselves in a quiet glen of snow, as Ollia jerked up, as her attention narrowed.
    “Something is coming,” she whispered, as loud baying echoed across the glen. Over the hill, arose three large beasts. Massive, shaggy and with grotesquely severe human faces, they charged forward, slavering jaws lined with rows of razor-sharp teeth.
    “Humans!” they cheered to one another,” Humans! Let's chase them down!”
    “Haha, human flesh tastes so good, kill them, kill them!” another bayed, as the trio looked to one another with knowing looks, and the three leaped to action. Orlando quickly grabbed at his belt, producing a small hammer, which melted seamlessly into a giant maul, as he slammed the first beast in reach into paste before him. Another two used this opportunity to bound at him, tearing chunks out of his flank, as Orlando roared, his body glowing with silver light as his rage crystallized into fiery power about him.
    “Bloody Hells, these beasts are persistent,” Malgigi mused, leaping about, barely avoiding a similar fate, as his fingers danced through the air, forming lines of ice in the air in beautiful concentric patterns.
    Temperentia, answer your master's summons,” he intoned in a dark voice as the balefully cackling beast nipping at his feet paused in his manic merriment, run through by a dangerously wrought broadsword, still shuddering with the impact of its fatal stroke. As Malgigi drew the blade from its gruesome new sheath, his attention drew to Ollia, as she held three of the beasts at arm's length.
    “I implore you, cease this foolishness or I will be forced to act,” she pleaded, as the beasts sniggered to one another, charging, jaws agape, as Ollia sighed. Crouching down before them, her entire body tensed, as she shouted,” BRAVE TOE!” snapping a diagonal kick across the pack, scattering them with this attack as the shadow of a hopping mouse appeared behind her. Malgigi also noted rather primly, that despite her hand never leaving the exquisite rapier at her belt, she alas never drew it.
    “No desire to unfurl Caritas on these fools, eh, Ollia?” Malgigi called, as she shot him a look.
    “None of these beings deserve Carita's kiss. You know that,” she countered, as he raised his hands in surrender of the point. With Ollia's decisive stroke, the remaining beasts paused, looking to one another fearfully.
    “These humans possess magic and cutting knives! Retreat! Retreat, and let the Brobnag hack them into scrumptious pieces,” they cried, scampering off, as a rumbling gait sounded. Out of the frosted terrain rose a dark figure, far taller than even Orlando as they trudged through the snow towards the trio. Nearing ever closer, Malgigi realized this newcomer was a woman, or at least female, as her slim body, garbed in a dirty leather gown was revealed in the light breeze. Untroubled by the cold with her modest dress, what drew his attention was her face. Initially thinking her to possess a wide face by dint of the broad eyes peaking through her disheveled raven mane, as she swept her tresses aside, Malgigi reflexively stepped back in horror.

    This woman stared down at him with four large eyes, arranged around her face horizontally.

    She wordlessly scanned the battlefield, before the beasts bounded around her, baying in their incessant whines.
    “Master, Master! These humans have magic and cruel knives! Hack them to cutlets so we can devour their guts,” they wheedled, as the woman grabbed on by the scuff and howled in its face, revealing she too possessed rows of fangs. Dropping her victim as the pack vanished into the brush, she returned her gaze to the trio before finally speaking in slurred Old Realm.
    “Sun-blessed, Moon-Charmed, leave this place. Soon a danger will befall you here, and even your great powers will not save you. By the great Triangle we have not transgressed against the occupying government of the Heavens. Let us live in peace,” she stated, and before anyone could respond, she trudged back from where she came.
    “What was that all about?” Ollia asked, as Malgigi laughed.
    “What we're about to figure out. There's something fishy about this entire debacle, and the way she spoke didn't sit well with me,” Malgigi muttered, hefting Temeperentia to his back, as Orlando nodded. Whispering to the splattered corpse before him, he stood up with approval as the corpse unfurled itself, rearranging muscles, tendons and bones into a pair of elaborate mannequin legs propping up a pair of delicate bent rods, made of the most dainty of bones. A casual observer easily could mistake Orlando's trick for some foul necromancy, but Malgigi knew better. The immense power of Orlando's maul, Industrias, was to rebuild all nonliving matter into useful tools or structures.
    “This really isn't the time to douse for gold or water, Orlando,” Malgigi called, as the artisan waved off his friend's pithy quip.
    “Far from it. These dousing rods will direct us towards their home, wherever it may be,” Rolando boomed with a grin.
    “Aha! That way even if the environment changes, then we can still track them down! That's so smart, Orlando,” Ollia cried, patting her hands together.
    “Yes, well, it wouldn't do for any inefficiency, least of all now. Come now, small one, show us where your old master lived,” Orlando chuckled, clearly pleased with Ollia's compliment. The trio marched through the snow, following along behind the stilt-like gait of the dousing servitor. Silence reigned as nothing but the crunching stride of the automaton, until it paused, as a high-pitched whine rose from a nearby thicket.
    “GET DOWN!” Ollia cried, as the automaton exploded, the tree behind them. Malgigi and Orlando quickly scanned about them, as a tree several inches away from Malgigi's head collapsed, cleaved in twain by some unseen means.
    ”Some sort of sniper attack?” Malgigi hissed, as Orlando snorted.
    “There's no air disruption, and we would've seen any ranged attacks in the nearest mile,” Orlando growled, as Malgigi's eyes fluttered, his awareness expanding as his senses searched the surrounding area.
    “There, over there,” he said finally, pointing through the brush. Orlando narrowed his eyes, and understood his meaning. There, hidden in the brambles, stood a tall creature. Like a naked flightless bird about the size of an ostrich, with a crazed single eye in its bizarre head. Where its beak would reside, a single spiraling horn extended. As it turned its attention towards the three of them, this wicked appendage hummed with power.
    “Watch it,” he hissed, tugging his comrades down as the missile whistled over their heads.
    “I'll take care of this,” Ollia smiled, as a whip-like tufted tail emerged from her backside, her bodysuit seamlessly parting to accommodate this new appendage.
    “Ollia, what are you--” Malgigi began, as Ollia flashed him a broad grin as she leaped up in a flash,” OLLIA, DON'T!”
    It was too late. Ollia shot forward like a human rocket, surging forward. The beast noticed her approach as well, firing a salvo of cruel horns into Ollia's limbs. Still, she charged forward, her form suffused in silvery light as her hand whipped to Caritas.
    “ACCEPT IT, MY KINDNESS!” she roared, lunging forward, as the thicket exploded with silver light. Orlando and Malgigi rose, approaching, finding the beast decapitated, and Ollia laying still, pierced through her legs and arms with the horns of the dead beast.
    “That thing, it's a Boulbouhz, a beast from the Age of Glories,” Orlando clarified, as Malgigi turned to him, clearly impressed.
    “Oh? You fought one, too?”
    “You could say that. When I was a young man during the Titanomachia, warrens of Boulbouhz settled near my home village. Many lost their lives to avoid them, and I wouldn't take I any longer,” Orlando said bitterly, and Malgigi let the point drop. Instead, he turned his attention to Ollia, rolling her gently over, as he sighed. Her limbs pierced, she lay still, as he rummaged through his bag for medicine as she puckered up.
    “The Princess needs a kiss from her Prince to revive her from the cursed beast's awful wounds,” she called, as he jumped to his feet, irately poking her with his foot.
    “Then maybe the Princess ought not rush like a maniac into danger!” he growled, as Ollia giggled.
    “Oh, you're no fun,” she shrugged, as the horns dropped from her flesh as she stretched, her wounds completely healed.
    “I thought you'd not rush to use Caritas?” Orlando asked, arching his brow.
    “My mind blanked and I went for the easiest answer,” Ollia admitted,” I'm sorry.”
    “I'm not the one you ought to apologize to,” Orlando muttered, eyeing the Boulbouhz,” But enough of that. We need to move.”
    “Why? That thing was firing horns everywhere. There's going to be no one around,” Ollia asked.
    “Because Boulbouhz are herded by sapient races. Remember how I mentioned my home was destroyed by a warren of these beasts? The reason they moved was because they were herded there by a race not dissimilar to that woman before. Malgigi, Ollia, I think we're in a some atavistic snare,” Orlando declared, as Ollia stared at him.
    “An Atavistic ...what?”
    “I don't know if this is a malicious attack or an accident, the appearance of this forest, and the appearance of this Boulbouhz, suggests all this,” Orlando muttered.
    “Then what should we do, Orlando? Waltz up to them and ask?” Malgigi asked.
    Orlando nodded,” We wait, and shadow them for answers. “
    Ollia brightened,” Oh then, Orlando, we ought to do that thing!”
    “If that's what you want,” Orlando sighed, as the pair swiftly shifted into tiny beetles.
    “Live in peace, love those around you, and share your wealth,” Ollia offered, settling on Malgigi's right shoulder.
    “Don't listen to her. Live for yourself, and satiate even the darkest desires in your heart,” Orlando offered in a milky smooth tone.
    “So, what's the punchline to this routine?” Malgigi asked.
    Ollia hopped up excitedly,” We're the Cheepmaun, one of Luna's incarnations, three beetles who test both gods and mortals with their sweet voices. Alwen, he who speaks virtue through the right ear, Simeon, who tempts those who toil towards evil through the left, and Teodor, who directs the mortals towards simple and clean living, albeit with leather pants and too many belt buckles, with his actions.”
    “Then where's your Teodor?”
    “We don't have enough people, so I guess it's you!” Ollia replied, as Malgigi sighed, shaking his head. Before he responded with his own counter, footfalls crunched through the snow, and Malgigi huddled nearby a fallen tree as three towering figures, of similar stature and dirty garb gathered around the corpse. Harsh words rang out and the three looked about, as Malgigi hissed words of power, and felt the chill of Air essence cover him.

    Masking Mantra: Blanket of Snowflakes, a low level Air aspected spell of situational usefulness, molding ambient Air essence into a cloak shrouding the caster from all but the most comprehensive of scrutiny. However, the sheer amount of Air essence needed, along with the oddity a billowing localized cloud of snow would be in most situations made the spell a rarely used tool, even if Malgigi smirked that, most Sorcerers would scoff at such knowledge.
    “But I'm no ordinary Sorcerer. Knowledge is power, even if not power you can use every day,” he thought, as the trio of strangers fanned about, spending an entire hour searching the surrounding area, before they gave up their hunt. Trudging slowly back, Malgigi slunk along, albeit with several moments where the giants paused, their four eyes flashing this way and that. In those tense seconds, Malgigi wondered if his spell even affected them.
    “Can their eyes pierce my Sorcery?” he wondered, as his hand slowly drew to Temperentia, slung across his back. Despite these moments, this odd group journey forward, reaching a small hamlet with a ramshackle palisade.
    “What's going on here?” Ollia whispered, as Malgigi craned to get a better view. Inside the village's common, dozens of the man-faced creatures from before herded about, as they milled about, baying to each other in rude voices.
    And so on. What drew his attention most, though, were the crisp glyphs etched into the walls of the corral. Precise, clear, and delicate in their stroke-work, memories deep within his psyche rose, and Malgigi recalled a single battle during the Titanomachia. Despite his usual conflicts against the Many-Tentacled Greed, the Brilliant Effigy of Glamour, and The Spiral Archipelago of Empathy, However, when a lone tower of crystal, pulled along by a flock of frolicking flying whales, rode a wrought sapphire monstrosity. Made in the form of a dainty human princess, its abode was covered in such runes, which Malgigi deciphered many weeks later, after this horrifying behemoth was cast down and hacked to pieces.

    Praise be to the Glory of the Theorem. The Theorem of Ratio. The Ratio of the King. Glory to the King. The King of Gold. If Sun=Energy, and Energy= the Love in a system, then, the system is perfect, the perfect system. Perfect System=Supreme Leader, ergo, THEION.


    Praise HIM, for to praise HIM is to praise Knowledge.

    Which repeated on and on ad nauseum. As he stood there, fuming furiously at this revelation, while deeply afraid at its implications, he sensed a presence behind him. Spinning about, his hand lashed out towards Temeperentia, as the giant behind him smashed his skull, as he collapsed, both to the ground and into unconsciousness.

    Awakened by a pulsing heat, Malgigi initially thought it the blazing bonfire nearby, as he looked down and felt his godsmother burning his skin.
    “Godschild, by the great dawn of Laasshe, child, what is within your head? To find yourself captured so! My dear pet, you are in terrible danger!”
    “Godsmother, what do you mean? This is hardly my first time bound and naked,” Malgigi whispered.
    “My. Dear. Pet. The enemy facing us is diametrically opposed to my powers, one of my ancient enemies. I cannot save you now,” Anscyllrie hissed. Malgigi sighed, ignoring his godsmother's lambastements, finding himself in a new harrowing situation. Stripped of his clothes and Temeperentia, all of which propped against a straw effigy nearby, he hung over the corral precariously as a wizened giant strode over to him.
    “Magician, you trespass upon our sacred rites, and for what? To read the letters of beckoning? What manner of fool are you?” it rumbled in slurred Old Realm.
    “The kind who shagged your mum,” Malgigi smirked, as the giant cocked his wizened head.
    “I am unfamiliar with how making my mother thick and tangled would be an insult, Magician, but it matters not. OBSERVE!” he sneered, grabbing Malgigi's face as he jerked him down to observe the proceedings. The other giants hefted large wooden cages packed with crying human hostages, which were promptly dumped into the corral. The man-beasts cried with delight and the shrieks and crunches of wood and other materials, as Malgigi looked away.
    “See, Magician? Your race is naught but chattel to those we use as livestock. Now, observe as we call upon one of your old enemies. I'm sure he'll be delighted to see you,” the elder wheezed gleefully. Snapping his fingers, the glyphs burst into flame as the man-beasts all shuddered.
    “The Strong prey on the Weak, the Sun follows the Moon, water flows downhill, all are laws. All laws are within the Hierarchy. Now, great Theorem, release one of your children to set right your return to this world,” he called, as the air grew ever more cold. Malgigi shuddered as the man-beasts cried in pain and fear, fleeing their feast as the air solidified into ice about them. The frozen chunks of ichor and guts rose, swirling about, replaced by a shimmering spectacle of geometric crystals formed of the airborne ice, before a facsimile of humanity, forged of this ice slowly staggered forwards out of the storm.
    “Consume this Magician, and drop this entire world into the frost of your passage! Erase motion and cheer into the order of our Mistress,” the giant cackled.
    Fridgus, nodded slowly,” SO BE IT. THIS WORLD SHALL FEEL MY KISS ONCE AGAIN.”
    Malgigi wrestled against his bindings to no avail. Unlike his companions, his specialty wasn't intense athleticism but his wits and occult powers, and with his hands bound, he couldn't bind any spells this way! Without any other option, he sighed, releasing his largest shout.


    As if on cue, a glorious vision erupted beside him. A four legged beast, in similar approximation to a gilded horse, its regal human countenance and broad legs ending in dextrous human hands belied its supernatural origins. On top of this, a small squat fellow, with green fur, beady eyes, and a aquiline snout, sat pertly on the back of this bizarre steed. This pair of horse and rider trotted about Malgigi excitedly, its every step bursting into brilliant purple sparks as the beast spoke in a clarion voice.
    “Malgigi, I arrive. It has been many moons since you called upon me. What do you wish?” it said, as Malgigi nodded.
    “Free me, Gan-Mu. I don't know where Orlando and Ollia are presently,” he called, as Fridgus, resumed its passage forward, no longer startled.
    “After them! Seize the horse and the Magician!” the elder cried, as the giants rose as one, wielding sickles, axes, and hammers.
    “NOT SO FAST!” rang out, as Ollia appeared out of nowhere, slashing down the first wave of giants with a flick of her toe, as Orlando joined her, hammering the fallen attackers with Industrias.
    “W-where did you two come from?” Malgigi sputtered indignantly.
    “We saw you get knocked out, and thoguth to rescue you! Theese mosnters didn't give us an opportunity to untie you, though, so we bade our time,” Ollia called, as Malgigi only narrowed his eyes. Typical Ollia, to let him hang till it was most dramatically convenient. His bindings burnt away, he hopped onto Gan-Mu's back, and charged forward at Fridgus. Gan-Mu's charge slowed, as Fridgus' aura of cold hammered Gan-Mu. Slowing to a crawl, Malgigi chattered his teeth as he wove a pattern of energy about him. A burst of flowers and a refreshing warm breeze billowed over him, and the chill fled his body.
    Arrival of Bounty: Mantle of Spring,” Malgigi grinned, hefting Temperentia before him,” Fridgus, your presence is nothing to a Magician such as I! Return to the Brass City, and I will not prosecute you nor your supplicants further.”
    Fridgus merely continued his stride forward,” Pitiful Magician, yours is a tiny light compared to the vastness of this Universe. You may possess the ember of the Sun within you, but I possess the Order that made reality itself. Freeze, and accept your place as a mote within this system.”
    “Very well then,” Malgigi sneered, raising Temperentia as it hummed with hefty power.
    “What will your sword do to one such as I? I possess no body to cut,” Fridgus mocked, as Malgigi lunged.
    “Ollia!” he cried, as Ollia nodded.
    “C'mon, Orlando! Time for our team attack!” she cried, as the pair leaped away, standing opposite of Fridgus, before jumping forward as one, smashing Fridgus' wispy form with their weapons.
    “Borne of an Oath made to protect those we love; our ultimate attack, Twin Stewards Fang!” Ollia cried triumphantly, as the pair landed, high-fiving each other on a team attack well-done.
    “Your blows mean n--,” Fridgus keened, his form shuddering,” W-what happened to my invincibility?”
    Malgigi grinned mischievously, raising Temperentia once more,” My blade cannot kill instantly, or slice faster than the sun, but it can stop sorcerous effects, like, say, the intangibility of a spirit, like you.”
    Fridgus said nothing, as his shuddering grew, and he exploded violently, rocking the entire village. Buildings flattened, and all that remained was the corral's pit.
    “Finally, that's over,” Malgigi muttered, dropping Temperentia as Ollia trotted over beside him, before she smirked, her eyes flashing intently.
    “I...Oh,” Malgigi sighed, realizing he still lacked clothes,” Help me get my coats back before we leave.”
    “And let me miss this?” Ollia protested, as Orlando hefted her onto his shoulder. Tossing Malgigi his clothes, the Lunar engineer shook his head at his friends.
    “To think I've seen it all, Valentinian will never believe you defeated a behemoth all while in the nude,” he rumbled, as Malgigi snickered.
    “Yes, well, there's a lot of things he won't believe. Enough of this frozen wasteland. Let's get out of here.”

  • #2
    A wonderful story! I think I know these names, although I remembered Ollia as Oliver, and Orlando having the temper. Thank you for the winter treat.

    The Book of Laughing Serpents, Vol 1,Vol. 2,,Vol 3; Vol 4; Vol 5
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Epee102 View Post
      A wonderful story! I think I know these names, although I remembered Ollia as Oliver, and Orlando having the temper. Thank you for the winter treat.
      You got me! I named the characters, which are part of a cadre of Celestial Exalts in my current game, based off the Twelve Peers in Orlando Furioso. Glad you liked it, though!