Druid's Tale

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Chapter Fifteen The Deathless.

“Is that all you think about the pair of you.” Hanna’s voice floated down to them. “Crawl over to the grating the pair of you quickly now.”

The whole of the lift was rising slowly as the ceiling descended to crush them. Wriggling they made their way to the grating.

There was no way out of the room that way as the space was to small. They watched as a slender arm snaked out and waved around.

Suddenly there was a whooshing noise and the ceiling seemed to vanish into the distance and the grating grew very large indeed.

They had shrunk down in size and hovered on gossamer wings before the grating.

“Come on fly through.”

The two women quickly complied.

“What have you done to us?” Serin asked in a high pitched voice.

“I’ve turned you into fairies. Now shut up and follow me.” Hanna barked as she turned and quickly squirmed along the pipe.

“How did you find us?” She asked.

“I could hear your voices through the ducting.” Hanna squeeze herself around a difficult corner.

Serin looked back and saw the ceiling stop at body height and begin to recede.

Puzzled she followed the other pair.

Soon they were outside with the rest of them rejoicing at their good fortune.

“You can turn us back now.” Serin squawked.

“Ah bit of a problem there.” Hanna said embarrassedly. “I’ve never tried to turn anyone back. If we like someone we’ve entranced we turn them into Fairies so they can be at our beck and call. I’ve never had call to turn them back. I don’t know how.”

“What!!” Horren was horrified. The thought of being turned into a fairy was too horrific to consider. “You idiot!!”

“Oh don’t thank me for saving you, think nothing of it!” Hanna snorted. “I saved your life remember.”

“I’m not so sure.” Serin muttered to herself.

“Thank you but there must be something that can be done.” Horren pleaded.

“We’ll try and think of something as we go along.” Tesler observed. “We’ve found a staircase going downward behind a secret panel. I get the strangest feeling that it will be the last somehow.”

“I do hope so.” Serin said bitterly.

“We shall see.”

The staircase went down three flights before opening out on to a large open room. The room was gothic with heavy arches and wooden ceiling beams. Tapestries lined the walls and hung in the entrances of the arches.

Upon a bench were bubbling retorts and other paraphernalia; the alchemists art.

There was a desiccated corpse sitting in a throne like chair dressed in fine robes.

“There is no one here.” Serin was disappointed she’d hoped to exact some sort of revenge.

On a table near the corpse was a group of six vials containing liquid as if awaiting there arrival.

Across the way stood a stand on which a stuffed raven sat.

“Now what do we do? There seems to be no way out, not one I can see anyway.” Lorren said checking behind a tapestry.

The seven of them stayed close together.

“He doesn’t look to healthy.” Hanna said pointing at the desiccated corpse that sat on the throne. “He hasn’t been dead for long from the look of him.”

“Look at that!” Lorren pointed at a darkened cage affair in the corner of the room. “It’s what is left of the villagers.”

Moving listlessly with vacant expressions they crowded the cage front.

“They are not all of the villagers.” Tesler had spotted the Innkeepers daughter. She was in a tatty shift looking pale and blank faced. On her ne4ck were two puncture marks, black and puckered.

Horren was horrified.

“They have been milked for blood.” She said.

As she flew forward there was a ripping sound and she and Serin gained their normal size.

“Your spell seems to have worn off.” She said.

“Not possible. It’s been negated.” Hanna was looking around her face creased with concern.

A deep chuckle filled the room.

“Come out and face us villain.” Tesler was holding her rage in check.

“I think I will wait awhile longer.” The voice chuckled.

A knife lifted off the table and before they could react nicked their necks drawing blood.

A drop of blood floated across the room and dropped into an awaiting tube where it reacted with the chemical within.

“Ah two of you are suitable. I’m lucky.” The voice said as the head of the corpse lifted and swivelled a blood shot eye on them. “You will quench my thirst nicely.”

“Like hell we will.” Darius drew a bead on the cadaver. “You will quench my thirst nicely.”

Swords were drawn.

The figure laughed and lifted a calming hand and the women were frozen in place.

“No not yet.” The body swat up straight.

“You’re a Lytch, an undead wizard I take it.” Serin said. “You have traded everything for eternal life. Was it worth it?”

“I am no mage girl I was the head man of the village but I was dying my work only half done.” Three figures appeared around him, three beautiful women. “They offered me a trade and I took it.”

“But it went wrong, now you need blood to stay alive.” Tesler realised.

“I panicked and tried to stop but it was too late. I tried animal blood but that was useless and only certain people nourish me and didn’t make me sick.”

They could see him clearly now. The stretched skin over bones that pierced the flesh.

“You tried to be a priestly Balhorn or should I say you should have been. But now you’re nothing more than a vampire.” Tesler was sad for the creature. “You could have risen so high only to fall so low. You collected your victims and turned them into milk cows.”

“Yes I did but though they sustained me they have become tasteless. But yours are rich with emotions. Fear, anger and love. Oh yes I gave you people to care for.” The creature licked its lips in anticipation. “My ladies here will prepare you.”

The three women suddenly exuded a naked sensuality that held the women in place unable to react. It washed over them like a hot wave.

Their bodies reacted to the onslaught. Lust raged through them.

“They can link to your own emotions increasing them for me.”

“You will not hurt my girls!” Tesler roared angrily.

Horren’s desire for Serin was blinding, her body ached for release. But so was her self doubt as the women’s influence increased.

“Tell me that you love me. Tell me!” She kissed Serin’s ear.

“I can’t wait to taste your blood woman. You and yours are a perfect match.” The corpse exulted. “Bring them.”

The three sexy sirens began to move forward bearing two needle like teeth.

“Vampires!!” Tesler yelled sweat pouring down her face but like the others unable to move.

“You will not have them!” Hanna bellowed. “They are mine.”

A pulse of pure golden light flowed out from the little Dryad as she extended her full glamour.

Horren looked with spiritual love and obedience at her small friend the paralysis in her limbs easing.

Like a physical force it drove them back stripping them of their alluring veneer to reveal wizen crones beneath.

“You will not defy me wood elf. Lancelot kill her.” The creature yelled.

“I will not!!!” Lancelot roared his defiance.

“I made you!! You will obey me!!” The creature made to stand. “I made you all to interact with the women and draw out their emotions. I can destroy you just as easily! Now obey me destroy the Dryad.”

“You may have made me but I have free will now because of their love and my love of lady Horren.” Lancelot drew his sword and charged at the vampires. “You cannot weaken me as I have no blood to take.”

Lancelot may not have any blood but the vampires had and soon it was spilt as deft sword strokes cut them to ribbons.

The Balhorn made passes with his hand and Lancelot fell to his knees.

“Forgive me Horren, ladies I have failed you.” He panted.

“You have failed no one.” Tesler said gently aware what was to come and unable to stop it. “Go to your rest aware that you are loved.”

Lancelot disintegrated where he knelt turning into dust that blew across the floor.

Serin drew her swords as Horren created a cub from the tree stem that grew up from the ground.

“You have destroyed a life and have forfeited any right to pity.” Serin was cold very cold. “You want my blood come and get it.”

Suddenly the earth erupted as skeletons and Zombies burst out of the ground to bar the way to the corpse.

“Tesler!” Serin yelled.

The nun lifted her Holy symbol and her silver mace.

“Avant! Avant!” A beam of light flashed out of the Holy Symbol incinerating two of the undead whilst the mace caved in the skull of another.

Serin’s swords flashed swiftly cutting one of the zombies to ribbons but it still try to come forward.

Lorren’s sword cut a path through the bodies with ease as Darius arrows shattered limbs.

Horren tried to dodge a flying knife but it got through her defences and cut a deep gash in her neck. The blood instead of flowing down her neck flew like a steam in mid air to the creatures gaping mouth, where he fed with relish.

With each drop he became stronger and more ecstatic. He lifted a large staff and brandished it skilfully.

Hanna pulled out two short rods from her belt and fired bolts of fire and ice at him but he skilfully swatted them away with ease.

Horren felt light headed and sagged using her club to support herself.

The vampire swooped down and locked his fanged mouth to her neck and began feeding greedily.

Serin twisted in midair and landed lightly on the balls of her feet.

“No!!!” She screamed ignoring the two rivlets of blood pouring down her neck.

“I am Eoan my beauty.” He whispered sultry. “When you have recovered you will start again in the maze. The pair of you will.”

Eoan’s mouth was red with blood, Horren’s blood.

He laughed at Serin.

“Such a taste, such a pleasure.”

His speed was amazing as he fastened his mouth over her neck.

Energy seeped from her limbs making her sag. The two swords dropped to the frloor.

Eoan was totally oblivious to the fighting around him in his carnal hunger.

The other women were too hard pressed to be able to offer any help.

Tesler saw Horren pull herself to her feet and drag the club above her head. It wavered there a moment before crashing down on to Eoans head cracking it apart.

As the figure slumped from the blow Serin’s knife plunged into his back piercing his heart.

“Fools I can’t die I am immortal!”

“That is what they told you but that is a lie.” Serin stabbed him again and again drawing blood with each blow.

“No it was the truth.” His shape became a cloud of smoke that poured toward a stone coffin and vanished inside.

Serin put an arm around Horren’s waist and lifted her up to stagger to the coffin.

Once there Serin struggled to push the coffin lid off. Inside a young man lay his flesh healing.

“Horren darling, Horren.” Horren’s eyes fluttered open. “We need a wooden spike! Try for me darling.”

Horren held her hand parallel to the ground where a short spike grew up.

Serin plucked it from the ground and put Horren’s hand around it.

“Together my love.”

They lent over the coffin and pressed the spike into the young man’s chest.

His eyes flickered open in horror as the wood penetrated his chest and imbedded its self into his heart.

“No!!!” As he died Horren slumped in Serin’s arms.

Serin wept bitter tears as she rocked Horren back and forth. She was quite dead.

The undead that had been holding the others back slowly vanished back int5o the ground.

“Don’t you die on me? Don’t you dare!” Lorren moaned.

“It’s too late she’s gone.” Hanna had slipped a hand to Horren’s neck trying to feel a pulse.

Lorren collapsed in to body wracking sobs.

In the stone coffin blood moved turgidly giving the air a metallic tang.

Tesler looked at the blood a moment before coming to a conclusion.

“It’s not too late to get her back but you must do as I ask.” She said commandingly. “Serin, Lorren sit her on the edge of the coffin in such a way that I can touch her breast. Darius, Hanna find me some water so I don’t desiccate.”

It was a struggle to get Horren’s loose body up onto the coffins edge and hold her there but after a fashion they made it.

Tesler sat beside Horren and placed a hand on her heart while allowing her other hand dangle in the blood.

Sweat beaded the nun’s forehead as she prayed to her god for aid.

The pool of blood shrank as it travelled back into Horren until it vanished all together. During this whole process Hanna gave Tesler water to drink to satisfy her parched mouth and dry cracked skin.

When the last of the blood had gone Tesler hit Horren in the chest three times to start the heart once again.

Suddenly Horren took a ragged harsh breath.

“Easy Horren easy.” Tesler slowly carefully helped the druid to her feet. “Serin are you alright?”

Serin quickly took stock.

“Yes. A bit tired and drained but other than that fine.”

Horren turned and gave Lorren a watery smile.

“You’re stuck with me it seems.” Horren said shakily.

“And gladly so.” Tears flowed down Lorren’s cheek. “I nearly lost you. You have tried to look after me but I have in my stupidity pushed you away. Don’t do what I have done and push me away, let me help look after you.”

“With you and Serin I can want for nothing.”

“I don’t fully understand what has happened to us?” Hanna said to no one in particular.

“He wanted our blood but only if it was full of emotions otherwise it was tasteless. That sort of blood he could get from these poor souls.” Serin explained as she unlocked the cage door. “He even gave us Beresford and Lancelot to interact with. I suspected something when I realised that the traps were false. Only those traps set off by our new companions were deadly so they could die leading us into anger and mourning. But the victims shed no blood. It was a game all for our benefit.”

“A deadly one as you could have ended up like these poor souls, drained wrecks.” Darius said as she tried to get the victims to come out of the cage. “Come on out it’s over now you are quite safe. But how are we going to get out of here as I for one don’t fancy backtracking.

One of the victims, a young girl called Belle, spoke up fearfully.

“The master had a device to take him to the surface. I’ll show you.”

She crossed over to the coffin and with pure venom pushed the stake deeper into the now exposed creature’s body.

Tesler gently took the girls hand off the stake and led her away.

“You can’t hurt him any further nor he you but you can live in glory to spite his name.”

The child nodded and led them to a tapestry behind which was a lift mechanism.

“To light and glory.”

When the device came to a stop they stepped out into a ruined building and same one Serin had seen.

“All was an illusion.” She said as they picked up the scattered contents of their packs.

Epilog

“I died but lived again how was that possible? I did not know the answer and to be truthful I didn’t care. My sister had drawn closer to me and I had my beloved Serin what could have been better.”

The little boat tacked into the wind to clear the headland and out into this stretch of the cold sea.

In the cramped aft cabin Horren looked out of the window that ran the hold breadth and sighed deeply.

Serin crossed over and gently layed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“I nearly lost you.” Serin said quietly.

“Don’t remind me.” Horren shivered.

“I love you with all my heart.” She kissed Horren’s neck before loosening the ties of her lovers dress. “I need you, I want you, I love you.”

Serin’s kisses became more passionate until they were entwined naked on the narrow bed.

There was a staccato knocking on the cabin door.

“Come on upstairs girls you’re missing a beautiful sun rise.” Tesler called cheerfully.

Serin answered with a stream of invective finishing with the word off.

“Well really there’s no cause for that.” She said somewhat taken a back.

Lorren draped a friendly arm over the nuns shoulder and led her away.

“Come let us leave them be for awhile they have been through enough, they need time to recover.” Lorren smiled broadly, a smile that Tesler hadn’t seen in a long while. “Darius steer for home, steer for the valley. I have a sister and two sons to get to know.”

Lorren said it loud enough for Horren to get to hear.

Horren smiled and stretched out a hand for Serin to take.

Both women were at the window of the cabin watching the rising sun and feeling its warmth on their bodies.

Up on the rocks three separate sets of eyes watched them sail away.

In the shadow of a hut near the jetty a white robed figure of a woman stood watching contently.

“Goodbye for now daughter, I know your friends will protect you till both you and your brother Owen are needed. I am proud of you Serin.” She said as she faded away.

Further up in the tree line a small group of people watched.

A heavily swathed woman spoke.

“I have found you Serin and soon you and your brother will be squirming at my feet begging for death. And I shall not give it.” She laughed hollowly. “Your torture will give me great pleasure.”

She beckoned to a slim wiry man.

“Are plans afoot to install you at the school?” She asked curtly.

“Yes. My fishing boat will founder in the school harbour resulting in them rescuing me. I should be able to work out their defences before I’m sent back to the main land.” The man cackled. “While they nurse me back to health I shall be planning their downfall the witless dolts.”

“See that you do so master spy or I’ll burn out your eyes.” They turned and vanished into the woods.

Belle stopped on the rise of the hill and looked back at the little ship leaving the harbour.

Carrie one of the women from the cage drew her to her side and gave her a comforting cuddle.

“You’re safe with me.” Carrie said sincerely. “I’ll look after you.”

A shaft of light reflected off Belle’s fangs and black orbs.

“I know I am safe with you but how safe are you from me!”

A scream rent the air before being abruptly shut off and an eerie silence fell in its wake.

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