The Sun Door Part 38
by Joe Solmo
There were hundreds of beings in the chamber. Not only other Dreymorians like Drejnin and his father, but dontu as well. The entire left side had some kind of man-bug thing that made a chittering sound that made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. The right side had a few different species that I had not encountered before, most notably were a cyclops and a small furry group of what appeared to be intelligent rabbits, complete with court dress and pocket watches tucked into little pockets.
All heads, at least of the species that had discernable heads turned towards us as silence fell on the chamber. We froze in place, taking in the hell we saw. Faintly I heard a metal creaking sound and noticed up above there were metal cages holding humanoid shapes. Whether they were alive or not, I could not tell from here. I turned to Drejnin for the next move and noticed my companions all doing the same.
Drejnin held his head up high and walked through the throng of species. They parted for him and hushed whispers filled the chamber. Serius followed in his wake and unsure what else to do the rest followed behind him. The astonishing whispers turned to growls and curses aimed at us mortals. I never felt more hated in my life, not even when I ran into Darla Jean’s father after she gave birth to my son back home. I left that night. He knew I was leaving and I felt like such a shit to do it, but I couldn’t deal with it at the time. Hell, not sure I could now either.
Drejnin stopped moving and we fell in behind him. In front was a raised dais in a red marble that held a throne made from the bones of some creature I couldn’t guess. On the second step stood Skittessa and was not happy to see any of us, and although she was pure evil and would kill me in a second, I could not stop admiring her form. Her smoky gaze fell on Serius and she sneered at him. The dontu broke out into a smile. “Hey, baby,” he said.
As quick as lightning she drew a blade and held it at the dontu’s throat. For a second no one breathed, then Serius’s smile grew larger.
“Something I said?” he asked.
“Enough!” came a booming voice from the throne. Now I know where Drejnin got his deep baritone from. “Why do you return, castaway?” the voice said. I peeked at the leader from behind Jarris.
Drejnin’s father was built much like he was at first glance, but there were subtle differences. For one, Drejnin didn’t have thorny protrusions poking through his skin. The skin was also different. A pale-ish red. Definitely not pink. I wouldn’t ever say it was pink to his face. That face that looked like it ate babies in between meals of iron ingots. I had to have a palette cleanser and looked at Skittessa again. Ah, that’s better.
“Father please listen to me. I know we had our differences, but I have travelled the mortal world and I would like to tell you what I found!” Drejnin started to explain.
“I can see what you have found. A Paladin. You dishonor my house by bringing that filth into my throne room? When I thought you couldn’t disappoint me more, my son...” Drejnin’s father said and shook his head.
“Just listen. These men here, that travelled with me out of the kindness of their own heart. They are proof that not everyone has to be evil. They have shown me so much in the short time I spent with them,” Drejnin said.
“You heard Lord Ghant!” Skittessa said and whistled. Two of her trained beasts came from behind us. She turned her beautiful face towards Drejnin’s father. “Just give me the word, my liege and I will take care of this, permanently.”
“Stand down,” Lord Ghant said.
“I said stand down. Are you going to disobey me too, daughter-in-law,” he said and stood up. He stepped down past Skittessa and stood in front of Drejnin. The Lord had another foot of height on our giant dreymorian friend. I didn’t realize what a runt Drejnin was!
“Are you telling me that none of these…mortals have anything to gain by brining you back here, to the Hell that spawned you. This paladin of Parius for instance. You don’t think he wanted to rid his world of you?” Lord Ghant said and pointed at Jarris. The paladin held the demon lord’s stare the entire time.
“I am telling you father, that humans, dwarves, and other mortals aren’t just evil beings to be enslaved by demons. They create things of beauty, music, art, love...” Drejnin replied.
“Bah! Love, it is fiction. It’s just a misunderstood urge to reproduce and nothing more,” Lord Ghant said. “Look at your wife, Drejnin. Do you love her?”
“No father. I cannot love someone so evil. There is no love in her.”
“You are hopeless. These friends of yours are hopeless,” the demon Lord said and examined us one by one. His eyes fell on Skrat and lingered there was a moment. “Curious companions you have,” he said and moved on. I could feel the burning rage in that stare as his eyes fell onto me. I felt so small and insignificant. I wanted nothing more than to be somewhere else, anywhere else. I would trade with Moose at this point.
“It won’t matter soon anyway; the mortal world will fall. I have conquered all the enemies here, it’s time we expanded our borders, right!” Lord Ghant called out to the crowd. Cheers erupted from all around us.
“What are you saying?” Drejnin asked.
“I’m saying it’s time for war! The Dreymorians are strong. It’s our birthright to enslave the weaker races. There is no challenge for us here now. We will look for battle on the mortal plane. Even now my armies are returning here to join the invading force. Locanis has given us the means, a portal so big we can drive the war machines through,” Lord Ghant said.
“You can’t do that you monster!” Jarris called out and placed his hand on the hilt of his sword. The guards gave the holy man a look, daring him to draw his blade, their own hands drifting to their weapons. I quickly did the math. The 6 of us versus the entire room of hundreds of demons. I don’t think we would like the outcome.
“What if I could prove it to you?” Drejnin said.
“How would you do this?” Lord Ghant asked. Skittessa scoffed and wandered off into the crowd.
“This young mage’s brother sacrificed himself against your guardian’s fire breath to save his life. Does that not prove love?” Drejnin asked.
“No, it proves stupidity,” Lord Ghant sneered and turned to the crowd for approval. Once again, they cheered for their leader. “How do we know that was the reason he did it. Do you even know he died?”
“We did not witness his demise,” Drejnin admitted. The Lord looked over our companions once again and stopped on Dead-Eye.
“What is this one’s story?” he asked Drejnin.
“I have a name!” Dead-Eye said indignantly
“I don’t care,” Lord Ghant said and the crowd roared with laughter.
“He seeks vengeance for the death of his father,” Serius said.
“And my son envies him, no doubt. Did I kill his father?” Lord Ghant asked.
“No,” said Dead-Eye. “It was Drejnin and Skittessa.”
“How interesting,” Lord Ghant said, a wide smile creeping across his face. I didn’t like the look of that smile.
“They killed my father. A warrior cleric. At first, I wanted to kill Drejnin, then as I got to know him I learned it wasn’t his fault. His father influenced his actions. It isn’t who Drejnin really is. I forgive him,” Dead-Eye said in the soberest voice I had ever heard him use.
“Oh, you forgive him?” Lord Ghant said mockingly. “That and a resurrection spell can bring your father back!” The crowd burst out in laughter. Some of the demonic witnesses pointed at us like we were some kind of joke.
“How does this prove your theory, son?” Lord Ghant questioned. “He only followed you to get revenge. Revenge is a far cry from love. You have failed to prove your point. The invasion will go on as planned.”
“Wait…” I said. At first everyone ignored me. “Wait!” I said again. This time louder. I felt the weight of all the eyes on me. “I can prove that kindness, love…exist.
“What the hell are you doing, man?” Dead-Eye asked, elbowing me in the ribs.
“Interesting,” Lord Ghant said and stepped closer to me. I could feel the evil radiate from him like the vomit smell on Dead-Eye after a bender. “Go on mortal. Prove it to me!” the lord of the demons said in a mocking tone. The crowd cheered.
I sighed and looked at all my friends. We had been through so much together. Since Drejnin had come into my life, it had taken on purpose. I no longer wanted to waste the days getting drunk and playing cards. The world was a larger place. I thought of those we lost on the way. Moose, Myder, Hall, Weebly. All of these people had so much more life to live. So much to give the world around them.
Moose had his brothers; a tighter knit group didn’t exist. Myder and Hall were best friends, they loved taking care of people. Poor little Weebly never got to tell his people about the rediscovery of the dwarven forged weapons. I turned to the survivors around me. So much more to do in this life.
“I can prove it exists…” I said.
“You said that already…” Lord Ghant said.
“If I can prove that kindness and love exist will you promise to leave my world alone?” I asked.
“Yes, yes, go on mortal. I grow bored,” the demon lord replied.
“I give myself to you. My soul. I sacrifice myself to save my world,” I said. Gasps from my companions assaulted my ears.
“You can’t!” Drejnin said and bent down close to me. He whispered into my ear. “Do you know what they will do to you here?”
“I imagine it is horrible,” I said and gave Drejnin a smile. “It’s just one soul, instead of thousands, millions…You all have special weapons, powers, abilities. I don’t have anything but this to give. Let me,” I whispered back. Drejnin put his forehead against mine for a second and backed up a step. Was that a tear I saw in his eye?
“Do this do it for you?” I asked the demon lord.
“I saw him calculating his response. He watched Drejnin for a moment. The Dreymorian wasn’t good at hiding his emotion for once and his father read it correctly. Seeing that he could hurt his son he turned back to me.
“I accept your terms. Your soul for your world,” Lord Ghant said. “Take him away!”
“No!” Jarris called out.
“I am feeling generous my subjects! Kill them all!” the demon lord yelled.
Jarris drew his sword and swung at the nearest demon as it ignited, I was taken away before I saw the outcome of the swing. A moment later I was in a stone chamber all alone, wondering what had happened to my friends.
What seemed like an eternity later the door to my cell opened and Lord Ghant stepped inside. He didn’t say anything at first, just watched me as he paced the room.
“Do you know the damage they caused me,” he finally spoke. I didn’t answer right away. A part of me was hoping that they had been able to defeat the lord of the demons.
“All the humans were killed. The dontu as well, but Drejnin escaped. I lost half of my royal guard. Which one was it. That’s all I want to know,” Lord Ghant said.
“I... I don’t understand,” I replied.
“The deity. It was so faint I missed it on first inspection. Was it the mage? The paladin?” he asked.
“I don’t know what you are talking about,” I said.
“Mortals don’t have that kind of power,” he said and turned, showing me a nasty festering wound on his side.
“It’s my punishment for not keeping my bargain. Which Deity was it?” he asked again.
“I don’t know,” I replied.
“Well we have an eternity to find out, together,” he said and cackled. He left me alone in the chamber with a slam of the door. I sat there in the darkness knowing moments like this were few and I should cherish them. I drifted off into sleep at some point. When I awoke it was still dark and I was really thirsty. I reached out into the darkness for something to drink and was startled when I found a face.
“Shh…” the face said.
“Who are you,” I whispered.
“It’s not important,” the voice said. I felt a hand on mine then something hard was placed in my hand. I grasped the cup and gulped down its contents.
“Thank you,” I said.
“No, thank you. I was right about you all along,” the voice said.
“That poison won’t hurt. Don’t worry about it. Even though you made a deal with the devil, so to speak. You have been chosen to be rewarded by my peers. Congratulations. When you awake you will have new found powers. You will no longer be a mortal man, but a minor god. Your sacrifice impressed us.
“I don’t want it,” I said.
“You don’t get a choice,” the voice said. Enjoy. Even though it was dark I could tell that I was now alone. “Is this my reward or my hell?” I asked the darkness.
back to Fantasy