Episode 14: A Serpent Inferno, and Struggling Aboard Her Majesty’s Flagship Silme Wen
Silme Wen “Seel-may when” = (“Moonlight Maiden” the Imperial Flagship)
- Sigea, Morgar, Caeldryn, Mikal, Zanne, Lugrithillirid?
She was flying, falling, running, and then she was there. The writhing masses of snakes scattered before her blazing light, hissing in fury. She bared her teeth and hissed back at them. The fire was all around her now, licking at the walls, devouring the snakes. The fury was filling her, slowly consuming her, but suddenly she stumbled, her strength giving out. The fire disappeared as quickly as it came and she fell into darkness.
Her eyes sprang open. Chaos. Screams. Hissing. Zanne was holding her, sobbing, calling her name. She was encased in darkness. It was cutting through her like knives. But then suddenly, it was gone. She leapt to her feet, pushing Zanne away from her. A huge cobra reared it’s head in front of her. She met it’s eyes and felt the fury pulsing through her again. She growled and tried to charge it, but someone was holding her, restraining her. She was being dragged out the door, away from the snakes that she needed to kill. She fought them like a wild animal, and then the snake struck. Blinding pain and then darkness again.
Bright light cut through the darkness. Morgar was grasping her face in his hands. His mouth moved, but there was no sound. The pain subsided. Again, she leapt to her feet. The door was just a few feet away. She could hear the snakes hissing inside. They had to die. She was going to kill them. Someone was screaming, someone was grabbing her. She tried to push them away, the fury impatient. There was no time for this. Morgar grabbed her face, forcing her to look at him, she growled and fought him. White light blinded her and blood trickled down her face. Morgar had smashed her face with his helmet. He was still yelling, trying to hold her down. She remembered how to fey step and quickly disappeared out of his arms. She was amidst the snakes again, ready to kill.
Free from restraint, she felt the fire around her grow with her rage until she felt absolutely nothing. It was calming, this familiar place where she felt nothing, heard nothing, and saw nothing. The fury, finally set loose, raged around her, devouring everything within reach. It left her quickly, burning and destroying, and when it was gone she closed her eyes and slowly collapsed to the ground.
I could feel my consciousness slowly swimming back into my grasp. I felt exhausted and drained, my soul troubled. This combination of emotion felt strangely familiar, but before I could ponder what it meant, I suddenly realized that there was a heavy weight pressing into the small of my back, holding me down.
My eyes sprang open. I was on a ship, laying in a bunk, looking at Mikal who was holding his sword arm over me menacingly. I screamed and tried to roll away, but the weight held me down. I twisted until I could see that Morgar was holding me down….and holding the cloak around my neck out for Mikal to cut. Even as I realized they weren’t trying to kill me, a desperation I didn’t understand seized me to save the cloak. I screamed again as the blade came down on the cloak, but the blade bounced off without even making a dent. Mikal raised his arm again, but a familiar voice stopped us in our tracks.
“Don’t be so hasty!” It lisped.
All of us froze. It couldn’t be. We had left him in the past. But I knew that voice. I knew it far too well. The door slowly creaked open and he slid silently in. His tentacles drifted towards us as if tasting the air to see who would be the most delicious. Lugrithillirid, the Ilithid, had found us.
All three of us screamed at once, and I took advantage of the moment to push Morgar off me. I stumbled a little, but I managed to lurch in front of Morgar and Mikal, holding my arms out in a pathetic attempt to shield them from this demon from my past.
“Don’t hurt my friends!” I hissed at him, Lucan’s death playing over and over in my head.
He chuckled jovially, and told us calmly that he had a deal for us. We stared at him in silence, which seemed to amuse him. Finally he lazily waved his fingers, opening a portal in the air next to him. Through it we could see the inside of an extravagant ship. He explained that the deal was simple. He would let us go through the portal to save our friend. Morgar and Mikal tensed next to me. I stared through the portal, shocked to see Zanne standing on the deck of the ship, tears pouring down her face. Cynar stood next to her, his arm around her shoulder, a creepy smile on his face. The Empress was seated on a throne in front of them.
“Why is Zanne on that ship?” I yelled furiously. “What happened??”
Lugrithilirid chuckled again, interrupting me to explain that in exchange for this generous gift of his, we would need to hand over the cloak. Despair almost choked me as I realized he was making me chose between my best friend or this cloak that I for some reason couldn’t bear to give up. Morgar and Mikal tried to pry answers out of Lugrithillirid, but he just smiled maddeningly and refused to give any straight answers. Mikal suddenly threw his arms up in the air and stormed out of the room. I watched him go, confused….what was his deal? As he left, however, I noticed that Sigea was silently watching in the doorway. Suddenly he ran in and dove through the portal. We watched in shock as he appeared next to Zanne, startling her. Guards quickly surrounded him. Morgar and I looked at each other helplessly. We had no idea what to do. Finally I told the mind flayer that he could have the cloak…..just not yet. He agreed to my terms with a smirk, and followed Morgar and I through the portal to keep an eye on his prize.
We appeared in the middle of the room, and as my feet touched the floor, I realized with a start that I was in my Sun Elf form. I could hear gasps, and the guards surrounding Sigea, quickly pointed weapons at us as well.
Well, I was tired of hiding anyways, I guess. I might as well come out with it now. Gathering my courage, I stepped forward and prayed my voice wouldn’t tremble. “I am a princess of Solaris. I have come here to warn you that by taking Yvonna’s heart, you are going to destroy the entire world!”
My voice rang out strongly, and I watched the Empress as I spoke. I saw a brief flash of what might have been hope in her eyes, but that was quickly hidden by her stern countenance again. Morgar stepped forward next to me, speaking directly to the Empress. He told her of the future that he had seen, begging her to see reason.
“Enough of this foolishness.” Cynar snapped, interrupting Morgar. “These people are terrorists bent on destroying and killing and spreading fear and lies. Guards, arrest them!”
Zanne grabbed his arm, eyes flashing. “You promised that you wouldn’t hurt them if I came with you!” she cried.
Cynar brushed her hand off and smiled smugly. “Well that was only if they didn’t come after you.”
The Empress remained silent, simply watching us. The guards were hesitating, looking from Cynar to the Empress. Sigea drew Althea.
“Arrest them!” screamed Cynar.
An arrow whistled past Sigea’s head, and the guards charged.
I quickly ducked a sword slash, and backed against the wall, half-heartedly readying myself to attack. I still felt deeply troubled about something, and it was all to clear to me how much I resembled the Eladrin who were fighting us. This was the first time I’d been face to face with Eladrin as an Eladrin. We should be allies, not enemies.
For the moment I was being ignored, so I glanced around the room and met the eyes of a tall Eladrin commander standing a few feet away from me. He was watching me, but he had not joined the fight. I suddenly recognized him as the commander, Cato, who had arrested us when we had tumbled out of the portal into the Imperium, killing the Dreamweaver. As we stared at each other, I suddenly had the overwhelming feeling that this man was not evil. I slowly walked up to him, holding my hands out in a gesture of peace. He looked at me warily and put one hand on his sword hilt. Suddenly three guards were surrounding me. I stopped in my tracks, but no one attacked me.
“Everything I said was true.” I said quietly. “I am who I said I am, and I don’t want to fight you. We need to be allies with the Imperium. Not enemies. The fate of the entire world is at stake here.”
His expression didn’t change at all, he simply looked at me. I glanced at the guard surrounding me, but they all had the same unreadable expression.
“I know the Empress and Cynar are trying to find Yvonna’s heart.” I continued cautiously. “I know that they say that they’re trying to make the world a better place. But they’re only trying to make their own lives better by achieving immortality. If they carry out their plan, millions and millions of innocent people will die.”
Still nothing. It was like talking to statues.
“I might be the last sun elf alive. I have no idea. I’m fey just like the rest of you, but I will not stand idly by while innocent people are killed.” I was getting frustrated. “How could you be so selfish?” I pleaded.
It was then that I noticed the dark shadows flitting around the room. Goosebumps raised on my flesh as the room grew colder. Oh no, I thought panicking a little, please please not them.
Dante suddenly materialized next to Cato, grinning wickedly at me. I tried to swallow my terror, “Hello, Dante.” I said, my voice shaking a little. I cursed myself for my weakness.
With one lightning fast movement, Dante suddenly was grasping my hand. His smile widened at my fear, and he slowly bent to kiss my hand. He glanced up at my face and then with his other hand quickly drew his claws and plunged them into my stomach. My terror froze me on the spot, unable to do anything besides close my eyes. But I felt nothing. There was a horrible scream, and I opened my eyes to see Dante a few feet away from me, stabbing Cynar instead. I met Sigea’s eyes and gave him a wobbly smile of thanks.
Dark shadows everywhere were materializing into vampires. There were so many of them. I wanted to run away so badly, but instead I swallowed my terror. I would not abandon my friends. Cato and the guards still hadn’t moved a muscle, but I really didn’t want to hurt them.
“You’re going to want to step away from me and shield your eyes.” I told them quietly.
To my surprise, after a brief second of hesitation, Cato nodded to his guards, and they all fell back away from me. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the spark of sun I possessed. Radiant sun filled me and burst out from my hands, causing the vampires to scream in anger and pain………and turn on me. I fought them off the best I could, blasting them with light.
“A true Queen protects her people.” I yelled back to Cato and the guards as I fought.
Vampires were swarming me, trying to extinguish my light. There were so many voices squabbling for control over my mind that it was hard to distinguish my own thoughts. But I held on. Vampires were falling in the wake of my golden light. I was backed closer to the corner that Cato and his guards were occupying, and as I fought I saw a sudden movement out of the corner of my eye. Cato was drawing his sword.
My heart dropped with disappointment and I turned quickly to defend myself from him. But I was surprised once again to see that his movement had blocked Dante from attacking my unprotected back.
“What are you doing? Stay out of my way!” Cato snapped at Dante, who disappeared in a black mist immediately.
Cato was purposely not looking at me, but I saw him glance at me out of the corner of his eye, and I knew that he had acted deliberately. Hope surged in my heart. He was listening to me!
Suddenly a dark presence appeared behind me, and Dante took a hold of my will. I tried to fight him, but I failed, hearing his mocking laughter echo in my head. He forcefully made me extinguish my light. As I gasped in pain, I was horrified to see that the fallen vampires were beginning to stir again.
As I struggled against Dante, I noticed that Morgat was kneeling next to the Empress who was collapsed on the floor….except….I did a double take. It wasn’t the Empress. There was a beautiful female vampire lying there. She was starting to stir when suddenly Cynar turned on her and stabbed her. Morgar shielded her with his body and I saw Cynar’s sword go right through him. I screamed, unable to go to him to help as I was still fighting Dante for control of my will. But then the Vampire woman stood up, looking terrifying, and attacked Cynar with a fury. I watched her, feeling my hopes drop. She wasn’t a sun elf. She wasn’t my sister.
Cynar dominated Zanne as he fought off the Vampire woman. Zanne began attacking Sigea and Morgar for him. More vampires were stirring and some were beginning to rise again. Suddenly Lugrithillirid appeared….I had forgotten he had come with us….and told us it was time to leave. I was still fighting Dante when Zanne suddenly knocked me off my feet with a powerful blow, her face blank. The Vampire woman grabbed Zanne and me and started dragging us towards the portal that Sigea and Morgar were going through.
I fought her because I could see that Cato was trying to free Zanne from her domination. Cynar noticed too and with a furious cry stabbed Cato through the shoulder. Zanne momentarily blinked out of her domination enough to let the Vampire woman pull her through the portal, leaving me behind. Quickly, I snatched up a fallen spear and threw it at Cynar. It impaled him in the shoulder, the force carrying him several feet into a wall where he hung suspended and furious.
Trying to ignore the vampires, I ran up to Cato and grabbed his hands. “Please come with us! Please! I know that you are a better person than all this!” I begged him.
“I can’t just leave!” He protested. “I’m a commander, I have duties!”
“Didn’t you see what just happened?” I pleaded. “Your Empress is a vampire, she’s a fake! And your leader just stabbed you!”
He looked gravely at me for a few seconds, then glanced at Cynar who was furiously scrabbling against the spear. Cato met my eyes again with determination in his face….and then ripped off his medals of rank, dropping them on the floor. Then so quickly that I barely had time to register it happening, he lifted me into his arms, ignoring his injured shoulder, and carried me past all the growling vampires towards the portal with his guards following behind him. Startled, I held on to him, looking over his shoulder at the furious face of Cynar growing farther away.
Lugrithillirid smiled at me as we went by, and I felt chilled to the bone. I had made a deal with a mind flayer and he was about to collect.
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