Story: Tales of Darkness - "Lady of the Night" (chapter 27)

Authors: Rhanar Narra-Jar

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Chapter 27

Title: Chapter XXVII - Visit from a Dead Friend

[Author's notes: Introducing: Lord Vlad'Darsa the Lich, Archmage Extraordinare and Chief Researcher of the Sapphire Circle.]

”So you’re saying we’re out of shards, already? Maybe we shouldn’t have lent all the suits out…” Jiki said as she and Kiro were rolling the trolley down the stairs to the kitchen.

”Well, we’ve run out of them, and we can’t expect these girls to just know all about crystal channalizing, can we?” Kiro asked, Jiki smiling sheepishly.

”Well, we could give Vlad a call; maybe he’s got something stocked up” Jiki said, Kiro nodding at her; ”we still have that crystal he gave us.”

”Who’s this ’Vlad’ dude you’re talking about, ladies?” Christy asked, the blonde girl stopping by on her way to the showers.

”Lord Vlad’Darsa, not really your stereotypical kind of lich” Kiro said, giggling at Christy’s look of horror.

”A…a lich?! A lich as in, like, an evil spellcaster returned from the dead? A bony skeletal undead? A monster only wanting to destroy all life?!”

”…Uhmm, you were right on the ’bony skeletal undead’ and ’monster’, but he’s a not really evil; he’s an archmage of the Sapphire Circle” Jiki explained, Christy growing even more perplexed.

”Here, we’ll show you him, shall we?” Kiro said, finding a small Mystic Crystal in her pocket, putting it on the floor; stepping back, her and Jiki both spoke; ”we wish to speak to Lord Vlad’Darsa.”

In the next moment, a large figure formed in a faint aura of bluish Mystic Magic, taking the shape of a human skeleton with glowing, blue eyes and wearing a dark-blue and gold-trimmed robe, holding a white staff with a large Mystic Crystal on its tip.

”Ah, you beseech me, I see; quite a pleasant reprieve over gardening and writing scrolls” the skeleton said, its voice hoarse, old and somewhat sounding as if it came from all over the manor.

”What in the fuck is this?!” Christy shrieked, hiding under the trolley, Jiki and Kiro laughing at her and Vlad’Darsa shaking his skull.

”I’m not really present to you, my girl; I am, in fact, sitting in my tower right now, as you interrupted my studies…” Vlad’Darsa said, turning his head to Jiki and Kiro; ”…and I suppose there is a reason for the interruption?”

”Well, there is, Darsa, ’cause we’ve kinda…” Jiki said, feeling a bit embarrassed over having already used up one amount of crystal shards.

”You used up the shards’ magic, and now you want some new ones?” Vlad’Darsa said, letting out a voice that sounded like a sigh; ”this is what I get for my mastership of Mystic Magic; two little girls near constantly asking for powerful artefacts and items!”

Angrily mumbling, Vlad’s head turned to Christy, whose eyes were peeking from under the trolley; ”and you; would you, by any chance, wish for some magical items or trinkets?”

”Oh! Well, I uhmm…could you get…no, sorry, what the heck am I saying?! I’m talking to a transparent, ghostly freaky skeleton in fancy robes!” Christy shrieked, her fear overcoming her curiosity.

”You don’t think that I can?? Gods’ blood; I’ve only been dead for twenty-four years, and now people start thinking I have lost my abilities??” Vlad’Darsa asked, putting his bony claws together in what sounded like a snap, Mystic sparks forming into…

”A…an evening dress??” Christy said perplexed, the dress materializing and slowly swooping towards her, landing softly on the floor besides her.

”It’s the latest Silvarciraian fashion; have you any idea how many Ara you can earn just sewing and enchanting these for the nobility?” Vlad’Darsa asked, Christy having picked up a fork from the trolley and poking the dress as if it was going to jump on her.

”Oh, please…” Vlad’Darsa sighed, clapping his bony claws to his skull, Jiki and Kiro giggling hysterically at Christy; ”…I have not cursed it, you silly lass! It is a gift, not a cursed piece of galla attire!”

”Wow….uhmm, thanks…creepy, undead, transparent…dude…” Christy said, uncertain as she was.

”Have no worries, I’ve got no intention of hanging around; I have better things to do than to keep up this mirror spell” Vlad’Darsa said, turning to face Jiki and Kiro; ”and it was a sack of Mystic Crystal shards for the two of you, was it not?”

”Yep, it sure was” Kiro teased, Vlad’Darsa nodding at her; ”could I interest you in some experimental brews? I have made some experiments, but I need a field test of my potions.”

“Sure, Vlad; it’s the least we can do” Jiki nodded, Vlad nodding his head eagerly.

“Uhmm, Vladdie-dude...?” Christy suddenly asked, Vlad’Darsa’s head turning to her; “yes, what is it, girl?”

“Uhmm...are you that fellow...who’s made that drakegold thing...?” Christy carefully asked, hearing Vlad’Darsa chuckle in reply.

“Indeed I have! My first and best brew ever! The local inns have been begging me for the recipe ever since!” Vlad said, sounding amused; “say there, little lass; you can have a barrel of that sweet little drink on me; since you, presumably, like it so much; I consider it nothing more than my...well, civic duty, if the dead have such a thing.”

“Hey, thanks, Vladdie; you’re kinda cool for a dead guy” Christy said, mentally noting herself that while she, as well as all Nightwind girls, despised men, Vlad’Darsa could not possibly be interested in them, since he was already dead´, making him the first ‘man’ she had ever had an intelligent conversation with.

“Hmm? Hold on a moment...” Vlad’Darsa suddenly said, holding his staff up, the crystal in it shining brightly.

“I sense an object of great magic moving towards is Dark Magic, but it’s been tamed, controlled...its wielder must be a good-hearted one, indeed...” Vlad mumbled, the girls hearing what sounded like Allisia in conversation with one of the maids.

“Will you pardon me if I use a bit of magic, my ladies?” Vlad’Darsa asked, Christy hesitantly shaking her head, Jiki and Kiro simply sitting down on the floor, Vlad’Darsa making a gesture with his claws, Mystic Magic shining from them; soon after, his eyes closed in concentration.

“You, Christy; please go and ask this Lady Allisia to show herself; she might carry a power greater than she realize” Vlad’Darsa asked, Christy nodding, yelling over her shoulder; “hey, Allisia! Come over here a second!”

“What is it, Christy?” Allisia asked, perplexed to see the image of Vlad’Darsa floating a few centimetres over the floor.

“My Lady, I trust You realize you carry the Soul-Cleaver by your belt; an old, incredibly powerful weapon of Dark Magic...?” Vlad’Darsa asked, Allisia looking to her side, the Soul-Cleaver resting in its scabbard.

“This blade was given to me by Illirian, the Goddess of the Dead some time ago; I was told I had earned the right to wield it” Allisia spoke as calmly as she could.

“The One-Eyed gave you that blade? Hmm...very curious...” Vlad’Darsa mumbled; “may I have a look at it?”

“How can I trust you?” Allisia asked sharply, Vlad’Darsa nodding in amusement.

“You have my word as archmage on it” Vlad’Drasa bowed, Allisia uncertainly unsheathing the Soul-Cleaver, mentally smirking to herself that even if the lich would lie to her, she could at least stab the dark weapon through him, claiming his undead soul.

“Let me see...” Vlad’Darsa mumbled, gesturing towards the sword, but was surprised as his magic did nothing, as Allisia still held the Soul-Cleaver in her hands.

“Very curious; it seems to have been bound to you, so I cannot touch it...” Vlad’Darsa said Allisia stepping closer, ready to gut Vlad’Darsa at the slightest sign of danger.

“Vladdie, is it really that big a deal? I mean, it just looks like a fancy blade...” Jiki asked, Kiro nodding at her girlfriend.

“It 'is' a ‘big deal’, indeed! Judging by the text and inscriptions on the blade, it seems to be...Gods’ blood, it ‘is’ the Soul-Cleaver!” Vlad’Darsa exclaimed in something sounding like triumph; seeing Allisia’s concerned look, however, he added; “this blade is neither cursed nor meant to draw harm to the wielder, my lady; rest assured an archmage of the Sapphire Circle is worth his word, dead or not.”

“You speak very formally and you know your craft, mage...” Allisia said, studying the Soul-Cleaver, looking at Vlad’Darsa; “...I trust you on your word, lich, and for that I shall not strike at you.”

“You make a clever warrior, my lady; not all undead who walks Varran means it harm...but you must excuse me, there is someone at the other end...” Vlad’Darsa said, the bluish aura slowly fading away, Vlad’Darsa disappearing.

“Uhmm, what about the stuff you promised??” Christy asked quickly, Vlad’Darsa’s skull popping up in the air, making her let out a frightened shriek.

“Oh yes, thank you for reminding me...” Vlad’Darsa’s head said, gesturing his hand at the floor, where a heavy, wooden barrel and two clinging brown sacks materialized on the floor.

“...OK, that dude was a little weird, but at least we got some goods from him...” Christy shrugged, looking closely at the barrel; it seemed all too heavy to carry by herself...

“Oh, Allisia-a-a-a-a....?” Christy now used her most seductive and sugar-sweet voice; “...this barrel is way too heavy for sweet, lil' me; I need a big, strong Amazon like you to carry it to the kitchen; won’t you help out?”

“Uhmm...well, I need to head downstairs, anyway...” Allisia said, smiling shyly as Christy began to fondle her breasts through her tunic, the blonde smiling happily at her.

“Really?? Oh thankies, Allisia! You’re a dear!” Christy smiled happily, mentally about to laugh at herself for trying something so childish and silly.

“Right then...” Allisia said, took a deep breath, and took barrel with both hands, truly feeling it to be way heavier than she had thought.

“Urgh...! Jiki, Kiro, please move your items out of the way...!” Allisia groaned, the two girlfriends quickly snatching the two bags, Allisia nodding thankfully.

“Are you sure you can handle it?” Jiki asked as Allisia approached the stairs.

“Sure, I know the manor well enough...” Allisia assured them, really showing it when she made a small jump, landing on the first step of the stairs.

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