Andre M. Pietroschek

Harsh Words, Fiercer Deeds - The Shadow's Kiss - D&D Tale 2

 

 

Disclaimer:

No warranties. This is a work of fiction. Names, places, allegories, institutions, and happenings are fictional, or explicitly used fictitiously!

 

 

 

Harsh Words, Fiercer Deeds: The Shadow's Kiss

© Andre Michael Pietroschek, all rights reserved

 

 

Optional: The readers may imagine themselves as an agent of the bardic guild. An inquirer listening to the words of the only known survivor of this tale. It is a neutral role, with only a classic, or pathetic, cliché little author-BS in the final. ;-)

 

The tale, as written & told:

 

During a comparably mild winter night in the Unforgotten Realms, a couple of rogues are on their way to unmask a fraudulent sorcerer and, well, kill the old man.

 

I named them Armand and Cassandra, as I write this after having to handle real-world political issues. ;-)

 

So, fantasy a la Dungeons & Dragons, realms full of heroes & heroines, flamboyant villains, and fierce monsters. Starter players never seem to realize that those `shadows, reflecting us´ are a pearl of wisdom.

 

Born, in realizing how the world around us AND the people around us always affect, who we are and how much of it we can embody.

 

Embody, for a while, until Death gets us, or until the deities aka gods of the realms make us some pseudo-immortal creature.

 

Whoa, how comes, the black sheep of the Pretzlau family tells the tale? Straight, while also being the wicked sorcerer IN that tale?

 

`Your brother became a real wizard, why did you not even try?´, recites Daron Pretzlau.

 

The bald, hairy, and fat `wicked sorcerer´ even ignites a cigar, puffing the addictive smoke in utter mockery of the new age!

 

`I celebrate my survival my way, feel free, to do it your way instead.´, babbles the smoker.

 

`Last night, I indeed got surprised by my surprise visitors, as home invaders sound so an overstatement. After all, they were merely veteran criminals with the cantrips of sorcery or wizardry one could expect.´, says Daron. (Story mode now, no more dialogue unpaid extra efforts)

 

So, let me summarize, what must have been a thrilling tale of nocturnal venturing when seen from the criminals' perspective. Both of them were, after all, renowned cutthroats associated with several underworld contacts. Armand and Cassandra had become partners in crime, who rose from date theft and robbery to the more lucrative `criminal for hire´ jobs.

 

Armand, a quite attractive youngster ready for the world, and Cassandra, a former prostitute avenging herself on society.

 

Given, that for more than three years the rumor mills of the city, Lanternhold, unleashed tons of suggestions, implications, and accusations about the vile Daron Pretzlau. The specter forming there was born in the unspoken hope that somebody else would kill the downtrodden fatling, as the original accuser, obviously, wasn't capable enough to simply drop me dead. Contrary to other rumors, it is possible, as I am neither a vampire, nor any form of shadow creature immune to physical weapons, diseases, and accidents alike.

 

No, I may have my expertise in the occult and the arcane, but I was born a human and that means aging is a fierce tribute. A tribute, I am certain, my dear brother Lucario will always handle better than I am accredited for and his words will also always be wiser than whatever survival of unspoken ordeals made me ever warn anyone, and the both of us will be meaningless fools when our younger sisters decide to dominate whatever topic it is.

 

In our family, such is quite a tradition. Might makes right, as we failed to undo the competition among siblings and have to live with the unappreciated result. So must the others, but at least the Pretzlau family is a real family, does have an occult heritage, and some lesser noble titles to inherit around. What a wonderful chance to make the materialists and the greedy prove themselves puppets on just another string. I am not judging on it, as neither crime nor sorcery made me off any better than the rest of the family.

 

So, back to our couple of home invaders. Killing for the jollies, then milking the result for all it is worth. Looting my corpse and lying to the public about how such selfish greed was in truth altruist service to society and the greater good.

 

Oh, how their sexy, young bodies must have stealthily undone my security measures, and indeed, knowledge of arcane traps does speak of more than gutter scum, if I am asked about it.

 

The two gorgeous ones outwitted the city guard and approached my private residence without even triggering a single alarm (detonating skulls & death ray shooting symbols tend to be among the basic wizardry precautions shared by sorcerers and warlocks).

 

`In the end, their mix of skill and good timing was indeed their undoing!´ (punchline written in the hope of making the story more compelling, cheap trick)

 

The two walking orgasms, Armand & Cassandra, eye candy even to the blind, infiltrated the residence, found their way through it, and confronted me. Me, Daron Pretzlau, the wicked dark sorcerer scapegoat of the tale. Well, blame dumpster, as the scapegoat is a notch misdirecting.

 

Armand was merely too smart and too well-prepared for me, the dark sorcerer. And, not even his recurrent habit of trying hard to impress Cassandra aka showing off did sabotage that.

 

The two rogues, standing in my ritual chamber that moment, were dangerous and I was fully aware of that. It was also easy to guess they had murder in their eyes anyway.

 

My every word of warning was called a threat. A denial, I had met very often. Found, in people, who have either their crime or their twisted mindset to protect from the truth.

 

Daron: `Beware, those whispers are merely the beginning!´

 

Armand: `Cheap trick, wizard! Cassandra, those are only a magic cantrip, they ebb off if you won't panic.´

 

To be factual, the whispers of that spell aka incantation REALLY do ebb off, when one keeps steady nerves and courage instead of panicking. Sorry, an obligation to the basic foundations of sorcery & wizardry.

 

Armand: `Yeah, of course. And that darkness looming won't be undone by my little light spell, old man?´

 

Daron: `No, it will only get more hostile unto the Lightbringer, most unwelcome guests.´

 

Armand already unleashed a bright, glowing globe of pure white light. A temporal brightness clashed with the darkness, and I was afraid, as in a frenzy I could be torn to shreds centuries before the term `collateral damage´ will even be invented.

 

The atmosphere in my ritual chamber, both, returned to the dark normalcy and had a different aspect to it. Until my senses fooled me, or stress took a toll. Still, an undercurrent of malevolence, hostility, or bloodlust now seemed part of it.
 

With only an old man in the room, the two sexy rogues did not find their match, they made it come true.

 

Let me help the listener by explaining that I indeed was surprised early on and that I also indeed had to reserve my chosen few combat spells for the right moment, as rogues are fast-moving types, who tend to be quicker than old sorcerers. Contemplating, I think that it was the youthful energy of the two that made it seem so abstract to me.

 

They came, to kill me and boast about it among their kind. They rushed in when I would have considered the mere act of doing so unwise & unhealthy, and they persisted until Armand mistook certain insights to be my spellcasting.

 

The shadows did not have to come, as they were already there to meditate along with me. This simplification may also mean that I had to protect myself from cold, energy drains, and other effects of being on friendlier terms with denizens of dimensions not meant to mortal mankind at all.

 

Last, when wizards, sorcerers, and warlocks are topics, then nearly anybody would expect a ritual chamber to have certain symbols painted on the floor. So had my room, true. Just, that those were neither protective wards nor summoning aids at all. I was never that powerful and I could only shield myself and perhaps a person close & loyal enough.

 

The signs on the floor were luminescent to help me make my way, and the symbols were personal reminders of what spells to NOT forget during emergencies caused by creatures & influences from outside physical reality as mankind knows it.

 

The two rogues fought fiercely and even attempted a swift withdrawal when it became clear to them that victory would not be theirs.

 

Call it evil, call it sexist, when the less humanoid shadows manifested tendrils to rape Cassandra, I may have had an erection. Albeit one not reaching my mind, as such violent crimes are zero pleasure to me, and I did not even want to watch what conspired.

 

It took some time, but the dark ones, the real agents & harbingers of darkness to which even the most powerful wizards & sorcerers are merely talented lackeys, had their way into my ritual chamber. See, rumors aside, I am what is called a Rogue Shadowcaster, not a real Sorcerer (or wizard). So, while

 

I know some occult teachings & arcane formulae on darkness, shadows, and necromancy. It was simply not a ritual chamber for those kinda works.

 

My ritual chamber, while including spontaneous spellcasting and channeling of energies, which some may call unholy, was more meant for meditation and discourse with my partners in crime, my friends, allies, and associates. And that is, what got Armand and Cassandra killed. Even I expected to be alone in my room that night, but among the spells Armand unleashed, some merely recited from scrolls, some shot from a wand, one of those spells must have really been a beacon drawing attention.

 

And, might makes right, the fact that the dark ones allowed me to survive and not end like Cassandra either also means: I may owe them the same consideration and sole discretion.

 

Now, the truth, as blunt and boring as it is, is my only tale. No great romances, no thrilling plot twists, and in my opinion still not worth telling at all. But, if the bardic guild decides to spice the tale up by their refined skills and arts, so be it!

 

Alas, if on your way back to the bardic college you begin to hear whispers and start seeing moving shadows: Run to holy ground, stay in brightly lit areas, speak your prayers, or cast your protective spells as best you can.

 

In such a case, just like in this tale, I am simply not the real protagonist, just another puppet on a different string!´

 

THE END

 

 



Although I tried to make it readable as a stand alone story, it was the second part to: https://www.e-
stories.org/read-stories.php?&sto=17038

Namely: This followed ``The Last Resort Inn Incident´´, and that title was due to insomnia, as ``The Last
Respite Tavern Incident´´ would be a less improper choice, admittedly so! ;-)
Authors comment

 

All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Andre M. Pietroschek.
Published on e-Stories.org on 05/28/2023.

 

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