Ketta Terace: Chapter 6

It was then that the prisoner, exiled to a dark and strange planet in the far reaches of known space, far from her own lands and beyond sight or perception of any record-keeping race, was torn then from her mortal body as she clutched the blade of the mystic sword. Yet, it was not the dark halls of Skivrend’s void, nor the ever-battle on the fields of Bolmorro’s grace, nor the high mountain home of Jocknow’s clarity that her soul was sent. The prisoner was brought to another realm, another prison, closer to her hand as it clutched blood and steel.

The pains of the world were gone to her, and though the sensation of her once living flesh was bereft, she retained the same form of her life’s body. She opened her eyes and lifted herself from the floor. The circular walls of the place she found herself were fitted with seamless shelves of shimmering lacquered wood. The bindings of books and great tomes surrounded her. Cushioned chairs and couches were arrayed with the focal point at that of a blazing fireplace. Each chair and end table, which held all manner of mysterious baubles, stood on a plush carpet of ornate and intricate design. Above her, the wood of the shelving abruptly ended and became a geometric dome of rippling blue crystal. Beyond its semiclear barrier was a shinning sea of starlight.

The Prisoner was laid low in awe of the trappings about her and gazed longingly up at the ceiling.

“An alluring dome.” A voice, deep and suave, startled her and she turned quickly to see a slender being standing near one of the bookshelves opposite the fireplace. “Such a comforting prison; would you agree?”

He held a book open in his clawed hand but snapped it shut. The being resembled the wolf-like Ventoshi but for a crown of five white horns springing from his head. Despite the grey tone of fur and mammalian aspects, his features were smoothened, almost Pyric. He stood half turned away wearing a tight cut dress robe of pure black, nearly formless. He regarded her with a smile and his bright silver-black eyes shimmered in the firelight. The prisoner blinked and felt a spasm of memory of her last living moments, growing hazy as a fading dream. She was afraid of losing what she could not remember.

“Who are you?” The Prisoner said, not sure if the words came from her mouth or her thoughts.

Tucking the book under his arm he ambled toward her.

“I am not in a disimilar position from yourself. I am bound here in this place. My name is Failbe.”

“Where are we? Am I dead?”

“I would say that you are indeed entirely separated from your mortal body, but only just, and depending on how you want to look at it… incredibly lucky to have ended up here with me. Yet that leads us to your first question: ‘where are we?’” He waved a hand. “I will spare you the details, but what I will reveal to you is that I have been stuck in the pommel of this damned sword for more time than I can accurately guess.” He gestured to the the room encircling them. “The trappings you see around us are not quite real. I have found that this manifestation of surroundings comforts me for I have always loved the pursuit of knowledge. The great fallacy and true irony of this is that I could only stock the shelves of this study with books I have read before, with things I have already learned before the-powers-that-be had placed me here.”

The prisoner looked about at the books that made the circumference of the large room. Many bindings, many pages.

Failbe continued.

“I have read and re-read the pages of these tomes as an oyster perfects a pearl. This prison in this sword is not of the body, but of the soul, and thus the soul might define from the nothingness the nature of its trappings. Still, there is no worse hell than trying to remain sane. If you would hear out a plan of mine, great power could be given to you.”

The prisoner stood taking in all that Failbe had said, but before she could speak the Ventoshi-like being drew back, his chair gliding away into the shadow of the darkening room around her. The flames of the fireplace disappeared and all was shrouded in darkness and nothing.

It was then that a great rush of wind rose around her. From the dark, the world transformed and the prisoner was soon standing atop the precipice of a high clifftop. Below was sprawled a fiery valley of magma rivers, surrounded above the clifftops and beyond by rolling grasslands and mighty dark forests. Distant mountains on the horizon were dwarfed by the height. Her hair billowed about her face from wind rising from afar.

Then from below in the valley a dark beast appeared. It beat its sprawled wings, thin hide leather webbings catching the rising wind. It flew up to her precipice and she drew back as the dragon lighted on the edge of the cliff where she stood. Its massive talons dug up the rock and earth in their grip as it landed, its massive yet slender body rose to a full standing height with spread wings and a long snaking neck. Slim and swift features of the face looked down at her with sharp teeth and pronounced canines. A crown of white horns stood out from its head.

The dragon looked down on her with silver eyes and folded back its wings. It spoke to her, not with its mouth but with a voice that spoke softly into her mind.

“It was because of my power that I was ensnared here in this prison of mind in a weapon I cannot wield, for now you see what my soul has truly become.” Failbe’s mouth gnashed, but he turned his head regarding her sidelong with intellect. “I was put here to serve eternity alone and yet you, my champion, can bring both of us our freedom.”

By Jason Pratley

Jason Pratley joined the team sometime in 2013 when he created the concepts for the gods of ODR. He has since become the Writing Director and de facto loremaster for DDG. Check out some other stories and content at jvfpp.wordpress.com and goodevilcomic.com