Behind the Barrier

EVENTS NEWS #22
Date: 2/17/2013 at 19:34
From: Anonymous
To : Everyone
Subj: Behind the Barrier

Ilomba Umdhelbi was a mystery to the men serving beneath him. Studied though they were in the ways of magic and magicians, this man was nothing like the legends that surrounded him. Slight, bent, lacking in most of his teeth and basic concepts of hygiene... well, to many of his men, being close to Ilomba was actually rather worse than being near the penned goblins. But none of their discomfort mattered. The man produced.

Ambassador Mehrdad had long since learned that hiding his grimaces and sneers from the man was entire unnecessary, Ilomba could hardly be pulled from his focus. Bent over his scribbles and diagrams, the legend was frantically whispering beneath his fetid breath, his hands grasping the bare shoulders of the last of the slaves. Mehrdad watched with a face smoothed by years of ambassadorial duties as the young guard dutifully grabbed the girl's hair and wrenched her head back, baring her neck before the decidedly creepy Ilomba Umdhelbi.

The girl's face was less abstruse, though likely not one that might be expected from a nobleman's youngest daughter who was sold into slavery to the cause so that her father might enjoy a little leniency with his latest scandal. She smiled, a slow, dazed grin that sliced across her face just before Ilomba's dagger sliced across her throat. Only the fluttering of her chest could've shown her fear, the potions not quite able to block all of her awareness.

Mehrdad turned abruptly away as a purple light flared through the glade, his hands clenching his robes away from his sandals as he quickly sought the relative safety of his tent. Just as the silken flap closed behind him, the first loud rumbles shook his things and he thought to himself that it seemed to eerily match the thumping of his heart.

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Kicking up his dirty feet and giggling in a pitch that could only be described as 'disturbingly child-like', Ilomba clapped with delight as what he'd come to call 'his heart' cut a flaming line through the forests of the eledhel. His breath caught in his throat and he shivered as a woman was caught in a deluge of the thing's blood, her skin melting as a man cried out 'Sephira!' and reached futilely for her. She writhed and fell there just before her partner fell beside her, and the magician's image momentarily wavered as his imagination was so caught in the pleasure the scene brought that his focus shifted just a bit. Licking his lips, he quickly recovered and watched the destruction with renewed zeal.

In the camp around him, the men's eyes were wide and white against their dark skin as they marched out, pressing their troops through the momentarily downed barrier. None spoke as the armies slid with all the sound of shadows through the trees, their destinations both clear and yet unknown to their brothers in arms. Ilomba had been quite clear, he who spoke of the plans would find his mouth made in the image of one of Ilomba's girls, and no sane man (really, not many insane men either) wanted to have his eyes burned through by the force of his life-essence escaping his skull and a thousand wiggling tentacles sprout from within his belly to push up and out through his mouth. Some might question the loyalty of men who are taught from birth to lie, but those same questioners were clearly not privy to the sight of this sort of arbitrary discipline.

As the last of the men slipped into the forest, the barrier closed behind them with a whisper of nameless magician's words. The camp was still fairly bustling, though, many having stayed behind and rested before their roles would be played. These men were who heard the high-pitched scream that echoed from Ilomba's cave just as the constant 'thu-thump' of the heart-creature went silent. A young man named Jalsvel along with his citymates Savil, Silas, Ran, Aerrant and the returned Sephira and Grin had finally bested Ilomba's heart.

The resulting tantrum was a thing of dark beauty that resulted in the demise of seven war hounds, three magicians, fifteen goblin children, and a few rather tacky lamps. It was decided then that they needed to dangle a new distraction before Ilomba or risk his sulking boredum's effect on their people.

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"No," was the only syllable that slid between Ilomba's twisted lips, his black eyes wide and glittering with the thrill of his work. Laying his hand upon the muscled arm of the Keshian warrior at his side, Ilomba's grin widened as the young man shuddered visible and carefully shifted his weight to pull him away from the magician.

The air of Ylith smelled of blood and smoke and some fragrance that would come to be thought of by the troops as the smell of Ilomba's perversions. It was almost oily, like the air was heavy with something sharp and not at all natural. Even the few women that lived through the siege had seemed to smell it and kept their screams a bit softer for the lack of breath they could fill their lungs with. They had not bothered to drug them, their blood was not going towards the same end and Ilomba seemed to revel in their anguished cries for mercy.

"No," he said again, watching the two little girls cower at the window to the orphanage. Sliding his tongue slowly over the point of his white teeth, his hand hung in the air, petting nothing at all as his band of guards tried to look away. Most of the enemy men had been taken back through the rifts to become their new slaves, and the last of the women were being set aside for the legendary Ilomba's play. As the legend in question turned away from the orphanage and saunter away, he beckoned to another magician and whispered to him, the man paling noticeably before he nodded and quickly scurried to instruct the guard. "Flush the girls out, he wishes them to be left behind... and made to watch," the man murmured, careful to keep his eyes upon Ilomba as he headed off with a younger-man's skip to go enjoy his work.

Efficient and by now trained to not allow even the most distasteful of tasks to hamper them, the men split off, most following Ilomba's gleeful departure while two stayed to see to their master's latest plans. Only the briefest of thoughts was spared for the little girls as the men glanced at each other and knew the other was also wondering why such small, frail creatures would be spared by the sadistic Ilomba Umdhelbi.

Penned by my hand on the 42nd of Wochem, in the year 42.