The western Provinces of the Kingdom of Leon have been overtaken by the ambitious young mage Kaloyan. While the mage is satisfied with his recent acquisition of villages in the surrounding meadows, he knows that the villagers’ loyalty is feeble at best, and their combat prowess lacking. Without an army, his new territory would easily succumb to the forces of Leon, thus he has turned his hopes towards entering the world of demons, the underworld, and recruiting a force of evil spirits to serve him. It is a place where the souls of the dead are said to go after their passing, and using ancient texts of forbidden magic Kaloyan has prepared a ritual which will lead him there.
Kaloyan: “The darn goat is finally asleep! Quickly Roger hand me the skull!”
Roger: “Here you are ser, please don’t hurt him.”
Kaloyan: “I’m not going to hurt it you whimpering old man; I need it alive and well to shield me from any harm in the Underworld. Now allow me to concentrate!”
(Reading the texts) “Through me the way is to the city dolent; Through me the way is to eternal dole; Through me the way among the people lost.
Justice incited my sublime Creator; created me divine Omnipotence, The highest Wisdom and the primal Love.
Before me there were no created things; Only eterne, and I eternal last. All hope abandon, ye who enter in!”
The air in the room shakes and a doorway bursts into existence.
Roger “Ahh! Don’t do it ser it’s a horrible idea!”
Kaloyan: “Roger, don’t be absurd, keep the goat asleep with the potion and wait for my return. I will come back with an army of undead and demons all ready to do my bidding! “
Roger: “Be careful ser, this going to hell business scares me half to death… Demons are not to be trusted!”
Kaloyan: “Just keep the goat asleep Roger!” (He walks through)
Kaloyan finds himself on the sandy shore of a rapid river, a few peasants wait by a wooden dock nearby.
Kaloyan: “It worked! This is the Underworld! These must be shades of the dead!”
Yarek: “Hello there milord! Fancy meeting you here!”
Kaloyan: “Do I know you?”
Yarek: “I am brother Yarek, clergyman from Pliska, your golem crushed me to death! How did you die?”
Kaloyan: “Ah, my apologies for that, I didn’t realize anyone was actually hurt, but I’m not dead, I am a traveler seeking passage to the gates of Erebus! What is this place?”
Yarek: “Sure, sure, we are all travelers we’re just waiting for the ferryman. You see, Eric there was trampled to death, and John succumbed to plague, I am just wondering what finally got you here?”
Kaloyan: “I am not dead you old fool! I am looking for passage to the Underworld, now where is this ferryman?”
Yarek: “Here he comes now milord, get your coins ready!”
Ferryman: “All souls aboard, turn in your gold pieces.”
Kaloyan: “Behold Ferryman! I am Kaloyan Mage of the West and I request passage to the
gate of Erebus!”
Ferryman: “Yeah, yeah, have you got your gold pieces?”
Kaloyan: “My … what?”
Ferryman: “All dead need two pieces for passage.”
Kaloyan: “I am NOT dead! I have transcended the boundaries of time and space itself and come to the Realm of Demons to speak to the Demon Lord!”
Ferryman: “Call it what you must, it’s two pieces for the ride, I assure you it’s a rather long walk.”
Yarek: “Here you go milord, I brought extra just in case”
Ferryman” That’ll do now all aboard, brace yourselves, it’s a bit of a trip.
Kaloyan: “So… how did you die?”
Peasant: “I was also crushed by your golem milord”
Kaloyan: “Ah… Really?? It seemed to me no one got hurt… Err, well good to see you again at any rate.”
After a long trip, the ferry arrives at the West Gate of Erebus.
Ferryman: “Form a line and wait to be seen by the gatekeeper; he will determine whether or not you go in.”
Kaloyan: “I can’t believe it! Erebus in the flesh! Edrin would swallow his tongue whole if he could see me here!”
Gatekeeper: “Step forward shades, salvation is but a threshold away now.”
Kaloyan waits to be seen by the gatekeeper; one by one all enter, until it is his turn to face the demon.
Kaloyan: “Behold Gatekeeper! I am Kaloyan Mage of the West! I have arrived to seek audience with the Demon Lord, and request his aid in waging war against the Kingdom of Leon!”
Gatekeeper: “I am Simara, I have guarded the West Gate of Erebus since the time of creation, and whoever you were in the life previous, you are but a shade now and as such will not decree nor demand anything of your new overseers.”
Kaloyan: “What! I am not a shade! I am flesh and blood and walk the surface world; I have come here to seek aid not eternal rest!”
Gatekeeper: “ANOTHER Mage then? Look into my eyes, let me see your soul.”
Gatekeeper: “Ah, yes, you are no shade indeed. Rage, humiliation, blind ambition and foolish ignorance; your soul reeks with the stench of mortal chains. Be gone from this place at once!”
Kaloyan: “How dare you! I found this place all on my own! I have walked where few other mortals have walked, I will find a way in you mark my words!”
Gatekeeper: “Put him on the next ferry back, if you so much as set foot here again your soul shall be cast into eternal damnation mage.”
Kaloyan: “Ignorance? Foolish ignorance! Imprudent demons! Edrin made it into Erebus in his youth, how did that old man trick these mulish abominations?”
Voice: “My lord, it is no use arguing with demons; they are inflexible and set in their ways, might I suggest a more delicate strategy?”
Kaloyan: “Who said that??”
Prisoner: “It is I my lord, a lonely prisoner, a spirit trapped here for eternity. I listen to the prayers of shades and travelers every day, and no mere mortals ever make it in to see the Demon Queen.”
Kaloyan: “So you have seen what can convince the demon to open up the gate?”
Prisoner: “No, and you should not concern yourself with demons my lord; they are unpredictable and loyal only to themselves. If I heard correctly you are looking for a way to strike at the lion’s heart on the surface?”
Kaloyan: “Yes, and I need the might of the demons to bring the Kingdom to its knees! If you know something prisoner, I urge you to spit it out!”
Prisoner: “My lord, it just so happens that I have a bone to pick with the Royal Crown of Leon. I advise that you seek allies on the surface, and I intend to help you out.”
Kaloyan: “Who are you lowly prisoner??”
Prisoner: “My name was once Vlad and the Sword of Asparuh of Leon cast me down into this wretched place. If you seek allies, I can offer you a plan to gain them. I can guide you and teach you magic more powerful than any your master once knew. Alas I am trapped here for eternity and as such am of little use to you or anyone else.”
Kaloyan: “But you mentioned a plan?”
Vlad: “Indeed! Take this grimoier and follow the directions in it to the smallest detail. You must obtain my old sword and seek out Nya of the vampiri. Once she sees the sword she and her men will join you in your cause and help exude revenge against Leon.”
Kaloyan: “You will just give me this knowledge and power without demanding an exchange?”
Vlad: “No exchange, I will merely rejoice in seeing the countless Royals and soldiers you will undoubtedly send here. Now go, your ferry has arrived…”
Kaloyan: “Simara you’ll be hearing of me yet! Next time we see each other you will bow down to me and express you sincerest apology! Onward ferryman, time’s a wasted!”
Gatekeeper: “Ignorance is bliss mage.”
Upon returning to the dock:
White-Bearded Mage: “Behold ferryman I am Darek, Mage of the eastern Highlands!”
Kaloyan: “Yeah, yeah friend, they’re not going see you, let me save you the trip.”
White-Bearded Mage: “Err…”
(Kaloyan returns to the Tower)
Roger: “Ser! I’m so happy to see you! But… Where is the army of demons and undead?”
Kaloyan: “Demons Roger? Those things are stubborn and unpredictable! No, we’ll wage our own war up here in this world.”
Roger: “The trip was in vain then ser?”
Kaloyan: “Not at all my dear Roger! I met a powerful friend down there; and he may have given me the tools to hold my own against Leon’s army.
Roger: “What is it ser?”
Kaloyan: “A grimoier of forbidden magic! Rest up Roger, I intend to study the text tonight and will instruct you what to do in the morning!”
Roger: “Very well ser. Ah…ser… what was, you know, what was it like?”
Kaloyan: “The underworld?”
Roger: “Yes, hell ser, what was it like?”
Kaloyan: “Lot’s of rules and a ton of structure, and everyone took their job too seriously.”
Roger: “A nightmarish place indeed ser.”
Kaloyan: “Yes, now get that goat out of here. We have a sword to find, we have an army to assemble, and we have a world to conquer!”
To be continued…
I would love to see this story continued. I've always like Medieval way of war, such brutal damage upon one another with simple weapons. This looks rather promising with the story and detail of the surroundings. Hope to see more of this good story.