In which we return to Kalidor and Talia’s master gives her some very disturbing news.

A Cause for Concern

It was nightfall in Valora, no longer the Silver City that stood as a symbol of the glory of men, but instead a city of dirt, ash, and tears. This was the result of Talia’s conquest, a kingdom devoid of all beauty and light. Residents stayed inside at night unless they wanted to face the wrath of orcs or other creatures of that sort. Mothers and Fathers prayed their daughters would be ugly out of the fear that they would be taken by the witch for purposes unknown. Kalidor was no longer a kingdom of hope but one of fear and terror and in the center of Valora stood the symbol of the oppression of the witch: the castle no longer a shining light on a hill but instead a cauldron for hell’s fire.

Beneath the night sky a solitary figure clad in a black cloak and using a staff to walk was making his way up the great steps of the castle. He was stopped several times by goblin guards only to have them recoil in fear when they saw who it was. The figure made its way up to the center tower toward the main door of the castle. The doors were locked but a wave of the figures hand made them open. The figure made its way toward the throne room only to be stopped by a giant horrific figure. The figure was tall, over six feet in height and built like a northern barbarian. From head to toe he was covered in black, and from his shoulders protruded sinister shoulder blades, which held a regal black cape. But the most terrible sight on this creature was the sight of his face. On his head he wore a helmet with a gate covering his eyes and nose (assuming he has one). The lower half of his face was pink rotted flesh that looked like he washed it in fire. He is Morgal and he is Talia’s greatest and most terrible servant. The amount of soldiers that have perished at his hands is countless. Innocents, maybe more. Add the number of elves, dwarves, fairies, sea people, and Falconians (a winged race that dwells in the mountains) his reputation is well earned. Morgal’s origins are a mystery. Some have said that he is the son of the witch and one of the vampire lords of the Northwest. Others believe a werewolf. Whatever his origin he now stood between the mysterious stranger and the throne room.

Morgal unsheathed his sword and pointed it at the stranger. “My mistress, the Queen does not take uninvited visitors” he warned the visitor with his deep raspy voice and blood red teeth.

“She will see me.” The figure answered in an old man’s voice.

Morgal sheathed his sword and let the man through. He knew better than to challenge this old man for although he looked old and decrepit he was secretly one of the most powerful beings in Mid-Land, as well as the most evil.

The old man entered the vast throne room, unimpressed by the rows of armor worn by ancient kings. In the center was the throne where a woman clad in black wearing a golden jewel lined crown sat. She was tall with black hair, sharp eyes, and a hooked nose. Around her neck she wore a snake boa with the heads of cobras hissing on both sides. This is Talia, the Black Lady of Malice and self proclaimed Queen of Kalidor.

“The courteously of your hall leaves much to be desired Black Lady of Malice” the visitor commented. “I would’ve hoped that your guards knew better than to harass me as I came to visit you.”

“Why have you come?” the Witch asked the stranger.

“Why do you ask? Is a teacher not allowed to visit his pupil? Is a master not allowed to visit his servant?” the old man asked slowly peeling back his hood revealing an old man who looked like Geldolf only with black shadows under his dark eyes that stared at you like a wolf stares at its prey.  “Tell me Talia why I have not punished you for your insolence when you invaded this land?” The man asked.

“I’ve heard enough from you!” the Witch shouted rising from her throne.

“You haven’t heard enough woman!” the old man shouted, raising his cane at Talia and forcing her back into the throne. She got up and the figure inched closer to her, his walk no longer decrepit but commanding while his voice changed from raspy to deep, wise, and commanding. This is Geldar, the Black Wizard, The Dark Lord of Malice and the great enemy of the free peoples of Mid-Land and Arcadia.

“Why did you come here? What do you want?” Talia asked wanting to be rid of him.

“I’ve come to bring you a warning my dear Talia. Something is stirring just outside of Kalidor; in the village of Gard.”

“So? Gard is a no name village in the neutral lands. What threat does it pose to me and my rule?”

“It poses a great threat to you” The Black Wizard sneered. “For in those humble dwellings is the other half of the prophecy”

Talia lost her breath she knew what this meant but didn’t believe it “has the prodigal son been found?” she asked with trepidation.

“I don’t know. Why don’t you find out? Or are you afraid? You know Tiresias’s prophecy and you know that by attacking Gard you will bring the army of Duros down upon you. Do you fear the Durosians? Do you fear the prophecy?”

“I have searched high and low for the boy and his sister. But have found no trace of them.”

“Who said anything that Geldolf hid them together? Are you so blind as to believe that Geldolf and Aldaron did not anticipate that you would be searching? The boy was to young to have any defining features but the girl, there was a pretty child.” The wizard continued.

“Is that why you came here to deride me for not discovering the identity of the Princess? For failing to find the son?  Are you trying to force me to act irrationally so I bring about my own doom?” Talia shouted to her sneering former master. She stared him down as he smirked then started to smile and laugh, “I know what this is about. Did you really think I was that blind? You’re still jealous because I accomplished what you were never able to do: the conquest of Kalidor. You’re afraid that one day I shall become more powerful than you.” Talia mocked as anger flooded the Black Wizard’s face. “Can it be the great Black Wizard is afraid that his former pupil is going to supplant him?”

The Black Wizard raised his left hand towards Talia and turned it inward. She felt her windpipe struggling to release air and buckled. “You listen to me woman! You may consider yourself a queen but to me you’re nothing but a provincial governess. I can supplant you whenever I feel it’s just that you serve my purposes better on the throne. But know this Queen Talia something shall arrive in the lands between Kalidor and Duros tonight. Do with this information what you will, but you know I speak the truth.” The Black Wizard warned. He released his grip and pulled his hood over his head and gave the floor two taps with his staff, disappearing in a puff of smoke. Talia dusted herself off, furious that she was humiliated in her own throne room. Yet she was also a little scared. Although the Black Wizard was the Prince of Lies she somehow knew he was telling the truth. Not for her own sake but so he could watch her suffer as she acted irrationally. She would not give him that satisfaction. She went to a table at the edge of her throne and uncovered her crystal ball. She did not like what she saw within.

Image is from a Magic the Gathering called entitled “Sorceress Queen”. I thought the image was appropriate.

Copyright ã 2008 Todd Matthy

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