Death Dances in the Shadows: Wyndwrayth – Excerpt from Gideon’s Journal

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I was ‘summoned’ to Millar’s Tower a while ago, for what the flabby monster tried to make me believe, was simply an invitation to “break bread together,” because it had been quite a while since we had spoken.  He was at pains to assure me, “he valued my ideas.” I was suspicious. Either, he was losing his mind, he wanted to trick me into something or, at best he was worried about something he considered important.

I learnt long ago, that when I was dealing with the devious pale creature, it was better to say very little and just patiently wait for him to reveal his hand. My strategy worked its usual magic and after the expected social manoeuvres were concluded, Millar started to tell me of his, “minor” worries regarding the changes to come. I knew precisely what he was hinting at. Those same terminal concerns are never far from my mind, though for distinctly different reasons.

It didn’t take him long to get around to my Ruby ring and its connection to, “The Tears of Taklamakan.” As I was eating the rather delicious fish he provided for the meal, he enquired as to whether I’d felt any connection between the ring on my finger and the mother stone, that had been lost many years previously? By Oden, he’s so obvious! As if I would fall for that one. Yes, it glows when his ring is close by and as both rings are related to The Tears, I assume it will glow if the parent stone is near too but I was hardly going to tell him something, which may be of advantage to him.

He intends to use The Tears for nothing but ill purposes. With that kind of power, he could free himself from his confinement and top of his list of vengeance, is the murder of his Father.  With the demise of Lord Meklar he would have the freedom and power to wreak havoc and slaughter, on an unimaginable scale.

Whatever happens, Millar cannot be allowed to get his hands on The Tears.  If he does, there will be no end to my slavery, he will keep me as his toy to use and abuse forever. Saying that, I don’t actually know where the Great Ruby is. I only know, that my ring indicates it’s definitely on this god forsaken rock! I’m beginning to think that maybe I buried it along with one of the endless corpses that Millar has tortured to death, in his pursuit of energies to grow and to furnish his world with their agonised imaginings and abject terror. One of those body’s must have been wearing it when I laid it in the ground, or maybe it fell into the earth of its own accord? The ruby is known for its ability to transform and deceive, to desert its wearer just when they need it most.

In truth, I may have occasionally been less than diligent, when I’ve carried out my duties to Lord Meklar but being on the head of a pin, for a thousand years without error, is an unreasonable demand. Regardless of how it happened, the faint glow of my ring when Millar is absent, tells me The Ruby is here. I’ve even tried to use the glow to divine its location but it’s too tricky for that, it keeps shifting its position. 

*

 I have come to the conclusion, that the Ruby arrived during one of the frequent times of hunger to strike this place over the years. At these times, food and your next meal become all-consuming passions, both Millar and I become weakened. Though neither dies, he shrinks in size and I am weak as a feather and seem to fade.

It was during a time great famine across the whole land, that I first heard the legend of a mighty spirit known as, “The Paladin of Souls.” This dread tale was oft told to novices who were recently enrolled into the Brotherhood. It was something of a ‘badge of office,’ when an individual Father was asked to impart ‘The telling of the tale,’ to a new class of inductees. It was always given in the common parlance, warts and all. It was meant to shock the listener into obedience but that was in the days when there were still some Monks left on Ynys y Niwl. Those days are now long gone and that old kind of knowledge, has all but died out. It was said, that all the dead who had fallen and buried on Ynys y Niwl, would be protected by the aforementioned “Paladin.” That one day, he would lead them to their release from the clutches of purgatory, to be welcomed into Valhalla, or heaven or whatever afterlife you believed in.

Well, that’s the bones how the original story goes, belief is not required. However, they do say, “That the true power of legends is felt most acutely around a campfire, with a full horn of ale in your hand and a belly full of food, weighing you down. Then, as the embers turn red and the night comes on, anything is possible.”

Nevertheless, I know that the Ruby is somewhere on this island. I don’t know what form it’s presently assuming but the search is drawing ever closer to home, I can feel its presence crawling in my mind, sense its power rising to some fateful conclusion.

I used to think I could maybe use it to control Millar but these days I’m not so sure that’s possible, I’m more inclined to use it to fashion my own release from this slavery. 

**

 

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