Quest for the Relics: Interlude 1 - Ricard Lusoff, the Warlock; Javier 1

Interlude I

Lusoff came out of his trance still laughing about his cosmic joke. His victory was near. He needed only to eliminate the Oracle, who stood the best chance of seeing the outcome of his schemes. He had indeed already captured relics, but there were some that still eluded him. And this fact vexed him. 

A gonging went off within his chamber, a signal that his masters wished to speak with him. The Lords of Night were not patient beings, especially not the Lord of Anguish. 

“WE HAVE ANOTHER PURPOSE FOR YOU, LUSOFF.” Lusoff turned to a magic mirror on his wall. Then half a heartbeat later the communicator disc on his belt began to heat up. He answered the call, pretending that the magic mirror did not exist. The Lord of Anguish’s skull-masked face loomed out of the disc, his image projected like a ghost’s flickering form. 

“YOU KNOW THAT THE ORACLE CAN HINDER YOU, ALERTING HER TO YOUR PLANS WAS FOOLISH.”

Lusoff made a dismissive noise, something that few other sentient beings would dare try even in the projected presence of the Anguish Lord. 

“I have my ways. I will dispatch Desdemona to eliminate her.”

“VERY WELL, BUT DO NOT FAIL. IN THE MEANTIME, CONTINUE HAVING YOUR KNIGHTS SEARCH FOR THE RELICS.”

“Thy will be done, my Lord,” now Lusoff was being deathly serious.    

As the connection was broken, one of Lusoff’s most devoted servants entered the room. Damon Hellfire was another man in another lifetime, but he was no longer any mere mortal.

“Ah, our exiled Prince Commodus. Hail to thee, my Lord Commander. Send out the Deathguard. We have more relics to procure.” 

Javier 

Javier Lerad sat in a corner booth in the Last Horn, his preferred watering hole in Freehaven. It was a dive, worse than a hole in the wall. The bard was drowning his sorrows, having been rejected by Lady Terese Zamora, the last duchess of her ancient and proud house who went back to the time of the Predecessors. 

He was wearing a floppy hat adorned with a wilting sunflower, which he used to cover his face. The clientele of this establishment was less than reputable and he didn’t want to draw the ire of a drunken lout who reckoned that Javier looked at him the wrong way.

While he was in his cups, he was also awaiting an important appointment. He had struck a deal with a shifty fence from the Infil Quarter for a map to a great but unknown treasure - at least in the fence’s words. The waiting was the worst part, but with any luck, Javier would be able to woo Lady Therese once he had acquired this fabulous bounty. 

The fence, a shady fellow named Tyros Joiner, was late by almost twenty minutes. He sidled into the tavern and scanned the crowd of boozy patrons until his eyes alighted on Javier, who gave him a halfhearted wave. Tyros joined him. A barmaid came over and asked what he wanted. He ordered an ale. 

“You have the map?” Javier asked without preamble.

“You have the gems?” Joiner answered the question with another one. 

The exchange was made before the barmaid came back. When she did, Javier asked for a shot of whiskey. Joiner felt the bag of treasure that Javier had paid him with, and scowled. 

“That’s not enough, you cheating scum,” he hissed. 

“I say!” Javier replied, stung. “I never cheat.” 

Joiner’s scowl deepened, but he didn’t say anything. Instead, he drained his tankard of ale and then promptly slammed it over the top of Javier’s head, knocking his floppy hat off and dislodging the sunflower stuck into its band.

“I’m gonna rip your eyes out and put your balls in their sockets!” He snarled, waving off the startled barmaid who had come scuttling over to see what the matter was. A second later, a quiet but noticeable click silenced the angered scoundrel, who reflexively gulped in an almost cartoonish fashion.

“Hello Tyros,” Cisco said sardonically, holding the barrel of his revolver against the back of Joiner’s head. “Fancy meeting you here.” No one had seen him enter through the batwing doors, but everybody noticed when his companions - Matthias, Allegra, Robidas, and Xanathak - walked inside a moment later. Then the entire pub erupted into chaos, the expected bar brawl starting with gusto. Javier fought alongside the companions, relieved to have some unexpected allies to get him out of a tight spot that he should have seen coming.  

The terrified barmaid ran out into the streets, screaming for help from the City Watch. She returned several minutes later with Kersey Abbas-Fallon, the Lady Commander of the Freehaven City Watch. Ten of her best men, including her lieutenant Michael Scully, were with her. Lady Kersey blew in like a hurricane and slammed her cudgel on the nearest table she could find that hadn’t been upended already. 

“ENOUGH!” her voice was enough to stop all the fighting, even though the sound of her club cracking a table in two already gave everyone pause, simply out of sheer surprise. ‘Now tell me why I shouldn’t throw the lot of you in gaol right this minute.” 

Cisco tried to respond with his typical easy charm, but Kersey was having none of it. She simply kneed him in the balls. Instead, she turned to Allegra. “Ah, crown princess Allegra! Welcome to our fair shithole. What brings you here?”

“A quest,” was all the princess said, without elaborating. 

An amused voice let out a laugh like ice tinkling against a frosted glass. 

“A quest? How droll.” Lady Therese Zamora swept into the tavern, fanning her face with an ornate blue and bronze collapsible fan patterned with mandalas. Her midnight blue gown trailed behind her as she stepped inside. “You want a reason not to arrest them, Kersey?” She pointed at Javier. “He’s my plaything, and I’m not done with him yet. Let him take his map and find this treasure he was promised.”

It was Javi’s turn to gulp. “My lady, how did you know about the bally map?”

She let out another chuckle and approached him, lifting his chin with her fan after she closed it. “Why, dear boy, I was the one who gave it to the fence to entice you. Surely you didn’t actually believe he had the cleverness or the gall to steal it from me? No, ‘twas I who put him up to it.” 

Though grumbling her dissent, Kersey allowed the motley crew of companions to walk free without clapping them in irons. Allegra didn’t even have to cite her diplomatic immunity. 

 

    

      


   



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Dark Entries

Dark Entries 's profile picture

You are really good at fantasy, which is difficult to do. You mix elements of modern times (revolvers) with more traditional high fantasy elements, which is interesting and different. Good work!


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Aw, thanks! I really wanted to create something unconventional. I got sick of seeing all the typical fantasy trappings and tropes. I couldn't really find anything that broke that mold that interested me (although there was one that was apparently regarded as the Wuxia-themed answer to Game of Thrones) so I came up with something myself. At least, with input from my wife and a few friends. Most of the creative output flowed into a giant world-building bible; the book itself fizzled out at like 77 pages.

by Byronic Hero; ; Report

Maybe it fizzled out at the time, but I think you have a solid foundation to work with here if you decide to re-examine it and try to expand. Character building is one of the most difficult aspects of writing (IMO) and you’ve done that really well here:

by Dark Entries; ; Report

A lot of these characters originated from when I was a kid and came about right before first started writing (my toys were my first actors) and they've been remixed a bunch of times until I came up with this project in 2019.

by Byronic Hero; ; Report

That’s remarkable. Kids are so creative!

by Dark Entries; ; Report

I've always had an overactive imagination :]

by Byronic Hero; ; Report