By Bailey Dixon
Date: March 6, 2021
Ch. 5II

As I drew closer to the mysterious doors, the noise from within grew louder and louder. It was the sound of wind, a storm brewing inside a room. When I touched the decorative panels of the door, they were warm. Thin tendrils of smoke rose from beneath my fingers and a ghostly voice whispered inside my head.

‘Who is this? Another…’

The doors rattled then flew open wildly—I narrowly avoided being struck. Before me lay a narrow cloister, lit with lanterns of purple flame, big enough for only a meager altar and the tall, broad man standing before it. His bare back displayed a vine of black, runic tattoos up the length of his spine that extended like patterned wings over his shoulder blades. So wide were his shoulders that every verse in the Holy Grimoire could have been written in those runes on his back. I stared in a sense of dark awe as Wex de Karne raised his muscular arms above his head and whipped the winds faster about him. The amber pendant flashed at the sight of its master and almost blinded me—but it served to wake me from my stupor. So, taking the mythril chain in hand, I crept toward the warlock, pushing hard against the gusts that billowed down the passage to the altar when suddenly—

‘ANOTHER!’ came that haunting voice, loud and shrill, enough to nearly split my skull.

Wex turned sharply. I rushed him. His fingers contorted into strange shapes, he shouted in some foreign tongue, and I was sent bowling backwards by a sharp spear of wind. My armour sent sparks into the air as it scraped along the stone. Before I could recover, Wex was upon me, shouting more incantations and twisted his fingers. Seeing the beginnings of a flame form in his hands, I quickly cast the mythril chain out before me and roared.


The mythril coiled tight around the warlock’s wrist, crushing them together and causing his fingers to splay out in pain as he grimaced. He tried in vain to cast another spell as I stood up but the metal rope had already contorted his fingers into a interlaced grip. He soon realised they could not be pulled apart. I saw the revelation dawn upon him and his grim expression softened. To my surprise, he began to chuckle. A deep throaty laugh escaped his lips, his shoulders convulsing, chiseled torso rippling as the force of his laughter increased. I was dumbfounded. Finally, he settled.

‘Very well.’ he said. ‘Lead the way.’

Once again outside under the blazing sun, I got my first good look at the warlock, naked from the waist up. His skin was tanned, shining like polished bronze, a side effect of the Edgerealm summers no doubt. The flow of his muscles was hypnotic. My eyes were lead up his rock hard stomach to a broad chest covered in thick, dark hair. He was talking but I wasn’t listening, so transfixed was I upon his figure. Shame filled me as perverse images flashed in my mind. Thoughts of writhing bodies and strong hands. Thoughts of a warlock’s mouth with its wicked tongue. It was framed with coarse stubble that ran along an impressive jaw, up into a mess of dark curls that were tied behind his head in a wanton knot. Everything about this savage man was wild, from the violet toga that hung precariously from his hips, to the hieroglyphic tattoos that marked his forearms like gauntlets, all the way to his scarred knuckles. Wildest of all were his eyes. Two deep pools of boldest orange. Like orbs of purest magma or a setting sun trapped inside a gem. I thought of fire. Searing flames and branding irons. The marking of a sinner. My heart jumped at the prospect of damnation—I shook my head, regaining my composure.

‘Enough babbling.’ I said, firmly as I could. ‘Walk. In front. I will have no trickery from you, filth.’

‘Oh, filth, is it?’ chuckled Wex. ‘What do you know about filth, valkyrie? Been having naughty thoughts have we?’

‘Quiet!’ I spat and yanked the chain forward. The warlock staggered on until his back was to me. He refused to heed my instruction, however, and kept on talking incessantly. Not only would the road back to Farheim be treacherous, it appeared it would also be very, very long.

‘So, what did Daddy dearest tell you about the infamous Wex de Karne?’ the warlock said, mockingly.

‘Enough to know you deserve to be in those shackles.’

‘Is that anger I detect? Are you getting emotional? Not becoming of a valkyrie. You’ll have to punish yourself. Or would you rather take it out on me? I saw what you did to those poor shambling wretches in the temple. Such violence. I can see why my father has taken a shine to you.’

I did my best to ignore his remarks.

‘Arbiter de Karne is a great man. I am honoured by his recognition of my righteousness.’ I said.

‘Righteousness.’ laughed Wex. ‘I don’t imagine it’s your righteousness that caught his eye. More than likely it was those plump little lips.’ he continued, and looked over his shoulder at me. ‘Or those tits…’

I stopped dead in my tracks. I had never heard such language spoken out loud. The words spilling from his mouth in that rugged baritone sent a jolt through my centre and I felt my cheeks flush. Embarrassed, I pulled back on the chain, spinning him round and onto the grey ground of the forest. He sat up, crossing his legs and dusted off the grey soil that peppered the folds of his lower garment.

‘You try to hide them under that armour but I can see it in the way you carry yourself. You’re quite the buxom girl. With a nice arse too.’ he chuckled. ‘My father picked himself a prize peach.’

Drawing my sword, I stomped over to the grinning mage and pushed the edge against his stubbled throat.

‘Hold. Your. Tongue.’ I seethed.

‘Hmm…’ he groaned, his voice hoarse as the steel pressed hard on his adam’s apple. ‘But I’m so good with it.’

I smacked the butt of my sword into his mouth, which snapped his head backwards, eliciting a sharp intake of breath. Standing up, he stared straight into my eyes and licked the trickling blood from his bottom lip.

‘Mindless slaves. The Sanctum has made you all blind and deaf.’ said Wex, turning to walk on ahead.

‘They should have made you dumb.’ I called after him.

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