Failure is Not an Option

The air blasted from his lungs.

He could feel a terrible force pulling at his skin, reaching deeper and deeper until it felt as if his insides were about to ripped from his body. Everything went dark. Had he closed his eyes? No, they were still open, but it was all so completely dark. Then an invigorating blast of cold wind rushed past his face. Falling fast and hard he knew there was no use in fighting it; his body relaxed and he floated downward. As quick as the sensation came it went, his body was now under a great pressure as if he was being squeezed of all his life. He squinted as the light all around him grew ever brighter. It burned his sensitive eyes, eyes which glowed a furious red only a few short moments ago. “Why did there always have to be so much light?” he asked himself. Every time he had snapped a wand of teleportation this question plagued him.

A few seconds later he felt the ground under his feet again, a welcome relief to one not who would never consider himself accustomed with traveling through the magical ether. Valistraz had returned to his master.

His thoughts went immediately to the horror he had left behind. Not to the butchered bodies of the five dead “heroes” but to the two live ones standing in the doorway of the hag’s shack. Valistraz knew that his fatally wounded spider wouldn’t be able to handle the warlock and the rogue. He knew that his work wasn’t done but worst of all he knew that his master would be furious with his failure.

Valistraz began to formulate a plan, a plan to get back to the burning cottage where he could stop the meddling survivors from ruining all of his hard work. His mind worked fast; however, he knew that there was no hope in the short term of making it back in time to do anything to stop the two survivors.

Valistraz then collapsed, unsure of who was inflicting such terrible pain on him. He slowly looked up from the ground, grimacing as he searched for his attacker. The room was empty, he realized that the adrenaline of combat must have finally worn off. The assassin looked over his body and noted several severe wounds. The worst being a savage gash in his side from the cursed flaming broadsword.

His vision darkened as the throbbing pain overwhelmed the dark elf. He heard heavy footsteps approaching and then his eyes fell to the floor out of reflex as he heard the voice of his master call, “You look terrible, master drow. Tell me… is it done?” The dark elf couldn’t bring enough air to his lungs to answer his suddenly furious master.

“Answer me assassin! Or you will know true pain!” the robed master’s hands reached for a mace on a nearby table. It glowed a sinister pale blue once it was retrieved by the mysterious figure. When no reply came from the doubled over drow, the mace was up in a flash; the pale blue illuminating a white skull painted face and a wicked helmet with ram horns. Kalarel struck hard at his assassin realizing he must have failed him.

No one failed Kalarel… No one failed Orcus.



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