Curse of the Mirror
stared at the Ring on his finger, knowing what Adena had tried to accomplish.
He was not quite sure why she had left to challenge him alone, but was certain
that she had not achieved her goal. Adel was unconcerned at Adena's absence.
No, unconcerned was not the right word; she was more relieved than
seemed to enjoy Adel's company more than Adena's. Adel created a small
dustdevil and aimed it at Quiffy. It changed into a small eraser--it tried
very hard, anyway--to attack the tiny tornado. The dustdevil picked it up,
spinning Quiffy several times, and threw it into the open arms of Adel. Quiffy
let out a tiny squeal, which Iffley took as laughter, and snuggled against
Adel. Well, Iffley thought, at least someone was enjoying Ralle.
a large stone at Iffley's feet simply rose in the air. The enchanted stone
flipped three times and fell dead to the floor. Iffley didn't believe in
ghosts, but this was proof. Then, someone laughed. "Taft!" Iffley
you, didn't I." Taft took the Diadem from his head and reappeared.
really," Iffley replied. Taft's countenance changed to that of a sad
puppy. Iffley quickly added, "But you would have scared me, if I hadn't
known it was you." That seemed to perk up Taft.
when are we going to attack the Maelstrom?"
has been a change of plans. Adena must have gotten herself into a little
scrape, or else she would have been back by now. So, as usual, I have to go
and rescue her."
she always so impatient?"
she often thinks more with her emotions than with her brain. Anyway, the plan
is..." Iffley stopped and stared as a rather crude spear soared through
the air and landed at his feet. The spear was made of some local wood, but the
point was made of sharpened steel. An intricate design traveled the length of
the spear, ending at a blood-red 'M'.
the Wanderers. Quickly, protect yourselves." Adel calmly overturned the
table and crouched behind it for protection. Iffley followed suit, while Taft
simply phazed out.
attackers, the Wanderers, came into view. There were scores of them, scattered
throughout the area. They were human, but grossly disfigured. One had only
black stumps were his nose and ears should be; another's eyes hung grotesquely
out of his sockets; several others were missing limbs. They all had severe
scars on various parts of their bodies. The rags they wore were tattered and
dirty. The spears and clubs, in their grimy hands, were adorned with the red
'M' design. The closer they approached, the stronger the smell of death
hefted his spear with a cry of victory. It embeded into the wooden table with
a thunk. Taft aimed his slime at the diseased individual. It completely
covered him. The Wanderer screamed, allowing the viscous substance to enter
his windpipe. He choked, turned blue, and died. Score one victory for the
Wanderers were massing for the attack. More hurled their spears with no
accuracy. The lead Wanderer produced a sword, its blade shone in the light,
and ordered the others to charge. Adel concentrated and stroked the Periapt,
creating a sudden hailstorm. Undaunted by the hail, the Wanderers advanced.
Adel increased the storm's intensity, proportionally, the size of the hail
football-sized hailstone crashed onto an unsuspecting Wanderer. He collasped
into unconsciousness. The Wanderer behind him threw his spear, then picked up
the club from the lifeless fingers of his predecessor. The hail was very
effective against the creatures.
Wanderers, however, had already gotten past the storm, and were approaching
the trio. Iffley transformed the Wanderer at his right into a flowerpot, and
concentrated on the next advancing figure. His rear flank was unprotected, and
an audacious Wanderer snuck behind him. He raised his club to finish his foe,
when he suddenly tripped. Quiffy unwrapped itself from the Wanderer's feet and
escaped to Iffley. Taft turned his efforts to the downed Wanderer. A black
shadow floated quickly to the Wanderer. It entered his body, depriving him of
his life. It then returned to the Diadem.
them into a group in the center!" Iffley instructed. Adel concentrated
again, a strong wind blew into the valley, creating a small calm channel in
the center. The Wanderers, unable to withstand the gale, flocked to the
center. Iffley raised his Sceptre, causing the dirt to form a fence around
everyone okay?" Iffley gathered Quiffy in his arms and soothed it.
"Now, what are these creatures, the Wanderers?"
was Adel who answered: "The Wanderers are the direct descendants from the
Pestilence. The Wizards, in all their wisdom, stopped the Pestilence, but did
not revert the damage that had been done. Most of the people that had
contracted the Pestilence died, some unlucky ones, however, lived on. They are
mindless souls that wandered the globe for their Prize, that single item that
will end their suffering, and the suffering of their children. But I don't
understand, they usually don't bother...normal...people."
the work of the Maelstrom, I tell you! He knows that we are out to get him,
and he is afraid! If you get too close to his Staff, then he can control your
mind. I guess that's what happened to them." Taft smile evilishly,
"Too bad my wife couldn't see me in action; she would have been proud.
But, she had a headache, and said that she would join us later."
I guess that I had better take care of these people." He leveled the
Sceptre at the Wanderers, and teleported them several miles away. "Adena
is in trouble, and I must try to rescue her. If I fail, your best plan would
be to attack the Maelstrom together. Take care my friends."
it is you who should be careful, the Maelstrom is very powerful." Adel
know," Iffley gave Quiffy and the mirror to Adel to keep until his return
(if he returned) and quickly departed.
* * Conflicting Reflections *
maroon fog danced briefly in the sunbeam. The Maelstrom stalked over to the
window and drew the blinds. "Well, Adena, now that you are fully
conscious, shall we get on with it?" He untied his black-red cape and let
it fall to the floor. "Now, don't use your Amulet, you know that it has
no effect on me. Just be a good girl, Adena, and you won't get hurt."
Someone knocked on the door. The Maelstrom cursed at the interruption,
"What is it?"
small figure pushed open the door. "It is me Sire, I have researched your
question." Her voice cracked with age, but Adena could not see her face,
for it was shrouded in her dark gray hood and cloak.
Hag, I'm waiting."
title is Witch," She slapped the Maelstrom, "and don't you forget
it. The Amulet that she wears cannot be used by a male." She pointed her
bony hand at Adena, and the glint of a silver bracelet caught her eye. "A
woman, however, can use it, but unless she teaches the woman correctly, the
Amulet's true power will never be revealed."
do you know so much about me?"
know everything about you, my dear. I know about your parents, your dead
family, and about your present love. I even know what you had for breakfast
yesterday. Speaking of your love, where is he right now? I am sure he will
come. I am also sure that the cream--that is the correct name for him isn't
is--shall get whipped. Good-bye, little one." The Witch abruptly left the
room, closing the door behind her.
seems very powerful." Adena said, trying to stray from their previous
there isn't much that sneaks past her keen eyes. That's why I keep her around.
But, alas, my dear, the mood is spoiled. We can wait a little while longer,
now, can't we?" He stroked the side of her face, then firmly grasped her
chin. He savagely kissed her, and she knew that she could no longer resist his
power. Satisfied for the moment, he locked her in his bedroom, and started
down the hallway.
side of the wall suddenly disappeared, as Iffley transformed it into dust.
Iffley stepped into the hallway and confronted the Maelstrom. The pair squared
each other off, each not wanting to make the first move.
have you done with Adena?"
is quite safe, I assure you, which is more than I can say for you." The
Maelstrom was cool and confident; his antithesis was angry and insecure.
his better judgement, Iffley attacked first. He transformed the water vapor
into a surge of electricity and directed it at the Maelstrom. The Maelstrom
smiled as the Talisman absorbed the threat. "I believe that it is my
turn." The Sabre turned into a crossbow. He fired.
tried to create a shield, but was not fast enough. The arrow whizzed by his
right ear. The Maelstrom was toying with him, that shot could have been fatal!
Iffley finished his shield, then transformed the rug, under the Maestrom's
feet, into a pit. The Maelstrom, not suspecting this, fell into the hole. He
grabbed the edges of the pit and tried to stop his momentum.
stared over the edge of the pit. All he had to do was step on his fingers, and
he would fall to his death. Iffley, thinking his battle was over, let down his
guard. A rather short, pudgy man entered through the hallway's new door and
coshed Iffley on the head. Iffley slumped to the floor, unconscious.
pudgy man sauntered to the pit and hauled his master onto solid ground.
"Thank you, Jonathon, you shall be rewarded." The Maelstrom really
did not have to reward Jonathon's heroic actions, for it was he that summoned
him with the Staff. He turned to the moaning figure on the floor. "And
now, to squash you in my grasp!" He raised the Sabre and it changed into
entered the hallway, "No!"
Maelstrom stopped the execution, "How did you get out, my dear?"
my dear, it's time that you chose sides. You can either stay with me and live
or you can join your friend and die." The Maelstrom stared at her with
his cold eyes.
suddenly realized that she was taking the wrong approach, "Please, spare
his life. I'll do whatever you ask."
stirred onto the outer reaches of consciousness. Adena's remark brought him
completely back to reality. "No, Adena, you can't, won't let
how touching," the Maelstrom replied. "If you will stay, then I
shall let him leave."
I...I will stay." Her lower lip began to tremble, but she bit it to stop
staggered to his feet, "I will come back for you, Adena."
I will be here to defeat you, brave knight."
teleported without fanfare, leaving Adena to face the Maelstrom alone. A poem
from Tennyson floated through her mind. She could not remember the first part
of it, but the last part was "'The curse has come upon me,' cried the
Lady of Shalott." The curse had indeed fallen upon Adena, for the pair
reentered the bedroom.
| ||© 1985, ||K. Blaire, L. Charles, D. Conrad, Enad the Great, A. Mann, J. Pierce, B. C. Randolf, and T. G. Taft|