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Hellfire

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Hellfire

by Philip Sadler


Background
Bloodbeast
Artwork © Tim Sell
It's the dead of night. A roll of thunder rumbles over the distant mountains, lightning flashes all around you and heavy rain lashes down. The moon looks unusual tonight; a sickly white, the colour of bone. You stare at the horizon and somehow know that He is staring right back at you, but you're not afraid, not of him, for you know it is your destiny to slay him ...

Six weeks ago:

You awake to the familiar sight of yet another stormy day and remark to yourself, 'Who ever heard of a storm lasting for days on end?' who indeed. People in your home town of Calah had begun to talk of curses and damnation, some had already left and others were saying they had the right idea. You get up and dress in your normal work-clothes, and after a light breakfast of bread, water and eggs, you leave your little house and head off for another hard days work at the blacksmiths, made harder still because of the bitterly cold winter weather. All around you lay misery and fear, not a single smile to be seen. Then It happened: it started to rain blood. People ran, screaming and crying, but this was just the beginning ...

The dead came back, the seas boiled, reality turned upside-down and people disappeared all over the place. But it wasn't just happening to Calah; it was now happening all over your country of Khul - He was becoming stronger. Then you began to dream about a man ... he's older than you, fatherly, and he needed your help, "Please save us from Hell.", he would beg you every night. He even looked a bit like your own long-dead father ...

You had to do something. Work was no good - who needed a Blacksmith at a time like this? Everyone was too afraid to even leave their homes, including your employer. So you trained alone in a nearby forest; for long hours on end you would practice your swordmanship, honing your already impressive skills to near-perfection. Till at last you felt ready ...

You gathered your equipment together: sword, shield, chainmail armour and backpack. These, together with twelve Healing Potions, would be your only defence against the Wastes of Chaos, and him ...

Six weeks after the first incident you decide to leave one night, under cover of darkness, should anyone try to stop you. It is a cold, windy night and raining heavily, but if you don't leave now, you may not get the chance tomorrow. So you head away from your town and out into the night, cold and alone ...

A few hours later, in the dead of night, you meet a thin man who greets you sarcastically, "Well! What have we here? Some other foolish warrior attempting to deal with my master?"

You look at him, astonished, and reply, "Your master ... you mean the Trinitour?"

"Indeed I do Law-follower, he has many servants such as myself, in fact, he is far from alone."

"Why do you serve him?" you ask.

"Because he promised me wealth if you must know." replies the thin man arrogantly.

"And you actually believe him?" you ask surprised.

"Of course I do!" he shouts back, "and why, may I ask, shouldn't I?" he adds.

"Because he's a demon!" you yell in his face.

"A greater demon if you don't mind!" retorts the thin man haughtily. He then laughs at you and says, "The time for idle chitter-chatter is over my foolish friend, and now we'll both teleport back to my master's lair."

Then you feel very strange ...

You are now at the entrance of an underground dungeon! A river of blood separates you and the thin man, who stands in front of his "Master's lair". He treats you to a wicked sneer and says, "Impressed?" to which you reply, "No." At which point the thin man snarls at you, "You, my friend, are a coward. You do not have what it takes to best my master, but if you must try," (he points at the entrance) "he's in there."

You look at the place he points to and ask with a smile, "Why doesn't he just come out and face me?" to which he replies laughingly, "Where's the sport in that? Anyway, you couldn't possibly beat him - why not at least have one last adventure before you die?" He then steps away from the dungeon's threatening entrance. You have little choice but to comply.

You wade through the sickening gore and walk in, you then turn around to see the thin man magically sealing the rocks of the entranceway, but before they're fully closed he says, "Before you die adventurer you may as well know one more thing about my master; he admires bravery, but detests foolhardiness." Then he whispers hatefully, "Good luck." The rocks slam shut with a deafening crash!. Leaving you in the dungeon, which is gloomily lit with a few torches dotted here and there.

You walk on, alone once more ...

He is waiting for you.
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