Fantasy Adventure Thriller

Everything was ready for the ritual; the five clerics of the vengeful and unforgiving Xyagii, greater god of slanderous lies, encircled an oblong, obsidian altar upon which was sprawled a naked and pregnant figure. With her back to the rigid polished stone and her wrists and ankles bound to the floor by taut and stout steel chains, the woman arched her spine in terror and dismay as the red-robed high priest in his snarling obsidian mask raised a viciously curved ceremonial dagger and chanted his perilous, guttural incantations to the deity of deceit. The interior walls of the cylindrical temple were lined with countless eldritch scrolls, books, and tomes, many of which were bound and covered by the flayed, tanned flesh of Xyagii’s nameless victims. A myriad of levitating torches rose into the heights of the tower to provide illumination for the black sacrament and their light shimmered off the victim’s milky, alabaster nakedness.

The sacrificial altar stood upon a raised dais in the center of dozens of circular rows of stadium-like benches that rose to the level of the entrance doors, which were taller than seven men and chiseled from the same obsidian as the altar slab. Jarl Jan Hammerfist stood stoically with his massive barbarian arms crossed over a dented and scored steel breastplate; battle-scars littered the sinew of his biceps and forearms, as his mail-gloved fingers tapped uneasily, yearning for the conclusion of the foul spectacle. His small contingent of retainers and advisors were dwarfed in the mighty-man’s presence, who stood eye-to-eye with Vinland’s gigantic shire warhorses, as much as the colossal tower that reached into the heavens diminished the dark ceremony taking place within its walls.

The Jarl momentarily reflected on his rise to power; he’d painstakingly gathered together many of the fiercely independent eastern factions beyond the mountains, including the clans of his own Vinnish mighty-men, the fiefdoms of the highland dwarves, the glory-seeking free-mercenaries, and the hill tribes of red-skinned blood-reavers, to drive westward like a stampede of dinocerii and drown the thousand-year reign of the Shadecrests in the blood of their own entrails. At the foot of the electrum throne, King Dariius’ body had been hewn in two and shattered by the immense steel mallet that Jarl Hammerfist had affectionately dubbed the “Skullcrusher,” and the barbarian remembered fondly casting the dictator’s tenderized remains from the castle ramparts in his blood-frenzied rage, ending the age of tyranny.

Unexpected regret and shame in the face of what was taking place came upon the conqueror, and with a shout, he hurled his sledgehammer with all his might at the knife-wielding high priest. The warhammer’s head impacted squarely on the wicked cleric’s face-covering and after he collapsed to the floor there was no distinguishing the broken shards of mask from the debris of his jellied face. The remaining four priests drew daggers of their own.

The maddened monarch bounded down to the obsidian altar, leaping from bench to bench, and bellowed, “The oppression of Dariius Shadecrest has ended! Stay your tiny knives, monks, or you will meet your Lord Xyagii before I’ve swung Skullcrusher two times hence!” He reached the dais and hefted his maul from the sticky sludge of the high priest’s countenance and raised it with both hands over his towering head. The clerics timidly stepped backwards as he brought the hammer down on the retaining rings of the chains restraining Xyagii’s victim.

When he was finished, he shouldered his steel mallet and lifted the naked woman from her death bed onto his other shoulder; her swollen belly sagged over his back, her jet black tresses and heavy breasts drooped against his chest piece, and her weighty chains dangled on the stone floor and clanked against the pews as he bore her to the exit. The priests of Xyagii jeered and cursed their uncivilized overseer as he retreated with his prize, but when he reached the tower’s massive doors, they were quickly silenced by the power of his booming declaration, “My advisors are in error; I will not slay my enemies root and branch on the dark altar of Xyagii! I invoke the Right of Kings and claim Queen-concubine Narisii and her unborn offspring as my own! Further, I henceforth ban the worship of any gods in the capital city but the gods of flame and sky! Instead of senseless sacrifice this night, your malign temple shall be utterly blasted and taken apart stone-by-stone!”

The Vinnish savage-king handed the exhausted queen to one of his reluctant advisors and hoisted his weapon in both hands, swinging it at the hinges of the obsidian portal. After just two blows one of the great gates creaked portentously. Seconds later, it was sundered and splintered upon the temple’s threshold. He retrieved his nude concubine and gave a final order to his retainers before withdrawing, “Execute them all.”

His archer’s let fly their crossbows and steel bolts found their marks in the rotten flesh of the clerics of Xyagii.


The beautiful and toothsome Narisii quickly learned to love her captor for both his unrestrained forgiveness as well as his benevolent leadership. The capitol city and lands prospered under low taxation and newfound freedoms, making the citizens almost forget the cruel persecution they’d endured for centuries under the thumb of the Shadecrest regime with its religious fanatics of Xyagii.

When Narisii gave birth to her son by Dariius Shadecrest, Jarl Jan Hammerfist adopted the boy, named him Jansen Hammerfist, and swore to teach him the eastern ways of honor, justice, and truth. The queen-concubine was so grateful, that she agreed to become Queen Narisii, Jarl-wife, and soon after gave birth to Princess Amber, but unlike the straight, dark-hair of her mother and half-brother, she had her Vinnish father’s rich auburn curls. Jan adored all three of them, and for several years he relished his new family as a blessing from heaven.

The children grew up to be fast friends and learned of the gods of flame and sky from the Jarl’s counselors. They also were taught the lineage of kings and the history of the electrum throne. Electrum is an alloy of silver and gold, and the ruler’s seat was forged and re-forged from portions of all the treasures of every former kingdom, dukedom, clan, and tribe that had been subjugated by the Shadecrest despots.

The Jarl’s conquest of the Shadecrest crown had been so swift, so direct, and so overwhelming that some of the outer dukedoms had been simply ignored, and as a result, and quite unfortunately, Jarl Hammerfist was unable to devote the proper time to training Prince Jansen and Princess Amber in the traditions of chivalry and morality, because more often than not he was away with his armies bringing the fringe territories under the heel of the new Hammerfist Empire. He left his wife to occupy the electrum throne and oversee his children’s education. He felt assured that the rubble of Xyagii’s tower would serve as a dire warning to both his family and his people while he was away.


After a decade-long campaign in the far south, Jarl Hammerfist returned home unannounced. Still dressed in his soiled battle armor and slinging Skullcrusher, he burst into the throne room. Lady Narisii reclined languidly on the electrum throne; she was unclothed, and the chair’s cold, golden-silver metal accentuated her bare pale skin; she twirled her long sable hair with extended ebony fingernails, and when she spoke, she seemed inebriated on Vinnish wine. “Oh, by Xyagii, it’s my long losst hussband.”

“Woman, are you drunk?! Where are my children?” the Jarl was incensed.

Narisii grinned stupidly and shrugged, “I can’t seem to control either one of them lately. They’re probably playing in the ruins...they like to pass time there.”

Jarl Hammerfist’s face became ruddy with anger, “The ruins? The ruins of the Temple of Xyagii?” He pointed a thick finger at Narisii and added, “I’ll deal with you later, wench!” He spun around and navigated his way through the palace and outside to the crumbled tower. Enraged, he circled the ruins twice and found a small gap in the stonework that looked as if it had been used as ingress.

Crouching down, he crawled through the wet, moss-covered, opening and into the darkness below. He wound blindly around several fallen support beams and the tunnel became dimly lit; there was torchlight further down, and he had to creep slowly on his hands and knees, dragging Skullcrusher behind him. He shuffled his way forward into a low-roofed chamber and his eyes were suddenly struck by a horror from the very depths of Xyagii’s five hells!

A young man wearing naught but a cracked black mask of the priests of Xyagii lay on his back upon the crumbling remains of the obsidian altar, while his naked daughter, Amber, rode him like an unbridled shire mare; her white skin blushed red with passion and lust.

Infuriated, Jarl Hammerfist entered a battle-born rage and charged forward with his sledge cocked back and ready to strike. Princess Amber shrieked in panic when she recognized her father; his giant mallet came down on the young man’s ribcage sending heart, lungs, gore, and snapped bone across her cheeks and bare chest. The dying teenager evacuated fluids from every orifice as he perished, and sobbing, the girl slid from his filthy corpse and onto the uneven stone floor.

The Jarl left his weapon where it was embedded and pulled the dark mask off the carcass, revealing the agony twisted face of his incestuous stepson, Jansen. The Jarl abandoned his maul, grabbed his daughter by her wrist, and when he pulled himself from the egress of the ruins, instead of his treasured weapon, he dragged his girl behind him; ruby blood still trickled from abrasions and gashes on her gypsum flesh when the Jarl clapped his daughter in irons and confined her to his dungeon.


Jarl Hammerfist slumped dismally on his electrum throne and discussed his actions with his now sober and clothed wife. Narisii knelt before her Jarl with regal purple and gold silks flowing out around her on the palace floor.

“My Jarl, please reconsider; she’s our only daughter,” Narisii pleaded.

Hammerfist frowned, “She’s with child…her brother’s demon child; my court physician has confirmed that it is a boy, and my decision is final; there is no other option.”

“But my son is dead! Is that not punishment enough? Consider the forgiveness you showed upon us when your reign began…can you not do so again? Adopt the boy as your own, and this time we will make sure to grow him in wisdom and truth.” Tears covered the queen’s pale cheeks and puddled on the polished stone pavers.

“No, my Queen, no. It is grace enough for you that I keep you as my wife. I should’ve heeded my advisors and sages; I should’ve destroyed house Shadecrest root and branch. As for Amber, my architects have cleared the ruins and repaired the obsidian altar. At the next sunrise, Xyagii’s ritual will finally be performed.”

Bawling hysterically, Narisii fled from the throne room and left the Jarl alone in his depression.


Amber’s cell door creaked open, and a hooded female joined her in her misery. “Daughter, I have tried to convince your father, but his will is set in stone as hard as his heart,” Narisii moaned, pulling back her hood to reveal her bloodshot, weeping eyes.

Amber still hung naked by her wrists bound with a chain attached to a ring mounted high up on the moist prison wall; her abdomen was now showing several months of fetal growth. “Mother, my heart is as toughened as Jan’s, and I have concocted a cunning plan to save my son.” Since the murder of her stepbrother, Amber only referred to her father by his given name.

Intrigued, Narisii put her ear close to Amber’s lips and asked, “What’s your plan, pray tell?”

Amber’s dehydrated voice cracked as she whispered, “In our explorations of the ruins, Jansen and I found several books revealing much about the Xyagii monk’s secret powers. First, combine the raw extract of feverfew leaf with sand-spider venom to make four drops of deadly poison.”

Her mother stopped her, “Poison? You want me to kill my Jarl? And feverfew is used for healing, why combine it with spider’s venom?”

Amber waited until her mother was listening and continued, “The feverfew encapsulates the poison and delays it. I want my father to witness the entire ritual. Now, listen carefully; place two drops in two cups of morning tea. It won’t matter which one Jan drinks, because you will drink the other one…and before you complain, you have to trust me…you will surely not die.”

Narisii didn’t heed her daughter’s assurances, “But Amber, how can I not die if I drink the poison too?”

Amber motioned Narisii closer and they were face-to-face. “You see, that isn’t the only secret we uncovered…” her voice changed to the rasping black tongue of Xyagii, and she chanted an obscene incantation, “BEyanna, YElooma, Kaashanna, IILLtuma…” when she was finished, Amber kissed Narisii; the girl’s tongue penetrated her mother’s lips like a spiteful serpent and an electrical shock wracked the queen’s frame.

“What have you done!” exclaimed Queen Narisii.

Amber smiled and looked down upon her bloated belly, “I’ve only protected you from the spider venom; don’t you see? If you’re pregnant then the poison is not effective.”

Narisii looked down on her own midriff and noticed a significant extension; she fled the Jarl’s dungeon in astonished terror as her daughter laughed wickedly in the deep, throaty voice of Xyagii.


Everything was ready for the ritual; Narisii had numbly followed her daughter’s instructions, and presented her husband with a cup of morning tea. Together they drank, even exchanging teacups to ensure that she had no evil intent.

“Relax, my Queen, soon this all will be over and done with,” Jarl Hammerfist guaranteed. He took the final sip of his tea and added, “My Queen, you look plumper than the last time I saw you, and your bosom seems grander…more robust. It’s good; it’s attractive; it’s fitting; after this affair is over, you shall need to work hard to give me a new heir…and who wants to bed down on flat, hard ground when they can rest on a soft pillow of down?”

Narisii nervously smiled, and they made their way arm-in-arm to the open-air altar in the new temple of Xyagii. When they reached the observation tent, Jarl Hammerfist swooned and quickly took his seat in the center of the covered box. “I’m sorry, my Queen, but for a moment I felt faint…are you sure the tea we drank wasn’t spiked with a fine liquor?”

“No, my Jarl, it’s probably your nerves…like you said before, soon this all will be over and done with,” Narisii turned away as they led Amber to the ovoid obsidian slab and chained her naked body in place; her distended middle actually looked larger, as if it was ballooned with gas.

The sacrament began exactly as it had before, nearly two decades prior, with five veiled and incognito clerics encircling their sacrifice. The high priest’s knife when up, but this time it plunged down into the enlarged belly of Princess Amber. When the crooked dagger pierced her flesh, her uterine cavity exploded like a wineskin filled with over-fermented red Vinnish wine. Carnage covered the chief cleric and all four of his acolytes; blood ran down the black altar’s legs and pooled on the floor, all while the victim cackled impishly like a sea witch of dreaded Blythix.

The high priest dug in the girl’s midsection while she vomited blood and her body convulsed in her final death throes; her womb was barren!

Queen Narisii stood up, placed her black-nailed hands on her extended stomach, and Jarl Hammerfist recognized his concubine-wife’s gravidity! She was pregnant with the incestuous demon-son of Amber and Jansen!

“What dark magic is this?!” He coughed violently and black bile spewed out of his mouth and onto his square chin and chiseled chest; the sand-spider venom had begun its course.

His Queen’s smile matched his daughter’s death grin, and the last thought that went through his barbarian mind before he expired was that the brief reign of Jan Hammerfist would end with another ten centuries of Shadecrests sitting upon the electrum throne.

October 24, 2021 13:49

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Jon Casper
09:51 Oct 31, 2021

My goodness that was dark -- I loved it! Your descriptions are incredible, and the dialogue is excellent. The treachery and depravity of it all is a satisfying feast. Great story!


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Tricia Shulist
16:28 Oct 30, 2021

That was interesting. Lots of court intrigue. Thanks for this.


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David Brown
18:31 Apr 10, 2022

Get all my short stories with accompanying full color art in print now! Buy Twilit Tales, and blow your mind! https://www.lulu.com/en/us/shop/david-brown/twilit-tales/paperback/product-r76m22.html


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David Brown
16:54 Oct 24, 2021

Major influencers for this short fantasy adventure: Robert E. Howard, Michael Moorcock, and H.P. Lovecraft.


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