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Rising Sun
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The Bargain
by Robert Ekblad. From the ERPG.
Copyright © 1999. All Rights Reserved.


It is MS5072, and all but one of the Darklords have been slain. The last one, Khatellu (character description) , has taken refuge in Nadgazad. The Cener Druids have approached Darklord Khatellu and expressed an interest in obtaining the Sphere of Decay--a legendary artifact once owned by Darklord Xog. In return they offered the Darklord several items currently in the hands of the Cener Druids.

Khatellu planned to obtain the Sphere of Decay from its resting place on the island of V'Ka in the Maakenmire Swamp. It was soon established that Korlinium was needed in order to handle and transport the deadly Sphere. Merely touching this powerful artifact would release the powers of the Sphere and destroy the creature who touched it. Thus, Darklord Khatellu first sent a Drakkar called Fezmarn to Kaag to procure some Korlinium (Read the story). After Fezmarn had successfully returned with a Korlinium Satchel, he was sent to fetch the Sphere of Decay from the island of V'Ka (Read the story).

Fezmarn also managed to accomplish this task--partly due to the help he received from the Waturi-Koto, a powerful cast of creatures created by Avarice the Betrayer.

Epilogue to Sphere of Decay: The Bargain

Darklord Khatellu sat on the throne of the late Darklord Menashga. He had planned everything to the last detail. That fool Kadrian would learn the hard way that it is lethal to underestimate a Darklord. It had been agreed that Khatellu and Kadrian would bring twenty creatures to the meeting place--not more.

For his accompaniment, the Darklord has chosen four Xagash (all of whom he had assigned a good dose of human flesh the last month), eight of his most powerful Nadziranim, Avarice the Betrayer, two Vladoka, the leader of the Waturi-Koto, two Helghast, and one Liganim. Together with the Darklord, they were twenty.

The presence of the Liganim was unexpected, and the other creatures hissed at the creature in contempt. It soon became apparent to the others that the Liganim was not really a Liganim. It was just dressed like one. Its mask, gloves and clothing effectively concealed everything except its eyes. Ah, yes--its eyes. The eyes were like a well of burning red blood, where pools of black darkness floated around. Looking for even one second at those eyes was very unsettling; after a short while even the Nadziranim gave the creature a wide berth.

A herald arrived in the Throne Chamber. It was Fezmarn, the Drakkar. He bowed before the throne and said, "The Cener Druids have arrived, my lord."

"Do they have the trade?" asked the Darklord menacingly.

"Yes my master," Fezmarn said.

"You all know what's expected of you," Darklord Khatellu said, letting his eyes fall on each of them. His eyes rested a long while on one of the Nadziranim (the one that he really didn't trust too much who had followed Fezmarn to Kaag), and then for a long while on Avarice. Avarice took no notice.

The panther-like Darklord settled down on his paws and walked out from the throne room with the rest in tow. The two Helghasts carried the Darklord's dark red colour and held aloft his banner: a panther's paw superimposed on an erupting volcano. Only Fezmarn remained in the Throne room. He was relieved that he had not been chosen.

The Darklord's party left the citadel of Nadgazad, and went to a small chapel dedicated to the worship of Naar near the fortress-city's gates. There, the Cener Druids impatiently waited for their arrival.

The Darklord watched the chapel at a distance. His nose had a big helical horn on it. The Darklord could use his horn to sense magic--he now used that power. The Cener Druids had brought with them creatures of great powers as well. A pity, thought the Darklord, I would have loved to assault and kill them directly. Now, it seemed he would have to make the trade with them. Wayl had told him this would happen, and Wayl was never wrong.

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