Serafyr Halfdrake walked down a corridor in the Castle of Anonymous. His long red cape fluttered behind him while the sheath of his Sword of Might clanked against his back.

As he walked by a window, Serafyr stopped to gaze through the freshly cleaned glass. The great city of Anonymous basked in the golden glow of the afternoon. Birds sang, children played, and merchants sold overpriced goods whose price was in direct relation to how shiny the product was

The noble warrior frowned. It was quiet, far too quiet. In fact, it had been far too quiet for quite some time now.

"Something must be amiss!" Serafyr declared, turning from the window to face the corridor. "This outer tranquillity must surely be hiding some terror beneath it."

Determined to discover what exactly could be wrong in the world, Serafyr marched to the royal living room. Years in the profession of heroism had taught him to identify the likeliest sources of problems, and in the Castle that source would probably be found sitting in the living room.

Sure enough, seated among the plush sofa cushions and reading the latest instalment of the Little Slime Beast series was Azaril Lamentamagicka.

The tiny wizard raised his head. "Serafyr, what are you doing here? Joust-a-mania isn‘t on for another two hours."

"I am in search of wrongdoings and injustice."

"Um…" Azaril raised an eyebrow. "I don't think I've seen any around here. Have you checked in the cupboards yet?"

"My vertically challenged friend, I am not seeking out the kind of things one hides in closets. I am looking for a task which befits my heroic nature. Surely there is something threatening our beloved world."

"I wouldn't know." Azaril shrugged. "Simiel said that I shouldn't watch the news because I always fall asleep in the middle of it and leave the orb on overnight. And anyway, I don‘t think there‘s any great injustice happening in this room."

"So, you are not aware of any vile plans of global destruction or domination?"


Serafyr folded his hands. "Are you at least planning on trying out some new magic trick that will inevitably backfire and cause me to save the day?"

"I haven't been able to come up with anything new lately. I think I've got a case of magician's block."

"But there must be something perilous afoot!" Serafyr paced in front of the sofa. "I have not heard a word from the villains for days. No one has tried to invade the Castle or summon a demon in ages."

Azaril set aside his book. "You're bored, aren't you?"

"Quite frankly, yes. It is unnatural for a great doer of courageous deeds, such as myself, to merely lounge about idly like some country squire. Nowhere in the Cliché Law is there mention of a hero taking respite from his duties."

"Maybe all the bad guys are taking a break. You know, to heal their wounds and hire new minions."

"Evil does not rest!" Serafyr ceased his pacing. "I am sure that as we speak, Falcrion is planning an insidious scheme to disrupt the lives of poor, ignorant, and defenceless villagers somewhere. We must not allow him to spread his evil across Hypnosia."

"If he is planning anything, I'm sure he'd be boasting about it already." Azaril clambered down from the sofa. "He's never been good at keeping his plans to himself."

"Perhaps all the defeats he has suffered while engaging in glorious combat with me have served to make him more cunning."

Serafyr smirked, reflecting all the times he had defeated the ex-adviser-turned-villain. True, some those defeats were due to the simple impossibility of Falcrion's plans or a lucky swing of a sword that led to the crashing of a well placed chandelier, but even those fortuitous victories were glorious.

"At his age?" Azaril shook his head. "I don't think he's going to change his ways."

"Then," Serafyr said, grasping at any opportunity. "Perhaps he has neglected to gloat. You can contact him with your crystal ball or some such device, can you not?"

"Yes," Azaril drew the word out. "But it's so awkward. I've never been comfortable talking through the ball."

"Fear not, my friend, I shall stand at your side while you call forth Falcrion on your miraculous orb!"

Azaril sighed in defeat. "That doesn't really help."

With some reluctance, Azaril produced a small ball made of hazy crystal. He tossed the orb into the air with flick of his wrist. The orb hovered in midair and let out a few pulse like waves of light before settling on a steady glow.

Soon a foggy figure appeared inside the levitating orb. Serafyr narrowed his eyes as he saw the recognisable black robes and bald head of Falcrion come into focus.

"What is the meaning of this infernal interruption?" Falcrion spat out, glaring at Serafyr and Azaril. "How dare you accursed champions of righteousness bother me?"

"Cease your complaints, oh wicked one!" Serafyr pointed at the orb. "I know you are up to your evil schemes. So, out with it. What are you plotting in the bowels of Screaming Girl?"

Falcrion threw his head back and let out a laugh. "And why should I regale you with the latest ingenious plot to destroy you?"

"So." Serafyr smirked. "You are planning something."

"Of course," Falcrion said, his eyebrows raised in an incredulous way. "My mind is a bottomless treasure-trove of evil endeavours. It is not as if I could ever be lacking a scheme."

"Then what are you doing?"

Falcrion inhaled, as if preparing to give a grand speech, but then slumped slightly. "Waiting for the contractors to stop renovating."

"Is that it?" Serafyr barked at the crystal ball.

"Have you ever had the displeasure of living through a major renovation?"

Azaril rolled his large eyes. "Every time a villain trashes the Castle."

"Well, then you should be acquainted with the noise and frustrations related to such an undertaking. How am I supposed to devise a brilliant way to burn down a village or assassinate a high priest when I can barely get a night's sleep?" Falcrion shook his head. "Even rekindling a close friendship from centuries past has not done enough to thwart the effects of the renovation."

For a moment all three stood still, silently staring at each other.

Finally Azaril broke the silence. "You have a friend?"

"Yes, as shocking at it may seem. Mind you, the friend in question is every bit as insane and gruesome as I."

"Aah," Serafyr breathed. "So, you are endeavouring to form an evil partnership in order to increase your pitiful chances at defeating all that is good."

Falcrion's brow shot up in frank surprise. "Well… Yes… I suppose that would be the logical thing to do."

"You hadn't already thought of that?" Azaril tilted his head.

"As I previously stated, I have been somewhat distracted of late."

Serafyr rubbed his jaw. It was unusual of Falcrion to overlook such an obvious strategy. Not even the most noisy of renovations should have been able to affect the villain's mental capacities to this extent.

"In any eventuality, I do not see why you incommodious defenders of tediousness cannot go and perform your heroics without involving me in the proceedings," Falcrion said.

"Well," Azaril said. "It's kind of hard to do things like save the world or defeat a villain, if there's nothing threatening the world or anyone acting like a villain. Heroism's more about reacting to things than being pre-emptive."

Falcrion made a pensive sound. "I see. Whatever the case may be, there is little I can do."

If Falcrion lacked concentration and inspiration, there would be no evil for the warrior to defeat. Fearful for his lifestyle, Serafyr's heroic instincts were aflutter.

"Falcrion, could it be that there something afoot, something which would distract you to this extent?"

"Did I not tell you of the renovation?"

Serafyr nodded. "Yes. But I refuse to believe that a villain I have engaged in many splendid battles over years would be so preoccupied by drills and lagging schedules. While I despise all that you stand for with fiery passion, I respect you as an opponent."

Falcrion's narrow eyes widened slightly in interest. "Likewise. And while I strongly believe that your mental capacities are that of a dead gnat, there may be some validity to your speculations. I shall have my minions investigate the matter immediately. I would certainly hate to be kept away from terror and mayhem."

The villain waved his hand and his image in the orb evaporated.

"Exactly what do think could be distracting Falcrion?" Azaril eyed Serafyr doubtfully as he set the orb on a table near the sofa.

Serafyr shrugged. "Who can say what kind of disreputable shenanigans occur in the bowls of Screaming Girl on a regular basis? Falcrion said that he had been spending time with an old acquaintance; I believe it is perfectly possible that the two villains could have performed summonings while inebriated. One can only fathom the kind of ludicrous spells they might have carried out."

The orb suddenly floated up from the table and Falcrion's image appeared within. Behind the villain's large cape-collar, Serafyr could discern figures rushing about and hear the occasional sounds of battle.

Falcrion cleared his throat. "It would seem that against all odds and evil reasoning, your assumption was correct. My nightmare creatures were able to locate a demon lurking in the subterranean section of Screaming Girl. The demon, which we are currently dispatching-"

A rough voice mumbled something near Falcrion, eliciting a sigh from him. "I know it is not adorable Bleak, but I am certain you can kill it nonetheless. Excuse me, where was I?"

"Dispatching the demon."

"Yes." Falcrion nodded, shifting away from what appeared to be a nightmare creature currently hurling through the air. "My minions are going to destroy the demon. I believe that the recent shortage of ideas was caused by the demon feeding on the collective evil inspiration in my lair, so once it has been dealt with, I am confident that all shall be returned to normal."

Serafyr unleashed a triumphant guffaw. "In that case I shall be prepared to put an end to your nefarious deeds!"

Falcrion responded with a cackle. "I would like to see you try. Evil shall prevail and darkness shall cover the lands!"

With an echoing evil laughter, Falcrion disappeared from the orb.

"We shall see about that." Serafyr struck a heroic pose. "Azaril, have my griffin saddled, we are off on an adventure of epic proportions!"

Azaril sighed and headed for the door. "I'd better pack lunch then."

That's all folks!
(for now)

Stories and artwork Copyright 2009-2011 by Mette Pesonen. Copying in whole or in part is prohibited. However, you may link to this page.

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