The obsidian gates leading to the depths of Screaming Girl Mountain, the centre of all villainy in Hypnosia, opened, and Terrin Halfdrake stepped in.
Her ivory skin had acquired a golden glow during the two weeks she had spent in the Fire Pits of Draakoa. An unusually pleasant smile graced her face, instead of the standard scowl of annoyance, and her tail swung leisurely beneath her cape.
The semi-reptilian warrior-maiden made her way through the Corridors of Dread towards the Base of Evil, hoping that it had been cleaned since Falcrion’s last bloody outburst had left the innards of several minions splattered across the walls.
A hulking nightmare-creature was standing by the double doors of the Base. When his tiny eyes saw the familiar figure, clad in polished chainmail bikini, knee-high stiletto boots, black cape, and a five foot sword strapped to her back, he straightened his posture.
“My lady, how was your vacation?”
“Nearly perfect, Moldy,” Terrin said. “But mom insisted that I visit her and dad. Thank the gods my scale-brained brother wasn’t there, otherwise I would’ve cut it short.”
“No,” Terrin suppressed a snigger. “My brother’s supposed manhood.”
Moldy laughed. “You, my lady, are a true wit.”
“Too right. Now, how’s the big man doing?”
“Wouldn’t hazard to guess. He was locked in the Base for four days, then he came out with a very cunning look on his face.”
Terrin sighed. “Great, he’s got a new plot. For today, tell the other nightmare-creatures to stear clear of here.”
“I will. I can tell you, the cleaning hags weren’t too pleased with the last cleanup.”
“For people who’re paid to clean things up, they have a weird habit of nagging us about making a mess.” Terrin shook her head and pushed open the doors to the Base.
The Base of Evil was in disarray with papers and tools tossed around the floor, half eaten bowls of bat brains, and stale red wine creating a scent similar to an outhouse that had not been cleaned in a century.
Terrin’s lip rose up in disgust, she could almost hear the disapproving jabber of the cleaning hags ringing in her pointed ears.
“Well, isn’t this just fabulous... Falcrion!”
Something shuffled around in the back of the Base. Then a dark shape got up from the floor and walked out of the shadows.
"Ah, Terrin, you have returned." Falcrion fixed the high collar on his sweeping cape and smiled as much as his ancient, tight face would allow.
With distate, Terrin gazed at Hypnosia's greatest villian. Falcrion's silver hair was sticking out in all directions and his black robes were creased and stained with ink and wine. There was a distinct gleam in Falcrion's narrow eyes; such a feature was never a good sign.
"Looks like you've been busy." Terrin laid her hands on her hips in a way which was both masculine and sensual.
"That is very true, my Majordomo of Minions," Falcrion said. "While you were gone, I was at first rather cheerless, so I decided to do some reminiscing. You know, look back at all of my glorious achievements of wickedness. As I went through my Shoebox of Damnation, I discovered my old set of Junior Summoner cards."
Falcrion held up a worn pack of cards that had no doubt once been colourful, but now carried an air of obsolescence.
"Well, that's nice," Terrin said between tight lips.
"Nice indeed, my voluptuous friend in villainy!"
Terrin's eyes narrowed. "What did you call me?"
"Huh? Do try and focus, Terrin, I am about to reveal my latest plan to take over the world, or destroy it, whichever happens to occur first. The point is, we shall cause something dramatic and generally dislikeable to happen to the world..."
"Have you been to a healer lately, chief?" Terrin folded her arms.
Considering Falcrion's extremely advanced years, Terrin had always figured he would show symptoms of dementia sooner or later. The increased frequency of Falcrion's ramblings had led Terrin to consult with an alchemist, who had advised that Falcrion should take a medicine consisting of baby brains, puppy blood, bunny livers, and kitten eyes. Falcrion had thought it was a new kind of pudding, eaten the whole prescription in one go, and fallen into a week long coma. After that, Terrin had had thought it best to let Falcrion worry about his own health.
"I shall not have any healer lay their hands on me, they are all charlatans who are out to get my vast fortunes! Where was I again?"
"Your new plan-"
"Ah, yes! Excellent! My plan is to use my most valuable Junior Summoner card to unleash a demon from the Void. Then I shall have the demon do my bidding and defeat my valiant and heroic enemies."
"Right. And just how is a kid's collectible card going to summon a demon from the Void? Those cards can't even create an illusion of a demon."
"I once thought so, too. But upon consulting The Deadly Tome, I discovered that the manufacturers of Junior Summoner cards did in fact endow the Super Void Release card with the darkest of powers. With it, I shall open a portal to the Void and call forth one of the many mighty demon children of Annyigrade!" Falcrion tossed his head back and laughed in a way that only a villain can, coolly, yet with passion.
Terrin shook her head. "You're crazy, that'll never work. This is dumber than the time you thought you could shock people to death by dressing up as a drag queen."
"You think I am mad?"
"But of course I am mad, as are all evil people who truly wish to be infamous."
Terrin sat down on a nearby chair, her long black tail drooping over the left armrest. "Not all villains are mad."
"True, there are those who think they can be genuinely evil without losing their sanity, but those people never amount to anything. Do you think Glaroprick, the man who wasted his riches to build this magnificent lair, was sane?"
"No, I think he had an obsession for naked girls."
"Yes, he was a crazed stalker of all beautiful maidens and a brilliant villain. Do you think Xarnustri, The Devourer, was sane? He was not, he was a baby eater and thus he earned his place in the annals of evil. And Slotar, The Master Vampire, heard voices. Why, even Annyigrade, The Goddess and Source of Evil, calls herself insane."
"Are you saying all a person needs to do is be sick in the head so they can be evil?" Terrin raised an eyebrow.
"Well," Falcrion mused. "It helps to be a practitioner of the dark arts and to have a thirst for something. And one cannot merely claim to be psychotic, one has to be legitimately insane for it to work, it is not something one can fake."
"I suppose you're legitimately insane then?"
"Naturally," Falcrion said with great pride. "I have certificates from psychiatrists, healers, sorcerers and my late mother stating that I lack the capability to form rational thoughts. You could say, I'm a natural born villain."
Terrin groaned and leaned back on the chair. "Not the same old drivel about predestination again."
"Yes! I was born to be evil and there has never been a moment in my life when I even ventured to think of myself as being otherwise inclined. The Cliché Law itself says that people of notoriety can only be either good or evil, there is no such thing as a middle ground."
Terrin reached for her well concealed bottle of firewater and took a gulp. It was stupid things like Falcrion's seemingly endless rants about the greater evil and how so-called antiheroes were the scourge of modern society that drove Terrin to drinking more firewater than most semi-reptilians could stomach. In her mind, the only way she could fully understand the manner in which her boss' mind worked was to be slightly inebriated at all times. Consequently, a large portion of her vacation had been spent nursing an epic hangover.
Falcrion's voice pulled Terrin from her oncoming high. "But perhaps you are correct in your suspicions. The plan may call for some specification. I shall consult my mentor Garrion!"
"Have you been smoking the Infernal Hookah or something? Garrion's been dead for a century. You murdered him yourself!"
Falcrion rubbed the back of his bald head. "The old fool simply will not die. Even after I stabbed him, choked him, drowned him, hanged him, and eviscerated him, he refused to expire. I have been feeding him nothing but poison for the last century, yet he still lives."
Falcrion moved to the back wall of the Base and turned one of the candelabras mounted on the stone wall. A door opened and a decorative wheelchair rolled into the Base. On the wheelchair sat a creature that at first glance looked more like an emaciated larva with a beard than any kind of hominid.
Briefly Terrin wondered how she had not seen this creature before during her employment in Screaming Girl. Then again, with all the secret passageways and hidden rooms, it did not take much effort to conceal a semi-comatose man somewhere where no one would find him. On further consideration, she had no need to be surprised in the slightest way.
Falcrion cleared his throat and bent down to speak to what Terrin assumed was Garrion's head. "Garrion! It is I, your son!"
The head moved and a small cloud of dust billowed around it. "Eh? Someone say something?"
Falcrion sighed and picked up a sheet of paper. He rolled the sheet into a horn and pressed it against Garrion's ear. "It is I, Falcrion, your son!"
"Son? Since when have I had one of them?" Garrion wheezed.
Terrin took another swig from the bottle. As if one demented villain was not enough...
"I have been your son for the last three hundred years, you imbecile! I require your counsel!"
"Don't you yell at me, young man." Garrion shook a bony finger in Falcrion's direction. "Where's my applesauce?"
"You can have it when you have bestowed on me some of your wisdom!"
"Wisdom! I am about to summon a demon and I am in need of some guidance!"
"Demon? No, I just haven't been cleaned for a while. Those nurses-"
"Not you! I want to summon a demon!" Falcrion’s face was bright red by now.
"Back in my day we weren't no demons. Lad could get a spanking for being a demon..."
"You stubborn, decrepit git! Impart some sage advice or fall before my patricidal efforts!"
"Last time I fell down, I broke my hip. It ain't been the same since..."
Before Garrion could finish his tale of health related woes, Falcrion kicked his wheelchair into the dark passageway in the wall. He then turned the candelabra and closed the opening.
"Thank Annyigrade that my mother had the decency to die dramatically when I was young. At least I do not have to worry about taking her life."
"I guess we'll just forget about the demon plan and go back to randomly attacking the good guys?" Terrin said hopefully.
"We will do no such thing. The plan goes ahead as intended. First, we must obtain a sacrifice."
"Precisely. The Deadly Tome says that in order to open a portal to the Void, blood must be spilled onto the object which opens the portal. In this case we must spill the blood of the innocent onto the Super Void Release card. Luckily, I have had the foresight to shield the card in some plastic."
"Did you happen to have the foresight to find an innocent whose blood you can spill?"
"I did not get quite that far... But I am sure it will not be that difficult to come across a suitable victim."
"Not too difficult, huh?" Terrin rolled her eyes. "We're in the middle of the Desert of Desolation, in a mountain inhabited solely by villains! Even the bugs are evil."
"Well, maybe we do not have any innocents per say, but surely there must be something almost as good."
"No, we'd have to send the nightmare-creatures to-" Suddenly a thought came to Terrin's mind. "Would someone ignorant suffice?"
"Innocent, ignorant. They do sound rather similar..."
"Good! Cause I've got someone in mind that lives right here in the mountain."
"No one of importance, I hope. You do know it is hard to come by good help. All minions these days seem to believe that getting an academic degree in minion studies somehow makes them more valuable than the self-taught minions of yesteryear." Falcrion sighed. "Since when did the Minion's Guild become so full of pretension?"
"Wouldn't know, I'm a freelancer. But you don't have to worry about this guy, he's totally nonessential."
"Excellent! Call him forth!"
"Oh, with pleasure." Terrin walked to the Base's door, peeked out and motioned Moldy to come close.
"Yes, my lady? Is the peril gone?"
"Not just yet. Is Floppy around?" Terrin spoke the name with an audible hiss of detest in her voice.
Moldy's eyes turned cold. "I'm afraid so."
"Find him and have him come over. I've finally got a solution to the 'loudmouth situation'."
"Praise the gods! I will retrieve him immediately."
Terrin closed the door. A flush of satisfaction washed over her. For years now, the staff of Screaming Girl Mountain had forcibly dealt with a nuisance far more annoying than any horror or senseless act of mutilation Falcrion could ever cause. That nuisance came in the form of a particularly nauseating and talkative nightmare-creature by the name of Floppy.
Soon a spluttering voice could be heard echoing across the Corridors of Dread. Moldy opened the door to the Base and pushed in a tall and uncommonly reedy nightmare-creature.
"Ah, young Floppy! So you are to be our sacrificial victim?" Falcrion smiled.
Terrin sighed. Falcrion was just about the only person, aside from Floppy's over-affectionate mother, who did not find the nightmare-creature to be at least a little overbearing and irritating.
"Hi, Falcy!" Floppy raised his hand nonchalantly.
Falcrion gave Floppy a harsh look. "I thought we already had a dialogue on proper etiquette and forms of address, young man."
"I don't remember having any dialogue, Falcy."
"That's cause you don't know what a dialogue is," Terrin muttered.
Floppy turned towards Terrin. "Hey, T-girl! Back from your vacation?"
"If you must know-"
"I was on a vacation some time ago. I'm sure you noticed the lack of me around here."
"Yes, me and the minions had a week long party."
"You guys had a party? You should've invited me, I love parties!"
"You love free booze." Terrin blew smoke out of her nostrils; her draconic lineage was boiling deep within her gut and telling her to tear the disrespectful fool to bloody chunks of flesh.
"Yeah, that too. Did I ever tell you about the-"
"No! And me and Falcrion don't want to hear about it, either."
"Oh yeah, Falcy, why'd you call me here?"
"In order to complete my latest scheme for world domination, or destruction, I am in need of a jugular from whence I shall spill blood onto the Super Void Release Card, open a portal to the Void and summon and a demon to do my bidding."
"Cool. I want to watch."
"You'll be doing more than watching." Terrin unsheathed her sword and pointed it at Floppy's throat.
"Whoa! Put that stick away, T-girl, you might hurt yourself."
Terrin grinned and spoke between her sharp teeth, "Falcrion, is the card ready?"
After kicking aside some of the rubbish littering the floor, Falcrion dropped his Super Void Release card down a few feet away from Floppy. "All is prepared."
"Great." Terrin swung her sword over her head in a smooth, round motion.
As the blade moved before Terrin, it took off Floppy's head. The decapitated nightmare-creature's body slumped to the floor, spurting blood onto Falcrion's card and the hem of his robe.
Terrin picked up Floppy's head, which she viewed as having already been useless, and gave it a wholly superior smirk. "That's what happens when you call the Mani’a’Deth a stick. Die and learn, you waste of a noble race!"
"Terrin, if you could discard your petty anger for a moment, I need silence to complete the summoning."
Terrin tossed Floppy's head aside. "Go ahead."
If anything, Falcrion's attempt of a summoning should make for good entertainment. Terrin leaned against the wall next to the door. Should anything go awry she did not want to stay around and risk ending up like Floppy.
Falcrion spread his arms wide. "Oh, guardians of the Void, hear me! I, Falcrion, follower of Annyigrade and keeper of Hypnosian villainy, implore your powers to tear apart the boundaries between the worlds! Broudoruu shra ba'aan frui, frui dr'ud, clamom frui!"
The blood that had fallen into the vicinity of the card boiled and steamed. There was a rumbling sound, then the sound of fabric being torn. The blood on the floor moved to form a circle which then swirled around until the red blood turned into a black eddying mass of darkness. The mass grew bigger until it was something akin to a giant funnel.
Falcrion laughed with insane joy. "It is working! Soon a marvellous evil shall be unleashed!"
A growl came out of the portal, and a pair of large claws came out and sunk themselves into the sides of it. What looked like a short necked dragon with psychedelically coloured fur on it instead of scales pulled itself up and fell over the side of the portal, landing right on top of Falcrion.
The portal began to decrease in size and finally disappeared altogether, leaving behind a small stain on the Super Void Release's plastic cover and the demon. The furry dragon-demon curled up over Falcrion's crushed body and let out a cooing sound.
"Yep," Terrin chuckled. "Great evil indeed."
"What went wrong?" Falcrion rasped beneath the demon's rear. "I did the summoning as instructed."
"Well." Terrin shrugged. "You did say something about calling forth the demon child of Annyigrade, didn't you? I guess you got what you asked for. Either that or you can blame it on Floppy's blood."
"Terrin, get this cuddly abomination off of me! I feel as though my back is broken and this creature is doing a fine job of smashing my lungs!"
Terrin massaged the bridge of her nose. "If I help you now, you won't get the point of all this."
"If I were you, I'd push it off soon, before it decides to settle down. Thank the gods I'm NOT you."
Turning her back on her maimed leader, Terrin walked away. She was in dire need of another vacation.
Stories and artwork Copyright 2009 by Mette Pesonen. Copying in whole or in part is prohibited. However, you may link to this page.
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