Falcrion did not think of himself as a villain who was easily overpowered. Far from it, he was a man who would go to ridiculously exaggerated lengths to avoid defeat in any aspect of his life. But even the most stubborn of persons has limits. In the case of Falcrion those limits were getting threateningly close.

An explosion rocked the foundations of Screaming Girl Mountain, the centre of villainy in the realm of Hypnosia, and another wave of pain rocked the head of Falcrion. He rubbed his forehead and grimaced.

"How is one supposed to spread terror in the world under these infernal conditions?" Falcrion glanced at Terrin.

His second-in-command shrugged, the spaulders on her shoulders clanking. "Wasn't my idea to build a maze in the back yard."

Falcrion slumped on his throne; he could feel the vibration of the stone drilling going through the main hall of the Base of Evil. "But I need a Labyrinth of Despair. What self-respecting villain does not have one in their lair?"

"Uh…" Terrin raised her eyebrow. "None of them? Seriously, you're the only one going through all this nonsense to get a maze."

"Well, then I am one of those trend setting people the younger generation is always talking about. I am paving the way for all evil doers to have their own intricate labyrinths where they may lead astray the forces of good."

Another explosion went off outside. This one was strong enough to shatter the elaborate stained glass windows that lined the walls of the hall.

"That's gonna be expensive," Terrin said. "As if we're not already paying those builders for all the overtime; never mind that they're behind schedule to begin with."

"They are?"

Terrin nodded. "Oh yeah. This is worse than the time they tried to build a road in front of the mountain; at least then we weren‘t losing money. Don't want to sound racist, but you shouldn't have hired humans. I told you, dwarves are more efficient especially with rocks."

Falcrion sighed. "After the last time, I highly doubt I could get any of the dwarves to work for me. They seem to really hold a grudge, merely because I enslaved a few communities and eventually led them to becoming cannibals. If it were not for all those hominid rights' activists staging irritating protests outside the gates, I would kidnap some elves to do the work for free."

"Elves," Terrin hissed. "You'd have the dungeons full of skinny little blondes lamenting all hours and weeping themselves to death. You do that, and I'm taking another sabbatical."

"No need to pack your bags, Terrin. I have no plans for mass kidnappings at the moment. Though I would not mind torturing a few of those builders."

The large doors to the hall opened and the head builder, a greasy and unpleasant man by the name of Franseontli, walked in.

"How're you doing there, Mister F?"

"I prefer Falcrion, or alternatively Your Evilness."

"Yeah, whatever… Listen, you wouldn't mind calling that oversize mutt of yours away from the construction site?"

Falcrion narrowed his eyes. "Snuggles is not a dog, he is the spawn of a demon dragon."

"That's real nice." Franseontli wiped the back of his neck. "But if he keeps eating my men, I'm going to have to charge you extra."

"Extra?" Falcrion stood up. "My majordomo has just informed me that you and your cohorts are behind in your work."

The head builder squared his shoulders. "Well, maybe we wouldn't be behind, if your demon spawn wasn't out there killing us. Geez, I have enough trouble with the union folks as it is, without having to fend off your pet."

"Very well. I shall have Snuggles kept indoors until you are finished."


"Now, exactly how long do you plan on detonating the rocks?" Falcrion motioned to the shards of glass on the obsidian floor. "The last explosion decimated my priceless, antique windows."

"Eh. We're almost done with the base of the maze, so we should be moving on to the details in a week or so."

"A week?" Falcrion moaned.

"Yep, have a nice day." Franseontli nodded his head and exited the hall.

"I cannot take this cacophony for a full week, Terrin. I fear it will drive me so insane that I shall actually turn sane!"

Terrin folded her arms. "Well, you better come up with a brilliant plan to stop it, won't you. As for me, I'm going to be sleeping on the opposite end of the mountain."

Falcrion frowned, the rusted gears in his head turning. "Yes, what I require is distance."

Terrin gave him a withering glare. "I'm not sharing a room with you. You might pay me well, but you don't pay me enough."

"That was not what I was suggesting. I believe that the best course of action for me is to vacate my lair for the duration of the construction work."

"Effectively you're running away?"

"Not at all." Falcrion swept across the hall on his way to the door. "I am merely engaging in a tactical departure. Be sure to walk Snuggles while I am away."

"And where exactly is this ‘away' you're going to?" Terrin asked.

Falcrion halted in the doorway. He had not really had time to consider his destination. Usually when he executed a tactical departure, it was just a matter of getting back to Screaming Girl before the heroes had a chance to stop him. He had never retreated from his obsidian mountain lair.

Well, there was one place, now that he thought of it. "I believe I shall be residing at the Blood Villa."

"Is that some kind of vampire retreat?"

"No, not the last time I was there. It was my family's summer home when I was young. I had many a merry vacation there… swimming in the river, exploring the woods, summoning my first demon, and mutilating the maid. Ah, what a joyful childhood I had."

"Yeah, that sounds charming," Terrin said with very little conviction, walking past Falcrion. "I'm just gonna go fetch Snuggles before he causes more delays. You have fun at Cabin de Gross."

"It is called Blood Villa," Falcrion shouted after her. "It is far more grand than any hovel in the middle of a forest. Of course there are dark forces residing in the woods nearby, but that does not diminish from the villa's grandeur and charm."

Realising that he was yelling at an empty corridor, Falcrion turned on his heels and headed to the Room of Crossing Space. In lieu of a mighty black dragon or another impressive flying beast, Falcrion relied on teleportation as his primary mode of transportation. It certainly saved one the cost of housing and feeding beasts who probably had appetites similar to Snuggles'.

Stepping into the dark room, Falcrion spread his hands and summoned forth his dark powers. "In the name Annyigrade, source of all Evil, I command you, room, to take me to my ancestral villa!"

There was a gust of air and the darkness around Falcrion slowly dissolved into a field of grass. At the centre of the field was one of the mansions once owned by the Sadificant family surrounded by the Forest of Deep Shade.

The foreboding, grey stone villa was located in the region of Yonderness, right next to the border between the kingdoms of Hypnosia and Saagania, enabling villainy and oppression on an international scale. Yet it was remote enough for its dwellers to engage in reclusive and secretive behaviour. Blood Villa was an altogether marvellous vacation spot for a high profile villain.

Letting out a sigh of contentment, Falcrion strode to the villa and pulled open the door. There was little sense in locking the entrance; any intruder would be driven away by the restless spirits that roamed the tree line and the accursed torture devices that were littered around the building. In fact, Falcrion could remember the days of his very distant youth when he would look forward to searching around the estate for mangled corpses of unwary trespassers.

Walking through the spacious foyer, Falcrion could feel the wonderful air of despair and dread that clung to the places where countless people had breathed their last gasps. One could not buy the authentic atmosphere of a place such as this.

Falcrion wandered into the sitting room of the villa, reminiscing about his happy childhood, when a figure appeared in the doorway on the opposite end of the room. At first Falcrion thought that it was merely one of the tormented souls trapped in the house, but then the figure tilted its head and spoke.

"I do hope you're not planning on staying here, unless you're inclined towards a slow and painful death."

Falcrion flung his long cape aside, giving the figure a withering look. "It is I who should be threatening you with hideous harm and vengeance for intruding on my ancestral summer retreat."

"Ah, sorry, I didn't know it was you. It's been some time since I last laid my eyes on you, young master Sadificant," the figure purred.

Squinting at the figure, Falcrion was struck by sudden recognition. "Ozgoroth Scarilé? Could it be…"

A lilting giggle came from the silhouette. "How lovely that you haven't succumbed to senility yet."

Scarilé stepped out to the light. While it was definitely him, he looked very little like Falcrion remembered. Albeit it had been close to two centuries since their last encounter, his old friend had most certainly not been covered in stitching scars and mismatched bits of skin. He had also apparently developed more curves than Falcrion recalled.

"What in the name of Pits has happened to you?"

Scarilé moved some his hair away from his face. Since when did he have pointed ears and black curls?

"Well, you remember how down in the dumps I was the last time we hung out?"

"I seem to recall you appearing quite disheartened, yes. Though I had always thought that you were displeased with your choice of career."

"Good gods, no. Turns out I was having a gender identity crisis. So, I went ahead and did a transformation spell to turn myself into a woman." Scarilé shrugged. "It was fine for fifty years or so, but then one night I had a little accident during a summoning. Far as I can tell I was turned into an undead creature. Bit of a shock, I'll grant you that, but I managed to cope with the change. That is, until bits of me started to rot and fall off."

Just then something soggy and red plopped on the floor from somewhere beneath the undead sorcerer's robe. He bent over to examine it and then chucked it out of an open window.

"Kidney," Scarilé said nonchalantly. "Anyway, ever since then I've been roaming the lands looking for spare parts. I've replaced so much of myself that I don't even know what race or gender I am anymore."

Falcrion sat down in a nearby chair to digest this onslaught of information. "For an abhorrent undead hodgepodge you did not do a bad job on yourself."

"Why thank you." Scarilé smiled, the scars on his face stretching.

"Though your tale does not account for your presence here?"

"Oh please." Scarilé rolled his eyes. "With all the corpses your family buried in the woods and the cellar, it was only a matter of time before I ended up here."

"Ah, yes." Falcrion glance at the windows that looked from the sitting room to the villa's veranda. "I had nearly forgotten the old family burial grounds. I think five of my nannies are buried there somewhere too."

Scarilé sat down on a another chair, chuckling. "You always were early to develop your talents."

"My parents had a terrible time finding capable staff." Falcrion shook his head.

"Well a high priestess of Annyigrade and an infamous necromancer… you can't blame the poor plebes."

"What about you?" Falcrion smirked. "I can still recall how you would mercilessly butcher and skin every girl who ever confessed to being infatuated with you."

The undead sorcerer held up his hands, one pale and the other tanned. "I was just trying to make a suit from their hides. As I said, I was confused."

"Oh, those were such exhilarating times. Riding around on black stallions, butchering the peasants, and torching whole villages."

"Disembowelments. The young villains today don't know the value of a proper disembowelment."

"How very true." Falcrion turned to look at his old friend. "Is the wine cellar still intact?"

"No worries, it's still well stocked. I might've emptied a bottle or two from the Second Age, but I made sure to replace those. I only rob graves, not wines."

"In that case, how about we have a proper reunion? One cannot have one without a sufficient amount of alcohol."

"Oh, glorious idea!" Scarilé jumped up and rushed towards the kitchen. "We can drag some of the corpses in for extra company. Do you still remember how to call on the dead?"

Falcrion rose up from his chair. "Naturally."

"Then we can make them suffer all over again. I can prep the rack and crushing wheel. I made sure to keep them in working condition."

"You are one devious fiend, Ozgoroth. Or should I say Ozgorotha?"

Scarilé took a hold of Falcrion's arm and winked. "Whatever works for you."

Falcrion threw his head back and unleashed his merriest evil laugh. Yes, this little retreat would prove very enjoyable indeed. Perhaps he should have Screaming Girl Mountain renovated more often.

Next Month: Nocturnal Prophetic Emissions

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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