|Lost Knowledge - A Fantasy Flash of Horror & Sorcery|
By Tracy Falbe
Consciousness sliced open the blank slumber of the frigid abyss. Rakna knew herself again. If she had been gone for one second or a trillion years, it would have felt the same, but at last some diligent wizard had managed to summon her. The juicy flesh monkeys on the Plane of Bitterness must have forgotten her true nature. Responding to the call, she slipped free of her cosmic chains and approached the scene of sorcery.
The obsidian knife plunged into the perfect victim. Gorbenet had sacrificed many over the years, but none had been sufficiently loathsome of heart to provoke the return of Rakna. The wizard had spent decades grooming the corrupted life whose chest he had just ripped open. Born in the most squalid quarter of Orbahensh, this man had been thrown out as a newborn by his drunken whore mother. Gorbenet had deposited the baby into the indifferent care of an orphanage. Quietly steered by Gorbenet’s magic toward wickedness, the sacrifice had developed into a despicable man.
This thrust of the knife represented Gorbenet’s one act of goodness as he rid the world of this slave trader who had supplied children to clients craving special depravities. The drug-hazed eyes of the man rolled back, and Gorbenet slit open the man’s hairy belly.
Quickly the wizard grabbed a bowl made from a child’s skull and caught the blood gouting from the dying man. Gorbenet poured the blood into a basin on the sacrificial altar and began chanting. Only through long years of insistent meditations had he coaxed the Plane of Madness into whispering to him the proper words to recall the demon Rakna.
Ten thousand years ago the Guardian Wizards had so wastefully banished that magnificent demon. The few tablets surviving from that ancient time told of her power, and Gorbenet meant to rescue that ancient champion and make of her a most fearsome servant.
Chanting furiously, he picked up the tiny glass jar that held the precious lock of hair from his nemesis Derhen. Years of scheming had finally born fruit when Gorbenet tricked Derhen’s apprentice into bringing him the hair.
In the basin the blood was boiling but not congealing, and Gorbenet dropped the hair into the roiling beet red stew. Red fire burst up. He waved his fingers through the licking flames. The stink of burning hair hit his nostrils and he cried out the name of the demon.
“Rakna! Rakna! Rakna!”
He chanted the name forward and backward until the tower shook. Roaring winds swept through the high windows and sucked out the brazier fires. Only the crimson glow from the blood fire highlighted Gorbenet’s hooked nose.
In the shivering blackness of the chamber, a dark figure outlined in flame took shape. The muscular curves of a female with the head of a lioness were carved in fire across the dark void of the demon’s heart. Rakna shook her golden head. The sleek short fur on her face gave way to a hairless gleaming black body. Her timber-thick arms reached to the floor alongside her feet. Claws that could gouge stone curved from her paws.
Gorbenet gaped in utter rapture at what he had achieved. Using Derhen’s hair as the catalyst to bring the demon had made her impervious to Derhen’s power.
“Rakna, obey me!” Gorbenet thundered, knowing that he must cow this demon to his will without delay.
Her wide sensitive nostrils flared. She stomped up to the altar and began to eat the sacrifice in great gulping chunks, sliced off by her strong jaws and yellow teeth.
Gorbenet watched as she consumed the whole body. Crunching bones and bloody smacking lips made a horrendous noise as the stench of the disemboweled body filled the room.
When Rakna was finished and licking her paws, Gorbenet tapped his sticky knife on the altar. She swung bored eyes at him.
“The meat of this world is yours to enjoy, but you are bound to obey me for bringing you here,” Gorbenet said.
Rakna blinked dispassionately and curled her tongue around a bloody claw.
Gorbenet walked to a window and pointed to the highest tower in Orbahensh. He would not have to live in the shadow of Derhen’s glory much longer.
“Go kill Derhen. He cannot harm you!” Gorbenet said.
Rakna considered a moment, and Gorbenet wondered if he would have to goad her with his magic, but finally she threw back her head and roared. Pebbles danced in the streets below and tiles cracked on the roof. Rakna loped to the window with her ape-like gait and smashed the window out with one powerful front paw. She widened the space until she could exit. The demon leaped on to the roof of the nearest building and continued toward Derhen’s tower jumping from roof to roof.
Gorbenet rushed to the gaping hole. Wind whipped his black robes against his rail-thin body. The penetrating cold howling out of the inner wastelands enhanced his elation. He watched the demon’s progress in the full moon light. Breathlessly he saw her climb the tower of Derhen. She battered a hole in the tower and disappeared inside.
Blue and red lights flashed from the tower windows. Gorbenet shook with ecstasy as he imagined Derhen’s terror and agony. Tonight their competition ended with Gorbenet proven the better wizard. Now all Orbahensh would grovel for his favor.
When Rakna emerged from the smoking tower, dawn broke across the muddy glittering delta that watered the city. As the demon returned, Gorbenet considered how best to reward her. She would surely need a steady supply of squealing prisoners.
“You have done well, great Rakna!” Gorbenet called down the tower as the demon climbed back up to him.
The demon swung a heavy arm through the window hole and pulled herself back into the tower where she had been rebirthed into the living world. With baleful eyes she regarded Gorbenet.
Pure instinct punched the wizard with fear. “You must obey he who summoned you,” he reminded.
Rakna screamed and grabbed the wizard so quickly he never had a chance to react. She thrust him through the window with terrific force. Gorbenet slapped into the stone wall of the nearest building and slid down on a wide streak of blood. His smashed body flopped backwards into the street, and Orbahensh had no wizard now.
Rakna sat in the window hole. She purred contentedly as the morning sun warmed her dark body. The foolishness of the wizard was amusing. She had always known that the knowledge of the Guardian Wizards would degenerate into ignorance. Millennia ago everyone had known that obedience was beyond Rakna and she would suffer no wizard to live.
It was good to be back.
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