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The Terror on The Tell, chapter one

by  darkmir

Posted: Monday, February 2, 2004
Word Count: 3231
Summary: A fantasy novel similar to the works published by TSR or Ballantine. MIght be equaitable in terms of how I wrote it and the intended audience to the work of R. A. Salvatore. 11 chapters complete to this point... aproxamately a third fo the story.

Chapter One

Celvar Andelus reclined atop an island of silken cushions in the opulent pleasure den of his mansion, one of an endless inventory of ill-gotten spoils acquired in his ascension to the ruling council of the island city-state known as Tell. His every whim and wish was made instant reality by a phalanx of slaves.

He hardly noticed. His exceptional, though twisted intellect was focused on preparation for a meeting scheduled to take place at the councilman’s home that evening.

Three women attended him. One, having finished bathing him and combing his sparse white hair, retrieved and sorted various colorful pastes and powders she would use to apply the city leader’s make-up. Another placed about his person the many bracelets, necklaces, rings and other trinkets he preferred to wear. A third applied a gently warmed ointment, massaging his feet and calf muscles, a thing he simply enjoyed having done for himself. While they worked, the women spoke in tones just above a whisper, sending an endless stream of coos, soft moans, and sweet nothings wafting towards the councilman’s ears. Their actions were practiced, ordered so as to give the impression of abject adoration.

Andelus was an unpleasant man to serve. He was phenomenally fat, corpulent and spoiled. Nearly bald, wearing a perpetually pouting expression dominated by beady, avaricious eyes, his was the kind of distorted baby face that repelled viewers in direct proportion to their exposure to it. Suiting actions to desires, he lived a life of cruel self-indulgence, a sadistic hedonist on a philosophical level.

His thinking was subtle and complex. His appearance and mannerisms were not. His style could best be described as oppressively ostentatious. He wrapped his grotesque body in multiple, draped layers of brightly colored, luxurious cloth, as if desiring to emphasize his great girth and gaudy ugliness. His size was, in truth, something of a trademark. Combined with his wardrobe, it made him impossible to ignore.

He was ruthless. Andelus clawed his way into power by taking advantage of the weaknesses, vices, and mistakes of his opponents. He employed lies, blackmail and threats to co-opt and coerce. With more than forty years employing such methods under his belt now, he knew no other way to deal with people. At his most pleasant, he came across as oily and insincere. At his worst, one saw his true self: disdainful in his assumed superiority, happiest when exploiting those around him.

Tonight, much of Celvar’s air of effete blaze’, however, was truly affected. The man he was meeting (who insisted this meeting could only take place at Andelus’s residence, instead of in the councilman’s chambers at Duhrh-aht-Tell) was not one Andelus could impress or bully. This man would require finesse.

None of his servants would be attendant for the meeting. This left Andelus feeling naked, as he neurotically supposed his coming visitor wished. Only his guest’s reputation in his field, and the nature of the task Andelus required of him, were sufficient to overcome the councilman’s paranoiac suspicion.

Seldom seen, Andelus’s guest was never the less well known throughout the island and far beyond. His guild stronghold was rumored to hold power sufficient to rival even the impregnable tower stronghold known as Duhrh, seat of the High Council, and home of the bastard prince, Kendrick and his daughter, Wyndy.

Darahk-Myhr, Grandmaster of Assassins, Lord of The Guild of The Silent Hand, was threat personified. He was the undisputed master of all thieves and assassins on the island Tell, and arguably, the finest professional killer in all the eastern kingdoms.

He might also be the most difficult man on Tell to arrange a meeting with. The Grandmaster of any guildhall was difficult to see privately. Andelus barely managed to contact the lord killer in time to make his proposition feasible. On top of that, this guild master could easily decide to kill the fat bureaucrat by way of declining the job. One didn’t approach a master assassin lacking work sufficiently intriguing to warrant his attention. To deal in petty deaths and personal vendettas was the stock of the apprentice and trade classes. Those who attended the Killer’s College required more… drama.

In a society where murder for hire was a legitimate trade, Darahk-Myhr was the best. A killer among killers. In a few minutes, he would be here, alone, with the councilman.

The fawning of his personal slaves became cloying. Andelus dismissed them peremptorily. He fretted after, however, fumbling awkwardly as he tried to pour himself another goblet of courage.

Suddenly there came a rustling of the silks hanging in the entrance to the den. Andelus had ordered the room softly lighted using votives only; seeking to create an atmosphere he hoped would put himself and any visitor at ease. He regretted that decision now, finding confusion in the dancing patterns of the drapes.

“I am here, councilman.”

Andelus leapt from his cushions, his fright over-riding the restraints imposed by his weight and flaccid muscles as adrenaline sent him surging to his feet. The voice had come from behind him! There was only one entrance to the room. How had the killer gotten behind him?

He spun to face his visitor, unable to stifle a gasp. Finally, he blurted with little grace:

“Grand Master Darahk-Myhr! I am pleased you accepted my invitation. May I offer you a drink? It will be my, err… pleasure, to serve you myself, as you have insisted I retain no servants for this mee-…”

“We will speak only of what work you have for me”, said the dark figure. “Sit, councilman. Collect yourself. Tell me who you wish me to kill… and why.”

Darahk-Myhr was an imposing black shadow within the shadows of the room. As Andelus strove to regain his composure, he was struck to shivering immobility by the sense his palace was no longer his domain. The assassin seemed able to use the room and lighting to mask his intentions, as if wielding a weapon used many times before. He moved very little. Few details were readily discernable about him, save for an unwavering sense of stealth and danger.

“As you wish, lord Killer”, said the wheezing bureaucrat.

The assassin spoke, his voice rolling eirilly from deep within the reccessed hood of hic cloak:
“You are in no danger from me at present, councilman. I am here to consider your commission. If I decide to accept the kill, you must decide if you wish to employ me.”

The dark figure moved with slow, liquid grace to the left. One gloved hand reached idly to touch a jewel-encrusted bauble on a table there.

“You have obtained a lofty position, Andelus,” said the assassin. “You already enjoy more than your true worth has earned you. You are fat and spoiled, and there is very little manhood left in you.”

The effect of the assassin’s physical presence on the city leader was encompassing. Underlying all conscious sensation Andelus felt was a chill lump of dread, lying hard and sour in the back of his throat.

He was in over his head with this frightening professional killer. He could feel it. There was an intense sensitivity in his groin and belly, at once painful and vaguely, distractingly erotic. He felt a strong urge to defecate. Beneath his arms, sweat dripped from his drenched pits, crawling clammily down his sides. His breathing was a sharp, stilted wheeze. His face and neck felt drained of blood. His nipples were hard. He could feel his scalp crawl.

Again, the killer’s words came from within the darkened hood:

“Yet, like all such men, there is something that remains, when all other pleasures and stimulation have failed, for which you lust. Some secret vice that makes your loins burn like no virgin wench can. Tell me your vice, Andelus…”

Though gripped in abject terror, Celvar Andelus felt his mind grow calm, as of that of a man facing unavoidable doom. Captivated by the over-powering presence of the dark assassin, he focused and began to speak:

“I seek domination!” he blurted.

This amazed him. He was renowned for taking obfuscation from simple technique to high art. His allies and detractors remarked that to corner Andelus was as easy as caging a bahkthrat. This, to common knowledge, had never been done. The bahkthrat would fight until dead to avoid being caged. If captured, the animal would attack the nearest object of its entrapment until free or dead. Tranquilizers had no effect. The beast either ignored them, or the dosage killed it.

Andelus similarly allowed no one to pin him down on any topic or issue, no matter its relevance. He possessed a mesmerist’s agility at manipulating language, and could speak for hours, literally, saying nothing of consequence.
He marveled as his newfound brevity continued:

“The man I wish you to kill is Gorvahr Hesk. He holds a seat on the council, in a position often contrary to mine.”

“Fascinating, Celvar”, interjected Darahk-Myhr. “In so far as you never have a fixed position to assail.”

“Yes, well”… fumbled Andelus. “He is young, this Hesk, and ambitious. The court adores him. He is intelligent, with no obvious vices or weaknesses. He is shrewd, possessing an acute political awareness. He has no close family, and no serious paramour, so would be impossible to blackmail. He also has, in my opinion, the worst quality for a politician: Namely, he has a conscience. The idealistic fool actually seeks to do the right thing.”

“How ignorant of him, I’m sure”, quipped the killer.

“Err”… said the councilman, picking at a spec on his sleeve. “Well, to continue, Hesk has made more noise at council assemblies recently. He constantly calls challenge on issues already privately negotiated and considered closed. He wishes to open council meetings to the public too often. Oh, we all have the right to throw open the doors, so to speak, but we rarely do. Hesk would do it every time we meet!”

“He has begun to garner popularity throughout the island,” continued Andelus. “It is known he has the ear of the bastard prince. He has positioned himself in a bid to occupy the throne of the High Arbiter, second only to Kendrick himself in authority. Which matter, not so incidentally, comes up before the council for final vote a in a fortnight.

“With Lord Bormogg suffering (according to my plans), a perfectly untimely stroke and leaving the Arbiter’s throne un-occupied, Hesk now enjoys a solid majority among the remaining members of the council. I do not have the leverage in place to stop him. If he succeeds, his damnable righteousness will certainly make my life more difficult, and he may eventually become aware of matters better kept secret. Business matters. My business, if you take my meaning.”

Darahk-Myhr’s manner was feral, impersonally intimate:

“Not satisfied with your current draw on the public tit, Andelus?” the killer inquired. He moved further into the room. One hand reached up to pull back the hood of his cloak.

Darahk-Myhr’s face was tan and chiseled. He had a high forehead, topped by a curving arch of glossy black hair pulled back into a bun near the base of his skull. His cheekbones were high and pronounced. Upon his forehead lay a discreet silver medallion, carved in a way the councilman couldn’t make out, held by a thin black leather strap knotted at the back of his head.

His bearing was coldly proud. Intelligent, jet-black eyes lurked beneath arched and defined black eyebrows. His lashes were lush, and twinkled, catching the candle’s glow. He had a straight, elegant nose. His mouth was generous, with lips a bit too large for the face yet attractive. He wore a trimmed, black moustache and goatee. A long, sinuous neck ran into broad shoulders above a heavily muscled chest. He was tallish, with a slim waist and long, powerful legs.

His somber demeanor and calculating stare lent a mysterious elegance to what would otherwise be an overtly sensual face.

He wore all black. Sculpted leathers covered articulated armor of exotic craftsmanship and understated luster bearing no decoration or device. Across his chest ran a bandoleer having many pouches and pockets of various sizes. This secured to a wide belt at his waist to which were affixed several scabbards containing weapons of unusual form, each more deadly looking than the one before. The well-worn hilt of an oriental sword peeked over his left shoulder. A quiver bearing many different styles of arrows and bolts showed over the right. Matte black, thick silk leotards ran into over-the-knee, ruggedly made black leather boots. Lastly, came the voluminous, hooded ebony cloak, the trademark of the professional killer.

Andelus stared unabashed. Demons and Gods! The man was imposing.

Before he could speak, the assassin continued:

“You are a pitiable man, Celvar. Such a small world you’ve created for yourself, where all that you have in it is your undying greed and lust for dominion.”

The guild lord moved to replace the hood of his cloak, as if dismissing the councilman. Andelus started to implore the killer, but was pre-empted once more:

“I am insulted by your attempt to involve me in the pettiness of this matter,” Darahk-Myhr said. “So much so you should be thankful you yet draw your breath through an orifice designed for the purpose.”

Settling into the shadows, he went on: “Still, I have journeymen who need those of your ilk to hone their skills and fill their purses. I will send one ‘round to deal with Hesk for you.”

Darahk-Myhr moved to leave, then paused, turning to point a gloved finger at the wobbling politician.

“Never summon me again, Andelus,” the killer said, every word containing a bald threat of death. “I no longer must abide with such as you. Speak of this meeting to no-one.”

The assassin moved toward the door.

“Wait”, blurted Andelus.

Darahk-Myhr seemed to vanish. Andelus froze in undisguised panic. Never had the city leader felt closer to doom. From directly behind the petrified bureaucrat’s right ear came a harsh, terrifying whisper:

“Choose with great care what you say next, fat man. Your life rests upon the edge of my knife!”

Andelus answered in a trembling falsetto:

“I thought those in your profession never passed judgment on the virtue of a kill! Besides, I need the best. Killing Hesk is only one facet of the commission. Getting to him is the real trick! He’s protected. He has taken residence in the aerie of the bastard prince.”


Celvar Andelus awaited the caress of the blade, convinced calamity was upon him. Although only seconds passed, the frightened official perceived an eternity of dread. Like a death shroud, the horrible presence of the assassin surrounded him.


“The aerie.”

There came the sound of moving fabric, like silk on leather.

“The aerie,” the killer said as he considered the implications. “You are ambitious, Andelus. I wouldn’t have thought you willing to contemplate Kendrick’s wrath, let alone sustain it. What makes you think I am interested in testing the aerie?”

Andelus prayed he was putting some measure of self-control behind his words, despite the damnable trembling of his voice.

“We all need challenge, eh, lord Killer?” the perspiring councilman suggested. “Even you, in attaining such an exalted position as you have, must have ambitions. By your own words, I charge you. Has the flesh paled for you, Guildmaster?”


“You should pray, Celvar”, said Darahk-Myhr in low, measured tones. “Never to feel the flames of my true ambition.” The words sliced into the councilman’s heart and froze it.

“Say nothing until I give you leave to speak,” the killer said finally. “I will take the commission. Hire a scribe. Have written everything you know about the victim. Leave out nothing! Have this ready for me by tomorrow night. Hire a tactician who knows the requirements of my trade, to guide you.”

The bone-chilling voice came from a different spot behind the councilman’s back. Andelus jerked involuntarily.

“As I have said, tell no-one of this meeting, or that you have hired me”, the killer continued, all business now. “If I succeed, all will know only one could have done so. My fee is one eighth of your total estate. There will be no negotiation. Have verifiable proof of the sum, along with neccesary papers transferring ownership to my Guild drawn up by tomorrow.”

An unnatural coldness settled around the quaking bureaucrat as the dreadful killer spoke again:

“Listen close, now, to my final words…”

The assassin’s horrible voice was like a blade of ice.

“In this contract, you cannot evade payment”, hissed Darahk-Myhr. “Do you hear me, fat man? Do you understand? Make pact with me now, Celvar Andelus, and you will pay, to my satisfaction, at the end.”


“Do you wish to hire me?”

“Yes!” The word ripped itself from the councilman’s throat. He teetered, bathed in cold sweat.

Suddenly the assassin was gone.

Andelus half lunged, half fell into his cushions, gasping for air. He lay thus for some time, exhausted and on the verge of collapse from a constricting terror unlike any he‘d felt before. The absence of the assassin left a void in the chamber, as if something it required, some vitality normally there, had been sucked away.

Slowly, his composure returned. Andelus pulled on a silken cord near at hand to summon servants. Several women and a guard entered. Andelus dismissed the guard with instructions to make the palace proof against the visitor’s unexpected return, and then gave himself over to the females. A drink was poured, and his brow wiped. His limbs were arranged for comfort, and the cushions fluffed around him. Slowly, the trauma of the encounter was fading. As the trappings of his decadent existence began to soothe him, his cunning and nerve resurfaced.

(“If you succeed, eh, Lord Darahk-Myhr?” he thought. “And oh, you must! You absolutely must! Only in the kill, my terrible messenger. Only in the kill. No one can stand against the bastard prince. Not even you. When he finds out someone has penetrated his lair and murdered Hesk, he will, as you vainly observed, consider only one capable of the deed.”)

Reaching to fondle the exposed breast of a wench stooped to serve him, Andelus felt his confidence returning to something like it’s normal level. He pulled aside the robes ‘round his middle, exposing the fat club of a member hardening between his hairy thighs. Deeply trained and conditioned, the girl moved quickly to kneel, taking the councilman in her mouth. Andelus beckoned idly to another to refill his goblet.

(“I knew you could not resist the challenge of the tower. Let what Gods may be see you safely in and through to your task’s completion…”)

Andelus sighed and relaxed deeper into the cushions, reaching with one bejeweled, ham-hock fist to cup the serving wench’s bobbing head.

(“Lord Kendrick will blast your guild from existence in retaliation. Not even you, my dark killer, can stand against the Jade Scepter!”)

As he surged into the girl’s mouth, Andelus jerked down hard on her head, forcing his manhood deep into her throat. Unable to breath or escape, the girl was held pinioned until his orgasm passed. Finally released, she fell back on the floor, gagging as she spit the grotesque man’s seed from her mouth and throat.

Andelus watched her, enjoying it.