The mage entered the small house. The door was unlocked, as always. Who wouldst dare attack a prominent member of the Mage Council, after all?
"Gustacio! Filbercio and Frigidazzi are dead! Their bodies lie in the Ice Sorceress’ bedchamber. Thou hadst beter hurry to the palace! Torrissio is already trying to make a bid for power!"
Still no response. The house was emtpy. Ah well, the mage thought. Prehaps Gustacio was visiting Fedabiblio across the street. He often went there to discuss the teleportation storms of late.
The mage hurried across the street. Something was wrong. The city was deathly quiet today. Even the death of the Magelord would not do this. All was so quiet. Not even the birds sang. The mage shuddered involuntarily. He felt something was following him.
The mage entered long building built into the mountains. His first sight filled him with horror. Gustacio lay dead in the hall. Beside him was another body. It was a female. The mage did not recognize her; must have been a Mundane. A provisioner, he thought, trying to remember where he’d seen her alive.
"Fedabiblio!!!" The mage shouted wildly. Silence was the only response. Then the mage saw a statue in the hall he’d never seen before. It was Fedabiblio. His features were aghast with fear; just as the mage felt now. It wasnot a statue at all, the mage realized. It was a man turned to stone.
The mage ran back across the street. What was following him? What would it be that would take his life as well?
He must hide. But where? Gustacio’s cellar! The old mage had a large cave underneath his house. It would provide shelter!
The mage raced back into the house of his old friend. He made his way into the greenhouse. Here was the entrance to the cellar! If I can make it, he thought, I’ll be safe!
The the mage stopped. Inches from the stairwell, he knew he’d lost. Slowly he turned around. Behind him stood a man. Or was it a man? Its magical aura was powerful; more powerful than ever the mage had seen before. Even to a Mundane a blue-white glow hung about the stranger.
"What are you?" The mage whispered. It was both his last words and his last thoughts.
"Anarchy." The stranger replied. A grin spread across his face. Dark laughter filled the air.
The woman sat in her house, preturbed. Despite her youthful appearance,
she was well into her seventies, though could pass for twenty.
A scream echoed throughout the street. That idiot Melino, she thought. He went to talk to Gustacio. Now he’s dead. They’re all dying throughout the city. Should stay here where it’s safe.
It was a bad idea, marrying him. I shouldst have let my sister have him. But he was not yet doddering and senile then. Quite like Torrissio, in fact.
Torrissio! He shall survive and become Magelord! And I shall use him just as I used Melino! Just as I used Yelinda years ago in Fawn! I shall not only remain young and beautiful forever, I shall become the most powerful mage ever!
The woman was brought from her reverie by a chuckle. She turned with a start. Impossible, she thought. None could approach an Adept Mage like myself without my detecting them!
The stranger stood at the doorway. The blue-white glow still hung about him.
"Thy slave Melino is dead, vain bitch! Through Anarchy you shall suffer centuries of torment!"
"You wish to kill me, creature?!" The woman shouted. "I shall destroy thee with a wave of my hand!"
The stranger chuckled once more. His laughter grew louder and louder. The woman could not stand it. Then it stopped. In an instant, it was gone, as was the stranger.
He’s no match for me, the woman thought. I’ll kill him!
The woman looked down at her hands. Wrinkles creased through them. Her hair was lined with streaks of gray.
No, she thought! I cannot grow old now! The Comb! That shall save me!
The woman rushed from her house into the garden. She raced towards a tree. Beneath it was a chest.
Yes, she sighed. This is the chest! With the Comb of Beauty, I shall be young again!
But wait, she wondered. Why is the chest unlocked? And emtpy! No! How can it be empty?!
"A stranger passing through town took the Comb, dear sister. How ironic that one of his companions now ravages Moonshade."
He woman turned. "Mosh?" She asked weakly.
"After all these years, Columna, I shall have my revenge on thee! When we were young you stole Melino from me! You reduced me to poverty!"
"And you want the doddering old fool back now, sister?" The woman retorted, "Take him! He’s dead by the hand of the glowing mage!"
"No, sister. It is too late for him. Or for me. But Torrissio will survive. And he shall not suffer you as I and Melino have!"
"The Comb…" The woman shreiked. "If I only had the Comb…"
"You stole what did not belong to you, sister. Now the Comb shall be returned to the Lady of Fawn."
"I’ve still won, Mosh. I’ll die after years of happiness. And you’ll die by the glowing mage’s hand!"
"I know I shall die, Columna. I do not care. I have lived all these years for revenge against you. Now I shall have it!"
"Never!" The woman cried. "You never could best my magic, Mosh! That’s why you ended up a beggar! I shall destroy thee!"
"Just try, sister. I look forward to this after all these years."
The old woman stood over her sister’s dead body. Columna, she thought,
at last I have ended your evil. For years I have lived only to kill you.
Now I can die in peace.
The old woman walked through the streets in a daze. Just north of Columna’s manor was the armourer’s. The old woman knew her destiny lay here.
The apothecary’s dead body lay on the ground. The old woman did not even look down at it. Before her stood the glowing man; the stranger who had done all this to Moonshade. The old woman aproached him with arms outstreached, waiting for death.
"You impress me mortal." The stranger called. "You neither fear nor avoid death."
The old woman did not reply. Slowly, she stepped forward towards the stranger.…
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