Here we have the final part of our very short Fantasy tale “The Conjurer of Cheap Tricks”, inspired by the adventures of my good friend’s character, Tandalf.
TRIGGER WARNING: Psychedelic wizards
There was a momentary lull, the crackling of the fire providing a comfortable background noise. Tandalf reached down and collected a small metal tray. “Brownie?” he asked. “No wait, you’re a powders man, aren’t you?”
The adventurer ran his hands through his greasy hair. This was not going as planned. “Tell me, please, what happened at that final battle?”
“Honestly?” said Tandalf, “I’m not entirely sure. I saw some things. I try not to remember them. It doesn’t seem real. Maybe it wasn’t, technically. I don’t know how you’d define these things. I’ll tell you this though, the dragon was there at the very beginning, watching us. That first night in the mountains, after we were thrown out of the Ogres camp…” Tandalf’s voice sounded distant, and his eyes glazed over as though a man in the depths of a flashback. “We saw a light up in the hills… That was him. That was the plasma dragon, leading us onwards, recruiting us to collect his precious pieces of crystal. Even at that party, all those years ago. He planned it all…” Tandalf seemed to suddenly snap back into focus. “Except, he got something he didn’t expect.”
“What?” asked the adventurer.
Tandalf’s eyes gleamed, and his face widened into a gleeful grin. “An Eldritch Abomination,” he broke down into hysterical laughter.
“Damn you Tandalf! That unspeakable demon is what haunts us now! Your cursed abomination is a scourge upon us all, a heart of darkness contaminating all it touches! The power of an elder dragon, combined with the power of the Far Realm? It’s too much, I say! I shall slay this monster, and restore sanctity to the land! It is my glorious mission, my divine quest!” The adventurer stood tall, filled with pride.
“An elder dragon? Oh son, you don’t even know…” chuckled Tandalf. “But,” his voice became cold suddenly, “if you wanted to meet my old friend, all you had to do was ask…” The wizard stared at the adventurer with a steely gaze. The adventurer looked back at Tandalf with a growing sense of confusion, and began to slowly back away. He looked around the shack in concern, but Tandalf nodded to the battered wooden door the traveller had come in from.
“He’s right outside,” said Tandalf.
The adventurer looked at the old wooden door, then back Tandalf with doubt.
“He’s always there, waiting, just outside” whispered Tandalf. “All you have to do is ask…”
The adventurer turned, and hesitatingly walked towards the door. He opened it. A howling black vortex of nightmares hissed back at him, reaching to claim him with its endless multitude of limbs. The adventurer’s cries of horror died away as the ancient wooden door slammed shut behind him, and for a moment Tandalf thought he could hear a malevolent chuckling from all around.
“Say what you want about him,” muttered Tandalf to himself, “but that old chap was one hell of a bard…”
All artwork used is courtesy of my fine associate Oliver Tandy, see his work over at http://olivertandy.deviantart.com/. He keeps some of the best stuff to himself (rated unfit for public consumption), but we’ll get it out of him one day, eh?