Glenn G. Thater
“Ye wilt not thwart us again, harbinger of doom! We shall have this world this time.
What once was ours will be ours again!”
- The Chaos Lord Bhaal to The Lord Angle Theta.
A grayed Lord and his lieutenants stood at the fore of a small wedge of armored soldiers, veterans all. Malignant, clinging mist wafted about, sickening the men and clouding their vision. With the mist came a thunderous cacophony that consumed the night, piercing the very souls of those unfortunates within its demesne. A maleficent, skirling, bestial sound, akin to naught in nature and much in nightmare. A preternatural wailing it was, and in its wake bounded death.
“All hell’s fallen on them,” said Lord Eotrus.
Par Talbon made to move forward, but the old knight’s hand darted out and held him fast.
“We hold our ground,” said Lord Eotrus gripping the small man’s shoulder tightly. “We cannot advance in this mist and you can’t turn it all. Stern’s fate is in Odin’s hands now.” Staring into the mist he drew forth his sword from its ornate scabbard and raised the steel blade to his face - a salute from olden times - then lowered it again, though he kept it at the ready. “As is ours,” he said. “Our path is clear.”
“What’s out there Aradon?” said Brother Donnelin. “What are we facing?” “Nothing of Midgaard, my good priest,” said Lord Eotrus. “Nothing of this world.”
The wailing grew ever louder. A deep rumbling sound began and quickly intensified. Soon, the very earth itself began to shake and shudder. Archers closed ranks before their lord and his lieutenants. Swordsman and pikemen stood at the ready, eyes wide but feet planted. Several cloaked men with staffs matching his flanked Talbon.
Lord Eotrus’s gaze drifted upward to the midnight sky. “The Valkyries gather. Soon they’ll carry us home.” More quietly then, “I thought I’d have more time. Thank Odin at least the boys aren’t here.”
Donnelin and Talbon exchanged worried glances as they stood protectively about their lord.
“Here they come!”
“I still can’t see them,” said Donnelin. “Damned mist.”
“Keep your formation men!” said Lord Eotrus. “Talbon! Dispel the mist! Now!”
At his liege’s command, the sorcerer uttered forgotten words of eldritch power; secret words lost to all but the chosen few. The ancient sorcery he called up crushed the unnatural mist back against the night, though the darkness lingered beyond the limits of the soldiers’ torchlight.
Lord Eotrus’s face grew ashen and his eyes wide as the horror thundering down upon them came into view. A war cry burst from his throat and he charged forward to meet his fate. A few of the bravest soldiers followed him, but most dropped their weapons or froze in a panic. Not one even bothered to try to flee.
If this story has caught your attention and you'd like to read more, the complete version of "The Gateway is included in the book "Harbinger of Doom" by Glenn G. Thater. "Harbinger of Doom" is available for purchase on Amazon.com beginning in February 2008. Please feel free to leave comments below by clicking on the 'comment' button.