Glenn G. Thater
In my slumber I heard not a sound, not a creak of a floorboard, not a rustle of the drapery, not a squeak of a door - which makes little sense since I am the lightest of sleepers. My senses, that of a warrior, borne and honed of olden times have ever served me well in the cities, in the wild, and on endless campaigns. But this night they failed me.
My first awareness that something was awry was the smell. Would that I could say that it was some horrid barrow stench of death, some vile putrescence of the pit that could boil a good man's blood and send his soul screaming to the heavens. But no, to my shame the pungent odor was pleasant, even appealing. It called to you. It made you to draw near to take it in, luring you forward, beckoning you forth to savor it - dear gods – even to consume it! What madness! That a demon from the ninth hell, some ghastly ghoul of darkest nightmare could cast such a spell upon me and my lands!
I sprang from my bed, my beloved Lady fair tossing fitfully beside me. And there the creature stood - at the foot of my bed - in all its graven horror, borne of the old world, its time long past before the very birth of mankind. It had a shape akin to a tall broad man. Cloaked in robes of red and cloth of gold, the demon stood almost a regal figure. But its face! Dear gods, when I looked upon its face my mind near shattered. My sanity crushed. For a moment I knew not who or where I was. The only shred of sanity I could cling to as I gazed into those demoniac eyes was that I must protect my true love from this monster, this fiend out of hell. I cannot begin to describe the beast's features though they be etched into my mind's eye for all my days - save to say they were rigid and stoney, without life or warmth or any semblance of humanity.
This surely was the prince of hell himself, come up from the depths to rend my immortal soul and feast upon my mortal body. It spoke not a word, standing as a statue in all its evil glory. It merely extended its hands - a wooden aspect did they too have - holding forth some token of its dark power - some forbidden fruit that if touched would condemn a goodly man's soul to the depths for all eternity.
But I would not go lightly unto my doom. I would defend my love and my life and my clan and the good people of Bergher until my dying breath against this outré thing and the evil it represented. I grabbed my ancestral sword from beside the bed and leaped at thing screaming the ancient war cry of Clan McDonald as I struck my blow. Before my blade struck home, the demon king leaped aside with greater speed and agility than any mortal could possess. In the blink of an eye it was at and through the window – crashing through the glass and plunging into the night. I raced to the sill and leaned out – but no broken figure lay far below on the stony walk. No blood, no trail or trace of its passing. The Demon King of Bergher as it came to be called had vanished, no doubt only to return and plague us on other cold hungry nights. But the fiend had left its evil gift. Fallen to the floor in its escape was a strange object that looked of bread and meat. I leaned down before it and knew that from this thing had come that strange alluring odor, what I can only describe as akin to fresh beef broiled to perfection over an open fire. Fearing it was death to even touch the thing, I called Brother Donnelin to my chambers who sprinkled holy water upon this deadly artifact. We burned and buried it in the dark wood the following morn and swore to never speak of it again.
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