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Thankfully my deeds in aiding the town had gained me a few members of the guard who held me in some respect. I took these men and searched the town for the true cause of our misery and as the sun began to set, we stalked our prey to a barn outside of town. Once inside, the fiend’s dark magic took the minds of the guards who set upon myself and each other in wild frenzy, with no care for their opponents’ life or their own. They fought and injured each other but as I confronted their puppet master, their minds returned to them. Perhaps it was too much of a strain to control all those minds and engage me directly, maybe his arrogance made him believe he would win at all costs; or maybe it was yet another trick, a calculated move to lure me into the trap I now walk

blindly towards. Whatever the reason we seized our chance and over powered the enchanter, bound him and tied a bag tightly over his head so that none could meet his gaze. We marched him back to the town hall and the brought him before their magistrate. The word of the guards carried weight with the court and the release of my friend was assured, but at the cost of the goblin wretch’s life.

And there it was again, an opportunity to end the misery this creature was causing; a later hour than would have been ideal but surely no reasonable mind would allow it to continue further?

Whether it was further sorcery or my own warped sense of honour, something caused me to protest the decision and call for the sentence to be changed to that of imprisonment. Hold him till morn then have him removed to the city jail where he may yet find redemption. With some persuading it was agreed that both strangers would be held until sun up when one of whom would be taken to the city jail, and it was my task to ensure the goblin remained in place so that it was he that went and not my companion.

A task I failed in. The basic facilities the town had where not build to house criminals of his like and his shackles and the locked door to his cell were of no consequence or hindrance to him. The first two guards he encountered raised no alarm, standing as glassy eyed dolls under his thrall. The next two failed to make a sound either, but because their tongues had been permanently silenced by his dagger that struck from the shadows unseen by its victims. The final guard struggled and kept his life long enough to cry out and rouse me from whatever waking slumber I allowed my mind to enter instead of fulfilling my duty. My reactions allowed me the merest glimpse of his figure disappearing into the drain leading to the sewers put there by an empire long since fallen, and left to fester by the present population.

And so here I am. I am long past seeking glory, and I know not if it is justice or revenge that drives me. All I know is that he must die! I do not care if it is only the rats that crawl around me that hear of my deeds. The Warrior Goddess has shown me the folly of my ways, honour is not in the songs they sing about you once you have past, but your actions when you are alive. I have stood idly by while this fiend murdered right in front of my face, and now he may yet escape to kill again, whilst my friend who has saved my life more than once will spend his days imprisoned because of my inaction. This cannot be, I must find him!

And what then? This is a foe that can control the mind and body of his opponent, think I the will to resist him? Perhaps this is what he had planned, to strip me of all dignity and end my life without a fight in such a place, to bring the greatest amount of shame to my family name and prove my father’s resentment entirely justified? It would indeed be fitting in a way, dare I ask for more?

There… up a head… there was movement. I am closing in, the end is nearing. Well, if it is to be my end or his, enough time has been wasted already.

“Stop! Go no further! We will end it here.”

“Isaac? Please, spare me, let me go. Those guards would not have let me live!”

“Enough, you have been a serpent in my ear for too long! You have left me with no choice, ready yourself”

“Fine”

No! I cannot move! My arms are as bars of iron, my feet rooted to the ground like some mighty oak! His magic has stopped my blade from completing its task mid swing and now I am as a statue, helpless and frozen. So this is how it ends? No, I must fight it, mustn’t let him take control! I cannot let him win!

“I had a feeling this would be how we said good bye Isaac, although I have to say I thought you would put up more of a fight. “

I must get free! I must…

“Perhaps after this I will take a trip to the Old Kingdom Mountains, see if a REAL Haemarron poses more of a challenge!”

“NO!”

I’M FREE! My sword follows the arc it has made a thousand times before and does not slow or deviate as it passes from air to flesh and back to air again. The fiend’s head ricochets off the narrow passage walls before sinking into the brown ooze some yards away, the remainder of its owner following soon after.

He is no more.

It is over…

I returned to the surface and the praise of the townsfolk, my friend released and our group together again. The next day we moved on, my companions keen to find somewhere their kind would be tolerated in a friendlier manner and I gave no objection. The last few weeks have been a harsh lesson for me, but one I needed to learn if I was ever to hear my father’s praise. That day will come.

But it is not today.

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