Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part IX – The Fall of the Couch – Section 8
Elvisda and Lamorn strode up to the table in the center of the meadow. The Princess of Lanfar sat casually in a lounge chair covered by a hastily erected awning to protect her from the late morning sun. She was dressed in a very provocative outfit, which did not go unnoticed by the bard. All thoughts of her previous jab at his honor went fluttering to the wind as he drank in her beauty.
Elvisda halted as they reached the table and then bowed deeply. “Elladan Narmolanya, Bard extraordinaire at your service your majesty,” he said flashing one of his best smiles. “But my friends call me Elvisda.” The Princess was obviously taken with his charms.
“My, my Elvisda,” she replied breathily, “I am very pleased to meet you. I hope that I can be counted among your friends.”
“I was just hoping the same thing your highness,” the bard replied smoothly.
She slowly got up from her chair, and approached the handsome elf. Decked out in his white outfit he looked like a young elvish lord out of the stories of old. She put out her hand and said, “Attend me please.”
“Certainly your majesty,” Elvisda said taking the beautiful young woman’s hand. Her slim figures felt cool in his own warm hand.
“Let’s adjourn to the table,” she said coyly. “After all this entire feast will go to waste otherwise.”
Elvisda walked the Princess to the table where she sat down at the head. A red haired female guard followed them and stood just behind her. “Please sit down,” the Princess said pointing to the seat at her right hand.
“Gladly your majesty,” Elvisda replied moving to the open chair.
“Please, call me Anya,” the Princess said in a sweet voice.
“Anya, then,” the bard said seating himself.
Anya picked up a grape and began to delicately chew on it. She looked over at the bard and said, “How did you manage to take over the monolith?”
“Ah, that is quite a tale my dear lady,” he replied loftily. “I have yet to put it into song, but it is filled with feats of bravery and cunning.”
She smiled. “Of that I am sure dear Elvisda. Weren’t there guards and traps and such.”
“Of those there were a plenty, I assure you my lady. However, nothing that I and my companions could not handle,” the elf bard said smoothly.
“Really?” Anya replied seemingly impressed. “Tell me about these companions of yours.”
“Oh, there is not much to tell,” Elvisda replied loftily. “There is the odd fighter or two, a couple of casters, a few dozen knights. They all follow my instructions.”
“Hmmm, you have that many men at your disposal?” Anya said playing with her hair. “I like a man who can take charge.”
“Then you’ve come to the right place,” Elvisda said laughing.
The Princess laughed as well. When they stopped, she reached across the table and took his hand. As she ran her fingers over his knuckles she said softly, “Tell me, have you found the Colossus?”
Elvisda didn’t miss a beat. He looked Anya in the eye and replied, “Of course we did. It is currently under my control.”
“Well then,” she said, still caressing his hand. “Would you be a doll and do me a tiny little favor?”
“If it is within my power, my lady,” Elvisda replied still holding the Princess’s hand.
“Would you destroy it for me?” she said as sweetly as possible.
“Now why on earth would you want me to go and do that?” Elvisda asked straightening up and letting go of Anya’s hand.
“Because it is dangerous and my advisors have warned me that it must be demolished,” she replied sitting back in her chair. “Now won’t you do this little thing for me? I’ll make it worth your while.”
Elvisda was torn. The Princess of Lanfar was beautiful. Possibly one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. But the Colossus was a weapon of unlimited potential. And they had just gotten control over it. Considering everything they had gone through to do so, he just could not justify it; even if it would win him the affections of this gorgeous creature in front of him.
“Alas, my lady, I fear I cannot comply with your request,” Elvisda said genuinely sorry.
“Oh, that’s too bad,” she said playing with her hair. Then she sat up straight, “I wonder. What do you think your little band would do without their leader to guide them? Let’s find out shall we?”
Before Elvisda could reply, she waved her hands and he felt funny. His body seemed to be shrinking on him. His fingers got shorter and his face seemed longer. And his ears were growing! When it stopped, he was still seated in his chair, but he was now on all fours. He turned his head and looked at this body. He was a bunny!
Anya stood up and came over, scooping him up into her arms. She held him close to her bosom and began stroking his fur. If he hadn’t just been changed into a rabbit, he would most likely have enjoyed his current position immensely.
“Now,” Anya said, “let’s see what they’ll do.”
Glorfindel was on the top of the monolith with Lloyd and Cyclone. He was in a trance which typically signified he was talking to his familiar. Suddenly the wizard’s eyes opened wide. Then he turned to the others and said, “Things have gone awry. Near as I can tell, Elvisda just got polymorphed into a rabbit!”
“Well that’s never good,” Cyclone replied offhanded.
“We need to rescue him!” Lloyd cried.
“Yes, indeed we will,” the wizard replied. “We’ll tell Alana on the way out and she can send Syndir to warn Elistra. The three companions quickly headed down the spiral stairwell to the entry way of the monolith.
They informed the Lady Knight of the sudden turn of events and then headed out south towards the meadow. As the moved through the forest, Glorfindel took out the Pearl of Friendship and informed Ruka and Maya what had just happened. The dragons said that they would quicken their pace and be there within the hour.
Then Glorfindel stopped in his tracks. He reached out and grabbed both Lloyd and Cyclone by the shoulders. The fighters turned to look at the mage. “Dragons,” he whispered, “up ahead on either side of the path.”
Both men readied their weapons. Then the three slowly moved forward. They came to the edge of the meadow. “They’re just beyond the trees to the left and right,” Glo whispered.
“This is going to be a piece of cake,” Lloyd whispered back.
“Let me just give you fellows a boost here,” the wizard said. Then he cast a spell to quicken their actions.
“Thanks, “Cyclone said softly, “I’ll go left. Lloyd you go right. Attack in one minute.” The he launched himself upward landing on a tree limb to the left of the path. Lloyd entered a stance that Glo had seen before. The warblade called it the Leaping Dragon. Then he launched himself up into the trees on the right.
Glo impatiently counted to sixty and then ran forward. Just as he entered the clearing he heard a roar from either side. He looked to his left and saw Cyclone had landed on the back of a young adult blue dragon. His lance stuck up out of the beast’s back. It was roaring with pain. Then the wizard looked to the right and saw that Lloyd had engaged a young adult red dragon. The warblade must used his Soaring Raptor Strike as there was a large gash along the dragon’s upper torso just below the neck. Blood was spurting from the wound. Lloyd had landed and rolled into a ready stance for his next attack.
Then the wizard caught sight of a young adult white dragon. It was moving up behind Lloyd. Glo quickly incanted and cast a scorching red hot beam at the approaching dragon. It caught the beast in the chest and burnt its torso. The dragon roared in rage and turned its attention to the wizard.
Donatello had observed Elvisda being changed into a bunny from a dozen yards away. This would almost be comical in other circumstances the swashbuckler thought. If they got out of this unscathed, he was certainly not going to let the bard live this one down. He began slowly making his way towards the Princess who was currently pacing back and forth with Elvisda in her arms.
As Donnie approached her, he suddenly felt a strange sensation come over him. His surroundings seemed to shimmer and then fade. Then he felt a presence behind him. He turned and saw a huge spectral dragon towering over him. Donnie froze at the sight. The thing was impossibly large. It was bigger by far than any dragon he had ever seen. The beast opened its huge maw and bent down. It drew closer and closer to the motionless elf. Donnie felt helpless as he saw his demise approaching.
Then something clicked in the swashbuckler’s brain. Something wasn’t quite right here. What was it? Think Donnie he chided himself. Think! This dragon was huge. It was blotting out everything around him making it hard to focus on anything else. Wait! That was it. The dragon was impossibly huge. It could never have appeared out of nowhere like that. It must be…an illusion!
As the creature’s maw closed over the inert elf, it suddenly faded out of existence the same way it had appeared. Donatello found himself back in the meadow. Standing about ten feet away was a man in blue wizard’s robes. He was looking straight at Donnie with a worried expression on his face. That was it! This wizard must have just cast a spell on him sending a phantasmal dragon to kill him. That was alittle too close!
The wizard yelled, “Look out!” But at that same moment a couple of roars came from behind the swashbuckler drowning out the mage. Donnie turned and saw three young adult dragons at the edge of the meadow. They weren’t there two minutes ago! They must have been hiding in the woods nearby. Anya obviously had more than just the little black dragon at her disposal. But these dragons were now engaged in battle with his friends. He saw Cyclone on top of the blue dragon, Lloyd had just slashed the red and was turning to face it, and Glo had just rushed into the clearing and scorched the white one. Things were fast getting out of hand. This had to stop soon before someone got killed!
All this went through Donatello’s head in the blink of an eye. Anya was the key. Take her out of the equation and the rest would have to capitulate. Donnie decided what he had to do. In one fluid motion he drew the Ruchan dagger and lunged forward grabbing Anya around the waist with his one hand and bringing the dagger up to her throat. “This is an electric dagger,” Donnie said loudly. “One move and the Princess gets friend.”
Anya had dropped Elvisda. The bunny dropped down and bit her in the leg. Then it hopped away under the table. “Ouch,” the Princess cried. “That wasn’t very nice Elvisda!”
“Forget about him!” Donnie cried. “Call off your dragons Princess. This is just a big misunderstanding. We can stop it now before anyone gets hurt.”
“And you’ll release me?” Anya asked.
“On your word that none of us will be harmed,” Donatello replied.
“Very well,” she said. “Stop the attack!” she yelled.
The blue, red and white dragons immediately backed off from the fight across the meadow. Cyclone, Lloyd and Glorfindel stood ready, but the dragons continued to move away.
“Now, are you going to release me?” Anya asked.
“You kept your end of the bargain,” Donatello said, “so will I.” Then he let the Princess go and sheathed his blade. He stepped out from behind her as the rest of the companions walked up to meet them.
“Stand down Sigfus!” Anya yelled. The mage had been preparing another spell. “I promised that no harm would come to any of them. And I always keep my promises,” she said smiling as she turned back to Donatello. “You all are quite resourceful I see. Now I understand how you managed to make your way into the monolith and gain control of the Colossus.”
Elvisda hopped out from under the table and over to Glorfindel feet. The wizard looked down and then up at the Princess. “Ahem, Princess Anya…would you mind?” he said looking back down at the rabbit at his feet.
“Yes, of course,” the Princess replied. “I liked him better the other way anyway.” She waved her hand and Elvisda began to change in front of their eyes. In another minute he was back to himself.
“Now that’s better,” the bard said stretching his arms. Then he turned to Anya and said, “Now what did you have to go and to that for?”
“Let’s just say I needed to see just how resourceful you and your companions are,” the Princess replied coyly. “And anyway, you bit me,” she said biting her lip and pouting a bit.
“Oh trust me,” the bard replied, “I’ll do more than that.”
“Promises, promises,” she responded with a coy smile.
“Ahem,” Donatello interrupted, “What exactly is it that you want Princess Anya?”
“Oh,” she replied tearing his eyes away from Elvisda who she was sizing up and down, “as I was telling your leader here, my advisors told me about the Colossus. It is a danger to all of us and needs to be destroyed.”
Glo and Donnie exchanged glances at her reference to Elvisda as their “leader”. Then Glo spoke up. “And just how exactly is the Colossus a danger? We have the control mechanism and it obeys our commands.”
“The problem is that the Golem Master can supersede any control device you might have,” Anya told them. “If he were to come within range of the Colossus, he would regain mastery of it. And that is something that I cannot allow to happen. Even if I have to destroy the entire monolith to do so, I must stop that Colossus from emerging into the world.”
“That is a very compelling argument you make your majesty,” Glorfindel replied. “Would you mind if my companions and I spoke briefly in private about what you have just told us?”
“Please, be my guests,” Anya replied. She pointed to the table still full of food and said, “You may sit and enjoy the feast I had prepared while you have your discussion. I will adjourn with my entourage across the meadow until you are ready.” With that the Princess clapped her hands together. Her servants came over and she had them pick up her chair and canopy and move them across the meadow. Then she sat down on her lounge surrounded by her servants and waited.
The companions decided to accept Anya’s offer. The sat at the table and began to discuss their options. “What do you think?” Glorfindel asked the others.
“I think she’s hot!” Elvisda replied, “even if she did turn me into a rabbit.”
“You didn’t seem to mind when she was snuggling you into her bosom,” Donatello noted.
“Yes, it was a nice bosom,” Elvisda said as he drifted back to that moment.
“Gentlemen,” Glorfindel interrupted, “can we stick to the matter at hand. What do we do about the Colossus?”
“Well,” Cyclone said, “I know I’m just the new guy, but we’ve heard all the stories about the Golem Thrall Master. And that 90 foot golem you’ve got there could wreak havoc on an entire town if it ever got loose.”
“Actually,” Lloyd added, “I think it could decimate an entire army, let alone a town.”
“I have to agree with these two,” Donatello replied. “If the Colossus ever fell into the wrong hands, it would be very bad for all of Thac. Even an army of dragons like the Princess here seems to have wouldn’t stand a chance against it.”
“Wait a minute,” Elvisda interjected, “Although I agree that the Colossus would be deadly in the wrong hands, currently it is in our hands. And how do we know that Anya is telling the truth about the control mechanism?”
“We don’t,” Glorfindel responded, “but can we take that chance?”
“Glo is right,” Donnie added. “If there is even the remotest possibility that she is right and the Colossus does get loose, then it would be our faults for the destruction of Thac.”
“Wait a minute,” Elvisda said, “no one is destroying Thac on my watch. And I’m still not sure we can trust Anya.”
“You’re just saying that because of the whole rabbit thing,” Donnie quipped.
“The witch fricken turned me into a bunny!” Elvisda cried.
“You didn’t seem to mind a few minutes ago,” Donnie noted.
“That was before she wanted to take my Colossus away from me,” the bard shot back.
“Gentelmen. Gentlemen!” Glorfindel raised his voice. “This is getting us nowhere. The real question is whether the Colossus could be a danger to Thac or not. Now I’ll ask each one of you separately and just answer yes or no, no more than that.”
The wizard looked around the table. Then he said, “Lloyd?”
“Yes,” the big warblade responded.
“Yes,” the dragoon said.
“Yes, I do,” the swashbuckler agreed.
The bard was silent.
“Elvisda!?” Glo said raising his voice.
“Yes. Yes! I agree. It could be dangerous,” the bard finally admitted.
“I also agree,” Glorfindel added. “I guess that leaves us with no choice then. We should destroy the Colossus to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands.”
“I think we’re making a big mistake,” Elvisda warned them, “but I won’t stop you.” He sat back and folded his arms.
“So does that mean the whole monolith needs to be destroyed?” Donnie asked.
“Actually no,” Glorfindel said. “Elvisda and I discovered a mechanism in a control room above the Colossus which might be used to destroy it.”
Elvisda leaned forward, “There’s a giant stalactite hanging from the ceiling above the Colossus. There’s a room above it with explosives which will shake the thing loose from the ceiling. Once it falls, it should split the Colossus in two.”
“So the Golem Master built in a failsafe,” Donatello reasoned.
“So it seems,” Glorfindel replied. “Well, if we all agree then we might as well tell Princess Anya.”
“Fine,” Elvisda said, “but don’t blame me if it all goes to hell in a handbag.”
Glorfindel raised an eyebrow. “Look, I am not sure that we can trust the Princess either,” the wizard replied. “But this is an ultimate weapon of destruction. And we all just agreed that it could decimate the entire island. So I don’t see as we have much choice.”
Elvisda looked at the wizard and then nodded his head. He sighed heavily and said, “Very well. But I’ll handle this.” The bard stood up and waved to the Princess. She got up from her chairand walked over to the group. “Well, have you decided,” she asked politely.
“Yes, we have,” Elvisda replied. He told Anya their decision and explained about the mechanism which should destroy the golem.
“Well then,” the Princess replied, “let’s get this done. Theria, join us,” she called to the red headed warrior. The tall woman sauntered up and stood next to the Princess. “Shall we?” Anya said.