Stories Hub / Sci-Fi & Fantasy / Freedom Pt. 03: Contract

Freedom Pt. 03: Contract

by WhimsicalRepertoire 01/13/18

Author's Note: Non-con sections are denoted with a "-><-" at their beginning, and will always be at the end of a chapter unless the entire chapter is devoted to it. Which this one isn't.

Contract

----

A cold gloom hung low over the town of Hvalbarg early this morning. Most citizens of the Isbryggan town were already awakened by this hour, their professions as fishermen demanding that they do so. Hvalbarg would be considered a small village in the Empire, with only twenty square longhouses in all, and a population only triple that. In Isbrygga, however, this was considered a decently sized commune. White, whispy smoke clouds rose from many of the houses, the women and children within fighting off the bitter cold outside with a simple fire within.

Tatiana Vittori sat on a lone rock by the shoreline, watching the fishermen in their small boats perform their work. She hadn't come all the way from Redstone -- a massive, magical city on the southern coast of Tardia -- to watch the locals perform their trade, of course.

She'd come for the whales. The spring was just now beginning, and the migrations of the great beasts would take them right next to Hvalbarg as they left their breeding grounds to the far south and returned to their feeding grounds in western Isbrygga.

Tatiana had read all about them. She loved animals and all things natural, and had half of her personal library dedicated to that subject matter. She found it bewildering that a creature of such a size could even exist, harkening all the way back to the age of dragons a thousand years ago. And, unlike dragons, these creatures still existed, unfettered from extinction by overzealous human hunters.

Sightings of whales were rare, and studies on them in recent years were rarer still. Tatiana was no professor, of course; she was here on her own accord, just to bask in their glory for one beautiful day.

Tatiana wasn't alone on this lonely shoreline, either. She had brought her small black cat with her. She pet him as he rested contentedly on the silks of her dress, napping through the cold morning. Tatiana knew Dusk would awake when the fishermen returned; she would need to get him a treat when that happened. Dusk would have it no other way.

A spout of water off the shore; Tatiana beamed, seeing a flipper of a massive beast rise from the ocean as if suspended in slow-motion for a moment. Such a wonderous sight! What a pleasure this adventure would be to share with her friends.

Oh... yeah.

Tatiana frowned for a moment, reminded of the fact that she was completely terrified of human contact. It was miraculous that the girl with twenty-four years of age had attended the College of Redstone at all, really. Even more miraculous that she had performed consistently at the top of her class as a proficient conjurer and a master-class teleporter.

Dusk mewled in her lap, demanding that she must stroke his ear. Tatiana did this, of course, the beautiful black kitty snuggling happily against her hand. Another spurt of water off the shoreline, another beautiful, gargantuan beast making itself known to the world. Swim whale, swim!

Tatiana giggled. She wished she could remember the moment forever, and mulled over the possibility of taking one of the many fishing boats by the shore for a closer look at the whales. She would have, too, had she not been positively frightened of having to explain her actions to an Isbryggan. Or anyone, for that matter.

Tatiana had always been like this, though. Sure, she was always present for the massive family gatherings in Redstone and Ferlo. Who would miss out on a night of dance and revelry, after all? But after the party, or even during, she would shy away from any and all conversation unless it had been started by her mother, father, or sisters. Anyone else made the girl nervous, and she'd never grown out of it.

Tatiana even decided to study teleportation at the College of Redstone for that very reason. She dreamt of being able to get away from everything and anything in the blink of an eye, faster than the drop of a boot. She was still young and had much to learn, of course, but Tatiana was now capable of instantly traveling to any locale she had already visited in person. The greatest teleportation sorceresses could do more, and were capable of traveling anywhere they wanted to. She hoped she would be that capable, one day. Tatiana would love to see the Empire of Masakrai to the far west.

She had also found great joy and ability in conjuration magic, finding that most of her summons from other dimensions were decent-enough conversational partners, and sated her need for social contact. Demons were far easier for the sorceress to speak with, as they could never embarass her after the fact. Tatiana knew they would have to return to their own plane of existence in minutes, their brief visitation of the world only made possible in the first place by her shaking hands.

A commotion stirred on the waters, fishermen waving to each other across the dark, icy sea. They began rowing their boats inland, to return to town. Tatiana was amused, realizing they must be worried of one of the whales ramming into one of their diminutive boats and capsizing them. Tatiana would have been scared, too.

A bell sounded in town. She quickly glanced towards it, her smile now absent on her face. It seemed a little overboard to sound a bell for a whale migration, she thought. Tatiana rose to her feet, grabbing her cat in one arm as she peered out over the ocean before her, a hand on her brows to block the sun from her eyes.

A larger vessel than the fishing boats, though still somewhat small, was closing quickly with the town. Tatiana's heart beat strongly in her chest as she realized that this was what the town was worried of. She made her way to a larger pile of rocks closer to shore, stepping carefully on the stones so she didn't slip. She squinted, then frowned when she saw the ship with more clarity. A pair of red battleaxes, crossed over a field of black. It wasn't a familiar sigil to Tatiana, and she had studied many. It gave her a sense of dread... a sense of...

Hm.

It didn't matter what she felt, as Tatiana wouldn't leave these people to an unknown fate. She gathered a black notebook from her small travel sack, reviewing its contents in preparation.

--

The reavers soon came ashore with axes overhead, yelling of blood and forgiveness. Or... something like that. Tatiana wasn't particularly well versed in the Isbryggan tongue. What was obvious to her was that these reavers weren't here as peaceful traders.

She had little battle experience, but what Tatiana did know of it was that she wasn't particularly prepared for twenty screaming reavers. The girl had absolutely no weapons training, and her magical abilities made her completely reliant on out-world summons rather than her own ability.

Or she could always teleport away in an instant, if all else failed. The thought did cross Tatiana's mind for a brief moment, before she scanned the battle in front of her to think of a proper solution.

The fishermen were now barricaded further into the town behind a small palisade, bows trained on the approaching axemen. Tatiana had to make her move, now, to protect the hapless villagers.

An invocation of Gorghash could do it, Tatiana realized, raising a finger skyward as if in discovery.

Simple enough. The demon would be all too happy to exist in the mortal realm, even for but a moment.

Well... perhaps not. But he was obligated to show, nonetheless.

She always despised using the spell, but knew it was the only way to defend the hapless town of Hvalbarg. He was the strongest demon she had yet signed a contract with, after all.

The first volley of arrow fire had come from behind the barricade, only felling two of the reavers as they charged forward, screaming with bloodlust. Tatiana ran towards them, clutching her black notebook in her black silk glove. Dusk ran behind her, staying as close as possible to her black boots without allowing her to trip over him.

Tatiana extended a gloved hand, flashing two outstreched fingers, then three, then one, drew a circle in the air, a line vertically through that, and yet an 'X' over that.

Gorghash, I need you now, Tatiana pleaded silently.

A large oval of shining, purple light appeared before her, pure void hanging within the light's embrace. A large black creature stepped forth from the void, red eyes scanning the mortal plane before it.

Gorghash -- the name given to this particular demon by Tatiana -- was positively monstrous. Standing eight feet tall, the demon had dark black chitin covering most of his body, his feet mere claws upon which he strode the mortal realm. A long chitinous tail, spiked along the top, swung heavily behind him, five feet long just on its own. The creature held a ghoulish two-handed sword, black bands of an unknown metal curling around a red, glowing core. The demon's face could be considered human, if it was not completely blackened and contained red eyes, or if he hadn't had foot-long horns curling from the top.

"Tatiana, the most dainty of wenches. Why have you called me to this wretched place?" the demon asked deeply, his voice reverberating through her eardrums. Not to mention the world strings themselves.

"Kill those people, Gorghash!" Tatiana commanded thinly, pointing at the screaming men in horned helms carrying axes above their heads.

The demon's beady red eyes followed the sorceress's outstretched finger, a grin forming on his face when he found Tatiana's foes.

"As you wish, my sweet."

Gorghash sighed and lifted his blade to his shoulder, which was a spiked pauldron of black chitin. He stepped slowly at first, his stride quickly gaining momentum as he grew accustomed to the atmosphere of this realm once more.

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