The Two Faced Goddess – Rings | C.R. Gardner

Dark forces play across worlds in part 3 of the Two Faced Goddess.


The Two Faced Goddess – Rings

C.R. Gardner

To The Nines Award Part 3


 

At the site of yet another cave-in Sofia Erris Eritrayeaux, still in partial wolf form scented the air and said, ‘We’ve got to go deeper.’

‘But we’re as deep as we can go,’ said Dorian, looking at the map.

‘There’s caves beneath these. That’s where we must go.’

‘You’ll have to lead the way then,’ said Dorian, folding up the map, ‘Because there’s nothing marked on here.’

~

The General sat on the golden throne, her clawed fingers leaving gouges in the soft gold as she surveyed them with eyes like starless voids, watching them grow more and more uncomfortable beneath her gaze. ‘The Prince escaped?’

‘Yes, O Grievous One,’ the nameless messenger muttered, shifting from foot to foot.

She could smell his fear and idly contemplated how the barer of such bad news should die, but such contemplations were interrupted as the other Prince made his entrance, his blonde hair shining gold in the light, his cloak swirling and armour shining.

‘I let him go,’ he said.

A rictus smile split the General’s green deaths head in two, revealing a set of gleaming fangs. ‘Why would you do that?’

‘I am the first born, the ring should have been mine!’

‘And what does that have to do with it?’ purred the General, suddenly beside him, claws at his throat, as she lifted him by the neck until his face was millimetres from her bared teeth.

‘She’s here!’ he gasped. ‘My brother can lead us to her!’

‘And you were going to tell me this when?’

‘Now!’

‘Are you sure Princeling? If you are plotting against me, it won’t just be you who suffers. Send out the Reavers.’

‘But the Reavers will kill them!’

‘Yes, except for her and your brother. You have doomed any survivors with them,’ she said, flinging him into a wall as if he were little more than a child’s plaything, smiling at the sound of bones breaking. And then she was there, beside him again, laughing as she knelt on his chest. ‘You live because My Lord wants you alive, but he said nothing about unharmed,’ she said, gripping his throat in her hand and squeezing, her claws puncturing his flesh.

‘Commander,’ she said, not slackening her grip, ‘Track the Reavers. Make sure there are no survivors but for this one’s brother and the wolf woman.’

‘Yes, General.’

She looked at the Prince again, noting the blood on his lips. She leant close, ‘In this game, everybody loses. You would do well to remember that.’ She stood up and turned to the messenger, ‘Fetch my Healer. The Dark Lord requires this one alive.’

‘Yes General,’ he stammered, rushing from the room, knowing that he would live a little longer.

She watched him leave, red flames were now dancing in the depths of her soulless eyes as she turned to regard the Lieutenant. ‘We have all nine rings?’

‘Yes, O Grievous One.’

‘Fortuitous that these pathetic mortals have not yet developed interstellar technology. How fare my siblings on their quests?’

‘The latest reports have Lord Saladar battling resistance on the third Dwarven world, while Lord Nieta has only conquered the first of the three Elven worlds.

‘I see,’ she mused, her tongue absently sliding over her fangs as a holographic figure of the Dark Lord appeared before them, his face hidden by a cowl, for which she was thankful. Compared to him she was beautiful. ‘My Lord,’ she said, bowing low.

‘You have the nine rings, General?’ said a voice from beneath the cowl, oozing with such malicious intent that she shivered.

‘Yes, My Lord.’

‘Show them to me.’

She nodded to the Lieutenant, who handed the box to his aide. She hid her smile. It always paid to keep your distance from the Dark Lord, even his hologram had been known to kill.

The hologram examined the rings. ‘You have done well, General, very well, so a new task I will give you. Use the nine to guide you to the one. Do not fail me, General.’

‘I will not fail you, My Lord,’ she said, bowing low, inwardly cursing as the hologram blinked out. She gathered all the rings in her hand and cast them on a map of this city, and laughed as each ring landed atop the other in the exact same place. Perhaps this wouldn’t be so difficult.

~

They stood in front of an ancient steel door as big as a two story house, its surface carved with markings similar to those on Sofia Erris Eritrayeaux’s arms.

‘What now?’

‘We…argh!’ she cried out, stumbling, wrenching the glowing ring from her finger and throwing it in the dirt.