March 13th 795 TSR
The day had been a busy one, a common thing in Liander's life
lately. He had spent the last couple of months deep in the royal
libraries with the old scribe, Merrin, as his only company. The
purpose of his stay had been twofold.
First and foremost, he was interested in anything he could find
on the five bastions, the red, the blue, the green, the black and
the white one. There was quite a lot of scribblings and battle
journals to be found about the black monolith, a device located
on a southern continent and the reason for the Black Monolith wars.
Information on the white bastion was scarcer. Supposedly some
sort of white pillar. Perhaps it was the counterpart of the black
monolith? Liander didn't care too much. The green bastion was
supposed to be a sentient tree, named Xantos, in a forest, and
the blue one was mostly unknown, although some sources mentioned
it was actually a person in a far away land.
After dutyfully studying the other bastions, perhaps a little briefer
than he should have, Liander finally collected everything he could
find on the Red Bastion, the one located under the mountain, in the
dwarven city of Loebar. Until recently, it had been monopolized and
exploited by a demon, Apyrel, from the fireplanes, also known as Hell.
A little smile played across Liander's lips as he saw his own name
mentioned there among those brave heroes who had travelled to Hell
itself and vanquished the demon.
Placing a finger as a bookmark, he flipped to the first pages to see
when this book had been written and who the author was.
These pages have been filled by Paynar Deviem, Royal Scribe in
service of the benevolent King Rolshin, in the Year of Heroes, 794 TSR
Second, he wanted to see if Beliana still wanted to stay with him,
or if she was just interested in the Red Bastion, which she
constantly talked about, and how they should travel there. As heroes
of Loebar, they were both allowed to stay in the royal castle as guests
for as long as they desired, and Liander intended to make the most of
it. Although it hurted him deeply, he had withdrawn his request to
be part of the Red Bastion team, a group of mages who would travel to
Loebar and investigate the now accessible bastion. He wanted to glean
what information he could from this library first, and at the same
time test Beliana's patience.
A few nights she had invited him over to her chambers, where she
wanted their relation to become deeper. Liander had soon fallen to
her charms and whenever Liander wasn't studying in the library, the
two spent much time together. Not long ago, they had recieved a larger
room that they shared.
This night, it was a tired Liander who returned to their chambers,
and found Beliana fast asleep in bed. He placed his own tomes and
journals carefully on his desk, undressed, and crawled into bed.
"Liander..?" Beliana woke up slowly, wrapping her arm around him
as he settled in to sleep.
"I'm here love... good night."
Her dark eyes gleamed in the light of the candle that they always
left burning by the desk. She looked at him.
"Liander... I know what you may think. You think I just want... well
that i just want to be with you because of... oh i don't know."
He shook his head slightly. "I know i've been.. aloof lately. I have
had my thoughts about you.. what reason you could have to want to go
to Loebar with me... and..."
He sighed... this was going to hurt.
"Is it power that you want, Beliana? Power through me?"
She opened her mouth, but he continued before she could say anything.
"If it is, just be honest, and i just might be able to live with it. But
if you don't love me, tell me so now. You know it will show eventually
anyway. I love you, and i don't think your desires are necessarily bad.
Some people would simply call it ambition."
She took a deep breath, taking his hand.
"Perhaps you could understand after all, Liander. It is true that I
want power. It is true that in the beginning i thought i could gain
it through you, perhaps by wrapping you around my finger. You were the
only mage so attuned to fire that you could confront Apyrel face to
face... you still haven't told me what you did down there."
She didn't have to remind him of what "down there" meant. When they had
battled Apyrel in Hell, the demon had retreated into a burning pool of
molten lava, and Liander had followed him there, into the blistering
heat where anyone else would have been incinerated on the spot.
"Perhaps there is a little part of you that also craves that power. A
piece of you that really want to show all those doubtful minds that
you are to be reckoned with. What gratitude did you get from your
village when you rescued them from the invasion? They sent you away!"
He nodded silently. Beliana leant in and kissed a tear away on his
"I just want the same as you, Liander. We both deserve it. We are
heroes! Together we could accomplish great things. If you can study
the red bastion i am sure you would grow much more potent in..." she
giggled for a moment "...i mean when it comes to magic. All i want
is to be there with you along the way. I do love you Liander."
He let his head sink back down into his pillow, and stared up into
the stone ceiling. The flickering light wavered gently in the draught,
making the shadows play before his eyes.
"You call to a... darker side in me, Beliana. I can't really tell why
it is darker though. Maybe that's your whole point. Why is it bad to
want to show people what i can really do? To show all those bastards
from the past..."
He turned to her again, looking into her eyes.
"You want to know what i did in the pool."
"I very nearly decided to try to take control of Apyrel and using him
for my own purposes, instead of just killing him."
She forgot to breathe for a moment, and had to catch her breath before
speaking. "Wh.. What?"
He smiled. "Come on. I thought you had that figured out by now."
She couldn't help smiling just a little. "I.. might have had a thought,
but.. i never thought you would have..." she ran her finger across his
cheek. "So what made you kill him instead of controlling him?"
Liander chuckled. "I simply didn't know what i would do with him. And
besides it would have been a pity if the others would have objected. I
kind of like them... Jerreck in his pretty armor and proud like a statue,
Ravyson and his awkward flying... kind of like the magpies back home, in
a cute kind of way... that self righteous 'angel' that travelled with us
for a while... and, heh, his demon brother. Shara was interesting too.
They all had their charms, and it would have been sad to have to kill them.
I'm not even sure i could have done it... i mean... if my heart would
have let me do it."
Her eyes widened.
"Just a second... first of all, would you have the power to control Apyrel?"
"I would have at that moment, yes. He was weakened and at my mercy. I could
easily have forced him into a bond that he would have to enter voluntarily
or see his life forfeit. Of course i couldn't have done anything had he been
at his full strength."
She smiled as she looked at him. "You say you didn't know what to do with
him... perhaps i could help you with those things. Together we could live
like a king and queen!"
He pondered. "There are of course other fire spirits out there. I'm sure the
red bastion attracts them like wasps to a bowl of honey. If i could have some
of them work for me, we could be very well off, Beliana. We could start small..."
The night progressed as the two finally found eachother's inner wishes match,
and they talked and talked. Before morning came, they had decided to travel
You are an evil person, Anders! Completely unexpected, and makes a nice new twist. Good job.
Thanks... I'm glad someone had the patience to read through that rather long post. This is something that i've been wanting to write about for quite some time.
I'm buying a ticket overseas now so I can go hit you with a stick for this! Heh.