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·by Alexander Pechlivanidis·On-going Novl duration N/A



Free chapter·Duration 1 mins·byAlexander Pechlivanidis

     'Great! That's just what I need, terrific!' He shouted when he saw another set of ruins in the distance. The sun was so hot it could fry a man in his own fat. Through the mirages of the desert, this traveller walked for forty days with only two birds keeping him company. All he ate was some dates he had left and some chunks picked from an unlucky victim of the vile heat, so you can imagine how this repeated interaction with dull rocks agitated him.

'More ruins, fuck you desert! He shouted while approaching the ruins. In the day, few beasts roamed the earth and most were hiding in the shadows of ruined cities. In the night the shadows came out of their hiding places, along with the giant salamanders and the poisonous tarantulas. Without the caravans of the astronomers, who abandoned the desert, since the rabbit cast his shadow, it is now an unthinkable task to enter here. The astronomers protected the path with spells, as to safely carry their cargo across. Dried fruits and nuts, medicinal dawnmint, divination bones and tarot cards, tea leaves and coffee beans and that rare, mysterious mineral, called salt, which they offered to the oracle in the form of brine. The astronomers were peculiar people, nobody knew much about them and when they disappeared, leaving behind maps and books written in mysterious languages, the path was cut off, mostly because few could understand their weird language. But our traveller did and that’s all he needed, because in his mind only one goal existed and this goal consumed his whole being. Revenge.

'Hmm.’ He whispered when he approached the ruins. ‘You’re not just another rock are you?' He touched what seemed to be a capital, once supporting the frieze of a temple. It was decorated with beautiful lotus flowers and the rays of the Sun God. He raised his head. The sand cloud began to disperse and before him a magnificent temple appeared.

'It must be my birthday.' He exhaled and headed towards it. It was frighteningly tall with huge columns supporting it, characteristic example of the librarian style. Some of columns were missing and others were scratched by huge claws. It was a wonder it still survived. He climbed the stairs and entered. The corridor was decorated as well with flowers and worshiping scenes. He examined the paintings. The stone surfaces were prepared with a layer of coarse mud plaster and topped with a smooth gesso layer. The pigment was mineral which meant it was able to withstand the strong sunlight which entered from the front, incredible craftsmanship. This was an exceptional building.

'Egg tempera probably.’ He said. Suddenly he stumbled upon a rock and grabbed the wall with his left arm to support himself.

'Horse's ass.' He screamed in pain. Blood sipped through his left sleeve. He continued straight ahead to the main hall. There in the dryness appeared a garden surviving in this oasis. Flowers, small trees and tall grass had spread uncontrollably over the throne room. There was a fountain in the middle of the room, filled with lilac and pink lotuses. He rushed and sunk his face into it. It was incredibly salty. After he appeased his thirst, he looked upon the statue of the mother goddess gazing over the throne and the fountain, holding her spear with which she created the cosmos. He proceeded to further examine the statue when he stepped on what seemed to be a huge pile of dang.

'Shit.' He exclaimed and giggled his foot to remove the turd from his shoes. He approached it and took a sniff. His eyes widened as he heard the whistling sound of steel cutting through air. He moved to the side while his brains were about to be scattered on the pavement. He turned to face his attacker who prepared to launch a second attack. 'Quick.' He thought then unsheathed his blade, deflected the next blow, stepped on the fountain and with a swirling leap flung his blade and cut the attacker's head from behind. It fell with on ground. The blood gushed from his body and dyed the lotuses dark red. He swung his blade, to prevent blood stains then he himself spat a huge blot of blood. The blessed brine tended to his superficial wounds but it couldn't heal his body completely. He gazed upon the severed body. Dark skin and blue garments.

'Bastards.' He cursed. ‘How did they get here.’ He continued, then looked at the turd again. ‘Don’t tell me.’ He said when he heard the cry of a beast. He wiped the blood from his mouth and run for the entrance.

'Don't move!' He heard right after he exited the temple. He turned around. To his unfortunate anticipation he saw three of them, riding sand beasts.

'I wish you no harm.' He reassured them. The bandits noticed his clothes. 'Oh, that. That's not mine.’ He pointed out. ‘I fell on the stairs. Stupid me.'

'Shup up, Necromancer scum. We are going to kill you and feed you to our dragons for supper.' Said the bandit, who rode the biggest creature, while clutching at his scimitar.

'Well actually those are wyverns, mere beasts really. Dragons on the other hand were wise beings, philosophers, who hold symposiums and were fascinated about ethics and the concept of consciousness.' Pointed out the traveller. The bandits looked at each other in bewilderment.

'Akar!' Shouted the leader and his beast leaped with his sharp teeth shining in the sun. The traveller evaded its claws to avoid becoming an early meal. Then found cover behind a huge column.

'Woah, if you keep doing that I might seriously think you're trying to kill me.' He said while peeking out of his hiding spot.

'Die.' Hissed the bandit once again. ’Elesir!' He commanded his beast and the spikes on his pet’s head rose up, while it made a gagging sound. Then it opened up its mouth and spat a huge wave of fire.

'Shit.' Exclaimed the traveler. ‘They can breathe fire.’ He quickly uncovered his left hand, which was black, with its skin peeling off. ‘Always wondered how it'd feel to be handicapped.' Said he and with incredible speed cut his arm off. His blood hit the sand and formed a seal. A shadow emerged through the black smoke. It rushed towards the fire and with a slurping sound swallowed it up whole.

’Demon!’ Cried the bandits in terror. The smoke disappeared and the sand settled down.

‘No shit!’ Replied, the dark figure amidst the burned ruins. Two long horns protruded from its head. It was thin, tall and muscular, with subtle smoke emanating from his chunky scales and strange fiery letters carved on its body. It appeared to be smoking some kind of cigar.

’Who the Hell are you?' Wondered the traveler.

'Shut up mortal. Did you really think you could summon a water spirit with that wrecked arm of yours?' Replied the demon. ‘Pathetic.’

‘And what the hell is a fire demon going to do?’

‘Silence, before I turn you into ash.'

‘Go fuck an echidna.' Replied the traveler.

‘Who said I haven't.' Answered the demon, then smacked his foot on the sand and disappeared. With a frightening sound, he reappeared, in the air, beside the bandit who initiated the attack.

’Boom.’ He said and punched him in the face. Upon impact his punch exploded and blasted the rider into the wall of the temple, but left the wyvern untouched. It seemed that along with the rider, he had done away with the shackles of the beast as well.

'See you, fucker.' He uttered while turning his gaze to the summoner.

'You son of a bitch.’ Shouted the necromancer, but the demon had already disappeared through another portal under his feet. The other bandits stood there, frozen by shock. The pet though, having realized its master was now dead, opened its mouth and burned the walking bandits alive. They screamed in agonizing torment while the fire burned their skin off. The smell was ghastly. The remaining riders were protected by their wyverns’ wings, which shielded them from the devastating attack. Then the unshackled beast opened up its wings and flew away. The remaining attackers turned at the necromancer.

'You are going to suffer.' They screeched.

'Tell me something I don't know.' Said the traveller who turned his blade on his neck but before he could sink the steel into his brain the earth shook. The beasts started panicking, while the ground in front of the temple sunk sucking the sand around it. The bandits fled in fear by riding into the sky. The Necromancer left his hiding spot, weary and injured, to see what caused the mysterious earthquake. Two enormous pair of feathered wings emerged from the sand, followed by a tail which whipped the air around it. A gush of wind swept the place and knocked the traveller down. Through the beastly characteristics of the creature peaked a woman’s face. In front of him stood enormous Sphinx. It was female.

‘Demons? In mother’s temple?' She asked with a terrible voice and turned around angered at the traveller. ‘How dare you summon a demon here and tainting the sacred oracle? Die mortal.' She screeched and lashed her claws at him.

'I seek council.' The necromancer cried. Her claws stopped and then retreated inside their pockets.

'Council?' She asked and stood still, shocked, then burst into laughter.

'I protected myself from Acenkar bandits, oh daughter of the mother.'

‘Oh, please lose the honorific tongue.’ She inclined him. ‘Hearing those subtle words through your dirty lips scratches my ears.' Her roar echoed across the ruins. Her head was human but her neck was covered with a luscious mane. Her body was adorned with beautiful necklaces and jewels. The spread of her wings was gigantic. Sphinxes are ferocious creatures, with sharp claws and sharper minds, children of Gods if you believe the myths.

'Filth of the earth those Acenkars.' Continued the beast. 'They keep losing their way ending up here. Sometimes I think that spell is completely useless, maybe I should strengthen it.’ She said more to herself. ’But, you are not lost are you? ‘ he turned again to the traveller. ‘You sought this place with all your strength which means it’s impossible for you to be here. Tell me how did you manage to break the spell?’

‘I was guided, by two birds.' The necromancer replied. The Sphinx whipped her tail.

‘Liar, blasphemer, how dare you.' Her voice echoed through the desert.

‘It's true.' The necromancer continued.

’Insolent mortal you shall...' She stopped her phrase and observed him with her large, blue, feline eyes. 'Interesting...' She finally uttered. ’You remind of someone with some interesting things to say.’

'And did that someone solve your riddle?' Asked the traveler.

'Riddle?' She roared. 'What riddle, there is no riddle.'

'No riddle?'

'None that may spark my interest.’ She jested. ‘Riddles are trivial things, superficial, pointless, they don’t hold any real power over this world. Why would I should I care about them?'

‘What interests you then, which may grant me the answers which I seek.'

‘Answers? Questions are all that matters, because to find to answers you have to ask the right questions. The real question is, do you have the right question?’

’I do.’

’Deluded and desperate. Don’t waste my time. Everyone searches this place thinking he has the right question. How do I get rich? How do I save the woman of my dreams who was kidnaped, raped and murdered by those vile thieves? How do I get to the underworld? Naive questions, which will deprive me of my precious time and time is of essence. Everyone seems to forget that conversations have two participants. Why should I give answers all the time, do no one think of me? Selfish creatures you mortals are, not able to even slightly titillate my awe. So you die before opening your mouths because I already know what you are going to ask.’

‘What about your question.' The traveller asked quickly for he saw her claws protruding again.

’I see.’ She whispered. ‘You are not like the others, the boring ones, you know the game, the rules, the grace of conversation, you are more like him. Full of questions, searching for answers you probably will never get.’

‘I’m nothing like him.’ Replied the traveler.

‘You’re denial, which will cost you your life, but most important your enlightenment. But all that matters to me not, I’m more concerned about my question which is like an itch I just can’t wait to scratch.’ She cried and clawed the air before the necromancer nose.’

’Ask away then, daughter of the mother.’ Replied the traveller calmly. The Sphinx started to purr like a kitten.

‘Finally.’ She ejaculated. ‘Tell me.’ Her claws kneading the sand before her while her tail shivered with anticipation. ’Why do you want to kill the Devil?' 

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Alexander Pechlivanidis
Alexander Pechlivanidis
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