Episode Fifty-Seven: Series Finale (Epilogue)
[Featuring Hal and Pandora]
Halfred withdrew his sword from the Duthka’gith and was about to engage the
second half-dragon when he was suddenly pulled into the phlactery room and the
door was slammed shut separating him from Seren-Arty. He was about to call out
when he saw Pandora in all her naked vileness.
“Listen, bitch, I don’t know what your game is this time, but this is not the
time for it,” said Hal as he glared at the barely clad half-demoness.
Pandora smiled and purred, “Oh, sweet, Hal. You’re going to what to hear what
I have to offer this time.” She began to move closer and Hal held out his sword
in a warding gesture. She ran her hand across the blade and a small drop of
blood dripped from her finger on to the blade. She lifted her finger to her
mouth and sucked the small drip of blood from it and added, “So long and hard,
are you read to pierce me with your sword and without any foreplay even.”
“I don’t have time for this. What do you want!” He pulled out the torc intent
on his original mission, thinking also that he needed to finish with this
tormentor and get back to his companion in the outer hall.
“This is about our children. I love them dearly, ” Hal’s eyes rolled, “…as
dearly as you do. Now I know that you have some concerns regarding my influence
on them given my natural proclivities.” She winked at him and let her hands
trail across his breastplate as she strolled around and continued talking, “I
too have issues however with your natural bent for…shall we say too strict an
upbringing. So I propose a compromise.”
“Here is my proposal. I agree to give up my motherly rights if you agree to a
period of absence as a father as well. I won’t interfere with their upbringing,
they can raised by that cow that you have married…so long as you agree to
seclude yourself in a place of penance for your temerity of having spurned my
affections and denying me my due rights as a loving mother. Your penance will be
over once they come of age.”
Hal considered for a moment. His first thought was that she was crazy, which
of course was partly true and that she was evil, which was also true. But the
offer of her non-interference was indeed tempting. Having the children raised by
Sapphire, a truly loving parent would be better than having no parents and might
well be better than having the corrupting influence of Pandora balanced against
the love of two parents.
His mission here however was critical however and he could not trade his
children for Serenity who needed his assistace.
As if she were reading his thoughts (which she may well have been), “You
needn’t worry about the Lich-Queen. You don’t need to use that device.
That is just a failsafe. Should she have been here alive when you were
present with her phalactery. Think about what you know of liches and their
phalacteries. If the lich is dead and you destroy the phalactery, are they not
destroyed? Granted, you are going to have some difficulty with the phalactery as
it is trapped, but I can remove the trap for you.”
Hal countered, “Remove the trap while I consider your offer.”
Hold my hand as we walk thru the prismatic sphere, I know the password. She
spoke the password and the passed through the sphere without harm. She got to
work on the sarcophagus and within a few moments a release of magical energy
signaled that something had happened. She lifted the lid and revealed the
withered body of Vlaakith–inert and recovering from the destruction the party
had visited upon her mere hours ago. Pandora paused, “The phalactery is in here,
but there is one more trap that I am not able to remove. It will summon one of
her guardian dragons so once I disturb the phlactery we will only have a few
moments before it arrives. You will need to make your decision before I reach
If she was not telling the truth and the destruction of the phalactery didn’t
destroy the queen he still had the torc and could use it. He realized the this
would potentially give a greater reward for a minor cost to himself. He knew
that there must be something in it for Pandora, but couldn’t figure out what it
was and time was of the essence. Asking her would be useless as she would make
up some story.
“Very well, retrieve the phalactery and we will destroy it. Then you never
interfere in the lives of my children ever again and I will agree to your terms
of penance for myself until they reach their age of maturity.”
Pandora kissed Hal on the cheek, “You are so cute, trying to bargain with
me.” She walked back over to the sarcophagus, “Be ready we won’t have much
time,” She reached in and felt around unsure of where their prize was and when
she finally felt her hand rest on it, the hairs on the backs of both of their
necks stood on end and they heard a distant growl. Withdrawing it from the
sarcophagus revealed it to be a small black adamantine box which they both
quickly set to work on shattering. Hal delivered the final blow with his sword
and as he did a shriek of magical energy rent the room and the body that was
Vlaakith’s as her millenial soul was finally disjoined from its husk. There was
a shudder that went out the room and rippled through the city of Tu’narath. The
body crumbled to dust and magical energies started to eddy through the room as
the prismatic sphere began to collapse.
Pandora yelled over the chaos of the magical storm they had unleased,
“Quickly, her magics will begin to collapse starting here first and working
their way out through the city and her guardian will be here any second to take
his revenge. We must leave quickly.”
Hal grabbed her hand and they disappeared in a puff of smoke leaving behind
only a pile of dust where they had stood.
They appeared in a large receiving hall. Seated upon a throne was a large,
handsome human-looking being. Beneath his fine robes Hal saw a cloven left hoof
and a slowly swishing tail. He had small horns on his head and his skin was
slightly ruddy as if he had just finished a long race, though he looked very
relaxed. In his left hand he held a long rod.
Standing next to him was an angelic being wearing gleaming platemail with
wings of brilliant light and holding a broadsword across its chest. It had no
facial features, but Hal recognized the symbol of Heironious on the platemail.
“So, Hal, are you ready to hold up your end of the bargain?” asked Pandora.
“Where are we? Who are those two?” asked Hal.
“They are here to make sure that we, mostly meaning you,” Pandora giggled,
“serve your penance and uphold your end of the bargain. But they will but an
onus on me such that I won’t be able to go near the children too so that you can
feel safe. The sinister gentleman is Dispater and the dextrous fellow is Heiny
or something like that.”
Heinereous corrected a voice in their heads.
Halfred-After the lich queen was destroyed Pandora gave him
the dilemma of either she getting equal time with the Hal-spawn as mother to
raise them. Or she agrees to give up her motherly rights if Hal agrees to a
period of absence as a father as well. She promises that she won’t interfere
with their upbringing so long as he secludes himself in penance in hell for the
temerity of having spurned her affection and denying her her due rights as
loving mother. His penance will be over once they come of age. (of course she
won’t really let him go at that point and she feels free to interfere with them
once they’re grown and she thinks that being abandoned by both mother and father
is ripe fruit to use as bait for temptation to anger and resentment)