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The Cerulean Cutlass of Chaos

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  • WhiteWolf359
    Multiversal Airship Pilot
    • Nov 2003
    • 1056

    The Cerulean Cutlass of Chaos

    The Cerulean Cutlass of Chaos

    A Further Adventure of Eric of Marlyebone


    Queen Xiombarg and Queen Tanat of Chaos swung their deadly runeblades in killing arcs as they struggled for supremacy. The battle raged above the Earth, before the formation of the continents was complete, before Melnibone, the Dragon Isle rose from the waves. Xiombarg and Tanat were polar opposites. Xiombarg was a lithe dark-haired beauty with the long legs and small high breasts of a dancer. Tanat was a buxom blonde with voluptuous curves and long flowing tresses. Xiombarg bore a heavy bladed broadsword called Dragon’s Tear, a bright green weapon that glowed from within with eldritch magic. Her opponent carried the Cerulean Cutlass known as Skysplitter, an ancient weapon forged from the horn of an extinct species of manticore.
    “Die, harridan!” Queen Xiombarg screamed as she aimed an overhead blow at Queen Tanat. The blonde Chaos Lord smiled and dodged the blow deftly, countering with an upward thrust that cut a tiny red slash in Xiombarg’s right thigh. Xiombarg staggered and cried out, but the wound was healed by her runesword’s arcane energy. She redoubled her efforts and slashed wildly at Queen Tanat, raining blow upon blow on her enchanted armor to little effect.
    Queen Tanat slashed at Xiombarg, who dodged back. One of Skysplitter’s powers was the uncanny ability to pierce any armor, even dragon scales or enchanted mail. The only armor that could deflect the deadly edge of the ancient weapon was the scales of a Phoorn dragon. Xiombarg wore such armor, but it was rare and she could not protect her entire body with the scales. Her neck, hips, thighs, hands and ankles were left uncovered. If the blade struck there, she would lose a limb instantly.
    “This battle is senseless!” Queen Tanat, sweat dripping into her emerald green eyes said. “You cannot win, Xiombarg! You will never defeat me. I am the Champion Swordswoman of all Chaos.”
    “You are a pompous windbag and a fool, Tanat!’ Xiombarg spat back. “You do not deserve to wield Skysplitter!”
    “Nonetheless, the Cerulean Cutlass is mine and always shall be mine,” Tanat taunted. She cut and fainted at Xiombarg and laughed when the lithe brunette Chaos Lord danced away from the blade’s lethal edge.
    “Your Phoorn scales won’t save you, little whore!” Queen Tanat laughed. “You should go back home and torture some flies. I grow tired of this futile fight. Know this, Xiombarg. Neither you nor your Champion shall ever wield the Cerulean Cutlass.”
    With that, she vanished in a blaze of silver light.
    Disappearing into another plane of the Multiverse, Queen Tanat had sealed herself off from Queen Xiombarg’s treacherous ambitions. Or so she thought. For she had badly underestimated both the cunning and the resourcefulness of her enemy. Xiombarg waited and planned, and one day, centuries later, she smiled. She knew how to obtain the Cerulean Cutlass for herself. All it would take was patience, time and a certain unwitting partner…

    I. Honky Tonk Women

    Marlyebone, London

    July 1969

    Eric Porterfield Von Bek woke up in a strange bed with a beautiful buxom redheaded transsexual girl. He could not for the life of him remember what he had done last night. He seemed to remember night clubbing with his mad Auntie Valerie. They had gone to see a wild rock’n’roll band called Venus and Mars, a group entirely composed of female impersonators at a dirty, noisy club the size of a tube car in Tooting Broadway. Then they had gone backstage and dropped acid with the band. The rest of the evening was a blur. Eric was sore and dizzy. He got up and looked for a teapot in the flat’s tiny kitchen.
    As Eric stumbled around the strange girl’s flat, he noticed another girl staring at him. She hadn’t been there a moment before. She had literally just popped in out of thin air. She was a rather stunning brunette, tall, slender and pretty in a white leather mini dress, halter top and matching go-go boots. Her teal blue eyes sparkled with sexy mischief. He knew he had seen her somewhere before. Was she the band’s drummer? He could not remember.
    “Hey, cutie,” the brunette said. “Want to have some crazy fun?”
    “I’m not even awake yet,” Eric replied. “I don’t know if you’re real or an acid hallucination.”
    She snapped her fingers and a cup of hot Earl Gray tea appeared in Eric’s right hand. He tasted it. It was good!
    “Groovy!” Eric said. “How did you do that?”
    “Come with me, and I’ll show you,” the white-clad beauty promised.
    “Sure, baby!” Eric replied. “But where are we going?”
    “You’ll see, Eric Porterfield Von Bek,” the mysterious woman replied. Suddenly, she seemed very old, ancient, but no less beautiful, for it seemed that her beauty and her age were two different things, somehow separate. She took his arm in hers and snapped her fingers and they were suddenly somewhere else.
    Eric looked around. They were standing on what looked like a giant blue mushroom cap. He looked up at a sky full of unfamiliar stars. There were mountains floating in mid-air! The whole scene looked like something from a Rodney Matthews album cover painting. Where were they? How could he breathe the thin air without a space helmet? Eric turned to look at his brunette companion. She seemed serene in spite of the strange environment.
    “Where are we?” Eric asked.
    “Another dimension,” the mysterious woman said. “We walked here along the Moonbeam Roads. You have that power, though you have forgotten it. I need you find something for me.”
    “If you can do this, why can’t you find it yourself?” Eric asked. “I mean, this is pretty far out stuff!”
    “Indeed,” the woman replied. “But I can’t find the object because a witch hid it from me. It has a spell on it that hides it from my senses. But you have special talents, Eric. You can find it for me. If you do, I’ll reward you generously.
    She came over and kissed him passionately. The kiss was so sexy, he thought his teeth would melt!

    “That’s just a taste, baby!” the brunette beauty promised.
    “Who are you, and what do I have to find?” Eric asked.
    “You know me, but you don’t remember me,” the mysterious woman smiled. “I am—a friend. Let’s leave it at that for now. What you have to find for me is a blue sword. It’s called the Cerulean Cutlass or Skysplitter and it is held by an evil witch named Queen Tanat of Chaos. You must be careful, because she’s a warrior queen and will kill you if she can. She lives on that sky mountain over there.”
    She pointed at one of the floating mountains.
    “How am I supposed to get there?” Eric asked. “I can’t walk on air!”
    “Sure you can!” the brunette replied. “Try it!”
    Eric walked off the giant blue mushroom cap and into the air. He was astonished to find that he did not fall. He could actually walk up! If he was having an acid hallucination, it was a groovy trip! But he knew it wasn’t. This was real. He laughed and took a few more steps up into the air. It was true! He could walk to the mountains!
    “Good luck, Eric!” the brunette said. She disappeared in a silver flash.
    Eric kept walking towards the floating mountain she had indicated. He had a feeling this was going to be an adventure that even mad Auntie Valerie would not believe!
    Lord Warshaw the Unknown

    "Except in dreams, you're never really free." Warren Zevon, Desperados Under the Eaves.
  • WhiteWolf359
    Multiversal Airship Pilot
    • Nov 2003
    • 1056

    II. Ghost Riders In The Sky

    Eric walked up towards the floating mountain, but it felt as if he was walking though molasses. It was hard to make any progress without feeling worn out. Eric wondered why the upward march was making him so tired, when he had felt refreshed after the brunette babe had kissed him. He had reached about the half-way point after two hours. Then he saw something strange headed his way.
    At first, Eric could not make out the shapes. He wondered if there were other “air pedestrians” in the area, walking to some of the other floating mountains. Maybe going for an atmospheric stroll was as common here as going for a walk along the Thames Embankment was in London. But he realized after a few moments of eye-straining that these things were not people and they were not walking. They resembled giant manta rays, but they were brilliant purple, vibrant canary yellow and teal blue and there were armored women riding their backs, prodding them through the air with what looked like big metal forks. Eric could not make out their faces but saw that they wore some kind of battle armor and helmets.
    As Eric watched the strange sky-mantas fly towards him, the hairs on his arms began to tingle. He was overcome by a feeling of absolute dread and started to run. Running through the air was difficult and he had to learn to pace himself, but he finally got the right cadence and started to cover some distance. But the manta-ray riders were catching up to him. He soon realized that they would overtake him in a few moments. He stood still and tried to look non-threatening. He kept his arms at his sides and waited for the fearsome manta riders to catch up to him.
    To Eric’s surprise, both of the manta riders were female. They were dressed in black and gold plate armor over gray chain mail. They wore breastplates, helmets and greaves and a kind of leather skirt with metal plates around the waist. Their heads were covered by black metal helmets with only eye slits and mouth slit cut out. He could not see their faces, but was astonished to see that each woman had not two, but four fulsome breasts. The leader sat upon the back of an electric blue manta with canary yellow and mauve patches of reflective skin. Its black eyes regarded him coldly.
    “Hash raan ferratt!” the leader shouted. She pointed behind her with her metal fork, a long black wooden lance with a wicked silver barbed tip. Though the language was incomprehensible, Eric got the idea that she wanted him to mount the creature’s back behind her. He climbed up the air and stepped onto the manta’s slippery back. He slid and almost fell over the side, but managed to get a grip. He gripped her waist and she forked the manta into flight.
    Eric felt slightly sick as the manta flapped its wings and took flight. The flight was not smooth, but bumpy and odd. He felt that at any given moment, he might be pitched over the side of the rocking manta and plunge to his death in the valley below. But he didn’t. He held tight to the armored woman’s waist and closed his eyes to avoid becoming nauseated by the juddering motion of the manta.
    At last, the great creature landed on a round white concrete platform on a floating island. The island held a gargantuan white fortress that looked like a Medieval castle. The armored warrior guided the sky manta to a wide circular landing platform and it lit gently. She dismounted and motioned Eric to walk ahead of her. She did not prod him with the metal fork. He merely walked where she indicated with her slender arm. They moved towards the castle keep and inside a wide arched gateway. He saw other armored warriors walking about. One of them had her helmet in her arms and Eric gasped as he saw her face. She was beautiful beyond words. She looked like a Swedish supermodel!
    Eric wondered if all of the warrior were as stunning as the girl he’d seen in the castle keep.
    At last they came to an inner courtyard and the manta rider guided him to a circular stone tower. Eric had expected a dungeon, but was surprised to find that the rooms in the tower were spacious and contained what looked like modern furniture. He was led to a room with a large round bed and wash basin, wooden cabinets and a small library. Once inside, he saw that other manta rider was already on the bed and had removed her helmet. She was a platinum blonde with piercing cornflower blue eyes and full pouty lips who was just as gorgeous at the girl he’d seen in the courtyard. She smiled at him and he felt as if his heart would explode with excitement.
    The warrior leader removed her own helmet and Eric saw that she was an almost identical twin to the blonde goddess on the bed, except that that her eyes were emerald green. She pulled him into her arms and kissed him, hard. He melted into the kiss and let her strong hands caress him hips and buttocks. The other warrior joined in and the three of them tore their clothes off and fell to the bed. Eric was surprised to see that the warrior women were hermaphrotic, possessing both male and female genitalia. They made love for what seemed like days before Eric fell into a deep dreamless sleep.
    Eric woke the next day and realized that however nicely appointed, this was, in fact, a prison cell. He tried to leave and found some invisible force stopping him. There was no lock on the door, but he could not open it. Neither could he open any of the windows looking down on the courtyard. He walked over to the wash basin and splashed water on his face. He felt a bit more refreshed after that. He walked over to the bookshelf and pulled down a book. It was written in cerulean blue ink in a strange language that resembled Egyptian hieroglyphics. He found that he could not read it. He tried another book, which was written in a different language that resembled Viking runes. None of the books were in English, French, Latin or any other language he could read. So much for recreation. He stared out the windows at the busy courtyard, where armored warriors mounted their sky mantas and went on patrol. Others chatted and still others made love on benches or in the purple grass of open parks.
    After about an hour had passed, the blue-eyed manta rider, dressed in a more casual leather skirt and bustier and white leather flat-heeled boots came and brought him food. It was strange looking, thick white, red and yellow disks that looked like hockey pucks. There was also a glass of thick blue liquid. Eric tasted the white disk and was pleasantly surprised. The food tasted like rock candy! It was sweet, tangy and delicious. He drank some of the liquid, which had a wonderful fruity flavor like watermelon. The red puck tasted like strawberries and the yellow like honey. He ate all of the alien food with gusto and drank the glass of sweet nectar.
    When he was finished, the blonde kissed him and they made love again for hours. He fell asleep. When he woke, the late afternoon sun was in the sky and his lover was gone, along with the food tray. Later in the evening, as the stars were just rising, the other manta rider, the one with the green eyes, came with another food tray, this one stacked with five pucks; blue, red, white, orange and purple, and a glass of the blue nectar, came to his cell. He ate heartily and afterwards, they made love passionately. The blue-eyed warrior joined them a few moments later and their passion reached a fever pitch.

    This pattern repeated for what Eric believed was a week.
    Then the dragons came.
    Lord Warshaw the Unknown

    "Except in dreams, you're never really free." Warren Zevon, Desperados Under the Eaves.


    • WhiteWolf359
      Multiversal Airship Pilot
      • Nov 2003
      • 1056

      III. Ride A White Swan

      Eric was jostled out of bed by the jarring impact of something hard against his room’s walls. He fell out of bed and staggered to the window. He saw another island positioned directly behind theirs. From its dark forests flew five great beasts Eric could only call dragons, for there was no other word adequate to describe them. They were gigantic black reptiles, more like flying eels than lizards, but they bore huge bat-like wings, four sets of them, from large to small upon their scaly backs. They were black and their eyes were lemon yellow and dull. Their mouths were lined with row upon row of razor sharp teeth. They did not spit fire, but black forked tongues lashed out of their maws to taste the air. Upon their backs Eric could see tall figures dressed in silver armor, armed with spears and longswords.
      The eel riders were bearing down on the castle, and when they came in range, they unleashed bolts of energy from their spears which shook the very towers. Eric watched as two manta riders mounted and flapped up to meet the threat. They battled the eel-riders with their spiked forks. Two of the eels were slain and flapped headless out of the sky. But one of the riders was more skilled and dodged the blows, managing to unseat a manta rider and spit her on his lance. Eric shouted. He hoped the dead manta knight was not on one of his lovers. There was nothing Eric could do to aid his companions. The force field that kept him from leaving his room was still in place.
      Eric watched as a frantic battle took place between the eel riders and his manta knights. The manta riders put up a good fight, but the eels bit and killed their mantas and soon overwhelmed them. Eric felt a terrible sense of impending doom and the door to cell burst open. The eel riders had some way of penetrating the force field’s power.
      “Stay still!” the tallest of the silver knights, a woman shouted. “You are under arrest in the name of Queen Shismat of Chaos!”
      “Who are you?” Eric demanded of his new captors. “What have you done with my friends?”
      “Friends?” the silver-armored woman laughed. “Do you know know who those manta riding witches are?”
      “No,” Eric replied. “I am a stranger in this dimension.”
      “They are Keshamarayn,” the tall woman said. “Cannibals!”
      “Impossible!” Eric said. “They fed me, made love to me and took care of me.”
      “Yes, and fed you sugary foods?” the eel rider replied. “To break down your tissues so they could devour you!”
      “Why should I trust you?” Eric said. “Clearly you are hostile barbarians.”
      “Barbarians?” the woman said. “That’s very disappointing, considering we were sent her by Queen Shismat Herself to rescue you from those she-demons.”
      “Who is Queen Shismat of Chaos?” Eric asked. The armored eel riders, male and female, led him from the castle into the courtyard, where they had slain many of the Keshamarayn. He did not see his lovers among the gory corpses and hoped they had escaped, no matter their intentions towards him.
      “You will find out soon enough!” the woman said. “Mount behind me. Be prepared. The sky-eels do not fly smoothly. You may feel some discomfort. Oh, and drink this.”
      She handed him a vial of black liquid that smelled like urine. He held his nose and drank it. Despite the smell, it tasted rather sweet.
      “What is that?” Eric asked.
      “An antidote to the Keshamarayn poisons,” the warrior explained. “Hold my waist. But no fresh stuff! I am betrothed.”
      Eric climbed onto the leathery back of the sky eel and held the plate armored waist of his “rescuer.”
      The eel made a sharp, twisting motion and corkscrewed into the sky. Eric was instantly and violently sick. Worse, the heavy wind blew his own vomit all over his clothing, which made him even sicker. Fortunately the flight to the wooded island was only twenty minutes. They landed in a small glade and Eric was led to a rather humble looking wooden cottage, the abode of Queen Shismat of Chaos.
      Entering the cottage, he bowed deeply, but saw neither a Queen nor her retainers. There were merely some bored looking servants in leather and chain mail outfits.
      “What’s this trash?” one of the mailed men laughed.
      “Watch your tongue, Twitchen, or I’ll rip it out by the roots!” the silver woman said. “This is Eric of Marylebone, the Honored Guest of Queen Shismat. Get him cleaned up and properly dressed for a meeting with Her Majesty.”
      She shoved the vomit-covered man into Twitchen’s arms. The man roughly escorted Eric out of the room and into a bath.
      Lord Warshaw the Unknown

      "Except in dreams, you're never really free." Warren Zevon, Desperados Under the Eaves.


      • WhiteWolf359
        Multiversal Airship Pilot
        • Nov 2003
        • 1056

        IV. The Planet Queen

        Eric was bathed, oiled and dressed in a fine light green tunic with a gold lion embroidered on it and matching green breeches. He was given ill-fitting doe skin boots and gloves and a small dull ceremonial sword to wear at his left hip.
        “I did my best with him,” Twitchen, his guard said to Ashanamar, the woman who had rescued him. Beneath her helmet she was not a ravishing beauty, but a handsome brunette with fine features and piercing blue eyes that glistened with intelligence and fire. “He’s mostly skin and bone. I fear them Keshamarayn witches starved him nearly to death.”
        “Good enough,” Ashanamar said. She gave Eric an appraising look and smiled thinly. “The Queen waits your pleasure, Eric. Do you feel recovered enough to meet Her?”
        “I feel horrible,” Eric admitted. “Like after a bad mushroom trip. But I guess I’m as ready as ever to meet Queen Shismat.”

        “Then come with me,” Ashanamar replied. She and two other armored warriors led him out of the main house and to another deeper in the forest. A small rise led to a hilltop plateau. Atop this sat a modest looking two-story house.
        “No grand castles?” Eric mocked.
        “Not all of the Lords of Chaos are as pretentious as you presume, Eric,” Ashanamar replied. “Queen Shismat is a simple ruler, a Queen of modest tastes and reasonable desires.”
        Eric has his doubts. From what he knew of the Lords of Chaos, they were a showy and ostentatious lot, proud of their excesses and not in the least “modest” about anything. As for their “reasonable” desires, if devouring whole species for fun and destroying worlds on a whim was reasonable, then he was a three-headed giraffe!
        He entered the small house by its wooden door and ducked under the low lintel. The interior of the house was sparsely decorated and held little furniture save a rough-hewn kitchen table and some uncomfortable looking chairs. There were a few crudely made pottery bowls and cups lined up on cupboards and a few oddly Futurist looking paintings on the white-washed walls. At the center of the room was not a throne but rather a high-backed wooden chair and seated in the chair was the most beautiful woman Eric had ever seen in his entire life.
        She was tall and had elfin-fine features, bone white hair and lilac colored almond-shaped eyes. Her brow was white as alabaster and her nose long and slim. She had the high cheekbones of a Swedish model and the full pouty lips of a Latina goddess. There was an indefinable quality about her, a kind of “grace” that made her appear both young and old at the same time. Eric was instantly smitten with Queen Shismat. He fell to his knees and hung his head. He was unworthy to look upon such a lovely woman.
        “My Queen,” Eric said in a breathless whisper.
        “So, you are Queen Xiombarg’s fool?” Queen Shismat said. Her voice sounded like cool water poured slowly over ice.
        “I am no one’s fool, your Majesty,” Eric countered. He rose and tried not to look directly at the vision of loveliness that was Queen Shismat of Chaos.
        “Still, you came here blindly on Xiombarg’s errand,” Queen Shismat replied. “You have worked on her behalf before, even though she has erased these adventures from your memory. You are the Bearer of the Colored Swords, the Knight of the Goddess.”
        “I know nothing of those titles, your Majesty,” Eric said. “What is it you desire of me? Surely a Chaos Lord can have no purpose for a mere mortal like me.”
        “You are mistaken, Eric,” the lovely Queen said. “I have a great favour to ask you. One that will put me and my sister, Queen Tanat of Chaos in your debt.”
        “What favour could I possible grant you, your Majesty?” Eric said. He tried to look at her face and not pass out from sheer joy.
        “You seek the Cerulean Cutlass of Chaos, also known as Skysplitter,” Queen Shismat said. “It is Queen Xiombarg who has sent you upon this insane quest. You must not allow the blade to fall into her possession. If she held it, she would use it to destroy this world and my sister and I along with it.”
        “Is the sword that powerful?” Eric replied. “I thought nothing could destroy a Lord of Chaos.”
        “We are long-lived compared to humanoids,” Queen Shismat replied. “And certain of us can regenerate our cellular tissue. But we are not, ultimately, immortal as you use the word. We can be destroyed by certain magical weapons. The Cerulean Cutlass is one such weapon. It belongs to Queen Tanat and must remain in her possession or there will be terrible consequences for the entire Multiverse.”
        “Then why does Queen Xiombarg want it?” Eric asked.

        “You do not know her very well, do you?” Queen Shismat asked. “If you did, you would not ask the question. She is ambitious beyond words. She wishes to rule over the entire Multiverse. She wishes to be the only Queen over a million life-forms, a billion worlds. She would set herself up as the ultimate Goddess, powerful beyond all other beings. The Colored Swords can give her the means to achieve that power.”
        “How?” Eric asked. “They are only swords, after all.”
        “No,” Queen Shismat countered. “They are more. They are instruments of a greater engine, a strange and mysterious device created by our ancestors, the Phoorn. When aligned, they can be made to channel fearsome powers.”
        “I know nothing of such powers,” Eric said. “Again, what is that I can do for you?”
        “Thwart Queen Xiombarg’s plan,” Queen Shismat replied. “Take the Cerulean Sword, but do not allow her to touch it. Only you, of all mortals, can wield the blade safely. Use it to seal this dimension away from Xiombarg’s magic. Do this for me, Eric of Marylebone and I will lay with you and show you sensual delights no mortal has ever experienced.”
        “I do not deserve such a reward,” Eric replied. “Your great beauty should not be sullied by one such as I.”

        “That is for me to decide, is it not?” Queen Shismat laughed, a lovely sound like distant bells. Then she took his face into her slender white hands and kissed him. Eric died in that moment as her soft lips pressed against his and was reborn hers, body and soul.
        “I love you, Queen Shismat,” Eric said. He closed his eyes to block the unbearable loveliness of her face from his mind.
        “Yes,” Queen Shismat replied. “As it was always your destiny to fall in love with me, Eric. You have sought me your whole life and not known it, poor boy. No wonder no other mortal woman could measure up, not even your luscious Aunt Valerie, though there is a little of me in her. Now, come. We must discuss your quest. Afterwards, we shall make love.”
        She led him upstairs to the jealous stares of Ashanamar and the assembled guards.
        In the afterglow of the most amazing sex he’d ever experienced, Eric leaned against Queen Shismat’s gorgeous left breast and slept quietly. When he woke, he wept slightly at the sight of her lovely white flesh.
        “Why do you cry?” Queen Shismat asked, stroking his hair gently. “Was the experience not satisfactory for you?”
        “It was amazing!” Eric replied. “It was beyond description. The best one could ever imagine. These are tears of gratitude and joy, not sadness.”
        “Then you will stay with me?” Queen Shismat asked.
        “For now, yes, my liege, I will stay,” Eric replied. They made love again.
        “So what you want me to do is steal the sword from Tanat, but return it to you?” Eric asked. He had to make certain that he understood Queen Shismat’s complex plan.
        “Yes,” the lovely Queen replied. “You must take the sword from Queen Tanat and pretend that you will give it to Queen Xiombarg. But she must never touch the sword. Instead, bring it to me and I will transport it to another dimension, where no human or Chaos Lord can survive. That way, she cannot pursue it any further.”
        “But Queen Xiombarg will be angry,” Eric countered. “She could destroy me. Destroy all of us.”
        “No,” Queen Shismat replied. “I will create an illusory sword. She will take that and believe she has the real Cerulean Cutlass. She will never know otherwise. She will reward you.”
        “For that reward, I shall ask to stay with you, my Queen,” Eric said, kissing her soft thigh. “Forever.”
        “That would please me too,” Queen Shismat replied. “But it is not your destiny, Eric Porterfield Von Bek. You have great things to accomplish. Perhaps, once your tasks are completed, you will find your way along the Moonbeam Roads and back to my waiting arms. I shall wait for you over the long millennia.”
        She said no more, but suddenly Eric was filled with a great sadness. He felt certain they would never meet again.
        Lord Warshaw the Unknown

        "Except in dreams, you're never really free." Warren Zevon, Desperados Under the Eaves.


        • WhiteWolf359
          Multiversal Airship Pilot
          • Nov 2003
          • 1056

          V. Crystal Blue Persuasion

          One of the eel-riders delivered Eric to the floating fortress of Queen Tanat the next day. He lit in the pine forest below the grand marble castle that rose like a cathedral above him on a marble plateau. The castle was surrounded by armed guards. There was no way to sneak into Queen Tanat’s fortress and he had no intention of climbing up steep walls lined with metal spikes. Instead, rather brazenly, he walked right up to the front gate. When two huge Amazonian women blocked his way with spears larger than his whole body, he said: “I am Eric of Marlyebone, the Bearer of the Colored Swords. I have come to take the Cerulean Cutlass from Queen Tanat of Chaos. Please arrest me at once.”
          The guards laughed and took Eric into custody. They bound his hands with stout ropes and marched him down a long white marble corridor. They led him down a flight of marble steps into a sub-basement.

          They flung him into a dark dungeon cell, hard. He hit his face against the flagstones and felt blood pour from a split lip. The taller of the two guards stepped inside the cell and punched Eric in the ribs with her mailed gauntlet. He shrieked in pain and fell to the floor, his head reeling. The Amazon lifted him to his feet and punched him again, this time in the stomach. Eric vomited and gasped, his throat on fire.
          “Please stop!” Eric coughed. “I’ve already confessed!”
          The Amazon threw him against the wall and kneed him in the groin. The pain was so great that he passed out.

          Five hours later, Eric woke to the raw red pain of a broken rib. He gasped for air and managed to crawl to the barred door of his cell to look out. The two armored Amazons were gone. There was a fat guard with a set of keys on his belt snoring on a broken wooden stool just out of Eric’s reach. Eric began to formulate an escape plan, but the pain in his ribs doubled him over. He was going to have to recover before he could execute any plans at all.
          Eric was roused from a fitful sleep by a steel-shanked boot to the stomach. One of the Amazonian guards was standing over him.
          “Queen Tanat wants to see you,” the big woman shouted. “On your feet, scum!”
          The Amazon woman dragged him to his feet and marched him down a long series of corridors at sword-point. Finally, they came to a long staircase.
          “Wait here!” the warrior woman shouted.
          She came back with a wet towel and washed Eric’s hair in small bronze basin. She dried it vigorously and wiped dirt and blood from his face. She sprayed some sort of perfume over him, then motioned for him to climb the stairs.
          Eric was exhausted and his ribs ached, but he climbed the stairs. At the top was a black marble platform lit by two flaming braziers. In an elegant black marble throne sat Queen Tanat of Chaos, a stunningly lovely blonde goddess with a fulsome bosom and long flowing silver-blonde tresses. She wore and elegant pearl pink gown that flattered her fulsome curvy figure and long lustrous legs.
          “The prisoner, my Queen!” the Amazon guard reported. “I cleaned him up as best I could.”
          “Thank you, Azari,” the woman’s deep sexy voice replied. “You may leave us alone.”
          The Amazon merely bowed and walked away.
          “You are Eric of Marlyebone?” Queen Tanat asked.
          Eric nodded, feeling a bit too tired to speak.

          “I hope my guards were not too harsh with you,” Queen Tanat said. She regarded him with her brilliant cyan blue eyes. “But when you show up at my fortress and announce that you plan to steal my prized possession, what treatment can you expect?”
          “Forgive me, your Majesty,” Eric coughed. “A stupid trick. But it worked. It got me this audience with you.”
          “You have come from my sister, Queen Shismat,” Queen Tanat remarked. “I can see that silly, smitten look on your face. You’re madly in love with her.”
          “Yes, your Majesty,” Eric acknowledged.
          “She’ll break your heart into a billion shards, then make them into a necklace to use to seduce her next victim,” Queen Tanat said. “She subsists on love and worship as you and I require food and oxygen.”
          “That may well be,” Eric said. “But I still love her.”
          “More’s the pity,” Queen Tanat replied. “What does she want you to do for her love?”
          “Obtain the Cerulean Cutlass from you,” Eric said. “She has made a duplicate, which I am to present as the real blade to my mistress, Queen Xiombarg.”
          “Ah!” Tanat smiled. “My dearest enemy! How long she has conspired to steal the Cerulean Cutlass from me. Yes, it would be a nice irony if she thought she had succeeded only to fail once more. I approve of this scheme.”
          “Then you will help me?” Eric inquired. His ribs ached.
          “In several ways,” Queen Tanat replied. “I will free you of both your compulsion to Queen Xiombarg and your Shismat stupor. Stand up.”
          Eric struggled to his feet. His groin was raw where Queen Tanat’s Amazon guard had kicked him with her boot.
          “Stand still,” Queen Tanat said. She approached him, her diaphanous robe flowing around her fulsome figure as she moved gracefully down the marble steps. She placed her soft yet strong hands on his shoulders and Eric felt a golden light enter him, filling him with an arcane energy. His wounds began to heal. The ache in his ribs and groin faded as the energy coursed through his body.
          “I, Tanat of Chaos cure you of all your ills,” the lovely blonde Queen chanted. “In the name of my ancestors, I free you from all enchantments, spells, cantrips, philters, bedazzlements and charms you may now be under or may be subject to in the future. From this date, no magic, either of Chaos or Law shall have power to deceive your senses or in any way distract you from the truth. You shall see through any trick, even those of the Chaos Lords themselves, as if you stared through tissue paper. No magic shall deceive you nor harm you in any way.”

          The golden light blazed through him and he felt as if every cell of his body was being torn apart, then reassembled. He coughed and fell at Queen Tanat’s lovely golden feet. Then he blinked his eyes and felt wonderful. His ribs and groin were healed. He could stand without discomfort or pain. He looked up at Queen Tanat. She still just as beautiful as before the incantation.
          “So, your loveliness is not an illusion,” Eric smiled. “Either that, or your spell is so strong that even the invocation you just intoned cannot break it.”
          “Thank you, Eric Porterfield von Bek,” Queen Tanat smiled benignly. “For all that I am a creature of Chaos and a great Queen, I am also still a woman, and I appreciate being called lovely.”
          “I speak only the truth, my Queen,” Eric said. He bowed to the waist to Queen Tanat. “I thank you for healing me and helping me to defeat Queen Xiombarg. She delights in torturing me.”
          “Indeed,” Queen Tanat replied. “Though I do not believe she would ever truly harm you. She needs you to help her accomplish her twisted schemes.”
          “What does she want with the Colored Swords?” Eric asked. He could now recall his adventure with Queen Asquith and the Red Blade, known as Firespitter, and the strange adventure of the Gray Sword, which had split into two swords, the Black Blade Stormbringer and the white sword Cloudhurler.
          “That I cannot reveal,” Queen Tanat replied. “Some information is too dangerous for mortals. Let us merely state that my sister is a very ambitious female who would invoke dangerous ancient magic in her quest for unlimited power.”
          “Then I will help you and your sister Queen Shismat to deceive her and foil her plans,” Eric said.
          “Good,” Queen Tanat replied. “Then let us get started.”
          She moved behind the throne and brought out a large blue velvet box. Inside it was the finest cutlass Eric had ever seen, crafted of a silver-blue steel and carved with ancient red runes along the fuller, which seemed to glow and change as Eric observed them.
          “Behold the Cerulean Cutlass, Skysplitter,” Queen Tanat said. “Take it to Queen Shismat’s castle. A dragon awaits you in the courtyard.”
          Lord Warshaw the Unknown

          "Except in dreams, you're never really free." Warren Zevon, Desperados Under the Eaves.


          • WhiteWolf359
            Multiversal Airship Pilot
            • Nov 2003
            • 1056

            VI. Ballrooms of Mars

            Eric was led by the same Amazon guards who had beaten him to the courtyard, where one of the strange eel-dragons was being held for him. He mounted the saddle and kicked the dragon’s leathery hide and it corkscrewed into the air in a lurching motion that almost made Eric vomit. He found it hard to control the strange beast, so he merely pointed it at Queen Shismat’s floating island and prayed it knew which way to go. The odd creature seemed to read his thoughts, for it flapped straight to the forest clearing which led to Queen Shismat’s humble wooden palace.
            As the eel-dragon corkscrewed through the skies towards Queen Shismat’s aerial island, Eric heard a horrific screeching noise, like a thousand fingernails raking a thousand chalk boards. The very air split asunder and a great black energy vortex opened, a turbulent funnel directly in the dragon’s path. There was nothing Eric could do to avoid the air funnel. He and his odd steed were yanked from their reality into another, literally pulled through the vortex. Eric saw a thousand colors at once, some of which he could not name. He had no idea where he was or where the vortex would take him.
            When Eric’s hearing and vision cleared, he was standing beside the withered corpse of the eel-dragon on a rocky tableau of rust red land atop a great granite mountain. Beside him was the brunette beauty he’d met before his adventure began. He saw at once that she was in reality Queen Xiombarg of Chaos. Eric worried that all his careful planning with Queen Tanat and Queen Shismat had been for nothing.
            “You found it, I see!” Queen Xiombarg smiled. She pointed at the velvet box containing the Cerulean Sword of Chaos.
            “Yes,” Eric said. “It was quite easy. Queen Tanat merely handed it to me.”
            “She always was a bit of a dolt!” Queen Xiombarg countered. “Pretty, but dumb. Let me have the sword.”
            Eric was conflicted. What was he to do? If he handed over the Cerulean Cutlass to Queen Xiombarg, she would use it to advance her megalomaniacal plans for Multiversal domination. But if he resisted her, she might suspect that he could see through her disguises and knew of her schemes.
            Eric handed Queen Xiombarg the box containing Skysplitter. As he was handing it to her, he noticed a raised yellow square on the right hand side. He pushed the square in with his thumb. He was not certain what that would do, if anything. He merely felt that he was supposed to push the square. He put the box into Queen Xiombarg’s slender arms. The thin girl almost toppled backwards from the sword’s weight.
            Queen Xiombarg opened the box.
            It was empty!
            “What is this, a trick?” Queen Xiombarg spat. “This box is worthless! Where’s the Cerulean Cutlass?”
            “It was in the box this morning,” Eric swore. “Tanat must have tricked me. She must have switched boxes when we were talking in her throne room!”
            “Then you have to go back at once!” Queen Xiombarg fumed. “Get me that sword!”
            “But my steed is dead,” Eric said. He pointed to the skeletal remains of his eel-dragon. “How am I to reach Tanat’s fortress on foot?”
            “You will no longer need a dragon,” Queen Xiombarg replied. She touched Eric’s left shoulder and he felt an odd and uncomfortable energy surge through him. “You may now walk wherever you wish to go without falling. Now go! Retrieve the sword!”
            “Let me have the empty box,” Eric asked. “To allay suspicion.”
            “Yes, all right, take it!” Queen Xiombarg thrust the velvet box into Eric’s arms. “Now go and find that trickster Tanat and get the Cerulean Cutlass!”
            “I will, I promise,” Eric said. Queen Xiombarg crossed her arms and blinked her eyes and Eric was back in the world of the aerial islands. He headed directly for Queen Shismat’s forest manor.
            Arriving on foot, Eric was greeted by Shismat’s quards and taken to her humble house.
            Queen Shismat sat on her humble wooden throne, looking as beautiful as a forest nymph. Eric knelt at her feet and presented the velvet box. He had pushed the yellow “lever” back to its original position. When the lovely Queen opened the box, Skysplitter was there in all its glory.
            “Ah, you have done well,” Queen Shismat said. She took the sword by the hilt and tested it in the air. “A finely balanced weapon to say the least. I can feel its power. But such a weapon is too dangerous, even for the Lords of Chaos. Come, Eric. I will show you how we will fool Queen Xiombarg.”
            She led him to a small chamber behind the throne room. She lay the Cerulean Cutlass on a redwood bench and placed a black cloth covered in golden runes over it. She lit two candles, one red and one black, and began to chant in a strange sing-song language. Eric recognized it as ancient Phoorn, the language of his shape-shifting ancestors. A purple fog rose and began to enshroud the sword. There was a dull glow that suffused the room and Eric heard a strange susurrus like the hissing of a thousand snakes. There was a brilliant flash of cerulean light and then there were two identical swords lying on the bench!
            Queen Shismat took the second sword and placed it in the velvet box. Then she returned to her chanting and the first sword rose up into the air and vanished in a puff of lilac-colored smoke.
            “It is done,” Queen Shismat said. “The real Cerulean Cutlass now lies in a dimension so distant, it would take even Xiombarg ten thousand years to reach it. The duplicate is so perfect, it will fool even her close scrutiny. But it will not function in the way she desires once she has assembled all of the Colored Swords. You must go and take it to her immediately.”
            “Will I even see you again?” Eric asked the lovely Queen. He ached for her, even after what Queen Tanat had told him about her being a heartbreaker.
            “You have a long journey, Eric Porterfield Von Bek,” Queen Shismat replied. “You will see things few mortals ever see and go places beyond even your wildest imagination. The Quest of the Colored Swords will take you a long time to complete. By the time you have provided Queen Xiombarg with all she seeks, you will be an old man, worn, broken, almost mad. But if you can find the strength and the will to return to me, I will be here, as I am now, and I will gladly welcome you back into my arms. Here is a token of my sincerity.”
            She pulled a gold chain from her neck. At the end of the chain was a red gem with black occlusions that looked vaguely like a human heart. She placed the pendant around Eric’s neck and kissed him passionately. Then they danced, laughed and made love. Finally, Eric had to leave. He took with him the fake Skysplitter wrapped in the golden rune cloth and went to seek Queen Xiombarg’s dimension.
            Lord Warshaw the Unknown

            "Except in dreams, you're never really free." Warren Zevon, Desperados Under the Eaves.


            • WhiteWolf359
              Multiversal Airship Pilot
              • Nov 2003
              • 1056

              VII. She's A Rainbow

              She’s A Rainbow

              Eric walked through the clear blue sky from Queen Shismat’s flying island to an nearby uninhabited floating forest. From there, he concentrated on Queen Xiombarg and she simply appeared, dressed like the hippie chick in her white leather mini skirt, halter top and go-go boots. Eric smiled and presented her with the sword box. He opened it to show her the fake Skysplitter covered in the rune cloth.
              “Excellent!” Queen Xiombarg said. She took the box from Eric’s arms. She took out the sword and examined it, cutting at imaginary enemies. “You have done very well.”
              “Cool,” Eric replied. “Can I go home now?”
              “Home?” Queen Xiombarg said distractedly. “Oh, you mean that dreary city of yours? Yes, I guess you can go back, if that’s what you desire. I will have need of you again soon.”
              “Like, how many of these strange swords are there?” Eric asked. He was careful not to reveal that he knew who she was. He maintained the act that she was just some groovy magic chick he’d met and she’d taken him on a wild psychedelic trip.
              “Four, principally,” Queen Xiombarg replied. She returned the phony Cerulean Cutlass to its case and closed it. “You have already seen Firespitter, the Red Sword and now the Cerulean Cutlass of Chaos. You have yet to encounter the dangerous and deadly Windhowler, the Canary Katana or Earthshatterer, the Emerald Runeblade. But each of those swords has a set of subswords. The Cerulean Cutlass for example, has the Sapphire Sabre; the Lilac Lance; the Hyacinth Halberd; the Teal Tulwar; the Electric-Blue Epee; the Aquamarine Adz. Firespitter has the Crimson Cutlass; the Scarlet Sabre; the Rust-Red Runeblade and others. The Canary Catana has her sisters the Lemon Lance; the Sienna Sabre; the Umber Axe. Earthshatter too had sixteen or seventeen other connected swords and subsets of earth-based weapons.”
              “So how many are there all told?” Eric asked.
              “Three thousand two hundred forty-one,” Queen Xiombarg replied. “And I need all of them for my—collection.”
              “Wow!” Eric said. What Queen Shismat had said rang in his head. He would be an old man by the time he had gathered all the magical weapons Queen Xiombarg needed for her diabolical plan. How could he be expected to retrieve such a large number of instruments from such an array of dimensions and remain sane?
              “Of course, you don’t have to fetch each one individually,” Queen Xiombarg said. “Some are housed together in museums, armories and private collections.”
              “I see,” Eric replied. “Well, that’s all very groovy, but I’d like to go back to London now.”
              “Sure thing,” Queen Xiombarg said. “But take this pill first.”
              She handed him a rainbow colored capsule. Inside, a strange electric blue liquid danced and swirled.
              “What is it, LSD?” Eric asked.
              “No,” Queen Xiombarg said. “It will make you forget this little adventure. You’ll think it was all just a far out dream.”
              “Okay,” Eric said. He swallowed the pill. Despite Queen Xiombarg’s plans however, Queen Shismat’s magic spell over rode the pill’s effects. Eric remembered every detail of the trip and the previous adventures as well. They haunted his dreams for years.
              Eric felt faint. The world grew gray and blurry and faded from his sight. When he woke up, he was in bed with the busty redhead transsexual girl, Valerie Venus, the lead guitarist from the band Venus and Mars. He remembered the show and dropping acid with the band, but not much else. As Eric lay back in the soft bed with the soft girl snoring at his side, he had a frightening vision.
              He saw himself as a very old man. His body was little more than skin and bone and his eyes had taken on a strange blue glow. There was a look of utter weariness on his face. He had seen things no man should see. He had witnessed great battles between the forces of Law and Chaos. He had seen red dragons and green dragons fight for disputed skies on an alternate Earth. He had lived in a strange London twenty meters up in the sky, a whole city in a monolithic black steel building. He had dwelt under the Pacific Ocean and fought man-eating mermaid beauties. He had wrestled intelligent manticores and had a philosophical discourse with a huge white lion. And he had retrieved three thousand two hundred forty-one weapons for Queen Xiombarg and seen her fail to activate the Multiverse Shaper because one key weapon was false. He had seen her consumed in the Rainbow Flames of Chaos, her very being split into billions of individual atoms—the wrath of the Cosmic Balance.
              Eric saw his ancient self, nearly two thousand years old and half-mad from his dangerous adventures standing on what looked like a floating island. He saw a humble wooden fortress where dwelt the most beautiful woman he had ever seen or even dreamt of. He fell in a heap at her feet and died with a gasp of pain and ultimate regret. And then she touched him, and he was reborn as young sane and vital as he was today. They made love for what seemed like eons, and he did not care one whit for the Multiverse, only for her. The pendant he wore around his neck glowed like a sun and bathed them both in loving pink light.
              Eric woke from his reverie and found that he was, in fact, wearing such a necklace. It was glowing from some unknown source. Valerie woke up and pulled him into her arms and he forgot his wild dreams. For a few hours, anyway.

              To Be Continued

              Watch for Eric of Marylebone’s Next Adventure

              “The Dragon Queen’s Blade”

              Coming to A Multiverse Near You!
              Lord Warshaw the Unknown

              "Except in dreams, you're never really free." Warren Zevon, Desperados Under the Eaves.