Bull Worshippers of Adina
T176, Shawnee Empire
A band of Bull Worshippers of Noquet, ranging far from their usual haunts, attacked a company of scholars who had recently returned from an investigation of the ruins of Chapultipec, in the woods of Cayuga. Fortunately, the bestial savages were driven off by the notorious albino mercenary Paleface Blacksword, sometimes known as either Albert or Elric of Missouri, who they had engaged as a bodyguard for their protection. Otherwise, things were quiet in these parts.
EDITORS NOTE: Cayuga is the region south of Lake Ontario.
T178, Swedish Empire of Russia
The Grand Captain of the Knights of Wonder named the Bull-worshippers of Adina as one of numerous cults that had subverted his order. (For more details see the Knights of Wonder, T178)
T180, Shawnee Empire
It was night in New Rome. In a low tavern in a poor part of town, seven hardened mercenaries conferred in tones of triumph. As was the custom of followers of the Lords of Discord, each man wore a mask in the shape of the head of some animal: this one a weasel, that one a wolf, others creatures that surely never walked on this world. Something about the scene, either the darkness, the masks, the bearing of the seven men, or the cruelty apparent in their voices, made them seem more bestial than human. So great was their excitement that they failed to notice the gaunt albino who lounged with apparent indifference in the shadows on the other side of the room.
"The old fool knew what he was doing!" cried a man who wore a mask like the head of mighty lizard, armed with teeth like daggers. He held up a small crystal.
"You gave him his reward?" asked a man who wore a mask that resembled the head of a pig.
"Surely!" crowed the first. He flourished his pistol, made a meaningful gesture, and the other men laughed. Their laughter was raucous and brutal; more like the grunting of beasts than the laughter of men.
"What does it show?" asked a man at the foot of the table. This man was more slender than the rest, seemingly more refined, and wore a mask in the shape of the elongated head of some fantastic insect, with a second set of jaws that protruded from the first.
"It seems," said the first man in whispers, "that the Tower will move to Africa!"
"Milords," interrupted a voice, "may I join you?"
The mercenaries turned and saw that the gaunt albino had crossed the room to stand next to their table.
"Piss off," said the man in the pig mask, "or you'll bleed your guts out right here on the floor."
"I think I'll stay," answered the albino. "I'd like a look at that trinket your friend is holding."
"It's your funeral, Paleface," grunted the pig, and the seven mercenaries reached for their weapons.
It should have been impossible for the albino to draw his longsword, let alone wield it in the confined space inside the tavern, but the sword seemed to leap into his hand as if it had a life of its own. A moaning noise filled the air: moaning and screams, as the sword drank the lives of the seven beasts.
Or perhaps it drank more than their lives.
"Cold," sighed the last one, the man who wore the lizard head, as the sword sank into his breast, "So cold!" The albino withdrew the sword without a word, sheathed it, and reached down to pluck the crystal from the man's nerveless fingers. He examined it briefly, nodded, then pocketed the shard and strode out into the night.
T183, Empire of Afriqa
The captain of the garrison regarded the ruins of the village with distaste. It had never been a prosperous place - just a mere fishing village on the shores of the Atlantic - and now the bodies of its inhabitants lay scattered about the wreckage of their burnt boats, tattered nets, and pathetic hovels.
"When did this happen?" he asked his sergeant.
"A few days ago, we guess, from the condition of the bodies."
The captain prodded a body with his toe. "This was one of the attackers?"
"We believe so."
The captain bent down, removed the mask, and regarded the face underneath.
"Pale, but at least it isn't another of those damned albinos. It looks like someone from the New World."
"So we believe. Our experts say the Kingdom of Colorado."
The captain examined the elaborately carved mask. "And they all wore helmets like these? Fashioned to resemble the heads of beasts?"
The captain threw the mask to the ground.
"I don't like it! First that stupid albino, then those three black beasts, and now this! We will have no more of these supernatural incidents! It reflects badly on our command!"
EDITORS NOTE: The Tower is being pursued by Elric, who is himself being pursued separately by three black beasts and followers of the Lords of Discord.
T184, Kingdom of Colorado
"I will try," muttered the priest, his voice slurred by the effects of strong drink, "but the subject has always been shrouded by mists, and the weapon he carries will make the scrying difficult."
"I did not hire you to 'have difficulties'," snapped the leader of the fighting men, "I hired you to get results. Where is he, and where are our brothers?"
Behind him his followers grunted assent. In the flickering light, the helmets they wore and the crudity of their garb made them seem like beasts.
"If the Church finds out what we're doing!..."
"Your church," replied the fighting man, "will never know."
The priest shuddered and turned towards the mirror. It remained blank, but he stared into its depths as if it held his salvation. Moments passed, then he spoke as in a trance.
"Three dark beasts lie dead upon the sand. Something else was here, something strange, but now it's gone. Your followers approach from the south. To the north, I see..."
"Something moves within the mist! It turns! It sees me! It!
No!" The priest stiffened, "Not my soul! Not..."
The priest gave a cry, clutched his heart, and collapsed.
The fighting man regarded the body with disinterest, then turned to his followers.
"It seems this world has much to offer. Our quarry has done our Lords a great favor in leading us to this place. Their harvest will be rich! As for our quarry himself, his days are numbered."
"Lord?" grunted one of the mercenaries. "What of the Power he bears?"
"What of it? Embodied as a sword, it cannot strike at a distance, and he is but a single man. Our brothers are many, and carry guns, which can."
T184, Emirate of Lybia
The sergeant delivered his report. His voice was flat, expressionless, and gave no hint of the trepidation he must have felt to be the bearer of such tidings.
"We found three bodies. They were dark-skinned, and did not appear to be human, though it was hard to tell after so many days. They lay next to a pit."
"Yes, sir. A deep pit, with a mound of sand around it, as if someone had turned the earth with a giant shovel. Inside we found something very strange. It was ... an ornament, about the size of your forearm, fashioned from some black metal chased with silver. It looked... I don't know... almost symbolic, as if it was a symbol of an anchor."
The lieutenant's voice was dry. "And what, pray tell, happened to this... symbol."
"We lost it, sir. On that very night, we were attacked and overwhelmed by a band of brigands wearing helmets shaped like the heads of beasts. Only I escaped to tell thee."
Last updated: 12 September 2003
© 2003 Robert Pierce