William Slade, Shadow Slayer, Episode Four: Trials of the Tyrant

—by Nathan on August 2, 2010—

Previously: William Slade has found himself within a Frash Hold, faced with one of the nastiest creatures on the planet: A Grondheim. He's faced those before, but this one is a lot bigger. However, he has found out its weakness: It has an aversion to sound. Using that knowledge as a tool, he's rendered it unconscious and killed it. Now, he has been beckoned into a room by the ultimate enemy: Zazek. The Shadow Spawn. But what does the villain want with him?

William Slade stared into the face of the darkest villain ever in the history of Durele. The first Shadow Spawn, born as the very essence of shadow. Zazek had been a menace for over 1000 years, starting wars, conquering kingdoms, creating havoc and panic in many people and creatures. Finally, he had been imprisoned...but he had broken free and returned to be a dark force no one would dare question. And no one did...until now.

"I see your hatred, Slayer," Zazek said, his eyes glaring at the young man before him. "Clearly, you have heard the stories of my supposed cruelty and have come to despise me as much as every man and beast has. I don't begrudge you. I suspect that my ways haven't been the kindest."

"You're are a monster in human form," William growled. "You are a foul, wretched being whose done nothing but try and plunge the world into shadow. You have destroyed, stolen, murdered, cheated...all to try and succeed in your dark goal. You broke out of prison and captured one of the greatest fighters in the world. Hear me, beast. I have come to see that you never affect this world in any way ever again."

The man laughed. "Come now. You're just like everyone else. Your beliefs blind you to the truth. Your perception is clouded over from what is right because fools have told you otherwise. You choose to believe what you hear and see even if it is beyond reason."

"And your point is?"

"That I have been treated far too unfairly. I'll use you as an example. You say that you believe me to be a monster, a murderer, a being whose soul is hunk of black obsidian. But that's what the world has told you. Why not listen to the very man who must face the world's accusations? How about I tell you a little story?"

"No. I have been sent to rescue Commander Devbeck, and I shall."

"Pah. The Commander can wait. Stay right there."

Coils of shadow sprung forth from the floor and wrapped themselves around William, pinning his arms to his sides. He struggled but could not break free. "This is exactly what I mean!" he yelled, flinging his full rage upon the Shadow Spawn. "If you weren't as cruel as you claim, why imprison me? Why not be trusting?"

"Because there is nothing about you to trust. Kind people can be superstitious. Now listen."

"I don't think I have any other choice." William indicated at the coils that surrounded his body. "Though this binding is unnecessary. I wouldn't try to hurt you. The Commander is in your hands. You could do with him as you wished. I wouldn't be so foolish as to try and harm you while his life was at stake."

"Ah." Zazek smirked mischievously. "Good. Now: As you have already stated, I did try to take over this little ball you people love so much. This wretched world of light where the sun dismisses the shadows was almost cast into an eternity of glorious night. You, and everyone else, believe those actions to be ruthless, cruel, villainous. No. It is not so. When I was finally defeated and imprisoned, I wept. Not for myself. But for you."

He took a breath before continuing. "I knew that, as long as this world remained one of shining light, there was no escape. The only way to conceal this world was to shroud in in everlasting darkness. I know you believed me to be a war-mongering tyrant. But in reality, I was trying to save you all! Yet you wouldn't one would. Not even your foolish High King!" He spat upon the earth.

"What are you talking about?" William asked.

The Shadow Spawn glared at him. "I was trying to save you," he said, his tone softer. "But no one believed me."

"Save us?" William scoffed. "From what? How?"

"The Devastator." Silence hung in the chamber. "His name is Toltorg, and he has been around since the dawn of time. He was one of the first beings ever created. His job was to protect mankind from all shadow and evil. But he was corrupted. He destroyed half the world before he was finally stopped and warped into space by the greatest magicians ever. That was over 2000 years ago. However, he's coming back to claim this place. The only way to stop him is to cloak the world in shadow, so he believes that it has already been conquered. Only then will he leave you in peace."

William almost laughed. "You expect me to believe all that garbage?" He shook his head. "I'm not a child, Zazek. I'm a Slayer. And I have been given an order. And I shall see it done!"

"No. There is a reason I kidnapped the commander. I knew you would come. I need you, Slayer. With you, I can cloak the world and save you all. All I need is for you to get a few things for me. Please. For the safety of this globe, you have got to believe me!"

Zazek stared at William with pleading eyes.

The young Slayer sighed. "What is it that you need?" he asked.

The Shadow Spawn smiled again. "In order to completely cloak your world, I will need three objects," he said. "The Rod of Rojulles. The Book of the Leed. And the Selcrion Sword. All can be found in different parts of the world. What I need you to do is go to those places, find the items that I require, and return them to me. Only then will I be able to stop the Devastator."

Zazek raised his hand. The coils fell from William. "Using magic I can warp you to the different areas. I will know when you have the items."

"Wait!" William cried. "This is some of trick, I know it. Explain to me if, you can warp, then why can't you go yourself? And, second why can't you warp straight to the objects? Why do I got to hunt for them?"

"The answer to your first question is because I do not possess the fighting skills necessary to get out of those places alive." Zazek whirled his hands, creating a purple sphere. "You are the greatest of the Slayers. Your skills cannot be matched by anyone. Ever. Your abilities will enable you to do better than any other person would. In regard to your second inquiry, these three objects are some of the most powerful in Durele. No fool would not put special barriers around them. I will warp you as close as possible. From there, you will have to acquire the objects on your own. Good luck."

Before William could say any more, the Shadow Spawn launched the sphere at him. In a flash, the room, Zazek,and the commander had vanished, replaced by a snowy field. A high mountain rose in front of him. A temple lay at the top.

William took a step forward, something struck him in the back of the head. Falling, he whirled to see his attacker.

A man stood over him, dressed in warm wraps to protect him against the frigid cold. His eyes glared at Willaim. In his hand was a long, curved sword.

The man gave a battle cry and rose the weapon, ready to strike. His eyes were wild as he prepared to murder the Slayer.

Meanwhile, Zazek watched this development, a smile playing over his lips. "Oh, yes," he muttered to himself with a chuckle. "It's all going very well."

The Shadow Spawn faced Commander Devbeck and leaned down. "The little man came to rescue you...and now it seems that he's the one in need of a rescue. Too bad no one will come. I've led him on a fool's errand. And he doesn't even know it. He actually believe that I'm trying to help the world. How little does he know that I've been lying all the time. Heh. And what your little friend doesn't know will kill him."

The Commander shuddered as Zazek's cold laughter rand throughout the black chamber, echoing off the dark walls, a sound of torment, malice, and utter evil.

—Tags: Fantasy, William Slade Stories

Also read Nathan's blogs at Geeks Under Grace.