William Slade, Shadow Slayer, Episode Three: Maragoth the Murderer

by Nathan on July 24, 2010 (FantasyWilliam Slade Stories)

Previously: William Slade, Slayer hired by High King Hastell to save Commander Devbeck Hestron, has sneaked into the palace of the Shadow Spawn known as Zazek. He has entered a pitch black room that seems to extend on forever. He has been offered a chance at going home by a mysterious girl. William has refused and now finds himself embroiled in the fight for his life against an enemy of old: A Grondheim.

William Slade held his sword aloft as Maragoth swung her sharp claws swung at his head. His blade connected with the nails, resounding with a CLANG! Stepping back, he scanned the beastial Grondheim. It towered above him, drool falling from its lips. Maragoth was larger than most Grondheim William had fought and seemed to possess the ability to shape-shift. This fight would be harder than most.

The beast lunged again, its claws flashing at the heroic man. William blocked this blow as well, and rolled to the right to avoid another attack.

"YOU CANNOT HOPE TO ESCAPE ME!" Maragoth bellowed. "NO ONE CAN FLEE FROM THE WRATH OF THE GREATEST GRONDHEIM WHO EVER WALKED THE FACE OF THE EARTH! I WILL DESTROY YOU AND FEED UPON YOUR BONES!" She let out a blood-chilling wail that left the young Slayer's ears ringing.

Willaim charged blindly into the darkness. He knew that there had to be a way out of this room. But how? How? He had to think, use his brain. He knew that the Grondheim would never give up the hunt until he lay dead at her feet. He would either have to escape...or kill her.

There came another bellow, and the loud thuds of Maragoth's feet as she began to pursue him. He could hear deep, low breaths as she dashed after him.

Looking back, William saw the great beast as she charged. With a third cry, she leapt, her powerful legs propelling her over his head. Landing in front of the young man, Maragoth whirled and tried to grab him. It worked, and William soon found himself in the bone-crushing grip of the terrifying monster.

She let out a throaty cackle of glee. "Thus the young Slayer becomes mine," she hissed. "You shouldn't have tried to run, William Slade. If you hadn't, I would have dispatched you swiftly so that you would not have to go through pain, misery, and suffering. But, you fled...and I shall have to kill you without mercy and remorse. Scream as I crush you, William Slade. I will laugh at your cries."

The grip tightened so much that William lost his breath and let go of the handle of his sword. It fell to the dark floor below and clattered with a bang on the ground. The sound reverberated off unseen walls, causing the beast to shudder and shut here eyes. It also allowed William to get a sense of the room's dimensions. It was not wide, but longer, like a rectangle. This gave William an idea of what type of room he was in.

A Frash Hold. A rectangular room used as a prison for the toughest, meanest, harshest kind of criminal or monster. No wonder the Grondheim had been sealed within. But how had William gotten in? He wasn't sure, but he knew how he would get out though. Frash Holds had only one exit: A ring hanging on the wall, higher than any creature could jump. That must have been why this room is so dark, William thought. Whoever locked up this beast knew it could shape-shift. They darkened it so that the Grondheim could never found the ring.

But that also served a problem for him. If the room was so dark, he couldn't find the ring either.

"Monster!" he cried, his face contorting in a grimace of pain. "You are within a prison you can never escape! I am stuck with you. But I know how to free us both! Put me down, and I will show you the way out!"

Maragoth growled. "LIAR!" she shrieked right in his ear, causing it to nearly go deaf. "YOU KNOW NOTHING! I WILL CRUSH YOUR BODY AND THEN EAT YOU!"

She gave a squeeze to prove her point. "Believe me!" William said. "I can help you! Is there some way you can illuminate the room in order to locate the ring?"

"GRRR!" the beast growled fiercely. "YOU DON'T THINK THAT I WOULDN'T HAVE TRIED SUCH A THING ALREADY? DO YOU TAKE ME AS SOME SORT OF IDIOT, HUMAN? THERE IS NO RING! THE MAKERS OF THIS PRISON SOUGHT TO SEAL ME AWAY FOR ETERNITY! I CANNOT GET OUT...AND NEITHER CAN YOU! WE ARE TRAPPED FOREVER! AND YOU SHALL DIE!"

Maragoth opened her mouth wide to eat William. Drool hang from the sharp teeth that would soon begin sinking through his flesh and bone. Such a demise would hurt. If he had any chance of escaping the monster, the young Slayer had to find it quickly.

He had no weapons available to use. He had dropped his sword and the Grondheim's bone-crushing grip prevented him from reaching his Cell Spikes. He felt utterly trapped in the beast's hand, a slave to her desire. He could do nothing...wait.

Sound! Maragoth had shuddered as if in pain when he had dropped his sword. Maybe if he could make a loud enough noise to bounce off the walls and affect her ears, she would let him go.

But how could he make such a noise? He was helplessly trapped in the creature's grasp, unable to do anything but wriggle and squirm. At this his giant foe laughed.

"FOOL! YOU CANNOT WIN! NOW...DIE!"

The beast tossed him into the air and lunged up, jaws ready to snap down at him. In midair, time seemed to slow down. William regained his senses and prepared to dodge the beast's attack. As the Grondheim neared, he landed on each side of her jaw. Leaping away before the beast could grab him, he landed on the ground and rolled away before she could get him.

As luck would have it, he landed near his sword. Hefting the blade, he struck the ground. The noise bounced off the walls, and Maragoth covered her ears and shrieked in pain. Again, William whacked the ground. Again, the beast cried out. William kept on striking the ground, each time the sound causing the beast extreme pain.

Finally, she fell to her knees, unconscious. William strode over to her head, lifted his sword, and struck the killing blow.

He'd won. He had killed one of the most monstrous beast in the world. But...now what?

Suddenly, without warning, the room was bathed in light. William squinted at the brightness. A small home appeared in the wall next to him, and a voice beckoned with one command:

"Come."

William tightened his hold upon his sword and stepped towards the hole. Darkness lay beyond, but he could make out two figures. One was dressed in the armor of King Hastell's soldiers, but was bound and gagged. He was clearly Commander Devbeck. he lay on the ground, his eyes peering at William.

The other was a man the young Slayer had never seen before. He wore black robes that covered his entire body, had gray skin, a beaked nose like a bird, ears like a bat's, and piercing black eyes. He was grinning evilly.

"Welcome, William Slade," he greeted, his voice like a serpent's hiss. "I am Zazek."

Tags: FantasyWilliam Slade Stories

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