The Gopher King: Chapter 29

The Viceroy teleported back to his tower room in Malindra’s rundown manor house and sat in his chair for a few hours to rest his mind. The spells he had just cast to transform Druuna from a dragon to a dracolich had weakened him in a manner that made him uncomfortable. He could still wreck the lives of anyone that attempted to face him now to be certain, but the feeling of being drained of magical power was never a well-received impression among liches. He leaned to one side and held his head in the palm of one of his bony hands as he put his weight against the armrest. With his other hand he mindlessly drummed his bony fingers as he pondered.

A myriad of things crossed his mind as he sat there in the dwindling light. He considered the rage of Malindra at being kept in the dark as he had done her dirty work in ways designed to place the Viceroy in the most favorable position going forward. He was going to facilitate the night hag’s exit from this plane to the Gray Wastes along with her infernal larvae, but her exit would leave him in a much stronger place than he had ever had. He now fully intended to keep the Diosian Lodge’s portion of the larvae for himself alone. The liches would be angry no doubt. Angrier than they had ever been. But he was going to see to it that they had more trouble than it was worth trying to retrieve their prize. Druuna would factor into that plan. So would the meddlesome troublemakers. Whether they were ever aware of it or not they would be the Viceroy’s most powerful and effective deterrent against any of the Diosian Lodge coming after him.

Once nightfall had descended on Maelonbourg the Viceroy got up and headed downstairs to find Malindra. She was on her throne in the main room eating her dinner with great gusto when the lich strolled in. She looked up from her meal and scowled at the lich.

“Have you told the ranger what he is to do yet?” asked the lich in his emotionless haunted voice.

The night hag finished the food in her mouth and never stirred her gaze from his. “I did.” She said simply. “He agreed to it. I would think he will come with an army to lend a hand.”

The lich stood unmoving as she spoke. “I would have guessed as much. It is what I need him to do.”

The night hag continued staring at the Viceroy as she tore off more meat and chewed it angrily. Through mouthfuls of food she said, “I don’t see the purpose of this. None of it gets me out of this wretched place any faster.”

Chuckling quietly the Viceroy replied, “It isn’t any of your concern, witch. You’ll be gone soon enough. Just let this play out as it is meant to and look forward to the power you will be bringing into the Gray Waste when you return.”

Malindra cackled as she retorted, “Not nearly as much power will I be taking as you will have usurped in your dealings here.” The night hag shook her head and hissed, “You cunning devil. Your peers take you for a buffoon, but you have more wiles in your boney pinky finger than the whole of them can boast combined in their blasphemous chamber ruins.”

The Viceroy studied the night hag carefully. Even in her normal form she was difficult for the lich to read her thoughts and emotions plainly. “I swore to you that I would get you home.” He said. “You’re almost there.” With that the lich turned and walked out of the room and returned to his tower lair. He was going to need to be ready for the next series of events and that meant time spent perusing the most dangerous spellbooks he had in his collection. It would take the troublemakers a few weeks to gather the strength they needed to take on this final task before Malindra left this plane. The Viceroy would take all of that time to prepare for what was going to happen once she had gone.

Previous ChapterNext Chapter