hit counter code The Promise
the World




The Promise
Author: Keith Haney

Flakes of ash settled on her skin and hair as she stared at the distant bonfire. The surrounding forest was awash with dancing hues of orange and yellow. Lilith watched as the feral warrior tribe hurled braided thatch idols onto the roaring fire. The scene evoked an aura of the surreal, as though time had slowed just enough to tap on the window of her subconscious. Hundreds of animated bodies circled the fire in a purposeful dance. Their chants blending with the fire's crackles and hisses.

Tonight was a special occasion for the Grimme. Earlier this day they had claimed the body of an infidel. His mere presence this deep into the lands of the Grimme merited the ceremonial removal of his earthly vessel. Even the Grimme knew that the Gods of men were prone to bringing back their favored sons. This ceremonial fire, was made to consume the body of the fallen, as was goblin tradition. Lilith had witnessed this before, but never for someone she had known.

Earlier this evening when she had come here it had seemed a simple matter to claim a piece of the man. Obtain a portion of his body and depart. The holy men of the mountain fortress would do the rest. The Grimme had established this ceremony to counter the action she was currently contemplating. The primitive nature of the ritual was crude, but effective. She would have to veil her true form until she could get close enough. Then she would merely employ her power of trans-location and the deed would be done.

Lilith moved through the trees closer to the fire. She was a trespasser in these woods and for that matter, to this world. Her presence here would only be noticed when she had to interact with the real world. Halting briefly, Lilith touched a finger to her lips. Beginning the ritual of transformation. She moved her fingers in a broadening spiral until her face resembled that of the goblin solders. Her body soon yielded its softer features, adopting the hard angles of goblin kind.



The war between man and goblin had wrought many behaviors unknown in the history of each species. Fear and hatred were the sponsors of unconscionable behaviors. Should this trend continue the universal balance of good and evil would tip in favor of the nether-regions. The Saints seemed to understand the precarious nature of the eternal game. They rarely used direct intervention to influence events. Such acts allowed the denizens of hell greater claim over the marginal souls.

Hell had a system of commerce, the currency was souls. The more souls one controlled, the greater the power. Souls were exchanged for favors among the nobility of hell. Minting coins with the souls bound to them added a strange irony to the to the corruption associated with money. In order to mint a coin of hell a batch of souls must be claimed from the recently dead. Evil souls were easily converted and flowed into hell at a steady rate. Marginal souls, however remained a hotly contested commodity. Heaven had equal ownership of these properties. There was a time that these souls were claimed by one faction if the other used intervention of any kind onto the material plane. When both sides were using this divine or hellish intervention, miracles and damnation were more common than they are today.

Observing this long standing tug of war. The Dark One adopted and new tactic. His previous attempts to garner souls had been overt and aggressive. This allowed the saints to use their powers freely, sparing favored members of their flock and continuing the eternal struggle. Luicfier's new conduct of non intervention allowed him to claim a greater portion of the pool of souls. The divines soon adapted to his new strategy, but the tide had already shifted.

Closing her eyes and drawing a deep breath, the smell of the fire suffused her infernal biology. Lilith's lips curled slightly upward. The fire's heat was as palpable as a curtain. The fire too seemed to dance, it's fiery tendrils of heat stealing the night's claim to darkness. The church of Cuthbert often drew upon the imagery of fire and damnation in their illuminations. The threat of fire was meant to curb the errant behavior of their flock.