Fantasy & Sci-Fi

Albinor Chronicles Chapter 3
"The Coming of Asmodeus"

By Marcus Pan

A deep-throated chuckle rose in his throat. Shrouded in his black fire, he sat and watched his pet leap on a man. But not only a man Johannesonne Lobanna, Paladin of Ishtar. His 'pet', as he calls the wild, untamed killing machine known as the 'Tarrasque' by mortal men, was sucking the very life from the paladin's weary limbs. And the owner of this killing machine was none other than Asmodeus, Lord of Hell and Fire, blackness power yet unmatched. From Nessus, the lowermost of the Nine Hells, he watches the battle through a magic mirror. He watches and laughs as Lobanna barely scratches the great beast and as his pet further tramples him to the ground. He watches as the shimmering globe surrounds the paladin and his pet rushes forth. He jumps to his feel. "No, you stupid beast!" Too late and the Tarrasque is defeated. In a cry of anger, Asmodeus plunges his gloved fist through the scrying glass sending shards of glass to the floor about his feet. "Send for Baalzebul!" he shrieks.

The Lord of Flies, Baalzebul, comes into the great halle of Asmodeus, Overlord of the Dukes of Hell. Walking slowly across the great, marble floor, he stops and kneels before the seated figure of his lord. "What is it doth wishes, m'lord?"

"You are to watch over Hell. I have an errand." Looking up quickly from his place on his knees, he studies the face of his lord. Not in a millennium has he seemed so upset.

"To where does thy lordship travel?" he asks.

"To Albinor I go, but I will return shortly and I will not see my domain in tatters. You are to rule over it for avery short time. Donot fail menor defy me or thou shalt find thyself sunken in the pits of Gehenna.

"Yes, lord." Asmodeus leaves Hell.

Johannesonne sits beside the burning fire. In the hills of Vestland he sits, only a day after his battle with the hellish beast. As he oiled his fine sword, the sword that kept him from death only a night before, there was a loud rumble deep within the earth. The ground ripped open and toxic fumes and gasses belch forth. Black fire rims the opening. Rising above the pit is a dark figure clad in black with red trim. The figure lifts a gloved hand and points in the paladin's direction. "You will pay for your insolence against the pits of Hell." it says somberly. A second creature leaps from the lip of the pit and flies, screaming, upon Johannesonne. He turns to move from the sway of the creature, but before he can act it lashes out it's strong claw and gnashes his left arm painfully. The paladin leaps aside and rises to his feet.

"I will rip you. I will tear you. To shreds, to shreds, to shreds!" The voice of the dark creature chants in the dark night. Man-sized it stands, with a great, broad chest. It's talon-like claws are strong and formidable and hang low at the end of it's long arms, nearly scraping the ground as it walks. It's fangs glisten in the light of the fire and it snarls. It's body is covered by a coarse, red hair. This is a pit fiend, from the depths of Hell itself. Stronger and more powerful than any man but this paladin is not just any man.

As the creature jumps madly at the paladin a great sword rises in it's path. With a whirring blur in the darkness of the night, the edge of the sword cut deeply into the side of the beast and it fell solidly to the ground beneath. A spin and a downward thrust and the head of the beast rolled to the foot of the pit. Turning, Johannesonne gazed upon the man that rose above the pit. In a flash the paladin unleashed a small throwing dagger from his right wrist and quickly sped it on it's way to the mark. In an instant and what seems to be the last possible instant Asmodeus' hand rose and caught the dagger in his palm. He tossed it to the paladin's feet. "You are worthy, Paladin of Ishtar. Worthy enough for me. But I say unto you, your path through Albinor will lead to many dark places. Everywhere you turn you will be haunted by the depths of Nessus and all your clan will. I say unto thee, if thou wishes to become powerful enough to sit beside your goddess you have to defeat ME to do so. Come to me, Johannesonne. I am waiting. In Hell we will meet and in Hell you will stay if you have the courage to walk the dark path that leads you there. Good luck, paladin, and I bid you god-speed to come to me. I will wait for you. And for so long as I reign, you will not!" The figure dropped quickly into the pit and along with it the remains of the pit fiend that lied at the paladin's feet. The ground closed in a loud roar.

Johannesonne now knows his destiny to fight and defeat the most feared darkness known. To travel into and out of safely the depths of Hell itself.

The above item may have been edited by the author since its first appearance in Legends No. 6.