Note #1: While it features no ‘on-screen’ sexual activity or explicit adult situations, this
hypnofetish scene does contain examples of fictional characters doing illegal, immoral
and/or impossible things to other fictional characters. If you are under the age of consent
in your community, are disturbed by such concepts, or want sex in your pornography, then
for gosh sakes stop reading now!
Permission granted to re-post for free to any electronic medium, as long as no one's being charged to view it, and this disclaimer and e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) are not removed. It would also be nice if you told me you were posting it.
Copyright me, 2000.
Note #2: Yet another drawing-inspired scene, with homages to various other things tossed in as well. Thanks to my proofreader for the editing/suggestions.
She came striding around the final bend in the trail, her silver armor and helmet glittering with almost painful brightness in the afternoon sun. The golden crown and surrounding star embossed on her shield seemed to go even further, shining with their own light. Before her, the trail came to an abrupt end between two tall weathered pillars of stone, both worked with elaborate twisting shapes up and down their lengths. She stopped and studied them for a moment, her tough leather boots spread wide on the bare earth. Her ice-blue gaze narrowed behind the eyeslits in her winged helmet as she studied the artwork.
Finally, she hefted her imposing black spear in a practiced manner and stepped between the pillars. Beyond them was a small circular grassy clearing and just beyond that, a wide still pool, out of which rose several intertwined banyan trees, enormous collections of limbs and roots which trailled long streamers of black-green moss back down into the water below.
A third smaller stone stood at the far edge of the clearing, half on the land, half in the water. She walked to it, her boots silent against the spongy grass. Unlike the pillars, the new stone had only been half-carved; the upper half had been carefully fashioned into a deep smooth bowl, while the lower regions remained unworked and rough. (Or, on the water side, unworked and slimy.) The bowl stood mostly empty; a small sticky black smudge could be seen in the very bottom as if something had been burned there long ago.
She stood before the bowl and studied the trees, the finely chiselled lines of her face stony as her eyes moved across the scene. After a moment she spoke, her voice beautiful and cold and hard, a verbal glacier.
“I cannot see you, but I feel your eyes upon me. I seek the abode of one known as Sizhkan the Prophet. I was told this may be it. Was this a true tale?”
No reply. She shrugged.
“I have no time to waste with this. I will be off.” She turned to go.
“Wait...” The voice came from the trees, and she turned back.
On the nearest tree, something was moving, sliding with slow smooth grace along an upper branch. A wedge-shaped piece detached itself from the gnarled bark and rose up. It was mottled in rough circles of green and brown, and in its center were two pits, glowing red and orange.
The large snake flicked its violet tongue out at the woman, tasting her without ever touching her. The voice came again, low and silibent.
“You sseek Ssizhkan? Then you have found him.”
The woman growled softly: “I will not speak through your pets and familiars, Prophet. Show yourself.”
“Petss? Familiarss? I have no ssuch thingss. I am Ssizhkan.” The snake drooped a little closer, into the golden light, although being careful to remain well clear of the range of the spear and its wicked-looking tip.
“You? Sizhkan is of the Serpent Folk?” She glared, suspicous. “None mentioned this.”
“Few are now aware of it. Sso few come sseeking me in thesse unssertain and troubled timess. You are the first in over a sseasson.”
“The rock trolls have recently come back down out of the mountains, in greater numbers than have been seen in many cycles. Travel is difficult for most.” She spoke flatly, but with a clear indication of on which side of ‘most’ she personally fell.
“Ahhh... but not for a Valkyrie.” It was hard to tell exactly what the snake was looking at in any given moment, but his gaze seemed to dart to the spear and then the shield before returning to her face. “Even sso, you are a long way from the fortss and Hallss of your northern homeland.”
“You know of Valkyries?” Even more supicious. “You are the first such... individual... I have met in almost three seasons of travel.”
“I know much.” The snake matched the woman’s tone of a moment ago. “Would I not be a poor Prophet if this wass not the casse? But in thiss matter, I claim no sspecial knowledge, except that which comess with age. In... happier... timess passt, your kind were more often sseen here in the warm ssouthlandsss...”
“The Holy Tomes of our Hall’s great library said it has been four hundred and forty two cycles.” Suspicion had shifted to outright skepticism. “You claim to have lived that span?”
“Ssss... perhapss, perhapss not. It iss true that I have lived long, sso long that I no longer remember the exact count of cycless and sseasonss come and gone... but whether or not it wass I who ssaw Valkyriess sstriding the gentle fieldss and foressts of the Ssouthlandss, the memory iss there. Memory lasst long, rooted in the ssoil, blowing in the breeze...”
“I did not come here for your poems and riddles, serpent.”
The snake swayed slightly, as if her comment had caused a strong gust of breeze.
“Of coursse. Of coursse. Why then did you sseek me out?”
“I seek not you, but knowledge you are rumored to possess.” She drew herself up even straighter, and her heavy white cloak swirled around her tall form before dropping back into place. “I seek the location of the Amulet of Yndar.”
It was of course not possible for one of the Serpent Folk to ever blink, but somehow Sizhkan managed to give the impression of doing so before replying. “A Valkyrie sseeks the Amulet? Ssss... Sss.. Your Elders have ssent you forth?”
“I would not be here if they had not, serpent. I would be... elsewhere... if I were choosing my own path in life.”
“Joining your sssissterss in battle?”
She said nothing, seemed to turn to literal ice for a moment.
“The battless musst truly be tremendouss, glory upon glory, for your Elderss to ssusspect that Ragnarok iss at hand.”
“Why elsse would a Valkyrie abandon the defence of her Hall, sseek Yndar’ss Amulet, sseek the madnesss and death that ssuroundss it?”
“You know perhaps more than is wise, serpent.” She spoke with icy control.
“Ssss. A failing of my kind, ass ssuch from the time ssince the world began.” He swayed again and the moss strands around him moved in sympathy. “But you wissh me to know and to talk, do you not? Yess... Valkyrie, I can point you towardsss the proper path. The long and dangerouss road which endss at the black buried crypt where Yndar liess even now, hiss throbbing Amulet forever clutched in hisss dead withered grassp. But for thiss information there iss a prisse...”
“Of course.” Very dry. “And that price is?”
“Knowledge. You musst sshare with me what sstoriess and tales, uncertain rumorss and bald-faced liess that you have heard on your travelsss, acrosss the frozen wasstesss, over the troll-infessted mountainsss... down to the wide valleyss and riversss of the sssouth... to this point.”
Her reply was blunt. “I trust you not to keep your half of such a bargain.”
“Wissse. Very wissse. But I trusst you, Valkyrie. Give me the word of a Valkyrie, pledge on the honor of your Hall, that you will tell me what you know, and I will tell you what you want to know firsst.”
She looked up at the snake, looked into his eyes. She raised her spear in a snappish motion and held it before her.
“I will tell you nothing more of the North. It appears you already know too much. But of what I have heard on my travels... yes. I so swear.”
“Yess... I musst assk for, however, two sssmall piecesss of information firsst. Do not anssswer if you wisssh, but my curiousssity burnsss...”
She hesitated, then replied. “What do you wish to know?”
“Firsst, the traveller who last happened to come to thiss place sspoke of... rumorsss... that the Ssserpent King had reappeared openly under the sun. Iss thisss true? Are there further taless?”
“Yes.” Once again, dryness. “Tales aplenty. He has been already destroyed.”
“Does this trouble you, serpent, that your king is dead?” She almost smiled.
“He isss... wasss... a king who wasss a ssserpent, not a king of ssserpentsss. I ssshed no tearsss at hisss passsing. What mighty hero ssslew him?”
“The minstrels in the inns say he was a barbarian of the great western forests named Hin. He challenged and killed the worm in the very throne room of Bokarina, and now rules that place as its king.” Another almost-smile. “Not an unworthy performance, for a mere male. Your second question?”
“What iss your name?”
“I travel under the name Northstar.”
“Ssss. Travel under... sss. A worthy name, and a wisse precaution. Namesss... namess... Very well, Northssstar, Valkyrie of the proud and tragic north.” His head moved back and forth. “To find Yndar’s golden Amulet, you musst travel far to the eassst, and even farther to the sssouth. Twice again ass far ass you have already come. Ass you travel, tell no one what you truly ssseek; ass you musst already know there are many who have dedicated their livesss, their entire ssspeciess, to preventing the recovery of the Amulet, and they have sspiesss in many ssstrange and unexpected placesss. From thiss place, go directly easst, through the wide valleys of Antharia, to the busstling trade-city of Ankm’Purk. There find passsage on a barge to crosss the great grey river Mytusypi, wide and ssslugissh and filled with the ssavage biting fissh. On the far bank, join a caravan ass a guard and travel acrosss and down the wide grasss plainsss of the horssse-clanss, passt the ssolitary aeries of their sstrange winged godsss. Never ssstray far from the totemsss which mark the hard-bartered pathsss of the Road-Tradersss, for the clansss will overwhelm and kill an intruder... even a Valkyrie... who tressspasssesss uninvited on their territory. Ssss... Then on down into the ssultry landsss where the mangrove sswampsss grow thick and wide and deep, home of the black birdsss, the golden-eyed birdss without feathersss... birdss that flit sssleepily between the branchesss. Day and night, they fly and fill the air with their sssoperific mussic... Again, ssstay focussed on the quesst, sstay on the pathss and sstray neither left nor right, for many dark and sstrange thingsss ssink their rootss into the black rich ssoil under the bird’ss nesstss, and wait for carelesss travellersss to come within the grassp of their clawss and sstingss... If you win through thisss, more and ssstranger citiesss you will find, vasst and ssweltering and teeming with vibrant and... sssuculant life, all the sspeciesss of thingsss that crawl or ssslink or ssslither under the sssun, and many of thosse who run curssing from his sshining face... Black-skinned humans and half-ssivilized trollss and the happy ssmiling Sssea-Ssswimersss and the ssilver-robed Outssidersss endlesssly peddling their crysstal vialss filled with dreamsss and terrorss... ssss... and thousssandsss upon thousssandsss more...” He was swaying now, slow and steady as he whsipered, whispered...
And she was swaying as well, in perfect time with his motion. Her eyes were still suspicious, but she did not look away or even blink. And she swayed.
“Travel through the ssswamp-cities until finally, you come out of the lasst row of great treesss and sstand on the white ssandy ssshore of the Great Sssouthern Sssea, the ssssea vasst and wide and warm... ssstand there, watch the ssmall white wavesss ssslop againsst the ssshore... again and again. Then ssset assside your armor, your ssheild and your cloak... for a time, and bathe yourssself in the ssoft watersss... ssssink deep, deep in the warmth... and the sssilence... and the darknesss.... ssss... empty your mind and cleansse your body to prepare yoursself for the greater tasssk ahead.... Redresss, and travel down the long and twissting shore to the easst, until you find the great and majessstic harbor-sssity of Wuldurcan, the third biggesst city in all the lands under the sssun and over the sseass. It sssitss on a wide peninsssula, atop a high granite cliff... at very the edge of the sssun-drenched sssea, quiet and majesssstic and sssserene in itss power and itss glory. The sssongs and the art and the flavoringss and the spicesss of a double dozen landsss passs through its great golden gatess every ssseason... Enter thossse gatess, passt the great ssseamlesss wallsss, passt the hard watchful eyess of the white-plumed guardsss, and ssslowly walk itsss broad pearly ssstreetsss as they curve down towards the docksss and the great merchant sshipss which crowd the vassst harbor. Walk sslowly... very sslowly... to the very sssenter of the sssity and sssit for hourssss and hoursss under the ssshade of the cool sslender treessss which ssstand in ssilent grovesss around the jewel-encrussted wallsss and towerss of the Emir’sss sstately palassse, famed home of the ten thoussand delightsss and torturesss... watch the long violet leavesss ssway back and forth, back and forth, in the calm ssea breezess, let the sssalt air filter ssslowly into your lungs, breath by sslow, deep breath... and lisssten to their voisssesss... the voisssesss, sso sssweet and ssseductive, asss they ssslither into your ssssoul, deep into your sssoul. Lisssten only to the voisssesss...”
“Listen...” She mouthed the word, less than a whisper, her eyes no longer suspicious.
“Yesss... And then you will be asssleep... assleep... your eyesss will remain open... but you will be asssleep... Asss you are now asssleep. Asssleep. For only by sssleeping... sssleeping... can you ssuccessfully complete the lassst leg of thiss journey... you must remain asssleep. In your sssleep, your deep and dreamless sssleep, you will walk, ssslowly walk the resst of the way down into the harbor, to the lasst of the piersss under the sshelter of the cliffsss... the very lasst, where there cannot possibly be a pier, but isss... there you will find a sssingle sship with a sshrouded captain and an invisssible crew... it will have black, ssquare ssailss, all marked with the Eye that is open, but closssed... as your eyesss are now open but clossed.... Board it, walk up the thin plank in your ssleep, and the vesssel will whissk you out into the ssssea, far out into the sssea, to an island, tall and sshattered and brooding, lying in darknesss... darkness... and sssilence... and ssleep... sssleep... sss.. Thisss wass the throne of the terrible witch-king Yndar, before the armiess of the world united under the lasst true King, rosse up and ended Yndar’sss reign, bombing his holdingsss, hiss armiesss and hisss dreamsss to ssmoking rubble with now-forgotten magicksss, sssinking much beneath the wavess for all eternity... Only the issland now remainsss, and a wall of sssleep and nightmaress ssuroundss it, but the sship will carry your dreamlesss ssleeping form to the ssshore. Sssleep...Yndar liesss in hiss frozen tomb in the heart of the isssland, ssstill wearing hiss obssidian crown of pain and hiss rich but rotting robesss of ssstate, robess meticuloussly woven of night and shadowsss.. sss.... Over his coffin, the last of the ice demonsss ssstand guard, never wavering, never blinking. Watching and waiting and lisstening...”
“Yess... Thier bite isss chilling, their ssscreamss and their clawss piersse like a blizzzard’s wrath... Only a Valkyrie of royal blood...” He somehow glanced again at the insignia emblazoned on her shield, without ever releasing her eyes from the red-orange prison in which he had locked them... “...can hope to stand againssst them. You will fight them in your sssleep, and you will dessstory them. Wrench the amulet from dead Yndar’s grassp and return to the northlandss in triumphant sssleep... only if you remain assleep can you ssafely carry the amulet... You will return, and you will defeat... tell me... Northssstar... who will you return to defeat?”
Swaying, her eyes glazed and nearly closed now, she replied in a sing-song voice.
“Surtar. Surtar of the Depths, Yndar’s northern disciple, is free of his eternal prison. If he is not returned to it, Ragnarok will come. The glaciers will return. There will be no Southlands. All will be ice. Thus far, we have held him in check, but we cannot do so indefinitely. Only the Amulet of his former master can banish him forever.”
“Ssurtar. Yesss. That explainsss much. The windsss... the patternss... the trollss...” His tail appeared out of the tree, oozed forwards and wrapped itself neatly around the shaft of her spear. “Sssoon, you will leave thiss place, go forth and do the thingsss I have desscribed. All of them. Do you underssstand, Northssstar?”
“I... underssstand...” Not hesitation, but words slipped through thick and heavy lips.
“All of them, and more.” The tail tugged. For a second her gloved hand resisted, then the spear slipped free. Her hand remained floating limp in the air. “I sssaid all sspeciesss live in the ssssitiesss of the sssouth. Thisss is true. But for one ssstatement, everything I have ssaid iss true.”
“Everything you have ssaid iss true...” Only white showed now under her lids.
“Yesss... Among the inhabitentsss of the sssouth are othersss of the Ssserpent Folk. Ass you travel, ssseek them out. My name iss known among them. Sspeak it, and they will help you with your holy quesst.” The spear twirled in his tail’s grip, and he stabbed it almost ceremoniously into the earth near the bowlstone. “You recognize their sscent, their vibrationsss.” His angular snout was very close to her now, and his tail came up to brush whisper-soft under her chin. He tasted her helplessness with his tongue. “And after thisss night, they will recognize your sscent asss well...”
She trembled at his touch, but did not jerk away. She could not jerk away.
Three shapes appeared out of the trees, wading through the warm shallow water with stealthy sinuous grace. Females, two full-figured humans and one slender wood-elf, all clad in sketchy green garments that strongly resembled the streamers of moss through which they passed. They were smooth and entirely bald, and their pupils were slits, red and yellow.
“My one lie... I do keep... petsss.” He spoke to the new arrivals. “Take your new ssisster. Prepare her..”
“Yesss, masster...” A chorus. The elf and one of the humans took Northstar by the arms and let her gently into the trees. She did not resist, her eyes still rolled up inside her head.
The third woman lifted her worshipping eyes to Sizhkan the Prophet. As she did so, her arm also rose up, the gesture of a gracefully-operated puppet. She spoke meekly, her forked tongue flicking behind her pearly white fangs.
“May thisss ignorant sslave assk a quesstion, masster?”
“Alwaysss. Alwayss ssseek knowledge.” The snake slithered onto the arm, down onto her shoulders, wrapping around her body. She flushed and moaned a little at his cool touch, then continued.
“Why do you plan to ssend your new sslave away? Why do you not keep her here?”
“Sssilly child. All I ssaid, all sshe ssaid, wass true.” He settled into place, and she turned to follow the others into the trees, and what waited there, at the center of the grove. Her bare arms were spread wide, with his coils wound around them, thick mottled marionette strings. “And I... enjoy... thisss world. I have no dessire to sssee it desstroyed. I have no dessire to flee before Sssurtar’s glaciersss, or his trollsss, or any of the resst. With my assisstance, Northsstar sshall sssucceed at her quesst. Sshe will return to her Hall and in time sshe will be queen of it. In time, all sssoulss that dwell in the Hall of the Bright Ssstar will ssway only to my mussic.” He flicked his tongue. “Bright Ssstar.... Ass I remember... I wass once told that that wass the name that comess with that ssymbol on her sshield... And I alsso remember... Valkyriesss are very warm... very warm... I sshall enjoy thiss night. A Valkyrie, eventually an army of Valyriesss... and newss of the death of the King.” He laughed as only a snake can laugh. “The moment he sstepped into my clearing, I knew that oafissh sslab Hin would be perfect for dealing with that problem. I did not even have to bring him under my control... I will allow him to rule Bokarina... perhapss even hiss sson and grandsson ass well... there iss time...” He laughed again, and they disappeared together into the green shadows...
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