Lord Fear gets a taste of his own medicine. Fanfic by Emily Evans.
"Give me one good reason why I should give you another chance, Lissard."
Lissard was on his knees before Lord Fear, pleading as his master brandished the basis of his most recent threat.
"No, Lordnesss, pleasse! I'll be a good Atlantean... "
Fear barked at him, "I don't want you to be a good Atlantean, Lissard, I want you to be a good henchman."
"I will! I will! Jussst don't do it, Lordnesss! I beg of you!"
The Brollochan opened his jaws wider and declared to all that would listen (who weren't in the majority); "I hungeeeer... feed me... nourish me... "
"Nooo!" screamed Lissard, "Pleasse - I'll never let a Dungeoneer out of my sight again! I swear on my own watery grave!"
Lord Fear smiled and lowered the fat trout from the Brollochan's face. "Now, that's what I wanted to hear, tuna-breath."
The Brollochan gave him a disgusted look and disappeared sulkily through the wall. Fear called after him, "And stay out of the sewers - I don't want to see Lissard licking that stuff off your face again... " Lissard grinned, ran a slimy tongue over his scaly lips and went back to disembowelling his latest and biggest catch. Fear shivered at the thought.
He sank into his dank throne and, on smelling the mould, wondered why on earth he had kept it. Thoughtfully he drummed his fingernails on the stony arm and stared at the blank wall ahead. Life was getting boring, especially since the most recent Dungeoneer had got lost somewhere in level two. Consequently, the hunt had been called off and the normally eventful hunting season had quickly gone into a downward spiral.
Then it hit him. Literally, a stray fin sailed over from Lissard's corner and hit the side of his helmet, but this did not bother him due to the swift launch of new thinking.
The lizard-man glanced up; part of the trout's digestive system, half tugged from the fish, was dangling from his mouth. He mumbled something that sounded like "yes master".
"Get over here."
Lissard spat the remains onto the floor and crawled over, wondering what he had done now - he had only been off the hook, so to speak, for less than five minutes.
"Lissard - why are we in here?"
"Because... the hunt has been called off and we're not allowed to go into the dungeonsss!" Lissard grinned at his own genius.
"So why are we in here?"
Lissard's face fell. Was this a trick question? Lord Fear blew up;
"I never follow rules! I break rules as I please! I have been told there is no hunt and I cannot hunt down a defenceless, lost Dungeoneer... I should be out there crushing that ruddy Helmet of Justice with his ruddy head inside it! Why did you not remind me that I don't follow rules, you idiot?"
Lissard stared blankly. Fear clapped his hands together in fiendish delight.
"Right, time for me to get down to some hard, tough, energy-consuming Dungeoneer-hunting. Lissard - get out there with the Goblins and Hands and fetch that Dungeoneer."
"What, now?" Sly Hands stuck his head out from behind a dirty old tapestry where he had been eavesdropping.
"GET OUT!" Lord Fear roared at the pathetic pair, and they barged each other out of the way to get to the goblin's haunt.
As they departed he punched a nearby wall in frustration, and part of it crumbled instantly. Sighing, he made a mental note to plug the hole with Lissard.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"What... now." Lord Fear glared at Lissard over the spyglass he had found and was trying to uncover how it worked.
"We can't get at him yet... he's halfway to Level Three on Sssmirkenorff."
"Get at who?" He answered vaguely.
"The Dungeoneer, Lordnesss!"
"That overgrown lizard! Haven't you pulled its damn wings off yet?! Oh... forget it. Look, idiot, just get into Level Three and wait there for him. Then bring him to me."
"How're we gonna do that yer Lordship?" Hands stuck his head into the room, wiping his nose on his sleeve.
"For My sake, Hands - either come in or stay out. I like to know a head has a body... actually that's not that important to me, but nevertheless... " He jumped back on track, "What am I gabbing for - get out there!"
Within a split second he had picked them up with his magic, transported them to Level Three and accidentally on purposely dropped them face down on Romahna's new crossbow, leaving it slightly worse for wear. The curtain of charity shall be closed on this scene.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"Get over here, boy!"
"I said get over here!"
Lord Fear was shocked to realise that this small Dungeoneer was fighting against his magic. The undersized adventurer was dodging the strong ribbons that were being fired at him to bind him.
"Oh for f... if you want something doing you have to do it without magic these days."
The eleven-year old tipped his head back and glared at Fear from underneath the helmet. Lord Fear glared back for a second, and then lunged at the boy, calling out for his assistants' help.
Lissard and Hands entered the room in time to see Lord Fear swear loudly as the Dungeoneer kicked him hard in the shin.
"Where have you two been?" Roared Fear, trying to remain tall and terrifying on a dead leg, whilst clinging on to the kicking, biting child.
Stupid as they were, the pair knew from experiences in the dungeons that small children were, in fact, extremely dangerous. This might have had something to do with the fact that the children were much more intelligent than these two but even so - they approached with caution. Lissard seized the scamp by the horns on his helmet, whilst Sly Hands attempted to slip his magic rope around his waist (the boy's, not his own, though nobody would put it past him). Eventually they apprehended the boy - by tying his ankles to his hands and Lissard sitting on him.
After his first encounter, Lord Fear had wisely decided to stay out of the way and leave it to his minions, though it took a little longer than it should have.
"What does he taste like massster?" Lissard stared, intrigued at this boy - it can't be a human child, he thought, it's too small...
"How am I supposed to know what... Lissard! NO - I've told you about that, get your tongue back in your mouth." Fear snapped his fingers and a paste-like substance slapped itself across the Atlantean's mouth, sealing it shut for the time being.
"Oh good Lord, or bad in my case - have you developed a form of licking disorder or something? It's disgusting; if you do it again I shall remove your tongue."
"Yes - mmmmf. So what shall I do with him now?"
"Get in your hole."
Lissard climbed obediently into the crevice in the wall. Lord Fear turned his attention back to the youngster, who was looking decidedly frightened by this point - as children often are when they are stuck.
"Don't worry, I'm not going to kill you." He grinned unpleasantly, speaking with his back to the squirming traveller on the floor. "I'm just going to torture you for a while. Well, what do you expect? I've been bored for weeks 'cos of you so now I have to make up for it... oh I am going to enjoy this!"
Fear spun round to face him in shock.
"Eff off! I wanna go 'ome!"
This threw the opponent for a second, and he froze the Dungeoneer as he gathered his thoughts.
"What breed is that!?" He gestured randomly. "I have never come across anything like it! He is supposed to be cowering under my wrath!" He turned accusingly to Hands. "What did you do to him, you imbecile? Have you been at my magic books again?"
"I can't read, Your Fearyship."
"Look, you walking impediment, don't pretend to be stupid with... oh, you are. Well, just get out of my sight - you aren't helping, I'm not pleased and you are this... far... away from becoming a new goblin play toy so GET OUT!"
Sly dived out of the window.
Fear sent the goblins to attend to him.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
"I am NOT a babysitter!"
Lord Fear's howls echoed through the passageways, and Treguard didn't fight to hide his laughter. This grown (supposed) man appeared to be panicking at the thought of dealing with a small child.
"Oh come now, Lord Fear. Are you trying to tell me that an you are outdone by an eleven-year old?"
"A single youngster, Fear. Anyway I'm afraid you have no choice - Hordriss and I are busy trying to manipulate the dungeons so that this doesn't happen again. Double doorways indeed... your doing I suppose?"
Fear practically exploded (but not literally as that would make a mess). "My doing! You think I want to be stuck with a Dungeoneer for a whole day?! And double doorways! I can't create them! It's a glitch in the system - crossed wires!"
"Either way, I leave him in your care." Treguard expressed the last word fully. "If there is a single limb missing when I get back you will be omitted from the dungeons and dropped where all the spare waste from the sewers goes, do you understand me, Fear? That will become your domain."
Lord Fear swallowed hard. He knew what went into those sewers.
"See you in twenty-four hours, Lord Fear."
"Wait! WAIT!" But the Dungeonmaster had vanished from his pool. Fear turned on his henchmen, one of them with both legs and a wrist now in plaster.
"That is not a child!" he yelled in anguish. "That... that is a thing! It is uncontrollable - what am I supposed to do with it now?"
Lissard peered out of the wall at the curled up figure in the corner. "It's sleeping, Lordnesss."
"Aaaaw... poor li'l blighter... " Hands' nose ran with compassion.
"Oh, shut up you snivelling hindrance, or I'll break your arms too." Hands tried to cram his arms into the casts already on his legs where Fear couldn't get at them but failed miserably.
"Lordnesss... you could place it in a cage... " Hissed a raspy voice from the far wall.
"Brilliant! I do have some good ideas sometimes - I'll stick it in a cage." Lissard kept his mouth shut. He had only just managed to claw the last lot of gunk off.
Lord Fear waved a hand and a small cage dropped around the Dungeoneer with a crash, waking the slumbering boy.
"Oi! Wotcha fink yer doin'?"
Fear rattled the bars with an eyebolt. "Keeping you where you won't escape. What's your name, anyway, little nuisance?"
Fear grinned. "Isn't that a girl's name?" Jodi threw himself at the bars and growled, looking terrifyingly like a small animal. Fear realised that Jodi had probably had to put up with years of torment over his name, and so would not be too inclined to worry about being locked in a cage. He had probably been shut in cupboards and lockers and all sorts in his short time. He shot another eyebolt at the cage which threw the boy backwards, stunned.
"Stop that infernal racket. Don't touch the sides of the cage."
Jodi reached out and put a finger to the nearest bar...
Lord Fear spent a good half hour poking the boy through the bars with a Kosherce; a kind of magical cattle prod. After that, he tired of the game and sat, laughing as he conjured up dud bombs and large spiders into the boy's hands. Of course, he remembered to leave all limbs intact, but scaring appeared to be what he did best.
Suddenly Raptor burst into the chamber.
"Oh, what now." Lord Fear disintegrated the tarantula that was crawling up Jodi's T-shirt.
"Er, the Dreadnort, Lord... "
"What about it? Spit it out!"
Raptor spat on the floor and Fear recoiled in disgust. "I meant talk."
"Oh, right... well, the Dreadnort is having one of its funny turns again... "
"It's WHAT?! How exactly?"
"Urh... Grippa's lost a finger, and Rhark's just... lost. He ran off before the Dreadnort could finish grinding up his club."
He was faced with Lord Fear leaning forwards, gripping the arms of his throne with white knuckles in an attempt to not rip Raptor's throat out.
"Tell me you are joking," his voice was dangerously quiet, "and I will let you keep one of your eyes."
Raptor replied with something that sounded very much like "nnn-ung."
"Get back there and take it down. Do not return unless one of you is dead, OK? And by dead I mean the Dreadnort has been shut down, or you are not functioning any longer. Got that?"
Raptor went away again very quickly, before his eyes were introduced to his master's fingernails. A high but loud voice sounded up from the corner.
"Do you want breaking?" He snapped at Jodi.
"No - I want something to lean against."
"Use the bars."
"I can't, you tw-"
"ALL RIGHT THAT'S ENOUGH!" Fear flung the cage aside and lifted Jodi high into the air. "That was the last straw, kiddie-o. Calling me names - you are soon to learn that I don't. Like. That." He strode towards the window on the left of his throne and thrust the kid out of it, threatening to drop him eighty feet. Jodi struggled, panicking.
"You can't throw me down there!"
"Stay still or I'll drop you before I've heard you out. I don't know why I didn't do this earlier - or why I'm listening to you. Stay still so I can aim properly!"
"Treguard said you can't!"
"Can't what? Aim? Right. I'll show him... "
"No! He said you're not allowed to damage me!"
Lord Fear nearly dropped him as he remembered what the Dungeon master had said, and gripped him tightly as he dragged him back into the tower.
Jodi was thrown into a chair and ordered to sit still as the magi-combatant paced his chamber. He stopped and faced his biggest blank wall, calling one of his acquired monsters.
"BROLLOCHAN!" The pillars shook. The large blue face appeared and answered him in a dormant fashion.
"Yes, Lord Fear?"
Fear stared for a few seconds at the expressionless face before coming to a conclusion.
"Nope. No chance. It's not worth it - there is no way I'm living in the sewers with you. Go away - you're giving me bad images, and that's not good for your health, never mind mine... get away! Go on! Shoo!" He flapped at the Brollochan and it shrank back into the grey brick. "Lissard, get back out of your hole and come here."
Fear dropped into his seat and forced Lissard to sit down next to him. Leaning one elbow on the scaly head he confided in his slightly less heartless minion.
"Lissard, it's driving me mad. I can't dismantle it, run it down or chuck it out of the window. What's left?"
"Er... maybe... perhapssss... "
"Come on, out with it!"
"Posssibly the construction which Lordnesss was saving... "
Lord Fear jumped up, once again crediting himself. "Ah - it's just struck me! I haven't used my maze yet! Faultless! The perfect Dungeoneer torture and I don't even have to lift a finger for it."
"I'm still here you know." Jodi reminded him.
"Oh, shut up."
He strode towards him and picked Jodi up bodily. Jodi wriggled and Lord Fear gave the Helmet of Justice a good whack to cram it further on his head, hoping fervently that it would get stuck.
"Stay still boy. No, no... don't move. There." He dropped Jodi into a small chute and went back to his pool to watch the child blunder around a magical maze which he had personally filled with various traps. A loud clunk indicated that Jodi had just walked into a wall and Lord Fear crowed with laughter.
"Oh Grief, that was priceless! Do it again!"
Jodi started to make his way forward again as a large scorpion scuttled over the slabs, growing with each step it took...
"Excuse me, Lord Fear... " Treguard's voice cut into Fear's playtime. Fear scowled and froze the scorpion, leaving Jodi to blunder into it as well as a few more walls.
"Yes, Treguard?" He sighed disinterestedly at the water.
"Portal's opening, better send the boy back." A large green swirl of air swelled in the wall as Treguard gestured at it. Fear looked like Christmas had been cancelled.
"What? Already? But it hasn't been twenty-four hours yet has it?"
"No, no Fear - we got the dungeons sorted out after all much earlier than expected. You mean you want to look after the child?" Treguard stared suspiciously. "What are you doing to the boy, Fear?"
"Nothing." Sulked Fear. He flicked his wrist and Jodi sailed back out of the tube and sprawled on the floor by the portal. As he staggered to his feet, Lord Fear ushered him towards the portal. "Come on, come on, we haven't got all day - get out there before I put you back out that window... ."
Treguard coughed loudly, "Ah, ah-hem, I'll pretend I didn't hear that, Fear." He warned.
"Aren't you going to say goodbye?" Sniffed Jodi.
"No! NO! Stoppit! Bugger off!" Lord Fear kicked Jodi up the backside and the boy sailed through the portal and back into Treguard's antechamber. "Good riddance." He snarled as the portal closed.
"Lissard!" The lizard man stuck his head round the door.
"I'm bored. Give me an idea to have."
"Eeeeeeeeh! Too late! Get in your hole. No," he changed his mind. "Lissard, get in the tube!"
Lissard looked blank. "Tube?"
Lord Fear pointed, "Just that one over there... there's fish at the bottom... "
Lissard dived into the tube and thumped out at the bottom. Lord Fear unfroze the scorpion and a satisfied smile crept across his face and Lissard's gurgling scream penetrated the castle.
Emily Evans | Jul 2002