Today’s Feature The Burgeoning
A little bit about the story
With both the Great Staff of Power and the Stone Heart in their hands at last, it seems that nothing can stop Demonica and Queen Spitemorta from crushing Niarg and conquering the entire world. King Hebraun of Niarg is dead and not a single Elf is left alive in the Jutwoods.
Spitemorta's husband, King James, tries to ride out of Castle Goll with her Great Staff of Power, but is tortured by Demonica and her and locked away to die in the fleas and fetid straw of the dungeon. He manages to escape across the Great Barrier Mountains, just as the army and people of Niarg are sent out into the countryside by Queen Minuet and Wizard Razzmorten, who flee to the Pitmaster's Kettles in time for Spitemorta and Demonica to effortlessly destroy Castle Niarg. Is this the end of everything?
A little bit from the story
The full moon, hard and white, lit the stark countryside of Gollmoor from within its icy ring high in the south, as the silhouettes of two hags astride a stick sank behind the naked twigs of a spreading burr oak. The frozen grass crushed flat under their feet as they stepped off their staff, breathing out frosty plumes of moonlit breath as they stiffly found their balance. Screech owls hither and yon shivered and wailed. Far away, dogs barked.
"Well there's Castle Goll, yonder."
"Yea. A right good piece to walk, Grandmother. It's frigid out. And we should've been here a month ago."
"You know good and well that had you not overseen the trolls mourning as Great Goddess Fnadi-yaphn, we'd 'ave had an uprising on our hands, Spitemorta, particularly since they died following you. Good thing I only let you have two hundred of 'em..."
"Yea? Well, it still wasted nearly a month," she said as she glanced up at the moon with a shudder from between her clouds of breath. "I miss Abaddon..."
"You're quite something," said Demonica as she gathered her shawl under her chin with her gnarled hand and looked all about her, "I've been going to great lengths to cooperate with your whims, dear. You wanted to fly the Staff to avoid being bounced
around in your condition, and that meant not being recognized, so we landed out here, and I haven't seen a soul, have you?"
"No, but it's a long way to walk in the freezing cold, crippled up with your glamouries," said Spitemorta as she steadied herself with the Staff. "We not only look like dried up old hags, we move like them. You expect me to stumble along as a hunchback for a good half mile, keeping my balance with this belly? Look, we're off the Staff now, so why can't we change back? Who has ever seen a pregnant dowager?
Wouldn't that attract unwanted attention?" Demonica threw back her head with a volley of laughter, puffing out clouds of breath like a tea kettle as she braced herself on her knees. "Very well," she said as she rubbed her eyes and sobered, "I'll change you back as soon as we cut across that frozen pond, yonder..."
"You're wanting to see me fall."
"Hey, that would be fun! It's not like you don't deserve it, or anything," she said, erupting with laughter all over again. Her laughter stopped at once as she turned without warning and put her hands on Spitemorta's belly. "There ye be. You're back. All lovely,
except for that oversized belly you're haulin' around. Are you sure you want that handsome man of yours to see you so out of shape?"
"I'm not out of shape. I'm pregnant."
"Yeap. And twins will stretch you out of shape, right smart, Rouanez Pouezus," said Demonica as her shawl slid back to reveal her resumed beauty.
"You mean you need me to tell you? Why else would you be this huge this soon?
Just be happy it's not from overindulging."
"Of course I've not been overindulging, Grandmother. Now, do you mind if we just go? It's the middle of the night, and I could be enjoying a wonderfully warm bath by now.""Can you handle the pond, dear? It would be far quicker," said Demonica as she stepped through the cattails, holding out her arms to keep her balance as she lunged forth into a tentative slide across the ice.
Well across the pond, the outer curtain of Castle Goll rose up before them, just beyond the frozen moat. "Hey, cwn hithau!" hollered out the guard from above the portcullis as he stifled a yawn. "Know what time it is? It's time to get out o' here and come back in the morning!"
"No!" barked Spitemorta as her voice rang out in echoes along the wall. "It's time for you to recognize your queen and let her in while she still allows you to live, fool!"
The guard immediately leant out from the embrasure and began wailing out a frantic apology.
"What kind of death are you begging for?" she shouted. "I want in now!"He wheeled aside at once and called out in a squeaking falsetto for the raising of the portcullis.
You can find (Carol Marrs Phipps) at:
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