Living Story Excerpt
Twisting Nether = Gehelnom
Even though the Twisting Nether is not mentioned by name in this Living Story excerpt, I will be further expounding upon demons in this chapter, and so I need to mention Gehelnom, the Sphere of Damnation, where many of the demons involved in Talmenor originate from.
Sargeras = Gehel
Gehelnom, unimaginatively enough, receives its name from Gehel, the ruler of the Gehelian demons. He, or It, is a figure much like Sargeras in World of Warcraft.
demon = Gehelian
Though “demon” will still be a word in common usage in Talmenor, the most correct term for the species like the ympe is Gehelian, meaning they either originate from the world of Gehelnom or follow the ruler Gehel. Intentionally, this implies there are other demonic worlds out there with other demonic species unaffiliated with Gehel, though I don’t suspect they’ll come into Sirith’s story.
This part of the chapter was pretty easy to convert, as the Living Story Excerpt was already well fleshed out. I only had to change some of the references to fit in with my setting and the previous parts of Conversion.
However, the second mention of Barat reminds me I will probably have to write some flashbacks to Sirith’s experiences in Hillet as a child. Showing is better than telling, after all, especially since Barat may be a main character later on.
A ympe. A creature of Gehel.
Like all Tarithian children, Sirith had grown up on stories of the demons, how they could cross over from their hellish world of Gehelnom to torment the innocent and recruit the damned into their armies. Yet those same stories claimed the gods had defeated them long ago, sealing shut the ways to the Sphere of Damnation, so that only warlocks — practitioners of the dark Gehelian magic — could now reach across.
So what was a Gehelian doing here, fully formed and unchained from any dark mage?
Sirith didn’t have time to speculate. He let out a shout and dived sideways among the stacks of crates waiting to go on the ferry. The ympe only followed him, running on all fours like it was still a cat and grinning as if baring still-feline fangs. Sirith ducked past a tall box perhaps meant for a wardrobe, and the ympe jumped on him, clinging to his clothing.
“Hey, bud, I like you,” it said. “You sure got spunk!”
“Leave me alone!” shouted Sirith, then instantly quieted as some of the other dockworkers looked his way in consternation. He dropped to the ground and rolled behind some sacks of grain, struggling to pry the ympe’s little gnarled fingers off him.
The ympe only mounted his chest so its sulfur-yellow eyes were staring right into Sirith’s. “Nah, bud. I can help you. You’ve got that certain kind of fire inside of you. Y’see?” It poked him in the chest. “You know, the magic, right?”
“I haven’t the fainted idea what you’re talking about,” Sirith hissed. He had, of course, learned a few cantrips from the Hillet hedge-wizard as a child, mostly to do with making little flames in his hands or adding an extra burst of speed to his legs when he raced with the other boys. It was one reason the farmers hadn’t much liked him, calling his small cadre of spells cheating and unnatural.
Was it his fault the mari had more natural affinity to magic than did humans? Sirith didn’t think so. Yet he had a feeling the demonic creature perched on top him meant some other kind of magic, darker and deeper than his hedge-wizard tricks.
“I mean you gots the fire!” declared the ympe, digging a claw into Sirith’s chest hard enough he yelped. “I can sense it, right here.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Sirith protested again.
“Don’t you? Don’t you ever remember a time that you got just a little…angry? And things seemed to happen — terrible, wonderful things — that fulfilled your wishes at the time?”
“No,” said Sirith sharply, though he did remember just such a time. Barat had been bothering him — more than usual — and Sirith had lit the seat of his pants on fire. He had told the village wives he had only meant it to be a little spark, just enough to scare Barat, but deep down he had been hoping the boy had gone up in flames. It wasn’t a pleasant memory, and Sirith squeezed his eyes shut.
“Hi, hello. You move, please?” came a sudden, deep, gravelly voice above him.
Sirith had forgotten about the dockworkers. He opened his eyes to find one of the tame rukh-shami staring down at him, its brown, placid eyes bereft of any intelligence. It didn’t seem to see the ympe, or if it did, didn’t seem to think there was anything out of the ordinary about it.
The mage that controlled it would see the problem, though; Sirith knew. “Hurry up, Bulge!” she shouted from somewhere behind the stacked sacks, just to remind Sirith of the urgency of his position.
“You should get out of here before someone sees you,” he hissed at the ympe, and he rolled out of the way so Bulge could continue along its path, carrying several sacks of grain its large arms.
“I can help you,” said the ympe again, ignoring the rukh-sham. “Let me prove it to you!”
“Like damnation I will!” Sirith seized the thickest part of the ympe’s thicket-like mane and tossed it for the lake. Then he fled, forgetting about the ferry and his job and the pittance of coins waiting for him at the end of the day. He caused a stir among the dock-workers, one of the rukh-sham reflexively pivoting to avoid him and then getting stuck in treading the same circle over and over, but Sirith didn’t care. What mattered was to get away from the ympe.
Several minutes and harsh breaths later, Sirith was buying his way onto another ferry that was due to leave immediately for the Castellea-side of the lake. A calico cat slunk up behind him onto the raft, but Sirith carefully ignored it, and for now, the ympe didn’t reveal its true nature to him again.