VolOf the creatures that come from Keldathin, a Vol is one of the most powerful. They control the plane, the traffic and consumption of Souls, as well as their torture and re-use. If you are in the service of the Strangers, you have most likely passed through the hands of a Vol. Their magic allows for their own stealth, to easily capture and consume souls. They are one of the most difficult things to defeat. The only time one has been recorded being defeated, it was in a story involving Aderyn and The Sword of Sorrow. If a Vol chooses to show themselves, there is a good reason, and most likely not what you expect.
Do not invite them in, if you can, nor their spawn. A Childe of a Vol is known elsewhere as "Wish-bringers". They are able to cast powerful magics that can alter reality. They cannot go where they are not invited. Once invited, they cannot be banished or harmed by any person within the place they are allowed to go.
There is one of them here. She has the blade known as Sorrow.
A letter from the Editor:
This was a story written in the late 90s for the View from Valehaven. I have only included the interesting part. While the story was meant to be fictional, two things are true. The Vol a demes (“Child of the Blood”) exists, and Adreryn of Rhiassa was seen to have a blade called “Sorrow” for a short while before she stopped questing int he Realms.
There have been several attempts over the years to find what happened to the sword. Rhiassa, and the various Lords of Rhiassa, do not know where it is.
Mandrake, the writer of this story, was obliterated by Pathos. No one has tried to contact him: it is not known if he is able to be contacted.
“Let’s go home.” she said.
“Aderyn” whispered a voice seductively inside her head.
Aderyn pulled Chuckles to a stop very suddenly. Did someone just call her name? She looked around her. No one from Folkestone had stayed behind, at least not that she could see. Durf the Kobald definitely did not say anything, considering there was nothing left of Durf after he was pulverized by one of the most formidable armies in the Realms. Unless Chuckles had been holding out on her, no one could have spoken her name. Perhaps weariness from this failed quest had made her hear things. She thumped Chuckles lightly on his sides to begin again towards the Bottomless Gateway.
“Aderyn,” whispered the voice, louder and more insistent. As clear as it was this time, she was sure the voice was NOT spoken, but was from inside her head. It was like the memory of a lover’s call to you from the past. Or perhaps it was more like a dream who speaks your name as you awake. In either case, the voice seemed familiar. Familiar and very provocative.
A small, secret part of her melted with that voice, wanting her to put down her sword and do things they don’t talk about in Heroic tales; steamy, passionate things. She shook off the feeling, finding comfort in her training, in thoughts of fighting and blood. Whatever was calling to her knew what buttons to push, and that made her angry. But try as she might, she could not stop the heat within her from rising to her face.
“Aderyn,” it called again. No, I won’t listen, she thought. Whatever that is out there is going to lose a lot of body parts for toying with me. She’d even create a few to cleave off of it. She leaned over to pat her stallion.
“Did you hear that?” She was not exactly sure why she was talking to Chuckles. I mean, she knew he didn’t hear anything; it was in her head! Still, Chuckles had proven extraordinary in the past, maybe on top of the other things he could do, he could hear a telepathic message like this. Chuckles was still trotting towards the way they had come and did not appear apprehensive. At her question, he stopped and stared back at her, as if to say: “Are you loopey?”, or at least that was what it looked like to Aderyn. She was positive if he had sensed anything, he would have stopped sooner, or given some sign of the unexpected danger. This has gone on far enough, she thought and sat high to call out:
“Hello? Is someone there?” which she immediately regretted saying. I sound like the bar wench who’s about to get her throat cut in one of those cheap horror bard’s tales they tell children, she told herself. Too late now. She waited to hear if he...or it....would respond. For a moment, all that answered her was the echo of her own question bouncing off the rocks of the ravine. But answer it did and the seductiveness of the voice sent a chill running though her, like bathing an a winter’s stream.
“I am here, Aderyn...... come to me.” She felt a pull inside of her, like a hand had reached into her lungs and was trying to guide them towards the Cavern of Darkness. In a quick moment of resolve, she turned Chuckles around and directed him the way the voice was guiding her. Chuckles hesitated for a moment, but then as if he knew what lay ahead, he trotted in the direction she bid him. This was a mistake and she knew it, letting whatever this was guide her this way. It must be some sort of charm, she thought to herself. And it was a potent spell at that if the man or creature was not even in her sights to have this kind of effect on her. Well, she was looking for Adventure, and she hadn’t come all this way to flee at the first sign (OK, ok, the only sign) of danger. She focused her thoughts inward, putting a very strict hold on her emotions. Whatever it was, it would use her emotions to do its bidding, and she would not allow anything to trap her so easily. Slowly she entered into the Cavern of Darkness.
The Cavern lived up to its name. It took her a few minutes to adjust her eyes to the scene in front of her. She had entered a large cave with many smaller exits to other parts of the Cavern. From the map, she knew this area was called the Hive, since it was usually stocked with low-powered but abundant creatures, like the Kobalds. There were bodies neatly piled in corners; armor, broken swords and shields in other piles around the Hive. Durf had been busy. What had he done with the bones of the Guardian, she wondered again as she guided Chuckles thought the head- high piles. Near the back of the Hive, the voice called and pulled and again she allowed herself to be led, this time towards one of the passageways leading deeper into the Cavern; the Maze of Insanity, if she guessed right. She checked herself again, making sure her control had not slipped to whatever thing was lurking in the Maze. She was pretty sure she was all right and moved on.
After the first twist in the passage, she lost the light from outside. She sifted through her pack to get the tinderbox and torches she had packed. It was difficult to light a torch from horseback, but she managed to get it aflame. Not that the light did much good, as she soon found out. The Evil Mage must have a magical darkness on the place, she thought, or perhaps it was the nature of the stone, but her light did little more than illuminate her and a few feet from her horse. Beyond was just black; no reflection from water on the rock, nothing. What was more unnerving was there was no sound either, none but the clacking of the hooves against stone. Well, the hooves and the voice in her head. And the crackle of the fire. The point is there are usually other sounds, like dripping water or the echo of the hoofbeat, but in this cave, the only thing making sounds was her and Chuckles, and that’s pretty freaky. Or at least Aderyn thought it was.
“No wonder this is the Maze of Insanity.” she said. Silence.
She traveled this way for some time, letting the call from within her decide which direction they would go, if there was a choice. She tried to follow their route on the map, but the way caves weave and turn, she was soon at a loss. The question she rolled over in her mind was how Folkestone had missed whatever it was she was being led to. They are thorough and they are excellent questers, so why was this happening to her? Was it some magical device they had missed, or just left because it was not worth their time? She was sure she would soon find out.
After a long while Chuckles halted just before bumping into a wall. The pulling had stopped, so they must be close, she thought. Aderyn dismounted and cautiously drew her sword. She realized she had been lucky; the Maze was one of the only places in the Cavern that would have let a horse and rider pass so easily, due to its seemingly non-existent ceiling. It was written on a side note that a forty- foot tall minotaur ran through here at one time or another, but Lord Duncan thought it was just a rumor; she wasn’t so sure now that she had seen the Maze.
She examined the wall in front of them, looking for a low crawl tunnel or some such passage. The wall was jet-black stone, much like the rest of the passage, but with a small crack running from the floor and out of the edge of her light. She placed her sword back in her scabbard and then ran her fingers along the crack, looking for a pressure plate or a handhold. Nothing. I hope whatever I am following doesn’t command me to squeeze through that, she told herself.
“Aderyn......welcome.” There was a low rumble about her. With her light trained on the wall, she could see the crack widen. She backed away and drew her sword, ready for whatever might leap out. In but a few moments, the crack had widened to a thin, put passable fissure she could walk through. She felt the tug pull her toward the new-found path. She turned to Chuckles and patted him on the nose.
“Watch my back,” she said and the horse nickered its consent. She had wanted excitement and, as it would seem, excitement found her. What she was about to do was entirely against her training, walking into such an obvious ambush. She had no idea where she was and no clue how to get out if there was a problem. But as any good quester knows, there is no gain without some risk. She thought back to something Da’oud told her before she left: “You never know what’s going to happen when you pull that lever; it may be good, it may be real bad. All you know at that moment is that you HAVE to pull that lever.” Well, she told herself, it was about time to pull it.
Chuckles watched as the light of Aderyn’s torch was engulfed by the rock as she passed into the fissure.
Aderyn followed the fissure cautiously, holding her torch in her left hand, her right resting loosely upon the hilt of her sheathed sword. She had a fleeting thought of the fissure snapping shut on her as she walked slowly within its confines, but her instincts told her that whatever she was walking into would not spring the trap without showing itself first. It had taken a lot of time and considerable spell power to bring her here and it was going to play with its prey. She shivered a bit at that thought, but the light barely wavered as she passed further into the secret passage.
About two hundred paces from where she had left Chuckles on guard, her path opened into a small cavern. She tried to take everything in at once, looking for what could have brought her here. The cavern was well lit by hundreds of white candles, from small, thin ones upon the jagged rock shelves to two self-standing candles taller than her and as thick as her waist at the far end of the cavern. It was if the cavern was carved from wax, as it had dripped and spilled over every surface, allowing the light to reflect and make the cavern even brighter. There was also an odd smell in the air, like the candles were scented with some strange and unsettling odor. She looked at the floor, which was covered with small stones that had been dropped (placed?) in the wax and about the room, giving some traction for her boots. Kneeling down to get a better look at the stones while still eyeing the room, she noticed the stones were not just granite and marble rocks placed for a foothold. The stones on the floor were rubies, emeralds, sapphires, diamonds and many others she were sure were precious and rare in nature.
She reached down to loosen one, then jerked her hand back. Was there something IN the gems? She thought she saw movement, or perhaps it was just the stones reflecting the many candles. Her gut told her to leave them in place, for whatever brought her here was still alive and it was watching. Who knows, pocketing one of these may be what brings the walls crashing down. She stood up and walked cautiously to the large candles at the other end of the room.
At first she could make out only the throne between the two candles (there were a LOT of candles here, some were obstructing her view of the throne). It was crudely chiseled out of the surrounding rock, which no ornate carvings or writing she could see. She noted there was not a speck of wax on the throne itself (wouldn’t be good to go sliding off your own throne, she thought ), but there seemed to be two wax figures draped against it, one on each side. Both were identical women and white from head to foot, carved like they were sleeping against the sides of the throne.
As she got closer , she also noticed to the side of the throne was a rock, about the same size. But instead of a chiseled chair or any sculpture, a sword protruded from its top, like a small butter knife stuck into a very large potato. But this butter knife was the most beautiful piece of steel she had ever seen, both silver and black, dancing in the light, with a downward bent crossgaurd to protect the wielder’s hand. Gold letters flashed across the blade, just readable at her distance. “Sorrow” it said. The sight of it made Aderyn heart leap, almost making her run to hold it. Instead she stumbled forward a step and caught herself. There is more than one enchanted thing in this room, she noted to herself. But she could not pull her eyes away. She walked towards it and with her right hand gently took hold of the hilt.
In that moment her mind and heart was filled with longing and pain. She could hear thousands of souls crying out to be loved, to be comforted, to be given a sign of human compassion. The sword wept for its own captivity, for the souls of men and women who were isolated and alone, without any care or affection. It’s longing, its sorrow, was an instantaneous, pure emotion that would have overpowered her had she not slipped and stumbled away from contact with the blade.
“By the gods...” she whispered. In awe she stared at the wax carving nearest her, trying to gain some composure from the attack she had just taken. But as she stared at the carving her awe quickly became fear and dread, so strong that she stood and drew her own sword. The hair on her neck rose and her knees began to shake as she backed away from the figure. She realized the souls Sorrow wept for were not random; it was the souls and voices inside the candles and the gems about her. Her contact with the mystic sword had given her some momentary link, for she could still hear the cries about her, not from the sword, but from the floors and walls and especially from the two women (they WERE women) frozen to the throne in some kind of morbid altered state ready to be burned at their captor’s whim. She could hear screams from each gem she stepped on, from the candle that broke as she backed up into it. The souls were all around her, each one trapped or dying, waiting to be consumed. And as the screams began to fade as the link wore off she was aware of another presence standing but a few feet behind her that, in her distraction she had been unable to detect.
“What a wonderful sound they make, don’t you think?” it said in a deep, lusty voice.
For all her fear and revulsion and all that distracted her from focusing. Aderyn did not hesitate in her next action. Despite the screams dying about the cavern and the heavy, putrid breath that spewed from the thing behind her, Aderyn knew what to do. She had trained with Lord Duncan of Rhiassa and Queen Meg of Chimeron, not to mention Lucas of the Fey and Sir Pyr of Eagle’s Rook. She had a warrior’s heart that beat fiercely at the call of battle, a trained mind to follow through when no thought or contemplation was possible. She could sense it close behind her, could smell the death that lay upon it like a second skin. Without even a heartbeat, she moved into action.
She and her sword seemed to act as one as she turned on the ball of her right heel and went down on her left knee, gripping the sword with both hands. This strike is meant to disembowel your opponent while at the same time dodging any strike that may come to your own chest or head. The sword almost hummed as it cut the air in a semi-circle around her body to land upon her foe. She felt the resistance as the blade entered deep into the creature that had lured her to this place and heard the satisfactory wet ripping sound as her weapon exited the other side. On warrior or goblin alike, such a cut with the force she had used would have caused the foe to either double over from the instant and incredible pain or sent the foe spinning with the force of the blade. Either way the opponent would be in serious pain with such a fatal and decisive strike.
Her foe did not move.
The arc of her sword did not slow as she then stood up, advancing her left foot while her sword moved low behind her and then curved up over her head in a downward strike. As the sword neared its target, she gritted her teeth in concentration and battle lust. She was not about to let whatever this was get the upper hand on her. For all its tricks, it could walk and talk like all other creatures, and if it could walk and talk, it could also be made to stop walking and talking. The blade had her full body and power behind it as it came crashing down.
Her foe, not much taller than she, seemed to move in slow motion as it lazily raised its hand to fend off her blow, not unlike someone blocking the sun to get a better view of what was before them. Its arm took the full force of the blow, a strike that would have cleaved a man in two. But instead of the sound of flesh and bone tearing, to Aderyn’s surprise she watched as her sword sunk a few inches into its flesh, then shattered, falling to several pieces about her and her assailant. Amazed, she brought her hands up to her face, only her pommel and crossgaurd left in them and those bent as if exposed to an intense heat. The thing in front of her smiled to show three rows of razor-like teeth.
“No effect.” It said in its lusty voice.
“No kidding,” said Aderyn, slowly backing away from the creature.
Weaponless and trying to stall for time, Aderyn looked at her opponent for the first time and almost lost her focus again. The man in front of her was the most handsome person she had ever seen. He stood half a head taller than she, his gold eyes staring at her in such a way that would make a Queen blush with desire. He had long black hair that was neatly tied behind him in a single tail and that with his light brown skin, gave a warm glow to his face. His black tunic was simply cut trimmed with silver, but was made with velvet and silk, tied with a black belt that dangled just below his knees. He had closed his mouth to conceal those dangerous teeth with a pair of dark, brooding lips. Aderyn was no fool and regained her composure quickly.
It HAS to be a charm, she thought to herself. She sniffed the air and noticed the smell of death was gone and was replaced by a slight, lingering perfume that stirred her somewhere deep inside. She began to scan the room, trying to find another weapon, but the only thing she could see was the sword called “Sorrow”, encased halfway to the hilt in stone. No other weapons old, broken or otherwise were anywhere to be seen in the chamber. She suddenly wished she was back in the Hive, with the mounds of crudely made Kobald weapons about. This man (WAS it a man? part of her prayed it was) had her trapped in a corner, the only known exit on the other side of the chamber, with no weapon and no chance of escape. She was in deep, deep trouble and she knew it. And so did the attractive, well built man in front of her.
“Now that we have been properly introduced,” he said with a hint of humor in his voice, “perhaps we can get down to the business at hand?” He moved slowly towards her, like a cat watching its prey squirm. She tried to move around him to the left avoiding the candles (BODIES) as much as possible. He matched her progress, not letting her escape from the corner she was in. With each step it became more and more difficult to turn her eyes away from the man in front of her, to believe this was a deadly creature ready to kill her for whatever twisted reasons it had. She remained ready, though the part of her that wanted to throw her arms around him and feel his skin next to hers was becoming insistent, tearing through her like a beacon.
“And what matters are those?” She said, now shifting to the right. Again he blocked her.
“Why your initiation into a Realm your never knew possible, so sweet is it, so full of pleasure and pain. Truly, you will not miss the life you have lead, so....consumed will you be with your new life. I only wish to welcome you.” He raised his hands slightly, palms out, as if wishing to receive a hug from a lost friend. Yeah, right, she said to herself, still trying to move slowly to the right.
“Sorry, but I don’t go anywhere with strangers, Sir........ I’m sorry but your name escapes me. You seem to have me at a loss.” Wrong words, she said to herself.
“Names are so unimportant. If that is what you need, then you may know me as the Vol. Now, KNEEL BEFORE ME.” Despite all her efforts, she could not stop herself from bending, her arms locking rigid at her side, dropping the remnants of her sword.
“A vole? You look a little odd for a small blind rodent! Maybe if you took out a few rows of teeth and let me pluck out your eyes....” He laughed warmly as he came closer and placed his right hand under her chin.
“Vol, child, Vol. As in Vol al-demes, meaning Child of the Blood, where I come from. I have waited three thousand years to taste one as strong as you, your life will feel good inside me. Perhaps I will remake you as those two, to forever keep me company.” He pulled her chin up, exposing her throat.
“V-V-Vampire.” Aderyn forced out. She could do little else but wait for his kiss to rend her senseless.
“No, Aderyn,” he said, turning her head slightly to the side “Those barbaric little creatures you call Vampires are but maggots to me. They need blood to survive. Despite my name, I do not need blood. I need to drink upon your soul. Your blood will feed the other souls about you, as my next victims will feed you. You will be the Vampire, Aderyn. I am the demon within the Vampire. They are children of the night. I AM the night.” She closed her eyes, not sure whether it was dread or excitement what vibrated through her shaking limbs.
“BURRRRRRRRRRP!” exploded Chuckles from the entrance to the chamber. The power of the belch sent Aderyn flying away from the Vol. For a moment she felt free of the charm before she hit the wall behind her. Then she was in a world of pain. She fought the blackness, knowing that Chuckles had given her the advantage she needed and hopefully had, at the very least, distracted the Vol. With all her regained will, she tried to see through the black and white circles to the battle beyond.
The Vol was on its knees but a pike’s distance from her, but he was no longer the attractive man she had been forced to see. The Vol still wore the tunic and still had two hands and feet, but that is where the comparison stopped. What was in those clothes was impossibly thin and white, with arms that looked way too long for the body. It bared its teeth, all three rows and stared at Aderyn with its gold eyes, but those eyes were filled with hate and anger, not with passion. This creature was lean and quick, not slow like the dream-man. And it was mad.
Faster than she could blink, the Vol was gone from her side. Like black lightning, it struck Chuckles, who let out a gut-wrenching scream. There was an explosion of fire from Chuckle’s body as the Vol tore open its neck. The force of the fire shot the Vol across the chamber, burning with a blue flame. As soon as it hit the ground, it bounded at Chuckles again, this time tearing him in two with little effort.
It was over in a flash. One second she was free and felt she might have a fighting chance, the next her companion (yes, even her friend) was dead with her left alone again to face a wounded, but still very lethal foe. She began to stand, feeling the wall for some support. It was then she realized that she had landed not at a wall, but upon the stone that held Sorrow, the Mystic Sword. Not that a sword in a stone could help her. But what had she read in the Rhiassan library about the art of war and politics? Keep your friends close and your enemies closer? Could it be that this sword was what could kill him, encased by him in order to make sure he knew where its “enemy” was at all times?
“No,” she whispered, her heart ached for Chuckles, but she could not think of him right now, not with the Vol still alive, still across the room watching as Chuckle’s blood seeped into the wax on the floor, like a sponge drinking water. She could grieve later. If there was a later. Within a matter of moments, not a drop of blood was left within the chamber of the Vol.
“KNEEL!” screamed the Vol as it turned to her, its voice shattering many of the gems and candles within the room. Again she could not resist, but this time it seemed different, as if she still had control. As it drew near, it’s hideous mouth of daggers coming ever closer, she knew she could still fight, that the belch Chuckles had used to free her was somehow negating some of the power of the compulsion. She could get free, if she had the strength. But she was still winded and could not seem to muster the power to overcome the grip the Vol had on her.
“No.” She croaked out, fighting herself as she slowly dropped to her knees again. He laughed a high, feverish laugh as it shambled towards her.
“You are right. No one to help you this time. You are alone and defenseless.” Closer. (No, she told herself.) “You are but a puppet and I the master, your friends and that Folkestone far from able to aid you.” Closer. (NO!) “And soon, you will have so many friends who, like you, were too stupid to know better than to answer the call of the spider to the fly. No one shall mourn your passing. Silent, and forgotten.” Closer still. (Nonononononononononononono) He stood but a shield’s width away, staring at her with hungry golden eyes, with green film dripping from his mouth.
“Any last words, my little jewel?”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!” screamed Aderyn, as she rose on one knee and with her right hand reached for the Mystic Sword behind her. She could feel the pain in her head, the grieving, the purity of its sadness. She pulled upon the blade and it slid free of the stone as she rose to her feet. The Vol drew back, its golden eyes flying wide open.
Aderyn screamed. The Sword screamed. And, as the Mystic blade came down upon the Vol, both Aderyn and the Sword screamed as one. But it was not a scream of terror, or hatred or even sadness. It was one of defiance.
“Aderyn! Aderyn! What happened? Why are you screaming?” Aderyn continued to scream as she looked in front of her, being held firmly by Da’oud. She looked around. She was back at the edge of Rhiassa Keep. And she continued to scream as she began to faint from exhaustion, the Mystic Sword falling from her burned and dirty hand.
Created by Phoenix Rose Dawncry-Nosetti (Briar Sieracki) at 11-04-13 12:24 PM
Last Modified by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 04-08-19 03:35 PM
Last Modified by Janna Oakfellow-Pushee at 04-08-19 03:35 PM