Sabine of the Ten Rings: The Broken Cycle, Part Two

Part one of Sabine’s trap for Dahkhal can be read here.   Despite Dahkhal’s screeches, Sabine spoke quietly and somehow, he still heard her. “I put a pillow over Wallon’s face when I sensed you

Part one of Sabine’s trap for Dahkhal can be read here.

 

Despite Dahkhal’s screeches, Sabine spoke quietly and somehow, he still heard her. “I put a pillow over Wallon’s face when I sensed you coming. He was a bastard. I guess the Blade of Worth really lowered its standards in the later years.” She slipped a hand under her skirt, produced a dagger, and rammed it into his second eye.

The warlock howled in anguish and grit his teeth. Despite the suffering she had inflicted, he still managed a small smile. “You turned out to be a clever little witch. I’ll keep that in mind when I rise from the dead once more.”

“Not this time. Never again.” Sabine took another step forward, rested one booted-foot upon the gem atop Dahkhal’s staff, and pressed on it until it shattered. Within a second the foul miasma outside dissapated and the living dead that battled the castle’s guards fell to the ground, lifeless once more. The princess closed in on the warlock and opened her hands. On each finger she wore a different, decorative ring. She pointed to one on her left hand. “Do you know what this is?”

“You shot my eyes out, you quim!”

Sabine acted as if she hadn’t heard him. “It was a gift from Harrow.” A single tear welled in one of her eyes. “My first beloved, a young man from a tiny village near the Neculan Sea. They have legends there about the jellyfish that swim in the waters. That long ago, the jellyfish surrendered all their power so they could have eternal life. And he told me his love for me would last as long as the tiny jellyfish in this ring.”

Dahkhal had already concluded her story would mean nothing to him, and just went back to screaming.

The princess shut her eyes tight and squeezed the diamond. “I’m sorry it had to come to this, Harrow. But wherever you are now, I know you will forgive me.” She rubbed on the tiny, blue diamond and began to recite words in the ancient language. “Echno pharon mashu con.”

The blinded Dahkhal’s screams stopped as he listened to what was being said. He knew the language of old and the power it possessed, it took him a few seconds but after figuring out a few oddly accented parts, he realized she was reciting, “Foul spirit, your soul belongs here.”

Dahkhal’s black heart sank and, in pure desperation, be sputtered, “Ten-Min’s ten tin men! Ten-Min’s ten tin men! Ten-Min’s ten tin men!” The language of ancient Serek possessed incredible magical power, but a single missed word in a chant could interrupt an incantation. “On cat’s mat sat rat! On cat’s mat sat rat!” If he could just make Sabine stop with the help of a tongue twister, he could be free. “Sheet slitters slit sheets! Sheet slitters slit sheets!”

It didn’t matter what he tried, Sabine had waited for that night with baited breath. With each repeat of the phrase, “Echno pharon mashu con,” Dahkhal felt his soul slip further and further from the core of his body.

“Wait—wait, Princess be reasonable! I am a necromancer, remember? I have power over the dead!”

Sabine’s face remained solid as a rock “Echno pharon mashu con.”

“Your husbands? Your lovers? I can bring them all back, we can make a deal!”

Though the princess’s words remained as stable as ever, tears began to flow from her eyes and her voice went hoarse. Dahkhal allowed himself just a trickle of hope. Surely his words were getting through to her, and surely he could still find an escape route.

“All you have to do is release this spell. But if you trap me in that jellyfish, I won’t be able to work my magic anymore. They’ll be gone, do you hear me? Gone forever!”

At last, Sabine stopped chanting Though Dahkhal’s spirit still felt stretched, there came no more tugs. Dark magic flowed into the warlock’s hands as a sneer of pure malice crossed his face. He couldn’t capture the princess this night, but he had strength enough to perform a death curse upon himself. When he revived next time, he would be more prepared.

With a sniffle, Sabine spoke again. “I get to choose what the last words of the incantation are, as long as they’re meaningful to me.”

The sneer fell from Dahkhal’s face. His extra time then gone, he put his own darkness-wrapped hands around his throat and prepared a chant of his own.

With a clear of her throat and renewed energy, Sabine said, “They’re gone, Dahkhal, and they aren’t coming back. You ended them.” With a hatred that blazed like fire, Sabine glared down at him. “Susil varrow, Dahkhal. Susav var carron. Nilhan alm zartok var.” Which, in the ancient tongue, translated out to, “And now you’re gone, Dahkhal. And you won’t come back. Because I’m ending you.”

There wasn’t time enough for Dahkhal’s chant. There wasn’t even time for a bloodcurdling scream. Sabine held the gem vial to his body and, with a last magical pull, the warlock’s soul was wrenched out and into the body of the tiny jellyfish. With a deep, beaten sigh, Princess Sabine collapsed in front of her bed and stared into the ring. After over a decade, it was finally over.

SULLEN QUIM! WRETCHED STRANGE! PUTRID PUTTOCK!

The princess let out another exhausted sigh and accepted one more of the conditions of her assault. She and Dahkhal had shared a psychic link since their fourth encounter. The warlock had rarely used it out of fear he’d unintentionally reveal his own plans, but the channel for communication remained open. Though it was not necessary, she answered him out loud. “Quit screaming. I can hear you just fine.”

I WILL BE FREE, YOU LEG OF LACED MUTTON! WATCH ME!

There came a tiny, pathetic, plink plink plink from Sabine’s ring. She raised it to her eyes and looked in at the newly-reincarnated Dahkhal as he bashed his tiny bubble head against his crystalline prison.

Sabine said, “An alchemist in Surl once diced a Neculan jellyfish into over a hundred pieces, transmuted every one of them into gold, turned them back, and it was still alive when he was finished. Congratulations: you are truly, now and forever, immortal.”

For a creature without a discernable face, the jellyfish did surprisingly well at turning upward to glare at her. You can’t just perform magic like that! Everything comes at a cost! What could you have possibly sacrificed to grant yourself such power?

The look of cool victory on Sabine’s face slowly twisted. Wrinkles formed between her eyes and the content look of her mouth shifted to a pained frown. “I gave the spell everything. Because I’m not a princess anymore.”

Somehow, someway, Dahkhal the jellyfish flinched. You what?

Tears of fresh agony welled in Sabine’s eyes. “Right about now, we’re the only people who remember that I was heir to the throne. Or who I am at all.” She shut her eyes and all of the pain seeped out. “I didn’t even get a chance to tell my parents goodbye. I knew they’d just try talking me out of it.” When she opened them again, malice that would challenge Dahkhal’s own radiated out from them and upon the jellyfish. “We need to leave before the guards see me and think I’m trespassing. I don’t know what I’m doing after that.” She rose to her feet and vigorously shook her hand, smashing Dahkhal’s head against the sides of glass over on over again until the next telepathic scream she heard was one of pure suffering. “This is it. You and me, stuck together forever. Just like you always wanted.”

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