BNN: An Evil Disturbance
Sage Xavia March 11, 1999
Lord British was startled awake damp with sweat by the suddenly loud, irregular clapping of the curtains leading out onto the balcony of his bedroom. He slowly opened his eyes, and stared at the mural that graced the ceiling of his bedchamber. For the past several mornings, the once vibrant colorful images appeared to have been sapped of energy, as though they were painted with the lifeless, grayish morning light that was filling the room around him. The lifelessness of the painting was reflected in Lord British because as of late he woke each morning listless and fatigued.
The flapping of the curtains became louder, and more violent. As if watching himself in a dream, he felt himself lean forward drawn by the sound. Long skeletal fingers of the arid dawn pushed into his already warm room. The balcony doorway appeared to be a large winged creature caught in a hunter’s trap, desperately struggling against its bonds. The beatings of its finely woven wings came in erratic, powerful snaps. Almost unaware of his own movement, Lord British felt himself rise from his bed, and move towards the balcony.
“Something is not right,” he heard himself say.
The morning winds came strong and hot into his face, causing long claws of gray hair to curl about the back of his head. He felt as if he were staring into the gaping maw of an angry Ancient Wyrm. Slowly he saw his arm move and part the curtains revealing the courtyard and royal garden. It was in a state that he had never seen before. Emaciated, fruitless trees wrestled weakly against the arid wind. A herd of leaves rustled into view as they swirled and danced amid a cloud of dust. They galloped through the dying tangles of the royal garden. No living thing moved in the courtyard. No bird’s song filled his ear; no quietly feeding fawns caught his eye.
He found himself turning hoping to return to his bed chamber. The body of a dead crow drew his attention. It was lying motionless on the stone pavement of the balcony. Although it had not been there the day before, it appeared to have been dead for a long while. Death’s grip seems to have frozen it in mid-flight. Its blackened feathers were broken and its mouth was slightly open. Its eyes had long since shriveled leaving pits of blackness behind.
“GEOFFREY!” Lord British bellowed as he strode back into the bedroom. Grabbing a robe emblazoned with the silver serpent, he opened the heavy oaken bedroom door and continued into the hall.
“Yes, sire,” Geoffrey said, as he slowly walked from the Royal Library, holding a copy of The Travails of The Avatar. “Is there something wrong, sire?” He asked in response to his Lord’s furrowed brow.
“Where is Nystul?” Lord British said loudly through the confusion which clouded his thoughts. “Something is amiss and I fear the worst…”
“He is still in his chambers,” Geoffrey said. “I have tried to summon him, yet I have been unsuccessful. I know he is within - I can hear his incessant scribbling,” Geoffrey smirked. “What is wrong, sire? How may I assist thee?”
“I feel as if I am being beset by evil. Every time I open my eyes, I expect to be staring face to face with a nameless daemon. Its stench rides heavy even upon the morning winds. We must do something. Something has happened, and we must find out what.”
“Begging thy pardon, M’Lord, but I am unsure as to which thou art speaking. Art thou feeling ill?” Geoffrey said, offering a hand to perhaps lead his Lord back to bed. He was concerned by the intensely confused look that stood upon his Lord’s face and by the sweat that fell from his troubled brow, and never having seen his Lord in such a state, he feared the worst.
“No, Geoffrey, I am not ill,” Lord British snapped. He closed his eyes, concentrating on the words he needed to speak to make his point clear. He had no wish to berate Geoffrey for his misunderstanding, but sometimes the warrior seemed as thick as a stone. He opened his eyes and took Geoffrey by the shoulder. Geoffrey continued to look perplexed. “I need you to send some of thine best warriors to Buc’s Den to have a look around. Something is not right. We must find out what has caused the pirates to become so active as of late. I’m not sure why, but I know that the cause of my consternation is there.” He smiled briefly, and walked past Geoffrey and continued down the hall heading towards Nystul’s quarters.
“Can it not wait till the morrow? Halston and I were to reassign the guard duties today. Perhaps if thou wouldst visit the herbalist…”
“NO! Geoffrey, I am NOT ill, but I AM becoming angry,” Lord British barked, as he turned and stared grimly at Geoffrey causing him to stand rigidly at attention. “Go now! Summon Halston and do as I ask. Evil has resurfaced in this world, and we must know in what incarnation it is, and I will not hear another word on the subject.”
“Aye sir. Perhaps, the Followers have gathered once again?” Geoffrey said, unsteadily, yet still at attention.
“Perhaps, yet I don’t feel as if they are the cause of this imbalance. They may certainly be playing a part,” Lord British said, softening his tone knowing Geoffrey’s intentions were sound. “Make certain that 3 of your finest go at once to Buccaneer’s Den,” he said. Lord British, then, turned and continued down the hall and out of sight.
“Aye sir. I shall see that they depart within the hour,” Geoffrey said out to the retreating sound of Lord British. He quickly moved towards the barracks yelling, “HALSTON! GATHER THE GUARD!”