Sunday, 30 October 2011

Your Move

The chess set was an old one. The pieces had been hand carved by a master craftsman, as had the board, from precious stones and metals. Intricate detail on all the pieces, even the pawns told a story on the chequered board that echoed through antiquity.

The last rays of the sun shone in through the window as it dipped below the horizon and for a moment caused the gem in the queens staff to glow with balefire before the lights seemed to fade all through the house.

Carmilla noticed the balefire in the staff and the fading of the lights and put the small glass she was sipping from back on the table and, after replacing a book mark, laid a small tome on the table by the chess set. Without looking up she smiled.
"Good evening, I have been waiting for you."

Across the table from her sat a tall dark figure, clad in a heavy cowled robe, a heavy scythe leant against the wall behind him, easily within reach. The robe nodded and a skeletal hand reached out to take the glass that had been set down by the opposite side of the chess board.
"You wish a game? To pit your wits against mine?"
"Yes. I have that right."
There was a throaty chuckle from beneath the robes.
"I will collect you one day, Carmilla, regardless you do know that?"
"Aaah yes. I have walked with you as a constant companion, but always just beyond your grasp. The Immortals dance with death but never give in to his demands...."
"Until now.... now you are dying. And there is no immortality for you. I can sense myself in you, writhing around you, an insidious death."
Carmilla picked up the small glass with the pale green liquid inside and swirled it gently, the ice cubes clinking softly. Aaah yes, Vitoc. The insidious death that is kept at bay by the daily dose of poison. Institutionalised bondage.

Carmilla set up the pieces on the chessboard and placing two pawns in the palm of her hand offered them to the figure before her.
"So what are the stakes for this game?"
"If I win, you die."
"And if I win?"
The robed figure just laughed, outside there was a howling of dogs and the lights in the room dimmed, though on the chessboard it seemed more illuminated. The robed figure took the black pawn and placed it on his side of the table.
"Let is see how the game progresses. But I dare say you'll get what you wish for.... if you win."
She placed her pawn on the table, her move made. Her acceptance of the tems made in that move.
"Then let us play. Your move...."

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