God Forge: Forge of the Mind (book 1) [draft 2]

Component 36 - Betrayal

The brainwashed orc, Budge, extended a hand, with Soul Rupture nestled in his palm. A less-than-intelligent grin was across his face, as Lord Reischerr, the powerful lich, grabbed his wrist. A moment passed, but then Budge realized something was wrong; he couldn’t feel his hand.

The orc looked down at his palm and his normally green skin was turning gray, and his fingers were thinning, becoming bonier by second.

Budge’s eyes flew wide and he cried out. The panicked and tried to pull his hand back, but Lord Reischerr wasn’t letting go.

“You did well, Budge.” Lord Reischerr said, his voice nearly frozen over with ice. “I thank you for bringing me a weakened Gonzeeda. I didn’t want to have get my own hands dirty.”

Budge continued to thrash, trying to break free. He screeched and shook his head, but it was no use, the iron grip of the lich would not yield.

“H-help, mistress!” Budge stammered, but even if Gonzeelda could help him, she wouldn’t.

The orcess stared as Budge finally tumbled back as his hand turned to dust.

Budge hit the ground, grabbing his wrist and screeching all the while. The graying skin crept up his arm, and when coming into contact with his other hand, began to spread there a well.

“The curse of the lich.” Gonzeela whispered, narrowing her eyes and the horrific scene of her once lover disintegrating before her.

“The same fate will come to you in a moment.” Reischerr said. “Or maybe I should do something much worse.”

To their sides, Budge rolled onto his back, whimpering and pleading. But there was no stopping the curse, Gozneelda knew. Once a lich touched your flesh, the curse would spread until you were nothing but a pile of dust.

Gonzeelda winced, hearing Budge’s final screams. His throat went gray, and then fell apart, leaving his head to roll across the room.

“You’re sick.” Gonzeelda hissed at Lord Reischerr.

“Thank you, kindly, my dear.” The lich said.

He kneeled and picked up the black leather pouch containing Soul Rupture. Walking over to the anvil of creation, decrepit creature opened the sack and turned it upside down, emptying all the shards out.

“How did it become destroyed, I wonder?” Reischerr mused. “It must have come into contact with another weapon of great power.”

“A dwarf with a big hammer broke it.” Gonzeelda muttered.

“You allowed a dwarf to best you?” He scoffed. “I always detested those short little men. Dirty, ale-drinking creatures. You know, I once killed a whole battalion of dwarves back in the War of the Ten.”

“I don’t care about your war stories.” Gonzeelda snapped. “Either kill me, or let me go so I can kill you.”

Reischerr regarded the orcess and grinned. String strands of flesh held together his jaw, and most of his mouth could be seen from the outside.

“I’m afraid I can’t reforge Soul Rupture and hold you at the same time.” He said. “I’ll have to deal with you first.”

The moment Reischerr lifted his hand, and Gonzeelda’s muscles became her own again, she sprang straight for the evil sorcerer.

She drew a dagger from the back of her belt, and hurled it forward. At the same moment, she brought out another dagger from a sheathe on her hip. The first weapon struck into Reischerr’s chest, and with the second, she leaped up, flipping over the lich’s head. Gonzeelda came down, twisting and landing behind him. She drover the dagger into the back of his skull.

The lich didn’t even flinch. He pulled out the first dagger. The hilt melted in his palm and dropped to the floor, a pile of liquid metal. Gonzeelda leaped back as Reischerr reached back and yanked the second weapon from his head. That dagger too, was destroyed.

Reischerr didn’t even look at Gonzeelda. He simply looked down at the anvil of creation and put his hands above the shards. Slowly, they began to spin and glow red-hot. They spun around and around and finally merged together into the blade of a scythe. The staff sprang from the blade, and the weapon was reforged.

The lich lord picked up the weapon, and froze. Power visibly surged up his arm, and lightning crackled around his being. But a moment later, he the power ceased. Reischerr stared at the weapon confused.

“Where is its power?” He muttered. “It was there one moment and then gone the next.”

Gonzeelda noticed it before he did. The very tip of the scythe was still missing. A grin crossed her face. Reischerr was going to be without the scythe’s power. She still might stand a chance.

The orcess charged at the distracted lich. She snatched the handle of the scythe. Reischerr held on, and glared at Gonzeelda. He pulled back, but she held on with everything she had.

She jumped up, and drover her armored knee into the lich’s chin. His head snapped back and she staggered away, fully holding Soul Rupture.

Reischerr looked at Gonzeelda, and shook his head. “The weapon is incomplete. How is it incomplete?”

“A tricky halfling, I’m guessing.” Gonzeelda grinned. “Lucky for me I know where to find such a one.”

“Insolence.” The lich grumbled. “It matters not. I will reclaim the missing piece, and then become more powerful than my brethren.”

“Oh, does someone have insecurities?” Gonzeelda mocked. “That’s really too bad.”

With a growl, the lich threw up his hand and a black bolt of lightning struck out towards her. She spun Soul Rupture and the lightning blasted back at him. Reischerr turned his head to the side and the bolt struck past, hitting a stalagmite, causing it to explode in a shower of pebbles.

“It may not have its full power.” Gonzeelda said. “But it’s plenty strong enough to stop you.”

“We will see about that.” The angry lich hissed.

He thrust out his palms, one after the other. A myriad of different elements flung forth; fire, ice, lightning, acid; but none of which breached Gonzeelda’s spinning defense.

When Reischerr finally stopped slinging spells, Gonzeelda began to hum. She walked towards the lich, who started back. She could’ve been imagining it, but she thought his fiery orb eyes were quivering. She was going to enjoy this.


Angon continued up the mountain path, with Gavin, Hero, and Tricia just several feet behind him. Gavin suddenly cried out, and Angon skidded to a stop.

“Look out!” Gavin cried.

The forge cocked his head, and didn’t see the rock-colored creatures stepping away from the stone wall to his left.

Gavin snapped up his bow and fired an arrow seemingly right at Angon. His eyes widened, and he moved to block the attack, but instead it flew right under his arm. Something behind Angon hissed, and he quickly turned, coming face to face with several humanoid monsters almost as tall as himself. They growled and glared. The one Gavin had struck, snapped the arrow’s shaft and tossed it to the side.

“Trolls!” Gavin cried.

The first troll bull rushed Angon, pushing him back a few steps. Gavin launched a barrage of arrows at the ones trying to climb past. Hero closed his eyes and tried to think of something he could turn into. He had little training in the ways of metamorphosis, but he knew if he could picture something with pinpoint accuracy, he should be able to transform.

In his mind, he pictured a great bird, with an enormous wingspan. Before he knew it, wings were growing out of his furry back. His front legs melted away, slamming him to the ground, and his back legs grew scaly, and out popped talons. Fur was quickly replaced by brown feathers, and his snout curved, hardening into a beak.

Hero screeched and flapped his mighty wings, lifting off the mountain path.

Gavin couldn’t help but notice the wolf-turned eaglesaur, but he had little time to take in its full beauty.

The druid swooped in, and with his great talons, snatched up the troll with whom Angon wrestled. The troll thrashed about, trying to get free, and Hero intended to let him go indeed; right over the edge of the cliff.

The troll screamed as Hero released it. It fell, hundreds of feet, screeching and flailing all the way. The young druid started in for another dive.

Angon, being free of the first, large monster, reach back, taking Hellsmasher in hand. He thrust the hammer forward, sending three of the creatures stumbling with a shockwave.

From behind Gavin, Tricia was whimpering, and crying out every time a troll laid eyes on her, and hungrily licked its lips.

The trolls came too close, and Gavin was forced to drop his bow. He whipped out a dagger and started slicing at the monstrosities. Unfortunately for him, he knew trolls couldn’t be killed in such a manner, and if he weren’t careful he could cause another one to form.

Angon lifted his leg and kicked one to his left. It flew off the mountain path, screaming. The forge grabbed another by crotch and head and threw that over as well.

“We need magic!” Gavin shouted, slashing an oncoming troll across the chets.

“Okay!” Tricia nodded. “Will do!”

Gavin wasn’t sure he understood, but he wasn’t going to question it.

Tricia lifted her palms and wagged her fingers. A moment later, the blade of Gavin’s dagger burst into flames. He gasped in midswing, but the blade made contact still. The unsuspecting troll screeched louder than the falling ones. Its skin began to bubble, and ignite. Taking several steps back, the flames caught onto the other monsters.

“What’s happening?” Angon asked, swinging Hellsmasher, and sending one flying far away from the mountain.

“Magic kills trolls!” Gavin said, stabbing at another one; which backed up, its eyes wide.

Hero came down, taking two more trolls and dropping them.

Finally, only one troll remained. It looked at each member of the group on the path, then up at Hero. With the shake of its head, it leaped off the side of the cliff, crying out as it went.

Gavin grinned and looked back at Tricia. “Good job, Tri.”

“Tri?” She whispered.

“A nickname.” Gavin shrugged, but turned back to the mountain path. “We have to keep moving!” He kneeled so Tricia could climb on once again.

Angon was already running again, before Gavin could even stand back up.

The forge nearly careened off the path when it suddenly came to an end. At the last moment, he saw the cave entrance, and changed directions. With all his speed, he rushed inside. Eventually he came to a room with clock hands on the floor, and a dais in the center.

“What is this?” Angon whispered.

Moments later, Gavin arrived and Hero followed, back in wolf for.

“I do not know what this is.” Angon said. “But the path ends here.”

The sol elf approached the dais and examined the blue and green spinning orb.

“Hmm…” He mumbled. “This looks familiar.”

Hero jumped up on his hind legs and took a better look as well.

“This is our world!” He suddenly exlclaimed. “Look, there are ten continents.”

Gavin nodded. “You’re right. But how do we use it?”

Tricia was on the ground, dancing around on the clock hands. She jumped with each ticking movement of the second hand.

“It is a clock…” Angon whispered. “And the orb is spinning. Maybe it represents time?”

“Well, yes, of course!” Gavin rolled his eyes. “But what about it?”

Hero’s tail wagged about, hitting Gavin’s leg.

“Would you quit that!” He grumbled. “I’m trying to think!”

“But I know the answer!” Hero yipped.

“Then do tell!” Gavin said.

Angon walked up to the orb and spun it. The clock hands on the floor began to rapidly fly past Tricia’s eyes widened and she twirled around, nearly losing her balance because she could no longer keep up.

With a firm hand, Angon stopped the spinning orb and the clock hands pointed to just after seven o’clock.

A rumbling on the far wall began to sound and Hero whimpered. “I wanted to do it.”

“What was the answer?” Gavin still seemed perplexed.

“It was the current time.” Angon shrugged. “As simple as that.”

Gavin scrunched up his face in confusion, but before he could complain at the simplicity of such a puzzle, the cave wall slid up revealing a lit chamber beyond, from which the sound of battle came.

Tip: You can use left, right, A and D keyboard keys to browse between chapters.