The Hazards of the Old Ones

Life ends, new life is born. Everything balances. 

When Carahil, an Elemental Spirit, witnesses the destruction of an entire world, he’s faced with the ultimate question: how far is he willing to go to save it? 
Carahil will gather friends-like Lord and Countess Blanchefort, renowned Fleet Captain and ex-Black Hat, to help. He’ll destroy lives, like that of Captain Davage’s best friend and first officer, Lt. Kilos, who is made to quit her job aboard the Seeker and go into the dreaded Hazards of the Old Ones: a place where only she can stand. Carahil will also search out disreputable sources like the scalawag Duke of Oyln, who has something malicious and wailing locked away in his dungeon. 
To make matters worse, hidden forces threaten to destroy everyone Carahil needs to help him. Ominous messages from nowhere, surprise visits, phantom people and taunting voices complicate matters. 
However, the most dangerous threat to this mission could be Carahil himself, who faces demonic transformation for getting involved and may upset the cosmic Scales of the Universe in a bad way. Carahil, though struggling to achieve a greater good, might be the cause of a horrific tragedy instead. 

Hell awaits should he fail.

Ren Garcia is a Science Fiction/Fantasy author and Texas native who grew up in western Ohio. He has been writing since before he could write, often scribbling alien lingo on any available wall or floor with assorted crayons. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in English Literature. Ren has been an avid lover of anything surreal since childhood, he also has a passion for caving, urban archeology and architecture. His highly imaginative “League of Elder” book series is published by Loconeal Publishing

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From Chapter 3: Visit form the Imp
 
The Imp he was summoning did not appear immediately, as he
thought it would. Instead, it took hours, but finally, eyes shining in the
dark, the Imp arrived, its body huddled up and obscured in the corner.
It emerged from the shadows and the Duke had a good look at it. He
called it an “Imp” for lack of better terms. He really didn’t know what
it was.
 “And so, my Lord Duke, I am here at last,” the Imp said in a bright,
clear voice.
 
The Duke, sitting there with his pipe, tried to be brash. “Punctuality,
Imp, must not be in much favor in whatever fire pit you come from.”
The Duke paused a moment. Even in his study he could hear the female
beast raging in the dungeon far below, wailing and moaning.
“I come at my own good pace,” it said. It lifted its silvery head and
listened.
“DIEEEEEEEEEEEEE,DIEEEEEEEEE,IKILLYOUDEADEATYOURHEARTDIEDIEDIEDIEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!”
The Imp smiled. “And, I suppose that racket issuing up from below
is why I am here, yes?”
“Aye,” the Duke said. “Are all you Imps as well-informed?”
 
The creature darkened a bit. “I do not like being called, ‘Imp’, sir.
I am not an Imp. If I were an Imp I would be mangling your flesh by
now. Be thankful I am of a kinder cloth. If you wish to toss names
about, I am certain I could think of a few for you as well—there’s quite
a selection to choose from, isn’t there: Raider, Brigand, Adulterer, Cutpurse,
Fiend, Pirate … Scalawag …”
“I think I like Pirate the best.”
“Really? I prefer ‘scalawag’. You are a scalawag, yes?”
“Aye. I have been called that,” the Duke said.
“I’ve been looking for a scalawag.”
“Have you? Well, look no further.”
 
Some sort of tablet or tome appeared next to the creature, and it
wrote something into it. The tablet then vanished and it came forward
a bit and shone in the light with a silvery glow. It was less than waist
high, smooth and metallic, like living mercury. It was some sort of
bizarre half slug/half dog quadrupedal animal, standing on strange,
bent, somewhat aquatic-looking front legs. Not being an animal lover,
he didn’t know what kind it might be.
“My time is short, sir. I already know what you want, but I’d like
you to spell it out for me anyway … to ensure there is no confusion
here today,” the creature said.
 
The Duke ran a hand through his blonde hair, opened his box,
stuffed his pipe with fragrant tobacco, and lit it. “I want you to calm
that damned Black Hat in my dungeon. We need to commence to
having children, and her yowling is impeding progress.”
“Really … children?? Hmmm … that Black Hat down there
doesn’t seem to like you much, sir.”
“She will, in time.”
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIKILLYOUIKILLYOUAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!”
“Given the standard of your previous marriages, it appears this one
is off to your usual start.”
 
The Duke puffed his pipe, un-amused by the creature’s attempt at
humor. “Can you help me, or can you not?”
“And what have you done so far … to cheer your ‘wife’s’ sour
mood?”
 
And the Duke told him, he told the creature everything, and it
quietly listened, nodding every so often. The Duke found it felt good
to talk about the whole thing—to get it off his chest, and the creature,
whatever it was, was a good, comforting listener. The Duke even told
it that Sage of Ruthven suspected the Northern Lord had made up the
Black Hat story and wed a dirty courtesan—which triggered a huge
series of open-mouthed belly laughs from the creature. The laugh was
infectious, and soon the Duke was laughing too—the first time he’d
laughed in days.
 
Just the Duke and the silvery thing sharing a moment in his
study.
 
“So,” the Duke finally said. “Can you help me?”
The silver creature thought a moment and scratched its face with
its left front appendage. “It appears that you have done all you can.
Yes, of course I can help you. But, as in all things, there is a price, dear
Duke.”
The Duke recalled the message he received. “What do you wish …
my soul perhaps?”
“That raggedy old thing? No, no, I desire something much more
useful and much more immediate.”
 
The Duke sat back in his chair, whitish-gray smoke from his pipe
curled up toward the high, ornate ceiling of the study. He thought
about it. This creature didn’t seem foul or evil. He felt it could be
trusted. “I’ll give you whatever you want. But help me now. If you get
me results, I am yours.”
The silver creature twitched its whiskers. Its shining eyes grew large.
“Excellent. Then let’s proceed, we’ve wife and best friend to make for
you. You going to teach her to bowl?”
The Duke smiled. “We do not speak of bowling.”
“But you do bowl, right?”
“Of course, and her average shall be the envy of the whole of
Esther.”
The creature laughed. ”Well, we can’t delay that, can we? Shall we
to the dungeon?”
The Duke stood and put his black triangle hat on.
“I didn’t realize Esthers wore Vith-style clothing,” the creature said,
noting the hat.
“I fancy Vith hats.”
“Ah …”
 
Together they exited the study, the Duke slowly walking, the
summoned creature loping along in all fours. Actually, as the Duke
noted, it didn’t have four legs, rather it had two strange front legs, and
its rear legs were nearly fused together and dragging behind—three
legs. Odd.
 
“Her name, Duke. Once we break the darkness around her if you
can get her to willingly tell you her name, then that appears to speed
the process along, though I know not why.”
“The Darkness? I believe I’ve heard of it.”
“Yes, the Black Abbess’s Clutch. A shell of evil swirling around
her … a darkness that will not break. It must be thrown aside, that’s
what I am here to do. I shall break it for you, and she will calm. Oh,
and if I may offer up a bit of advice?” it said.
The Duke looked at it, pulled on his pipe, and listened.
“You seek a wife in all of this, a woman who will love and bear you
many fine sons. This particular Black Hat is at least a hundred and
forty years old, yet her soul is as undeveloped as a newborn’s. When
we enter your dungeon, Duke, and do what needs to be done, we will
be, in essence, welcoming a brand new person into the League. All
of her feelings, her deepest thoughts, her wants and desires that have
been thrust aside, stunted, battered, deprived, hidden and denied her
for all these years are about to come flooding to the surface. It will be a
remarkable thing to witness.
 “You wanted someone to love—you’ve not seen such love as a
freed, reformed Black Hat can offer. She will stand by your side, loyal
to the end. She will love you the sum of her days; yet, she will not be
your toy, your pet. She will be your foil, your equal, terrible in her
power, endless in her devotion. She will argue with you, she will make
her thoughts known. She will make you a whole person and you will
do the same for her. All these things are very possible, however, love,
in any case, is earned—not given. You must be worthy of her love.
After ten failed marriages, I should think that you’d have learned that
by now.”
 
The Duke pulled on his pipe and thought.
 
“Additionally, the Lord of Blanchefort—for that is the ‘Northern
Guy’ who tamed the Black Hat Sygillis of Metatron, cracked darkness
hovering around her like a walnut shell—which is why I am here,
because you lack what he can do. You cannot break the Black Abbess’s
darkness around her.”
“Certainly, I’ll wager his Black Hat was nothing of the tempestuous
little fiend that mine is.”
“AAAAAAAAAAAACOMETOME … LETMEKISSYOU …DEADMANDEADMAN … AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!”
“On the contrary, Sygillis of Metatron was a foul, evil, unrepentant
woman … every bit as vile and dangerous as the one shackled below—
though, admittedly, not quite as noisy.”
 
The creature nosed the door open. “On a more social note, Duke,
the Lord of Blanchefort also possesses a number of additional qualities
which you appear to need work on. Kindness, decency, wit, and basic
courtesy are just a few. You might be wise to follow his example. Forget
being the Duke of Oyln for a bit, forget being the swashbuckling
pirate, and try being a man for a change. Perhaps you have as much to
learn from her as she does from you.”
The Duke shrugged and held his pipe. “It … could be argued so.”
 
His previous apprehension had fallen away completely—this creature
was not evil, he could feel it. He fancied he even liked it a little. He
allowed himself hope—perhaps this silver beast could help him after
all.
“AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!” came
ominously from the bottom of the stairs.
 
The silver creature looked up at the Duke. “And remember, you,
sir, will be in my debt. When the time is correct, I will come a-calling
on you, and I will expect you to assist me as I wish.”
“A A A A A A A A A A A B B E S S S A B B E S S S AV EYOURDAUGHTER!!!!”
“Silence this woman and open her arms for me,” the Duke said
moving down the stairs, “and I am yours however you see fit.”
 
The Duke and the silver creature entered the dungeon, and
approached the screaming Black Hat. She spat and cursed. She opened
and closed her fists, wanting to wrap them around the Duke’s neck.
Standing back, the Duke watched as the strange silver creature
began its work.
 
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