torg 03- The Nightmare Dream

torg 03- The Nightmare Dream by Jonatha Ariadne Caspian Read Free Book Online

Book: torg 03- The Nightmare Dream by Jonatha Ariadne Caspian Read Free Book Online
Authors: Jonatha Ariadne Caspian
Tags: Games, Role Playing & Fantasy
nice to meet you," Bryce said, casting about on the ground for his cross. He did not see it. He feared he lost it further up the incline, which meant it might be gone forever. "What can we do for you Mr. Markham?"
    Markham smiled. It was an evil smile, more like a skull's perpetual grimace than a reaction to humor.
    "You can give me the source of power you carry. Do not deny that you have it. I have alread y identified it through arcane means."
    Bryce reached into his pocket and put his hand around the shard of blue-red stone he carried. It was but a sliver of its original self, its song nothing but a whisper now. Any power it possessed, Bryce knew, was trapped with the Gaunt Man in a perpetual cycle of creation and destruction. Still, Bryce wasn't going to let the shard fall into Markham's greedy hands.
    Grim had said that the insect things — chthon, Markham called them — reeked of necromancy. As Bryce understood the term, necromancy referred to a wizard who communes with spirits of the dead. Apparently, in Markham's case, that included dead insects.
    "While my other chthons chase your companions, I have narrowed my own search to you, priest," Markham said. "You will give me the shard, whether of your own volition or of mine."
    The priest backed up a step, hoping that a solution to this predicament would reveal itself. His cross was gone, and he carried no weapons. All he had was the shard of stone, and that had demonstrated none of the abilities that the unbroken Heart of Coyote had performed for him. Maybe he could find a heavy stick or a rock, he thought, desperately searching the ground.
    "Recover the shard," Markham ordered, and the chthon dropped Toolpin and shambled after the priest.
    Bryce hefted a fallen tree branch. It was solid, and he decided it would make a serviceable club. However, he was fairly certain that it would cause the chthon little, if any, harm.
    "Stay back," Bryce warned, but the chthon ignored him. It continued forward at a steady pace, all of its dead insect eyes fixed on him with hungry glares. He swung the stick like a baseball bat, hoping to keep the monster at bay.
    "Hang on, Father Bryce," Toolpin called as he rushed .it the chthon's exposed back. He still had his battle spike, and he smashed it into the chthon with all his might.
    "Toolpin, be careful," Bryce started to say, but his warning came to late.
    The chthon whirled on the dwarf, knocking him senseless with the back of one chitinous claw. Toolpin fell to the ground, landing heavily as he slipped into unconsciousness.
    "Enough of these distractions, priest," Markham said. "Give me the shard and I will let you and your companions continue on your way in peace. But if you try to thwart my will, I will use each of you as a host for some foul entity. You would not like sharing your body with something that is alien, Father Bryce."
    The chthon stepped closer, looming over the priest like a mantis over some lesser insect. Bryce imagined he heard thousands of dead insects grind thousands of mandibles together in hungry anticipation. This close, he could see the separate carcasses stacked to form the chthon's humanoid shape. He could see his reflection in a thousand insect eyes.
    "No!" he screamed, shattering his stick across the chthon's chest.
    "You cannot harm the chthon, Biyce," Markham explained. "How can you hurt that which is already dead?"
    In answer, a whirling sound emerged from the jungle. Bryce looked up to see a massive war boomerang spinning through the air. It caugli 11 he chthon in the back of the neck, actually staggering it.
    "Who dares?" Markham demanded, spinning to look into the jungle.
    Bryce followed Markham's gaze, al t hough he already had a good idea where the boomerang came from. Sure enough, a small black man with a white beard and a patch of white hair walked into the clearing. He smiled at Bryce with his missing tooth grin, then turned to the necromancer.
    "We must leave now," Djilangulyip said solemnly to the

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