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Manfred Manfred (goodreadscommanfred-nightopium) | 39 comments Mod




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Manfred Manfred (goodreadscommanfred-nightopium) | 39 comments Mod
Extract from Chapter 15 "The Battle of the Brids" - Magic Mirabelle and the Riddle of Night Opium

And having nothing further to say to Mirabelle, Night Opium turned his back on her and strutted grandly to the centre of the Arena, where he took out the first of the Magical Battles Card and read his declaration of war against the Black Fairy and all her opprobrious minions.

But the Wizard told her Mirabelle in no uncertain terms to "Stay the Hell out of the battle," and then he began to desperately rally his scattered troops and prepare for the coming onslaught of the Black Fairy and her army of waspish minions.

"The Battle of the Birds (Peacocks)
The Druid Grove and Sanctuary has been invaded by a horde of particularly virulent one foot ones, led by the most vicious Hornet of all: the evil Black Fairy Malificando. Her only intention is to wipe out all the protected trees and wildlife in the Sanctuary, including the Father of Wishes feathered friends, the Birds. Furthermore, this evil-minded Fairy wants to use the King of the Grove, the Great Father Oak, as the headquarters for the Mistress of Lethe and her evil consort, the King of the Mandrakes. All your Allies, Magical Weapons and other aides will be necessary if you want to achieve Victory in this Magical Battle against the Lethe Master. Success for the Peacocks in this Battle will enable your Quest Hero to take part in the Second Magical Battle. Defeat in this Battle means that your Hero must return to the Start Square. And all cards in his possession must be returned to your Pick-Up Deck. The Heroes from the Tulips and Amorinas team will return to their pre-Battle positions on the board and will retain all of their cards and weapons."

(iii)

When Mirabelle heard this call to arms, she rushed over to her little brother and immediately took his hand. Even if she did nothing else in the coming battle, she would do all in her power to protect him. Night Opium would be too busy playing his part as the General of his troops to have time to look after his little friend Shorty. But Mirabelle would look after him. Even if she had to invoke the Djinn from Lady Night-shadow’s dungeons to protect him, she would do so.

And then it began. The first sign of war came with the disappearance of the light. All the light and colour which had previously illuminated the Gallery suddenly began to fade and grow dim, as a gloomy and impenetrable darkness, as thick as pea soup, began to gradually engulf the entire arena. As the light was swallowed up by the darkness, the gay mood and banter of the birds soon vanished. All at once they stopped off with their gossip and boasting and became jumpy and agitated, fluttering about confusedly and making pathetic, dismal noises, as they tried to gather their bearings and morale, but kept colliding into each other.

As all this was happening, their General was gathering his troops together and trying to put some sort of semblance of order in their ranks. But they were already completely demoralized by the thought of the coming drubbing they were about to receive from the Black Fairy. Seeing their confusion and despair, Mirabelle shouted to Night Opium that he could not face this enemy alone. He needed her. He needed the power which was inside her: the power she had brought with her from the Dungeons of Lethe.

And then it came, the distant buzzing sound, like a bee swarm… Softly it came at first, but then it increased in volume and ferocity as it approached. And as all the birds shrieked and squawked in terror and tried to keep their ranks together, Mirabelle turned and looked behind her. There, coming towards them from out of the gloom and darkness, was the most spiteful and waspish horde of one foot one fairies that you’ve ever seen in your life. And leading their ranks was a veritable little hornet, a diminutive black fairy, rather like a crow in appearance and manners and a hundred times more frightful and malicious than the rest of her tribe put together.

She was the Black Fairy Malificando, the horrid little General of the bunch. And she glared at all and sundry in the darkness with the fierce and luminous Carbuncle Stone buried deep into her tiny skull: it lay somewhere just above her nose bridge, in-between her two eyes. The Carbuncle is a stone that is extracted from the skulls of Unicorns after hunters capture them and saw off their enchanted horns. In that stone is contained the source of the Unicorn’s Magic, but when it is sawn off, not only does the owner receive the Unicorn’s power but also the curse of all the pain and sorrow which the Unicorn feels when you extract it. So this will give you some sort of idea of how malicious and powerful this Fairy is and why Night Opium and his valiant army have no chance against her without Mirabelle’s help.

As for her evil-minded troops, they are nowhere near as powerful as their General. Still they are armed well enough to more than adequately cope with their adversaries the birds. In their fierce little paws they hold the most effective little spears: diaper pins, sewing needles, nails and safety pins. They are weapons that appear quite innocuous to us, but in the hands of this particular tribe of one foot one fairies, they can do more damage than you could possibly imagine.

Whereupon, the Black Fairy gave the command to attack in the most horrendous shriek, just like when you scratch your nails down a blackboard. And instantly, the bloody battle began in earnest. Seeing that they were cornered, Mirabelle’s feathered friends regained their courage and defended themselves valiantly, pecking and clawing at their attackers as they fought for dear life. Unhappily, the beaks and claws of the birds were no match for those ghastly weapons which the fairies thrust mercilessly, and with lightning swift speed, into the fragile bosoms and limbs of the birds. They fell in large numbers and there were casualties on the side of the fairies as well, so that towards the end of the Battle, gossamer wings and downy feathers littered the blood soaked arena.

But in the end, the day clearly belonged to the Black Fairy, who outwitted her rival at every turn plunging sharp metal objects into his flesh and burning up his Magical Attacks with the virulent energies which radiated from the Carbuncle Stone in her skull. Night Opium knew that to dis-empower the Fairy, he had to paralyze her and remove the Stone from her forehead where it was firmly wedged. And he shouted this order to his troops on several occasions. But all of them were either stunned or incinerated before they got anywhere near her power source.

Now throughout all this, Mirabelle had kept herself well out of the Battle and conscientiously looked after her little brother Shorty. Despite his constant protests that they should do something, she remained steadfastly neutral. She justified this inaction by telling him that the Battle was not really any of their business, especially when Night Opium had told her in no uncertain terms, more than once, that he did not want her to participate.

Her little brother told her that all of this was just a pile of crock and it was her duty to fight. And hadn’t she just said, not more than ten minutes ago, that without her help, his army would be slaughtered.

“And isn’t this happening now Miwa-belle?”
Mirabelle agreed. She felt absolutely awful about it all. “But I did promise him that I would stay Neutral. And would only attack if and when you or I were attacked first…”

Well, if she wanted to stay out of the Battle, she shouldn’t have given Shorty that little titbit of information, because immediately, he pulled himself away from his big sister and ran angrily into the fray bad-mouthing the Black Fairy, and calling her every foul name he could think of as he threw one curse after another from his little wand in her direction.

The Black Fairy of course was furious and was just about to turn her malicious intentions towards him, when Mirabelle invoked all the dark powers of her conniving Mistress Lady Nightshadow and let rip with the most powerful Whammy you can imagine. It streamed from out of her hands in a long blazing trail of dark purple light like an amethyst, illuminating the entire cavern as it wheeled its way irresistibly in the Black Fairy’s direction. And, as the Black Fairy’s attentions were otherwise occupied, she had no chance of dodging it or putting up any Magical defenses against it.

Instead, the Whammy hit her like a brick wall and sent her broken wings and torso spinning backwards. The Fairy was mercilessly spun around in a half a dozen or so somersaults before finally being thrown to the ground where she lay totally paralyzed and crippled. If she’d been human the Fairy would’ve had her spine shattered. But as she was a Fairy, and her body was composed mostly of non-physical Astral matter, the destruction of her body took place through a massive and irresistible energy drain.

It was pretty horrible to watch actually. You could just see the pathetic little creature twitching and shuddering, as endless streams of dark amorphous miasma streamed from out of her smashed carcass. The Army of Birds for their part went wild with joy, celebrating the demise of their accursed enemy by mercilessly attacking and ripping to shreds the remainder of her army. They were easy pickings, because without their malicious Queen, the entire tribe completely lost its will to fight, and if the birds had been a bit more civilized in their manners they would have followed the etiquette of the Geneva Convention and allowed them to surrender. But they were still seething over the brutal mutilations of so many of their feathered comrades, and so they showed no mercy. The shout of “No prisoners!” was echoed by every member of the flock, and the bloody orgy of the mangling and mutilation of all the remaining fairies really had to be seen to be believed.

Needless to say, their wounded General was not spared any of the brutality of their vengeance either. As it happened the last of the eagles got her, before any of the other birds did. They were huge creatures with razor sharp beaks and they would not allow her an honourable warrior’s death. And, as she lay there paralyzed and leaking all her vital fluids into the ether, the eagles swooped down on her and, after defecating all over her, they literally dismembered her, tearing her body into a thousand pieces before distributing what was left of her to their comrades.

amazon.com/author/riddleofnightopium


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