by Jersea O'Brinkridge

(Jersea waits for the stagehands to dim some of the lights and set red papers in front of the others giving the stage an eery glow.)

Jersea softly begins, "Tyllan..."

Jersea softly says, "Skyreach..."

Jersea softly says, "Elstreth..."

Jersea softly says, "The Horned Cabal..."

Jersea asks, "Myth?"

Jersea asks, "Legend?"

Jersea observes, "Fact."

Jersea nods slowly.

Jersea smiles grimly.

Jersea queries, "How many of you here have taken up arms against a Lich?"

Jersea solemnly says, "I have."

Jersea recites simply:

"'Twas not so very far away
And not so long ago
When Voln's Champion came to say
That it was time to go."

Jersea shrugs.

Jersea recites somberly:

"Through a magic portal, leading
To mountains far away
Where paladins went missing
In a myster'ous way."

Jersea marches back and forth, sharply turning at the end of each stride.

Jersea recites wonderingly:

"Through the Gattrof Mountains, searching
For any sort of clue
All around the undead shrieking...
Portent of trouble, true?"

Jersea ponders.

Jersea taps a spiral-hafted vaalorn skull-crusher, which is in her right hand.

Jersea recites worriedly:

"For weeks we had been searching
And battling the hoard
Through the mountains lurching...
Nothing left unexplored."

Jersea wrings her hands.

Jersea recites patiently:

"The Magister, Remuliad
Searched until he found
A shrouded cleft and taints so bad
He sent the Champion 'round."

Jersea recites earnestly:

"A secret and a hidden cleft
Vis'ble cert times only
Teeming with fest'ring taints that left
Us wond'ring what we d see"

Jersea gasps.

Jersea recites hesitantly:

"We entered to an anteroom
A chamber, if you please.
The scent of decay filled the gloom
Leaving us ill at ease."

Jersea covers her nose tightly.

Jersea recites concernedly:

"A massive stone door dominates
The room, if I recall.
The scattered bones show grizzly fates.
Deep gauges score the wall."

Jersea gulps.

Jersea recites anxiously:

"The door was barricaded by
A massive granite slab
Sensing the final battle nigh,
We pushed and poked and jabbed"

Jersea leans forward.

Jersea recites worriedly:

"That slab. It guards the gates... to what?
What lay beyond that door?
Another room to clench the gut

Jersea gulps.

"What horror was in store..."

Jersea frets.

Jersea closes her eyes for a moment.

Jersea shudders.

Jersea recites hesitantly:

"An altar, with a snake statue...
That sight I can't speak of
And huge stone horns extending to
The shadows up above."

Jersea shakes her head no in a silent plea, cowering slightly.

Jersea moans.

Jersea recites sorrowfully:

"In this cave up in the mountains
The mystery is solved
Their blood filled the altar's fountains...
Those paladins so proud."

Jersea wrings her hands.

Jersea recites wearily:

"Human remains litter the floor
The stench of rot o'erwhelms
And... watching us across the gore
Of champ'ions of the realms..."

Jersea wobbles, looking a bit faint.

Jersea whimpers.

Jersea recites fearfully:

"It... might have been alive one time?
But... only trace remains
In tattered rags covered with grime
Which putrid flesh contains."

Jersea blinks in puzzlement.

Jersea recites delightedly:

"Mortals! Your trespass here will be
Your last act done alive!
Join e'erlasting service to me
And for my wishes strive."

Jersea twitches and cackles with glee as she glances around.

Jersea recites earnestly:

"The Lich cries out "You will serve me!
An army I will build
And have the world bent on its knee
My destiny... fulfilled!"

Jersea gasps a quick breath, obviously terrified!

Jersea recites defiantly:

"Your servants? No!" "We seek the Heart!"
"Surrender it at once!""

Jersea recites smugly:

""To do that now would not be smart...
You think I am a dunce?"

Jersea cackles!

Jersea recites quickly:

"A battle of wits then ensues
The Lich must toy with us.
"Answer the questions... or refuse...
It doesn t matter much."

Jersea grins evilly.

Jersea shrugs.

Jersea recites tersely:

"It taunts us with the history
Of the relic that we seek
Seeking the source of its myst'ry
So havock it can wreak."

Jersea snorts a derisive laugh, sneering in mockery.

Jersea recites seriously:

"Delighting in each wrong answer,
The serpent statue glows.
Each death a power enhancer
And so its potential grows."

Jersea gulps.

Jersea recites jubilantly:

"But the Magister was waiting
Until the time was right
Was watching... anticipating...
And with a cast so sleight..."

Jersea gazes with awe at her surroundings.

Jersea recites confidently:

"Called forth the energies of stone
With heat and cold combined
To merge the stone with Lich's bone
And leave it petrified."

Jersea gazes in amazement at her surroundings.

Jersea recites earnestly:

"Twisted... Distorted... Petrified...
Rage simmers in its eyes
Before this magic can subside,
"Destroy it now!" he cries."

Jersea bursts out in a resounding cheer!

Jersea recites proudly:

"Bashing and crashing. Shards of bone
Fly and dust fills the air.
To see the Lich be overthrown
That is our solemn prayer."

Jersea raises her vaalorn skull-crusher in triumph!

Jersea recites meditatively:

"For the future, let us record
That Lich's dust on the floor.
And a tiny gold and brass orb
Shines from amid the gore."

Jersea nods gravely.

Jersea recites thoughtfully:

"Could this be the Heart of Jaston?
This, the relic he sought?
This which power'd the life of lich bone?
Aye, yes... 'Tis as we thought."

Jersea looks lost in thought.

Jersea recites forcefully:

"A powerful relic was found...
There's one less Lich today...
Time to leave this mountainous ground
Is all I have to say!"

Jersea bursts out in a resounding cheer!

Jersea recites teasingly:

"What happened to the Heart you say?
Can I tell you in rhyme?
It's a mystery for another day...
For I am out of time"

Jersea winks.

Jersea curtsies.