Morgana’s frigid soul burned for revenge every Halloween, and tonight she would finally have it. It had been ten long, lonely years since those dirt-grubbing mortals stole the life of her sister, Morla. Only pure luck had enabled them to lure her into the flames of their bonfire and make it blaze green with her destruction. Morgana would not present such an easy victory.
Over the years, many plans had been made; potions rendered and spells devised. A wicked grin cracked Morgana’s age-worn features as she imagined those shrieking farmers scurrying for cover as she soared above them. The soft glow on the horizon marked where the battle would take place.
By tomorrow’s morn, it will be they whose hearts are heavy, thought Morgana. Her death-black cape flapped and fluttered behind her as she rode the twilight winds. Further behind her, cloaked in darkness and shadow, moved another evil. It flapped with the heavy beat of leathery wings and that sound was of an army.
The glowing was brighter now and she could make out the barns and buildings of the village. Morgana cackled with delight as she spied the assortment of blazing bonfires that dotted the rolling countryside. “The fools do my bidding and don’t even know it,” she laughed and tossed her raven-haired head back with glee.
Within seconds, she was upon them. A hail of flaming arrows welcomed her arrival and she dove to meet them. “Achleios Retardo,” she called into the darkness and the arrows graceful arcs abruptly ended and they dropped harmlessly to the earth. However, Morgana had a second, more devilish, purpose to attend to. She reached into a heavy pouch on her right hip and pulled out a small gray-white orb. “You fancy fire do you mortals?” she said with a lilt. As she neared one of the bonfires, she suddenly pulled up from her dive and hurled the sack toward the flames. The instant it hit the burning wood it exploded into a sickening yellow cloud, spreading a vile fog of poison across the fields. The farmers’ livestock dropped dead the moment the fog made contact with them.
Shouts and curses erupted from the angered villagers. Gunshots followed and Morgana felt a bullet whiz by mere inches from the tip of her nose.
Rage filled her black heart at their arrogance. “Decendo Vermer!” she shrieked at the top of her lungs, and with a rush, the black-winged army that had remained out of sight lunged towards the village like a swarm of angry bees. The turbulence caused from their sudden descent nearly ripped Morgana from her broom.
Screams of panic and horror could be heard as the legion of bats poured across the village. Barred doors proved little defense against these creatures that fearlessly smashed through windows and swooped down chimneys. Morgana flung several more poison sacks into the bonfires and swept skyward to await the results of her latest barrage.
The air was heavy with acrid smoke and fuming poison. The exploding bonfires had caught many of the nearby barns on fire and the resulting blaze lit the entire countryside in flickering tongues of yellow and orange. The sight brought a rare feeling of warmth to Morgana. In that moment, self-assured that she was in total control of all she surveyed, she let her guard down to the possibility of something even more powerful than herself.
A sensation of something massive and heavy made Morgana jerk her head away from the carnage below and towards the darkness above. A brilliant blue-green beam of light blinded her and she felt herself
losing consciousness, then the world went black.
As she awoke, Morgana found herself restrained to a long, metal table. Her cape, hat, pouch and broom were in a neat row on a second table to her left. More importantly, her rings and amulets were missing.
Morgana struggled to free herself from the table, but there were no straps to break, no shackles to slip out of, only a dull, heavy weight anchoring her like some trapped animal. However, she did discover that with some effort, she could move the fingers on her left hand.
A low humming sound caught her attention and she turned her head towards what appeared to be a doorway. What eventually appeared, was enough to make even Morgana gasp.
Three hunched figures slowly floated into the room on glowing blue platforms. Their heads were enormous with an assortment of antennae clustered near the front. Two tentacle-like arms sprouted on either side of the antennae. They were nearly four feet in length and were tipped with four delicate fingers. The creatures’ bodies were the color of well-tanned leather, which undulated in disgusting rolls and had a wet appearance, making them seem slimy. No legs were visible. Morgana assumed that was the reason for the glowing platforms.
The smallest of the three approached the table where Morgana lay. One of its antennae began to vibrate and in response, a small bronze-colored table rose from the floor and presented an array of instruments.
Morgana had been intently watching all of this activity when she noticed two of her amulets hanging from the creature’s right tentacle. A blazing fire ignited in Morgana’s heart and she clenched her left hand into a fist. A series of high-pitched popping sounds erupted from a fluttering slit in the creature’s chest – it eerily sounded like laughter.
The creature proceeded to select an odd-looking instrument, which it raised above Morgana’s head and then lowered over her right eye. Searing pain made her scream in agony. When the pain finally subsided and her vision cleared, she realized that the creature had already selected a new instrument and was moving it towards her left ear. The creature paused when the other two creatures began emitting popping and chittering sounds. In response, it turned and glided towards them.
They were all gathered around some type of table with a thick top that was covered in flashing lights and levers. The largest creature’s tentacles were gracefully manipulating the levers. As it did so, the flashing intensified and a deep thrumming began deeper in floor beneath Morgana. A panel in the wall in front of the creatures silently slid open revealing six rows of glowing green crystals. Even in her state of ignorance, Morgana recognized something powerful when she saw it. That’s when she began planning her escape.
The entire room was throbbing now. All the creatures’ attention was focused on the flashing lights. So much so that they didn’t hear Morgana utter the words “Transporte sun deige. Transporte sun deige.”
With movements like a butterfly, the two amulets gently lifted off the smallest creature’s tentacle and floated towards Morgana. She focused her thoughts and opened her left hand. The instant they dropped into her palm, she clamped her fingers around them and shouted: “Imperviate cawn de plourum!
Morgana pointed her yellow-nailed finger towards the pouch on the table and it began to quiver. The smallest creature rose away from the table and realized that its newly won prizes were missing. It turned and began to move towards Morgana when she shouted “Uptow Sigu en exploi!” The pouch on the table dropped to its side and spilled out its contents of poison orbs.
“Saggith trath en corie!” Three of the poison sacks lifted from the floor and hurled themselves into the glowing green crystals.
The room shuddered as a thick, poison cloud spewed from the wall. All three creatures began uttering popping noises and flailing their tentacles in the air. The largest creature stayed close to the table and managed to flip several of the levers before dropping to the floor and undulated in a death roll for several long minutes.
Morgana began to laugh at the plight of her captors. She was unaffected by the gas, for the second amulet she held was one of protection.
As the hours passed, Morgana tried in vain to free herself from the invisible restraint that held her to the table. None of the spells she tried would release the vise-like grip. It was not till the eleventh hour, when Morgana had all but given up hope did the pressure abruptly subside.
Morgana sighed with relief and sprang from the table. She hurriedly gathered her belongings and with a sneer, retrieved her third amulet and her rings from the tentacles of the other two creatures and left through the doorway. Again Morgana was shocked by what she saw. Three massive chairs sat in a row with a wide window in front of them. Morgana saw clouds and the faintest glimpse of countryside far below. They were flying! But Morgana wanted nothing more to do with her captors or their magic; she wanted her freedom and knew how to get it.
She mounted her broom, clasped the amulet of power in her left hand and shouted: “Expast Vorn tu Blaceer!” The heavy window began to crack and fracture. Morgana readied herself and shot through the opening as it shattered.
“Free!” she cried victoriously and soared across the sky. However, her elation was short lived. The moon was too large and sickly red. The air was heavy and smelled of unknown flowers and spices.
“What have they done?” she screamed. “Where have they taken me?” The flame of hatred and rage burned brighter than ever. All plans against the whimpering farmers were swept aside as Morgana began plotting her revenge against this new aggressor. She would make them pay dearly for taking her from her home.
Far below, a tribe of large-headed, thick-bodied creatures sensed something strange passing overhead. Little did they know that their world of Ulantra would soon feel the wrath of Morgana’s revenge.