The Remnant Golem Part Eleven

Chapter 10: Phule is going to be a beautiful and powerful sorceress one day for sure!

Though Aira and Bab-Lin had supposedly left the labyrinthine shadow passages of mines and had entered the town proper, it was scarcely different. There was no longer simple walls, but towering black buildings, within which shadows flitted about. These dark dwellings formed a maze of their own inside the labyrinth created by the miner’s shadows. Aira was glad that the streets were quite wide, as even with the relatively low population of shadows, they still came far too close to some of those fierce protectors of dreams.

It was bad timing that they had come while the people in Kigan were asleep and their shadows thus most aggressive. In hindsight they should have entered the town during the day. Here and there Aira felt the gaze of other beings, ones foolish enough or cautious enough to live among the shadows of Kiganites.

There is benefits to living among them, after all, what makes them dangerous to live near was also a danger to more consciously hostile beings. Many Awarthians would prefer the hazardous company of a Kiganite shadow to some of the spirits and other beings that roam Awarth.

“Something feels out of place” Aira said to Bab-Lin.

Bab-Lin nodded.

“I’ve been in shadow-towns but this one…”

“Feels like it has a shadow cast over it” Aira said brightly.

Bab-Lin groaned.

“Oh come now, it wasn’t that much worse than yours” Aira protested.

Bab-Lin refused to speak for fear that his binding to speak only the truth would implicate him.

Aira stopped abruptly. Bab-Lin almost bumped into her.

“Something wrong?” Bab-Lin glanced past her.

Something very wrong.

Before them, hanging from the walls of the buildings, were cages.

They were lustrous darkness, carved from deep night. They were few at first, hanging from grim hooks of twisted dull metal driven into the walls, then they lined the walls, covering every spot.

What was most chilling, was that in each of the cages was a bird, deathly silent, yet living. Looking closer, Aira realised that it was not just birds, though the greater amount of the unfortunates were indeed birds of many kinds.

Aira almost dared not speak, but the words welled up from her shadows regardless.

“Who has done this? Why?”

A few imprisoned creatures who had not completely broken looked at Aira with blank eyes, drained of hope.

There was a cackle not unlike a crow’s, a voice followed after it, something like a blending of a crow’s chatter a young woman and a rat.

“Ohh thats be Shadow Lord. Far as Phule can tell, he captures singings and puts them in the cages, even has spell around town that prevents singings from leaving”

There was another cackle.

“Phule been stuck here herself, though Phule singings woulds please no ears”

Bab-Lin wasn’t keen on speaking to someone he couldn’t see.

“Well, thank you very much for the information, My name is Bab-Lin, would you mind showing yourself to us?”

A croaking purr loosed into awarth’s deep night.

“Phule supposes it is only right and polite to showings to friendly strangers.”

Another cackle.

“…and if metal woman and bug skeleton were bads, Phule is sure they woulds not have care for caged ones”

With that, it was if something slid into Aira and Bab-Lin’s view, or more that they were able to notice someone they hadn’t bothered to before.

Perched on top of one of the cages was the figure of a small young woman. Her skin was sallow. She seemed a strange mixture of humanoid and vermin. Her raven hair was at times like normal hair, but at times like fur and mane, feathers poked up from the dreadful nest that her hair was. The pointy tips of ears poked out of the mane. A pair of dark brown antenna tried vainly to escape the clutches of her hair. Her nose was quite long and pointed, being at least the length of a finger. Her eyes were like that of a snake’s and were a warm orange in colour.

Her clothing, if it could be called that appeared to be the pelt of a large animal and several smaller ones, held together with various mismatched belts, which had attached to them no small amount of pouches. Her hands were not particularly odd apart from having nails that seemed a bit more like claws than nails.

Her legs were like a chicken’s with mottled brown feathers at odds with the darker ones in her hair. Oddly these feet ended in roach-like carapace points rather than bird’s feet. A rat-like tail trailed behind her, poking out between two pelts.

She was of course a goblin, in particular a goblin not serving a goblin Queen or King, if she had been she’d have been quite ugly, as it was, one could have called her pretty in an alien way, or at the very least cute. Not that all goblins look the same, being a bit of a humanoid mashup of vermin(and are indeed viewed as such by many).

Goblins can give up their beauty(to whatever level they had it), power and mortality to one of their own, it isn’t such a bad deal, as it makes the givers functionally immortal as long as their Royal still lives, and the noble staying alive isn’t so hard when goblins breed like vermin. Goblin Royals are known for great power and astounding beauty, only natural considering how much power and beauty thousands of goblins can concentrate in one goblin.

Travelling alone does odd things to goblins though, they slowly gain in power and beauty, most end up meeting a terrible fate before they make any big gains though. Travellers generally tend to meet terrible fates more than those that stay in one place. One is usually more likely to encounter a slathering ghastercat in the wilds than at home after all.

“A Goblin?” Aira wondered, examining Phule.

Phule clucked.

“Is problem?”

“Oh, no sorry, just my first time seeing one in the flesh”

Phule cackled.

“Then examinings Phule all you want, Phule is fine specimen”

She turned her head to the side.

“Well, finer than royals-servant, well, what bringings youse to depressing town?”

“Ah, I forget to introduce myself, I’m Cyh-Aira, you can call me Aira if you want, as for why we are here? We hoped to find a shining bird of dark direction here”

Phule nodded sagely.

“Phule is on journey to become beautiful and powerful sorceress!”

She turned her head to the right and frowned.

“Or at least very pretty, Phule not fussy, magic better than lookings.”

Bab-Lin decided not to bother mentioning how magic could make beauty. Instead, an idea came to him.

“Well, we might be able to help each other, I know of a strong hex witch, and since you’ve been here a while, you may know where the bird we seek is.”

Phule cackled

“Phule woulds helpings anyway, but is glad for potential teachings, is good dealing”

Bab-Lin suddenly felt a bit awkward for trying to make a deal.

“Thank you very much Phule” Aira said.

“No problemings, Phule fond of shiny things, and bonyman is amusings, smokings most odd”

Bab-Lin wasn’t sure how to feel about a goblin saying he looked funny. Phule jumped down from her perch.

“It was a punishment, for crimes past”

Phule clucked.

“Phule surprisings! Phule thoughts was medical condition!”

“hollowbug dangerous criminal?”She asked Aira, hiding behind her back.

“No ravishings, Phule not that pretty! No stealings Phule not have shinies! No murders Phule like livings” she eyed Bab-Lin warily.

Bab-Lin spluttered smoke and sparks.

“I’ve never don… ok well I stole a lot when I was young, but no I’ve never done those other things!”

Phule narrowed her eyes.

“Uuuu, mama sayings never trustings, talkings to criminals, Phule only talk to Aira now, Aira is upright metalwoman yes?”

Bab-Lin threw his hands up in despair.

“Well, I suppose I am” Aira said, a bit perplexed.

“Person so shiny could never beings bad” Phule beamed.

“Well, now that my villainy and Aira’s innocence are well and truly established, shall we get to finding this bird?”

“Wantings findings bird now Aira?” Phule questioned, ignoring Bab-Lin.

“That would be lovely” Aira affirmed.

“Well offings wees go!”

With that Phule took Aira by and arm and dashed off.

Bab-Lin followed, muttering something about goblins and criminality.

Phule took them past many cages, then into a large open space, well, open at the top, the cages reached high there.

“Is this the place?” Aira asked.

Phule shook her head vigourously, and led them onward into a small alley, a dead end one and there hanging up in it was the cage with the shining bird of dark direction.

It looked like it had seen better days.

The bird’s body shone with a white light, or at least it was supposed to shine, it was merely dimly glowing. It’s body was shaped like some manner of lantern and within was a pulsing darkness. It had a long pointed funnel-like beak. It had a greater pair of wings and a lesser pair.

At first Aira was worried that the bird had died, but it seemed it was just struck with the same lethargy as all the other cage inhabitants. Bab-Lin carefully unhooked the cage. The bird stared unseeing at Bab-Lin.

“Right, we have the bird, lets back out of here and try to figure out a way out of this shadow-town”

He marched back out from the dead end alley, but as Aira and Phule followed, Aira could not help but feel ill at ease.

She looked upon all the cages in the large open area and felt a sickness in her shadows.

“No” she declared and stopped moving.

Bab-Lin had continued on a while before he realised what had happened. He spun round on Aira.

“What are you doing? We have to escape before the shadow lord notices us!”

“Wrong” Aira stated.

“What do ya mean I’m wrong?” Bab-Lin complained.

Aira shook her head “Not you, this place”

She gestured at all the cages. “This. It is wrong.”

“Well, not much I can do about that I’m afraid, I’ll probably have trouble enough breaking this cage and getting us out without being noticed”

Aira’s crystal eye blazed brightly.

“But I can do something. It is in my making.”

Bab-Lin had no time to question her. It began.

It was at first a whisper. The occupants of the cages roused, life coming back into their eyes.

Then Aira began to sing in earnest.

The caged ones grew restless and animated. Aira’s voice climbed higher, release promised on it.

The currents of magic rippled to her song, and born of the ripples were patterns, spells.

Aira’s singing reached a peak and there was great shuddering of the shadow-town.

The caged ones, feeling what was happening, joined in on Aira’s song as her voice rose again.

Most of these singers were not magical, but core to Aira was an enchantment of movement and function, sung by a desperate enchantress.

She could not help but to call magic with her song. The caged ones’ song joined to hers roared through the shadow city, and then, the cages ripped free of the hooks they were on. They did not fall, but swum around the air, though those cages congaing land dwelling beings swirled downwards.

She sang freedom. The release would be complete, her song reached a glorious crescendo, filling everyone’s hearts and bodies with energy. Then, it finished, wafting to an end, as the cages of deep night opened like budding flowers. There was a cracking noise, as the spell that prevented those that could sing from leaving the city was totally broken.

The uncaged ones seemed a bit confused at first, but then Aira shouted, commanded.


Many beings offered quick praises to Aira, but amid a deep rumbling, all the uncaged ones quickly dispersed this way and that.

The rumbling grew louder and louder. Bab-Lin transfixed by the singing, came to his senses, he caught Aira just as she toppled over.

As he did, the rumbling became a roar of utterly incensed fury. The shadow lord had heard and he was not well pleased.

As Bab-Lin took this in, he also realised that there was not a sign of Phule, or the shining bird of dark direction.

The shadow lord was coming.

Author: SnowyMystic