The Remnant Golem Part Ten

Chapter 9: Hounding

Settlements in Kigan make their presence felt in Awarth a number of ways. There is mirror towns, reflections of the town equivalent to them in Kigan, these are by far the most dangerous. Dream towns are considered the safest, but have their own problems, as dreams are fickle things and any dream can turn to nightmare.

The last and most common are shadow towns. An impression cast by the place in Kigan. The native denizens of Awarth tend to stay away from these places and build their settlements far away from anywhere that people in Kigan would build.

A certain resentment towards Kigan exists among many people of Awarth, as they have to live around the echoes of Kiganite dwellings. If an Awarthian was to build his house of a nice foundation of rock, and then a Kiganite built a house in the same place in Kigan, then the house in Awarth would be destroyed and the Awarthian would have to flee from the shadow of the Kiganite.

You see, the dwellers of these mirror, dream and shadow-towns are the shadows of Kiganites. Shadows are known for being fiercely protective of their masters, and rarely possessing any sort of mind, they simply treat everything as a threat. They are however, quite docile as long as one keeps away from their charge.

They are harmless if their owner is awake, as they only need to protect their owners as they dream, for it is in dreaming that Kiganites draw close to Awarth, world of dreams and shadows.

Aira could not help but feel that the raised walls of the labyrinth they were in like tunnels, though they could not be called so, as no ceiling was between them and the red-black skies caged behind the shadow of the Great Anchor Tree.

They came upon a shadow, clutching a swirling orb to its chest. Images flashed across it, Aira tried to get a better look at it but the shadow turned to look at her with its featureless face and she felt a chill and no small amount of hostility.

“They don’t like people trying to see their host’s dreams” Bab-Lin stated.

“I’ve noticed, but why are you looking at it?” Aira said, noticing that Bab-Lin was watching the shadow.

“The actions of the shadow can tell us a lot about what this place is, you just have to avoid looking at dreams, or getting its attention, step back kid, and it’ll continue with its business”

Aira, quite curious did as Bab-Lin bid. The shadow noiselessly turned away from Aira.

It faced a stony dead end in the labyrinth. It raised it’s free hand and the wall seemed to push back and extend, growing longer.

Bab-Lin let out a sigh.

“What does it mean?” Aira questioned.

“Well…” Bab-Lin began smugly, pleased at knowing something Aira’s memory didn’t have.

“It means that this labyrinth is shadowmade, more than that, this is an underground town in Kigan, somewhere that mining goes on.”

“So, shadowmade is a good thing?”

“Well, It’ll mean no oubliettes and traps for one thing, natural labyrinths are pretty hazardous, no these shadows will be mimicking what their owners are doing.”

Aira looked at the shadow.

“Strange kind of mining if you ask me”

“Well, things work differently here”

Bab-Lin now was struck with the though that technically Aira was not native to Kigan, it had been easy to forget, considering her nature of shadow. She was a bit like his kind though, shadow dwelling within.

“Well bit of a comfort knowing that anyway, lead on Kid, you are the one with the map, I’d likely just get lost”

Aira continued to navigate, Bab-Lin following.

“I doubt that somehow”

Bab-Lin gave a coughing laugh.

“I’ve actually no sense of direction to be honest, somehow eventually find my way. It was Altia’s own luck that I ended up at that tree where I met you”

Aira mused on this he had been lost when she found him. She had just gotten a feeling of competence from Bab-Lin. She was now wondering how much of that was just a feeling and nothing more.

“What would you have done had I not come from the mountain?”

“Starved to death” Bab-Lin said flatly

Aira was taken aback, then Bab-Lin began to chuckle.

“Jus’ messing with you I’d have tried to stick around, but failing that I’d have gone to Fram’s city, not that I knew what it was at that point. I suppose I could have ended up building a small hut there eventually if it had been long enough.”

Aira giggled, something about the idea of Bab-Lin living in a little hut by that mountain seemed so absurd.

Bab-Lin turned his head, not knowing what he had said that was so funny.

“Ah sorry” Aira apologised “Living in a little hut just doesn’t suit you at all”

“I suppose not” Bab-Lin paused. “I had a castle you know, servants and everything”


“Oh yes, I did tell you I was a wealthy man, all ill-gotten wealth, but then there isn’t that much that isn’t”

“Speaking of Ill gotten gains, before we left, the gnomes told me you played some games with them”

“Hey, those gains were completely healthy! I risked my own stuff to get them, besides I can’t even lie now, no it was all skill on my part that parted those gnomes from their shinies”

“Ah but which skill?” Aira teased.

“Hey, those gnomes knew…”

Bab-Lin’s words died in his throat as a ghastly cry pierced the air of the round almost arena like area they were crossing.

It was somewhere between a scream and howl and a gurgle.

“What is that thing?” Bab-Lin pointed at it with his cane, then dropped into that odd stance of his.

Ahead of them was the dark red form of a gaarulf. Its body fell and rose. Sickly yellow light was cast by its eyes.

“I saw it some deep nights ago, I drove it off, some manner of chlan spirit” Aira said, baffled as to why it would be so brazen now.

“Clearly something chlan” Bab-Lin eyed the thing warily.

It slowly came towards them, awkwardly as it parts of its body turned liquid and then back to solid.

“Something is wrong Bab-Lin, it was far more cowardly before, the creature I drove off would never confront us like this”

“Cowardly eh?” Bab-Lin repeated, bothered by something.

A unclean feeling draped itself over Aira and Bab-Lin

Bab-Lin seemed to realise something and dashed forward, pushing off little dark discs that appeared behind his shadowy boots. As he spun through the air at the Gaarulf before them he shouted back to Aira.


Aira spun round and there before her was three Gaarulves, they had been sneaking up on her and Bab-Lin. Both the chlan hounds and Aira were shocked for a moment. The hounds reacted first, tentacles drawing back to reveal jagged teeth, snarling they launched themselves at Aira, liquid parts chasing after their main bodies.

Aira, though shocked, managed to react in time to the Gaarulves. Her pincer arm snapped open and having no time to do anything more complicated she just exploded shadowy power from her arm, flinging the chlan back, in particular one’s had its head devoured clean off by the shadow. Its body fell and dissolved into a dark puddle.

Bab-Lin for his part had surprised the first gaarulf. He had come at it from above and it yelped as he pierced its body with his cane-club, a gout of flame from his mouth finishing the writhing evil. He rose to face two more coming from the passages ahead.

He laughed.

“Two, is that all? We can deal with that easily enough eh Kid?”

Aira nodded, facing her two remaining foes.

Then as the gaarulf charged at them, more began to stream into the arena. A torrent of dark red, snarling and choking, there must have been more than thirty.

Though Aira and Bab-Lin did not know of these corrupt spirits, they were always born in packs.

“Well I guess I spoke too soon” Bab-Lin complained.

“Quite” Aira observed.

She pelted her attackers with bolts of shadow, as Bab-Lin smacked his away.

Aira and Bab-Lin went back to back as the gaarulves prowled and slipped around them looking for an opening.

“So, how are we going to get out of this mess?” Aira continued.

“By not dying, hey have you noticed, they all seem to be glaring at you, they only glance in my direction” Bab-Lin commented jovially.

“Oh dear, are you jealous?” Aira quipped.

“I think I’m quite comfortable with their affections not being fixed on me kid.”

“It is strange though, I’ve never seen these spirits before that deep night, I don’t know why they would show just interest”

Bab-Lin spat fire in the direction of one that looked like it was thinking of leaping at them.

“Might be because you are a golem, I heard that chlan beings are attracted to such.”

Aira shook her head.

“My wards weren’t in too bad shape before Fram fixed me up, but now, I think it’d have to be quite a powerful being to steal my body”

A gaarulf leapt at Aira and Bab-Lin from a blindspot, then turned just in time to see another gaarulf slam into it, tearing its once comrade into pieces.

Aira and Bab-Lin were perplexed to put it lightly. Then more of the gaarulf began to turn on each other.

There was a simple explanation, being creatures that ate trust and produced betrayal, it was not so surprising that they had trouble working together. To Aira and Bab-Lin however, this was simple a chance to attack. Bab-Lin struck out with his cane-club and spewed flame liberally around. Aira created a great blade of shadow and cut through groups of the chlan spirits.

Something however was odd, though the gaarulf were turning on each other, this seems to make their numbers greater as flecks that flew off their attacks grew into new gaarulf. It was a rare thing for a great wolf to be slain in the manner that gave rise to gaarulf. No the most common way gaarulf arose was by them betraying each other and attacking each other.

So though Bab-Lin and Aira’s attacks cut down the spirits numbers, more were arising from the chlan attacking each other.

“BAB-LIN, THIS ISN’T WORKING” Aira cried over the ghastly spirit’s noises.

“I…” Bab-Lin breathed flame “AGREE”


Bab-Lin did not question her, but simply hardened his stance. His way of fighting, a modified form of the Way of Twisted Mirrors, was better suited to defence anyway.

The hounds recoiled, mainly due to the trust Bab-Lin had shown Aira, such an act weaken their half-existence.

Aira did not strictly speaking have an idea, more she had a gut feeling. Looking with her magic crystal eye, she could see the currents of magic. She saw them flowing around her. She could see the presence of the gaarulves, forming ugly corrupting patterns in the flow. Aira was not a mage but in that moment, she came quite close to what a sorcerer was.

The currents rushed in anticipation, sensing someone was going to work their will on them. Aira sang, drawing on the source of her motion, the song that gave her movement. Her song was mournful, nostalgic. The hounds howled and gurgled in pain.

-the memories of the body!-

Some of them called out, almost surprising Bab-Lin as he span around Aira, almost seeming to be in more than one place at once.

-the blood remembers-

A few of the hounds completely lost their form.

-silence it!- more hissed, roared.

Aira did not stop singing however, and Bab-Lin’s protection could not be broken. They flung themselves with desperate fury at the golem and the loughin to no avail. A pattern was beginning to form from the currents, a spell.

Aira raised her pincer arm and shadow grew out of it like a tree. Then, dreamily she stopped singing and muttered.

“I name you remnants of Haorn”

Branches shot out from the leafless shadow-tree. Each of the remaining gaarulf was pierced. The tree vanished into its branches and the shadow branches slithered out of the chlan, as they did so, the foul hounds were reduced to dark stains on the ground.

Only shadows made by the branches remained, theses darted wildly around Aira and Bab-Lin before rushing and melding into one form, the shadowy image of a greater wolf. It walked slowly towards Aira and Bab-Lin. Bab-Lin not sure what to make of all this, kept in his stance, ready to defend.

Aira spoke to it, though her voice was breaking in and out.

“You… …Haorn?”


“The… …ar… …you… …t… …shadow… of… …Ha…?”

-I am not the shadow of Haorn, I could be said to be the shadow of a shadow. I was his feelings of spite, betrayal, his bitterness. It is strange, I remember now in truth in the end he forgave her-


-She was not without blame, but they pushed her, they broke her. They drove her mad. Haorn’s blood is as much on them as her and he himself was not innocent-

“…glad… …no… …lo… …chlan…”

The shadowy remnant shook its head.

-I am not even a true existence, soon I will fade, but thank you for ending my hatred-

It turned its head considering something.

-I fade even now, but I sense some small part of power remaining in me, accept this gift; just once you will be able to call upon the swiftness of Haorn, and claim it as your own-

The lingering sentiment, the memory that was locked in blood, passed through Aira, then faded away. The eyes of the wolves on her knees flashed for a moment, and grew dim.

“Ahh… …should… …ask… …more…”

The purified remains of the gaarulves were no more, the memory ended. Bab-Lin breathed out a long breath, ash and sparks escaping his mouth. He practically collapsed.

“haahaha, well what was all that about Kid? Haorn? You been holding out on me? Eh Kid?”

Silence greeted Bab-Lin.

“Uh, kid?”

Bab-Lin stood up and looked closely at Aira. He mildly panicked.

Aira was slumped over, blue light no longer shining from her crystal eyeball. She was not moving.

Bab-Lin continued to panic, circling around Aira like a wolf chasing after its own tail. Finally Bab-Lin managed to compose himself, and put his cunning mind to work. After a while of madcap brainstorming his eye wandered across the door of Aira’s transmuter.

Bab-Lin slapped his forehead, making a hollow ringing noise. Muttering something about being a fool he opened the door. Then scrabbling around he found a chunk of rock which he shoved inside the arcane device.

Nothing happened. Bab-Lin managed not to panic this time.

Looking closely he could see that the door wasn’t properly closed. He closed it of course.

Nothing happened.

If Bab-Lin had been capable of it, he would have begun sweating quite heavily.

He held a hand behind his head, hollowly tapping it. Then after nodding, he gave Aira a belt with his cane-club.

“…power-source detected, coming out of hibernation mode, beginning conversion”

Aira went ridged, swirling sigils on her torso blazed into life, and blue light was devoured into the darkness. There was a great deal of noise, and then a flash of blue light from around the door.

“Ah, I used a bit too much power there, that was greatly unnerving. I do not think I want that feeling again”

Bab-Lin wondered if in a way that could be said that golems did need to eat, if they could run out of energy, some of them were perhaps just more efficient in how long they could go on their food than regular beings.

“Well, it worked whatever it was that you did, what was all that about anyway?”

Aira paused, something in her unsure that she should share the visions she had witnessed in the mountain, but she had come to trust Bab-Lin, regardless of how the orange loughin thought of himself.

She told him of what she had seen, of Tavarn, Faihn the Champion of the Spear of Whaichayl, Yullris, Haorn and the mysterious crimson watcher; who’s plans had been in part foiled by the Grandmaster Mage, Boskail. She also spoke of the spirit that held the memories bound there.

Bab-Lin wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, naturally enough he knew of no tales of Tavarn, the place had been forgotten or purged from people’s memories, so that was only natural. He hoped it was mostly curiosity on Aira’s part, if was one of the desires he had to help her with, it would be quite difficult.

Though what really worried him is that it could turn out worrisomely easy. Bab-Lin had met with Aira quite easily, and the gaarulves just so happened to run across them. Bab-Lin never had much faith in coincidence to begin with and now even that faith that he had was dying.

“Well, I guess we should continue on?” Aira asked sheepishly.

“I believe you are doing the leading Cyh-Aira” Bab-Lin grandly.

“Oh, ok then” Aira paused, recalling the map of the labyrinths in her head.

She began to head in the direction of the town. She paused.

“You didn’t call me kid!” Aira stated.

Bab-Lin leaned back, and turned his head away.

“Well, I suppose I didn’t, did I kid?”

“You just called me kid again there!” She pouted.

“Well, I suppose I did, didn’t I Aira” Bab-Lin barely containing his laughter.

Aira looked at Bab-Lin blankly, or at least as blank as she could manage.

“If you are not careful, I might leave you here to be lost. Bab-Lin Goldshadow.” She said, presumably not seriously.

She marched off, not checking to see if Bab-Lin was following.

Bab-Lin trailed after, cackling like the terrible person he was.

Author: SnowyMystic