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The Ancients

Chapter four

By NCS NapierPublished 4 months ago Updated 4 months ago 12 min read

Three: Yarganov paced up and down the Talutaja’s hallway of Pochreka. He had always hated coming here. He could never avoid the eyes of the various Talutajas who went before, judging him from their portraits. This time was worst of all. They followed him wherever he went, laughing at his failures. Varlmorg would not be laughing. “I must find the Elixir,” Yarganov repeatedly murmured, his mind trapped in a loop. “I must find the Elixir.”

A loud crash disturbed his thoughts as the door at the end of the hallway swung open, flooding the peering portraits with golden sunlight. Yarganov didn’t need to turn to know who it was; Nobleman Bogdarsha Makarot’s unmistakable cane thwacked on the ground as he closed in. That idiotic maroon frog that sat atop his stick would be mocking him from twenty paces away. What a ridiculous family shield. Yarganov could picture his pompous arse sauntering down the hallway, a large smile plastered across his chubby face as he revelled in the opportunity to humiliate Yarganov.

“You’re in the shit now, my friend.” Bogdarsha bellowed, unable to keep the joy from his voice.

Yarganov turned and watched the short, middle-aged, balding, fat man gleefully bound towards him. Every arrogant movement Bogdarsha made increased his anger at the feeling of a personal slight. “What’re you doing here?” Yarganov sneered, turning away to hide his bandaged hand.

“I wouldn’t miss this for the world.” Bogdarsha grinned, opening his arms wide. He slapped Yarganov across the back and laughed uproariously in his face. “This will be the most fun I’ve had in years! Is it true that you can only count to seven now?” Bogdarsha said, glancing towards Yarganov’s maimed hand. He lifted his cane and used the tip with that foolish frog to turn Yarganov towards him. “Dear me, this does look nasty.” He tittered, leaning in close to inspect the wound.

“Leave,” Yarganov said, pulling away from Bogdarsha’s touch.

“Leave?” Bogdarsha bellowed. “No, no, Yarganov, Varlmorg has asked me personally to be here. Even if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t miss this. I want to be there for you.” He placed his hand on Yarganov’s lower back and ushered him towards the grand double doors at the opposite end of the hallway. “I can only imagine what he has in store for you. Of course, normally, you’re the one dishing out the horrors, but I’m sure someone can take your place. Maybe that young boy of yours. He certainly has enjoyed being beneath you. Or, maybe, that’s why I’m here, to swoop in and pick up the pieces. Shall we?” Bogdarsha grinned as he thumped on the door with his cane. “Don’t feel too bad old friend, it could’ve happened to anyone. Oh, wait – No, it couldn’t have.”

Yarganov swallowed his anger and cursed his twitching eye. That damn eye. It was about time he took it out. Yarganov spun behind Bogdarsha and continued on his right-hand side, ensuring he wouldn’t see Yarganov’s twitching shame. He would not give that pompous prick the edge he desperately desired.

The door was finally answered by Draskal in the nude. Always in the nude. One of Varlmorg’s turtle doves. He looked particularly handsome today, a newly shaven… everything. He was exceptionally well endowed. Yarganov contained his smile as he felt Bogdarsha’s grip tighten on the little frog’s face. He wondered if he was uncomfortable or jealous. Probably both. The three men stood in silence for what would have been an uncomfortably long time if Yarganov hadn’t been revelling in Bogdarsha’s discomfort.

“Well?” Draskal said, rapping his fingers on the door impatiently. “You knocked?”

Bogdarsha cleared his throat. “Tell Lord Valgusta that Nobleman Makarot is here. Oh… and Yarganov.” Bogdarsha said, glancing at Yarganov in hopes of catching his reaction. There wasn’t one.

“Lord Valgusta does not wish to be disturbed,” Draskal said while stepping back to shut the two men out.

Bogdarsha placed his boot in the way of the door, stopping it from slamming shut. “You will learn some manners. I will not be treated like this by a peasant. Lord Valgusta has asked me here, go and fetch him.”

“Who is it?” A soft voice asked, carrying from the back of the enormous chambers with ease, despite its gentle nature.

“Bogdarsha Makarot and Yarganov Uksmat my lord.” Draskal replied, casually looking over his shoulder into the huge chamber. Bogdarsha tapped his cane impatiently on the ground as a beat passed. Finally, Draskal opened the door wide and welcomed the two of them into the room with the wave of an arm.

Bogdarsha stormed into the room, followed casually by Yarganov, the two standing on the centre of a large circular rug as busy men and women, all nude, rushed about the room doing various odd jobs. The towering golden bed was the chamber's centrepiece, big enough to hold at least ten people. The walls covered in naked paintings of people of all ages, sizes, and beauty, doing an endless number of mundane activities. Farming, fighting, fucking. Yet the room felt warm and inviting. As if the paintings celebrated the human body and all its glory rather than the sexuality it provided.

Varlmorg’s silhouette was visible behind a large, jewelled divider in the corner of the room. His turtle doves were presenting different styles of clothing for him to wear. Most were rejected, some kept behind the divider. On and on, the turtle doves rushed about the room with excitement to help their Talutaja.

Yarganov stood with eyes forward, undisturbed by the chaos around him. Bogdarsha, on the other hand, was unable to stand still, staring at the naked bodies flying about the room. Occasionally they would catch his eye and give a disapproving look as they hurried to their next job. They were not Bogdarsha’s helpers, yet still, he followed with his gaze. “Lord Valgusta.” Bogdarsha finally said once he had tired of the flesh. “I stand in front of you -”

A stretched-out hand with a single golden ring that wound up the middle finger shot out from the jewelled divider, stopping Bogdarsha mid-sentence. “Why are you here, Yarganov?” Varlmorg’s soothing voice called out, removing all other sound from the room. “You lost the only thing I care about.” Yarganov’s eye twitched with betrayal as it momentarily displayed his despair. Bogdarsha licked his lips with pleasure as if enjoying the sweetest treat he’d had in years. “I see you’ve returned lopsided.” Varlmorg continued, his voice concealing any emotion he may have been feeling.

“I was ambushed.”

“Out. Now.” Varlmorg commanded, his soothing voice having vanished in place of one full of gravitas and conviction.

The turtle doves stopped whatever they were doing immediately, fetched their robes and vacated the room. Varlmorg waited patiently until the last one had left, then appeared from behind his divider with a flourish, wearing leather boots, tight pants and a deep plunging top that revealed a large bandage that stretched across his whole midriff. He pirouetted, showing off his figure to the two men. He was surprisingly muscular for his height and had grown into his handsomeness. When he was younger, his wrinkled face looked beyond his years, but time had been kind. His lightly greying hair and full scruffy beard hid his actual age from sight. Varlmorg finished his flourish and leaned against his golden bedpost. “How do I look?”

“Ravishing,” Yarganov said flatly. Bogdarsha grunted.

“Excellent.” Varlmorg smiled as he threw his hands in the air. “It’s always important to feel good in your skin.” Varlmorg stepped forward, his smile dissipating as a harsh shadow fell across his face, his wrinkles growing severe as he glowered at the two men. The room crashed in around Yarganov, the air becoming thick and challenging to breathe as the light ceased to dance from the fireplace. Varlmorg’s lip curled into a snarl as his piercing eyes looked through the two men, dissecting their thoughts. “What is being done to improve the situation?”

“Everything,” Yarganov replied.


Yarganov prepared to give Varlmorg the latest information but was cut off by Bogdarsha, who talked loudly over the top of him. “I’ve mobilised my men. Regiments are travelling in different directions in case they try to double back. But…” he furrowed his brow. “What if they reach the border?”

“I am personally joining the hunt in a section.” Yarganov hissed.“They can’t escape.”

“Just as the Elixir couldn’t be stolen,” Bogdarsha said with an arrogant shrug.

Fire raged in Yarganov’s belly. He had to use all his focus to keep his eye from going wild. “Does this affect my plan?” Varlmorg asked slowly, stressing every single word.



Varlmorg inhaled deeply, his eyes flashing with anger and hatred as they swept up and down Yarganov’s robes. “I hope you’re right, Yarganov. The consequences… Are not favourable if you aren’t.”

“Why did Yarganov have his key so close to the Elixir?” Bogdarsha asked, unable to control the greedy grin glued to his face.

“Good question Bogdarsha!” Varlmorg said as he sprung to life, pacing across the floor. “Power to which man should aspire is that which he exercises over himself,” Varlmorg said, arriving directly in front of Yarganov. He placed both hands on Yarganov’s pointed shoulder pads and said, “Go and get your wound attended to, Yarganov. Just because you can’t feel it doesn’t mean it won’t kill you. You’ve done enough to upset me for today, I do not wish you to die. Not yet, anyway.” Varlmorg smiled sweetly. It made Yarganov feel sick that he had betrayed his Talutaja. That he had become as useless as the criminals he tortured, as unwanted as the veidrik, deserving of torture for the rest of his miserable life, only to spend eternity in the abyss. “Get out!” Varlmorg commanded with absolute authority as he wafted his hand in the air and turned his back on the two men.

Yarganov and Bogdarsha both turned to leave when Varlmorg’s calming voice stopped them. “I didn’t dismiss you, Nobleman Makarot. We have much to discuss.”

Varlmorg waited for whatever amusements Bogdarsha would play with Yarganov as he vacated the room. No doubt a slimy grin, an obscene gesture, maybe even some mouthed words. Adolescent games for self-important fools. Varlmorg kept his back to Bogdarsha as the double doors clicked shut. His eyes wandered about the many paintings on the wall, searching for some detail he may have missed in the past, a stroke of the brush here revealing the artist’s angst to include a patch of dirt on the farmer's right thigh, or a stroke of the brush there that hinted at the bosom of a breastfeeding mother determined to keep her wailing child alive.

He felt Bogdarsha take a step towards him. It was apparent from his voice that he was grinning from ear to ear. “Varlmorg,” He said with such labour it barely sounded like his name. “It’s been a long time since you and I have had the chance to converse. Might I say what a fantastic job you’ve done with the north of late. Our enemies shudder at the thought of our great Talutaja, the one and only -”

“There’s nothing I dislike more than a man whose cowardice points out another’s fault without acknowledging his own. It is an uninspiring trait that displeases me greatly. Instead of bringing others down to seem more impressive…” Varlmorg turned with chilling patience. “You should just be more impressive.” He stepped forward, allowing his shadow to cast across Bogdarsha’s face. One step was all he needed to make the room feel like a closet, the fire like an icicle, the light as dark as night. “If the elixir is not returned to me, it will be just as much your problem as it is Yarganov’s.”

Bogdarsha stared vacantly at his shoes, his eyes darting from foot to foot, his cane with that useless little frog turned in his hand. This was not what he had expected. Good. His arrogance and brazenness had become rather intolerable. It was his inordinate wealth and large plot of land that kept him close to Varlmorg, nothing else.

“My Talutaja, I never meant to -”

“If it weren’t for my ancestors, you would be just another mouth to feed,” Varlmorg said. He couldn’t remember whether it was Arnöld or Markus, possibly even the great Reidal, who had given large portions of lands to the commoners after the revolts. It didn’t matter. What he was sure of was that the Makarot family was becoming bold, incensed, and felt as though they were owed. “We are in this together, you and I. I need you; you need me.”

“I understand.” Bogdarsha stammered, his eyes still averted. “I only want what’s best for the north.”

“Wonderful,” Varlmorg said, although he hardly believed the empty words of a man staring at the ground. He took an energetic step back and removed his shadow from Bogdarsha’s face. “Don’t forget about the upcoming körgu council. I expect you to be in your best form. That will be all.”

“I was hoping to talk to you about -”

“Send my turtle doves back in!” Varlmorg called over the top of him, sitting on the bed and turning his body away.

Bogdarsha grunted with discontent before scampering out of the room. No doubt to share his story of woe with the other Kalips, along with a healthy dose of rumours and lies. Varlmorg welcomed them.

He leaned back and gently rested his head against the bedpost. He was having a relatively fine morning up until that unpleasant interruption. He even managed to forget about the Elixir. He thumped his head on the post as he thought of the gowned woman riding through the night. It had taken him years to find it and only parts for her to steal it. What did she want it for? He doubted she knew what it was. What it was capable of. But if she did – What a waste. A genuinely tragic waste.

Varlmorg looked down at his midriff and grunted. His wound had begun to bleed through his bandage. He gingerly sat up as the double doors swung open. “Ahh, my turtle doves. Welcome back.” Varlmorg said as he used the bedpost to help himself stand. He held out his hand for Draskal and Mariam, who began to remove their robes. “No need,” Varlmorg said. “Get me patched up, I have a busy day ahead.”

Sci Fi

About the Creator

NCS Napier

New chapters every week :)

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