Chapter 2 – return to list
We start with Ehsan, who is on top of The Owe List, and decided to rebuild himself as a werewolf.
A very special werewolf and ex slave driver. A humanist and a liberal. A would be emanci־mothufuckin'־pator of the slaves.
Bleed Ugurnaszir and consume his soul.
Bring Jahangir to justice at the Amazon werewolvettes, and defend him.
Immune to silver: Myself, self protection. Unique.
Other werewolves are highly allergic to it, but he seems to like it.
A construction of tubes and needles around a bound werewolf, injecting liquid metal into him. He closes his green eyes, and opens eyes of silver, like perfect mirrors.
Fung chooses The Unquiet Past.
9 of Spades: A woman’s long blood-red hair, incorporated into a bird’s nest.
A remarkably beautiful woman on her path to independence.
Get Ugurnaszir's heart.
Get rid of Jahangir, her stubborn ex, once and for all.
Superhot: Directly, action. Potent.
Screw descriptions, just think Jessica rabbit.
3 of Spades: A rough wolf-hunter, surly, filthy, and crude.
Rough, stubborn, with a very poor vocabulary. Perfect for Dim.
Get back the bride he bought when she was 6 (“bag of pelts for the little redhead!”).
A vicious werewolf.
Nail Jahangir's skin to the remains of his hut.
King of Diamonds: A thick gold ring, torn by a powerful sage from a demon’s ear.
A highly civilized, yet pathologically honest demon with a passion for possession.
Talk Leili into letting him “ride” her.
Rob Jahangir of his talent and use it to find his ring, which is his heart.
Possesion: Covertly, maneuvering. Potent.
Concentrating, the possessor can control the actions, and even the thoughts of the possessed.
An austere cleric stands before a house of ill repute, preaching at potential customers. Ugurnaszir is watching him from outside a tavern across the street. Panic flashes in the cleric's eyes as he sees and recognizes the demon, but Ug touches his ear and smirks, and the cleric's pupils dilate as his face put on the exact same smirk. Ug sits quietly, and the cleric turns and walks into the whorehouse.
A very good thief.
Get rid of Ugurnaszir.
Steal Ehsan's soul.
Misdirection: Covertly, maneuvering. Consequential to myself and self protection.
By using what's around him, he can direct people's attention to wherever he wants.
While you are reading this, and wondering if Shad is a guy or a girl, and how large and magnificent her breasts are, you are not paying attention to your pocket. Don't bother checking – it's already too late.
A savant tinkerer of magic.
Extract the liver of a werewolf immune to silver.
Magical Surprise: For myself, self protection. Consequential for love (because this shit stains your soul).
Always ready with some cool gadget to save the day. Almost like Batman's utility belt.
The merc's huge arm shoots forward and grabs the young man by the collar, lifting him off the ground. “Where is the vial, little man?” he growls. The young man twists out of his shirt and falls to the ground. He dives to the side, reaches under a rug and pulls out an arrow and throws it at the merc. The arrow spins in the air, hits the merc with its side and falls to the ground. The merc smiles. “'tain't nice poking at strangers with a pointed stick” he menaces. The young man ducks to the floor, wraps his hands around his head, closes his eyes and shouts: “Go go Tenser's Hunting Hawk!”.
5 of Hearts: The awakening of three powerful and malignant genii.
Dedicated to the Crane before he was born, raised in complete purity, making up for lost time. New head of the Foot clan.
Enslave all demons.
Sacrifice Jahangir adopted kid, Zarak, because of the prophecy.
Most of this chapter takes place in the fishing village of Maklu'a, which lies at the sea, just south to the castle of the winds, which is where Ehsan came from.
In a wicked age, in a small forest, Ehsan opens his eyes. He is very weak, and his clothes are torn. He remembers the chants, which he refuses to join; the crystals, vibrating, pulsing; then the flames. Screaming. He remembers Larsa's chant taking over and Damash's blind gaze – at first confused and lost in all the sounds around him, and then staring at him with sudden understanding and conviction. He remembers something within him stir and growl. And then he rages.
Through a red haze he sees the dragon approaching, a manifestation of his own rage, and suddenly everyone are screaming along with him and the flames grow higher and the change takes him. And he runs. And he knows no more, except that somehow sees the death of his mother, many years in the past, and he sees the hunter that killed her, and he swears revenge.
Checking his pockets, he finds some small change. In silver.
And then he hears a horse's footsteps. He looks and sees a city slicker, well dressed, riding slowly on a magnificent horse, but his newfound senses catch the stench of brimstone and he realizes that he is faced with a demon, being the very foulness he was created to hunt and destroy. He is at once convinced that consuming the demon's soul is just the thing for him.
In the mean time, the demonic city slicker picks Ehsan's exhausted body, which he intends to wrap around his horse and carry to the nearby fishing village of Maklu'a, and realizing that this is no ordinary human he tastes a drop of his blood (easily extracted from one of the many scratches that adorn his body), for science. But the blood burns in his mouth, which on one hand stops the demon from examining it any further, but on the other tells him everything he needs to know about its owner.
Ehsan, who sees exactly what the demon has done, braces himself, and with his last ounce of strength grabs the demon and bites its throat, through which he intends to drink its blood and soul. But the blood is thick, and the demon clenches, and before he gets any he is tossed to the ground by the disgusted demon – one very polite Ugurnaszir. “I was merely trying to help”, he exclaims, “but if it is my blood you want you need only ask”. Ehsan nods hungrily, desperately, and Ug pours him a pint of his blood. This greatly refreshes Ehsan, and only slightly exhausts the demon, who continues on his merry way.
In a wicked age, in the nearby fishing village of Maklu'a, in a filthy tavern, Leili is serving drinks. In one of the corners there is an almost solid cloud of smoke surrounding a group of hard pipe־hitting Dannites, talking amongst themselves in their sing־song tongue. Into the tavern, and into Leili's face, comes Jahangir – “Wife! I come for you!”. “Get. The fuck. Out, Jahan”, she intones. But Jahangir is not deterred by words, he lifts Leili over the counter and out the door. She struggles, and a tress of her red hair is stuck in a crack in the counter and tears of her head. Most of the pretty־boys in the tavern are too afraid to try and stop the surly barbarian, the ones that try are soon no longer pretty.
Once outside the tavern, Leili agrees to a parlay. Apparently, she requires a different, more luxurious lifestyle than he has to offer (as if he is not getting enough of this shit at home from Zarak, his adopted son). Finally He shows her a huge egg he found in a nest he recently raided, and the long blood־red hair he found in the nest, which is how he found her in the first place. She agrees that it might be worth some money, and offers to show it to a friend of
hers her uncle's (who also owns the tavern). “I give this to you, not to him”, emphasises Jahangir.
Back in the tavern the cloud of smoke is broken by one of the Dannites, who picks up a tress of red hair, examines it closely, and says something in Dannish to his friends.
In a wicked age, in a large village estate, Ugurnaszir welcomes the generously cleavaged Leili (along with the Jahangir she came with) to his study. The banister is richly decorated with a pattern of interwoven serpents, some of whom support limbs. Leili introduces “Prince Ugurnaszir” and Jahangir, who is dressed in dirty boots and ragged fur, except for a single silvery patch on his back which is remarkably well preserved, as if by magic. Ug brings the tip of his pinky to his mouth as the obligatory cat jumps into his lap. “Yes, my lovely, how may I be of service?”
In the ensuing conversation, Ug is surprised and a bit disgusted to find that Leili is married to this brute (“My woman. Yes. Wife”) and offers to buy her off him. Since Jahangir originally paid 6 pelts for her, one for every year of her life, he offers to pay him gold to the value of 17 pelts, as she is 17 now. Leili, much preferring Ug to Jahan, jumps at the opportunity and tries to persuade Jahangir to sell her, but he remains reluctant. He claims that he is used to her, and only when pressed does he admit she actually has any merits of her own (“too refined, this woman for taverns”, he explains). Still, when Ug offers him “a better woman” he confusingly snaps at him: “I do not trust you, shifty stranger, any further than I cam throw you, which is considerably much”.
Undaunted, Ug raises his offer to a hundred pelts worth of gold, for the years she still has, and when Jahangir mumbles something about 120 years he raises again, without blinking. Still unwilling to admit emotions, Jahan attempts to rationalize his irrational behaviour by claiming gold is useless, since he can't eat it. But Ug and Leili explain economy to him. “You can make me house like this?”, Leili hurls at him. “Look at him, look at you. I don't want the hill, the air, the sun, I want gold and good food”. Ug raises his offer to 200 pelts worth, however much that is.
Jahangir tries to put his foot down and break the illusion of haggling (“Woman is mine. Non negotiable”) but when he notices Leili's face, which is clearly an unhappy one, he turns pensive. Even sad. “This what you want?”, he asks Her. “This what he wants?”
“Yes, Jahan. I want you to take the money, go back to Chorikistan, and leave me alone already”, she admits, which saddens him to the point where he regrets coming over and doesn't want to sell Ug anything anymore. I think it's very sweet. I also think it is at this point that Leili understands she needs to have him killed.
Ug realizes that if he pursues this any further he will end up with nothing to but, so he offers to forget about the whole thing and get down to the business that brought them there. So Leili shows him the egg, which is perfectly round, the color of shifting cream, and has the magical scent of geni (which are spirits chained to a location or a chore). Ug immediately wants to buy it, but Jahangir, ever the cockteaser, tells him his job is just to make the connection with the real buyer, who will pay more than Ug can ever dream of having. “I am that buyer”, Ug assures him, “you just lucked out and came straight to me”. Jahan is skeptical, but Ug cuts to the chase and asks him what he wants for the egg. “I want Palace, for woman”, says Jahangir, looking around him. Ug calmly explains that it will take a day or two, since the estate is not yet officially his to give, but he is already taking care of it, and the happy couple are invited to move in at once.
In a wicked age, in a room full of fineries, a stinking, filthy, surly man, dressed in fur and muck, lifts the wolf's head he wears as a codpiece and scratches himself. On the wall, behind him, is a macramé of a serpent, a crane and a wolf. His ridiculously hot wife comes in demanding he baths and puts on some clean clothes, so as not to mess up her new home, when shouting is heard from the main hall. He picks his axe, but she orders him to put it down and not break anything else while she goes to check. On her way she orders a sexy serving wench (of which Ug always keeps a few) to get her husband into the bath by whatever means necessary.
When she arrives at the main hall, she finds Lord Shikenbraen, the owner of this estate and long־time host to the parasitic Ugurnaszir, who is loudly accusing the demon of being a demon, of planting ideas in his head, for seeking his friendship only because he is rich, and of cynically using this friendship to further his own twisted goals. Ug is unable to refute any of these allegations, them being true and him being honest. He did, in fact, plant a dream in Shikenbraen's head, convincing him to give his village estate to Ug, which he would have done had it not been for a wandering cleric who told him the truth about Ug, and even gave him a talisman that will uncover the demon's true nature.
In the meantime, the wench approaches Jahangir, bringing him some cheap sour wine, since he is constantly complaining that Ugurnaszir's expensive wines aren't sour enough. He drinks and admits that this is indeed fine wine, just a bit too sour, so the wench mixes it with honey and clove (helping herself to a taste or two, just to make sure she gets the amounts straight). And then, since he likes this concoction of hers, she prepares more, getting tipsier and sultrier with every serving.
In the main hall, after much soliloquizing about how shocked he is, Lord Shikenbraen grabs Ug and presses the talisman to his forehead. Nothing happens, so he tries the heart, but Ug manages to deftly cut himself over the edge of the talisman, making it seem like Shikenbraen's fault. And as Shikenbraen sees the blood on his hands he is taken by remorse and realizes that the traveling cleric must have brainwashed him. “You were nothing but a loyal friend to me, and I betrayed you”, he weeps, as he gives Ug the deed to the estate and departs home, possibly to fall on his sword and leave everything to the demon.
In a wicked age, after leaving the unconscious Jahan in the bathroom she fucked him in, the concupiscent wench – who is actually Shad Parnei, the Koosit Princess of Crime – returns to the room where she found him and starts going through his few belongings, but she can't find the egg. She hears footsteps approaching, and – cursing her own stupidity, and the fact that Jahan might not be as stupid as he seems – rushes out of the room just before Leili enters it. Shad takes a detour through the kitchen, to get back into the bathroom unobserved, but Leili is no fool. When she finds her husband's things in greater disarray than usual, she rushes to the same bathroom and gets there before Shad Parnei, which she surprises and hits over the head with a large chamberpot. Shad is injured, but manages to escape, and Leili reaches over her snoring husband and produces the egg from beneath the wolf fur he hid it in.
In a wicked age, in a room at the top story of the estate, Leili caresses the egg, knowing that it will solve all her problems. The egg reacts to her touch, shifting colors and patterns towards her fingers. And then she hears a loud noise, as if someone is knocking the game. Carefully, she opens a door to a balcony and peaks outside, to see a whole regiment of armed Dannite soldiers bursting into the estate.
In a wicked age, in a fancy bath, a drunk and robbed Jahangir wakes from his slumber to the sound of soldiers, in doors. He grabs his axe and goes to find Leili. Ug, after seeing his two guards come back with their tails between their legs, goes to the entrance hall to greet the intruders. He walks straight to their obvious leader, a baby faced Dannite officiary wrapped in fine silks, and posses him to appear friendly and accept Ug's invitation to join him at the main hall, where important scenes tend to gather. “You stay here”, the possessed Dannite tells the soldiers. “And you two, go fix that gate”.
Leili join them at the main hall, sporting a new and surprising pregnancy, and Ug releases the Dannite who introduces himself as Tzao Lin, Secretary to the Crane. He does not appear overly impressed by the hostile takeover (in fact, he seems much more impressed with the superhot chick in the room), and demands that the egg be given to him at once. Leili almost says something, but Ug shuts her up with a look, and, in a valiant attempt to impress the futility of making demands of a powerful demon, tries to force the Secretary to preform a handstand. The Secretary manages to resist, although it makes his nose bleed. And it gives Ug a precious peep into the mind and motives of the Secretary.
Seeing what he is up agains, Ug suddenly remembers the egg isn't even his yet. And as much as he would love to do the gentlemanly thing and lie to the Secretary in order to protect the lady, he is – alas – bound to tell the truth. So he tells him “she has it”. The Secretary, happy for a chance to talk to Leili, offers her riches, and then queendom, and finally a place by his side, which she seems anxious to take, but then Jahan comes into the main hall, wiping Dannite blood of his axe.
“This is my husband. I can't come with you unless he releases me”, explains Leili. “Release her”, says the Secretary. “I'll be outside, posting new guards at the door, so you have a chance to plan an escape”.
In a wicked age, in a main hall, Ug and Jahan explain to Leili that as soon as she gives him the egg she becomes his slave. “When they have steel”, Jahan shares his wisdom, “they take your gold”. “He is right, you know”, agrees Ehsan, who steps in from the shadows.
Apparently, he stalked Ug, sneaked in when the Dannites broke the gate, killed some guards, and came in to help them. Or something. But then he saw his mother's pelt worn by Jahan and went into an immense inner conflict against the spirit of his dead and vengeful mother, and he is quite exhausted from all this trying not to avenge her.
Eventually they talk her into running, for this is really their last chance. The break open a door, kill a few guards, and vanish through a back door unhindered.
In a wicked age, near the woods, the fickle Leili is having second thoughts. She definitely does not want to go back to the woods, and is considering turning back and marrying that handsome Secretary. As she is arguing with with Jahan (“As leader of this family cell, I say we go to Chorikistan”) Ehsan – still very upset – mentions that whole thing about trying hard not to kill Jahan, and demands that he at least stops wearing his mother. Jahan stops, loosens his axe and draws a silver dagger, and challenges Ehsan to prove it. Ehasan transforms, displaying the characteristic silver pelt he inherited, does a little twirl and reverts to human form. Jahangir sheathes his weapons, pulls off his jacket and hands it to the psycho, in the off chance that he discovers more lost family members in it. When Ehsan insists Jahangir come up north with him to face the werewolf tribunal (as he promised his mother's vengeful spirit), the hunter makes acquiescing noises, but silently resolves to give the mad werewolf the slip at the first chance he has.
Then he rushes to catch up with Leili, who is just walking aimlessly, trying to follow some instinct she doesn't have, and Ug, who is slowly and surely leading her up the coast, towards the free city of Romrama, where they can find civilized shelter and enjoy the local wine.
In a wicked age, just before the dawn, Jahan is watching over his wife and the parasites she gathered. From a distance he can see the lights of Romrama, built high upon the hills, with a sheer cliff dropping into the ocean, and smell the smell of the fermenting grapes, rolling in waves down the hill.
Silently, he walks over to Ehsan. At first he considers killing him, but as he looks at him he is filled with kindness and compassion towards the mentally ill (he assumes his civilized mind just snapped upon becoming a werewolf), so he wraps a silver chain around him and silently wakes the others.
In a wicked age, in what was once a guest house with stables and is now little more than a broken shed, Leili is stopped by a terrible pain in her egg. She tries to caress it, and the egg pulses and reacts to her touch by shifting colors. Then she feels something hatching, and all her energies go into directing it to the outside. The egg pulses again, cracks, and breaks, and out comes a marvelous crane, with a thick gold ring around its left foot.