Chapter 25 - Awards and Bonus Pay

The next painful day, Elric was awakened by a foot digging into his side. Elric to rolled over and away from the intrusion and a shattering of glass pierced the veil of sleep.

Elric was lifted into the air and the sudden loss of a surface below him pulled him awake. Bright lights were moving towards his face. A croaking like sound escape from Elric’s throat as he attempted to yell.

“While HR is available to our employees when they need it,” Sandra said. “Passing out is generally not the use we encourage.” She waved a hand and Elric’s floating form moved towards the door. A small kindness, she lowered Elric before he hit the door frame, and his floating form floated out of the room. “Come back when you have cleaned up,” then she closed the door.

Elric picked himself off the stone floor, a pounding in his head making thinking difficult. In one hand he had a piece of wrinkled parchment. Around him was the hallway that lead to Ventus’s lair and the various Henchperson Resource offices. He remember celebrating the night before of his successful presentation, but not much more.

He carefully flattened out the parchment to read it, “Note to self: ask for more payment, instead of just bring back wife and kid, have them bring back all your family, including great grandparents!”  He closed his eyes partially in pain and in response to the stupid. The world wobbled a little with his eyes closed, he quickly opened them.

Elric removed a small vial from one of his many pouches, the green’ish liquid bubbled even within the sealed container. Carefully he removed the wax sealed cork and drank the contents. His stomach almost rebelled at the new liquid but once the magical properties took effect, he felt the world stabilize. He would have to buy another remove poison potion to replace that, but at least he didn’t have to deal with still being a little tipsy.

Standing up, he turned towards the dormitory wing and put one foot in front of the other. Slow steps to avoid exertion, it felt like each pump of his heart corresponded to a throb in his head. The light in the hallway wasn’t too bright but he avoided looking at the magical torches that lined the hallway. Slow and steady towards his room.

Eft’s disfigured feet gave him away before the cane or his voice. The older goblin was standing in front of Elric’s room.

“Oh good, I was just heading to get you.” Eft said once Elric stopped walking

“Two hours,” Elric said then resumed walking towards his room.

“Can’t wait, Ventus wanted to speak to you as soon as possible. I had just went to review a list of missing,” Eft said and was interrupted.

“Tiny dwarfs are pounding my brain,” Elric said with eyes closed.

“Yeah, and you smell like an Ogre,” Eft looked at Elric’s slack face. Elric’s eyelids were half open, what little was visible from his eyes, could see it was bloodshot. His breath had a slight tinge of vomit on it. “Perhaps a stop at a cleric, it will fix the hangover.”

Without waiting for a word from Elric, Eft turned and started walking down the hallway. His slow hobble seemed slower than usual and Elric sighed before turning and following the old goblin. Once Elric caught up to Eft, the old goblin started talking about some goblins being late or missing.

Twenty minutes later, after some healing, coffee, and a wet cloth to wipe his face, Elric and Eft stood at the entrance of Ventus’s chambers. They had not even finished kneeling before the doors opened and Francis came out. The demons lips were pursed as he beckoned them inside.

The doors started closing before they had even passed by. As soon as they stepped into the large chamber, the massive doors slammed behind them. Francis hurried towards the middle of the chamber where a desk and chairs were set up. Ventus in goblin form sat in a chair behind the desk. Elric took a chair on the left and when Eft didn’t sit, he started to stand up.

“Sit, this meeting is for you, not Eft.” Ventus said, then turning towards Eft, “thank you, I’ll have to reschedule our nine o’clock.”

Eft nodded and turned around. The room was silent until the doors started to open and then close almost immediately.

“I like your idea, in fact we have a few people who are interested in buying one. Between setup, supplying weapons, and a service contract, it will be a substantial amount for Mortis Operandi.” Ventus said. He paused to take a drink and give Elric a moment.

Elric didn’t say anything. He hadn’t thought the response would be so quick, one of his hands started to move towards the parchment he had scrawled his drunk rambling on.

“I know your contract is for 5 years,” Ventus said “We value your contributions to the company and while I understand there is some friction between a few members.”

“I’m not angry at Eft, I unders…” Elric said and was interrupted by Ventus.

“Let me finish please.” Ventus said, then paused to make sure Elric would give him time. After a few seconds of silence, Ventus continued. “For your exemplary actions and contributions to the company, I wish to reward you.”  Another pause to help the information sink into Elric. Ventus shifted in his seat a little.

Ventus shifted in his seat a little. The goblin had slide a couple pieces of parchment across the desk towards Elric.

“I’ll consider your contract complete and bring them back in a week. We wish that you would stay with us and continue working, of which we will pay you well for your efforts. Your acceptance of these terms will have no bearing on the raising of your family from the dead. Please review…” an explosion outside of the chamber interrupted Ventus.

Francis moved before anyones else. The hoofed demon ran towards the massive doors and had reached them by time Ventus had stood up and moved a few feet from the desk. Elric didn’t move from his seat, his eyes watering a little as he looked at the parchment.

The massive doors blew inward, the hinges ripping free from the stone wall. Bits of stone sprayed the area, forcing Francis to raise an arm up to his face. The demon dove to the left as the cloud of dust started filling the entryway. Ventus reverted to dragon form taking care to not crush Elric.

A small green form flew out of the dust. Ventus inhaled in preparation of breathing fire, but paused before unleashing hell. The form continued it’s arc and hit the floor. A twisted and blooded Guldag lay on the floor.

Elric looked towards Ventus and jumped a little once he saw the dragon next to him. He blinked a few times as if he was pulling out of a daydream. Standing up quickly he move away from the dragon.

A flash of light, then the desk exploded, the force throwing Elric to the ground. The lightning bolt left a jagged scorch mark on the floor, and the smell of ozone in the air. Elric rolled further away from Ventus and came up in a crouch. Tired and feeling like he was just awakened from a dream, Elric started gathering his power. The sound of air being inhaled by massive lungs came from Ventus.

A large glowing battle axe flew through the air. It slammed into the floor near where the desk was. Before Elric could thank the gods that he had moved, a large man came flying through the air as well. An armored figure, with a neck wider than his head, landed on the floor in a roll. He was able to easily grasp the handle of the axe and pull it out of the floor. Up closer, Elric recognized the figure of Thrag.

“Dragon!” Thrag yelled.

Ventus started breathing once the axe landed. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Thrag land, but Elric was too close to breath on the large warrior. Instead Ventus, unleashed hell upon the ruins of the doors. Mentally he hoped the guards were already dead as being cooked alive in ones armor was a horrible way to die.

The air in the chamber grew warmer by ten degrees. Thrag rather than trying to attack the dragon, stood and grinned at Elric. Light from the dragon fire behind him casting ominous shadows on Elric.

“You are…” Thrag started to say, but Elric interrupted him.

A small ball of force flew from Elric’s right hand and landed on the ground in front of Thrag. It did little damage, but the explosion of force lifted Thrag up and backwards. The large man started to cry out in surprise as he was throw twenty feet backwards.

Thrag flew in the direction of the dragon fire. As soon as the large man hit the stream of fire, Ventus roared as he tried to breath more fire on the air-born warrior. The dragon fire ended about the same time Thrag hit the floor. Armor and skin were unburnt from the dragon-fire.

Through the smoke of molten stone and debris, a single man walked into the chamber. He glowed with unimaginable power that buffered his footsteps. Footprints left on the floor behind this man of deific power. Both the eyes and the smile gave away the man’s identity to Elric, he would never forget the face of Marcanous.

“You will know I am the Lord when I lay my vengeance upon you." Marcanous said and Ventus groaned at the statement.

Before Ventus, Elric, Francis, or even Thrag could do anything further, hell was unleashed upon all in the dragons chamber. A blast of foul gas filled the air, causing eyes to water and Elric to choke a little. With the snap of Marcanous’s fingers a single spark ignited and the air was replaced with fire.

As Elric’s world went bright, then dark, he heard Marcanous yell something unintelligible.

“P V P flag the fuck!”

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