Nikolajs lay down on the stone floor like a sun bathing cat, an entitle smile stretched across his face.
The slave watched her young master from the bed, she had been growing more concerned for every moment that she was in her lord's room.
Their previous love making sessions had not been romantic, instead they involved her riding him while he screamed. If anything it was a case of rape of the most twisted kind, and she always had felt dirty and pity for her lover.
She knew of her duty of course. Lord Urilus Marus needed an heir, and while his daughters were performing their duties to increase their family, Nikolajs was little more than a dark secret to be locked away.
The demons inside his mind bickered and tortured the boy, demanding blood and sacrifice. Nikolajs, poor sweet Nikolajs, had chosen to lock himself away. Fearing that he would dishonour his family more if he should allow them to take control.
She had thought that the wizard had put an end to the young man's torment when he exercised the raging spirits, and Frank had done just that. For a time.
For the first time in years Nikolajs meet his father and mother at the table, and spoke just as a normal person might. He wasn't excited or filled with energy. It appeared as though he had just woken from a long nap and was still tired.
His mother was the one who was ecstatic. She hugged her boy as if he was some returned treasure, she had plans for her young boy and bringing him back into the world. Talks with young ladies, banquettes, her family, his sisters.
Nikolajs had just shrugged it off.
When the servant last saw him, she thought of him as one of the older soldiers having returned from war. Close to breaking down, just wanting to return to normal life but not truly adjusting. Their latest nights of fornication had been like trying to get a child to focus.
That was until it came into the room.
She looked up at her master's latest acquisition. The door sat there like a judging parent, the painted cat on its wooden skin playing with that damn broom. Occasionally the door would rattle like the wind was trying to pass through it, only there wasn't a wind.
She did not know what came over Nikolajs but it had been as if the man had been possessed. Not caring about her feelings or desires, he had pushed her onto the bed and she had quietly allowed him to use her. It was perhaps the most romantic moment that they ever shared.
Laying on the ground, the young lord felt the whispers enter his mind. He shifted and turned so that he could look at that cursed man's door. The sorcerer had violated him, worse he had stolen his friends from him and locked them away behind the door.
They were right there, his friends calling out to him, begging for release. They wanted to come out and make more friends, to unite the world and to bring everlasting peace. They loved him far more than his father and mother, who did not truly understand him.
Naked, Nikolajs stood. His hands slid over the evil door that separated him from his friends. The friends who had always been there, talking to him, whispering to him. He reached out for the doorknob and yelped in pain as an electric shock warned him back.
His face twisted in hate and scorn. Barnus had told him that the ones who stole the door had done everything in their power to open it. They had hammered it with tools, picked its lock, drove chisels through the gaps, and spoke spells, but nothing opened it. His father had obtained it, thinking to get one more favour from Frank, hoping to gain power and wealth over his enemies.
His father did not see that this was the treasure. That what was locked behind this filthy door was worth more than all the gold in the world. Couldn't they see that?
“Master Nikolajs, are you well?” the servant girl asked.
Nikolajs ignored her and placed his ear to the door. He didn't hear actual words. It was subtler than that. An alien feeling that wormed its way inside you, a fleeting thought that was usually not there long enough to register. The sorcerer had done well to keep his vault so secure.
Nikolajs arched his back as the vision of a bloated leech sucking at a beautiful and blue star struck him with the force of a bolt of lightning. He fell down on his arse and immediately got back up, his eyes wide his mouth wide open.
“Nikolajs!?” The mother of his future bastard got out of bed and rushed to his side. “What's wrong?”
This time Nikolajs was better prepared for the image of Frank opening his veins, and collecting his blood in a bucket. He saw himself growing weaker, his skin turning blue and his hair turning as white as snow. The sorcerer was draining him until there was nothing left, not even a memory.
That was what Frank was doing to his friends. He was milking them, bleeding them of their strength.
He got another vision, this one of Frank's face, drawing closer at an alarming speed. The monster was coming back for his vault. Frank, that pox ridden wizard was coming to take his friends away from him, again.
Understanding that her lover might be relapsing back into mania, the servant held Nikolajs's head in what she hoped was a soothing manner, “I'll go get your father. Maybe the sorcerer, Frank, can make you better.” Daring to leave him to his struggling demons, she moved to collect her dress.
Frank? The name brought a wave of fresh rage to the young noble. Nikolajs looked at the door.
The image of his fingers around the woman's throat. Her smile as she silently accepted her fate. She understood that what he was doing was right and that she was wrong to stand in his way. She knew that she needed to be stopped.
Nikolajs stood up and turned to the servant who was hurriedly putting on her clothes. He took a step towards her.
His friends were so sorry that they hurt him for a long time, but they promised to make it up to him and everyone he knew.
The senator's worries were understandable. His son had stolen the sorcerer's door from his private storeroom and had taken it to his room as if it were nothing more than a decorated vase.
What was it about this door that drove people to stupidity? Ever since it had first been stolen from the Triplets it had been passed, stolen, plundered, and bought through dozens of hands until it it looked as if it had done a complete circuit of the city.
Senator Urilus Marus blamed himself for the entire mess. He had been the one who had told his men to steal the door from the sorcerer, he planned to use it as a bargaining chip to bring his son back to sanity.
Fortunately, the sorcerer had healed Urilus Marus for a pittance. The lives of a few prisoners who were already doomed to death was nothing for the sake of his heir, but news kept flooding in from his ears back in the city and story was all the same.
First, somebody would steal the door and while it was going to their party's base of operations, a member would grab Frank's attention. They took the sorcerer to their boss but when they discovered that the door was gone they froze as their plans turned to shit.
At this point, not wanting to anger Frank they asked for a lesser wish. Usually a bit of healing or gold, or maybe a bit of magic. Frank would then ask for something odd or unusual, but small and inconsequential.
Many of the people of this world knew little about the realms of magic. They had no idea what the kiss of a virgin was worth or a poet's dream. From his reports Urilus Marus could tell that the sorcerer was upping his prices, trying to find some limit to his demands.
These varied between tangible objects like a hot meal to a memory or even a dream, then he would give them their wish not knowing how they planed to extort him.
Gold itself meant nothing to him, as if it were dirt and if Urilus Marus didn't stop him that was what it would be the equivalent to. Gold used to mean something in this city, but now every beggar could obtain a mountain of it.
Now the city was in the most silent uproar in history. It was unbelievable.
The harbour was teeming with fish to the point that fishermen were blocking trade boats. There were a dozen mystical artefacts out in the wild including a flying carpet, a sword that cut through rock, a crystal ball that allowed you to swap souls with another man, and there were talks of the military with trained magical hawks.
The door itself was gaining a reputation for attracting not just the sorcerer's presence but violence as well. Not only were there groups trying to find the door for their own plans but Frank's assistants Cyme and Tila were assaulting the underground trying to find it. Word had it that they were now on the trail, carving their way through every pick pocket they could dig up. It was only a matter of time before somebody spoke.
The senator shivered when he recalled the sorcerer's true face and what it would mean if Frank suspected him or any fool was trying to swindle him.
It was time to bring sanity back to this city. He had already instructed one of his servants to contact Frank and tell him, in friendly and non-threatening manner, that the senator acquired the door from a thief.
No bargains and no tricks, he would give Frank that cursed portal provided that the sorcerer leave town before he helps anyone else. He did not want anyone trading their soul in the hope of turning Thebes in their private kingdom.
Now that stupid piece of shit son of his was ruining his plans for their family's future. If the senator could worm another wish from the sorcerer he would ask for an heir that wasn't such a waste.
Barnus moved to his master's side, “Master, what will happen if the door has been stolen from us again?”
“I have blocked the roads and tripled the guards. My stupid son has most likely taken it to see what the fuss is about.” Urilus Marus hoped.
He already had the sorcerer's door stolen from his men already. He didn't know who had dared to taken it, but it was not going to happen this time. True, he had not expected Nikolajs to confiscate it to his room but he was confident that it was still within his domain.
The servants in the hallway saw their master moving down the corridor and wisely moved aside and bowed. They knew better than to do otherwise.
Not carrying if his son was satisfying himself of not, Urilus Marus opened son's door and got ready to have some sense flogged into the mischievous whelp. What he saw made him hesitate.
Nikolajs was grinning like a madman, his son's eyes were wide, his mouth was frothing as if he had gone rabid, and his fingers were welded to the bronze door handle. The door itself was banging as if there was a mighty storm waging against it. Smoke and light poured out from the edges,
Where the light touched there were scorch marks and smoke smelt like a the world right before a rainstorm.
“Nikolajs, what are you doing?” Urilus Marus’s head spun to the body of the slave that he had planned to bare his grandchild.
The young woman was laying on the bed, her dead and vacant eyes staring at him. Even from this distance, the senator could make out the bruises on her neck.
Still grinning, unaware of possible harm that he was about to unleash, Nikolajs Turned his head to his father. Within an instant, his face distorted into an feral rage, “No!” he screamed, “You wont take them from me again, father.”
His madness fuelled by hate and desperation, Nikolajs looked down at the pulsing and bubbling mess of flesh that had been his hand. The fucking door had turned his hand into a smoking and popping mess, no different than burning bacon.
With the voices burning his brain and turning his mind into mash potato, Nikolajs managed to twist the knob.
Light burst free of the now opened door and Urilus Marus had to step back and cover his eyes as he was blinded by the brilliant radiance. Covering their eyes, he and his servant heard his son’s mad laughter fill the world as the fool stared directly into the now open door.
Barnus watched as everything the light touch smoked and then ignited, including Nikolajs, whose mad giggles abruptly ended as his body became a stain on the now burning floor. Out of desperation and fear, he pulled his master back into the hallway and slammed the door closed.
Urilus Marus cursed his son's stupidity and the sorcerer as his world became fire and death.
Both men, blinded by the otherworldly light, lay against the far wall. As they panted, both heard the screams from the neighbouring rooms.
“We need to get Frank.” Barnus said, not caring about the difference in station. It was possible that Urilus Marus’s greed and his son's insanity had doomed them all. He didn't want to admit it, but before he closed the door, he had seen something in the light that looked like a spiked leg.
Just as he was about to haul his master onto his feet the wooden door blew apart and both men were engulfed in an inferno before they had a chance to reflect on their life choices.
Born in Australia I am a late bloomer when it came to books. I started writing when my grandfather died and it just sort of turned into a hobby.
I like science fiction, but not space opera. I like fantasy but I am picky when it comes to epic and urban types. I try to stay away from vampires, zombies and romance novels when I can.