In the mists of myth there is the planet called Vihlany. The dominant race of the planet call themselves the Vihlani. Human in their original form, they now possess superhuman and supernatural abilities for they have demonoid blood cursing through their veins. Their lives flaunt a parallel with the dark myths of mankind.
Thule is the island of Vihlani corruption. Its fabled magical gates open onto the first layer of the Abyss. It was at the Abyss that the Vihlani found that common antidote and placebo to spiritual impotency and confusion - power. Once a cultured and noble race; the Etruscans of their planet; they worshipped a pantheon of benevolent guardian spirits with one God, Oraclan, above all. Oraclan was their God-Avatar, the all loving creator and source of their spiritual love. But their mariners had discovered the island of Thule, and their steady and certain corruption began as Thule’s powerful magical gates revealed an intercourse with evil, primarily through demonic Yog-Shishan and his multifarious minions. The gates had allowed the Vihlani who explored them great knowledge and magical power. These individuals had then returned from the island had driven the followers of benevolent Oraclan to their deaths or deeply hidden secret places. The Vihlani traditionally kept themselves apart from other cultures. They believed that insulation reinforced the master-slave relationship. Some say the Vihlani have forgotten the word for love in their language. Power is their obsession.
Luthur looked up at the three moons in the night sky: Klas, the silver skull floating in dark blood, Shoss, a glowing orb of orange manna and the prismatic Telanon, the most wayward in its wanderings around the planet. Their alignment was perfect, a great portent on the birth of his first son. He glanced down at the small, rune-covered chest he was carrying containing his baby son's birth blood preserved in a small vial. The vampiric sage-witch would consume it before her prophecy. He had come to Thule Island to face its many perils to consult the greatest soothsayer of his race. He knew the birth of his son Dorian presaged great destiny. He must be on his guard. Marellia was very powerful and hungered for life-force. Many that walked her path never returned. She was a fickle vampire of great magical and mental power, evil and unstable. Those who were weak or caught unexpectedly suffered lingering, living death, or were consumed in one brief orgasmic encounter as the only reward.
Behind Luthur were the steady, robotic footsteps of the two male slaves he had brought for her appeasement. Almost unconsciously he probed their minds, checking that the Slavon devices had fully suppressed their free will. Magnificent physical specimens, one a giant Siberan from the east with hard fiendishly handsome features, the other a Nolvor in his prime with features Apollo would envy. He was satisfied that he had chosen well, his selection covering what little he had learned of Marellia's appetite for beauty and vigour.
For a full day they had been ascending the cobbled, black ash-covered spiral path around the volcanic dolmen, almost a small mountain in size. The path turned abruptly inward into a small canyon cut out of the rock face. At the end of the canyon was a huge stone gateway open to the heart of the dolmen. Luthur paused before the gateway, the two slaves instantly halted standing like stone sentinels, reading the spell-runes carved on the three huge stones that formed the pillars and lintel of the gate.
“Follow me,” Luthur commanded, sensing the need to reinforce his control over the two slaves. They entered into a long wide corridor, its walls, floor and roof covered with dimly glowing red heieroglyphs, which Luthur surmised to be some forgotten ancient Vihlani dialect. Marellia had been magically scribing down her autobiography in her ancient tongue. Luthur could, for all his great scholarship and intelligence, only make out some of the story. "It pays to advertise," he chuckled to himself. His confidence in his own power and destiny was unswerving and unassailable.
The end of the corridor opened to a spiral downward stairway lit by ever-glowing manna lamps, which gave off just enough red light to see by. Luthur increased his vigilance, both of mind and body, ready for anything, as he descended into the sage-witch's red intestinal formed stairway. As they went deeper he began to sense her presence. He knew her powerful mind would be probing, seeking knowledge of her visitors. Finally they came to an open ended hall lit with red manna lamps, with what Luthur recognized as two guardian Stone Golems at the entrance. He immediately recognised the threat posed by these powerful juggernauts of the most arcane dark alchemy. He had expected to find such guardians protecting Marellia, but he was secure in his own abilities with the Karrusar blade, his own great sorcery, and his psychic-psionic power. These magically animated statues immediately sprang to life, advancing towards the intruders with heavy grinding footsteps and inexorable purpose, to bar their access.
"Marellia! I come with living gifts to seek your counsel," shouted Luthur.
He stood his ground, right hand resting on his Karrusar blade, alert to the ever-closing sentinels, ready to strike if they kept coming.
"Luthur HiVilany..." the Golems froze. "I remember your father. He brought me very fine gifts," came a woman's voice pitched with pleasure, seduction and pain.
"I come for the same purpose that my father did. I bring the birth blood of my first son," said Luthur.
"And I will drink it, Luthur, son of Dorian, sire of Dorian," came the reply. Her consumption of the birth blood was the physical focus for her prophetic power.
"This boded well," thought Luthur. "She already knows that I have named the child after his grandsire."
"Send my gifts forward."
Luthur motioned to the two slaves to go forward; at the same time, he reached into their minds adding his powerful psionic will, projected mind power, to their obedience. Luthur watched as they moved past the still sentinels further into the dimly lit gloom almost to the end of the hall. Bursting from her hidden room, like a gleeful child, Marellia was upon them, groping, proding, licking; exploring her gifts. As she did so Luthur looked at the two slaves to sense any reaction. From the Siberan nothing; but the Nolvor, true to his race fought the control of the Slavon device implanted behind his left ear, but to no avail. After a short time his mind was once again blank and ordered. Luthur waited patiently.
"Marellia, do you accept the gifts?" he demanded, focusing a measure of his own power into the words.
She stopped and met his gaze with a contesting glare. Luthur felt the enveloping seduction of her lust, her hunger, her power. He countered, controlling his own lust, with some effort. They were well matched in personal power and experience!
"Marellia, do you accept the gifts?" he repeated.
"Yes. Marellia accepts the gifts," came the measured reply.
"Come to my chamber." She moved away with the two slaves following, now firmly under her control. Warily, Luthur followed them into the side chamber, all his defences up.
The chamber was larger than the hall, sumptuously appointed with exotic tapestries adorning the walls. A decorated chalice shaped fountain filled with a luminous green fluid stood in the centre of the chamber. Heavy wooden screens shielded off-chambers on two of the walls. Luthur sensed at least two other beings in residence.
Marellia muttered a command to the two slaves and motioned to one of the side chambers. She watched them move around the covering screen, her face betraying the anticipation of her coming feast.
"Here is the birth blood." Luthur placed the small chest on the table between them, opening it to reveal the vial inside and stepping back to maintain his distance. Marellia moved directly to it. Seizing the vial, she held it above her mouth. The cork sprang out as if by magic and she drained the vial of all its contents.
Dorian squirmed in his crib and began to wail at the invasion of his soul.
Dropping the vial at the onset of her trance, Marellia slowly moved over to the fountain. As she approached, it flared up as if to greet her. Soon the room was flooded with its green light. Deep within Luthur something close to human excitement stirred in anticipation of her prophecy.
"Stormhawk...I see a Stormhawk."
Luthur's mind was filled with the vision of the great magical Dragonbirds of his home world Regina.
"The Stormhawk of his race," she continued. Her voice low and multi-pitched with the channelling manna energy.
"A Stormhawk to rule the empire. The Stormhawk's empire as far as the stars reach." Luthur was transfixed. He was the most powerful Archduke of the Vihlani Galactic Imperium, next stop would be the Imperial throne. His son would follow! Dorian would rule the galaxy!
"A Stormhawk of change and power. Father by his side."
Luthur's past thought was echoed!
A heaviness invaded the chamber. They both felt it. Marellia came out of her trance, disturbed, suddenly fearful.
Before Luthur could gather himself to ask what it was, she resumed the prophecy, but now seemed to labour and struggle against the heaviness.
"Beware the eye...The eye of justice...Oraclan's eye," she squirmed, uncomfortable at the God-Avatar name. Her nemesis of existence. Little would she comprehend of her own fate, which Oraclan sealed with this prophecy.
"It seeks the Stormhawk...Beware...Luthur, scion of HiVilany." Marellia's voice changed, much more melodious and yet stronger. The last words seemed to Luthur to come from another source. "Enough! Go! I am finished!" Marellia screamed the words out in her familiar voice.
Luthur was momentarily stunned, unsure if the last outburst was directed at him. Marellia stormed to the side chamber where the two slaves had gone. Luthur did not wait around, swiftly taking his leave. As he passed the sentinels, a scream rang out from behind him. "The Siberan," he thought, giving it little consideration. He was too intent on the words he had heard.