We are pleased to release the next piece in our Grim Moments fiction series, The Three
By EM Malachi
A page from the journal of Queen Helena of Rhiannon
Something is very wrong. My husband, the great and mighty Praecor Loth, rides into battle with the three I trust least in the world.
When the Magician Umbria came to court, I feared that he was a charlatan. Oh, if only that were so! In truth, he is a terrifyingly powerful necromancer. I have witnessed the dark arts he wields in his tower. One of his failures still skitters in the dungeon, begging for a death that can never come. When Umbria looks at me with those cold eyes of his, I know he is plotting something horrifying.
Then there is General Lethe. I wish she fought for us. She is one of the greatest warriors of the northern tribes, wild and untamed. It is said that during the Fyrna Rebellion, Lethe defeated a dozen armored knights herself. Her appointment as Rhiannon’s General was a peace offering, but her fealty is not with our country or our king. Lethe has sent my husband’s most loyal knights to the far corners of the world, far from the king they serve.
Finally, the assassin Morphius who killed my brother. I know this in my heart even if I have no proof. When my husband declared war, my brother, the Lord of Logris, suggested sending mages and scouts to understand the source of the invasion, but Logris was rebuffed by the Three. My dear brother instead chose to go on that desperate mission alone.
While Logris returned to his castle after completing the mission, he died that very night. They say it was exhaustion from the journey. However, a castle maid who liked to nibble the lord’s leftovers died that night as well. I searched my brother’s library after he died. There was a piece of black stone and an unfinished letter to the King that warned of a terrible door. What could be happening on the icy plains of Fyrna?
I suddenly feel so weary, an overpowering urge to sleep.
Dungeon Deceit, now
In the deepest crypt on Dagger Isle, three wraiths fed on the font of undeath. Their escape through the Black Gate had destroyed their physical forms and stolen much of their power.
When they were sated on corrupted mana, the Three set to work making bodies. Lethe pieced together the skeletons of fallen warriors, where rusting iron and bone had become one. Morphius chose putrid flesh and rot, forming organs from the most poisonous molds he could find. Umbria shaped the darkness and shadows of the dungeon into his vessel, making Deceit itself a phylactery.
When they were finished, Lethe tested a wicked axe she had found. “Now we rebuild our kingdom.”
Umbria replied, “Yes, midnight always arrives.”