J’Lynn the Sorcerer

By Herbert Jerry Baker

Be one of those to know of this deed

     Death and darkness ruled the shadowy streets of Xyyorr. Once the light of Enza disappeared into the lands beyond the Rhejj Sea, and Dilanna, Mistress of the Night, arose to bathe the land with her silver touch, the doors and windows of Xyyorr were locked. Yet the strongest chains could not halt the strange pestilence which prowled the empty vacant alleys and byways of the dark and haunted city. None were safe from the nameless horror which had laid claim to the night. Peasants quaked in their lowly hovels, peers and royalty ensconced themselves within their mighty bastions, yet it availed them not, for Death struck violently and indiscriminately.

     The most potent magicks, wrought by the myriad powerful wizards of Xyyorr, seemed to have no effect upon the horror which stalked the fear-ridden city; instead, the spells and charms seemed only to exacerbate the unknown terror, increasing both its ferocity and the horrific depredations which the fearsome abomination inflicted upon the denizens of Xyyorr.

     Finally, in great desperation, the folk of Xyyorr  sent word to the Lord of Eld. Great was his vexation upon hearing of the unholy presence which was decimating the people of Xyyorr, and he vowed by the Light of Enza that he would do all he could to end the dark and dreadful fear that haunted the nights. To this end he summoned from far off, fabled Karoth, the sorcerer J’Lynn, whose visage, legend said, no man had ever seen. J’Lynn answered the bidding of the Lord of Eld, and swore by all the gods of man that soon the streets of Xyyorr would be free of the horror that walked therein.

     A lone ship, bearing none but the sorcerer, soon set sail for Xyyorr, and the people of that fear-struck city were filled with awe when they heard the news of the coming arrival of J’Lynn. With eager eyes they scanned the waters of the Rhejj Sea as the Light of Enza passed above them, yet they saw no sign of the legendary sorcerer. They dared not to keep watch as the Mistress of the Night approached, for horror followed in her shadows.

     It was with great wonder, therefore, that they beheld the ship of J’Lynn lying at anchor one morning, and although the throngs which crowded the piers and wharves kept a vigilant watch, no one beheld or even had a glimpse of the reclusive sorcerer. The ship lay silent and still upon the quiet waters of the harbor until the Light of Enza began to touch the far horizon. Just as the watchers were preparing to reclaim the safety of their homes, the sorcerer proclaimed his presence.

     A sudden burst of radiance erupted from the prow of the ship and a loud sonorous voice echoed across the city. The voice implored the peoples of Xyyorr to return to their dwellings and to put their fears at ease, for come the dawn, the unholy terror which plagued them would be no more. At once the throngs vanished into the gathering shadows and soon silence reigned over the empty byways of Xyyorr.

     Although there was a dearth of night breezes, as soon as the Light of Enza fell from the skies, the ship of J’Lynn began to slowly move towards the nearby wharves. A solitary figure emerged from the forecastle and moved towards the bow of the silent ship. As the thin nascent moon arose across the strangely quiet city, the sorcerer threw his arms in the air in supplication to Dilanna, praying to the Mistress of the Night for her aid and protection.

     As the ship of J’Lynn docked, the sorcerer disembarked and began his pursuance of the nameless horror which lurked within the darkened streets of Xyyorr. Armed with only his arcane wizardry and a rune encrusted silver blade, J’Lynn explored the vacant haunted streets; yet as the hours passed, the sorcerer could discern no trace of the frightful denizen.

     The nascent moon had long ago left the sky, and the empyreal heavens were ablaze with stars. J’Lynn wondered if the gods who dwelt there in the light skies above him were oblivious to his earlier invocations. Fearful that the dawn would arrive and his promise to rid Xyyorr of their terrible demon be revealed as nothing more than swaggering bravado, the sorcerer began the return trek to his ship, determined to be triumphant in his undertaking.

     As he approached the eerily silent wharves, an unexpected premonition of the darkest prescience came upon J’Lynn, and with the utmost caution he entered the shadows which lay upon the docks. Almost at once the sorcerer was beset by a fearsome attack, struck by a whirling snarling thing which he had never glimpsed before, even while lost in the dream-thrall of the fabled green lotus.

     Although his attacker fell upon him in a most violent manner, J’Lynn, due to his sorcerous powers and his dexterity with a blade, was able finally to dispatch his ferocious assailant. Yet the victory was not easy, for as  he gazed upon the fallen form before him, he realized he had been grievously injured. He would survive, he surmised, for a long and quiet convalescence would be required.

     To the east, the sky was becoming dawn-tinted, and J’Lynn  would be able to proclaim to the peoples of Xyyorr that he had indeed slain the horror which had haunted their nights. Then, just as the light of Enza began to rise from the dark green Rhejj Sea, the sorcerer beheld a most wondrous sight. The piliferous shape before him began to change, shuddering and moving as if still alive!

     J’Lynn watched in fascination as the monstrous thing upon the docks slowly transmogrified into the form of a human. Once the body lay still again, the sorcerer saw that it was that of a young man who had probably not even seen twenty summers. J’Lynn couldn’t tell if it was a trick of the early morning light, but a brief smile seemed to flicker across the wan and sallow features of the youth.

     A solitary cock crow echoed throughout the empty ways of Xyyorr, putting an end to the sorcerer’s deliberations. The ghastly horror which had preyed upon the peoples of Xyyorr was a changeling, J’Lynn realized, but never before had he encountered one of such size and ferocity. Perhaps the vigor of youth was the source of the terror’s great power, he pondered, and he wondered if others of like ilk were loose upon the realms of man.

     Then, with a sense of dread and revulsion, he recalled the most damning aspect of the changeling’s curse—whosoever survived the slaying of a changeling and suffered at the hands of the monster would henceforth take upon themselves the taint of the beast.

     He gazed down in horror at the suppurating wounds upon his body and realized that in spite of his sorcerous powers, he was now cursed, doomed to a blasphemous existence, wandering the dark shadows of the night to feed upon the flesh of the living.

     J’Lynn knew what he must do to release himself from the horrifying destiny which awaited him, to cleanse his soul from the foul blood which had corrupted him. As the Light of Enza finally arose to bathe the environs of Xyyorr with brightness, J’Lynn knelt in humble supplication, and as he prayed to the myriad gods of man, the sorcerer took his silver blade and slew himself.

     As his essence departed from the Land of Eld, the sorcerer was aware of the eyes of many mystic beings upon him. It was they, J’Lynn suddenly sensed, who would welcome him into the esoteric realm beyond the ken of man for his magnanimous salvation of two lost and tormented souls.

     Far below, Xyyorr awoke and rejoiced, and J’Lynn became as one with the Gods of Man.