Shuddersome Shorts

Tales of Eerie Terror

#67



A fantasy fragment that conjures up memories of C.L. Moore and Michael Moorcock, this haunting little frightmare comes to us courtesy of a brand new contributer to PDF. Read on if you dare...or if you scare? Hm?

 
 

A Tale of Ak Fhur of Theer
 

By Herbert Jerry Baker
About the author


SSELDOM HAD I HEARD THE NAME OF AK FHUR, so it was with great surprise that I did so upon the first night of the Moon's eclipse. I had been travelling with a caravan bound for the sea-port of Kyrdoxx, and it was from those strangely turbaned travelers that I again heard the furtive name of Ak Fhur.

Around the fires they had built of the quash trees did they sit, strumming oddly stringed lyres, when one of them spoke of Ak Fhur and the legendary Theer. Closer did I edge towards the whispering speaker and only then did I ask of this seldom-mentioned man.

He pointed away to the East, and spoke of the great Dark Wastes; a desert on which the sands were not of the right colours, but were rather of a peculiar light green hue. It was here that mighty Theer stood, wherein dwelt the mysterious Ak Fhur.

Again he spoke, telling of how the Old Gods had grown weary of the war-like nature of Ak Fhur and the peoples of Theer, and had visited upon them a most awesome curse. None knew what this malady might have been, but never again did man travel to see Ak Fhur or the city of Theer.

Long did I ponder upon the strange portentous words which I had heard concerning Ak Fhur and his unknown fate. It was not until long after midnight had passed that my companions put down their unique instruments and wrapped themselves in robes of yellow silk, and slept. Ere long, all were aslumber, and so it was that I set out upon my journey to Theer alone.

Throughout the dark night did I ride my mount towards the desolate Dark Wastes, and though the way was long, no one did I encounter. Across the Wind Plains did I ride, until, after crossing the Mountains of the Edge, I beheld the Dark Wastes; a blighted land which stretched to the far grey horizon over which the morning sun was aclimb.

Carefully did I make my way down into the Wastelands, fearful that the Ghouls which inhabited the caverns beneath the Mountains would capture me. Often did I grasp my scimitar at the sounds which came from within the depths of the Mountains of the Edge, yet never was I attacked and many were the prayers I offered to the Old Gods.

At last I entered the dismal mists which veiled the Dark Wastes and set out for the city of Theer, wherein dwelt Ak Fhur. On my way to the long-deserted city, I often glimpsed strange shapes hovering wraith-like about my trail, but I knew that as long as I did not spill blood, I had no reason to fear these figures.

Ere mid-day came I had reached the borders of the desert of pale green sand, and over all hung a thick misty vapour, thicker than that through which I had just travelled;  so viscuous that the sun was pallid and wan in the sky. Into this mist did I ride, and soon it parted, and before me, glowing in the weak light of the sun, I was able to see the towers and ten-sided monoliths which marked the fabled city of Theer.

The journey across the coloured sands did not take long, and it was as the shadows grew long that I rode past the gates of Theer, which somehow shimmered crystalline in the soft sunlight. Although it was near the hour of the evening meal, I had expected to see at least a few people abroad in the cobbled streets, yet I rode alone throughout the ways of Theer.

A quiet desperation began to gather in my mind, and I hastened to the copper-domed palace of Ak Fhur, wherein I hoped to find some clew as to his mysterious fate. It was as I approached his awesome home that the feeling of anxiety gnawed at me even stronger and it was with the greatest of fearful reluctance that I forced myself to enter those empty marbled hallways.

Echoes of vast silence reached my ears, and as I entered the throne room, a cry escaped me, for I at last saw Ak Fhur! Moving closer to where he sat upon his carven throne however, I saw that his form was near dissolution and his raiments were ragged and torn.

It was not until I looked upon his face that I realized the awesome and horrifying Curse which the Old Gods had visited upon Ak Fhur -- for although the worms of Death gnawed forever upon his bones, Ak Fhur's brain was still alive, his eyes mirroring all his hellish pain and horror!!

 

The End


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A Tale of Ak Fhur of Theer is copyright by Herbert Jerry Baker. It may not be copied or used for any commercial purpose except for short excerpts used for reviews. (Obviously, you can copy it or print it out if you want to read it!)