Part 6: THE HOUSE OF THE MONSTROUS LORD
Leaving the lair of the Rugorax, carrying his torch and the moonblade with him, Hiriki entered into yet another strange, forbidding place. Not a cave this time but a castle and this time he was greeted when he arrived by a tall, pale gaunt man dressed in shiny silk who, speaking without moving his lips, told Hiriki that he was the servant of Great Lord Orgross, the owner of the castle.
“My master will see you shortly”, he said, “but while you are waiting, please take a seat in the banqueting hall” and then he lead Hiriki into a large dusty room with a long dining table laid with ancient gold and silver cutlery and crockery that once must have looked splendid but was now buried in dust and wrapped in cobwebs.
Hiriki couldn’t help stealing some of the fine cutlery and crockery, taking a solid gold plate and a golden handled carving knife and concealing them under his tunic. “What strange place have you brought me to now”, asked Hiriki, writing the words “Hiriki the hero was here” in the dust upon the banqueting table, “Long have I dreamt of owning such a castle, the lair of an important man but no lord but death can possibly live in this place, what became of this castle and what monster am I about to face?”.
“This is the castle of Lord Orgross”, explained the Goddess, “Once a great nobleman but who, ensnared by dreams of power, became an ally of evil and was turned into a hideous monster by the darkness that contaminated him. He once owned the magical falcon bow that could hit targets accurately over any distance and gave an archer the power of flight but now he just uses it as bait to lure treasure seekers to their doom”.
Hiriki picked up another of the golden plates from the banqueting table and gave it a polish with his sleeve, “Well”, he said, “Atleast I’m making a profit with this one”, but, suddenly he dropped the plate in horror at what he had just seen reflected in its shiny surface, something large, black and hairy moving above his head.
“That must be the monstrous lord”, he said, “I had best keep my weapons close to me”.
However, when he felt around for his magical weapons he could not find them and then he noticed them being pulled up over his head by long sticky silken threads.
“My goddess”, exclaimed Hiriki, “I am disarmed. What am I to do now?!”.
“Don’t worry”, said the Goddess, “You will survive this day, I promise”.
Suddenly the servant of Lord Orgross reentered and announced, “The master can see you now. Look up! Look up! The master would like to dance with you”.
Hiriki was terrified but he mustered up all of his courage and looked up and what he saw was horrible, a giant spider was dangling over his head and he could see that the Spiders limbs were attached to the limbs of his servant by silken threads and that when the spider moved its limbs, the servant moved.
“The servant is a marionette; a puppet”, thought Hiriki, “One of the monsters last victims, drained to a bloodless corpse, dressed in spider silk and moved with threads”, then, suddenly Hiriki was engulfed in the monsters hairy arms and, screaming, fainted with terror.
Hiriki awoke and, to his horror, found that he was wrapped like a mummy in sticky spider silk upon the spiders giant web.
Hiriki screamed, “Goddess save me”.
“Don’t panic”, said the goddess, “Use the golden handled knife which you stole to cut yourself free from your silk bonds”.
Hiriki reached inside his tunic pocket and felt around for the sharp golden handled carving knife which he then used to cut himself loose and, gazing round about him, he saw his magic sword and torch hanging nearby, suspended from the castle ceiling by spider silk threads and he cut them down too.
However, standing up on a spiders web requires a great deal of balance and each time that Hiriki did stand up he fell down again; luckilly for him, the second time that he fell down, the golden plate he had stolen fell out of his tunic and in its reflection he saw the giant spider lord creeping up behind him.
“Flying fire”, he commanded his magic torch, “Burn that hairy brute, quickly”, and the flying fire, obeying his command, leapt from its torch and consumed the startled monster, and the moment that it did Hiriki set to work with his magic sword, swinging this way and that, hacking off all six of the spiders hairy limbs and poking out all
six of the spiders large round eyes and, screaming, the flaming monster crashed from his enormous web onto the stone castle floor and, after a fit of monstrous twitching and screaming, was soon firmly in the grip of death.
Now Hiriki crawled over to where the magic flying falcon bow hung, suspended by a silken thread and, cutting it down, used it to fly safely to the castle floor . “Oh goddess!”, he said, “If it were not for you I would be one of the spiders marionette corpses luring new visitors to their doom”.
“It was you who stole the knife that helped you to free yourself and the plate that helped you to see the monster approaching. Sometimes our foolishness can become foresight and our vices become virtues in the right circumstances”.
“Still”, said Hiriki, “I feel that I owe you my life now and so I shall serve you willingly and happily, no matter what you ask of me”.