author C.C.Cole's blog

Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Importance of Lies

"The Last Kingdom"  King Alfred

A follow up to the Assling's experience in the Underworld.

Shevata sat at her desk waiting for the King to arrive.  She’d met him before and he, like so many in the afterlife, return to her to seek more wisdom.  How, she thought, can any sort of wisdom be found in Hell?

The demon opened the door in her comfortable office.  She motioned for Alred to sit across from her and the demon to leave.  “King Alfred, I’m beginning to think you like visiting the Underworld, the place for the damned.  This is your second tour here.  As an man of such intelligence and devotion to his God, why come here?”
Alred nodded with respect.  “I thank you for receiving me again.  I found out that Uhtred came here and I wanted to know if he is safe.” 
Shevata smiled and a gentle eye roll.  “No one is safer than they are here.”
Afred frowned.  “So is he here?  Has his soul been thrown away?  Why would he do such a thing?”
“You always said he was the pagan.”
He stood, slamming the chair into the desk and paced around the room.  “You should’ve sent him back.”  He turned to her.  “Send him back!”
Shevata raised an eyebrow.  “Why would I do that?”
“He had a soul, but was misguided, like all of the Danes.  I know that now.  No one deserves the punishment this place provides.”  He had his back to her.  Shevata rose and walked up behind him. 
“You have more conscience than most Kings I’ve met.”  She placed a clear, rainbow-reflecting gem in his palm.  “Hell is a receiving world.  We don’t choose the inhabitants; they choose us.  Go now.  Your legacy as a great King is now resounding through history in your world.  There’s no need for you to concern yourself with Uutred.  He examined the gem.
“You let him go, didn’t you?”
“He chose the flames with his Danish woman.  Now go, before I have you dragged out.  When you return, tell me in advance so I can learn more about your God.”
He smiled.  “I’d like that.”  She nodded as he was escorted away.

Zermon walked in watching him leave.  “What’s that wormy-looking King doing here again?  Wanting a piece of Hell, eh?” 
“I told him Uhred the Assling and Iseult are in our flames.” 
He shook his head.  “What’s with your memory?  That little brunette queen works for me as a succubus, and she is one of the best, I tell you.  No man has yet to resist her.  And you told Assling you didn’t know her.  Then you told the skinny King we burned Assling’s soul.”  He snorted.  You’re a disgusting liar, little one.  Why lie here?  Hell is truth.”

Shevata sat back in her chair kicking Zermon’s elbow off of her desk.  “Yes, Hell is truth, usually a very ugly one when one pays for their life’s crimes by losing their souls to the fires here.  But what’s the use of truth here?  The people that come here face the truth, as Iseult did when she used magic to kill a child to save another.  In her hypocrisy about giving in to fate, she did a great evil.  How can Uhtred know that?  We might as well throw him to our fires if he knew the truth, as it would drive him mad.”
“And the skinny King the great whatever?  Why lie to him?  How do you know he won’t meet Uhtred somewhere in the heavens, if that exists?”

“If they meet, they will know I lied.  They will think I fooled them and never return.  And should they never meet, King Alfred will continue his efforts to save others from whatever “pagan” means.  Lies are important, Zermon.  People never forget the truth, even when it’s a lie.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Compassionate Savage

A bit of fiction fun as our favorite Assling visits the Underworld.

Uhtread "The Last Kingdom"

Shevata gazed at the balrog with disgust as he sat on Zermon’s obsidian throne in Hell.  “Memdrigog, you know only two can sit this throne; Zermon, who is out terrorizing his realm, and me.  Get out of here.”
The balrog snapped his whip towards Shevata narrowly missing her ear.  She grabbed it’s end, snatching it hard, and with some effort, wrenched it from his grasp.  He growled.  She removed a white ball of light from her pocket and threw it at him; sparks like lightning flew all around him while he shrieked in pain.  She whipped him over and over until he left the throne and drove him to a nearby small pit.  “Jump in, Stupid!”  She threw another white ball at him.  When he shrieked in pain again, she whipped him a couple of more times and pushed him into the pit, filled with the lightning.  She moved a large flat obsidian disc to seal it. 

She looked at the surrounding demons, now silent.  “Have any of you got anything to say?  Good.”  Keeping the whip, she sat on the throne with weariness.  “Who’s next?” 
“Savages.”  Muttered a demon, handing her two scrolls.  A man and a woman were brought before her.  The woman was shouting demands to release her.  Shevata slammed the whip to her mouth, nearly severing her tongue. 
“Shut up, woman.  Where do you think you are, Valhalla?”  She opened her scroll.  “A savage, traveling through villages killing men, women and children just to steal.  No retraction of any deeds, no offering to anyone.”  She nodded to the demon.  “Throw her in.  I’m not into loud mouth savage women today.”    The man beside her watched in horror as the demons in the fire pit dragged her down. 

“Relax,” Shevata read the scroll closer.  “You’re a volunteer?”   The man nodded.   She turned to the demon, "Bring this idiot to my office.  And if Memdrigog escapes, if you don’t tell me, I’ll tell Zermon you were in his chair.” 

Shevata and the man sat in her office, him across from her in the chair.  She unrolled his scroll.  “Assling?  I’ve never met a savage named Assling.”
He smiled.  “That’s a nickname.  My name is Uhtred.”
“Well, Assling, who is Uhtred, you’re not supposed to be here.  Did you know the woman I cast away to the pits?”
“Yes, I did.  But I know I couldn’t save her.” 
“Who are you trying to save?” 
“A woman, called a pagans witch.  Her name is Iseult.  Is she here?” 
Shevata thought for a moment.  “No, I would’ve remembered such an unusual name.  But I’m familiar with your world and your time.”  She sifted through some scrolls and opened one.  “You served a King named Alfred?”
He looked shocked.  “Alfred would never be here.”
She smiled.  “No, his soul is quite pure.  He came to me for knowledge.  Many wise men do.”
“Did he learn anything from here?”
Shevata grinned.  “Did you?”   
He shrugged.  "I don't know."   
“Alfred learned that evil isn’t simple.  But faith is.  We get people of all shapes and sizes down here, and sometimes it doesn’t make sense, the things they do.  Men like Alfred are born once in a century in the most fortunate worlds.”
“So Iseualt has a soul?”  Shevata shrugged. 
“I don’t know because I don’t know her.  But if she was the kind of woman you were willing to give your soul up for, I’d guess she does.”  She handed him a gem that glittered in rainbow colors.  “This will guide you out of Hell.  Best to you, Assling.”  He nodded then left. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

                                                Death and Punishment

A well known wizard visits the Underworld seeking information.  

Gandalf "Lord of the Rings"

“Who is the old man?”  Zermon swatted a demon into his fire pit.  “He carries a staff.  I don’t like it.  Send him to Sweetheart.”  A large demon escorted him away from the throne room. 

Shevata sat at her desk in her office in hell; always comfortable but never at home.  The door opened and an old man was escorted inside. He wore a white robe and had long white hair and beard.  “Name?” She said, raising an eyebrow. 
He started to bow.  “That’s not necessary, you know where you are.”  Shevata put a large chest on her desk.  “Who are you?”
“I am Gandalf.”
She rummaged through the chest tossing scrolls all around her, then brought out an elaborate scroll, unopened.  “Please sit.”  He sat across from her in a chair.  He propped his staff on her desk.  The demon reached for it.  “Don’t touch it.” Shevata snapped.  “Leave us.”  She opened the scroll. 
“Gandalf the White, wizard, Mithra..whatever, of the world Middle Earth,  you left for undying lands.  Well, Gandalf, if you’re from such a place, what could you possibly want in Hell?”
“I’m told your name is Sweetheart?”  His eyes sparkled.
“My name is Shevata.  Zermon likes to bother me.”  She put the chest on the floor and kept his scroll in front of her.  “Most come here to me seeking something.  What do you seek?”
“I want to know if the foes of Middle Earth are here.”
“You’re right to ask.  I just worry about the land.”
Shevata read down the scroll.  “We knew Sauron.  Zermon despised him, called him a weakling and threw him out.  Afterwards we heard he put his soul into a slave ring that got destroyed.  What a fool!”  She smirked. 
Gandalf frowned. “Is Morgoth still contained?”  Shevata nodded.
“The vortex holding Morgoth is in the deeper realm with a Devil.  Zermon didn’t want him, and it’s hard to escape if you get trapped down there.  Once I had to get Zermon out of a stench bog down there and he still smells.”
“The creature Gollum, and Saruman?”
“Gollum never rose from Hell’s flames.  Not enough soul.  Saruman’s not here.”
“Where is he?”
Shevata shrugged.  “Nowhere.”
Gandalf sat back.  “What did you do?”
“I killed his soul.” 
He turned away as if sick.  He looked back at her with disgust.  “Who are you to take a soul?”
“We are the place of death and punishment.  Zermon didn’t want him here, the Devil that has Morgoth for sure wasn’t taking him, so my options were limited.”
They walked together to the door.  “I know we disgust you, but we don’t choose who comes here.  Tell me, how are the, uh..” she peeked in the scroll..”Hobbits?”
“They are well with us.”
“But are they the same?”
Gandalf extended his hand and they shook hands briefly.  He said, “Should you have a change of heart, seek us out.”  Shevata smiled as she watched him leave with his staff.
Zermon walked in from behind.  “What was that old guy?”
Shevata sighed.  “Another good power uncomfortable with death and punishment.  That’s the purpose we serve.” 
Zermon walked away saying, “I don’t know what everybody’s problem is. We just clean up the mess.”