"YOU!" growled Bujilli. He could smell the all-too-familiar scent of sweet damnation approaching him from the cave mouth. He didn't need to see her to know who it was. Ahtrishka. The demon-bitch his Uncle used to keep penned-up in a seven-metal cage. She had been a dirty little secret to both of them; a source of knowledge and gossip for his Uncle and something...a bit more personal to him. Her kiss-mark had scarred his soul.
His hands flew through several antagonistic mudras and vicious violet light began to seep from the fractals embedded in his hairless left hand. It had been her wheedling, pleading and cajoling that had tricked him into casting his first spell. That had gone badly. He was lucky that his Uncle had come home early and dispelled the mess he had made. Surly violet fractals still swirled through the flesh of his permanently hairless left-hand because he botched that spell. He'd never forgiven her for playing that cruel trick upon him.
"Hold!" barked his Uncle.
They locked eyes. For the first time his Uncle looked away first.
"Ha! Look whose talking! Here; this is yours."
Something landed at Bujilli's feet. The old table knife. The one he had stolen from his Uncle to defend himself with after his first trip down in the basket as a dangler. It was badly tarnished and poorly sharpened by a young child's inexpert scraping of the blade against rocks in the darkness to give it whatever edge he could manage.
Bujilli picked the knife up. The handle fit his hand perfectly. He'd used it for a long time, until he had won his father's tulwar and taken-up Stril's axe...
The woman-form came closer. She wore a much-patched and poorly fitting cloak with the cowl pulled up and over her head. She approached empty-handed.
His Uncle flicked a Gloomlight glyph into place over head.
That wasn't a cloak. It was a blanket. His old blanket. The one his mother had made for him while she was still carrying him in her belly. His Uncle had never taken away that blanket, no matter how badly he beat him or screamed at him. The blanket was his. It was the only thing Bujilli could come back to. a last tenuous connection to his murdered mother.
Now it was being worn by this thing.
"Is this how you greet an old lover?" hissed the woman-thing.
Bujilli spat in disgust; "You never loved anything in your entire existence. Demon-bitch."
"True. I have never loved. But you have. You used to love me." She pointed to his heart with a filthy finger on a slightly decayed hand. Maggots wriggled in the gaping wounds.
"You preyed upon a vulnerable child, misled and beguiled and lied, lied, lied at every turn."
"Of course. I am a demon." She bowed mockingly.
Bujilli was grateful he had only consented to a single kiss from this foul thing, that he had not succumbed to her whiles and allowed things to go any further. But it had been close.
"I hate you."
"But you loved me. Once." She declared.
"I was a stupid child."
"And now you're a stupid man." the demoness laughed. But she came no farther.
She let the blanket slide from her head, pulled it around her shoulder like a shawl.
Bujilli stared in disbelief, in growing horror. It was his mother standing before him. Talking to him in a demon's voice. Her body, dragged out from under its cairn and made to serve this bitch like a puppet.
He looked at his Uncle in rapidly escalating fury. The old sorcerer nodded then turned away. This was not his doing. Or so he had claimed earlier.
"It was you who called me back to this place?" Bujilli demanded confirmation.
"Like I said; stupid. Of course it was I who summoned you here. Surely you didn't think that this old fraud had done such a thing." She giggled in six softly warbling voices at once.
"Because I can, you stupid little jackass. I summoned you using your own hair, your precious blanket, all the things you left behind when you ran away. I summoned you just the way your kind calls upon mine. I intend to make you my slave. I will devour your soul. but first I desire to taste your despair--"
The silver table knife protruded from her forehead.
"Stupid bitch. My Uncle taught me better than that."
"Yes. I did. So finish this. Now. While you still can!"
Bujilli snarled, his eyes filled with golden light and he shouted the Words to that first spell. This time the violet fractals surged forth to do his bidding. The cave echoed with a terrible thunder. A storm billowed out from Bujilli's left hand. It swarmed and swirled all about the three of them, lashing out and licking the stones with flickering lightnings. Then it all came crashing down upon the transfixed form of Ahtrishka who was trapped in the corpse of his mother. The violet fractals seethed and screamed and struck out at their designated target again and again and again, speeding up with each flash, every slash. The long-constrained weirdstorm quickly reached a crescendo and then all was silence.
Atrishka was gone.
So was the blanket. The knife. his mother's reanimated cadaver.
There wasn't so much as a violet smudge.
"Well, you finally learned how to cast that spell. Hmmph. took you long enough."
Bujilli stared at his Uncle.
Then they both began to laugh...