Tales from Beyond the Fringe: The Dark Heart
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Tales from Beyond the Fringe: The Dark Heart is an issue of the Tales from Beyond the Fringe periodical.
Captain Mordechai Redmoon stalked towards the Terror's brig. His Marauders had caught a prisoner and she wasn't the typical frightened wench. The thought of women aboard his ship didn't sit well with Mordechai - a long-standing superstition among sailors - but he believed in finding out just how useful a prisoner was before flushing them out an airlock.
The brig doors opened with a squeal as he approached them. Central to the massive room beyond was a circular tank filled with several starving shellarks, the sight of which was enough to break most prisoners before their first toenail had been torn out. Cages hung from the ceiling, some empty, but many were filled with the remains of unfortunate hostages whose time had run out.
Seated upon the floor ten paces from the door was a striking Draken female dressed in tribal attired. She appraised Mordechai with her predatory green eyes, unconcerned by her situation. If Mordechai was reading her correctly, she also appeared somewhat bored.
"Are you the captain of this..." she glanced around at the room pointedly. "Ship?"
Mordechai's ears drank in the luxurious sound of the woman's voice. "Aye, m'lady. This ship be mine."
"It's about time," she said, stretching languidly as she stood up. "I was wondering if I'd be left here with him all night." The Draken motioned to the Grund who stood watching her, his hands cradling the pommel of a large sword wrought from shards of green celestial glass.
"Claver's the least of your worries, me beauty," Mordechai said. "We've little room aboard this vessel for useless cargo. Perhaps ye can give me a reason to keep ye aboard?"
The woman approached him seductively, her emerald eyes never leaving his masked face. "I can think of several reason, captain."
"Ye'll have to do better than that," Mordechai said with a snort. "It takes more than a pretty face to win a spot on me crew."
"You men are all alike," she sighed. "I possess other skills that might be of interest to someone like you."
"Is that so?" he answered. "What skills might ye be talkin' about?"
"I control the very threads of life and death. Watch." Holding out her open hand towards Claver, she violently clenched it into a fist. The Grund's eyes bulged from their sockets, his skin darkening sickly as his body putrefied from within. Thick black liquid spilled from his ears and nose and fell to the floor like a viscous, stinking rain. "I can steal the soul from anyone I choose," she said as Claver collapsed and burst like and overripe grimgourd.
Mordechai gaped at what remained of Claver.
"I can also return the dead to life." With a flick of her wrist several of the suspended cages began to sway on their rusty chains. Skeletal hands emerged from between the bars, followed by tortured moans.
Mordechai, stunned, found his tongue quickly enough. "What be your name, my sweet?"
"Laveka," she said, "The Dark-Hearted."
"Seems there be a sudden openin' on me crew," Mordechai smiled. "Might ye be interested in signin' the Redmoon articles?"
- The Great Parley on a pile of crates north of the dais at (515.57, -835.56)
- Palaver Point on top of a bunk at (564.37, -759.88)
- Palaver Point on a cargo lift at (584.10, -733.07)
- Palaver Point on a cargo lift at (675.34, -833.91)
- Palaver Point inside an engine at (597.23, -840.56)
- Palaver Point in the upper level of the entryway tube at (629.50, -921.09)
- Palaver Point at the top of a rock formation next to the antenna at (679.95, -916.50)
- Moodie Gap next to the dancing Moodies at (460.79, -760.92)