A strident and gallant figure strides in black cape down a hallway where unmentionable things lie in wait. One slithers towards him for a moment, then slides back into place while another titters.
"Master Slimely of Skara Brae, come to lick the boot of the Dark Mistress again so soon?"
With a wave of his hand, Slimely turns the foul creature’s brain to pudding. A bit of spittle on the corpse, and the henchman of Minax giggles, "See you in hell, my fine fleshy friend... but you first!"
Other dark things wiggle further back into their holes as the click-clack of Slimely’s lively step echoes down the huge and murky hallway to the throne room of the Dark Mistress. A nod from an ancient Wyrm, and Slimely walks with grace down a long and blood-red carpet leading to the Mistress and her retinue.
Unseen by all, a mouse scurries into the briefly opened door and finds a dark corner to hide. Slimely bows deeply before the sumptuous throne of Mistress Minax, who dismisses her retinue with a wave of her hand.
"So, Master Slimely, you always come so quickly at my call. T’would be a wonder if my other servants were as quick to come as you."
"I seek to serve thee, my lady. There is no darkness greater than yours."
The Dark Mistress idly toys with the exotic fruit in the golden bowl at her side. She considers the marvelous difference between the attractive appearance and profound inner evil in her plaything, Slimely.
"Are you worried Slimely? You exude confidence, yet your attempts to take and keep Lord British’s propaganda machine has failed."
Slimely looks askew for a second.
"You gave Juo’nar months to take over that pathetic and cessile dung heap, Trinsic. Surely you will give me more time to hunt down those bardic rabble rousers."
Silence clings to the darkness as Minax stares deeply into Slimely’s eyes.
"But of course Slimely. Let us review your goals once again. The Britannia Network must be exterminated, its bards hung at the crossroads, and our own propaganda machine neatly set up in its place. How long am I to be patient with your lack of results?"
An exhalation of air disguised as a sigh marks Slimely’s new found level of discomfort.
"I will need another month. The fools are on the run now, doing everything they can to continue their efforts. I have given them no quarter, and we will not give up our hunt."
Minax laughs with a hearty voice, "Oh my little Slimely, what would I do without you? I killed my last court jester yesterday, and I still have other needs for you. Go then, you may have your month, plus a fortnight. Then I want tangible results. Understood?"
Slimely smiles with delight. "Thank you Dark Mistress. Most generous. Most..."
"Begone. Go and pour doom over their pathetic little ‘news network’ and report back to me when it has been properly renamed in my honor."
Slimely wastes no time, and is gone. Minax, with a bored look, wanders into her adjoining room.
Alone in the throne room of Minax, a mouse waits in the still darkness.
From the Britannia News Network - The Journal of Ultima Online, March 17th, 2000.