A Drink to the Future
Fenrik reclined on the black leather couch, under the large draped window in his office, casually reading The Gate, Devilsgate’s one and only newspaper, owned entirely, of course, by himself. It was, after all, important that the people of the City were given information about what was going on in Devilsgate and he didn’t want the truth to confuse things for them.
‘So Funestus Black is the favourite to win at the forthcoming elections. I would never have guessed,’ said Fenrik, straining his eyes to read the small print in the paper, his bushy eyebrows knitting together like the pelmet hanging over his window. He leaned over and clicked on the small brass lamp that sat on the oak table next to the couch.
‘Who would have thought it, eh brother? Regina Fludd drowning in the water bowl of her pet Chihuahua,’ said Vigor, draining the last dregs of Hell’s Tempest from his tumbler. ‘Such a tragedy.’
‘Indeed,’ said Fenrik, cracking a smile as he looked over to Vigor, ‘Just like Funestus’ interview. Remind me, did I give him permission to speak?’
‘No. I don’t think so, brother. The Rat. Would you like me to bring him in?‘ asked Vigor, leaning forward in his seat in anticipation, his long pointy tongue running along his thin lips.
Fenrik held up his hand. ‘Not yet.’
Vigor slumped back in his chair and sighed. ‘Would you like another?’ he asked, shaking his empty tumbler in the air, the two small ice cubes clinking together in the bottom.
Fenrik looked over to his empty tumbler on the table, next to the lamp. ‘Yes,’ he said, looking back to the story that had grabbed his attention. ‘It’s just a shame that when he does win the election, he won’t be in his right mind.’
‘That is quite a shame,’ said Vigor, attempting to smile, ‘What a loss it will be to Devilsgate.’ He got up from his chair and walked over to the drinks cabinet in the corner of the room, dropping his tumbler clumsily onto its highly polished surface. ‘But such a welcome gain for me,’ he said, picking up the silver strainer and looking at his reflection on its shiny surface.
Fenrik looked up from his paper, ‘All in good time Vigor, all in good time.’
Vigor sighed and lowered the strainer.
‘Something on your mind, Vigor?’
‘It’s just that, I was speaking to Mo Green earlier-’
‘Mo Green?’ asked Fenrik, turning his attention back to the paper.
‘Yes, the owner of Greenies, the Absinium Den on Forty-third, it seems that Funestus has been at the club a lot lately,’ said Vigor, grabbing a square decanter of deep red liquid and taking it over to Fenrik’s tumbler, along with the silver strainer.
‘And you’re worried because?’
‘Well, I need him in good health, don’t I?’ asked Vigor, as he placed the silver strainer over Fenrik’s tumbler, put three lumps of sugar on top, before pouring the deep red Hell’s Tempest over it, allowing the mixture to soak through the sugar and then into the empty tumbler below.
Fenrik looked up from his paper again and laughed heartily. ‘Soon we will have the world at our feet, our own magick provided by The Emerald Key, no longer slaves to the demons we wield and you are worried about Funestus looking good?’
Vigor placed the decanter down on the table next to Fenrik’s tumbler. ‘No, it’s just that I have had seventeen years of looking like someone has stretched a plastic bag over my skeleton,’ he said, taking the strainer from Fenrik’s tumbler and placing it down, ‘it would be nice to look…different.’
Fenrik folded his paper and placed it on his lap. ‘I know,’ he said looking up at Vigor and taking the tumbler full of Hell’s Tempest from him. ‘All in good time. Soon the whole city will be ours to command, and when we rid it of the human filth that is clogging up our streets, it will be you, my dear brother, that will be at the helm, steering the ship through the waters, purifying it’.
Vigor filled up his own tumbler with the fiery red liquid then hoisted it into the air. ‘To the future!’
‘To the future!’ said Fenrik.
‘Are you still thinking of using the Fiery-death?’ asked Vigor, before taking a sip from his tumbler.
‘Yes,’ said Fenrik resting the hand holding the glass of Tempest on his leg, ‘from what I have read in my Grimoire, The Emerald Key is the only place to contain the beast’s real name. Once we have the complete book, the City will be ours.’
‘It is such an evil plan!’ said Vigor, slipping back into his seat.
Fenrik smiled, ‘I try.’ Fenrik took a sip of the fiery liquid before he spoke again. ‘We need a vessel of fire in which to receive him when we conjure him from Hell. I was thinking that Pyro would be the perfect candidate-’
‘But brother, Pyro is with the Dragon Rider, the dwarves saw him being taken hostage as the Dragon Rider fled Nowhere.’
‘That is not a problem,’ said Fenrik shrugging, ‘We will summon him when we need him-’
‘And if he dies?’
‘Vigor, you must stop worrying. There are always other possibilities.’
‘Indeed, brother,’ said Vigor bowing his waxy head.
‘And what of the Scroll of the Dead? Did the dwarves manage that small task?’
Vigor tried to shake his head but the skin on his neck was too tight, so all that he could manage was small jerky movements like his neck was encased in a collar. ‘The witch Alchymia managed to sneak it out of her tower. It would seem that she gave it to the Dragon Rider.’
‘So the dwarves let the Dragon Rider get away with the Scroll and the Fire-djinn?’
Fenrik sighed and held up his tumbler. He twisted it in his hand so that the Hell’s Tempest swirled around its edges like a whirlpool, the ice cubes clattering against the glass. He stared at the red liquid for a moment before he finally spoke. ‘The dwarves are being even more incompetent than usual. Make sure you illustrate my displeasure at this.’
Vigor nodded. ‘But I didn’t think you were worried about them losing The Hand of Glory or Scroll of the Dead?’
Fenrik shot Vigor a look. ‘No, I’m not, but we cannot have them thinking that incompetence will go unpunished, can we?’ he snapped.
‘Oh, no brother!’ said Vigor shaking his head, and averting his gaze to the parquet floor. ‘I didn’t mean to question you-’
‘Good. We must keep our troops in line, keep them on their toes. I was thinking maybe you could torture the little one or something.’
Vigor looked back to his brother, a small grin on his face. ‘Elvis?’ he asked, clapping his hands with glee.
‘Yes, if you like. Just pick one and hammer home the point.’
‘Oh yes, brother!’
‘Just don’t get any blood on the carpets, I’ve only just had them cleaned,’ said Fenrik taking another long swig of Tempest.