Fool! Fool! Fool!

The Master will flay you alive, and you will deserve it!

The thing sat watching from its vantage point and continued to berate itself mercilessly for its stupidity. It had nearly lost the very purpose for all of its carefully laid plans, and for what?

Because in its haste to send the mindless ones through the gateway to attack the ritual and prevent the elf from accompanying the rest, it had neglected to realize that the others, with the ritual disrupted, had crossed over in a place other than the one where they had expected to arrive.

This would not have been a difficulty—in fact, it might have been beneficial, from the thing's viewpoint—except that they had appeared in the midst of the horde of mindless ones it had gathered to send across the gateway.

By the time the thing had realized its mistake and located the group, they had been beset by the creatures, whose only thoughts centered around destruction and killing. It had very nearly lost some of them, and that would have been a mistake the Master would not have forgiven.

It had almost lost the sacrifice.

Worse, it had almost lost the young one.

To lose them both would have meant not only an end to the Master's plan, but also an end to the chance to try again. There were no others in existence that fit all the necessary requirements—the others were either too powerful, not powerful enough, or not possessed of any weaknesses by which the thing might hope to lure them into cooperation.

No, if the mindless ones had destroyed these beings, the thing might as well have pitched itself into the Chasm. It would have been a more pleasant punishment than the one that would befall it when the Master at last was able to cross over and exact revenge on its cretinous servant.

A great relief flowed over it when it at last reached the place where they had crossed over, and realized that there was still time for it to rectify its mistake. Sending the mindless ones away had not been difficult for it—they were persistent, but their power when compared even with one such as the thing's was insignificant.

You are a fool, it thought, but you have been given another chance to redeem yourself. Do not fail again. The Master is depending on you.

It smiled to itself in a most unwholesome way as it began once more indulging fantasies of what its existence would be when the Master had taken his rightful place among them.

What a glorious day it would be!

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Copyright ©1998 R. King-Nitschke. The Shadowrun universe is the property of FASA Corporation.
No part of this story may be reproduced without permission from the author.