Skip to main content
  1. stories/

Iamennos of the Black Isles

Iamennos - This article is part of a series.
Part 1: This Article

Iamennos stared at the far wall of his cell. The black stone glistened in the weak lamplight, tiny water droplets clinging to its cool surface. The room was small, perhaps 6 feet wide and 8 feet deep, and barely 6 feet tall. The entire dungeon had been carved into a massive underground ledge of black granite, the stone that gave the Black Isles their name. Iamennos thought it odd that they had committed such a large chunk of their potential exports to such an extravagant prison, but then that was how the nobility of the Isles liked to do things.

A guard clinked past on the other side of the thick wooden door, not even bothering to glance through the small barred window. He was barely alive, barely even able to stand, having been locked in this cell for… he couldn’t remember. Not a threat. Not even worth jeering at or spitting on anymore, apparently. When he had been arrested for whatever petty crime it had been this time, it was a point of pride to the guards to abuse him. They had captured a devil, they said, one of Asmodeus’ own. Idiots. He wasn’t even Asmodean. He had tried telling them as much, but that had only made it worse. Of course.

In a way he missed those early years, beatings and all. At least there was pain. Something. Anything to tell him that he was really still alive. Now he sat on his rotted bed roll, feeling as dead as the stone that surrounded him.


There was something in his cell.

Iamennos’ breath caught, his chest tight. There was nothing there. But there was something in his cell. The darkness in the corners of the room seemed to expand towards him, covering the walls and floor and devouring the feeble light from the lamp in the hall. His eyes strained against the darkness. He was dying. This was death, he was sure of it. He pressed his hands to the cold stone at his back, bracing for… something.

The form of a dragon made of glowing mist stepped out of the darkness, looming over Iamennos, its vivid green eyes seeming to pierce his very soul. “You may never appreciate how fortunate you are to be in this cell, Hell child” it said, its voice the sound of boulders rolling down a mountain. Iamennos held the thing’s stare, unable to tear his eyes away from it. The stone was slick behind him.

“You are Death” he croaked. He struggled to form the words, having rarely spoken the last few years. The dragon laughed.

“No. Flattering, but no” it said, lowering its head to look into Iamennos’ eyes. “I am the dracolich Caythoanth.” Iamennos’ heart dropped. Dracolich. This was not Death come to release him from his wretched life. This creature defied death.

“I have come to make you an offer, child. Something has been stolen from me. You shall retrieve it. In exchange, if shall give you my power that you may slaughter the thieves and restore my artifact to its proper place” it said flatly. Iamennos blinked. A deal? A pact? The dragon watched him, its misty form roiling.

“Why me?” he said, barely more than a whisper. He wasn’t sure if he was addressing Caythoanth or the cosmos for its cruel sense of humor.

“You are desperate. You have been on death’s door for months but you’ve refused to let go out of spite. You hate your jailers. You want to string those who’ve wronged you up by their entrails and let them scream themselves hoarse while they bleed out,” flames danced in those green eyes now, the smell of burnt flesh heavy in the air. “I can give you the power to punish those who have crossed you, I can give you your freedom. You will be the first to hold a pact with me in centuries. I will make you so powerful that nothing will be able to cage you again. I will make you a god. All I ask in return is that you retrieve what has been taken from me.”

Iamennos’ heart thudded in his own ears. He remembered it now. He had gone numb but now he remembered. The hatred. The anger. His mind raced, alive and awake for the first time in years. Freedom after all this time? A chance to see the sky again? A chance to rip the warden’s throat out? There was really no choice to be made.

“I accept”