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Old 08-23-2009, 12:10 AM   #126
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Kirkwall/The Free Marches
Posts: 3,181
Current Game: Dragon Age II
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After the chess game had concluded, the gaslit lamps in the room seemed to grow brighter and brighter, and one of them even exploded from the heat. Shakhmaty slapped a white-gloved hand over her mouth, trying not to scream, but fortunately for Jacob, Ebony and herself, none of the glass shards that went flying hit any of them. Then, the flames dimmed to naught.


Two ghostly apparitions suddenly appeared at the mahogany card table, glowing as if they themselves had swallowed gas lamps: Donald Corbin, dark-haired, swarthy and robust, and Thaddeus Ward, his pale-haired teenage footman. In front of one sat a red candle in a votive; in front of the other, a paper and quill pen. Donald Corbin, being the richer and more powerful, spoke:

"Tad. You know what I'm offering you. It's the chance of a lifetime. I know that signing over your immortal soul to the same master I serve is not exactly your cup of tea, but think about it. You're a slag shoveler, and even though Coombs fancies you, you're not his favorite pet. Would you rather reign on Earth, or serve in heaven? I would have owned the Foundry myself, and taken this same deal, had it not been for the fact that I'd rather see Coombs in his tomb than be rich right now. We have two different motives."

Thaddeus Ward--Benjamin E. Faktor--gasped. "You're mad, Corbin!"

"Am I? Let me fill you in on a little secret. Everyone thinks that the Devil tortures and torments those who are on his side, either by default or by contract. I ask you: what general would do such things to his troops? Thaddeus, if you were rich--if my master granted you the power you needed to get in Coombs' good graces via the manipulation of your dark abilities, you could do Icecliff a world of good. Hiram only cares about himself. Would you rather slave away for the rest of your days? You can barely read and write. There's no way you can go to university and get the education you need to run the Foundry. It's too late. Besides--if you and my master join forces, Coombs will soon die anyway, and through his devious plans, you the footman will inherit his fortune! Dream of it, Thaddeus, and sign the tract!"

"Tad" shook his head. "I will not. Although, why would the Devil let me use the money I inherited for the sake of good? He only wants to do evil."

"If 'evil' is not buckling under to some supposedly all-powerful God, then of course he wants to do evil! The lot that God has appointed for you is to be a servant and a laborer. Don't you want more than that? You could take care of your dying father and ailing mother. Why did God turn the world over to the Devil after the fall of Man? It is because he hates humanity. Adam and Eve made a choice, to serve themselves instead of Him, and He abandoned them. God sent all to Hell, not Satan, unless they would become His slaves. You would do better to be powerful than powerless. You have a good heart. What good is it without power? Right now, you can do nothing but work."

"I don't think that this is the way to rectify that," retorted Tad.

"Isn't it?"

Tad suddenly had an idea. He signed the contract. "Once I'm rich, I'll repent. I'll run the Foundry well, and when my family is safe in the arms of God, healthy or at least in their graves, then I'll forsake everything."

Donald Corbin laughed and laughed. "Do you really think you'll be able to?

The ghosts vanished, and the living guests in the Game Room stared in shock.
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