Night of the Barbarian – the final chapter –

by VJ Miller, Sr.

The Demi-Seer is busy mixing his potions in the torch-lit room. Unseen by the old man Ronal begins to Twitch and breathe heavily. His eyes flutter and slowly open.

If you missed Part One, Two or Three

He tries to comprehend where he is then tries to sit up and fails. Again, he attempts to rise and stay erect. He is seen by the Demi-Seer who rushes to his aid.

“Easy, my son. You are not strong enough for this.”

Ronal’s voice is only a croaking whisper as he waves aside the Demi-Seer. “You must help me to stay awake. Give me one of your vile potions, you old quack.”

“Then you understood, Barney?” The old man retrieves a cup and hands it to Ronal who forces the terrible brew down and shudders.

“Damn, that’s awful,” giving the old man a bloodshot look. “I am here to stay old man but you must keep me awake until the sun rises. Do not let me slip away.”

“A challenge I am up to my son.” The old man grabs a stool and sits in front of Ronal whose eyes flutter and roll up in his head. The Demi-Seer shakes Ronal violently. “Barney! Wake Up. Do you hear me.”

Ronal’s eyes snap open. “I’m here, old man, I’m here. You’ve no easy task this night.”

“I may be old but I am not feeble.” Ronal grins then coughs hoarsely. “We must keep your mind active. Talk to me.”

“What about?”

“You have never told me of your other life. Will Barney be missed?”

Ronal ponders and comes to a conclusion. “Only by one person. The rest are of no consequence.”

“I have never met, Barney but I grieve for him.”

“Save it, old man. That life was doomed from the outset. Here I can make up for it.”

The Demi-Seer wipes the sweat off Ronal’s face. “First, we must get you well.”

“The Agga-Seer has Ur Soola. We must get her back.”

“Aye. He has her and most of the villagers. She is his trophy. A symbol of his triumph. He will not slay her while he can dominate her.”

“All the more reason to rescue here. She will not be dominated easily.”

“The Agga-Seer is a proud man and will not give up easily. Time is our ally.”

They continue to talk long after the sun has risen. The Demi-Seer is examining the wound on Ronal’s chest. The wound has stopped flowing and already is beginning to close.”

“Thanks to your vile potions and mumbo jumbo.”

“Mumbo jumbo?”

“Yes. Your magic words.”

The old man nods and shakes his head. “The sun has risen for an hour now. It is time you got your rest. Sleep will be beneficial now if Barney’s plan has worked.”

“I am hesitant to try. What if I return to my old life?”

“You’ve made great progress this night. It would not have been possible if your other life still had ties to you.”

“Even so, wake me in an hour to be sure.”

“As you wish. Now sleep.”

Ronal lays back on the bed of animal pelts, closes his eyes reluctantly then drifts off to sleep. Once the hours have passed the old man shakes Ronal to wake him. “Wake up Barney. Wake up.”

Ronal’s eyes open slowly. He gazes at the relieved Demi-Seer. “It’s Ronal from this day hence. Barney Fitzer is no more.”

Then lay back and continue to sleep, my son.”

Ronal rolls over on his side and returns to the cradle of Morpheus.

It is late evening when he finally awakes but only to take on some food and drink then return to get more sleep.

Three days have gone by and Ronal is again stretching and exercising slowly with his broadsword. The Demi-Seer comes out of his hut to watch Ronal for several seconds.

“You’ve made fantastic progress in the last three rotations, my son.”

Ronal halts his exercise and faces the old man. “Because I am here to stay, old man. There is but one reality for Ronal now.”

“I feared you had not understood.”

“Aye, but I did. Those left behind never shall” The Demi-Seer nods. “Now it is time. My sword is hungry. It thirsts for the unholy blood of the Agga-Seer.”

“Is it not too soon, my son? Perhaps you should regain more of your strength.”

“It is two rotations journey to the citadel of the accursed. I will regain the remainder of my we travel. And there are always your vile potions to give me strength.”

“Better to not rely on them. they can be dangerous if overused.”

It is mid-afternoon when Ronal has finished loading the provisions onto the wagon and hitching up the two fastest horses they have. He joins the Demi-Seer in the seat up front.

“I fear it would be futile to try to dissuade you from this endeavor.” He hands the reins to Ronal.

“You’d end up walking to the citadel you old quack.”

The Demi-Seer is quizzical then thrown back in the seat when Ronal yells, prodding the horses into a fast getaway.

It is near sunset when Ronal pulls up the horses. “It is still another rotation to the citadel. We’ll camp here for the night.”

“See to the horse while I prepare for our meal.” Ronal nods while the old man gets down and sets about his task.

While the Demi-Seer prepares the repast, Ronal takes the time to become reacquainted with his broadsword.

The crimson sun is far below the burnt umber dunes leaving a faint glow in its wake. They dine and discussed strategy. They and their draft animals basked in the faint reddish glow, the breeze hot out of the south.

“I have need to fashion a suit of leather armor for you, my son.”

“Nay. T’would hinder the flow of my thrusts.

“But it would protect you from another scratch of the Agga-Seer’s poisoned sword.”

“He must get close to me for that. This I will not allow.”

“My son, your blood resists the venom else you would have perished before I found you. Another dose so soon still might prove fatal.”

Ronal’s eyes glower at the crimson horizon. “T’would be worth it to have my sword taste his entrails once more.”

“But that did not kill him the last time.”

A testy Ronal turns from the last glow of the sun to face the old man. “As you have reminded me many times, old man. Fear not. Once I have dispatched him, I will hack him into several small parts and cast them as carrion to the jackals.” He is animated with these last words.

“He is a most powerful Majik and will not remain so lest you cast his head into the deepest part of the sea.”

“So, it shall be. Tell me. How is it you know so much about that vile dog, old man?”

“Once, many years ago, he was a pupil of mine. I’d taught him all there was to know, but he demanded more and sought out the knowledge of the Dark Seers. Hence, he was lost to me.”

“Then those Dark Seers will lose their most vile disciple on the morrow.”

The hot crimson sun was nearly set when Ronal and the Demi-Seer arrive a short distance from the Palace. They camp in the nearby foothills to await the blanket of night.

“It will be dark soon,” says Ronal. “Then I will take back that which is mine.”

“In that time,” says the old man. “I will make the necessary preparations.

Both climb down from the wagon. Ronal sits facing the setting sun. Slowly, purposefully, he hones his massive sword to the keen razor edge it will need. The Demi-Seer hands him a cup.

“Drink this potion, my son.”

Ronal drinks quickly then shakes his head and shudders. “Must your potions be so vile? Of what use can it accomplish?”

“The Agga-Seer is most powerful, learned in the art of revelation. This will mask you while you approach near his stronghold.”

The sun has faded far below the horizon. The Moon has yet to rise, leaving no need to approach in the shadows. Under the cloak of darkness Ronal slips over the fortress wall outside the palace. Torches flicker off the inner walls with inadequate light. The sentry’s neck snapped easily under the insistence of Ronal’s potent arm. That done he runs to the palace entrance, then halts.

Softly. “Damn. Only the former Ronal knew the layout inside.” He looks about to see if any more sentries are about. “Guess I’ll just have to wing it.”

The tapestry draped inner corridors are bathed in the amber light of flickering torches. Ronal slinks behind a broad stone column for seclusion Quiet footsteps of a handmaiden alert him while he ducks behind a wall tapestry. As the handmaiden passes close to Ronal’s hiding place, a massive bronze arm brought her to him. His hand quickly muffles her yelps while she struggles to free herself.

“Stop struggling or I’ll snap they pretty neck.” The frightened girl soon relents. “Have you knowledge of the woman Ur Soola?” The girls nods. “Can You lead me to her?” Frantic nod. “Know ye this. Cry out when I release you or trick me in any way and your head will hang from my belt by its hair.”

The girl nods again while slowly pulling Ronal’s hand from her mouth. Her eyes grow wide when she sees the face of her captor. “I know you. You are the warrior who bested the warlord in combat.”

“Aye, and if you aid me to free the woman, Ur Soola, I shall free you from your bondage.”

Nodding several times quickly while trembling. “Remain here my Master while I see that the way is clear.” She looks about and is gone in utter silence. As a precaution Ronal changes his hideout to another tapestry. Shortly the girl returns. She is confused to not find Ronal where she last saw him. Seeing that she has not been followed, Ronal reveals himself. She motions to him to follow. “Come Quickly.”

They make their way cautiously down a maze of corridors, upstairs, ducking guards and other servants. Ronal snaps the neck of one stationary guard before he can cry out and hides him behind another tapestry.

Within the vaulted chamber stood the rapturous Ur Soola gazing silently through the tiny window at the torch-lit veranda below. Ronal crept up behind her with nary a sound. When he came within reach of this Goddess her right elbow jerked back forcefully into his ribcage. Her other hand flashed around with six inches of razor-sharp death on a course to his heart. Ronal’s cat-like reflexes caught her wrist, stopping the deadly steel an inch from his flesh. Ur Soola’s eyes gaped wide, filled with tears as she threw her arms around her champion. “Ronal? I thought you dead.”

Hushing her. “And you nearly made it so.”

She steps back to get a good look at Ronal. “Forgive me my champion. I thought you were yet another of the Guard trying to assault my flesh. But, why did you this?”

“I did not believe I could sneak up on you but I feared you might cry out whence you saw me.”

They embraced and tasted of each other’s lips while the handmaiden let herself out.

“I tried to raise you from your trance when the horde attacked but could not.”

“Aye. But I am cured of that curse. You must go while I attend to the Agga-Seer’s death.

Abruptly comes the booming voice of the murderous Monarch. “What manner of Dark Majik is this?”

In the entrance to the chamber stood the Agga-Seer, the handmaiden’s head swinging by its hair from his grasp. “Twice I have slain you and twice you return. It is the work of a Seer.”

“Aye,” said Ronal. “An old teacher of yorn.”

Ur Soola is adamant. “Why have you slain my handmaiden?”

“She dared detain me with lies so you might escape.”

A signal from the Agga-Seer and the chamber is flooded by six of the Royal Guard. The first to approach Ronal was separated from his head by a lightning swash of his sword. Ur Soola retrieved the fallen dog’s sword before the naked blade scarce touched the floor. Together with Ronal they slew any who came near. More guard entered while the Agga-Seer let himself into the fray.

“I want the woman alive,” shouted the monarch. “And I will behead any who come between me and this filth of a dog.”

Whole Ronal and the warlord circled around the chamber jockeying for the best advantage, Ur Soola continued to dismember any of the guard who approached.

“When I have subdued this filth of the earth, he shall watch me plant my seed in the woman’s belly, then I will slay him.”

“I would end my own life before you would taste of my womanhood again.”

While Ur Soola held her own against the advancing soldiers their razor-sharp blades came dangerously close to nicking her flesh eliciting yelps of pain from her to the Agga-Seer’s anger.

“Heed me this. If she comes to harm, I will flay alive the flesh of the dog responsible.”

Ronal, who is having an easy time in his defense, is becoming increasingly annoyed at all the threats. “You talk too God damned much.”

This halts the Agga-Seer, who steps back in surprise at the outburst of his enemy. “What manner of speech is this?”

“You figure it out.”

The instant of confusion was all Ronal needed to strike the first blow just below the ribs of the Agga-Seer’s sword arm, laying open a bloody gash of several muscles. With panther-like speed, Ronal avoids the return thrust, landing on his toes several feet away. His back lay open to the spears of the advancing guard. One warrior chose to take the opening but had his arm severed by the Agga-Seer’s sword.

“Nay. He is mine and I will slay all who try to take him from me.”

Again, swords clanged loudly by the two combatants. Ronal’s plan is to stick and move, never allowing the warlord to get a clear thrust at him.

Valiant and more skilled than her attackers, Ur Soola has lain several dead guardsmen in her wake. Still, the pressure of so many forces her to succumb. A dozen spearpoints pressing her against the wall she drops her sword to the floor in submission. She and her captors then watch while warlord and barbarian continue their battle.

Ronal continues to inflict several major cuts everywhere on the warlord who is a bloody mass of gaping wounds. Not unnoticed by Ronal are the rapidly closing wounds of the Agga-Seer.”

“You cheat, you vile pig, using magic to heal yourself.”

“And it is why you cannot defeat me. Soon you will tire and I will separate you from your head.”

“Get bent.”

Confused at this curse the monarch hesitates, allowing Ronal to lay a deep gash across the warlord’s mid-section. Enraged, the warlord presses forward. Ronal stumbles over a dead soldier and falls against the stone wall hitting his head. Stunned he barely sees death plunging rapidly toward him. Ur Soola screams, “Ronal.” A soldier clamps his hand over her mouth and is bitten while Ronal barely parries the deadly thrust of the warlord and rolls aside and to his feet. Ronal continues to stick and move enraging the Agga-Seer even more while he is forced to chase after the barbarian.

“Stand and fight you filth of a dog.”

“You want me you have to come get me.”

The warlord flails wildly with his accursed scimitar and the moment of destiny presents itself. A mighty swing ol Ronal’s razor keen sword cleanly released the Agga-Seer’s sword hand with its accursed scimitar from his wrist. A swift return mirrored the result with the other hand.

“And now you die, you accursed son of the unholy.”

A lightning swift swash of Ronal’s tempered blade sliced deeply through the demon man’s midsection, laying his bowels at his feet. While the stunned soldiers and Ur Soola watched aghast the Agga-Seer did not fall but stood to curse Ronal yet again.

“You have not killed me. I shall rise again as before, to relieve you of your putrid existence.”

Ronal’s eyes narrowed into a cruel leer while he prepared the final blow, then bit off the last words the warlord would ever hear. “Like fucking hell, you will.”

The Agga-Seer gazed in startled confusion when Ronal’s sword separated his head from his neck. The remains of the warlord crashed backwards onto the stone floor. Ronal knelt and picked up the severed head by its ponytail and held it out for all to see. Then he growled at the soldiers. “Release the woman, wretched dogs.”

Free of her captors Ur Soola brushed them aside to stand by her champion’s side while the soldiers stood stunned as if waiting for new orders. Ronal pointed the tip of his blade at the defeated warlord. “Take this hunk of unholy filth and fling it into the desert to be consumed by the vermin that cower there.”

“I understood not your final curse,” said Ur-Soola. “Will it be strong enough to prevent the Agga-Seer from returning?”

“Once I fling the vile bastards head into the sea he will be gone forever.”

The nights unholy battle relents to the early morning sunrise that bathes the slaves in its golden light while they ransack the palace and load their spoils onto several oxcarts. Ronal has retrieved, saddled and climbed aboard his stolen horse. He pulls Ur Soola up to sit behind him, then he gives final orders to the Sgt of the Guard.

“Once we are gone and you have divided what was left, tear down this unholy fortress and scatter it to the far corners.”

“It will be done as you wish, Master.

“Then we are finished here.” Ronal turns his horse and spurs it up next to the cart where the Demi-Seer sits waiting. “We are victorious.”

“Not until we completed our task. You have it?”

“Aye.” He unties a crimson sack with the head of the Agga-Seer from his saddle and hands it to the demi-Seer.

“We must hurry with great speed and not rest until we have flung this into the deepest part of the sea.”

“Aye. The sooner the better, you old quack.”

This confuses Ur Soola. “What is this quack you call the ancient one?”

Ronal grins while the Demi-Seer shakes his head in silence. “It is a term of endearment that only I may say to him.”

She nods her head knowingly just before Ronal urges his horse forward out of the citadel with all the freed slaves and their carts behind him.

It is with great haste that they return to the village of Xan the next evening. There was little time to rest and refresh on their quick march. Ronal stops the travelers just at the edge of the village.

“Return to your homes,” said Ronal. While the Demi-Seer and I complete our mission. We will return in a few days to help you rebuild.

The villagers wish them good fortune and God speed when they part company. Ronal, Ur Soola and the old man procured one of the better boats and set off immediately as the sun was setting in the west, navigating by the stars.

At sunrise the large-sailed fishing boat was far out to sea across calm waters and a pale blue sky. Ronal stands at the bow gazing out at the swelling waters. Ur Soola stands at the tiller looking out at the sea, the Demi-Seer beside her.

“Keep her steady on this course. We are almost at our destination.”


The Demi-Seer approaches Ronal at the bow. “We are nearly there, my son.”

“It will not be soon enough for me. We have been two rotations on this course.”

“Soon, very soon it will be over.”

Muffled laughter is heard behind them. Atop the deck hatch rests the bag with the Agga-Seer’s head. It is surrounded by a greenish glow.

“What is this?” says Ronal.”

“I fear we may be too late.”

The bag with the head inside abruptly ignites with a reddish blue flame that ignites the lower sail. The skies turn utterly black while the seas begin to churn wildly trying to capsize the boat. Ur Soola is having an increasingly more difficult time in controlling the tiller. “What is happening?” The boat heaves while the sea churns and washes over the deck.

I must get to my mystic potions,” says the ancient one, “if we are to succeed.”

The bag has burned away from the severed head of the Agga-Seer, enveloped in a blue flame. The eyes glow ominously. “You have lost. My Master’s will never allow me to be defeated. Your death is assured this day.”

The boat pitches and rolls in the surging sea flinging the occupants about. Fire erupts from the Agga-Seers eyes, setting a fire anything in its path.

The Demi-Seer is hurriedly rummaging through his mystic bag. He extracts two clay bottles and through the rolling and pitching of the deck and awash of seawater, pours fluid from one bottle into the other.

“What are you doing, old man.”

“I’m almost ready.”

Sword in hand, Ronal is doing his best to keep the head of the Agga-Seer occupied while not getting killed himself. “Hurry up, old man. I can’t hold him off forever.”

The churning sea tosses the Demi-Seer from side to side while he holds firmly to the bottle that is now smoking heavily. Getting as close as he can the Agga-Seer’s head rotates around to face the ancient one.

“You’ve lost you archaic medicine man,” he bellows.

“Not while I still live.” And he smashes the clay bottle over the Agga-Seer’s head. The Demi-Seer is hurled back by an unseen force while the warlord rages in horror.

“What have you done, you old fool? This cannot happen to me. My master will avenge me.”

The liquid from the bottle oozes down over the head of the Agga-Seer. A bubbling, smoking yellow syrup encompasses the head while everyone looks on in awe. The Agga-Seer’s rages are muffled and unheard then the yellow syrup rapidly congeals and becomes hard as amber.

“Quickly, Ronal. Get the head overboard into the sea but do not touch it with your hands.”

Gritting his teeth and giving out a mighty bellow, using his sword like a cricket bat, Ronal gives a mighty swing at the head, launching it into the air then dropping into the sea several yards away. Seconds after the head disappears beneath the waters the sea calms and the sky begins to clear.

Ur Soola runs to Ronal and clings to him. “What happened?” she says to the Demi-Seer.

“The end of the Agga-Seer and his reign of terror.”

“But he was dead,” she says.

Leaning back on the hatch he looks over at Ronal. “Is anyone ever truly dead?”

Ronal nods. “If he had such power, why did he not use it back at the Citadel?”

A weary old man answers the question. “His power is limited by the Dark Majik’s who feared their apprentice. He can only invoke their aid in times of great need.”

“The amber liquid—” says Ur Soola.

“It blocked his powers as you saw.”

“Why did you not use it before we sailed?” said Ronal.

“It had to be mixed just before we dropped it overboard otherwise it would have dissipated in minutes.

“Then why did you wait so many days to drop it into the sea?” said Ur Soola.

“It had to be dropped at the deepest part of the sea.”

“Will not the amber decay even now?” says Ronal.

“No. The pressure and the cold seawater will preserve it for all time. Now, we must leave this place and return to shore.”

Ronal says to Ur Soola. “You take the tiller while I set the new sail.” And to the Demi-Seer. “And you go sit down you old quack.”

“Someday I will learn what that means and you will fear my wrath.”

Ronal laughs long and hearty.

It is two days later outside of Barney’s house. Jenny stands outside the open garage door while several men of the police and Coroner’s office work on something in Barney’s car. Barney’s body sits ashen and lifeless in in the front seat. A smile on his face. A hose from the cars tailpipe is stuffed in the back windows sealed with tape. The Coroner finishes his examination and pulls himself out of the front seat to speak to the Detective who is waiting.

“He’s been dead for a couple of days,” said the Coroner, shaking his head. “Definitely a suicide.”

“We found no note,” said the Detective. “But he had this in his hand. What could have caused him to do this?” hands Barney’s charm to the Coroner who looks it over.

“Your guess is as good as mine. Does his girlfriend have any idea?”

“Only that he’s been distraught and recently lost his job.”

“Doesn’t seem like enough to commit suicide.”

“I don’t know. Skinny little guy. Probably been persecuted all his life and couldn’t take it anymore.”

The coroner shrugs. “You may have a point there. Some guys just don’t have any guts.”

Jenny stands distraught at the entrance to the garage as the two men look her way. There’ll be a lot of crying and feeling sorry for herself and taking on a lot of blame The feelings of loss may fade in time but that’s up to her

The Detective continues looking in her direction. “She’s probably the only one who will miss him when she stops feeling sorry for herself.”


The sun has risen brightly over the village of Xan. Ronal and Ur Soola sit astride horses, a pack animal behind them. The Demi-Seer stands between them while villagers mingle about.

“Are you sure you cannot stay?”

“There’s a world to be experienced,” says Ronal. “to revel in its splendor, to taste it’s bounty; to regale in glorious victories.”

“And console ourselves in glorious defeats,” said Ur Soola.

“If you ever need somewhere to relax and lick your wounds, we will be here to assist you.”

“We won’t forget, old man,” she says. And to Ronal. “Where shall we go first?”

“They tell me Sumala is in civil war and can use skilled warriors.”

“Then Sumala it is

“So long you old quack,” Ronal says to the Demi-Seer.

The old man raises his hand to reply then thinking better, just grins and shakes his head. He gives the horses a slap on the rump and watches while they slowly ride away to the good byes of the people.

Scratching his chin, the old man mutters. “Someday I will learn what that means.”


This story adapted from my anthology

If you have any thoughts on this series if you liked or didn’t please feel free to comment
©2023 VJ Miller, Sr. Fair use rights with attributes are implied

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