Script

The Six Trials of Larazod

Act 1: Condemnation

A high-backed obsidian bench stands upcenter. As the curtain
rises, HAANDERTHAN himself perches there, an awesome
figure of power looming above the shackled forms of LARAZOD,
TYBAIN, and DENTRIS. The other members of the COUNCIL,
including the sultry ILSANDRA, flank out stage right and left of
HAANDERTHAN’S tribunal bench. The hulking bearded devil
BAILIFF stands over them, spiked truncheon in his scabrous red,
leather-like hands.

BAILIFF
Order in the Tribunal. The Court of His Honor Paraduke
Montigny Haanderthan, Black Tongue of Asmodeus,
Magistrate Maleficarum, now holds session. All rise.

HAANDERTHAN
Be seated, members of the Court. Today this court seeks
truth, or at least shadows thereof, from one Larazod
Rilsane, honored veteran of the Shadestar War, member of
a once gloried house, of recent fallen in Asmodeus’s regard.
The accused stands on several counts of failed conspiracy,
evidenced thereof by the industrious interrogations of
the court’s own Seeker, Drovalid Vorclune, administered
with his usual diligence and severity. In these interviews
Vorclune gathered from notable sources, only a few of
whom survived their conversations with the lash, that
Larazod of the Rilsane held audience with undesirables—
the topic of their whispered covenant the activities of
none other than myself. A most serious affair. Service to
Asmodeus’s ever-darkening glory is never without risk
of menace, betrayal, and threat of doom. My family and
I have long suffered the bumbling attempts of assassins
who would tear at our dark lord’s visage as casually as
they befoul their mothers’ beds.
What they lack in cunning they bolster with sheer
desperation, evidenced by consorting with all manner of
Aroden-suckling knaves, and aged wiz-worms who trust
in mystic secrets over the Dark One’s love.
You hereby stand accused, Larazod, along with your illseeming
compatriots, of conspiracy to undertake grievous
harm to the institution of this tribunal, namely myself,
Paraduke Montigny Haanderthan. How answer thee these
charges, Larazod of House Rilsane? Be thou maligned by
a scandal-brewer’s wagging tongue, or dost thou cleave to
my comings and goings as a bloat fly to a fresh cadaver?
Speak! And know that lies are my closest friends. They’ll
betray you before I. Speak the truth or do worse than die!

DENTRIS
Hold your tongue, boy, and we’ll escape the firebrand yet.
Your father was the model of a devil’s squire. Summon
his wiles now, and keep shut that Abyss you call mouth,
before we all tumble down into its darkness. Had you been
born deaf and dumb, this loyal servant would yet live to see
another midnight.

TYBAIN
Hurl his arrogance and accusations back at him, Larazod.
He wants precious golden-yoked truth? Give him more
than he can choke down. For whether revealed by the
brilliance of Aroden’s eye, or the long red shadows cast
by your Dark Lord’s fiery gaze, a man false at heart and
shrouded in hollow faiths is nothing more than a traitor to
all. Let him that judges false be judged by wraiths—smote
by his own brand shall he fall.

LARAZOD
Larazod knows no lies, great magistrate, and no slanderer’s
tongue caresses my dignity. The accusations you speak are
as true as Asmodeus’s sword. They cleave clean through.
Let the witnesses suffer no more lash. To burn their
innards with pokers and steal their eyes is simply to waste
precious toil better spent in Asmodeus’s service. There is
but one point misaligned in this dark constellation—I
seek not your death, though the secrets you harbor in your
feeble heart deserve a gruesome demise.
I carry no assassin’s blade, nor breath-stealing spell
to rob your mortality. To end you I need only know you,
and to cast you in an honest shade. I pierce your “shadows
of truth” and show you for what I know—a false knave, a
demon-supping wag-tail, a balor’s bawd, a pus-leaking
cataract in the eye of Asmodeus’s justice, and subject to the
multi-handed ministrations of a marilith whore, dretchloving
plunderer, and traitor to our great Dark Lord.

There is much commotion among the council.

ILSANDRA
(Aside) And to think I almost spent this session in the orgybaths
of Kalrath. None of their fleshy delights could compare
to the ecstasy this half-breed’s words stroke within me! See
his fierce aspect burn in fury, even below the tribunal’s
culling justice. But how shall Haanderthan answer?

HAANDERTHAN
Heavy words for a forked tongue to manage, boy. You
juggle them well enough, but like a poor fool, offer jest and
jape. I assume this glib outrage, obviously a threadbare
attempt to throw off the keening blade of justice, is backed
by the testimony of a thousand law-loving fiends? Perhaps
the ancient augurer at your side, ever your father’s faithful
lap-lizard, probed the ancient secrets of the cosmos and
uncovered my blasphemous treachery? Or have you a soulbonded
scroll of bone-white parchment upon which my
scrawled hand appears next to some Abyssal conspirator?
You amuse me, half-breed, and it is the only reason your
sniveling soul is not yet blasted away in hellfire and borne
on a river of sorrow to some ignominious corner of the
Nine. Whereof comes this lunacy? What disease vexes your
broken mind? From what mystery of psychosis do you
draw your lies?

TYBAIN
You mewl lies like a sullied maid on her wedding night,
O Great One. Even a lord may be smote in darkness as
Asmodeus sees the truth of you—a base and lowly thing,
snivelling in crimson robes. These devil-bowing citizens
about us are affront enough to Aroden’s divine will, but
ye, whose left hand clasps devil’s claws, and right reaches
out for demonic boon—oh double-dealing fiend-lover,
who allies with the Abyss. Infernal oaths and Abyssal
blasphemy spew in one breath from your twisting lips.

HAANDERTHAN
Does your Aroden arse-kissing pall-a-dine put you up to
such resounding blasphemy? Have you no tongue of your
own, half-breed, to answer my charge?

LARAZOD
Truth is spoken freely in many tongues, false magistrate,
and by agents of light and dark. You know what you are.

HAANDERTHAN
You persist in this foolishness? It shall go hard for you and
yours. Recant and your deaths shall be swift, your souls
consigned to diligent service in Hell. Refuse, and enlist in
agony’s service, consign your soul to wallow in the most
ignominious corner of the Nine, and take eternal suffering
as your bedmate.

ILSANDRA
(Aside) He’s to have a much more interesting bedmate, if
I’ve anything to say. The fire that one shows at tribunal,
will no doubt burn even stronger between my sheets.

DENTRIS
(Aside) That one grows hot betwixt her infernal thighs.
Hope beyond hope. One voice of dissent on the council
and the slenderest chance of salvation is ours to clutch. Let
this waxen sliver of hope not melt until she does—let her
find her tongue.

HAANDERTHAN
Speak, boy. Do you still baffle with false charges, or have
your battered wits returned? Speak.

LARAZOD
I recant nothing. You, accuser, so stand accused. How do
you answer?

HAANDERTHAN
Innocent, of course. And so judgment is passed. My right
as magistrate puts you to the flames on my command. My
word is law.

DENTRIS
Respectfully, my lord, when I was a barrister of the tribunal,
it was common practice to ask Consular Consent in any
judgement of a matter involving the Magistrate personally
in the case. Has the ancient code of Asmodeus’s court,
scorched on the Tablets of Law by our Great Lord’s own
fiery talon, so fallen as to warrant its complete disregard
in this tribunal?

HAANDERTHAN
Of course, you are correct, old man. I’ve no intention
of affronting our Great Lord. Council, what say ye on
this matter? Do you concur with my judgment? These
heinous slanders cast upon my great name warrant utter
annihilation. So sayeth I, Magistrate of this Gloried
Tribunal. Do you agree?

Councillors mutter and call “Aye.”

ILSANDRA
Nay.

HAANDERTHAN
My ears deceive me. Do you, august erinyes, daughter of
Hell, speak against our cause?

ILSANDRA
I speak against your judgment. Our cause is yet
undetermined by my mark. According to our oldest
codes, truth can be drawn from an offender, as pus from a
wound. Asmodeus’s Trials show the true heart from the
false. Why, simply put the half-breed to the flames. Let
us try him properly in accordance with the old ways.

DENTRIS
Well done, lad. Your pretty infernal face is good for
something, even if your tongue offends all who hear. We
may live yet.

HAANDERTHAN
Tut, the business of the tribunal heaps higher day by
day. We’ve cases waiting in the wings by the thousands.
Penitent souls singing out for justice. Shall we delay their
flight to Asmodeus’s waiting embrace to engage in infantile
contests? Nay, expediency is our charge when matters so
lacking in evidence are brought before our bench.

ILSANDRA
Come, come, sweet magistrate. The spectacle of a few trials
would do my poor heart well. I wane at these tiresome
sessions. Let the trials commence. ’Twould arouse me.
’Twould tickle me. ’Twould drive me to distraction.

HAANDERTHAN
Trials you say? How now? If it is to be so, let us sweeten
the pot. A price I would exact for trials as you insist. If
this half-breed fails, not only is my name cleared of all
preposterous charges, but you shall compact to me for a
full moon’s service, to do my bidding and satisfy all my
unwholesome needs.

ILSANDRA
Let it be so agreed. I hunger so for trials, I happily wager
my body to your whim. We shall see if this half-breed’s
words strike true or false.

HAANDERTHAN
So be it. Larazod, you stand in trial. By my discretion you
shall face six of Asmodeus’s fell tests. You stand alone in
the face of terrors over which no mortal has prevailed.

TYBAIN
Not alone, my lord. I stand with him.

HAANDERTHAN
You are under no obligation to do so, Arodenite. Back down
and be discharged, to keep at your slobbering benedictions
for a few more years at least.

TYBAIN
I am true to Aroden, my lord, but I am also true in loyalty
and kinship. This man, though half-fiend his blood may
turn, is bound to me in brotherhood, as I stand bound to
him. Our blades both matched the enemies of Cheliax,
and what faith divides, common cause unites. You cannot
sunder me from his destiny. I stand trial at his side, as is
my right, if I so beclaim it. Is it not so, Dentris?

DENTRIS
’Tis true, my lord. If the half-brained, light-blinded knight
wishes to perish alongside my good master, he is within
his lawful right.

HAANDERTHAN
Very well. Burn with him, fool. Dentris Maltrada, you are
hereby discharged.

DENTRIS
Nay sir, though I wish nothing more. This boy, as wayward as
his fancies take him, is in my care. I never waivered from his
father’s service, and I shall not turn my back on the son.

HAANDERTHAN
Surely, you’ve no wish to die?

DENTRIS
There are worse fates, magistrate, than even can be
promised on the deepest level of your Hell. To walk alive in
a world, my duty undone, my sworn oath broken, is to walk
through fires more smolderous than any Asmodeus keeps
below. Though he be a fool, and possessed of a diseased
wit, Larazod is my master, and I shall stand by him. Do
your worst magistrate. I’ve rolled bones with demons, and
gazed in dragons’ hearts. Let us have these trials and be
done with my life, if the lords of darkness so command.

HAANDERTHAN
Doddering old sack of bones. No demon’s dice, nor dragon’s
musings await you—only torment beyond the stars’ most
infinite imaginings. When you mewl out for merciful
death, I shall look on in pleasure, as your soul’s wake burns
from a withered old corpse. Make ready, supplicants.
The trials begin anon. May Asmodeus take pity on your
blighted souls.

Act 2: Trial by Torture

Enter DROVALID.

HAANDERTHAN
Good Keeper of Pain, Tormentor of Liars and Demonsuckling
Miscreants, we are honored by your presence. Show
these supplicants the favor of your stinging lash, and with
rack and fire, purge lies from their lips. Break their souls, and
let the mad and guilty appall our ears no more with ranting.

DROVALID
Magistrate Maleficarum, I come before you a simple hand
whose lash is guided by the greater glory of Asmodeus,
may my scourge do him and this devoted tribunal proud.
With your permission I shall begin our first trial.

HAANDERTHAN
It is said that a liar’s pain is easy to bear, but pleasure steals
truth from even the most well-tended fortress. So let it be
with ye, Larazod. Here before you now are the Flukes of
Asmodeus. Their bite more pleasurable than the caresses
of a thousand succubi (which you no doubt have enjoyed,
you treacherous Abyssal-loving fool). Taste of their deep
burrowing bliss. Their rapturous journey through
your body shall explore the deepest, darkest pleasures
any mortal has ever known. Their soul-shuddering
wanderings end in your skull, where they plant their
young who consume you in an orgiastic frenzy—leaving
you an empty husk of a thing—a spent lover, drooling in
blissful oblivion forever. Unless, of course, you can resist
these god-bending pleasures. This time, the trial is not
yours alone to bear. Let us see if your trusted companions’
faith remains as unshakeable as yours. Who shall be the
first to die in spasms of ecstasy?

ILSANDRA
Oh, how I long to face this judgment!

DROVALID
Master Larazod, most unholy saint of our dark Asmodeus,
please allow me to prove my devotion to your cause. To
think my biting lash flayed your chaste red skin, and
cracked such a noble hide as yours. I shall be first to face
this trial, if you so wish it.

LARAZOD
Your courage is beyond question. Show this lickspittle
Magistrate the meaning of devotion, my friend.
Drovalid administers the fluke, convulses in sheer orgasmic
ecstasy, but as it crawls up his arm he suddenly plunges
a flensing blade beneath the skin, skewering the fluke and
removing it.

DROVALID
Asmodeus bear witness to my devotion. This half-breed
speaks only truth!

Likewise, Larazod applies the fluke to his flesh, where it hungrily
burrows beneath the surface. Larazod shudders in pleasure.

ILSANDRA
Oh, to be that fluke! To burrow into such sweet flesh!

LARAZOD
I sing only of the joy of supplication to our dark lord.
This pleasure is only a gift of Asmodeus’s truth. I
would gladly die at this f luke’s bite, but alas, my duty
here is yet undone, and so I scorn this pleasure with
a bleeding blade. I shall not relent until your lies are
revealed, foul Magistrate.

Larazod cuts out his fluke.

Dentris applies his fluke.

DENTRIS
Oh! It has been so long! Sweet, aching ecstasy!
Improvises a rendition of the Tallis and his Three Wives, and then
cuts away the fluke when it is nigh in his neck.

DENTRIS
(Sourly) Between you, my hideous half-breed young
master, and a dream of three succubi’s frolics on my
flesh—a hard choice, Larazod, but somehow your sweet
countenance won out.

TYBAIN
My turn, I suppose.

Tybain applies his fluke and begins giggling uncontrollably.

TYBAIN
Ooooh! Aaaaah! I know not this feeling!

DENTRIS
Ha! Watch the virginal knight squirm!

TYBAIN
It is as if a thousand feathers assault my f lesh—
especially my most… tender… parts. What strange
pleasure is this!

LARAZOD
Ah, Aroden’s servants, so like sweet children they be. Hold
true, my dear friend!

Tybain suddenly tears loose his fluke.

TYBAIN
I am well, though I may never be the same.

HAANDERTHAN
Curse your persistence. All lies eventually reveal their
ugly fangs. I shall draw them as venom from a wound.

Act 4: Trial in the Belly of the Beast

DENTRIS
Such horrors. What next?

LARAZOD
Hold true, old man.

DENTRIS
Easy for you to say! Youth laughs at death as a stranger. As
you grow older you come to know it well—and fear it.

DROVALID
I have seen young and old break before this court. They all
share one thing: a weak and watery eye speaking to a frailty of
spirit. Your eyes are like grit and sand, obstinate even in the
face of the storm-fraught sea. You cannot break, old wizard.

DENTRIS
Perhaps not, but tell me, Tormentor—what fresh horrors await?

DROVALID
Here follows the Trial in the Belly of the Beast. A great
terror, gifted to this court by a Duke of Hell, the Beast is
a hideous thing, whose stomach is a nest of acid-spewing
serpents. It shall swallow us whole, and wash us clean in
its acid well.

DENTRIS
Where is the “trial” in this!?

DROVALID
If we are innocent, and speak no lies, then the Beast’s Belly
will leave us unscathed.

TYBAIN
Madness!

LARAZOD
Hold fast, my dear friend. Have faith in Asmodeus.

TYBAIN
But I do not!

LARAZOD
Well then you better learn to swim.

HAANDERTHAN
The next trial demands a great sacrifice. Ye, who speaks
for the half-breed, the lone traitor on the council who
speaks against my august personage. You must brave
this trial, and all that follow, alongside the accused.

ILSANDRA
(Laughing) Gladly! I stand at this tiefling’s side, or at his back,
or him at mine, or perhaps I should bolster him up from
below or allow him to do the same to me. You shall see how
devotedly I attend his pleasure, for he speaks the truth.

HAANDERTHAN
Then burn with him.

Ilsandra joins the companions, and embraces Larazod with a
fiery kiss. He surrenders to her pleasures.

ILSANDRA
Know the gifts of Asmodeus, dear child. You have earned
great boons by your devoted service, and I shall pay them
all with interest. But soft, what terror approaches? Our
pleasures must wait.

Enter the Beast.

LARAZOD
Come, horror, I shall tear my way from your gizzard with
the white-hot blade of my truth.

DROVALID
Die though I might, melted to a puddle of liquid flesh in
the bowels of the Beast, I cannot think of any greater man
to join in death. I am honoured to die at the side of a man
so filled with truth.

DENTRIS
Come and have a bite, Old Beastie. These old bones shall
stick in your craw and choke the life from you.

TYBAIN
My holy flesh shall burn all the way down. Aroden’s
blessings upon my soul ensure a most unpleasant meal for
this Beast.

The Beast devours them. They fight their way free from his gizzard.

Act 5: The Birthing Trial

HAANDERTHAN
You have crawled from the maw of the Beast. Let us see
what blasphemous lies slither from your treacherous
insides. Show them.

The Bailiff brings out five crimson eggs.

DROVALID
Dear Asmodeus! Spare us!

LARAZOD
What means these strange crimson eggs?

DROVALID
Oh horror beyond nightmare! The eggs, they burrow deep
within us. They hatch deep in our insides, churning our
guts to paste and slurping them through gritted devil teeth.
They feed on our souls. When these foul devils have eaten
their fill, they tear their way free—terrible things! Hideous
devil-children bearing our own faces, but filled with hate
for all we are. We are mothers to twisted things and look
upon our own visage as we die by their taloned hands.

HAANDERTHAN
Shall you recant now, or will you give birth to abominations
of your very flesh?

ILSANDRA
Do your worst, fool of a mortal. I am a princess to hell, and no
child born of my black soul shall bear malice against me.

Larazod lifts the Bailiff off the ground by the throat with one
mighty hand.

LARAZOD
Ha! Give me your egg, you lickspittle. If Asmodeus wishes
it, I shall choke the life of my own devilish child with glee.
I gulp this egg down before this court and our dark lord’s
very eyes.

DENTRIS
Well, give me mine. Not much good it shall avail you.
The real Dentris Maltrada was killed ages ago at my own
devilish hands when I was born from his old soul. I am a
child of this egg

TYBAIN
Truly?! I had no idea!

DENTRIS
If only everyone was as naïve as ye, paladin.

TYBAIN
I like eggs! Red, white, or otherwise. Hand me mine! I’ll
eat it raw!

The companions eat their eggs and hideous devil children are
born from them. They battle the devil children valiantly. Ilsandra,
amazed that her daughter attacks her, lashes out with ferocity.

ILSANDRA
No! My child! Forgive me! You’ll pay for this, Haanderthan—
with your heart’s blood, and with every shred of your soul.

Act 6: Trial by Combat and Love

HAANDERTHAN
(Aside) How can this be? Four trials broken, and still they
prevail. Asmodeus smiles upon them. Does the Dark Lord
truly know of my compact with the Abyss? It cannot be, or
I am utterly undone. True or nay, I must try the last. I shall
plunge their faith in pitch and acrid stew, and see if they
hold to the cause.
(To the companions) You sickly whelps profess undying
devotion to one another. Another smoldering lie flung from
your dark holes. You but conspire to confound this court and
our Dark Majesty. ’Tis ye who contract with demon-spawn
and seek my undoing, in service to some slimy mistress or
master of the putrid Abyss. Your vile benefactors have thus
far warded off justice’s dark hand, but let us see if you hold
steadfast before the promise of oblivion.

DENTRIS
More? I cannot last. My old heart gives out. Go on
without me, master. I served your father faithfully. Alas,
I am found lacking in the face of his half-breed son.
The challenges, ever dire, cleave my soul from me. May
Asmodeus keep me.

LARAZOD
No foolish talk, old wizard. Haven’t you claimed immortality
a thousand times to any bent ear? Old Dentris Maltrada
cannot die, ye said. I’ve eaten the heart of an ancient Red
Wyrm, and warmed by his fire, my soul burns eternal. Get
up, my dear friend, more father to me, than ever any father
was. Your duties are not abated. Your task is yet undone.

TYBAIN
Let him die. He’s suffered long enough, and we’ve suffered
his blustery speeches even more keenly. Kick off, old bag,
and be done with ye.

DENTRIS
Why you shiny beetle! You quivering pall-o-dine of a
young whelp-turned-demigod! You plump kettle! I’ll
bring the all-encompassing powers of a thousand worlds
crashing down upon your head! The keening song of
dead gods warble at my command. I’ll leave your mind
a tatterdemalion of a sad rag. Die! Die, you say! Nay, not
till I’ve seen the last oafish breath squeezed from your
lungs by tongs of fire—you simpering Aro-din-din!

TYBAIN
Looking more lively now, aren’t we?

LARAZOD
Peace, old man. The pall-o-dine works a righteous healing
upon your old bones—applying the only balm your
withered heart desires—spitting ire and uncouth rage.
Bile for balm, bile for balm—what a wolfish old man, a
terror to kings and angels. Ladies and gentlemen, I give
you Dentris Maltrada. He knows no equal.

DENTRIS
Enough, pup! I am much abused. Lay not your hands
on me, pall-o-dine! I’ll rise without your young god’s
urgings. I’ve work left indeed.

ILSANDRA
Strange old wizard, loyal and dear heart. He’ll join us in
the marriage bed and one last night of bliss will be his for
the taking!

LARAZOD
A lovely sentiment, my princess of Hell, disturbing though
it may be.

DROVALID
Enough. It is time. I am not long of your company, but
know that I would stand by you all through six hundred
trials. Take hands with me, half-breed. My sins and yours
are one. Our destinies intertwine, and I walk your path
with you to the bitter burning end.

LARAZOD
I’m honored.

HAANDERTHAN
How touching. These sentiments of yours are nothing
but dreamy clouds, soon to be shred by Asmodeus’s
blasting winds.

LARAZOD
Face of hazy dream-like bliss, kiss like fire. I burn for you,
princess. Cling to me, dig your talons into my chest and
touch my heart with white-hot caress.

ILSANDRA
I am yours for one thousand blissful years. Drink my
sizzling blood from my wrist, or anywhere else you like—
let us seal this sinful compact and consummate our love
in the heat of battle.

TYBAIN
Dentris, you old cur, dog curled by your master’s feet. I
can’t call you friend, but a truer servant I’ve never known.
Loyalty is the mark of greatness. Know that my sword is
yours even as your spells bend to Larazod’s cause. We stand
as one, and we always shall.

ILSANDRA
Great Tormentor, Drovalid Vorclune, let it be said a man
who can bear the vicious ministrations he renders upon
his foes is a great man indeed. Though I am pledged to
this young half-breed, know your courage sends shudders
through my loins.

DROVALID
You do me sweet honor, great lady. I stand in awe of
your passion, and these worthy nobles’ unshakable
courage. Even this milksop of a pall-o-dine stands
hard against the torments of Hell—harder than
the fiercest witch.

The companions fight off a legion of devils.

Act 7: Trial by His Own Dark Hand

HAANDERTHAN
The final trial is at hand. Your souls shall be
quenched at long last.

LARAZOD
This trial is yours, Magistrate Maleficarum.
Asmodeus is the only true judge here. Bow
before him.

HAANDERTHAN
Insolent dog! Asmodeus shall scour your soul
as sauce from a pan. Ash for bones, and waxen
souls melted by the dark lord’s flame to puddle
at his taloned feet.

LARAZOD
We shall see who is judged!

THE PRINCE OF DARKNESS enters in a burst
of foul colored flames and shrieking, crimson
skinned imps and offers Larazod a choice.
His devils hang silk scarves around all the
companions’ necks—one of red, one of crimson.
Each is handed a contract written in blood,
which bursts into flames when read.

PRINCE OF DARKNESS
Choose. A true heart shall beat strong for all
eternity at my side, a false one burns to cinder in
an instant.

Larazod and his companions choose the crimson scarves
and the red ones burn away. Haanderthan cries out in
terror as the Prince of Darkness turns on him.

PRINCE OF DARKNESS
Treacherous magistrate who lords false justice over
true souls. Your soul shall burn for all eternity—
an everlasting torment awaits you.

Prince of Darkness carries Haanderthan into the mouth
of Hell. Exeunt.

Script

Council of Thieves Group 1 Stangg