| Ten Transformations
by Cobalt Jade
Introduction: A Most Unfortunate Encounter With a Basilisk
Aurena Stormbridge paused before the cave's entrance. She clutched her
longsword tightly in her hand, raising it slightly. Her jaw quivered, but
cold fire glinted in her eyes. She had come here to slay the Basilisk; she
must not show fear.
The horrid creature had been despoiling Hyaasia for a year now. What
was once a fertile valley had become a miasmal waste where no crops grew,
no cattle roamed; what plants were left had become sickly, twisted
caricatures of themselves. A foul mist hovered continually over the earth,
bathing everything in a dull greenish-gray hue. To make things worse, the
creature had taken to raiding the villages, carrying off human victims to
enjoy at leisure in its lair. Yes, it had to be stopped.
But swordsman, archers, and even priests had met with unsuccess.
Finally she, Aurena herself, anointed by birth with the Holy Star of
Paldrina, had taken up the sword inherited from her mother, also a Silver
Warrior, and come to Hyaasia to aid its people. The platinum-haired maiden
wore next to nothing except scraps of scale mail from the back of a silver
dragon, they being enough to protect her; it was her skill with the sword
that prevented damage. Other warriors smiled in amusement when she showed
up half-undressed to take care of some wrongdoing, but how sober they
became when she began to fight.
The warrioress surveyed the cavern's mouth. Nothing moved except stray
tendrils of the mist. Reports of the creature varied. Some said it was
bulky like an ox, others long and lithe like a snake. What was for sure
was that no one who hunted the creature, or been carried away by it, had
returned to tell the tale.
It was clear she had to prepare herself for anything.
Whispering a swift prayer to her goddess, she entered the cave.
A foul smell rolled forth to greet her, an indescribable mixture of
rotted plantlife, raw sewage, sulfur, and dung. Tears rose to her eyes at
the stench, then she breathed it in and breathed it through; there was no
other way to get past it. The Basilisk might destroy her yet, but its
stench would not do so.
"Silliwun," she whispered, and her blade glowed with a silvery light,
encouraging her, dispelling the darkness and dankness of the cave. She
began to walk, nerves on alert, back poised in a fighter's crouch.
A large rodent suddenly scuttled away from her, startling her. Only a
rat, she thought. Probably living off the monster's droppings. The
thought filled her with disgust. She began to walk forward and felt her
boot nudge something. Looking down, she saw it was a freshly-cleaned human
skull, still glistening with slime she assumed was the Basilisk's saliva.
Girding herself, she moved she. She had seen worse.
There were no passages off the tunnel; it ran a straight if convoluted
course. At least the creature wasn't about to burst out of a side chamber
and surprise her. Around the next bend she saw the glow of daylight and
deduced there was a in the cavern ceiling that let in daylight. Still
cautious, she rounded the bend and gasped. A noble warrior stood in the
beam of murky light, his sword raised in a killing blow.
"Who-- " she began, then noticed the warrior wasn't unmoving.
Carefully she stepped forward. He did not twitch. And it was not only
the dull light that made him appear gray. He was made of stone, a cold
gray granite forever caught at mid-defiance. Even his weapons had become
Aurena cursed. A half-remembered legend teased the back of her mind,
something she'd read once in an book, in the lair of a mad wizard. The
legend of a beast so poisonous and deadly it turned its victims into
No! Surely, there must be some other explanation. But glancing around,
she saw the other statues at the edges of the chamber...some frozen in
mid-battle, others dramatically fallen. Some were even begging for mercy.
All were of hard, lifeless granite.
Her hammering heart threatened to tear a through her chest. The
legends were true, had to be true. Who would carve statues in such
lifelike positions? What Hyaasian sculptor had the skill to capture every
detail of armor, every agonized facial feature?
Down, down she went. Other chambers led off this one, each one deeper
than the last. In each, the was the same: statues and more statues,
along with bones, droppings, and random bits of clothing. The deeper she
went, the the statues grew, until they lay broken in her path: a maze
of broken limbs and empty torsos. The heads lay as scattered boulders,
their features crumbled away by the actions of moisture and moss. She
realized she had probably walked a mile or more into the bowls of the
earth. *That won't happen to me,* she thought with steely determination.
*I am a Silver Warrior. The goddess protects me.*
Once or twice she saw a turquoise object glittering on the floor, which
she assumed was a scale of the creature's. The size of it did not
Finally, an ending to the tunnel. Turning, she found herself in a
cavern higher and wider than the ones before. In the cool light of her
sword she saw gold glittering at its edges, piles of it, chests of it, and
gems in heaps too, burst from sacks long rotted. The creature's hoard!
Then it must be-
A slithering sound was enough to warn her. She raised her sword,
whirling around, just in time to see the Basilisk drop like a blue-green
rope from the ceiling behind her. As the rumors said it was long like a
snake, but moved on dozens of pairs of scuttling lizard-like feet... feet
that allowed it, clearly, to move across ceilings and walls like a
centipede. It reared back like a snake, spreading its needle-like teeth in
an ugly grin.
She raised her sword to lop off its head before it could bite her or
spray her with its poisonous breath.
The Basilisk's eyes glowed a bright yellow color, dazzling her, as her
sword continued to rise. A blazing white ray shot out of the creature's
pupils, meeting hers squarely and without mercy. A buzzing brightness
consumed her like fire, spread over her body like fire, along with an
electric tightening and popping sensation that froze her in place. Her
skin tingled wildly as the sensual vibration washed over her insides.
Aurena was a virgin, but the cry that came from her lips was not. It was
also her last cry.
The wave swept from her feet to her thighs, then up her torso. It left
behind a solid, numb feeling...the feeling of being petrified alive, turned
into a granite statue as cold and lifeless as all the others.
*No! This can't happen to me...I'm...* her thoughts scattered as the
blazing wave washed over her skull, freezing her features into a swoon
forever. Light exploded before her eyes, dazzling her; and a shameful
pleasure made into pain by the thought of what the creature had done to
The Basilisk drew back from its work. The warrioress had been petrified
in a most fitting position, her sword raised, her shield on guard, a lovely
look of mingled fear and surprise on her pretty face. Her feet were
planted sturdily on the earth, wide apart in a heroic brace. No danger she
would topple over then. Her clothing -- what small amount there was (he
chuckled lasciviously to himself) -- was stone also, every crease, fold and
scale rendered in minute detail. All in all, a true work of art. That was
why he had chosen to petrify her here, in his treasure chamber.
As he was wont to do, the Basilisk wrapped himself around his victim,
probing with his tongue the planes and crevices of her rocky flesh. His
hard scales and lack of digits prevented him from enjoying his victims any
other way. The fresh stone dust tasted most delicious, mixed as it was
with the scents and oil essences of her once-living flesh. He caressed her
in his coils, feeling for himself her slim yet muscular form. He had been
a prince once, eons ago, and yet retained the carnal appetites of a man.
That done, he gazed into the eyes of his victim. The horrible glow in
them had no effect on her now, thought it did allow them to communicate in
*You fiend,* the warrioress thought. *What have you done to me.*
*You are stone, and will be stone forever,* the Basilisk replied. *And
you are mine. I will keep you here with my other treasures.*
Aurena groaned, a sound of deep despair. Her sword had not petrified
when she had, though it remained fast in her grip, and shed a silvery light
over her frozen curves.
The Basilisk chuckled. *Yes, as well you should. You aren't going
anywhere. And there is no cure for a Basilisk's glare.*
*My goddess...* Aurena whispered desperately.
*Does not exist, and therefore cannot hear you. There is only magic on
this world Aurena, cold, practical, impersonal magic that forged your sword
and made me what I am.* He flicked his tongue over her cold, frozen lips.
*Your despair, indeed, all your emotions are meat and drink to me. You
feel them more keenly than the others. They are men; you, a female,
are made of finer cloth.*
*What can I do for you to let me go?* she thought desperately.
*Nothing,* the Basilisk said. *You are stone and will be stone forever,
until you crumble into dust like the others in my chambers. But that will
take centuries, and I will take better care of you than that.*
*Wicked creature,* Aurena spat.
*By whose standards? Mine, or yours?* the Basilisk replied, his coils
tightening around her. *I could crush you now into pieces if I chose.*
*Don't do that,* the warrioress thought desperately.
*Even in unlife, there is life,* the Basilisk chuckled.
*Someday someone will find me,* the warrioress said defiantly. *You
think there is no cure for your magic, but every spell has its
counteragent. My sisters will find me, and restore me to flesh, so I can
*You think so?* the Basilisk laughed, a lazy, rippling sound. *Well, I
concede that may be. I do not know everything of magic in this world. But
until that day comes I will entertain you, Silver Warrior. Of tales so
strange your mind will spin; tales of times and places so far beyond the
ones you know your worldview will shatter, your arrogance humble. When I
rest my mind wanders to other planes and places, where I observe many
things... and I know I am not alone in the universe, the only being with a
deadly glare, a deadly breath, a deadly magic.*
*I do not wish to hear these tales,* the warrioress said primly.
*You have no choice,* the Basilisk said. *Ten tales I will tell you.
At the end of them, I will decide your fate.* And he raised his forked
tongue to her shapely granite ear, and began.
This work is copyrighted 2001 by Cobalt Jade (Cobaltjade@aol.com). This
work may be be freely distributed over electronic media provided no fee is
charged for its use. Charging a fee for this story, or publishing without
author credit or this notice violates my copyright.