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Lombard lay on the bed, in the midst of a fitful sleep, his deformed face wincing and whimpering pitifully. It had been a week since the expedition into the dragon den known as Mazthoril, and Lombard's condition had improved little since he'd returned. By the count of Frinkle Gazzlewits, head Physician of Everlook, he still woke screaming at least thirty times a day, and each time he had woken terror-stricken, his chest heaving, his pants soiled, his body heavy with sweat.

Warped visions. Insane visions. Ice that burns like fire. Stone that runs as if it were water. Shadow that emitts light. And then nothing.

No one knew of Lombard's whereabouts. According to all, he had last been seen in the wastes of Outland, and public knowledge dictated that there he remained. So the physicians did what they could, unknowing of his condition, his situation. Even his name was unknown to them.

The dead leered from the shadows. Hollowed eye-sockets full of squirming maggots.They were mocking, laughing. Blood poured from their mouthes and drowned everything. Sobbing. Like nails on a blackboard, but with the anguish of the damned. Two young girls lay cuddled up to an elderly man in a dark room, dead, their bodies torn and ravaged, their dismebowelled stomachs empty caverns of gore.

Lombard leapt from his bed with a terrified howl. Small goblin hands quickly grabbed his flailing limbs and attempted to restrain him, pushing him down. His eyes were open, but only blackness could be seen in his eyes. He swung wildly around him, like a floundering fish.

Claws grabbed, leaving bloody handprints. They pushed down. Chains leapt across the blackness, and pushed harder, spikes piercing, blood flowing from the wounds. It looked so peaceful, dribbling away. Silently mocking the distress of it's host.

The goblins leapt on the uncontrollable man, trying to tie him to the bed with thick ropes, driving needles full of morphine into his flesh. Lombard collapsed abruptly, shuddering and whimpering, sobbing like a struck infant, rocking from side to side, mumbling incomprehensible words under his breath. That was the twenty second time he'd risen today, and it was barely noon.

Gazzlewits sighed, and wiped his brow with his embroided handkerchief. This was going to be a long day.

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