Regards of Great Forgotten Things – Day 5

READ ME:

The Great Conflict, and the world, has ended. Magic is forbidden so that the world can heal. I believe it’s stolen your memories, too. Which is why you and I are keeping this journal. You, reading this tomorrow, and me, writing this today.

Remember this if you can:

Your name is Carth. You are a warrior, aged boy. You are in the service to the Warlord’s clan in his mission to restore order to the Realm. Ask daily for your payments. For an index of items, places, people and locations, refer to the scrolls next to this one.

* * *

You sacked a city. You now camp the charred corpse of its slums as provisions are dispensed. The houses loom large and broken, speckled with survivors.

It turns out you haven’t been reading this as much as you should be. Didn’t I tell you to read this when you wake? I leave two scrolls right next to you every night. How hard is it to read them?

Now read closely, Carth: there is talk amongst the Warlord’s forces that the monsters you chase have doubled back to hit you in the rear. The Warlord has camped in this city, in wait. You’ve heard talk monsters will chase their foes with great fury and vengeance until they’ve drank their fill of blood. You may have to endure a siege.

You’ve fought in a siege before, haven’t you? I’ll bet you can’t fully remember it, but your muscles do. You feel phantom pains where blades cut you long ago. What glimpses into your own past you can remember are frozen in time, without context. You’d just as well be hearing someone’s campfire legend, for all the sense it made to you.

After you received your provisions, Aos waved to you from the bones of an alleyway where she sat with Desmon.

Aos was cleaning her nails with a dagger, stopping every now and then to feed scraps of corn to her dog, or scratch him behind the ear (You didn’t remember she had a dog, did you, Carth? That’s what you get for forgetting to write).

She said that it was you who found the dog during your first raid with the Warlord. He was protecting some girl you met when putting the city to the torch.

I didn’t bother to mention it. Tinker Taker, remember? You told Aos as much.

“I don’t know how you could forget someone like that,” she told you before proceeding to compared her beauty to a few goddesses you’d never heard of. I’ll let you forget some of her choice descriptions (I wish I could). “I’d prefer a few northern horsewomen to a warband of monsters,” Aos said. “If we’re going to die here, they might as well be our final sight: a dozen bare-breasted horsewomen riding for us, tits bouncing.”

Your conversation lapsed and she went back to cleaning her nails. To break the silence she mused, “I’ll probably lose a finger one day. Won’t be able to hold a weapon after that. Won’t be able to fight.” She scratched her dog behind the ear.

“Why not do it now?” Desmon asked, “Get it over and done with?”

Aos grinned. She pet her dog, and  its tail thumped against the ground. When she turned to look at Desmon, her grin was gone. “What do I look like to you? A coward?”

 

Special thanks to my patron on Patreon, Alicia Cameron

Regards of Great Forgotten Things – Day 4

READ ME:

The Great Conflict, and the world, has ended. Magic is forbidden so that the world can heal. I believe it’s stolen your memories, too. Which is why you and I are keeping this journal. You, reading this tomorrow, and me, writing this today.

Remember this if you can:

Your name is Carth. You are a warrior, aged boy. You are in the service to the Warlord’s clan in his mission to restore order to the Realm. Ask daily for your payments. For an index of items, places, people and locations, refer to the scrolls next to this one.

* * *

You’ll never guess what you did all day! You marched. Shocking, I know.

The Warlord’s army camps, split into groups in accordance with their tribes; all of them huddled by separate cookfires, devouring their rations. Others spoke of gods, their speech littered with curses.

It’s utterly baffling. These people cursed lightning lords! Masters and creators of storms and stones! For such powerful things, you wondered what good it does curse them.

And would they be saying such things during a thunderstorm?

You tried to ask Desmon why you want to fight the monstrous warband that the Warlord has sent you in pursuit of. Desmon answered by thrusting a scrap of meat in your face, red juice dribbling between his fingers. “Eat,” he said.

You snatched up that strip of meat and tore at its stringy tendons. When you finished it you wiped your mouth with the back of your hand and half-growled, “More.”

“You’re hungry,” Desmon said. “That’s good. You must keep eating, boy. Keep up your strength.”

He gave you more just like you asked. Strips of meat thick as tree bark with patches of crisp burn. It tasted like horse. You’ve probably still got some stuck between your teeth if you’re curious.

Then you slinked off to write this letter to yourself. A man was about to put out his cookfire when you caught his arm. “I need to write,” you told him and he seemed to nod his assent.

Maybe he knew you—not that you’ll know.

You huddled up and scratched out a note. Aos had chided you for leaving your berries uneaten, but you’ve got to get ink from somewhere. A thin stick and some berries is enough to give yourself this message.

You heard men in the distance tell their legends of half-gods and heroes. I’ve written a few of them down for you in your index. My favorite is the one where a lightning lord must attend a wedding dressed as a bride in order to retrieve his magic sword.

Desmon and Aos had asked you for own legend. They wanted to know if you could remember anything, or if you could recall enough to event one. So You sewed together scraps of memory, mixed with other legends you heard tonight and gave them the legend of Tinker Taker—he was the first to claim Grayfell (I cannot say if you fully invented this name) as the First Holding of some long-forgotten empire.

He was a reaver before that and had spent six days on stormy seas. On the seventh, he spied the timbered fortifications of Grayfell rising up like an obscene gesture along the coastline. “If there’s a meal on the table and a fire in the hearth,” said Tinker Taker, “I won’t be setting foot in a longship for the rest of my life.”

And there was. And he didn’t.

You’ll notice how the legend doesn’t tell you what happened to those who made the meal and lit the fire. We’re going to do the same—understand me, Carth? There are some things that are best left forgotten.

 

Special thanks to my patron on Patreon, Alicia Cameron

Regards of Great Forgotten Things – Day 3

READ ME:

The Great Conflict, and the world, has ended. Magic is forbidden so that the world can heal. I believe it’s stolen your memories, too. Which is why you and I are keeping this journal. You, reading this tomorrow, and me, writing this today.

Remember this if you can:

Your name is Carth. You are a warrior, aged boy. You are in the service to the Warlord’s clan in his mission to restore order to the Realm. Ask daily for your payments. For an index of items, places, people and locations, refer to the scrolls next to this one.

* * *

It has come to my attention, Carth, that you do a lot of marching. Your legs feel sore right now, don’t they? Take comfort: I promise they’ll hurt worse tomorrow.

Today you marched through a strange place. Pebbles wormed their way into your sandals, but any time you stopped to try to remove them, others roughly shoved you forward.

You spent the whole day trapped inside a box of men, weary and footsore, trekking through red mists with flashes of glowing purple motes. You were told that the first battle in the Great Conflict began here. The one that ended the world and created the monsters you’ve joined the Warlord in hunting. Rocks bubbled and steamed in the heat heat, and the dirt and ground were fused with the outline of blades.

You marched down the length of a river, choked with magic as thick as molasses. The heat baked you so much you worried your cloak would be set alight.

Desmon and Aos have assured you that this isn’t the case.

You did not stop marching until you were on the other side of the field, beyond the boulders that let out wailing steam and beyond the far-off grass that braided itself. Near the evening it began to grow cold, and your box of warriors marched past mud pits filled with grasping hands with fingers broken at odd angles.

Things only got stranger from there: The molasses-thick river picked up speed, but the faster it went the more hands you saw rising up, holding candles that were not affected by winds; gullies and small ponds filled with faces smothered in lacquer masks. Toward the end of the field the grass turned to sand, and each step unearthed thousands upon thousands of burnt teeth and fangs and cracked, black jawbones.

As you crested a hill and cleared the field, a chill whispered down your back and I swear you felt a pair of eyes follow you. You told yourself not to question it. Never question what you see in the battlefields leftover from the Great Conflict.

* * *

That night you huddled into your cloak during the nighttime cold. You kept to yourself, watching various factions under the Warlord’s command speaking in various tongues that you couldn’t understand. As you listened, you gathered some names that these creatures used often to refer to themselves. It was as if they were one entity.

When you read this tomorrow, you should find a river just over the hill. You wondered if it had a name. Were you marching toward its source?

Where were you, anyway?

You decided to ask Aos.

“On the road,” she grunted, which you understood well enough, but you could see that for yourself. It didn’t exactly answer where you were going.

You asked, and she told you that you were chasing a warband of monsters. You needed to intercept them before they found a colony of survivors.

The Warlord’s company tramps down the road for miles. Such a great gathering of folk, isn’t it? You wondered who could possibly oppose this force? Surely there can be no larger gathering of warriors.

You’ve got a long sword at your side. You don’t think you know how to use it, do you? Draw it out of its pouch. Feel that wood-and-leather handle? Feels like a handshake between old friends, right?

You’ll use that sword that kill the monsters. Folk say that creatures like them are mutants with large tusks and vomit-colored flesh.

And you’re all too eager to join the Warlord chasing them. Do you even remember why you’re fighting these thing?

I do. But by the time you read this, you won’t.

But you’ll take up arms against them, anyway, won’t you, Carth? Who knows—maybe victory will make the pain go away.

I know the answer.

You’ll have to find out.

 

Special thanks to my patron on Patreon, Alicia Cameron

Regards of Great Forgotten Things – Day 2

READ ME:

The Great Conflict, and the world, has ended. Magic is forbidden so that the world can heal. I believe it’s stolen your memories, too. Which is why you and I are keeping this journal. You, reading this tomorrow, and me, writing this today.

Remember this if you can:

Your name is Carth. You are a warrior, aged boy. You are in the service to the Warlord’s clan in his mission to restore order to the Realm. Ask daily for your payments. For an index of items, places, people and locations, refer to the scrolls next to this one.

* * *

I have a fun surprise for you, Carth: you know how to ride a horse.

I know this because you tried to flee your commanding officer as you woke up this morning.

Your commanding officer was a gigantic man with fingers as wide across as your palm and a belt stuffed with swords that looks like small knives pinned against his massive frame.

Unless I’m just being hyperbolic (Not that you’d know).

And here he was in your tent. How were you to know this man was in service to the same Warlord as you? All you knew when you woke was that there was a behemoth standing over you, and when you maneuvered around him and outside the tent there were dozens of armed warriors milling about. You hadn’t read my account, so you didn’t know who they were.

Which means you did what any sane man would do in such a predicament (after every ounce of courage had trickled down your leg): you swung up into a horses saddle and booted it in the ribs.

The commander sent men after you. But without reading my account you had no idea you were on the same side. You steered with your thighs on instinct, jerking on the reins every now and again. Your thighs burn red and raw, don’t they? That’s your proof that I speak truly.

The scratches all up and down your shins, though–not to mention bruises on your wrists–that’s proof that you were caught. The riders chasing you managed to out maneuver your escape route as you came to a river that was hot and steaming and bubbling. They warned you it had seeped up excess magic leftover from the Great Conflict. If you jumped in you would be boiled alive.

Well, you could feel the heat plainly in the ropes of perspiration drooling down your face and back. Cornered, you gave yourself up. You were caught.

If it were not for Aos and Desmon stepping in upon your return, you would have been executed.

“We caught him deserting,” one warrior told your commanding officer, “Tried turn cross the river, back there.”

Aos stepped in, “He can’t remember much. He’s simple, really. Why else would he try to escape along the river’s route?”

Your commanding officer raised an eyebrow, eyes expressionless like two chips of dirty ice.

“You doubt me?” Aos asked. “He’s simple. Watch.” She turned to you and spoke slowly, thumbing back to the big man with gray eyes like two chips of dirty ice. That’s called an commander, Carth. Repeat after me: com-man-der.” she sounded out for you.

“Com-man…der?” you echoed, genuinely confused. You had no idea who she was at the time.

The giant nodded his assent, and the warriors released you. Aos crouched and picked your chin up so that you were staring at her. “Don’t forget to write that down.”

But you will.

It’s what you do best.

 

Special thanks to my patron on Patreon, Alicia Cameron

 

Regards of Great Forgotten Things – Day 1

READ ME:

The Great Conflict, and the world, has ended. Magic is forbidden so that the world can heal. I believe it’s stolen your memories, too. Which is why you and I are keeping this journal. You, reading this tomorrow, and me, writing this today.

Remember this if you can:

Your name is Carth. You are a warrior, aged boy. You are in the service to the Warlord’s clan in his mission to restore order to the Realm. Ask daily for your payments. For an index of items, places, people and locations, refer to the scrolls next to this one.

* * *

You were almost speared during your river-bath near the village you burned yesterday.

A few dozen warriors joined you, rolling and splashing in the river. You finally had a chance to scrub away the grime choking your skin. You, to your limited knowledge, hadn’t known the sensation of clean skin, and the feel of it was almost overwhelming.

Your ears were so full of water, however, that you didn’t hear the trample of horses’ hooves until someone had shouted “Cavalry!” and warriors down the line of bathers echoed it, scrambling to the riverbank. Warriors were reaching for their gear. Spears, pikes and sheathed swords. No one bothered to put on armor. If a company of monsters had found you, you were all as good as dead.

You had just drawn yourself, naked, to the banks of the river as the mounted men reined up.

Their commander’s skin was blacker than his horse’s fur. So dark it was almost purple. There were three others: two flanking and one behind him. You tilted your head at the commander.

He was reaching for his own blade when you threw the point of yours yours up to his horse’s head. “Stop this!” you shouted. “Lay down your arms!”

The men about you grimaced and winced. “Are you in charge here?” the commander asked.

For all you knew you were–so you told him, “Yes!”

“Then what in the name of the Nailed God do you think you’re doing?”

You looked down to the river and then back at him. “I’m…taking a bath?” you said it like a question. You had no idea why this would upset him.

Naked, armed men laughed at that. It was an honest truth, if a little simple. Then again, you’re simple. So.

“You’re upstream of the watering place!” He fumed, “Do you expect my horses to drink from the same water you lot have been washing your asses in?”

This might shock you, Carth, but being naked and dripping wet in front of black riders in full raiment does not inspire much dignity. But you clung to what little you could and said, “Do you know who you’re speaking to?” Or something just as stupid. You didn’t even know who you were. Why would they?

“At your word, I’m speaking to the leader of this company—though I can’t say it shows at the moment.”

“If you’ll give me a moment to dress myself, mayhaps I can make a better impression.” There were scattered smirks down the line of naked men and a few grating noises like someone holding back laughter.

The commander rolled his eyes, “Once you put on your armor and your fine regalia, I’ll start calling you commander and captain. Until then, have your men lay down their arms before I decide they’re greater fools than you! Now stop fouling my horses’ drinking water—you’ll make them simple!”

You grinned. Perhaps it was the fact that you’d no idea the danger you were in, but a joke crept up on the fringes of your mind.

You had overheard warriors’ complaints while you bathed. You had taken a mental note of names and places I’ve since written for you in your index.  “A thousand pardons,” you said. “I’m fresh from Ükardhi, far south.” You hoped you were pronouncing that right. “I had upstream baths there and never a problem with those lot turning simple from drinking the bathwater.”

You had begun to laugh. The mounted man’s mouth twitched as he tried not to join in.

And then he was laughing, too.

Later you would discover that this man was named Desmon. One of your two friends.

You’ve got two friends, see: Desmon Harcourt (a black rider: the large, rippling container of barely-sheathed muscle), and Aos Varangyan (the yellow-haired woman with a latticework of scars and a longsword). It was Aos who told you this by the cookfires at night.

“Why didn’t Desmon say something?” you asked. “Why put on such a show in front of everyone?”

“You were naked and pretending to be the captain of a regiment!” Aos sniggered. “Everyone wanted to see how that would play out. He would have been passing up a better opportunity than the Warlord’s discovery the monsters’ hideaway. Can you blame him?”

You decided you couldn’t, and laughed with her.

When the laughter died down, you noticed that Aos’s smile did not reach her eyes. She took a long pull of her drink. Her breath reeked of honey. “Are you okay?” you asked.

“I just wish your brother could’ve been here to see it,” she told you. “It’s been a hard week for all of us.” Her hand fell on your shoulder and then tightened. “I’m sorry.”

You needn’t concern yourself with that, Carth. I’ve fixed your records. No need to worry.

 

Special thanks to my patron on Patreon, Alicia Cameron

 

Announcing: Patreon

Between Death and Dreams (2)
Find my Patreon here!

Hello, dear readers! Thank you for taking the time to look over this Patreon account. I’ve got some great stories in store for you and I hope you’ll be able to help me on my journey! My name is Connor Perry. I used the middle initial since it looks pretentious prestigious.

I am a quadruplet who started writing so that I could have something I didn’t have to share with three other children the same age as me. Right now, I am the only writer for The Mythlings. I tend to gravitate toward writing historical fiction and fantasy, but I’ll write basically anything as long as I get to include swords. To quote the site:​​

“The Mythlings are a compendium of fantastical stories. Here, we aim to steep our stories in history, legend and myth—or create our own, if necessary. The Mythlings are focused on telling small myths with a big impact. We update every Friday with a new story or opinion piece.”

Such aforementioned sword-stories include: “The Trojan War AU featuring lesbian Vikings”, “What if Robin Hood secretly fought vampires?”, “Game of Thrones from extra #3’s point of view: the amnesiac”, and “How long can an old man tolerate a twelve-year-old girl who can shoot fire from her hands?”.

If you’re interested in such topics, I encourage you to read on. If not…I…I really don’t know what to tell you, man. Not sure how you even found this corner of the internet if lesbian Vikings aren’t your thing.

Moving on.

Between Death and Dreams (3)

I’ve got a pretty solid success streak for reliably publishing a new short story or article every Friday since July of 2016 and let me tell you—these stories have fantastic reviews. Tremendous reviews. Reviews such as:

“It’s entertaining, brilliant […] and highly engrossing”

–My Mother

“[He] puts out consistently great work every week, constantly pushing the boundaries.”

–My Mother

“These stories are a steaming pile of […] great!”

–My Father

As I’m sure is obvious, my legions of adoring fans are always saying, “Hey, Connor—you write the greatest stuff. Just the best material on the web. The Vile Assembly was a work of pure genius. You’ve got such great opinions! But the past two years of material that you can read for free online right now is hardly enough for me! Why can’t you write more?”

To which my response is, “How are you vocally linking your words to my website?” and, “I have to buy, like, sandwiches and stuff.”

Much like the Vikings I write about, I need to be able to eat heartily! Such is the price of day jobs. Less time to write. To that end, every single cent that one of you puts forward will bring me one step closer to doing this “writing stories for a living” thing full time as well as a truly disturbing amount of caffeine but let’s be real that’s part of the whole writing thing anyways amiright? Every cent pledged is a step forward to spending more time creating more content—better content—for all of you.

Between Death and Dreams (4)

So what do you get out of this? Well, depending on how much your heart wants to give, you will receive a reward in accordance. Time is money, so by contributing, you’ve given me more time to put into my work, and I’ll be giving that back to you.

For starters, everyone gets a PDF of the final product, as well as acknowledgements at the end of every story/article. You’ll also receive an extra thing(s) depending on how much you’d like to contribute.

These things vary from a read-only Google Doc that keeps you up to date with how the story is going to a once a month commission of some small thing you’d like to see in whatever story I’m writing. However you choose to interpret “commission some small thing you’d like to see” is up to you: Do you want to put yourself in the story? Viking shieldmaidens? Weapons-grade plutonium? All viable options! I’ve even got a handy contact form available on my website!

Everyone out there, regardless of how much you contribute, will receive acknowledgements and a free copy of the final product outside of the WordPress model.

Between Death and Dreams (5)

If you’re reading this: thank you. The fact that you’ve made it this far means I was either entertaining or you’ve at least considered doing the right thing making a pledge. Even your entertainment—your consideration—means the world to me. And for what it’s worth, I hope you’ll stick around and watch where things go from here.

4.Regards of Great Forgotten Things

You’re safe for now. So I’ll tell you what I can.

You awoke to Aos shaking you violently, your head jerking. Through the blur of movement, you discerned two bodies on the floor and red, wet blood dribbling between the floorboards.

“Carth!” Aos shouted. “Carth, wake up! We have to go!”

I know you won’t understand this, Carth, but people are…different, when they first wake. Sluggish and stupid—so you did not understand what it meant at the time, nor what peril awaited you.

Following Aos’s pull on your arm, you fell out of bed and stumbled across the room. Aos retrieved a sword from one of the bodies and belted it around her waist.

You retrieved your own and did the same. “What’s going on?” you asked Aos.

“We have to get out of here.”

“Why?”

“There’s no time to explain,” she told you. “Hurry!” The door squealed open, and you could see moonlight streaming through the open window at the end of the hall. Aos ducked her head out and looked both ways before returning to you, and waving for you to follow.

You did so, bounding after her heels like a puppy, all too ready to accept whatever was going on around you.

Aos had her shield ready. You tightened your grip on your sword. You didn’t even know Aos had a shield, did you? Did I leave that part out in previous recollections?

Or maybe I’m lying. Mayhaps I just want you to feel safe. Don’t say I’m not looking out for you.

Not after tonight.

The floorboards crawed like crows under your weight. Even with your scattered memories of that evening, you knew that no safe structure should be making this much noise. Every footstep was a muffled squeal.

And then you heard just that.

Not the floorboards, but a real attempt to shriek, cut short and muffled into silence. You heard wet sounds and grunts that you would have assigned an altogether different meaning, were it not for the two corpses back in your room.

“Is that the thing that killed—?” you began.

“Quiet!” Aos hissed. Her voice made as much noise as a snake slithering across a pile of wet leaves. “I’ll not discuss it. Not him.” She swallowed, thickly. “Not yet.”

You heard crickets outside, and on instinct your knuckles whitened around your axe-haft.  “There’s no sound,” you whispered.

“I noticed.”

You squared up to the door you had heard the noise in, and there came a long rattle from the other side. As if the voice’s owner were gargling pebbles.

Aos unsheathed her blade as the thing burst through, all rippling fat and swirling samite. The innkeeper hurled himself at Aos, and though she raked her sword down his face, sparks showered from his right eyebrow down to his left jaw, and he grinned, unhurt. His lips peeled back to reveal pointed teeth. He wasn’t blinking. “It is time to pay now,” he said.

Aos took an involuntary step back, so the innkeeper stepped forward, bathing himself in moonlight. Every scrap of him that was awash in the glow revealed a new form.

There was no flesh. Only rows and rows of teethlike scales piled up over taut red muscle. He had no lips to speak of, and the scales of ivory that smothered his face were lightly chipped where Aos had cut him. He held out a hand of interwoven teeth, red muscles twitching and rippling beneath the gaps between them. “It is time to pay now,” he said again.

Backing away, Aos said, “Carth. Kill.”

You obeyed, dogged as a hound.

Regardless, you flew at the thing, sword raised, and as it surged forward you brought it down on its skull. I suspect your blade getting caught between the gaps must have done something and if not, dragging it headfirst to the floor as you made your clumsy retreat and retrieval of your blade certainly did.

You turned to Aos, only to find her staring out the open window at the end of the hall, eyes wet and glimmering. “They’re everywhere,” she said. “The whole town. They’re all borne of this—this thing.”

You kicked the corpse onto its stomach, but could not stand to look at his face for very long. “He created them?” you asked.

“No!” Aos said. “That’s not—no. I don’t think—” she rubbed the corners her eyes between two fingers. “I don’t know. It’s magic, most like. Leftover from the Great Conflict. These folk are poisoned. But I’m not sure how we’re going to get out.”

“Is there another way out?”

You two ran for the stairs, but by the time you had reached their precipice, you heard a crash at the door below, and heavy footfalls. Without a word to each other, you both turned heel and sprinted across the carpeted hallway. “That may as well have happened,” with a shrug and an involuntary laugh.

“Only one way out now,” you told her. “The window—”

“We’ll die.”

“I have a plan!”

“What is it?”

“I’ll figure it out when we get there!”

The stairs whined behind you. You heard growling and stomping as the first of these ivory monsters vaulted up the steps.

You two leapt up to the sill and then caught yourself at the last minute, your hand braced flat on Aos’s back.

“What’s your plan?” Aos asked you.

The monsters in the hallway surged forward, iron cudgels and axes at the ready.

“I’m thinking,” you said.

Below you were scattered, pulpy bodies shrouded in beggars’ linen.

“What’s your plan, Carth?”

“Let me think!” Your hand twitched.

It was then that a loose floorboard snapped under Aos’s foot. She gave a whoop of surprise and, as she flailed, kicked your jaw and sent you tumbling back.

You turned back. The ivory creatures were scattered, looting the inn. One of them hurtled toward you, a sword raised that halved its face. “Come now, your Grace,” it said, unblinking and grinning. “Show me your skill with a blade!”

Its grating voice compelled you forward, into the path of the thing’s blade as you threw your own gray in its path. The steel scraped against steel, raw and harsh to hear. It broke the bind and darted to the side of the hall, ducking underneath your next swing.

You threw your sword down on the monster in murderous arcs. He turned each cut aside and your swords snaked around each other, trying to find a gap in your opponent’s defenses. The swords kissed thrice, sprang apart, and you circled each other, letting the steel breathe.  

Your arms did not feel like your own. Your shoulders were throbbing. Your head was spinning, but you could see the thing in front of you.

Your swords bit each other, scraping sadly down the length of the blades, aiming for exposed flesh. If the red between the rows of teeth smothering its body could be called flesh.

With a shove, the thing sent you stumbling backwards, toward the window. Hands numb from your sword’s vibration, you turned his downcut aside, but the force of it had sent you to one knee.

The creature brought its sword down and cursed as you slid away like a wriggling fish. You kicked up your heel and brought it down on your friend’s hand, smashing it against the sill. His grip came loose on his sword. You pulled yourself to your feet, still standing on thing’s. Your swordpoint tunneled toward its chest, but he turned away at the last.

Your sword was trembling with your hands. The creature watched you, laughing. You could feel your heartbeat in your face and chest and back. You could feel a thousand bruises all over your body. But you had your sword ready, levelled at Albarran.  

You ducked under a swipe and tried to shove your blade up and under the monster’s scaly teeth. He jumped back, arching away from your sword’s point.

“You’ll have to do better than that!” he laughed. And as it did, you put your blade between two ivory scales on its neck.

You spared a glance at the hall: the creatures were tearing the place apart, ransacking and looting. But none had reached you. You could hardly discern if they had seen you. I can’t say if there were others at the inn that they were feasting on. But I suspect your companions saved you one last time.

You wanted to retch at the thought of it. You felt like a wave breaking as you half-fell through the threshold of the doorway. You shut the door behind you and braced your back against the door. Here you will remain. Safe, for now. I will update you at first light.

First

Previously

 

 

Special thanks to my patron on Patreon, Alicia Cameron