Friday, March 5

Reunited… (Original Fiction by Xan)

“Zander?” Solcloud waives his torch around in the looming darkness. “Drat that big oaf and that thief friend of his too. St. Cuthbert would never approve of such shenanigans, regardless of the bounty.”
The heavy breathing and purring continued to echo in the darkness. The chill of the shallow, murky water seemed to permeate even the walls. Solcloud’s torchlight seemed to dance on the walls, reflecting the small streams of water soaking through the rocks and collecting on the cave floor into this underground swamp-like environment.
“We should be dealing out justice to the rank beasts living down here, not sneaking around them.” Solcloud continued to stand on the bank of the small swamp waiving his torch from side to side, trying to spot any sign of movement. The water rippled slightly, but not enough to suggest something concealed in the darkness. The silence was almost tangible except for his torch burning and flickering, pieces of cloth and rope sizzling in the water as they fell off the torch.
“I say!” A voice shatters the silence as Solcloud nearly drops the torch from the unexpected boom of sound. “Is that you Solcloud? I thought you were dead?”
Solcloud turns on his heels swiftly, draws his sword, and nearly lops Mayvn’s head off had it not been for his quick reflexes.
“Goodness that is a fine how do you do!” Mayvn bends down, picks up his hat, drops his shoes, and slips them back on. “I thought I was lost down here for good, alone.” He shakes at the thought of such an idea. “What are you doing here, were you separated as well?”
“Would you be…?”
Before Solcloud could chide Mayvn for making so much noise, Mayvn had already alerted the presence hiding in the darkness.
“You have come to take my horde, and no doubt try to kill me Paladin!” The words all seem to drip with poison as they are growled out in the deepest part of the swampy cavern. Greenish eyes seem to glint to life from the back of the cavern. “Well come on now, deal your justice on the darkness Paladin; let your silly bard there record your exploits!”
Suddenly a splash of water at the banks near their feet bursts a long black tail. Masked in the darkness the massive tail swings through the air, splashing water and flinging the surface scum around the darkened cavern. The immense tail flailed around in the darkness nearly flinging Mayvn across the room. Solcloud was not so lucky; his torch doused by the watery tail fell to the ground where he used to stand. Solcloud lay in a heap on the other side of the cavern, a good thirty feet from where he once stood. The scum and filthy water lapping over his scratched armor, he shook his head glad that he was wearing it. He rolled to his hands and knees in the water; he wiped a small bit of blood from the back of his head as he slowly made his way to his feet.
“Fowl wyrm, you deserve the justice St. Cuthbert will deal you through my blade!” Solcloud reached around in the bog and fumbled for his sword, once found he held it at the ready.
“Ha!” The dragon, still masked in darkness waived his tail in warning. “I will have you and the bard here as a pickled snack!” The green of the dragon’s eyes flickered briefly then it roared in defiance at the two would be horde snatchers. The dragon swung its tail again splashing a wave of fowl smelling water at Solcloud and roared but this time the swing went wide and the roar was not one of anger but one of pain.
“Get to higher ground!” The small yelp of Beasley came in the direction of the dragon. “You kept him busy long enough for me to find him. RUN!”
The dragon flailed around as the small halfling had dug his short sword into the knee of the giant beast. The great black monster turned its head towards the pain scorching through its leg and snapped at the small attacker, but he seemed to have disappeared.
“Show yourself thief!” The dragon snarled with rage, nursing his fresh wound. “I know you are here, in the shadows, lurking in my waters!”
“You will have to find us.” The haunting voice of Zander booms from the shadows, echoing in a distant ghostly tone.
The dragon roars again as the crunch of scale and bone mixes with the sound of flesh and sinew. The dragon turned to the site of impact just in time to see the half ogre fade from view. “Your tricks will not work on me thieves! I have your paladin!”
Without warning the sound of air, being drawn into powerful lungs was quickly replaced by a sticky muck that burst from the dragons’ mouth. Hissing and putrid smoke followed in its wake as it splashed off the walls in a deadly line towards Solcloud. The knight, now back on solid ground behind the dragon leapt to the side just before the stream of vile goo hit the place he once stood.
“You see dragon,” Solcloud scoffed. “St. Cuthbert protects me from your vile ways, you have been judged. Now you must be executed!”
Mayvn, cowering in the corner heard those valiant words and stood up gallantly. “That was great; it will go in my next sonnet.” With that, Mayvn began to strum his lute and began playing a tune with a fast-paced rhythm and a strong backbeat.
Solcloud concentrated on Mayvn’s tune and lunged towards the darkness. “Fall before St. Cuthbert’s might!” He swung his sword wildly in the darkness, trying to locate exactly where the beast was.
The dragon, also blind in the flicker of the small torch near Mayvn, swung his great claws and flapped his mighty wings. Solcloud continued to parry the hidden onslaught of attacks, hacking at the beast with great fervor.
Dodging another swipe of the dragons claws, Solcloud scoff at the dragon and steps in to strike. “My lord protects me, vile harbinger of the mire. But who protects you?” He slashes at the dragon, connects with the dragon’s front leg, and spills more blood. The dragon roars in agony but continues to fight on.
“You are persistent Paladin! Between your travel companion and you against me... you are out measured!” The dragon swipes again and flings Solcloud across the cavern once again. The dragon turns to the sound of the lute and the only light in the cavern. The beast trudged towards the silky bard strumming his lute.
“Stop that annoying screeching!” The dragon breathes in and let’s loose another spray of the vile acidic ichor.
Mayvn quickly dodges the spray; hissing and smoke fill the air as the acid burns the rock wall smooth. Mayvn continues to hum his tune as he does a quick assessment for holes in his silks.
“Whew,” he sighs. “These clothes sure are durable. I will have to refer all my friends of my wizard tailor.” He snickers.
Again, the dragon roars with pain, attacked again from the shadows by one of the unseen opponents.
Beasley’s voice echoes underneath the dragon. “Mayvn, you had better move, he sees you and he likes your gift wrapping!”
The dragon barely slowed down from Beasley’s cut to his rear leg. It roars with anger and continues toward the silk-garbed minstrel. Slowly increasing its advance to a trot then to a run. Nevertheless, yards away from Mayvn another hollow thud filled with the crunch of bone echoes through the underground waterway.
Zander’s voice can be heard in that unearthly tone. “Don’t mess with what you cannot see!”
The dragon falls to the ground, splashing the stagnant water in all directions. The tidal wave covers Zander and Mayvn in moss and mud. Mayvn just stood in awe like a rain soaked scarecrow, wishing he were in some tavern or court singing tales of other adventurers, not being in one himself.
“I sure hope this is all worth it.” Mayvn flaps his soggy arms like a bird, flicking slime and muck everywhere. “I say my lads, why did you leave me up there while you were down here? I could have been killed, or worse, my clothing could have been ruined!” He looks at his dingy silks and sighs.
“Looks like you have now been blessed with adventure.” Solcloud seemed to gleam in the faint torchlight; his armor seemed to still be polished to perfection.
“How did you…?” Mayvn’s jaw dropped to the floor never imagining a knight so quickly after a battle would have time to polish his armor. “Oh never mind,” He pouted. “My clothes are now officially ruined! I will never be allowed back into civilized society again. It will take months soaking in rose oil to remove the smell of this place.”
“Othr has blessed us with great wealth!” The ethereal voice of Zander seems to echo from behind the two. Without another word, the giant appeared before them as a reflection in a pond materializes after the ripples from a stone begin to smooth on the surface, his hammer swinging lifelessly from the leather strap off the bottom of the handle to his massive wrist. Twisting the newly acquired ring on his finger and a wide grin on his face.
“You like that ring, eh Zander?” From the shadows, the small halfling materializes with not even the slightest hint of water or muck on his deep red clothes. “Next time I tell you to hold back while I look ahead…. Listen to me.” He slips his sword back into its scabbard and glares at the giant. Zander looks to the small companion like a dog reprimanded for barking at the neighbors’ children and frightening them.
“Sorry, sir.” He wrings his hands together and looks down in humility. Nearly a blink of an eye later he pirks up and slaps the small halfling on the back, nearly knocking him face first into the stagnant water. “But we sure showed that black beast not to mess with what it can’t see.” The towering clergyman bellows in a howl of laughter.

No comments:

Post a Comment