I happen to be a writer, and on occasion I like to post Fiction stories for my readers to check out. Sometimes these stories are just random ideas. Other times they are stories I wrote and the contract fell through so they are just gathering dust. Its up to you to figure out which is which.
This particular Short story is called Truth and Consequences .It involves two of my more abrasive dungeons and dragons characters going on an adventure together. The world and setting of this story comes from Josh Weekley. If you you enjoy the setting of Braeton and the tapestry of the pseudo historical world, he’s written a novel set in the same world called ‘Crown of the Dwarf King’. Check it out on Lulu.com.
This is the fourth part of the story. If you are just tuning in, you can find the earlier posts here.
“BY THE HOST!” Gerrit yelled as he jumped to his feet. The crimson and gold vestment robes twirled through the frigid air. His massive body lunged towards the young half elf. His lumber sized arm slammed into Aelfric’s chest. The lordling’s tough leather armor made a loud slap as the bandaged forearm impacted him. The thin warrior lost his footing without resistance, tumbling hard to the rocky ground in front of the angered priest.
“What is wrong with you?” Father Gerrit asked, his lock shock of white hair rolling across his rigid face. He remained on his haunches, sitting low to the stony ground. His voice dropped the tinge of anger almost as soon as it had come. “If you wish to die, this is not the place. You might follow your horse.”
Aelfric vivid blue eyes opened with anger. His lithe hands gripped at the rocks balling his hands into round fists. “No,” He began, his pale face turning crimson with anger. A feeling of focus suddenly struck his head without warning. His jaw tensed and his narrow lips curved downwards. “I can’t let you go alone.” He looked past the rigid features of the priest and to the arrows impacting rock in front of him. His left hand slipped to his hip. His hand griped the bronzed hilt of his short sword. “These men are not worth my fear. I will not fail you father.”
Aelfric leaped to his feet in a flutter of motion. His left hand had pulled the wooden shield from his back in that same instant. The round buckler pressed against his chest. Arrows thudded against the sandy husk. The force jarred his forearm and chin.
The warrior lifted his head towards the nexus of arrows that seemed to be endless. “You will fall this day!” He shouted, in taunt of confidence towards the cave. A notion that even held Gerrit perplexed. The keen blade of Aelfric’s long sword grinded against the scabbard as it came free. He hefted the heavy blade towards the onslaught of arrows. The points battering against his shield and armor like an infernal hail. He urged his narrow body forward and lunged into a run. His eyes large and his mouth twisted with determination.
Gerrit stood up a lot slower. Tucking the long onyx bow over his shoulder his steely eyes centered on Aelfric whose body was already transforming into a silhouette against the dark night. His right hand moved in a flourish. His nimble fingers waving like a puppet master would. “Ilunni on teppes.” He whispered in a private prayer. His cold eyes flashed a silver light for only an instant. Then he urged his own body into a heavy sprint.
“Wait up!” Gerrit shouted after the young fighter. His hand gripped the handle of his morning star pulling it from his belt. His heavy foot falls sounded like thunderclaps against the rock. If there was one part of battle he wasn’t keen on. It was definitely the rush forward. It’s why he had spent the gold on a bow in the first place.
Aelfric ran forward with a reckless abandon that was usually limited to northern barbarians. The arrows continued to fly towards him at a rapid pace. Many of the agile shafts slammed into his chestnut armor and wooden shield. But strangely none of the blistering arrows seemed to penetrate the thick leather armor that clung to his narrow body. He wasn’t thinking about that very fact as he ran. If he did he may have noticed the glow of violet that sheened against his body like glass.
As he neared the dark maul that opened from the face of the rock, the arrows began to thin. Heavy foot falls echoed across cold rock obfuscated by deep shadows of the cave’s entrance. Aelfric didn’t slow his sprint. The confidence that over took his thoughts of safety pushed him on. The enemies waited for him just inside the door. And he was ready to act like a warrior. He would see that the brigands paid for their crimes with the edge of his blade.
Gerrit cursed between breaths as Aelfric disappeared into the onyx wall of shadows that beckoned the interior of the cave. The protective cantrips he weaved on the half-elf would not be sustained if he could not keep in eye contact with the young lad. And he was quite sure, that a group of ten fighting men, wouldn’t break a sweat with the boy on his own. He wasn’t even sure how well he’d fair with those odds. It would be up to the Host and his avatar Saint to help him through the day he feared.
The cave was ill lighted with the orange tones of candles flickering against the rough stone walls and floor. Alefric’s elven eyes adjusted instantly, needing little light amongst the stark shadows.
The men who confronted him were slowly backing up from the entrance. Their grime covered faces turned to look at the warrior with a mix of fear and anger. They wore little in the way of protection. Some had well-worn boiled leather; and others had thicker leather breast plates. None of the collection looked like fighting men. Only a motley of scared beggars, and peasants. Collectively they didn’t seem to have much in common aside from their unshaved mottled faces. Some looked built strong, with square shoulders and short clipped hair. Others were much thinner, with a malnourished look of them. They were not the collective gang, that the adventurers were told to expect.
Four of the men dropped their bows to the ground. The Wood cracking as the arms fell against the cold floor. In that next instant their hands grabbed at the handles of their swords pulling them free from scabbards.
Aelfric’s run came to a stop. His feet crunched against the slick earthen rock. He swung his long sword in a forwards arc. His left leg slid towards his adversaries for balance. “I do not wish to hurt you.” He managed.
The brigands didn’t say a word. Their small round eyes only looked at the half-elf with their outstretched swords. The weapons they presented to his face, were warped and bent, some with the cobalt freckles of rust. The state of their weapons did little to subdue their confidence. Leaping forwards they moved with a lethal speed. Their bodies scattering apart as the silvery swords thrust towards the half-elf.
Aelfric drew his sword in a silvery uppercut catching the first blade on the blunt of his sword. He thrust his beaten buckler at a second catching the blade on the edge of its domain. It was the third that slammed its blade into the back of his tough leather armor taking him off his feet. But not before a fourth had managed to slice a glowing red wound across his cheek.
He fell to the ground like a sack of potatoes. His shoulder taking the brunt of the impact. The shield and sword both clattered against the cold rock not a heartbeat later. His body began to throb in new pain. His wound, a narrow sliver or crimson, began to leak sending lines of blood down the shallow of his cheeks. Its sting went unnoticed to the blunt damage of the rocky floor. He grunted as he turned pressing all his weight to his chest. It seemed to make the breathing a little easier.
Aelfric gripped the icy ground. With more effort than he predicted he slowly began to raise himself. His body felt like it was on fire. He only managed to struggle to his knees when a massive foot slammed into his ribs. The report echoed off the hard stony caprice. The half-elf gave little resistance, his body crashing once again to the unrelenting cave floor. “Damnit.” He growled.
“We should kill him now.” A large man asked, his meaty hands relaxed against his bare chest. His dark saucer-like eyes peered down at the warrior still trying to return to his feet.
“We have to be smart about this.” A second said, his slender fingers combing through his over grown mane of bright red. “His things are to fine to be a common mercenary.”
“Also I don’t see a bow with him. Didn’t the attacker have a bow?” A third asked, his sizeable belly stretching the thin boiled leather armour to its limits.
“One of your attackers did yes.” Father Gerrit’s voice spoke from the shadows.
The men turned their heads from the fallen warrior. Each of their grimy faces turned in opposing directions, trying in vain to find the source of the sudden voice. Yet not a single eye could find the source of the strangely accented voice.
“Where is he?” The shortest of the collected fighters asked. His nimble hand tugged at his dingy blond beard. “Is it darker in here than it’s supposed to be?” He asked, his voice shaking.
“Quiet,” The largest of the squad snapped. He slapped the red haired brigand with his large mitt of a hand. “He’ll come to face us, or we’ll just have some fun with his friend here.”
“I was hoping to give you a chance to look inside yourself for purity.” Gerrit spoke. The squeaking of a pulled bow string seemed to be amplified in the still of the cave. “You stopped if momentarily from killing Aelfric, which gives me hope.”
“COME OUT AND DIE!” A voice shouted from beyond Gerrit’s visual range. A single arrow shot over the heads of the men before disappearing into ebb of shadow. Gerrit’s voice let out a bassy grunt as he let his own arrow free. A slender wooden shaft slipped through the shadows. The arrow blurred into a brassy chord traveling the twenty feet in the blink of an eye.
A solitary grunt splintered from the rocky walls as one of the rogues who still held onto his bow dropped to the ground. His three compatriots turned their heads like the lashing of whips. “Dennis!” stringy bearded fighter shouted. His large blue eyes grew to the size of dinner plates. He could see the brown slender of wood lodged deep into the man’s shoulder. The brown shaft dripping with blood. Each of those four
brigards who had attacked Aelfric gripped their swords. Their heads twisted towards the ebb of darkness that had produced the arrow. Each face was marred with the blush of anger, tensed scowls painted over savage faces. The blond who stood a head taller than any of the others let out a howl of anger, his entire body shook with ferocity as his eyes saw the darkness fading from the eastern wall.
The darkness shed from the husky priest like water crashing against a bulkhead. The small cantrip he had weaved had a domain he had trouble following. And that simple attack shattered the magicks like glass. His strange white and black hair lay limply down his shoulders. An arrow shaft sat imbedded against the tough leather of his armor penetrating his left breast. The way he stood silent with a wizened face it was hard to tell if the arrow had pierced his flesh.
The large hairless rogue saw the priest the moment he had turned his head, moving before his compatriots could act. His large trunk like legs pushed his massive body towards the silent priest. His barks of anger thundered behind him as he rushed towards Gerrit. His meaty hands held to the large bastard that was lofted over his head. How the man managed to keep balance and the sword held such as it was seemed a feat of itself.
Gerrit dropped his bow with a clatter. His left hand moved with a skillful repose as his fingers gripped the wooden stub of the Bulawa mace that hung from his belt. In the precious three heartbeats he pulled the ragmuffin weapon in front of his body. The bare pear shaped head posed just in front of the holyman. Its beaten and pulpy surface exemplified a lot of use. Though it was hard to see how such a maligned weapon could survive the direct conflict of the massive blade that cleaved the air with savage ferocity.
“YOU BASTARD!” The large man shouted as he brought the massive three foot tall blade in a downward arc. The weight of the blade, did most of the work only impressive when the strength of bald barbarian added to the dreadful speed.
Gerrit, had little time to prepare himself for the assault. He stepped back on his left leg. His arm moved quick, urging the battered mace to its side to meet the terrific blade in a bracken smear of speed. His body turned to the right as the blade crashed against the wooden club.
The clash of the two weapons ran through the priest’s body like a powerful shove. Gerrit feet left the ground with little resistance. His back slammed into the cold rocky floor, with a force that shook the bones beneath his flesh.
“That is well placed blow.” Gerrit said as he attempted to shake his dizzied head. “You would be quite the foe.”
“I AM YOUR FOE!” The large man spat as he whirled the massive blade over his head. His left foot slammed hard into the rocky floor as he battled the weight of his weapon. The massive sword disappeared in a silvery swirl of speed. The shirtless rogue twisted his body like a dancer. Using his own weight to direct the frenzied blade. Gerrit could only look up in terror as the massive blade cleaved through the space that separated him from the enraged rogue. The dreadful blade moved with an unnatural speed towards his skull.
There were a few explicit turns of phrase that came to the surface of Gerrit’s mind in that instant. Unfortunately he didn’t have the time to utter even one of them.