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 seventh part of the story. If you are just tuning in, you can find the earlier posts here
“This feels a little weird” Alefric said walking behind the broad shoulders of Father Gerrit, and Bryant. Collectively, they were among a small motley of six strong. One half of which, Aelfric had no bearing on. They were part of the squad of rogues who put up a fight against himself and Aelfric, only a few hours earlier. However outside of that he couldn’t get much of a bead on them. They did volunteer to come, at the possible expense of their own lives. So at least they appeared brave.
They hadn’t waited to set out on the return to Barlaeworth. It was important to Bryant that they begin their journey immediately. He used the term ‘Time is of the essence’. Of which the irony, of a man cosigned to a cave for years, was not lost on him.
The night had brought on the extremities of a quickly encroaching winter. The continual icy winds sheared through Aelfric’s thick cloak of black coarse fur, causing him to shake with the deepest of chills. He wondered why the priest hadn’t seen it prudent to bless them with the same protection as he had afforded them on the day’s adventure, which had been much less cold.
The group’s silent march had led them into the bosom of the vast forest that had surrounded the summit. Their footfalls crunched on frozen dirt and grass as they advanced through the towering silhouette of trees. The smell of the sleeping forest was familiar to the young half elf, its musk strong even as it slept half frozen with the changing of the seasons. Yet, that did little to alleviate the feelings of fear that the oppressive darkness brought to their sojourn. He couldn’t help but wish someone would say something, even a cry of alarm at an impending danger. But every word he gave voice to seemed to be avoided or at the very least ignored.
“Stop” Bryant’s deep voice called abruptly. The tone was abrupt and forceful. Everyone came to a halt instantly. Even Father Gerrit obeyed the bandit’s words of caution. “We have entered Orc territory.”
“ORCs?” Aelfric said breathing heavily through his clamped teeth. “Why did you bring us this way?” His hoarse whisper asked.
“Do not worry,” The large man said. The smile on his face was easily heard by his words. “They should be fast asleep. It is really only the scavenger races we should steel ourselves for.”
“Okay, we should be careful as we move forward.” Father Gerrit shrugged. “Let us continue then.”
“Slowly and quietly,” Bryant alerted, as his large arms moved to the tar black sword’s handle that protruded from his back. It was all but invisible to Aelfric save for the sudden glint of metal from the scarce rays of moon light. He could hear the shifting of the soldiers that beset all his sides; as swords, and bows were brought into hand. Aelfric reached for the cold handle of his own weapon as the congregation continued their descent down the sloping forest.
Father Gerrit whispered a prayer on his lips as he followed step with Bryant. His prayers hoping to get a sign of any would be transgressions against their station. He, like Aelfric however was very tired, and he wasn’t sure how long his mind would contain the will to ask of favours from the divine deity whom he held in the highest of respect.
The crunches of their footfalls were muted by their slowed pace, but the squeaking of boiled leather and the ‘clank’ of metal weapons was loud enough to gain the notice of the half-elf. He couldn’t help but think what else could notice the noises. He was well aware that creatures of the night, tended to have better hearing than those that stalked in the light of day. How that applied to the likes of Orcs and goblins he wasn’t exactly sure. He had never been all that studious with, what the humans referred to as ‘The Sub Races’.
After an hour of the stifled progression, however those fearful feelings were stowed to the back of his mind. He had dropped his hand from the sword that hung at his waist, his mind returning to the familiar thoughts of annoyance. When he sat out to earn his knighthood, he never expected he’d be tip toeing through a forest.
Aelfric’s head lifted slightly as the congregation neared a clearing. Trees and grass spread thin giving way to the presence of slick sheets of grey rock. It was as though the edges of a mountain were trying to break free from the earth. Each step they made now thinned the trees little by little. The Ill light of the moon was again providing a luminance that gave at least his eyes some visual composure.
Bryant and Father Gerrit stopped abruptly and without warning. The motley’s massive guide held his left hand aloft, inches above his shoulder. The men who stood around the half-elf were tightening their hold on the weapons, every pair of human eyes fixing on the rocky plain less than 60 feet in front of them. Even the priest had gone somber, sliding an arrow from his quiver.
It took Aelfric longer than he’d like to admit, to notice what had caused the grave stoppage and tense feeling amongst his compatriots. But when his gaze landed on the horror his breath caught in his throat. He gripped the handle of his long sword and pulled it from his scabbard.
Not fifty feet in front of them Aelfric saw an elven woman sprawled over the grass and glittering rocks. Her silky blond hair lay across a bloodied face. Her thin cotton dress was dirtied with mud and her blood. She lay silent and lifeless as two small green creatures tugged at her arms and her hair laughing like children.
“GET AWAY FROM HER!” Aelfric screamed as he broke from the group of thieves. He held his sword in front of him as his heavy footfalls sank into the wet earth. As soon as he neared the grotesque creatures he lunged with the tips of his boots. His long sword slashed through the air disappearing in a slender chord of silver.
“Huh?” Aelfric said. The green forms in front of him flickered against the point of his sword, not unlike a stick cleaving through water. He came to a stop almost instantly, his expression that of complete shock. He looked down at the elven woman who should have been at his feet. But instead a pale withering body lay grinning behind sharpened rows of blackened teeth.
“AELFRIC!” Father Gerrit said as he along with everyone else was freed from the illusionary trap. Of course he was still more than thirty feet away and could only bare witness as the vile creature thrust a bony claw of sharpened digits at the young warrior.
Aelfric attempted to thrust his newly repaired shield in front of the lethal claws. But the decomposing creature’s surprise, bored into his leather armour before his shoulder could even shift its position. Torrents of extreme pain ran up the half-elf’s spine as the fingers stabbed into his warm flesh.
Father Gerrit, gripped his sturdy long bow, notching an arrow into its string. A prayer in Kaynic was whispered from his lips as he focused his aim on the creature slowly rising from the ground. A chorus of gasps could be heard from the former thieves behind him. He took a breath as the monster tossed poor Aelfric to the ground. He let go of the arrow before he really registered what it was that confronted them.
There was a selective grasp as the pale figure rose fully and turned to face the band of warriors. It stood tall and obscenely thin, as though a dwarf was stretched long ways. Its flesh was as pale as snow, but sunken and shrank against its bones. Its eyes were emblazoned with a green fire that illuminated the neat almond eye sockets, its face framed by thin dregs of wavy hair.
It seemed unaffected by the arrow that pierced through its shoulder as its abnormally large mouth formed a grin of lavender lips. “So many have come..” The voice said. “so many will die” Its cackle vibrated its fragile throat, like an old woman on her deathbed.
“Your rest has not been earned but it will come.” The Slavarian priest said as he pulled another arrow from his quiver. Bryant also felt the need to showcase his metal, pulling his heavy sword from his back. The four men who stood behind them crept forward, nearing closer to the larger warriors.
“That is something to say, but it will not slow your bleeding, priest.” The female creature shrieked, her small feet left the ground, as she lunged her body towards the warriors. The dreadful claws cleaving through the air as her light body seemed to fly towards them.
Bryant tightened his grip on the handle of his sword, preparing for the clash with the supernatural creature. Gerrit let loose another arrow its point easily sinking into her thigh’s sickly flesh– yet not stopping her movement in the slightest. A second arrow was released from behind the two men. It found her just as easily, however easily passing through the nape of her serpentine neck.
“Gah!” Bryant exclaimed as his large blade caught the claws inches from his face. “Pray for your lives human” The creature hissed between its rotting teeth. Bryant brought his massive head forwards slamming it into the nose of the creature, in a satisfying crunch.
The necrotized woman, stepped backwards, hissing at the sudden pain. Green syrup ran from her nostrils. As her eyes stared murder at the large rogue
“Check on Aelfric,” Bryant addressed Gerrit, “we will deal with this… thing.”
Father Gerrit nodded at the brave man as he tucked the bow over his shoulder and dashed towards his companion. He could only pray for success through his clinched teeth. Even he was at a loss for the manner of creature had confronted them. But if what Bryant said was true the noise of their battle could bring more combatants out of the wood work. But before that he needed to check on the child-warrior.
He bent down at where Aelfric laid, small rivulets of blood streamed down the puncture wounds in his armour, staining the leather with blackened trails. He shook his head in despair, tendrils of the priest’s white hair falling across his stout jaw. Pulling a leather glove from his hand, he touched his companion’s neck looking for the familiar throbbing of a heart. As he expected it was distant and slow. The kid had already lost a lot of blood, and if he didn’t act soon the heart would stop completely.
Father Gerrit freed an arrow shaped silver pendant from his neck. Clasping it in his hands he placed it on the Aelfric’s forehead. “Quaeso, me adiuvant, cum in hoc tempore,” the priest began whispering his prayer in the tongue of the church. Even before he finished the first lines, his hand grew warm with a lemon aura. The energy passed between his hands and the half-elf’s flesh knitting his wounds almost instantly.
“Quaero abs te curare exercituum” Gerrit said, as the young warrior coughed resituating from near death. A dim smile fell over the priest as he saw the piercing elven eyes flash open with a start.
“What… what was that thing…” Aelfric said his voice hoarse and cracking.
“Later.” Gerrit said, turning from Aelfric as soon as he saw that the healing had saved his life. His attention had returned to the threat at large. The pale animated corpse that was engaged with Bryant and the other lads who had been brave enough to make the journey.
“You cannot kill what is already dead” The pale face spat, as her long sharpened fingers tore into the air once more, in a vicious speed.
“Well do not blame us for trying!” Bryant spat, his massive sword lancing through the air to catch the claw. Sparks briefly lit the night air as the weapons clashed. And arrow to the creature’s neck sunk into dead flesh and brought green blood running down her narrow shoulders.
“I will enjoy devouring your bones.” She said as she took a step back and thrust her claws low. Bryant attempted to bring his sword down to match her, but he knew his limit, before the claws struck, slamming into his leather armour. He fell from his feet, spatters of blood trailing his fall.
“DIE!” A blond brigand shouted as she thrust the point of a rusted short sword into the creature’s side. The blade found little resistance as it slid through the decaying body. More of the emerald slime splashing against the hilt of her sword.
“Oh you first, please.” The creature moaned. It spun with its waist letting the sword slide further into its body. Her left claw swung with her. The sharpened bone slashed into the lad’s warm neck. The dreadful claws rending the flesh like a knife through jelly.
“ROCHELLE!” Another of the brigands roared. He launched his body at the animated corpse his hand axe swung from overhead to meet the creature’s tawny shoulder.
A look of pain ran over the pale corpse’s features as the axe cut through the decaying flesh, clefting the shoulder and the arm with it, in the spray of vile green blood.
“You!” She hissed, turning to face the bald youth with the green marred hand axe. She thrust her remaining claw towards the young man’s waiting stomach. Her face contorted in anger and fury.
The claw crackled as it struck an unseen force. Yellow energy snapped against her remaining arm, the energy outlining a small disc floating less than a foot in front of the brigand’s large stomach. She reared forward slamming her head into the stocky youth’s forehead taking the boy off his feet.
“I was thinking I’d have to come get you priest.” The corpse said turning her attention to the man and half elf that had stopped less than ten feet from where she stood surrounded by fallen bodies. “And it looks like you went ahead and ruined one of my meals. I suppose I will have to kill him all over again.”