Rebirth Online World

Creating, Telling, Sharing Dreams

How to Survive a Summoning 101

Chapter 011 - Surviving Salrest Nights


“Silent night; Dead moon.

Dark lights; Fire hearts.

Eyes like swords; Touch of poison.

Wine soothes; remembers all.

Your tongue; Invites end.

Plunge your soul; deep within me.”

 

                  – Urasin Dak’hal, Troubled Nights, Poetry from Salrest.


 

 The steel was cold, colder than ice. The dim moon framed the black figure of the woman standing over me. The dark hood she wore cast a deep shadow on her face.

“Listen well”. voice like falling leaves drifted down to my ears as I clenched my hands, trying to gather the sheets to throw at her.

 

“None of that.” she rasped as the blade scraped across my throat, sending a shiver down my spine.

“The male whores are on the opposite side of the street”. I spoke slowly, trying to gain some time, “Besides, I don’t think they allow knife-play”.

Clouds swallowed the moon, plunging it into darkness. Green eyes the colour of leaves stared back at me from under the cowl, unwavering.

Poking sharply with the blade, the intruder continued tracing patterns across my adam’s apple. The cold metal caressed my skin, like playing with a dear lover.

Arching her back, the tight black clothes she wore rippled with her fluid movements. The shadowy moonlight had thrown the room into bizarre darkness, hiding more than it showed.

“Finding you was difficult, Eridan”, the woman purred like a cat, the sound playing through the room her blade now hovering near my heart.

“And why were you searching? I am not that handsome”, I managed to ask while I channeled AP to my leather gloves.

“I can see the Voice swirl about you”, she pressed the knife harder at my throat, her hand grasping my wrist.

The channeled AP changed its course and traveled up the woman’s arm. More like she sucked it in.

Moaning, the woman’s back shivered with obvious pleasure. “I wanted to see the person who disgraced me like some common whore”.

What? More sexual harassment complaints? I need to cut down on my drinking.

“I don’t remember you”. I said, “I’d remember if I did a woman with a knife fetish like you”.

She drew back her cowl. Golden hair dropped from her hood, settling on her black leather clad shoulders. Face like a glass doll looked down at me, a cruel smile curling up her thin lips. A black band glistened across her slender throat.

“I see you are in high-spirits. Came to thank me?” I asked the elf-girl who I had rescued back in the forest.

Her pointed ears shook as her face took on a crimson tinge. Colours played well in her bisque doll- like face, even in the dim light.

“Thank you? For what?” she snarled, raising the knife violently, “You treated me like a two-bit whore, playing with my pride. You marked my body with disgrace!”

I took the split second chance. Her passioned speech had left her fuming and more importantly, her knife away from me. I jumped towards her, my hand aiming for her throat. She had lightning fast reflexes. She tried to roll away but caught her legs against the bedside table.

As she fell with a thud, I kicked her hand—the knife went skittering away in the dark. I mounted her while putting throttling her slender throat with my hand. She tried to shake me off but I was pinning her hip down with my own, the weight too much for her slender body to bear.

Her slender throat went red with the pressure from my hand. Spots crept up her fair nape, adding a tinge of rouge to her bisque-doll face. Her smooth skin sent faint coolness up my fingers, gradually getting warm.

“I didn’t rape you. I killed the monster that--was trying to eat you-- the other men did that to you”, I said while struggling to keep her pinned down.

I immediately sprang to the side— a sharp blade of wind gouged the wall behind me.

“No, you did something far more.Something far more criminal”, she got up from her position, rubbing her bruised neck, “Something you must answer for”.

She dipped her hands to her thighs and drew out two curved daggers; one on each hand.

Tsk. Thirst was on the other side of the room.

Drawing up like a stalking cat, her daggers flashed in moonlight. Magic swirled about her, faint greenish particles surrounding her in a vortex. She then sprang at me, the daggers moving in a blur, drawing silvery arcs in the air.

Her leaping form rebounded with a sharp chink as I parried her daggers with my sword. I had rolled away to where it was and gripped it behind my back. The woman landed on her haunches with feline grace and stared back at me. Deep green eyes bore into mine, like a tiger stalking its prey.

I pressed the sword to her breast, the point digging in her tight clothes. I spoke slowly,  “I’ll blow out your heart. I can use this sword as a conduit”.

The woman glared back at me, her gaze skittish as she examined my form,but she didn’t find an opening. I sent a faint wave of AP down the blade into her body. She shivered as the AP crept under the shirt and found her naked skin, making it buzz with static. I was startled as I could feel something harden with the flowing electricity.

“So…I am sorry I saw you naked. It was unavoidable since you didn’t have clothes on”, I looked at her and said slowly, She must be another noble to get skittish about this.

“Eh? Why would I mind if you saw me without clothes?” she looked at me, her eyes widening.

“Aren’t you here to kill me because you thought I raped you?”. I questioned uneasily, What the hell is…

“No. Why would I do that? One shouldn’t kill just because of that”.

“Wait what?”

“Yes, yes, I know. Humankin women are stupid. They think letting someone use their body is unacceptable…but we Elves know better. After all, if we live a long long time, we will commune with many”. As  she spoke, her body  completely relaxed, her posture loose and devoid of any tension.

“So why did you—?” she stood up, making me cut myself off.

She ran her fingers through her shoulder length hair. The soft moonlight caressed her well defined curves, the light glistening off her skin.

“You dare ask that?” she shouted, going red in the face, “You cut off my hair like a common whore!”

Dafuq? Hair? What?

The girl was hysteric by now, “You chopped it off! All of it! Who gave you permission! You ripped at it like I was your pleasure slave!”

“What I am asking is—”

“You wont ask anything, you mongrel. You have to pay for binding me!”

“Yes how did that happen?”

Just when the woman was about to gesticulate something, the glass in the window broke and the whoosh of something cutting through air immediately followed. A vibrating sound joined the shatter of falling glass. A short wooden stub embedded itself a few inches from where I was.

A bolt had pierced the wooden floor, still vibrating from impact. The remaining glass shattered as another arrow shot through it, embedding itself in the wooden wall opposite the circular window.

“I forgot…there are assassins all around”, the woman immediately rolled under the bed, her green eyes peering at me from the dark.

“You brought assassins?” I sprang back to the opposite corner of the room, hoping the arrows wouldn’t reach it.

“No, not me. There were assassins on the roof top when I came. I had to kill a few to make my way here”.

Another arrow smashed the glass bottle of the Shivang liquor. The explosion had sent pungent liquid all over the room.

“Wh-why is there Khaginar wine here? don’t tell me that…you drink this?” the woman sounded aghast, “How… How can you drink something like that?”

“Shut up, mom”.

Two more arrows thudded into the floor and--exploded, sending thick fumes bellowing up from the shafts.

This can’t be good.

I rolled quick to where the table was. Thick Shivang liquor dripped down the edges of the table. The strong aroma of it—no I cant get sleepy now.

I flipped the table upwards. One more arrow found its mark and bored into the wood. That was too close. Holding the table up by its legs, I hid behind it. The woman shuffled under the bed, chinks of daggers scraping against each other reached my ears. Smoke slowly filled the room.

“Eridan…is it true that you like doing elf twins with a ragged tree branch?” she asked.

The. Rumors. Are. Unsettling.

I charged at the window, the table held aloft, and crashed through the glass as more arrows thudded into it. Despite the thick wood, the metal arrowheads jutted out from its underside.

I landed with a tremendous crash on the cobbled street, raining down glass shards and broken arrow shafts. I rolled to avoid hurting myself—there! the corner!

The table burst into splinters with a loud bang as one of the arrowheads exploded, sending a sleeping Kitara yowling for cover. The explosion wasn’t very big— just big enough to blast apart organs if they embed in your flesh.

A patch of darkness flashed against the moonlight as another shape jumped out the window; landing on its limbs like a cat. With movement faster than a cobra, silver light swept an arc through the night. The woman sent the arrows aimed at her clattering in the dark. Her daggers rang with shrill cries at the impact.

This woman—so fast!

I retrieved Thirst from the corner I had thrown it in when I fell. I couldn’t have rolled with the long blade. The woman ran towards the corner I was in, her hands pushing me away to make space.

“Find your own goddamned corner!” I snarled at her, “Also, do you know these guys?”

“Nay. I’d be ashamed if I knew people with such sub-par skills”, she answered, peering from under the shadow, trying to find the assailants.

Sub-par? They almost killed me!

“Don’t move, humankin.” she touched her lips briefly, shushing me, before taking out a red stone somewhere from her clothes, “You will die if the arrows hit you. I need you alive”.

She threw the stone far up in the sky and then reversed the grip on her daggers. The stone exploded in the sky, sending blinding light streaking everywhere. For a moment, it was as if daylight illuminated the narrow alleyway.

Fuck! my eyes! I clutched at my eyes, red lightning sending spikes of pain into my head.

I heard a light thud as she jumped up from my side. Thud! thud! thud! Dull sounds rang out from every direction. Faint groans filled the alleyways, something heavy fell a few feet from me. Sounds of arrows whistling through the cool night air brought shivers down my spine. Deep darkness spread before me; my vision hadn’t yet adjusted after the flashbang.

Something landed beside me with a soft thump. I swung my blade in alarm—only to be deflected violently. The sword clanged on the stone wall at my back.

“Simmer down, human”, the voice of falling leaves called out.

My eyes finally adjusted to the dark alley. Arrows littered the narrow path, some had their shafts jutting out from doors and windows lining the street. A man lay spread-eagle a few feet from me, his neck bent at an impossible angle.

“Any more?” I asked the woman beside me.

“Nay, killed all the three” she responded, wiping her daggers with a piece of torn cloth—probably from one of the victims,  a faint smile colouring her response,“Idiots were sitting like blind krumpers, shooting blindly”.

I crawled towards the man and dragged him by his ankles to where we were sitting. His clothes were wet with the pool of blood that had quickly formed under him. I stripped his shoes and what little gear he had—leather, best for running in speed.

The man’s eyes stared at the cold moon. I closed his bewildered eyes, shivering a little at the sight of neatly slit throat leaking blood. I took his shoes and leather gear. Running without a shoe isn’t really feasible in these medieval streets rife with pebbles. Fuck. The shoes are a bit too big! But this had to do for now.

Shouts and whispers arose from the houses around us. People were waking up. If we stayed here, the whorehouse might get caught in the crossfire. Can’t let that happen.

I got up. The woman’s eyes were tracking me. Red clouds threw the world into darkness. Far away, on high ground, the Citadel of Salrest glowed orange with Ker’dal lights.

An arrow pierced the air like a whip, burying itself into the door behind me. I ran towards the low compound walls of the whorehouse in front of me, jumping up, propped myself on the wall with my hand.

The men groaning inside the room were startled when I jumped on their balcony. Naked fat men stared at me, frozen in mid of their activity.

“Room Service.” I declared while grabbing the railing and climbing upwards onto the roof.

Dark human shapes loomed in the distance, short blades shining in their hands. I started running towards them, jumping from rooftop to rooftop.

Arrows sliced the air, tracing my footsteps. The assassins near me slunk away, running. I jumped on a slanted roof, barely keeping my balance. Stumbling, I managed to recover and maintain my pace.

Assassins ran on parallel rooftops, aiming their crossbows at me.

Faster.

I jumped from one roof to another. I looked down, spotting people in black clothes sprinting on the streets underneath me. One of them aimed a crossbow at me.

Faster.

A gust of wind slammed into my running feet— the balcony! I crashed into a small balcony. Garden pots smashed under me, sending a small dog like creature barking. The small animal growled at me, trying to defend its home.

A black bolt sprouted from the animal’s head. I did a back-flip like a diver, landing on the streets underneath. The bolt exploded, sending bits of dog everywhere. Black blood rained from the skies.

Two men jumped in front of me, drawing their daggers silently. Black hoods covered their faces. The daggers drew silvery arcs in the air as they stabbed it, aiming for my vitals. I parried the first one and kicked at the other’s hands. The assassin bent at an impossible angle—my kick whooshed through empty air.

I spat fire in their direction. The bright flames blinded them momentarily. My sword chopped into the haunches of one, curving upwards. The man fell like gutted fish. When I whirled around, the other one had already caught fire. He wailed loudly, trying to put out the flames eating at his body. The man rolled on the ground but the ravenous flames didn’t relent. He exploded into bits of gore and meat as the fire found its way to his explosive arrowheads.

I got thrown into the street behind me with the force of the explosion. Thirst went clattering away from my hands. I needed to use the black arm!

Suddenly, groans sounded all above me. Reach, reach- I used a strong vine growing on the walls of a house to climb back into the next roof. Cold air whipped at me as I climbed, sending shivers down my spine.

The woman from before stood surrounded by five assassins. They pointed their crossbows and daggers at her. The world plunged into darkness again and the woman smiled. Her daggers danced in the shadows, the metal fangs finding its way into a man’s chest. She used the twin holds of her daggers as a fulcrum and jumped, her feet above her, hands holding onto the blade.

Her feet spun in a furious dance overhead—two assassins were thrown backwards as the kick connected. Thwack! A crossbow loosed its bolts at her. She dipped downwards, dropping to the other side of the body of the man she had stabbed. Arrows sunk onto the man’s corpse with a soft thump.

The two assassins who had fallen down rushed towards her, their daggers a blur. She pulled at her blades stabbed deep into the man’s torso—the daggers didn’t budge. They had snagged into the man’s chainmail undershirt.

The other assassins readied their crossbows. I charged at them, concentrating AP on my blade. The blade sizzled in the crisp night air, scattering sparks everywhere. The assassin sprang back to avoid my lunge and then tripped on the raised ledge, falling to the ground. His screams echoed as he tumbled backwards into the gap between streets.

“Stop the flames, you fool. I can’t see”, the woman’s voice rang out to my side.

I extinguished the red glow from the blade as a few more arrows cut the air beside me. The form of the woman on the other side flowed like a snake, striking at her opponents. Her swift kick connected with one’s knee—a sharp cracking  sound split the air. The assassin lost balance and stumbled. The other one took the chance and stabbed at her. She whirled around, the blade missing her by a hair’s breadth. Her petite fists shot out as the man’s jaws crumpled with a wet sound.

The assassin I was fighting closed in on me, his body moving in strange rhythm. He danced around me, holding the small crossbow in one hand and a curved dagger with the other. My muscles tightened, I gripped my sword harder. I kicked a piece of wood that lay by my feet—the assassin’s eyes trained to track fast movement immediately followed the projectile. With a dull thump, the wood slammed against his weapons as he raised them defensively—that’s when he realized his mistake. By then, my sword had already slashed against his torso. Tch! Not a fatal wound—his light chainmail undershirt  deflected the blow.

Kill.

The crisp night air grew in clarity. The wind swirled and snaked around the rooftops, raising small dust devils.

Take.

I could smell the seeping blood, fear as tangible as thick soup. The terror smelled like spoilt cheese, sharp and sweet.

Deny.

The world grew slower. The man looked at me for an eternity, air hanging as if time itself had congealed like drying blood.

A black face opened up before me. No, the black mask. I found myself face to face with the assassin, as if a few moments had slipped away. Just what…? The whites of his eyes stared back from the hollow of the mask. My blade had sunk into his torso, piercing through to the other side. Some of his spine had torn off and now slid loosely along my blade.  Thick blood dripped from the wound, sliding down the blade, creating a small pool between us. Entrails slipped out of him, hanging loosely.

Heh. Weak.

I tried to rip off his mask. It was stuck to his face. Come off! It wouldn’t. I tore it off his face. The mask seemed melded to his skin. The face came off in bits and strips of skin and meat. Burn tissues were covering the rest of the face.

I let the body drop. Shaking my blade, the piece of mashed vertebrae went skittering away somewhere.

I heard a strange gurgling sound at my right. The woman was standing, wiping her daggers. She was drenched in blood, the red staining her beautiful skin.

So beautiful…like a goddess of death.

A savage grin crept up my lips. Her, I want her. I want to rip off her clothes and take her right here. I want to fuck her between our fallen enemies, their blood colouring our skins.

She looked at me, her blades stopped moving.

A growl escaped my throat. She—between my legs…begging. I want to take her, break her by force.

Her eyes widened, as if in alarm. Heh, yes. I want to hear you scream…it won’t be fun without it.

She pulled up the crossbow she had taken from one of the fallen. She aimed and shot it at me in one continuous, fluid motion.

So slow.

I swerved my head to the side, the bolt flew past me—it sliced the air like a whip. The fletching cut a line of fire across my cheek. The heady smell of blood welling from the wound, wafted up.

Something scrambled behind me. I turned around to see the crossbow bolt lodged between the throat of a sixth assailant that had come up, unknown to me. The man fell on his face. The bolt had pierced through his neck, the small metallic tip shining in the moonlight, blood dripping down the shaft.

He contorted and convulsed in a strange way. His spine bent in peculiar fashion as if he was begging to some strange god. His fingers clenched themselves, convulsing. Blood created a pool under him, his movement making strange smudges across the rooftop, like a piece of abstract art.

“Korari Mountain Scon poison.” the woman spoke while looking at the man. “The nerves and muscles should be on fire, without any controls.”

By now, the man had died. His form frozen into a final contortion, thick foam dripping from his mouth.

I looked at her again. Filtered moonlight illuminated her shadowy form.

“None of that”, she raised her crossbow again. “Touch me and you won’t have a dick”.

I took a deep breath. The night air was cool and crisp with smell of iron. Then there was shit. The men we killed had voided their bowels after death. Heh, The novels never mention the shit they put out after dying.

“I thought you didn’t kill anyone for that?” I asked, finally calming myself. What was I thinking back then? It was—a haze.

“It wouldn’t kill you”, she came towards me, stalking like a cat, “Besides, to touch me… anyone but you”.

 

The stench of urine and shit drifted through the air. More dark shapes jumped on the rooftops in the distance. I sighed and started running again, this time towards the old decrepit bell tower near the Citadel.

The night was still young. The scent of blood hung in air, begging for more.

This is going to be a long night.

~~~~

The port warehouse filled with screams of dying men. The woman danced like a cat between figures of men. Streaks of red stained the floor. Droplets of blood hung in air like dust motes, sprinkled up by her slashes.

Thud! Two more men fell, their necks sporting a gooey crimson smile. Her daggers glinted in the scant light through the grilled windows, flashing like a beast’s claws.

An assassin grunted as my sword chopped into his wrists. sending his hands flying, still clutching the bastard’s daggers. I slipped my sword into his flanks, his chainmail parting with a yank. Dark liquid stained his torso as he crumpled. The AP charge had burst out a few of his internal organs. An hour or more had passed, yet we were still only halfway to the tower.

“Like I said, why are you following me?” I asked the woman who was extracting the dagger stuck in the eye of a victim.

“Because I want you”,she said while she tore out a bloody eyeball stuck to the dagger.

“Are you in love with me?”

“Utaru forbid….!” she was disgusted enough to shiver.

A long night indeed.

Dawn was still a few hours away. We made our way slowly, creeping along the alleys. Bodies sprawled in strange shapes marked our passage. bolts split the air above us as we ran.

The roof—I clambered up the side of an old building to reach it. The narrow streets of Salrest would be suicide for evasion.

Run—we raced across the rooftops, blood rushing in my ears. Sweat slicked my palms. I tightened my grip. An arrow whistled past me, tracing towards the woman. She ducked, the arrow missing her and hitting an assassin opposite her.

The assassins had cornered us, surrounding us from all angles. They lifted their crossbows in unison—Thwack! The bolt streaked through the air, deadly poison at its tip.

The quarrel missed, sailing away into the distance. Shit—the hay covered roof rose to meet us. The woman and I had jumped in sync, at a gap between the roofs. We fell on the roof, blowing up hay and other debris—then crashed through it.

Crash!—our bodies hit an earthen floor, flinging up Serrad droppings. There were people inside the Serrad stables. A well dressed woman was spread across the hay. Two sturdy looking men were thrusting into her from opposite ends as she moaned in pleasure.

Dafuq? Isn’t that Lady Solveria from the Citadel? The men and the noble lady stood stock still, forgetting to do what they were doing. Their expressions were frozen in horror when they noticed the two of us staring at them.

“The…the…” Lady Solveria fumbled, frantically trying to reach for her discarded corset. The men pulled up the pants gathered at their feet.

“Good Evening, my lady” I drawled while looking for the assassins above us, “I trust you are in good health?”

I knew her from the flashy charity work she did outside the Citadel walls.

Neither of the men was her husband. Stable boy-sex on hay fetish existed here too?

Lady Solveria didn’t have a chance to answer as a hail of bolts rained down from above—I jumped back from the hole that had opened up in the roof when we fell.

Bolts tore through them, ripping apart everything as they went. They died even before the poison took hold, bolts sprouting from their bodies—they looked like porcupines. The bolts pinned them to the floor, dark stains pushing through the dirt, creating rivulets.

One stable boy groaned, reaching out his hands towards us—it tumbled to the ground as an assassin jumped through the hole and landed on him, slashing.

Fuck! These—

assassins crowded the doorway, surrounding us again. The yellow glow of the Faelings inside the stable highlighted their forms, the weapons shining.

Sweat trickled down my temples. The masked leader came forward, shadows stretching in impossible contortions across the walls—is this the end? Even the black hand can’t stave off the poison if so many of these hit…

I kicked the spade leaned against a wood beam near me, at the same time ducking behind it. Arrows hit the spade flying towards them—thud! It broke into splinters.

With a deep heave, I set fire to the hay near us. The usually inirritable Serrads went wild when the flames caught. Out of fear for their lives, they charged toward the only exit. I could see the elf-woman curl up as the sharp clawed hooves raced over her, shrill cries filling the small room. Bolts thudded into the Serrads, taking several down. The beasts at the back stumbled—bam! Rolling forward like a ball hitting bowling pins. This enraged the fleeing Serrads further.

The animals trampled the assassins into pancakes. Shouts and cries filled the room as the men lost their lives, many turning into unrecognizable bloody pulps—leaving only bits of flesh and meat.

Broken and burnt bodies littered the ground, their vile scent intermingling with the harsh aroma of smoke. Limbs jutted out at impossible angles as fire licked at the destruction, eager to consume.

The leader stumbled on bolt shafts and bits of armour strewn on the ground. He aimed his crossbow at the woman, still curled up into a ball. I ran towards him with a pitchfork in my hand.

Kill.

The man’s eyes widened as he saw the prongs approach him. He swerved…

Swifter.

He let loose a cry and pointed the crossbow at me, his mouth hanging open.

Slaughter.

The pitchfork went through him, and pinned him to the wall behind. He struggled feebly trying to take it out.

The woman rose and ran towards the exit. I looked back—the ceiling was collapsing in a sea of flames. I raced forward, springing through the spreading flames.

The whole stable collapsed behind us as I broke through the burning walls. Serrads ran helter-skelter in the streets, stomping across unsuspecting bystanders. We ran amongst the Serrads, taking advantage of the confusion. People had woken up and gathered around the burning stable.

We kept running, taking a dirt road winding away from the main street that ran in front of the stables. A little distance away, an old, decrepit bell tower arose. Something skittered away from the long grasses along the path.

“Ok, why are you following me?” I asked while gasping for breath—the broken tower…not far now!

“Because I want you”, came an unhurried reply beside me; she wasn’t even out of breath.

“Are you in love with me?” I groaned while something cawed from the trees.

“Utaru forbid…why—?” I didn’t hear the rest. The conversation was going in circles. The exact one in fact.

I rubbed my head, “Let me rephrase…why do you want me?”

She turned her head towards me, disgust apparent in her expression, “Because you are..what the humans call it? Engaged, yes, engaged to me; I need to take you to Olyelnore Ur’van”.

When did that happen?!” I shouted like a madman, What the fu—

“When you cut my hair like a savage”, she replied, waving her dagger at me.

I sighed. This night just keeps getting longer and longer.

 

~~~

The bell tower was quite high. The old staircase was breaking down in several places. The dim light didn’t exactly help our cause either.

Now that we were out of immediate danger, I could feel the adrenaline rush recede. My breath were getting shallower. The dark form of the woman bobbed up in front of me, getting further.

Fuck, I am getting sleepy—the Shivang wine and the Apopris were returning their efforts in their function; inducing sleep like a dead man.

My vision narrowed…my footsteps were growing irregular. Every step I took was a fight with closing eyelids. Heat rolled off our bodies as the release of tension made us sweat.

A little more—Don’t fall asleep now!

Light burst into view. Red was bleeding into the sky as we stumbled onto the belfry. The four sides had high windows cut into the wall. The first light of dawn left bruises in the sky, scores of crying bird like creatures soaring up, riding the thermal.

I stepped around the shattered, weed-grown brass bell that lay there askew. Once, the bell rang in dawns in the city of men. Now it lay broken, watching over lost time. I held the wall and dropped down, stretching my legs. I can’t—anymore.

We sat there. The woman was gasping too. She had blue-black bruising from when the Serrads had went on their rampage. We looked at each other and—broke out in a breezy laughter. The belfry rang with our relaxed laughs.

Fire blossomed on my thigh. Looking down, I saw a thick crossbow bolt had sprouted from my leg. Red blood was spreading through my clothes. I looked up towards the door.

A burnt—thing barely having the semblance of man shuffled towards us. He had a pitchfork attached to his chest. The long wooden handle occasionally touched the ground, making scraping noises.

He had a crossbow poised in his burnt arm. His whole face had melted off. Teeth black with soot peeked under burnt off lips. He gave a wheezy laugh—as if something collapsed inside his chest.

A flash of silver swept towards him— the woman’s dagger found its mark on the man’s burnt throat. He collapsed without making a single sound; the body fell askew, raised up by the intact pitchfork.

Oh fuck.

Lances of pain shot up my leg. The world tunneled into a single throbbing point—Aaaaagh! I heard myself scream bestial cries, the belfry shaking with the echo. I could feel my limbs lose their feeling, my arms dropped to my sides like leaden weights.

I slumped forward. My body started convulsing. This…is probably the en—

“Tch. I need him alive”, I heard the woman say as I sank into darkness.

 

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