*Listen to the Audio* | Read Part One
Ru spotted Laz and Mereb returning from far down the tunnel. He and Illyoten got to their feet as they approached.
“We’ve got a problem,” Laz said without preamble. Ru whistled and waved the rest of the team to join them. When they were all gathered Lazarus explained.
“About a half mile ahead the tunnel splits. Both paths meander a bit and both are chock-full of demons. We didn’t dare get too close to the demons without a mirage to hide us but I was able to feel out the path ahead. After another half mile the tunnels converge into one tunnel again. That was the limit of my range though, I couldn’t feel much beyond that. I get the vague impression there’s a large cavern and there’s definitely a demonic presence in it but I can’t tell what or how many from this distance. We’ll have to get closer.”
“So which tunnel do we take?” Tophus asked at once.
“If we choose one then the demons in the other could flank us,” Ru said.
“Or run us in circles,” Laz added.
“Or just escape back the way we came in,” Illyoten pointed out.
“We’ll have to split up,” Ru said. “Each group takes a tunnel.” Continue reading
*Listen to the Audio*
Rugaba slammed his shield into the demonling as it launched itself toward him. He followed up by slapping it across the snout with the flat of his sword. It didn’t do any damage but it did exactly what he wanted. The demonling roared in fury, losing all sense to it’s attacks.. He blocked each wild scrape and bite, muttering words that activated the spells carved upon his reinforced armor and shield. Most of the creatures attacks scraped harmlessly against his steel. But one attack slipped through and left a large gash in his side. Ru gasped but held his defenses against the enraged creature.
“I’m on it!” Came a cry from behind him though he couldn’t tell which of their healers had spoken through the noise of the fight. A second later he felt his wound close and the pain subsided. The place where he had been wounded radiated energy now, pulsing through him with each beat of his heart. At the same instant a lance of wickedly cold ice shot past him and impaled his attacker against the wall. It wasn’t dead yet but it would be soon.
“Incoming!” Tophus shouted from further down the tunnel. More demonlings were barrelling down the hallway toward them. Tophus, with his tall shield, stood ready to meet them but he could not stop them all. If the demonlings got through, they could reach the other, more vulnerable magi. Rugaba shouted and another spell triggered, this one granting him more speed. He charged, pumping his legs hard. He closed the distance to Tophus in only a few great strides, reaching the other man just as the demonlings converged on him. Continue reading
Once a man was called Sir Knight
And Honor was his life.
Once a girl would not dare stray
From Duty in home, as wife.
But those are of times long past
And customs have since changed.
Gone with those olden days
Where horse and lance once ranged.
Too many people now will scarce remember times of old.
When gallant knights of gentry rode and fought, unselfishly bold.
Oh what of Honor, brave Sir Knight?
Where is the foe to fight?
In this time there is no right,
Will darkness win tonight?
“Please don’t,” The woman begged. “We’ll starve!”
Foolish woman, Tula thought, sadly. Begging was viewed as resisting and resisting earned you a beating. But, she thought- glancing at the frail mother as she passed by – Perhaps she is not so foolish; only desperate.
The soldiers were taking everything edible from her home. With the harvest nearly over and the threat of an early winter looming over them, her family would have nothing to eat. They would die of starvation, if not during the winter, than in the spring by which point they would have eaten everything and had nothing left to plant.
Would I do any differently than her if I had any children? She thought.
The scene was being similarly repeated all across their little village. Soldiers were entering homes and taking what food they could find. Anyone who resisted was beaten. Tula kept her head down, cowering away from the soldiers and trying her best to remain unnoticed.
Some did notice her though and searched her thoroughly but she carried only a small bundle of firewood. No money, no food. They let her go. They were only interested in the harvest this time. Shakily, she picked up her bundle. Tula walked away but when she reached the last building at the end of the street, she stopped, leaning against the wall. Continue reading