The latest from my online epic, Lore of the Underlings.
Chapter 1 continues:
Word of evil’s arrival and the threefold visitation spread like skyfire. Over morning and afternoon, many folk gathered at the edges of the field to witness, at a distance, for themselves. The strong came armed with toiling sticks or stones, the curious with a keen eye and a fleet foot pointed home.
“They say there are devils here.”
“Yes old man, look out in the sweetgrass by the Liar’s Tree.”
“I see only rocks.”
“They sit as still as the ironwood itself.”
“Perhaps they nap.”
“Perhaps, dreaming up a nightmare to cast upon us.”
“So strike down these demons as they sleep.”
But no one dared be the first.
Day turned to dusk and the gathered grew to an encampment of hundreds arrayed in a crescent against the three. They made fires of the thick limbs fallen from storm season, mixed of everwoods, iron and rose. The wood was dry and cracked in the heat, throwing off sparks of silver and red that glowed in the heavy smoke. The smell of roasted billit meat soon filled the air.
Then from the deepening haze and flickering firelight came another puzzle.
“What’s this? Look!”
“Who is it?”
“A child. A girl.”
“It’s the orphan Mox.”
“She carries something.”
“What does she do?”
“I’ve always thought her mad.”
Jixy Mox flew across the wide, empty field, the rags of cloth she wore rippling behind like a tattered flag flown into battle. In one hand she clutched a round sack of boven skin. Its contents seemed heavy and important. In the other hand, a talon blade.
Her hair danced wildly to the rhythm of running. Already animal to some, she now took the look of a chevox foal galloping through the grass untamed. As the plainsmen sing:
Mane of straw and strands of gold
Heart of home, unbridled soul
Even before she reached them, she began to call out, breathlessly, “Daddy, is it you?! Have you come back Daddy?!”
The figures did not answer.
“It’s Jixy, Daddy! Mommy’s gone! It’s…”
More to come. To read this chapter from the start, click here.