The latest from my online epic, Lore of the Underlings.
Chapter 2 continues:
The peace of the storm’s eye passed. The vanguard of the footmen, the blue-clad coast keeper named Faal-syr, greeted John Cap with a short heavy harmlet to the throat and threw the tall traveler aside with surprising ease. Then he dropped the leaden club with a thud and strode ahead, for he sought not the man but the space he took. It was his in no time. “Child’s play,” he said to himself.
Yet, despite the bright of a fresh torch following behind, all the blue Guard found was the white weapon at his feet. He picked it up, heavy handed in his gutting glove, and studied it suspiciously. He turned it over and over again, seeking some sign of the hidden hand that made its fine wide blade and doubled edge, that fashioned the toothy sharp tip of it, or that cast it so strong down to a hilt the thick of an arm.
The black Guard barked. “Faal-syr! Report!”
“Sir!” answered Faal-syr smartly, crossing his arms in salute. “My sir!” Then the blue made for the black, but stumbled a moment on Jixy’s jagged pummel stone. He quickly collected the fist-shaped shard and delivered it, double-time, offered with his other find to the moody master Guard.
“Our search did yield but these, sir my sir.”
“A pale blade and a broken stone?”
“Yes, sir my sir. But this sword… ‘tis a strange thing… like none I’ve known.”
Syar-ull scoffed and took the arm in hand. “Odd, the hold of it.” He waved the tusk-like weapon in the air. “It seems to mind its motion…”
A voice from afar caught their ears. “Yoo hoo! Will some friend kindly free me from this mortal coil? It surely packs a pinch.”
Faal-syr the Blue bowed his helmeted head. “The stranger, sir my sir. Shall I send him hellbound?” He placed his free hand on the handle of the spikey halfpike hung at his side.
Syar-ull answered in a mutter black and bitter, as if to no one but himself. “He has chosen the liar’s path. Let him suffer the liar’s fate.” Then he tore from the fingers of Faal-syr’s left fist the lost pummeler of young Pyr Hurx and chucked it ahurl into the sinister arms of the looming ironwood.
As it flew he sang an old childling’s song:
Come the fall
When iron flies
Quick Boy darts
But Slow Boy dies
The dark, deformed limbs of the great tree shook, unleashing a hail of ironfire upon the poor soul below. Morio struggled against his bonds to duck and dodge the rain of terror as death’s own instruments fell all around him to the ring and clang of a devil’s dance. A squall of razor leaves sliced the skin of his ragged ruckscoat, in places slashing his flesh itself, at least a little. Where the white folking shirt he wore as an undering lay open to the elements, streaks of red rose from his wounds then gently bled to blur in the waterlogged fibers of limberwood.
The doomed man’s mouth moved, yet all that any heard above the din was a meek, “Oh my!”
Arrowborne the vell tried to rise, but the boys held him down.
Now a new fall of fine needles began, a thousand and a thousand more, as a shower of silver tears shed by the pining Liar’s Tree for the leaves it lost a season too soon. Lacking shelter or shield, Morio bent to let his rucks’ padded back take the bulk. It worked a while, but soon he stood pinned and poked from shoulder to shoe in a coat of quills.
“Looks like a prickupine,” someone smirked, “Plump and ripe for plucking.”
“Or a porkling peppered with prickly cloves and skewered for the spit.”
“But no. See how the needles crown him now? He’s more Lord of the Lard than pig in a poke.”
“Yes swillbag,” hissed Finder Hamyx, suddenly sprung to life from his long silence of shame. “All hail the Semperor of Swine!”
“The Liar King!” added elderwoman Pum, who too had awoken as if from a spell.
Boxbo and Ixit joined in together with a girlish giggle:
Truth lies in a royal pain
So don’t mind if we pick your brain
“That sounds offal, Boxbo.”
More to come. To read this chapter from the start, click here.