The latest from my online epic, Lore of the Underlings.
Chapter 2 concludes:
In the bat of a lash, Syar-ull stood over his kneeling prey, this sack of skin awallow in the stinking mud and soiled black blades once sweet and green. The master Guard looked to call for his mount, but the mighty chevox needed no command. Sovereign charged hard from the rear, eyes ablaze and snorting foul fire. With the right of his two great horns, he hooked the marked man by the brace of his britches to hang him high and helpless.
“Well whoa is me,” noted Morio with a wince. He looked glassy-eyed and a little queasy. “Regards, everyone! Hello down there. Glad to see you again… though I do wish you and your twins would all stop spinning like that… Anyway, where did we leave off earlier?”
The black Guard pressed the point of the strangers’ pearly sword to Morio’s throat. This time, he spoke his sentence songless, in words clear and hoarse. “Now shall you die like dogswine to slaughter. Prepare your eyes for darkness and your pitiful soul for the fires below.”
Arm and blade drew back to strike, when a sudden sound of horror stood all still. It was the vell.
Arrowborne howled a baleful howl with a soul-filling cold to chill even the bloodless. Despite his grave wound, he leapt gracefully from the seedbed of sweet and bitter where the three brothers kept him and bounded at the death about to be. It mattered not that Syar-ull was the finest soldier of Syland. No man alive had the power to change a vell’s mind once in motion. Arrowborne met him high ahoof and kicked the broad boneblade from his grasp.
The weapon went spinning skyward, then floated to land in phantom flight right to the hand of the man of red, the brother Treasuror, Fyryx Hurx. In the same instant the vell fell hard, aslump on the ground in a motionless heap.
Fyryx raised the sword for silence.
“This is the devil’s night… as if Prince Vysitor himself reaches from hell to play us for puppets. He offers us a devil’s deal, to let his demons win the light or lose ourselves to this dance in the dark. No good can come of either.”
A weariness weighed on his voice.
“Bring the tall two. Let me look on all three at once.”
“Treasuror, sir!” answered Faal-syr eagerly.
As he waited, Fyryx dropped the arm to his side without a glance at the foreign hilt his fingers held. For a moment his eyes seemed absent, lost.
The young woman was first to come, let to walk alone untouched. She strode steady and sure. Behind her followed two pair of the pikesmen herding the larger John Cap like a bull. He seemed to like making them labor, though it came at a cost — his hat was lost along the way.
Syar-ull marshaled them all arow, aside the dangling Morio. He barked and growled and gnashed his teeth, both hungry and angry to bite.
Carefully, John Cap cocked his head and whispered up to their high-borne friend. “Hanging in there, ‘O?”
“In high spirits,” answered Morio.
“Keep it up.”
“Oh, yes I can, all for Miss Vaam’s plan!”
Fyryx paced the strangers’ row, yet this time eyed them not. It was downcast that he kept.
“Odd invaders, these three… But how did we go so weak…”
“And why did a part of our heart turn their way as ally to turn on us? A vell of the ull, from the Semperor’s own stable. Arrowborne, what do you do? Are you fevered from your wound? Perhaps you’ll wake and shun their souls…”
“But the beast rules tonight. It cannot be denied. The die is cast till dawn.”
Fyryx looked up and found the black mask of the master Guard. “Syar-ull,” he ordered with speech again strong, “Take these to the Letting Pen. Hold them there, bound in devil’s moss if you must… feet to the flames.”
“With pleasure, sir.”
“Then pitch my battle tent beyond the wall by the wood and make camp.”
“Sir. As Treasuror says, Guard does.”
“Boys! Go gather the Guard of the southern shores. Fetch pike poles and the thickest limberwood sheets from their packs and fashion a litter to bear Arrowborne away. When you reach camp, lay a bed of soft straw in the fore chamber of my tent and set him there to rest. He must not pass this night alone.”
“And someone… send the Treasured home.”
End of Chapter 2. To read this chapter from the start, click here.
Chapter 3 coming soon…