“yep, why not I guess.”

In my nineteenth year, our port was visited by some traders, their families in tow. The children wanted to explore the great Neverwinter Forest, and as a native of the area and a fair survivalist, I found myself singled out by my dock-master-employer as a tour guide. I dragged friendly Yodrick along, and took up a small hunting bow and dagger to complete the part. I thought to venture only a little into the forest, perhaps spend some time at the edge of a little brook I knew… That is, until one of the littlest children caught sight of a great stag, and excitedly rushed closer, startling it.

It bolted deep into the woods, the girl naively chasing it on. Panicked, I followed her, called out, my wards following me in turn. I lost sight of the child, thrashing through the woods as I was, my scant tracking skills burning an inadequate hole through my mind. Nightfall would soon be approaching, and I could find neither sight nor sound of the child. Until I heard a scream – a chilling sound, I followed it to a nearby clearing, and there I saw them: three of the shuffling, skeletal dead! They had the girl cornered in a shallow rock cove. One of the children behind me whimpered, and two of the dead’s attention shuffled to the newcomers to their clearing. Seizing the moment, I sped around the slow-witted bones and hurried the girl from the cove, back to her group of friends. As I would follow her, the undistracted skeleton moved to block me, while the other two began tentative shuffles towards the group. I yelled to Yodrick to lead the children home, “NOW!” He was no tracker and no fighter, but he had a strong sense of direction and knew the land. He hurried the crying kids home while I bought time… maybe with my life…

As the two creatures facing the retreating group began moving in chase, I hoisted my short hunting bow from my shoulders, knocked an arrow, exhaled, and loosed it square into the farthest ones back. It fell forward, screeching dryly, and I’d earned myself the unrelenting attention of all the dead. They shuffled at me quickly now – I loosed another arrow into the chest of the closest, and sent it tumbling over too. Shaking, I fumbled the next arrow, I couldn’t knock it… The two fallen creatures were struggling to their feet, while the last standing one was upon me, its rusted, heavy blade held high. I dropped the bow, and plunged my arrow into an empty eye-socket. The creatures’ strike was displaced and the falling blade missed my head but struck a heavy, glancing blow to my left shoulder that sent shocks of pain lancing down my arm. No time to wince, the next was on me, its steel whistling a ponderous, wide-arcing swing. I dodged back, the blade ripping through my ill-suited leather tunic, scoring a thankfully-shallow scratch across my abdomen. As the weight of the swinging sword pulled the skeleton forward and off-balance, my right hand sought the dagger on my belt. I forced myself a step forward and brought the blade up through the creatures vile jaw. It screeched, and I saw a darkness leave its eyes. Suddenly the heavy bones were falling forward, my dagger still implanted in the skull. The weight sent me tripping backward; I slipped, and cracked my head into the rock face of the cove behind me. My vision went fuzzy, a blurred mess of red and black, loose stones falling around me, thumping in my ears… I saw a red sunset, copper clouds across the sky… Rusted sky falling toward me… Rust… To me? The scene snapped back into focus. I twitched my head to the side, trading a cloven skull for a searingly cut from temple to jaw. Sparks flashed from the stricken stone beside me, and the heavy blade crushed into my right shoulder. I yelled out in pain and shock as the blade pulled back for another strike, grating across what I though had to be bone. I struggled under the weight of the dead pinning me, but my arms felt weak and ineffective. I kicked out with my boot, catching the creature in the shin. The dry bone snapped and sent it toppling backward, reaching. I kept scrabbling, kicked my way free and out of the cove, and lunged for a nearby fallen blade. The movement revealed that the rock face, the one that had sent sparks flying and nearly set my hair on fire, had saved my shoulder from the raw, cutting power of the strike. A breath of relief could come later. I grasped the hilt of the heavy blade with both hands, praying the dead hadn’t risen on it’s remaining foot. Pain shot through my arms as I stood, heaved the greatsword over my head, and rounded ’round. I saw it had taken to crawling toward me. Roaring, I brought the rusted steel down on its head, the skull shattering and sending dry bone splinters every which way. Panting, I collapsed…

I don’t know how long it was before Yodrick returned to find me, but I have yet to taste a sweeter wine than the rescuing nectar he brought with him. We returned to the village, Yodrick as near as carrying me. Our reception was, naturally, the keen fury of parental relief that their children were safe. I breathed a sigh of relief, and returned home for recovery…

Posted on Mar 24, 2018, 02:47 By
No comments yet Categories: Writes
css.php