Tales of the Company of the Spear (fiction)

#1

This is a series of tales about an imaginary E&P alliance. All heroes and alliances mentioned are purely from my own imagination, although the heroes have abilities and powers similar to in-game heroes.

And so here’s the first tale - hope you enjoy:


1: The Dwarf

“Did you hear?” a diminutive girl shouted as she burst through the tavern doors. “The Company of the White Rose killed a Thunder Unicorn! They say it’s the biggest ever! They’re bringing the horn through the city to present to the Duchess, and it’s thirty yards long!”

Most of the tavern’s patrons rushed out then, wanting to witness such a marvel for themselves. But one dwarf remained firmly seated at the bar. “Hmph,” he grumbled. He was dressed in armor that had seen much use, and wore a tattered blue cloak. “Good for the bloody Company of the White Rose, then.” He took a long drink from the tankard in front of him.

The young woman turned and frowned at the dwarf. “You don’t think that’s impressive?”

“Oh, most impressive,” the dwarf grumbled with a sarcastic edge in his voice. “Bring home a giant bloody horn from a freakishly oversized horse, parade it through the streets to universal acclaim, dinner with the Duchess, and every bard in every tavern from here to Corellia is going to be singing about it for months, or until the Black Dragon League or the Iron Dogs or whoever brings down a bigger one next week. Absolutely grand.”

The girl shook her head, and then turned to stare out the tavern’s windows, idly running her hands through her long red hair. Her clothes were worn leather and homespun cloth, and her cloak was dyed in a pattern of irregular green-and-brown stripes. “I wonder…” she began, with a far-away look in her eyes.

“You wonder if they’d take you on? Let you be one of them?” The dwarf shook his head. “Not likely, lass.”

“And just why not?” she challenged.

“Girl, have you ever fought a titan before?”

“I’ve… fought,” she stammered, pointing to the bow strapped across her back.

The dwarf nodded. “You’ve fought, yes. I figured as much. You have the look of a woods ranger about you. But have you ever fought a titan?”

“Um… no,” the girl admitted.

“I thought not. Forget it, then. They’d not give you a second look. To join one of those outfits you need a respectable number of titans notched on your belt. And that’s a different game than hunting goblins in Rathwood.”

The girl’s shoulders slumped, and she lowered herself down onto a bar stool. “And you? Have you fought any titans?”

The dwarf nodded. “A fair share, lass. A fair share.” He took another drink, and then asked, more gently, “What’s your name, girl?”

“Siara,” the girl answered softly.

“Drumnadrochit,” the dwarf said.

"Um… what?

“My name, lass. Drumnadrochit.”

“Oh. And, uh, how would you spell that?”

“It’s spelled exactly the way it sounds,” the dwarf said, grinning slightly.

“Oh, I see,” the girl said, blushing a bit. “Well, I’ve…”

“Not heard of me?” the dwarf challenged.

“No, actually.”

“Well, you wouldn’t have,” the dwarf admitted. “I’m not one of those heroes the bards sing about, and I’m not in one of those companies that’s known throughout the land. But I am a titan hunter.”

“How did you get a name like ‘Drumnadrochit’? It doesn’t sound dwarvish.”

“It’s not,” the dwarf said. “Drumnadrochit was a village in the Misty Highlands. A human village. You probably never heard of it, either. A few hundred people, farmers and shepherds, a smallish castle, nothing special. Not a place one of the big companies would go to hunt titans, anyway.”

“So why did you…”

“There was a titan,” the dwarf said. “A water dragon. Not a big one, as these things go. But big enough.” The dwarf let out a long sigh. “And there were three companies of titan hunters in the area, any one of which could have brought it down if only they had bothered. But no. They were all too busy chasing rumors of an alpha gryphon up in the mountains to take notice.”

The girl’s eyes widened. “You mean the titan…”

“I passed through a week after it hit the village. There was nothing left. Not one stone standing atop another. No houses, no fields, no sheep. Nothing except a handful of surviving families all wondering how they were going to feed their children the next winter, with their homes and crops destroyed.”

“Oh,” Siara whispered. “And so you took the village’s name…”

“To remember, lass. So that I’d never forget.”

“Then what?”

“After that I went looking for a company of titan hunters. Not one of the big ones.” The dwarf picked up his mug and sipped from it, then continued. “No, a small one. One that wasn’t after fame or glory or riches. One that wouldn’t ignore a titan because it was too small or because the place it was attacking wasn’t important.”

“You mean, one that would have defended that village.”

The dwarf nodded. “Now you’re getting it. Hunting titans isn’t something I do for a lark. It’s something I do because it needs doing. It’s hard, dangerous, terrifying work. Bards don’t sing about me and I don’t get to have dinner with princesses. No one knows my name except my comrades-in-arms and the peasants whose lives we save. But,” he said, looking her square in the face, “I can sleep at night.”

Siara said nothing, but stared at the bar, lost in thought.

The dwarf drained his mug and got up from his bar stool. “Well, I must be off,” he said. “I hear there’s a hydra in Ogron that needs killing. I’m meeting the rest of my outfit there.”

He took a step towards the door, but then stopped. “You know, we could always use another hand. Someone who knows how to use a bow would be useful. If you happened to know anyone who’d be interested.”

A smile slowly spread across Siara’s face. “And the place the hydra’s attacking?”

“Ah, you’d never have heard of it. Tiny little town by a river. Farmers, cowherds – common folk.”

“Perfect. When do we leave?”

19 Likes
An Announcement on Pronouncement - pronouncing hero names
E&P Fanfiction Library - an index of short stories, poetry and fiction
#2

Maestro!

Fantastic work sir/madam. Looking forward to chapter two already!

#3

Wonderful writing… well done!!

#4

Can’t wait for chapter 2

#5

Wonderful narrative leaving me wanting more

#6

Thanks! I’ll get these typed up as I have time. Here’s the next installment:


2: The Company

In the late afternoon Drumnadrochit and Siara crested a ridge and looked down at a small but picturesque town in a broad green valley. A small rocky river rushed down from the nearby hills and beneath a narrow stone bridge. A stone wall surrounded the town, and a broad gate gave access.

“Pontedeva,” the dwarf said, pointing down at the town. “It’s been here for a thousand years, more or less. Local legend is that an army commanded by emperor Sebastian built the bridge, and the town started as a camp for the imperial legions.” He gestured a bit downstream, towards a broad swath of open land. “There’s the camp. Smells like it’s about dinnertime too.”

The headquarters of the Company of the Spear was crowded and bustling. There were twenty large tents, dozens of men and women exercising on a practice field, the smell of food cooking in an open-air kitchen, and corrals for the company’s mounts.

Siara looked around in wonder at the activity. “It’s… bigger than I expected.”

The dwarf grinned. “Fighting a titan’s no mere hunting trip, lass. It’s more like fighting a war. You need a certain number of people to pull it off. The Company normally fields twelve squads of five. And that’s not big compared to some. The top outfits have enough on their rolls to field thirty squads at once, plus specialists and replacements. With us, not so much. We have fifty-eight effective fighters in our book – fifty-nine once you sign. And all of us fight in every battle. Count on it.”

“And you’re in charge of all this?”

“What? Me?” The dwarf laughed heartily. “No, lass, I wouldn’t want to be the poor sod responsible for herding this lot around. I lead one squad. That’s all. I don’t want the Captain’s job and hope we’re never in such dire straits that I’m the best one for it. Here, let’s find our tent and I’ll introduce you to the rest of the squad.”

They approached two people seated and peeling potatoes beside a small campfire. “Drum!” one of them, a tall dark-skinned woman, shouted in greeting. “You’re back!” She had short curly hair and large brown eyes that sparkled with amusement.

“Aye, Zila, I’m back, and I brought fresh meat for the pot,” he said, gesturing towards Siara. “This poor lass fell for my silver-coated words and volunteered to sign up with us.”

“And if she wasn’t scared off by your ugly face, she’s a brave girl indeed!” a strikingly handsome man said with a laugh. He was on the short side, lean but well-muscled, with tan skin and straight black hair in a thick braid that fell to his waist.

“Though not terribly sensible,” the woman countered.

“This is Siara. Lass, these two disreputable rogues are Zila and Akwedas.” He gestured at the woman and the man in turn. “Zila hails from the Forgotten Sands, and Akwedas is from the horse tribes of the Plains of Wind.” Drumnadrochit smiled fondly at them. “We’ve seen a few battles together, we have.”

“Nice to meet you,” Siara said hesitantly. “Is this the whole squad?”

“Not all,” the dwarf said. “Where’s Jeremiah gotten himself to?”

“He’s fetching firewood,” Akwedas said. “Ought to be back soon.”

“Right. Well, lass, let’s get your gear stowed. The squad shares a tent – hope you don’t snore too much.”

“Like we’d even be able to hear it over your snoring!” Zila called.

Once Siara’s belongings were safely in the squad’s tent, they made their way back to the campfire. As they approached, Siara noticed another figure there, carefully stacking wood by a fire.

“Ah, there’s Jeremiah now,” the dwarf said.

Siara stopped in her tracks. “But he’s a…”

“Skeleton? Aye, that he is.”

Jeremiah was, indeed, nothing but a skeleton. He wore a battered helmet and a ragged tunic that might have been dyed purple in a previous life. Blue light blazed from his eye sockets.

“Don’t let him spook you, lass,” Drumnadrochit chided. “Sure, he may be an undead creature animated by dark magic, but that doesn’t make him a bad person, now does it?”

“Here she is!” Zila said as they approached the fire. “Jeremiah, this is Siara, the girl we were talking about.”

The skeleton turned and appeared to eye Siara curiously. Then he gave a polite nod and returned to his task.

Zila saw the girl’s reaction to the skeleton, and raised a skeptical eyebrow. “Drum, are you sure she’s up to this? I don’t mean to question your judgment, but what can she do?”

“Come on, girl,” the dwarf said. “Let’s show them.”

Siara fetched her bow and her quiver and the squad made their way to the edge of the encampment. “Pick a target, lass,” Drumnadrochit commanded, gesturing towards a nearby stand of trees.

Siara strung her bow and planted six arrows, points first, into the ground in front of her. “See that willow?” she asked, gesturing towards a tree eighty yards or so in the distance.

“Er, no, I don’t,” the dwarf admitted.

“Because you’re blind as a bat,” Akwedas said. “I see it. The knot on the trunk?”

Siara nodded, and plucked an arrow from the ground, fitting it to her bowstring and drawing it back to her ear.

Zila gave the far-off target a dountful glance. “Are you sure you wouldn’t want a slightly closer target?”

In response, Siara merely loosed her bowstring, and the arrow streaked towards the distant tree. Before it struck she had another arrow drawn and loosed. And then the another, and another, until she had fired all six.

Akwedas gave a low whistle. “Six shots, six hits,” he reported. “All within a handspan. And she had shot the third arrow before the first hit the target. Three aimed shots in the air at once…”

Jeremiah raised a hand and extended four bony fingers.

“All right, four aimed shots in the air at the same time,” Akwedas conceded. “His eyesight’s a touch better than mine, never mind that he doesn’t actually have eyes.” Jeremiah nodded slightly in acknowledgment.

“All right, so she’s good with a bow,” Zila admitted. “So what?”

The dwarf’s grinned broadened. “Show them, lass.”

Siara nodded, and drew another arrow. Then she drew in a deep breath, held it, and closed her eyes.

A second passed, and a low hum started emanating from the arrow. A green glow appeared to flow from Siara’s fingers into the shaft. Zila’s eyes widened at the sight.

Then Siara loosed, and a green bolt flew from her bow straight towards the distant tree. When it struck, the tree’s trunk shuddered, and splinters flew. And then, slowly, the tree toppled to the ground.

Akwedas let out a cheer, and Drumnadrochit patted her on the back. “Satisfied?” he challenged, grinning at Zila.

The tall woman smiled. “She’ll do.”

“Nice shooting,” a voice called from behind them.

The squad turned as one, and faced a lean, gray-beared man leaning on a spear.

“New recruit?” he asked.

“Aye, Captain,” the dwarf answered.

“Glad you made it back in time, Drum,” the man said. “That hydra’s on the move. We’re riding out to meet it tomorrow, first light.”

“Moving? Already?” Drumnadrochit looked alarmed.

The captain nodded. “Headed this way. Strategy meeting in my tent after sundown. Be there.” And to Siara he said, “Get your name in the book and get yourself equipped. Wish we had more time to train you but we don’t. I guess we’ll just have to see if you can swim. Welcome to the Company of the Spear.”

12 Likes
#7

Exciting from start to finish. I hope you continue like this. The narratives should be more important in the forum.

Thanks for entertaining

#8

Great work! I loved it. When is your first book being published?

#9

Ah yes, the book. That’s in the future. Right now I need some practice, which is partly what I’m doing here.

Anyway, I probably won’t get to the next chapter until next week. But here’s some background on how I see the characters:

Drumnadrochit - A dwarf from the mountains of Cloudloft, he commands a squad of the Company of the Spear. He’s an ice hero, 4-star - he’s comparable to Kiril and Boril in strength, and looks a lot like Boril. He wields a large axe that does magical ice damage.

Zila - A holy warrior from the Forgotten Sands (which I see as kind of an Arabic-Egyptian-North African kind of place.) She’s second-in command of Drum’s squad. 4-star holy hero - she’s basically a female version of Bane but stronger. Besides being skilled with a scimitar, she can harness mana into a blinding blast of light that stuns her opponents. She looks a lot like Gina Torres (and her personality is pretty transparently based on Zoe from Firefly.)

Akwedas - A fire shaman of the horse tribes of the Plains of Wind. I imagine his tribe to be something like the Lakota Sioux of North America (never mind that the name I gave him is Abenaki.) He’s the squad’s primary healer. Basically a male version of Hawkmoon.

Jeremiah - An undead skeleton animated by dark magic. Nobody in the squad knows where he came from or why he joined the Company. He doesn’t speak, due to a lack of lungs or vocal cords or a tongue. He’s comparable in strength to Oberon or Tyrum. He wields a spear, from which he can shoot poisonous bolts of dark mana.

Siara - a young ranger from Rathwood. Life hero, excellent archer, and can enchant her arrows with mana for extra power. She’s sort of like a low-level Lianna - say level 30 of her first ascension level, with lots of potential to grow more powerful.

Thanks for reading!

6 Likes
#10

Well, once you write the book, let me know…

#11

Appears to be a story of you placing yourself in the role of a story teller on an adventure, not necessarily the strongest, but more of a guide, a mentor and supporter role for the coming of age of a young, timid, but high potential hero in Siara. It also seems that Drum learned a lot more about Siara’s traits and abilities between the time they first met, and by the time when they arrived at the Company. Because, when I read the first chapter, I was thinking she was going to be more like a Aife/Sigrunn type character, but if their in-game traits are any indication, the story probably won’t last very long. Drum is clearly enjoying the reactions from his team mates when Siara showed them what is she is capable of.

Durmnadrochit (after witnessing Siara downing a row of flying geese in one shot): Well, lass, it appears there is more meets the eye with ya. Can’t wait to see their jaws drop when I introduce ya.

I really enjoy this type of self inserting role playing type of stories as I used to write some myself. Keep up the great work and oh yes, Thunder Unicorns.

1 Like
#12

The game is really pis#*ng me off, but your story writing is EXCELLENT!
If you can capture a hard nut to crack like me & get a 5✨ rating already, then you’re on a winner.

I’ll read everything you wright. :+1:

*And by the way, Boril happens to be my favourite hero, so it started off just nicely for me.

His experienced demeanor & indifference to glory was superbly well placed. A trove of experience for the young lass, whose path begins to unwind with intrigue. Well done.

3 Likes
#13

Thanks! And thanks to everyone who’s been reading. I’m certainly having fun writing this.

Here’s the next part:


3: Battle Plan

The first light of dawn was just appearing over the Ogron Mountains to the east, and the entire Company of the Spear was on the move. Squads of warriors and spellcasters were taking up positions at various points along the mist-filled valley, lying in wait for the monster they knew was coming.

There was also a low reddish light coming from behind a hill to the north, as if a forest fire was approaching.

Akwedas gestured. “There’s the hydra. It’s setting fire to everything around it.”

Drumnadrochit nodded and pointed to a low hill. “We’ll take our position over there. We’re fourth in the line, right after Alexandra’s squad. The Captain ought to be starting things off any minute now…”

A bright blue flash lit up the northern sky as bright as day for an instant, quickly followed by a loud crack of thunder. An unearthly scream split the darkness, and the reddish light intensified.

“There they go,” the dwarf continued. “Time to find our places.”

“What was that?” Siara asked, her voice full of awe.

“That was the Captain,” Akwedas explained. “Didn’t Drum tell you why this is the ‘Company of the Spear’? The Captain has a spear that shoots lightning bolts. It’s a relic from the Demon Wars, centuries ago. It’s the strongest weapon we have.”

The dwarf gestured towards the hilltop. “Zila, Siara, you take the top of the hill. Akwedas, right behind them. Jeremiah, behind Akwedas.”

“Where will you be?” Siara asked.

Drumnadrochit swung his axe around to loosen up his shoulders. “In the front, of course. Where else?”

“Drum’s axe is our best weapon against the hydra,” Zila explained in a low voice. “But he has to get in close to use it. Our job is to keep the titan occupied while he charges in. We also need to give Jeremiah some time to build up his blast. It’s powerful but it takes time to draw enough mana to do it. Akwedas is our healer, so he’s here in case we get singed.”

“Got it,” Siara said, stringing her bow and prepping some arrows.

Akwedas stared at the ridge to their north. “Captain’s squad is falling back,” he reported. “Torvald’s squad is moving to intercept.”

“Then Alexandra, then us,” the dwarf said.

“We’re drawing it away from the town?” Siara asked.

Zila nodded. “We’ll keep it moving in this direction. That way even if we fail, then hopefully the hydra will just keep going up into the mountains. We’ll at least give the town a chance.”

“We won’t fail, though,” Drumnadrochit told them. “We’ve taken out bigger beasties than this one. But we won’t take it out in one go. We’ll likely be at this all day. So lass, when Zila give you the word, you fall back and we’ll regroup. We’ll have another chance to hit it later.”

“When the titan is in range, you and I hit it in its weak spots,” Zila told Siara. “Eyes, ears, leg joints, the places you’d expect. Also the spots where the necks join are vulnerable. And underneath the tail.”

“Meaning that if you can put one of those lovely green magic arrows of yours up its ■■■■, take the shot,” Drumnadrochit added with amusement sparkling in his eyes.

“I’ll concentrate on the heads, try to blind it,” Zila continued.

“Won’t that be hard with so many heads?” Siara asked.

“Not as hard as you’d think. This is definitely a case where five heads are not better than one.” Zila smiled. “Stun one head, the other four get confused. They’re all connected, you see.”

“Torvald’s squad is falling back,” Akwedas reported. “The titan is coming over the ridge now.”

The first thing Siara saw was a reptilian head, with glowing red eyes and smoke coming from its nostrils. And then another. And another, screaming in pain and fury. The other two were low to the ground, snapping at targets that Siara couldn’t see. Soon the vast bulk of the hydra came lumbering over the hill.

It looked much the worse for wear. One head was missing an eye, there were patches of missing or damaged scales all over its back and sides, and it was visibly favoring its right foreleg. This did little to make the beast look less intimidating; its forty-yard-long body was sufficient to strike fear into Siara.

“Don’t let it spook you, lass,” the dwarf cautioned. “It’s big, yes, but it’s mortal. We’re going to win this.”

Akwedas pointed. “Here comes Alexandra’s squad… now!

Suddenly bolts of gold and red light lashed out at the hydra from out of the mist at the bottom of the ridge. Glowing vine-like strands of green light slithered up from the ground beneath it, entangling its legs. Purplish stars seemed to surround its heads, distracting it. One head found one of the attackers, and breathed a gout of intense flame downwards. But a bluish light formed around the woman, shedding the flames.

The squad of warriors hit the hydra again and again, unleashing tremendous magical energies at the beast. But they could only wound it. In all too short a time, their magical attacks ceased and they fell back away from the titan.

“And now it’s our turn,” the dwarf announced, gripping his axe handle in anticipation.

“Breathe, Siara,” Akwedas said in a low voice. “Ground and center. Find you mana and use it.”

“Ground and center,” Siara whispered, nocking a shaft and drawing the bowstring to her ear. “Ground and center.”

She closed her eyes then. Another kind of sight took over.

Beneath her feet she could see currents of mana flowing through the earth, streams of mystical energy in a rainbow of colors. With her mind’s eye she could see her comrades as well; Zila a golden glow beside her, Drumnadrochit like an incandescent blue diamond in front, a warm red glow from Akwedas at her back. Jeremiah was a darkness limned in purple; she couldn’t as much see as feel his magic, drawing energy and slowly shaping it into a weapon of terrible potency.

She found her own mana then, the green flow of life that had always spoken to her the loudest. She drew it to her, feeling it rise through her feet and fill her with power. She took that power and bound it to the arrow she held, turning it into a dart that would pierce the hydra’s armor.

The hydra itself was like a vast bonfire, pulling a prodigious amount of mana from the earth merely to keep itself alive. It reared up in front of her, and Siara could feel waves of heat emanating from it. And yet she could also see weaknesses, vulnerable spots where its armor was less effective or where it had already been wounded. She narrowed her attention to a bright spot where two necks joined the body, and took aim.

“Ready… Attack!” commanded the dwarf.

Siara opened her eyes, found her target, and released.

11 Likes
#14

I regret not being able to give the “Like” more than once!
f8409e1834b2db1025a2d29520b569ea

#15

What manner of Titan is that?

#16

It’s a raging hydra. About 4-star.

#17

4: Aftermath

The sounds of revelry could be heard in the distance, as the Company of the Spear celebrated their victory over the titan. But Siara ignored them. She and her squadmates had business to attend to.

Jeremiah dropped a huge load of firewood at Siara’s feet. The two of them began adding it to a large, carefully stacked tower that reached as high as Siara’s head. A few yards away Akwedas and Zila worked on another, equally tall stack.

In between them was a wooden table, on which lay a short, mangled body that was barely recognizable as Drumnadrochit.

When the last of the wood had been added to the towers, Akwedas nodded. “That ought to do it,” he said. He gestured, and the wooden towers burst into flames.

By the light of the bonfires he turned towards the dwarf’s corpse. “This is going to take a while,” he said grimly. “Jeremiah, you stay. Zila, Siara, you go get some sleep. I hope to be done by morning.”

The two women walked a dozen yards away from the bonfires, and then Siara stopped, taking a seat on a rock. “As if I’d be able to sleep,” she muttered.

Zila lowered herself down next to Siara. “I know,” she said. “But – this isn’t really something you want to see.” She stared at the two bonfires, looking haunted by old memories.

Siara shook her head. “Can Akwedas really – bring him back?”

“Maybe,” Zila said. “He’s had to do it before. But…”

“But what?”

Zila sighed. “It took us four hours to get Drum’s body out from underneath the hydra. And the longer the body is dead, the harder it is to raise. This is pushing it. He may already be past the point where he can be helped by anything short of Jeremiah’s kind of magic.”

“Is that why he asked Jeremiah to stay?”

“No,” Zila admitted. “There’s another reason we don’t like to do this. There’s always the risk that what comes back – won’t be Drum.”

“Oh,” was Siara’s only reply.

“And if there was something else wearing his body, could you cut it down?” Zila asked. “I couldn’t. He’s been my friend for ten years. But Jeremiah – he’d do what was necessary.”

The two women sat in silence for a while. Then Zila grumbled, “Old fool. Why didn’t he get out of there?”

“He did finish off the hydra,” Siara mused.

“Yes, but he didn’t need to. Jeremiah’s magic had poisoned it. It would have been dead in a few minutes anyway. But no, he had to dive underneath it and go for the belly. And get himself crushed when the damned thing fell on him. Idiot!” The tears running down Zila’s cheeks were at odds with the angry tone of her voice.

Siara sighed. “If I’d gotten off one more shot…”

“Don’t be a fool,” Zila snapped. Then, more calmly: “You pulled your weight. I know you were frightened – you’d have been mad not to be – but you held your ground and didn’t panic. Nobody could have asked for more.”

They sat together in silence for a while, listening to the sound of merriment coming from the town. Finally Zila said, “You want to go into town and join the feast? Might do you some good. Find yourself some cute local boy, let him make you forget about all of this.”

“Oh please.” Siara’s voice acquired a sarcastic edge. “That’s the last thing I need. I have enough problems right now, thanks.”

Zila raised a curious eyebrow. “Got something you need to get off your chest?”

“Just…” Siara fixed her eyes on the fire. “The last time I tried that – it didn’t end well. So no, it’s not my idea of fun right now. But if you’d like to go, feel free. Maybe you’ll find someone.”

Zila shook her head. “Only man I’m interested in is over there, trying to raise a friend from the dead.”

“Really? You and Akwedas?”

Zila nodded, smiling slightly.

“How long has this been going on.”

“A while,” Zila said. “It’s – well, it started out as just two people seeking some comfort. I think it’s something more than that now.”

Siara grinned impishly. “Getting serious?”

Zila shrugged. “Well, by the customs of his people, we’re already married. By the customs of mine… not exactly.”

“So what do you say you are?”

Zila smiled. “I’m his. He’s mine. That’s good enough.”

“Good for you,” Siara said, getting a distant look in her eyes. “Good for you.”

Suddenly an anguished scream sounded from the direction of the bonfires. Both women leapt to their feet.

“Is that good or bad?” Siara asked.

“Might be good,” Zila said. “If he’s in a condition where he can feel pain…”

Then they saw Jeremiah standing next to one of the bonfires. One bony arm beckoned them forwards.

“That is a good sign,” Zila said, and strode into the firelight.

Akwedas stood beside the table, looking exhausted. On the table, Drumnadrochit lay still, but breathing. He was mostly covered by a blanket, but his face appeared to be one giant bruise. His eyes were swollen shut

“What the bloody hell happened?” the dwarf asked, his voice hoarse.

“What happened is that the hydra landed on top of you,” Zila said. Her fists were clenched, and she seemed to be struggling to contain her anger. “Because you were too stupid to get out of the way.”

“Sounds about right,” the dwarf said. He struggled to crack one eye open. “The girl?”

“I’m here,” Siara said.

“She’s all right,” Zila assured him. “She’s not hurt.”

“Of course she’s not hurt,” the dwarf snapped. “How did she do?

“She did all right,” Zila said. “She pulled her share of the load. And she didn’t get herself killed. Which is more than I can say for you.”

“Ah.” The dwarf allowed his eye to close again. “Knew she’d be a good one.”

“I have more work to do here,” Akwedas began, but Zila shook her head sharply.

“In the morning,” she ordered. “You need sleep if you’re going to keep at this. He’ll live that long, won’t he?”

Akwedas nodded wearily, and allowed Zila to shepherd him towards the tent.

“I’ll stay with him,” Siara said. But Jeremiah shook his head, and pointed to himself. Then he gestured at her, and waved towards the tent.

“Oh, all right then. I guess I could use some sleep.”

She turned to go, but a low voice behind her called out, “Lass.”

She went back to stand next to the dwarf. “What is it?”

“Good work today.”

“Thanks. But next time let’s try to do this without you dying. It kind of spoiled things for me.”

“Aye. We can give that a shot, see if it works.”

Siara stared down at him, trying to find something to say, but the words wouldn’t come. Finally she turned and walked towards the tent, shaking her head.

11 Likes
#18

Nice installments, @Drumnadrochit

Not everyday when one personifies oneself into the story and dying (brought back to life) 4 chapters into it. I have a feeling this story really is more about Siara than Drum. Being a mentoring figure also has its charms in a story.

One thing I noticed that it seems that the heroes in your story have taken more of a role of battling themselves, rather than with the command of troops. Aside from every characters’ own abilities and growth, it seems that you have incorporated the troops (and their attributes) into the individual heroes as the embodiment of their own abilities.

Good read, good read. Keep up the good work, and Drum was probably diving underneath the hydra belly for treasure/loot… Dwarves will be dwarves. :wink:

#19

Yeah, for the moment this is mainly Siara’s story. Although the focus will shift to other characters eventually. I have some ideas about Jeremiah’s backstory that I may explore next.

As for killing myself off - Drum isn’t “me” so much as he is a character I created whose name I am using as my in-game avatar. (Besides, if Stephen King can kill himself off in his own story, so can I!)

And I couldn’t figure out how to work the troops into the story so I just decided to ignore them. It’s easier that way.

The next chapter will probably be posted around the middle of next week. Hope everyone is enjoying reading this as much as I’m enjoying writing it.

4 Likes
#20

I’m becoming addicted to you. Keep it up.giphy