Remembrance #100WW

100WW_W96

I lent out of the hotel window, taking a breathe of bread scented air. The Eiffel Tower glowed with lights and I could hear french words. Tomorrow, we would be leaving the capital and beginning a tour of First World War battlefields.

I had been looking forward to this trip for years, but now there was a heaviness in my heart. We would be following in dead soldiers footsteps, experiencing some of what they did and remembering their sacrifices.

I had to do this though, I had to know what happened to my granddad.

 

(Inspired by; https://bikurgurl.com/2018/11/07/100-word-wednesday-week-96/ with thanks).

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Hermit Brother #WeeklyWritingPrompt

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Brother Aden had lived alone for so long that he had lost count of the years. He knew time had passed because he had aged. He could see it in his hands; brown with too much sun, wrinkled and dry with not enough washing and too much hard work. He could feel it in his body; back bent, slower footsteps, pain in his knees and arms.

His hut was in the middle of the forest, far from everywhere else and that was how he had come to like it. When he had arrived and spotted the two room wooden building through the trees, he had gone in and discovered it abandoned. He had made it his shelter though he couldn’t escape the horrors of the night that had caused him to flee here.

Even now, when the winter nights were dark and wild with storm, his faded memory would show him events of the past. He was an young monk learning to read and copy the scriptures. He was attending four prayer services a day and more on Sunday. He was looking after animals and crops. It was a hard life but he understand the Calling.

Midnight, the danger bell was ringing and the Abbey being stormed by The Cursed knights. There was fire, blood and bodies everywhere. Brother Aden had grabbed whatever he could; books, relics, supplies and fled away. He had selfishly only been thinking about his survival. He hadn’t know that then, had not been thinking clearly in the chaos all round. He had just wanted to live and not die by magical sliver and gold swords.

Fleeing into the winter night, snow melting on his hot face, the forest had seemed to welcome him. The trees sheltered his senses from the battle and he had stumbled onwards till morning. It sometime afterwards that he found the hut.

In the days that followed, he had time to think and decided. Brother Aden realised he could never return to the Abbey, he would be exiled for his actions. He had left the Abbey without permission or proper cause, he had removed relics and books, stolen food and had gone into hiding like a coward. And all that was if there was even an Abbey and Brothers to go back too.

So, he had decided to stay and allow the forest to provide for him. The guilt, emotions and wondering about what had happened haunted him all the time in those first few years. Slowly, that had faded as he tried to survive day to day, season to season. He had grown use and comfy to things. The desire to try and return to the Abbey or anywhere else vanished.

This was his life now.

 

(Inspired by; https://secretkeeper.net/2018/09/10/weekly-writing-prompt-158 with thanks).

 

BattleField

Closeup Photography of Gray Barbed Wire

The battlefield was covered in bodies. They hung off the barbwire, blood dripping out of them and staining the grass red. The sound of gun fire rattled through the air around them, the only sound to be heard for miles.

In the trenches, those men that were alive were little more then skeletons. Their uniforms hung off them in tatty rags. Their hollowed faces told the horrors of war as each had seen it.

The soldiers looked out over the destruction. They were living in a hell they would never escape from. Viewing the dead with envious eyes and wishing to be amongst them.

Postcard 18

Postcard, London, Big Ben, Phone Booth

Dear, L. I hope this message finds you well and alive. London or what is left, is in total ruin. Red smoke covers the sky all the time and if you don’t wear your gas mask the toxic air gets to you within minutes. I try to remember the good days when we were all together and happy, but they are fading fast from my mind. Life goes on in the camp, but it can’t even be called that, its a battle to survive everyday. I hope you are at peace whatever you are doing now. I pray for your safe return or else to see you on the other side. Love always, Boo.

Church (Chapter 6, part 5)

Nestled at the foot of Errigal (the highest mountain(2,464ft) in County Donegal) and overlooking the beautiful Poisoned Glen is the ruins of Dunlewy Church.

My breath caught in my throat. The wolf rumbled and I saw it’s storm cloud grey fur sticking up. It’s deep black eyes and nose fixed on me for a few seconds then turned to the daemon coming above it’s head. The wolf snapped a mighty jaw upwards at the same time as jumping. I saw all four of its paws leave the ground then land heavily back down. The daemon yelled out something and wheeled away into the haze.

The wolf turned back to me and I fastened my bleeding palms onto my sword. A growl came, rolling over me like a thunder clap. The wolf dropped into a change, racing straight for me. I could hear the grass zinging against that smooth grey coat. My stomping boots added to the noise as I took off towards it.

Grim determination settled on my face and I raised my sword. I battle cry escaped my lips, my sword ploughed into the wolf. The ringing up my arm caused me to realise that my sword had hit the earth and not the flesh. We had shot past each other. I spun on my toes and saw him – for it was definitely male- standing behind me, his body curving as he too turned.

Seeing him up close, I noticed that there was an electric blue outline around him. He was also seemed to be as high as my hip and not as gigantic as I had made him out to be. He flashed ice white fangs at me as his black-pink lips curled back. A snort came out of him then his large paws padded back to me, quickening as he slunk though the grass.

Re-positioning my feet, I darted to meet him. His jaw snapped out as I swung my blade too wide. I twisted it back, sending a spike of pain across my wrists and aiming for his rear. Somehow, he saw or predicted the movement, because he threw his tail and thus his rear away. His tail flicked back and he leapt on a turn.

I threw my arms and sword up in defence. He collided into me, shoving my chest plate down and scrapping his claws against the metal. The force caused me to stumble and as I struggled to stay upright, the wolf kicked off me. I lost my balance and fell. I hit the ground hard with a ringing in my ears. Struggling up, I had no time to assess the damage. The wolf was snarling at me and closing the gap between us.

A woman’s scream of, ‘no!’ made us both pause and look across. A black figure with a curving blade was standing next to a dirty white gelatinous blob shape in the hazy distance.

‘Rain?’ I called back.

The wolf growled and whipped around to me. I glanced at him then forced my eyes to stay down instead of looking back up. The wolf, keeping low to the ground, stalked me. I moved backwards aware of pain in my legs and hands. I gritted my teeth and knew I had to make this quick, Rain needed my help.

‘Come on,’ I muttered.

The wolf snapped at me and lines of saliva dripped from his mouth. He shook his head, clearing himself of it before charging at me. I easily side stepped, snaking out of his reach then brought my sword down on top of him. The blade pierced his spine. The wolf howled, twisted back and jumped me. I was faster. I whacked my sword around and ran him through.

The wolf slide off me and landed in the grass, which instantly flattened underneath him. I dragged in tight breaths and watch him fading. A wave of victory rocked though me and I felt the uncustomary feeling of satisfaction at killing my first evil soul.

Rain’s voice called me back.

I spun around, half trying to work out what she was saying and half assessing the next situation. She was too far away for me to do both. I broke into a run, sword dragging though the top of the grass.

‘You idiot!’ Rain screamed, ‘Stop!’

Her words whipped passed me. I ignored them, some part of my brain claiming they weren’t for me. Why would Rain say that when I was coming to save her? I pressed on and almost ran right into the dirty white gelatinous blob. My boots skidded to a halt, desperate breaths rattled my chest and my arms readied to fight again.

The blob loomed over me, blocking out the skyline. It seemed to be a swirling mass of white and grey shades of paint. It’s aura pulsed deep red across it’s outline. I stalled for a few moments, unsure what this thing was or how to kill it.

I felt, rather than saw, Rain come to my side. Her body knocked hard into me, shoving me out of the way. I almost stumbled to the ground again, but hung on. I shot her a look and opened my mouth, but she beat me to speaking.

‘Get away. Are you crazy?’

‘You need help,’ I stated.

Rain’s head turned to me and I saw her mismatched eyes through the slit in her mask and hood. They were full of anger, determination and power.

‘Not from you, I don’t,’ she snapped back, ‘your power is useless against this monster.’

‘But I killed the other one!’ I counted back.

A flicker of sadness appeared and vanished in her eyes. She turned back to the blob, ‘I don’t need your death on my hands. Go!’

I shook my head slightly, knowing she wouldn’t see it.

The blob shifted, turning tediously to us.

I heard Rain growl. She swung her katana out and it sliced right through the blob. The gash was wide, but in seconds it had healed over. She yelled out and slashed at what seemed to be the head, though there was no visible face. The blob paused to shudder then began moving again.

Rain turned back to me, darting over, ‘throw me,’ she rushed.

I frowned at her. She torn my sword from my hand and threw it away. I heard it whizzing through the air and slicing though the grass as it landed.

‘Hey!’ I yelled.

‘Throw me, God, Damn it!’ she shouted into my face.

‘Okay!’

She turned and I crouched. I grabbed her around the ankles and picked her up. She lent her body into mine as I did so.

‘How is this going to help?’ I asked gruffly.

‘I need to get on top of it,’ Rain called down, ‘the soul is in its’ head. You ready?’

‘Sure.’

‘Then…?’

Pushing all my energy in it, I threw Rain as high as I could. A grunt squeezed itself out of my chest and I watched her flying through the air. She land almost on top of it. Jabbing her katana in, she scrambled up the rest of the way. The blob didn’t seem to notice or if it did, it didn’t care. Rain walked across it then drew her blade into a downward killing stroke.

She dropped the katana down, slicing through the gelatinous blob and straight into something hard. I couldn’t see probably, but I knew she’d hit the soul. The blob began disintegrating. Large jelly chucks bounced across the grass or curved inwards.

Rain yanked her weapon out and half run- half slide down its side. She landed with her legs together, knees bent before coming over to me. She pulled down her mask and hood. Her face was flushed and she was breathing hard. She slotted her katana away and walked past me. I watched her pick up my sword and return with it. She handed it to me, refusing to meet my questioning eyes.

‘Is it died?’ I asked to break the silence between us.

Rain nodded once.

‘Did you see me kill that wolf?’

‘Yeah,’ she grumbled and moved forward.

The blob was all but melted down and fading fast.

‘Did you see that daemon?’ I questioned, ‘he’s the same one from before. You know with the bear?’

‘Sort of, but I wasn’t paying attention,’ she answered as she drew her katana.

‘He’s taunting me,’ I pointed out.

Rain hummed and held her arms out, her weapon in her right hand. She began to mumble some words.

A wind swept the grass and I felt it touching me then rushing off again. The blob parts vanished and the wind came back the other way. Rain dropped her katana to the ground and with the tip trailing behind started walking. She circled the area where the blob had died and when she reached the start point, she struck the katana into the earth. The blade wobbled and I got the sense of a white light running the circle that she had made.

Rain went to her knees and pressed her head to the guard and hilt. Her lips moved softly, though I didn’t catch the words. Following her, I knelt, lay my sword down and put my hands together. I prayed silently, thanking God for protecting us and asking him to help Rain cleanse the area.

A soft almost inaudible whinnying ticked my ears. I opened my eyes and saw the giant wolf standing before Rain.

I snatched up my sword, thoughts racing through my mind. The wolf give a low growl and Rain shot between us.

‘He’s my friend,’ she stated, ‘could you kindly not kill him again?’

Church (Chapter 6, part 4)

Nestled at the foot of Errigal (the highest mountain(2,464ft) in County Donegal) and overlooking the beautiful Poisoned Glen is the ruins of Dunlewy Church.

My hand hit my sword and I unsheathed it out. The daemon’s laughter rose and he scuttled down to a lower branch. I could see him more clearly and yes, it was the same daemon I had faced the night I had met Rain. The daemon’s grey forked tongue lolled out of his slashed mouth whilst his eyes fixed upon me. His jagged twisted horns looked spiky and menacing. His sharp claws dug into the tree and his orange scales seemed to crack with fire light. His triangle ending tail flicked around like a cat’s and wrapped around a small branch.

‘You’re friend’s here,’ the daemon stated.

‘Friend? What?’ I asked.

‘Death,’ his tongue drew out the word.

I flipped my mind back and recalled the conversation we had had before. A part of me demanded to forget all about it and just get on with killing him. Something, maybe it was the need for information, stilled my hand further. I looked up at him and saw that he had unfolded his leathery bat wings. Red veins webbed across them and they were both topped with a sharp talon. The more fragile ends fluttered a little like the wing tips of a butterfly.

‘Do you still have your soul?’ the daemon jeered then broke into a hissing laugh.

I growled and moved to spear him, but the sounds of another fight stopped me. I saw the daemon cock his head and slide his eyes over.

‘The bear,’ I muttered, ‘did it come back?’

Steeling myself, I looked around the tree. There was nothing but an empty field, then I spotted a glimmer of something to my right…

The daemon screeched and my eyes snapped back to him. He jumped from the tree, aiming for my face. I stepped back and brought my sword up to defend myself. The daemon’s claws scrapped across my blade then his fingers wrapped around the sword. Tightening my grip, I flung my sword out and he was ripped off by the force.

Shrieking, he beat his wings against the air and darted back towards me. I swiped at him and missed. He shot up through the branches of the tree and I hurried after him as he turned in a circle to come back. My feet slammed onto a concrete base and I stopped. The daemon hoovered in the sky for a moment then shot down at me.

I held my sword in both hands and used it like a bat. Shuffling my feet, I fixed my aim and as soon as he was in range, I swung. My sword collided heavily with his belly and I felt the vibrations rushing through me. The daemon screamed in pain and was tossed backwards. He struggled to sort his wings out then zoomed off.

I smelt acid tang in the air. I checked my sword and saw a patch of dark red, nearly black blood staining the tip. I stole a few deep breaths and searched the sky for him. I felt the hairs standing up on my arms and my eyes dropped to the surrounding area. Off to my right, I could see a haze of air which seemed to roll up in waves. I shook my head and forcefully reminded myself that I should concentrate on killing this daemon.

The distance sounds of a fight brushed my ears and I had to turn back again. I could hear a clashing sword and the grunting of some kind of beast. A very evil aura blossomed to my right and it became so red and large, I felt pain twitch across my head. A small howl like a dog’s echoed as if in some dream then there was nothing more.

I turned away, blinking quickly and trying to refocus. The sound of leather wings caused me to look over. From the haze came the daemon and he had friends.

I gritted my teeth, double handed my sword again and raced through an action plan. There were four small daemons tailing behind the first. They looked just like him, only slightly lighter in orange colour.

‘Kill! Kill!’ they chanted as the clouded around my head.

‘You’ll die this time, Divine!’ the daemon gloated.

‘No, I won’t!’ I shouted.

The first of the smaller daemons came at me, claws out stretched to my face. I easily speared him on the tip of my sword and as blood showered, I swung into the next one. The lead daemon’s laughter haunted my ears and rage pounded through me. The second smaller daemon was temporally taken out with the body of the first. I watched them both hit the long grass before turning back to the other two.

With a shattering screech, the third daemon dived me and I felt claws scratching my head. My hair was tugged. I whipped around and easily sliced the daemon in two. His throbbing body bounced in the grass. I pivoted back for the four.

‘Go. Go!’ the leader yelled.

The four hissed at him, sucked in then spit at me. I ducked to the side as a green gloop of acid landed at my foot. I saw it bubble on the concert.

‘Is that the best you’ve got?’ I challenged.

‘Get him!’ the leader roared.

The four daemon hesitated. The leader grabbed him and threw him at me. I knocked him down with my sword, stood on his tail and impaled him. Breathing deeply, I huffed my hair out of my face and looked up at the leader. His mouth opened wide in a collaborated scream-roar. I felt my ears pop.

Pain shot under my knee and I looked down. The second daemon had bitten into my leg whilst his leader had districted me. I kicked out, but he only dug his claws in and began climbing me. I dropped my sword, which clattered loudly to the ground and shoved my hands into the daemon’s face. I felt acid dipped dagger teeth sinking into my hands.

Fighting away the pain, I tightened my grip and ripped the daemon off me. I heard he’s muffled shriek from underneath me before I sent him tumbling through the grass. I scurried for my weapon and found it next to me. Wrapping my fingers around the grip, I picked up the sword as the daemon trundled out of the grass and back onto the concrete base.

For the first time, I noticed his left wing was badly damaged and he was blood spattered. The lesser daemon scurried over, claws tapping and belly scrapping. I stepped back and pointed my blade at him. He rushed to the side, going to the back of me. I danced after him and cut my sword down.

The scales on his back were shaved off and he squealed. I kicked him over and stabbed into his belly. He screamed, flayed around before becoming still. I nudge the shaking body into the grass and sort out my last enemy.

‘Face me yourself, why don’t you?’ I shouted, ‘your minions are worthless.’

‘You want true death, Angel? I gives you its!’ the daemon snapped.

‘Bring it!’ I shot back, ‘only it’s going to be your death!’

The daemon hissed and made to flap down at me, but something stopped him. His head turned to the right and though I was painfully aware of something happening over there, I didn’t move. A low chuckled came from him and he flapped off in that direction instead.

Twisting, my eyes followed him and I saw a giant wolf emerging from the haze.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 3, Part 2)

17 Photos of Abandoned Churches These old Churches have long been abandoned but not forgotten. Awesome photos keep them alive in our memories!

Continued from Church chapter 3, part 1.

‘Ready?’ she asked, a smile fleeting across her lips.

‘When you are,’ I answered.

Rain struck as a new heavy metal song started. She swung the right end of the pole quickly towards me. I easily parried it, causing the thin wood to clash. Rapidly, she brought up the other end, which I easily deflected as well. She smiled softly and repeated the moves again, only this time faster and stronger, which took me by surprised and caused me to shuffle back. Rain moved as well, creating a gap between us and sliding her hands down the pole as she did so.

I defended for the second time as she came at me with the end of the pole raised above her head.  She went to bring it down, but I meet her pole in the middle. There was a loud whack and we both felt the vibrations going through us. I twisted, trying to bring her pole down, but she predicated the move and pulled away, spinning as she did so.

‘Not bad,’ Rain remarked, turning to face me.

I relaxed my pole and copied her movements as she balanced the pole between her hands again. She spaced her legs out and put her right foot before her left, so that she was side on to me. I mirrored her.

‘I fight better with a sword,’ I pointed out.

‘Me too,’ she purred and grinned, ‘we’ll have to try that, sometime. Right now though…’ Rain trailed off as she ready to attack again.

I was prepared for her move and blocked the strike. She tilted her pole down, aiming for my stomach. I hit her away and pushed back. I felt a wave of unexpected anger and struck. Her pole was still low, so I wacked it even lower and though she probably could have stopped me, she let the end of the pole hit the floor.

‘A point to me, hmm?’ I declared.

Rain giggled, ‘I don’t remember saying anything about that…It’s to the death.’

I frowned, a spike of shock piercing in my chest and words unable to form on my lips.

‘Problem?’ she queried.

‘You jest, surely?’ I forced out.

She shook her head, ‘why would I? What have I got to lose in my own realm?’

She took my puzzlement as a chance and hit me in the lower leg.  I choked, one handed my pole and with my other hand gripped my leg. That give her another opening and raising the pole, she brought it down on my shoulder. I cried out, but without pausing, Rain went for another attack and tried to jab the pole end into my chest. I yanked up my arms and pole in guard, swung out and parried her blow with such force that she half stumbled to the side.

Letting out a yell, I twisted away and went to strike her leg, however, she was faster and blocked me. She spun away, creating space between us and sliding her hands down the pole, so that it she held it close to the bottom and the pole reached out before her.  Without missing a beat, I came at her and our poles met in the air, forming an X above us. I took a few deep breaths, feeling the tension, though there seemed to be more from her side then mine.

Grunting, I moved my pole a fraction, trying to see if she would be tricked into still holding her position whilst I launched an attack. She was wiser and the second my pole left hers, she flicked away and leaped backwards. She was shockingly light on the tips of her toes and she glided to a stop with such grace. I caught the quick smile on her lips as she re-positioned her hands slightly further up on the pole to give it and herself more balance.

‘You don’t mean it,’ I stated as I brought my weapon down and rested the end on the floor.

She cocked her head and stared at me.

‘A fight to the death? And with wooden poles too?’ I blurted.

‘We could continue without, if you prefer?’ she asked coldly.

‘But what’s the point? What have I done to offend you?’ I demanded to know.

‘There’s no real reason,’ she answered thoughtfully, ‘the only thing that matters now is proving yourself to me.’

‘You saved my life, Rain!’ I shouted and almost threw my pole down, ‘Why do I have to prove anything to you? Did you not see me fighting that Demigod bear?’

She shrugged and quickly moved forward to fill the space between us. Rain brought her pole up, so I readied mine in defensive. She aimed low, I blocked and the poles clattered together. She angled upwards and I did the same causing the wood to squeak. I tightened my grip and pushed against her. Surprisingly, she was able to stand her ground and we were locked together for a few moments.

‘You have to tell me why,’ I pressed.

‘Like you said, you owe me your life and I want to see what it’s worth,’ she shot back.

Anger flared up inside me and I realised the time for talking was over. However, I couldn’t risk her words being the truth or a lie as right now she was fully intending to win this fight. Blocking all my thoughts and feeling about her, I give into the urge of battle.

I threw all my weight forward and shoved her backwards. Rain’s feet moved across the mat, she gasped. I felt her resistance weakening, then she found grip and ducked under me. I heard her pole clatter to the ground and turned in time to see her somersault, still with the pole in her hands. Rain jumped to her feet and turned to face me again.

I came at her full speed, my pole positioned to land on her head, but in the nick of time she blocked and kicked me in the stomach, though it was a poor blow because her foot bounced back off my armour. She noted that and caused me to toss my head aside to avoid her bare feet as she tumbled into a series of three long back flips. I saw her land upright and I swiftly judge the distance now between us.

I could have crossed it in a few running strides, but instead, like Rain was doing, I caught my breath and prepared again. Despite trying to block it, I still desperately wanted to know why she wanted to kill me and what had led to this. I shook my head, pushing the thoughts away before I tried to engage her in conversation again. We were far passed that now and what really matter was how the fight was going to end.

Rain jumped back into combat and our poles clashed together once more. She pushed against me, the expression on her face and in her eyes one of complete determination. I pressed back, willing this all to end and for her words not to be true. She growled, tipped the left end of her pole down, then brought her knee up before it to push it into my upper leg.

I gritted my teeth, shifted my pole down against her’s, but Rain moved her’s up in a flash and brought the other end into the side of my head. I stumbled, rocked by dizziness. Another blow landed in the same spot and my vision darkened as I hit the floor.

 To Be Continued…

The Dead Marshes (Part 3)

‘We can take ‘em,’ Grub hissed.

Morgrim and Cerseia quickly shushed him and he fell silent. Eagerly, they all watched from their hiding place as the group of enemies came closer. As the kobolds rounded the bend and came opposite them, Morgrim had to grab Grub to stop him storming forward. He pressed his hand over the other dwarf’s mouth as Grub went to argue.

‘Come on! Move! We’ve not got all day!’ the bullywug spit and cracked his whip over the heads of the kobolds, whom shrink away then hurried forward.

Morgrim shook his head and Grub growled. The bullywug and troll passed them and the whole group walked up to the stone doorway. Loudly threating the kobolds still, the bullywug yanked the troll to a stop and instructed it to open the door.

As the company watched though, a kobold rushed at the bullywug and began beating its small hands all over him. The large frog easily picked up the dragon lizard and laughing in its face, turned to the troll.

‘Kill him,’ the bullywug command.

The troll looked at him dumbly, twirling the wooden club it held in his right hand around.

‘Did you hear me? Kill!’ the bullywug yelled and threw the kobold at the troll’s feet.

The troll looked down still confused, ‘crush?’ a slow booming voice formed one of the only words the troll’s brain know how to say.

‘Yes, Yes! Crush!’

The troll shook himself, lifted his left foot and brought it down on the kobold. The creature screamed, calling out for mercy then fall silent as splattering and crunching noises echoed into the night. The troll moved his foot again and kicked the flattered body into the nearest stagnate pool, which claimed the victim hungrily.

‘Well done! Good boy, Grunter,’ the bullywug praised and turned back to the other kobolds, ‘you want some of that then? Get back to work!’

They scuttled around the door and began clawing at the stones.

‘Go on,’ the bullywug urged the troll and with lumbering steps the creature stomped over and began pulling at the door alongside the kobolds.

Now, guessing they were out of ear shot and preoccupied, Morgrim turned to Cerseia.

‘Can you cast that void again?’ he asked.

She shook her head, ‘I used it up back at the warehouse. I can create a fireball though.’

‘Let’s just charge ‘em,’ Grub argued.

‘No. We need to element of surprise right now,’ Morgrim explained, ‘Konniana, if Cerseia and I cast fire at the kobolds can you shoot arrows at the bullywug?’

‘Yes,’ Konniana’s voice whispered back from the tree top.

‘What shall we do? We have nothing long range,’ Katliana pointed out about herself and Grub, feeling the urge to fight growing.

‘After we have distracted the others, charge the troll and try to take him down. We’ll come and help you once we’ve killed the others,’ Morgrim commanded.

‘Don’t worry. I can take it on myself,’ Grub declared, hefting his warhammer.

‘Are you ready?’ Cerseia chimed in.

Morgrim nodded and at once they both casted their own fire. For Cerseia it was a bright burning orange fireball and for Morgrim a lighter flame of divine power. Cerseia went first and threw her fire towards the kobolds, however the bullywug stepped in front of them and the fireball clipped his shoulder and dropped sizzling out onto the floor. The large frog humanoid turned eyes straight to where they were hiding.

Morgrim quickly followed up Cerseia’s attack, but the bullywug was on guard and easily ducked the scared flame. It sailed over his head and into what should have been a least one kobold, but they had already scattered due to the fireball.

‘We are under attack!’ screamed the bullywug and cracked his whip across the air.

‘Forget this!’ Grub yelled and charged out of the trees straight for the troll.

Katliana chased after him, pulling her great sword out as she did so. She easily over took the short dwarf and parried the troll’s club blow that had been aimed at Grub’s head. An arrow shoot from her sister’s bow whistled past her and straight into the stomach of the Bullywug.

The frog let out a croaking scream, but still turned to command the kobolds into action. Only four were brave enough to come forward though. The other three remind behind, trying desperately to press themselves into any shadows, which seemed to be slowly disappearing in the coming dawn’s light. As the four kobolds assembled and clutched un-sharpened daggers, a fireball crashed down in-between them.

The smell of burnt scaly skin filled the air and dying screams tumbled across the marshland. One luckily kobold had escaped pretty much unharmed and he darted back to his friends. Of the others, two were dead and the third was too badly wounded to get up. On seeing this, the bullywug charged at Katliana. With a roar, he flicked the whip at her and she dodged and dived around Grub, who had become locked in battle with the troll.

An arrow whizzed passed them and buried itself deep into the bullywug’s head. Blood dropped down the creature’s frog face and the whip went loose in the webbed hand. The bullywug choked and fell backwards, landing dead and sprawled out along the pathway.

Catching her breath, Katliana turned to thank her sister, but could no longer see her in the tree. However, on the pathway, she saw Morgrim’s shield light up and he, Cerseia and Konniana rushing over to help them. She turned back to the troll and saw that Grub was struggling against the creature which was easily five times taller than he was. However, that did seem to be putting the dwarf off, only making him more determined.

The troll had no idea that his master was gone and was solely focused on crushing the figures gathering around his feet. With a mighty swing of his weapon, he knocked the dwarf over and flung the club back again to catch the dragonborn. Though, she was faster and ducked under via a roll, which caused her to stop close to the dwarf.

Grub had landed on his back and was groaning in pain. Katliana caught him as he tried to get up and dragged him backwards out of the way as the club parted the air above their heads. She slipped on top of him, causing him to cry out and start struggling to sit up as they both detangled themselves from each other.

By this time the others had reached the troll. Distracted by new things to crush, he turned his attention away and took a swipe at Cerseia. She nimbly dodged the blow and sliced her sword into the troll’s knee, whilst Konniana shot an arrow into his shoulder. He howled in pain as Morgrim stepped forward, leaving his shield and warhammer on the ground as he charged up a spell between his hands.

Enraged, the troll took a strike at Cerseia and missed again as she darted behind him. Unexpectedly, he then threw his club the other way and clipped Konniana on the shoulder. With a roar, she dropped her crossbow, drew her long sword and rushing forward stuck the blade between the troll’s legs. His eyes rolled down at her in shock and his whole body started shaking.

Cerseia sliced the backs of the troll’s knees and hurriedly moved out of the way. She darted back to Morgrim’s side, ready to protect the cleric if the troll came at them again and he no time to fire off his spell. Konniana whipped out her sword and shuffled backwards, her eyes darted across to her sister and she saw Katliana pulling Grub to his feet and them hurrying to join in again.

The troll let out a loud groan and dropped backwards. The air swooshed around him and he hit the ground hard, crushing the bullywug and the barely-alive third kobold under him. The chest heaved a last breath, then fell still.

Konniana climbed on top of him and poked his face with the tip of her sword just be sure he was really dead.

‘Are you injured? Morgrim’s voice called from behind her and she twisted to see him talking to Grub. The other dwarf shook his head and Morgrim’s eyes went to everyone else in turn, ‘is anyone hurt?’

More head shakes answered his question.

‘What are we going to do with them?’ Katliana called and pointed her sword at the remaining kobolds who were still trying to hide in the shadows cast by the wall.

‘Kill them!’ Grub half-shouted and began to stomp his way over.

The others quickly followed and Morgrim fought his way to the front. The kobolds half-turned to them before gathering to chatter amongst themselves. Cerseia conjured a fireball, but Morgrim caught her hand as a single unarmed kobold crept over to them.

‘N-n-no kills-s,’ the kobold stuttered with a forked lizard tongue.

‘Why should we let you live?’ Morgrim called over.

‘You-s kills-s bull-y-wug. He enslaved us-s, we does-s bidding-s. We nots harms you-s.’

‘I do not trust him,’ Cerseia said in a low voice.

Morgrim glanced at the others, but they seemed just as intrigued by the kobold as he was.

‘What do you want?’ he asked.

‘Our-r lands-s backs,’ the kobold lisped, ‘Marsh-y ours-s!’

‘What did the bullywug want with the stolen treasure?’ Konniana asked harshly.

The kobold put his head to one side then half looked back at his three friends and the doorway. He seemed not have understood the question.

‘Where are you taking the crates to?’ Morgrim re-put the questions.

‘Oh! The s-shin-y s-shin-y-s!’ the kobold squealed, ‘to the castle! To the castle they goes!’

‘Castle?’ Cerseia repeated slowly.

‘Why?’ Morgrim pressed.

‘The dark-s wiz-ard,’ the kobold shivered, ‘he make-s us-s alls. Enslave whole tribe. Take-s our-s marsh-y!’

‘So, you were right,’ Katliana cut in disappointedly and casting her head down, ‘someone else was been behind all of this the whole time.’

‘Can you take us to the castle?’ Morgrim asked the kobold, ignoring her for the moment.

The kobold’s eyes considered the dwarf as the kobold’s head slipped to the side once more. He seemed in thought for a few moments and then asked, ‘you-s goings to kill dark-s wiz-ard? Deads?’

Morgrim nodded, ‘yes, we are going to kill him. If you help us, we will set your tribe free and give you your land back, including the castle.’

‘No castle-s doesn’t wants-s,’ the kobold spit, ‘marsh-y only. Lands-s!’

‘Deal,’ Morgrim called over and he walked over to the kobold with his hand out. He thought he heard the females gasping and Grub ready his warhammer.

The kobold touched his hand with its own scaly clawed fingers and rushed back to jabber with his friends. Morgrim watched them, satisfied that the kobold was relaying the exchange between them. He was aware of Cerseia coming to side, but before she could voice her questions, Morgrim called over to the kobolds, turned around and set off walking down the crudely made log pathway. The chattering kobolds swarmed after him, then passed him and began to lead the way. Morgrim’s companions fell into place behind him, eyeing the kobolds warily and whispering amongst themselves. Morgrim smiled and felt his old friend victory creeping into his head. Soon they would fulfill their quest.

To Be Continued…

Church (Chapter 1, Part 4)

Continued from Church Part 3, which can be read below as well as Parts 1 and 2.

The bare trees and star speckled sky seemed to frame the clearing. I caught my breath and clutched my sword tighter, knowing they were re-grouping behind me and fearing their number. I let no plan form in my mind as just the urge to defeat evil was enough for me. Their laughter grew from the shadows and there was a rustling of leather wings. I prepared myself.

‘Scared, Angel? You should be, you see true power now,’ the daemon called out.

‘True power? All I see is a coward hiding behind his friends,’ I shouted back, still without turning, ‘why don’t you face me yourself?’

The daemon chuckled and it was echoed by the others, ‘I shall. That’s why we’ve come here. You wanted Death and I brought you to him.’

‘What?’ I whispered, turning with confusion tumbling through my mind and face. I could see them all there now, lingering at the treeline. There must have been twenty of them or so. They ranged in size, with the first daemon being the largest. Most of the others looked like him, though others were more dragon or bat like. Their eyes were hungry, but they seemed unusually edgy.

‘You have soul?’ the daemon hissed, his tongue flicking around.

I frowned.

‘Everything has one.’

‘What is this?’ I cut in, ‘just come and fight me. Stop with your games!’

The daemon chuckled and seemed to nod towards the space behind me. Around him the smaller ones were becoming more agitated and moving away. The others weren’t trying to stop them and seemed themselves fearful. I had never seen them behave this way and worry crept into my thoughts. Quietness filled the clearing then the trees began to sway as if a giant’s hand was pushing them aside. I glanced over my shoulder, trying to keep one eye on the daemon, whilst seeking for the sudden presence I had felt behind me.

‘I lied,’ the daemon giggled.

‘What?’ I spun back, my sword raised, but he and his companions had taken to the air and were out of reach. Something large hit me from behind and threw me into the undergrowth. Branches and thorns scrapped across my skin and robe, whilst my sword sank into a tree. A monstrous roar shook everything and I saw against the night sky the faint clear outline of a large beast.

I paused and stared up, trying to figure what it was. However, it was invisible to my eyes expect for when the sky gave it lines. Above me the daemons chortled and took a chant of ‘kill, kill, kill.’ They understood what it was, so did that make it a daemon? I pulled my sword out and tried to estimate where it was, but I couldn’t put dimensions to it. I was no fool to flay my weapon around, so I took cover and watched the lines I could see.

‘Ha, ha, pitiful Divine can’t see!’

I looked up and the daemon was sat in a branch above me. His eyes glowed, his tail whipped about and he bared fangs. With a claw, he pointed in the direction of the demonic beast and in a sickly sweet voice said, ‘would you like to see?’ He flapped off, without waiting my reply and I saw him land on the outline of the creature. He seemed to be absorbed inside and was then gone.

Straight away I saw it, a gigantic Demigod bear with icy white and blue swirling fur. Large black eyes fixed on me as the even larger snout sniffed and the jaws opened to rows of pointed teeth. Massive paws armed with razor claws began to stomp over. Fear froze me and all I could see were those eyes coming for me.

The daemons’ chittering broke the spell and I dodged the first paw with a roll. Shooting back to my feet, I took a swing, meaning to slice right across that paw, but the other one came down behind me, knocking me and tossing me away, much like a cat with a mouse. Undergrowth rushed to me and I landed in a tangle of brambles, my robe ensnared. Struggling against them, I heard deep rumbling laughter and looked up to see the bear paused above me and him speaking, ‘what a weakling, but his soul is holy. Very tasty and powerful.’

‘I’m not weak!’ I screamed and tore myself free.

The colossal maw came together in a black lined smiled, ‘but you are.’

Wheeling my sword, I brought it down in the bear’s face and it easily cut through the smile. The Demigod roared as the blessed blade left a red streak in its wake. The bear raised a paw and rubbed its burning flesh. I darted further into the trees, only intending to create room between us whilst I planned my next attack. However, the bear had other ideas and sprinted after me. Trees were thrown aside and the plants flattened. The other daemons took higher to the air, their chatter silenced.

‘God protect me!’ I bellowed and dodged a flying tree.

‘Your God shall not!’ the daemonic voice rumbled close behind me, ‘He’s forsaken you!’

‘He would never! I am His knight!’ I threw over my shoulder.

The bear chuckled, ‘then why doesn’t He come?’

My feet skidded to a halt and I spun. The bear padded up in front of me, head down and eyes fixed on my own. I felt the evil power radiating from him and his question hanging in the air. I gripped my sword in both hands, steadied my feet and controlled my breathing. Silently, I prayed and called on God and the other Angels. There was no way I could face this alone and I didn’t want to die! My soul would be consumed by this evil and I’d never get back home.

The bear growled, still waiting my response.

‘He will come,’ I answered calmly, ‘at my darkest hour as my last hope, a guiding light.’

Sniggering filled my ears as the jaws opened and the teeth chopped together, ‘such spirit,’ the Demigod sighed, ‘but no one is coming to save you,’ and he swept out his head, capturing me in his mouth. I screamed and plunged my sword down, slicing through lip and fur. The bear shook in pain, causing me to struggle for balance. I tugged out my sword and aimed it at the roof of his mouth. His body suddenly trembled, the teeth knocked together and I felt an electric charge fill the air.

I paused, torn between digging my blade in or jumping free. The mouth was shaking around me like an earthquake and the bear seemed to be moaning in pain. The teeth fall together, the tongue tip poked my boot as if pushing me forward and then I fell out. Air rushed around me before my back hit the ground. Pain rocked through me and my head spun. I felt my sword still in my grasp and my mind screaming at me to move.

I pushed up and shuffled backwards, dragging my sword with my sight fixed on the fallen Demigod. The large eyes were closed and he appeared to be fading away. No sound or movement came from him. I stopped moving and looked up. A shadow was standing in-between the bear’s ears. I squeezed my eyes shut then opened them again. The shadow figure was still there and a crackling laughing ripped the air.

A wave of terror like nothing I had ever known curled around me. Whatever that was seemed worse than the Demigod bear. Everything screamed to run, but my body was achy and sore. In a flash the shadow moved and came before me. I tried to shuffle away, but my body was numb, my breathing quickened. I clutched my sword and raised it before me.

The figure gave the impression of a head tilt as if unsure about me or the movement. Then as if allowing me too, the figure made itself clearer and I saw what appeared to be a black masked and caped ninja in front of me, with a curved tip katana pointed at the floor. However, some reasoning inside of me knew this could be so and that this figure was something more.

‘What are you?’ I asked in a shaky voice.

The figure pulled the mask and hood down, revealing the soft face and bouncing brown hair of a woman, ‘I’m Rain.’

***************************

Author’s Note:

Hi, I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading Church as much as I’ve been enjoying writing it. I had been thinking of a number of different ends, but I couldn’t settle on one and since I’ve been liking it so much I’ve decided to carry on with it and see what happens. At the minute, I’m not sure if I’ll be posting any more of it up, since I thought that these four parts might form the first chapter of a novel. However, if people are interested and let me know through likes/comments, then I will look at posting some more. I’m really interesting to find out more about Rain, what she and Blaze are now going to do and if he’ll ever get back into Heaven. Hope you feel the same!

If you’ve enjoyed this story and my blog please follow or like or comment. You can also:

Join the Facebook group at:  https://www.facebook.com/thestoryfiles?ref=bookmarks

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Thanks for reading and supporting my short stories, Hayley.

Church (Chapter 1, Part 3)

Continued from Church Part 2, which can be read below as well as Part 1.

Evil drew me like a magnet and I never had to roam far from the church to find it. I had cleansed a large circle from that central point, which had begun in villages and small towns before reaching the larger towns and the city. The bigger the settlement the more evil that plagued it and the harder it was to fight it.

I landed on the flat roof of a house tower. The rain had stopped falling, though the streets below me glittered with water. People and vehicles hurried passed, the noise raising and mixing with other sounds. A sea of umbrellas and hoods covered the people, whilst the darkness concealed those in the cars. Listening, I waited to pin point an evil source. It could been anything; a daemon, a vengeful spirit, a malicious human or a supernatural being breaking the laws and going crazy.

My senses were tugged in one direction and straight away I knew there was a daemon possessing a human there. Taking off, my wings beat the air and carried me to that place, which, as I landed, was a car park. The smashing of glass turned my head and I saw a large figure plunging through a broken car door window. Laughed rose with the fading tinkling of glass.

Drawing my sword, I stepped behind him. The weapon was large in my hands, but fitted perfectly. The silver blade was long and sharp not only at its tip, but along both sides. It was also unbreakable and capable of penetrating anything. The hilt was a work of heavenly art and made from gold with a red tint. There were no precious stones set into the pommel or along the guard. Instead, the arcing guard was inscribed with curling Latin words and leafy flourishes on both sides. The grip was decorated with seemingly ridged downward feathers and the pommel was shaped into a ringed cross covered in Celtic knots like patterns.

He turned, a car radio clutched in filthy, blood hands and his crackling dry laugh dying on his lips. The tip of my sword brushed his throat. He dropped the radio, which spilt open on top of the glass fragments as he brought up his hands. He stank and his clothes were ripped and messy. It was hard to tell if the human was a tramp or had once had a comfortable life, before the possession. However, judging by the fact he was over-weight and his clothes seemed to have been a suit beforehand, it was possibly the second one.

‘Angel,’ he hissed and spit at me, though it fell short.

‘Was he willing, Daemon?’ I asked coldly.

A forked tongue stuck out of the slashed mouth and licked eagerly across the lips, ‘yes. Very. Are you, Angel?’

‘Never,’ I snarled.

He laughed, arms wrapping around his large belly and tongue flicking out faster. His dark red eyes flashed at me and small stubby wings grew from his shoulders. The wings were bat like; webbed and leathery, but with large throbbing veins crisscrossing the red surface. There was no way they could lift the human.

I pressed the tip deeper into his throat, suspecting what he might be trying to do. A bead of blood appeared, but the daemon didn’t seem to care.

‘A taste of the power always changes minds,’ he growled, ‘I could give it to you. I’ve turned angels before,’ he chuckled, ‘they burn up first and then get re-born from the black fire. You wanna try?’

‘No,’ I shouted and drove the blade into his throat.

He screamed then ripped himself out of the human. My sword drove deeper into the throat, becoming coated with red blood streaked black. The human chocked, blood splattering out of the mouth and the eyes fixed on my own. I whipped the blade out, he fell forward, his face crashing into the pile of glass and tarmac. Straight away I knew that this man had been willing, driven by too much greedy and power hungry, he’d readily fed his soul to this daemon.

Looking up, I saw the daemon floating above and lazily flapping his wings. His tongue longer and more forked than before, hissed at me, whilst his triangle pointed tail flicked at the top of my head. He looked more lizard like than anything else, with his shimmering orangey scales and flat head complete with jagged horns. His four short legs ended in wicked claws and he was no taller than an eight-year old human child.

‘It’s your turn now!’ I called up to him.

He snickered, ‘you try too hard. To honour-able, Angelic Knight. My powers greater.’

I swung my sword up at him, but he dodged it easily causing the heavy blade to slice empty air and into the side of the car. With his laughter echoing in my ears, I pulled out the weapon and tried again. The tip scrapped his foot. He yowled in pain before hissing and zooming down at me. I arced the sword, leaving a fiery red line in the air and blocking his attack. He took a sideways hit and landed on the floor.

‘Angry, so angry,’ he spit, ‘you make me. You want to see power? See Death?’

I jabbed at him and his scales reflected the blow. He shot up, rushing me in the face and his claws scratching me right across before he spiralled away. I turned after him, lashing my sword out and catching his side. However, it wasn’t enough to stop him and with an anguished cry he soared away. Bring a hand to my face, which felt on fire, I watched him land on top of the chain link fence, shriek out a call and flap away into the night. Lowing my sword to the floor, I rubbed my long sleeve across my face. It came back smeared with blood.

Breathing deeply, I sheathed my sword and sank down beside the car. I had nothing to put on the wounds, but the heat was already fading from them. They would heal in time, though I was more concerned about the loose Daemon. I dapped at the blood again then began searching for him. His evil aura trail made it too easy to track him, though I had no idea where he was going. Gathering my strength, I flew after him. There was no knowing what he’d do now, though it was unlikely he’d take over another human as he was at his strongest right now. The more possible options, were that he was heading for a constant source of evil power such as a gateway, or he had some friends in the area that he could rally against me with.

His trail took me to a far edge of the city and a wooded park. As I landed, I could hear the chanting of daemons and a slight dread filled me. The wind ruffled the tree branches and the sounds of city faded behind me. At least this place would be easier to battle in. Slowly, I drifted through the trees and undergrowth. I made myself float just above the ground to quieten my steps, but they already knew I was coming.

Wings, claws and teeth shot out of the shadows and into my chest. I cried out and battered at it. The small demonic servant darted away, twigs breaking in its awake. I grabbed my sword and took up a stand, whilst my eyes flashed around. The trees provided too many dark spots and the wind now rushing through them was blocking all other sounds. Wicked eyes watched me, but I couldn’t aim at them.

I began pushing through the trees, hoping for a clearing somewhere. A monkey chattering followed and branches swung around as they kept my pace. The trees and undergrowth thickened. There was no space to swing my weapon here and knowing I was vulnerable forced me on. For a second I questioned why they didn’t attack now when I appeared weak, but perhaps they thought it might be a trick and hung back. Forcing that thought away, I suddenly bust into the clearing I had been hoping for.

To Be Continued…