You should never leave a man behind: Norhtal’s story...
18th day of 3rd Nimos Second Epoch 2151
You should never leave a man behind
Left behind. I can’t believe it. Reollo just made the decision without consulting and for some reason I was considered to be the best candidate, like I was the dispensable one. Just like when they forgot about me at Fallsea when they went to Tabott’s Corner. So now I am left to nurse maid a man of questionable sanity and I have no idea what to do if something were to go wrong. Damn it all to the nine planes! Fortunately I have a few rations left and the fire in the sitting room works well enough to cook by. I don’t even know when they will return if ever, no mention of that. I guess I’ll just have to forage and fish to get me by if it takes any longer.
I have been checking on Brosphor every couple of hours, he still seems insensible. He might as well be dead for all the signs of life that comes off him. It is getting on towards dusk and I had better start preparing my evening meal. Some of the hardtack boiled in water and a handful of dried gain makes a passable broth in a pinch.
Suddenly the air dims around me and I get the feeling that something is behind me. Turning quickly from the fire I spin on the balls of my feet. Standing across the room is Brosphor. No wait. Its him but not him. A strange look on his face, the way he stands that and he now seems to be left handed. Then he opens his mouth and speaks, “Aahhh a snack.” The voice is the sound of nightmares. This is not Brosphor. What is more disturbing however is that I can not tell whether he is talking about the food I am preparing or me. I get the feeling he is talking about me. A cracked grin splits his face, “ARE YOU?” and the world of insanity and darkness opens its mouth to swallow me whole. As I dig deep to repel the waves of terror the not Brosphor laughs. My training takes over and in a fluid motion I draw my hatchets and throw them. They both go wide of the mark ever so slightly. He laughs again “You are insignificant are you not?” and with a motion of his hand a surge of power flows around me and I feel my feet try to root me to the spot. As I tear myself away I can see droplets of blood eking out of the corners of his eyes. Still gloating, supremely confident it seems, “Is there something wrong? Have you heard what I do to people? I flay them alive. It amuses me.” And then it makes sense. This is Arkazul.
So far Arkazul has not moved. But in blur of movement he closes the distance between us and speaks something it a language I know not. He strikes out at my arm, I can not dodge away in time and it goes numb for an instant but then sensation returns. His nose starts to bleed now as he comes for a return hit. I leap backwards backing into the wall and now I have nowhere to go. I draw my swords losing precious time in doing so. A deep growl comes from Arkazul’s throat “Now you are just making me angry.” A guttural sound tears through his throat a tingling sensation in the air and he strikes again and I can not evade the contact, blood starts out of his ears. The pain is so intense I almost succumb to it. Like life itself being pulled out on my very being. Out of desperation I lunge forward with both of my swords. The revenant’s blade slips past Arkazul’s defences passing along his ribs, the plague sword goes wide however and he just laughs “Is that all you have? Mortals, so predictable.” Then in a blur of movement his knife is in his hand and he stabs at me and I dive sideways, coming up I lash out in desperation, striking back and miss. He chuckles “Almost got me that time.”
Arkazul strikes out at me, a blur of movement. How can he be so fast? I go to parry the blow away, but he is no longer striking at me from that direction. He feinted and I fell for it and pay for it dearly. The knife slides under my guard, through my leathers and between my ribs. Blood starts welling out of the wound, breathing immediately becomes harder, my head starts to spin. In response I lunge forward with my swords catching a glancing blow across his arm with the revenant’s sword and as he dodges out of the way I completely miss with the plague sword. Arkazul spitting in rage screams “Time to finish this” as he stabs out again to my ribs. The blow glances off my armour and I am thrown off balance. Just in time I see his off hand clenched in a fist coming for my head. Leaning back it hisses past my head the power of some unknown spell pulsing darkly, blood now trickling brightly from his nose and the corners of his eyes even more.
No longer tapped with my back to the wall I move backwards to gain some offensive room, Arkazul follows closely and I thrust with both of my swords. One plunges deep into his side, pity its not the plague sword which glances off his armour. I wonder absently as I pull out the sword that penetrates Arkazul’s defences whether Brosphor can feel the pain or if Brosphor is in there at all. Arkazul puts his hand to his side blood gushing out through his fingers, “You are going to pay for that worm” growled out between gritted teeth. Stepping backwards few sharp words spring forth from his mouth as I try to close the gap and remain on the offensive. I almost drop my swords as something grips me and momentarily makes my limbs feel like lead. Still moving forward I stab upwards, missing with my first stab but the plague sword plunges deeply into his unwounded side. Hissing as it slides in and then out, leeching foul vapours from the wound as Arkazul at the same time shouts some arcane words and attempts a back hand me across my face. I barely twist out of the way as the knife in his other hand skids across my armour.
Arkazul steps back, hands at his side, “Enough I tire of this. You will see me again.” The air dims and he is gone.
I stand there uncertain as to what has just happened. I hear a faint noise down stairs, then a grinding sound. I decide that getting out of the house is my main priority. Staggering out to the entry way I drop into a crouch, retrieve my hatchets. With difficulty I creep up the stairs and grab my pack. Stopping on the landing, with a knife I crave into the landing floor boards Talgyn’s End. Alkath. N.
Stumbling out of the manor and over the closest hill to the camp site we used the night before, the battle strength leaves me at that moment and I crash to the earth gulping in huge cold breathes almost uncontrollably, dirt encrusting my lips. Slowing myself and taking a few deep breathes I calm myself and sing the song that flows up out from within, placed there by Ryrmarchim when the lady of the Oranus forest reached inside my head. Its the strangest feeling. I doubt I will ever get used to it. Over the next few moments the bleeding slows then stops and my wounds start to close. The whole experience tires me and I stop it before I am too drained and have enough strength left to get back to Talgyn’s End. Feeling drained but more whole I start off into the darkness at a trot.