The Distance between Shadows-A Seraphims Story. (Part 5)
For half the night they traveled through the lakevalle woods, the tension Seraphim felt transferred to his steed Czar. The serene forest that he had ridden through earlier had taken on a nightmarish cast, and was now the enemy. Once beautiful trees and bushes were now multi-armed creatures whose thorns and branches tore at their face and arms, and scratched their legs.
Night eyes followed their progress. The ground would open up to try to swallow them as ravines and toppled logs appeared unexpectedly to block the way, but a slight shift in balance and Czar would either turn left, right or suddenly leap over an obstacle, never slowing and always moving forward. The brightness of the hunter’s moon gave light to their path, and his eyes never left the Orks trail as they rode.
Seraphim’s thoughts also raced at a similar pace, “this is what I get for opening up…” he thought to himself. Feelings of guilt and responsibility clashed against his mind and threatened to cause him to lose focus.
Reaching a clearing Seraphim stopped to view his surroundings; The Runic warp-gate was not far now he could see it in the distance. It was large, larger than Seraphim imagined. An Arch that stood at least 3 stories tall with ornate carving and engraved runes in its side. At the base of the arch were three gargoyle-like creatures each facing outward in three different directions. Moving through the clearing about 100yds ahead were five Orks pulling Earnest by a rope and a sixth Ork was near the base of the warp-gate.
The Ork nearest the gate had pulled open a compartment in the stomach of the forward facing gargoyle and was placing something inside of it. As he closed the compartment the markings and runes carved into the portal started pulsing with an uncanny energy. Taking two arrows from his quiver, Seraphim took aim at the Ork nearest the gate. Shooting both arrows with-in moments of each other the first arrow missed, whizzing past the ear of the Ork standing by the gate. The startled Ork spun around only to be greeted by the second arrow burying itself into his chest.
As the Ork crumpled to the ground, the others stopped moving searching in front of them, beyond the gate. Giving Seraphim the time he needed to grab and fire his last two arrows at the two in the rear. One Ork went down with an arrow to the back, the next arrow struck a wooden shield, that was raised by the largest Ork. Riding forward Seraphim cursed his fortune and charged into the group of creatures as they tried to prepare themselves. Czar drove straight through the Orks, Over a half ton of muscle and metal shod hooves shattered the flimsy wooden shields and crushed bones.
As Czar turned Seraphim tossed Earnest an ice knife to cut his bonds, one of the three remaining Orks threw a hand axe, striking him in his side and knocking him off of his horse. Seeing Seraphim fall the Orks rushed in to finish the work. As they moved forward, Czar stood his ground next to his fallen master, and kicking with his back hooves the stallion sent one Ork flying across the field dead. Seraphim stood removing the axe from his side and patted Czar on his flank, giving him the sign to move. Seraphim’s blood was on fire as it coursed through his body, the axe head was coated with poison. He faced the two remaining Orks with the knowledge that he was a dead man.
Looking at Seraphim’s weakened state the largest Ork spoke to him in the common language.
“You fought well hu-man, but tomorrow the fowl will feast on your rotted flesh.”
Seraphim laughed standing erect and spreading his arms with a short sword in one hand and an axe in the other, replied in the Orkish tongue.
“I am not dead yet, grass eater, but you are welcome to try.”
To call an Ork a grass eater is to say that it was such a bad hunter that it only ate grass and weeds, this insult was not lost on the two present. The larger Ork pushed the smaller one forward with a growl as he circled to the side. Raising its shield the Ork swung. Seraphim caught its blade with the poisoned axe and sidestepped, disemboweling it. As it stood looking at its entrails on the ground he split its skull in half. The second Ork charged knocking Seraphim to one knee the Ork raised his axe for the killing blow and stopped short as if stunned. It turned slowly around to see Earnest backing away from him with hands bloody from the ice knife that he had planted in the Ork leader’s spine.
“Here’s a gift for you… grass eater.” Seraphim spat in Orkish, and then plunged the sword to the hilt in its heart. Spitting black blood from its mouth as it spoke the Ork cursed Seraphim before it died.
“You’re too late… I’m already cursed.” mumbled Seraphim as he watched the last breath leave the Orks body. A large Screech from above attracted Seraphim’s attention. Watching Tristan circle above brought a smile to his lips before the poison took hold and he collapsed to the ground. Earnest, Czar rushed over to see about him but through the buzzing in his ears he couldn’t make out what was being said. He just laughed a silly laugh. The last thing that he saw was Earnest pull something out of his tunic as darkness enfolded his vision.
May 18, 2010 1:59:14 pmby JOELGLAINE Homepage »
Interesting. A slightly different feel to this one. A better narrative style perhaps. It's tighter and faster paced than any of the ones before. It reads better. Good job! I think Earnest is pulling a rabbit out of...hat. So to speak.
I would think that Seraphim has more to worry about than Ork poisin. A septic wound and blood loss! That killed more warriors than all the poison used, in the long run.
I'll keep watching to see what happens.
May 18, 2010 11:31:48 pmby myrrhluz Homepage »
Very nicely begun with a Seraphim's state of mind effecting the way he sees his surroundings. More evidence of the close affinity he has with his horse and his horse's extreme capability and loyalty. Big arch, big enough for armies to quickly appear. I hope Earnest has an antidote in his pocket. Great episode and image!
May 22, 2010 4:27:30 amby DangerousThing Homepage »
Very interesting. I'm wondering where the warp-gate is set for...
And I like the imagery of the night run. I've run through the dark woods at night and that's pretty much how it feels. Unless you run into a tree, and then it feels worse. :(
The image is nice, but I think the lighting from the back (the moon) is too bright, and I would have like to see some strange light from the front (the gate), though I'm not sure what "uncanny energy" looks like.