tagSci-Fi & FantasyLuck Pt. 08 - A Brief Lull

Luck Pt. 08 - A Brief Lull


A Brief Lull


They made camp near a lazy stream that day, the falling sun marking their twentieth day in the wastes together. If you looked hard enough, the Ironpoint Mountains were visible to their left, marking the southern edge of the badlands.

The cries of beasts and the beating of drums had once again devolved into the shouts of Orcs and the squeals of boars. They were both thankful to have successfully evaded the bull men they encountered at Mschuleft, the familiar noises of the badlands actually bringing its own bit of comfort. They still did not make a fire at night.

Alanna thought to herself as she ate the remnants of her food rations. She hadn't been able to read Talos for several days now; he had shut her out again. Furthermore, she hadn't been able to convince him of her true feelings toward him, and had stopped trying. She was thankful that the man still conversed with her, at least, trading their amorous relationship for the professionalism of a long-time adventurer.

Talos noticed her staring off into the distance. "That's our way out," he explained. "If you follow the mountains west towards the sea, there should be a manned outpost. Rinoc, a large port city, not half a day from there."

Talos paused, waiting for a response that never came. "Should be plenty of boats there willing to take you back to the empire."

Alanna thought gloomily on how she would pay for that hypothetical boat ride without any money. She had one idea, but pushed it to the back of her mind.

"You want first watch tonight, or should I?" he said after a minute or two of silence. Alanna didn't want to answer the question; she wasn't pleased that they had returned to the night watch system after a week of sleeping together in the tent. She also figured she wasn't being a good adventurer if she didn't speak up.

"I don't care," she answered emotionlessly, her auburn hair blowing softly in the warm breeze.

"Fine," Talos replied with a slight smirk. "First watch it is." He took a swig from his waterskin as he sat down.

"At least we know how Mschuleft was destroyed, eh? Not much of a mystery any more." Talos said, trying to strike a conversation.

Alanna contemplated the thought. The beasts clearly weren't natural; a blend of human and bull just didn't seem likely to come about on its own. Still, she sought to challenge him as opposition.

"Maybe they just live there now. You know, taking advantage of the city after it was abandoned." Seemed reasonable enough of an argument to her, she thought.

"Hah. And the shrines they built throughout the swamp? No, those things worship Mschuleft. And if I've learned anything it's that most people take comfort in rooting for the home team." Talos retorted. "Us two being rare exceptions to the case."

"Also a good point," Alanna conceded mentally.

"It also explains our initial confusion on the lack of Orcs in the swamps. They learned to stay away from the beasts, likely had some problems with them in the past."

Alanna nodded as Talos stood back up. He wished her good night as he settled in to sleep.


"You know, you don't have to come with me," Talos remarked as they trudged through the wastes the following day. A lone peak was rising on the horizon, which Talos believed was where his mark lie.

"I'll see it through," Alanna replied between breaths, "made it this far." Truthfully, Alanna was very worried for the upcoming days but tried not to show it to him.

As if in response to her defiance, a high-pitched wail dominated the calmness of the wastes. A large, winged beast was circling the lone mountain, which was appearing closer and closer ahead of them as they trekked onwards. It sure looked like a dragon, Alanna worriedly thought. She saw plenty of them in her history books back at the college after all.

Talos must have noticed the look on her face. He wore a smirk as the creature continued to shriek in the distance.

"You sure?" Talos asked curtly.

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