Monday, November 15, 2004


Day 54

Memree looked around, looking very happy. "Charol, you're healed!"

"Not exactly - but I'm fine for this job, lady", I replied.

"If we are lucky, we can win back Cleve her voice permanently, down here", Memree said.

"There may be treasure, too", Cleve said, not meeting the newcomer's eyes. "But this is why I came, and I'm really sorry I wasn't honest with both of you."


"Even if we fail in this, you both have my undying gratitude."

I grinned. "You can't fail, now that I'm with you, warrior."

Another door, another flap covering a window - and another sudden transition, this time to a dark, thunder-wracked moorland leading down to a dark, stony shore. Where last time there's been a massive rock cube, this time there was an even more massive rough-hewn rock throne, empty for a moment until a blast of lightning hit it full on, and a bearded giant, robed and booted, was suddenly sitting there.

"Another petty pilferer to judge, is it?" His voice was slow and deep and rumbling, as he looked down at the three women. "Speak now, if you have anything to say."

Cleve cleared her throat. "Lord, I ask that -"

"Stop!" His voice boomed, and thunder echoed it across the moor. "I am Sunil, and it amuses me to bring Grishelm's would-be looters here for their eternal judgement, so speak carefully, creature!"

Cleve stepped forward, and dropped to one knee. "Oh Sunil, I came not to steal, but to ask a boon of you..."

"Speak, then. You have your small friend's acceptance, and that means much to me - but you have very little time."

"Outside Grishelm, I'm a mute, Sunil - I cannot speak..."

"Why, stay here, then, woman!" The words hung in the air, until, with another flash-crack of lightning, the throne was empty again - and the warrior Cuirass materialised on the beach behind the three, just as the first heaving drops of rain began to fall.

"This time I'll kill you", she yelled, charging forward with her sword raised. "Kill you all!"

"This can't be the true Cuirass, the Lady Verdandi", Cleve said. "She was a hero, vanished 500 years ago..."

"As a warrior, though, she's awfully convincing", Memree said - and just then the world shifted, and all four women were back in the Grishelm dungeons once more, with Cuirass and my swords clashing.

Memree looked around. "This place is too small - we must find another door. Charol was injured, she can't hold her off for long, we need more room..."

Cleve approached the third door, and kicked it in. "Come this way!"

And now everyone was again at a seashore, but in sunshine, and with a gently sloping beach, and the fight continued, though everyone was knee-deep in the water.

"Cleve, how are you at fighting homicidal madwomen?"

"It's you she wants, Sera Charol, but I'll try..." And Cleve closed in, sword raised - but without relaxing from her swordplay, Cuirass somehow kicked out, hard, and Cleve flew backwards into the sea, losing her sword. Atzmon must have been watching from somewhere safe, as her puppet beat back my defending blade... she'd allowed Cuirass too much free will the previous time, but now she was firmly in control.

"This Cuirass is too much for me, Memree", I said, panting.

"You'll stop her - I know you will, my love!"

"Look, girl - whatever happens here, promise me you'll go on. You must get back to where you left me, to Hengist - and then you'll understand - promise me!"

"Kill you!" Cuirass shouted. "You bitch, you thief, you stole her!"

"You can't win, you know." The sword was heavy in my hand, the whole body seemed ready to fail - too much had been asked of it.

Cuirass gave a cackling laugh, sounding chillingly like Atzmon herself. "Tell me that again when you're dead!"

"I'm scared", Memree told Cleve, who'd managed to find her sword again and was ready to advance into the fight. "Charol sounded so odd, as if... I'm scared."

"Me too", Cleve replied. "That anyone could last so long against that metal-sheathed killing machine--"

And then, it happened - the sword of Cuirass went straight through my defences, and straight through me, pushing me up and back, blood spurted everywhere, and it was a lifeless body that tumbled into the sea, watched in shock by the two horrified companions.

One thing's for sure, if I make a post tomorrow I'm going to have some explaining to do...

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?