Part VI

The streets are alive with the usual amount of life and energy. Locke couldn’t help it, a smile forming as Zell came walking over. He took a look over himself, clean and confident. A small boy walks y with a handful of flowers Locke calls him over and hands him a gold piece, pulling a single rose free, and then walks over handing it to an eager Zell. “It’s beautiful Locke.”

Finally feeling the courage build inside of him he lets his feelings free, “You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen. That rose is nothing compared to you.” Zell’s arms wrap tightly around Locke’s neck. He could feel every sensation the velvet like caress of her cheek against his, her curves pressing into his chest, the softness of her dress between his fingers.

“Oh Locke. If only you didn’t let me die.”

“What?” Locke leans back, looking down at Zell. Her head lolls back, with lifeless eyes staring back at him, and a mouth gaping wide in terror.

Locke holds her still form, blood spilling from unseen wounds, his panic swelling inside him. Then without her lips moving, with a mouth frozen open in agony, Locke hears her voice, it’s just a whisper. Leaning closer he’s able to make out her words, “You let me die.” The volume of her voice waivers, so Locke moves even closer, trembling as his fingers run against her slick and blood soaked dress, “now you can come with me.” Her head snaps, jagged teeth protrude from her mouth, then she pulls Locke in quickly clamping down his throat. Locke tries to scream, but he finds soon he can’t even breathe, tighter it squeezes, his air dwindling. Locke puts up his arms but his attempt to push her away is feeble at best, his body weakly fighting her attack. His throat sealing shut with each painful second that her sharp teeth puncture their way into his jugular.

Virrus shutters, as Locke screams himself awake. “Are ye done now? Shouting in yer sleep, right before we set off ta war. Yer no good with yer timing.” Locke runs his hands down his face, the sand of sleep rolling free from the inside corners of his eyes.

“Virrus,” Locke turns his head and scans a nearby plate of food, pulling an apple off. Sitting up he rubs his thumb over the surface and loses himself in the its red reflection. “I have a bad feeling about this.”

“Aye, don’t we all lad. I don’t think any a man goes inta war with a good feeling. I’d swallow it down and get ready ta do whatever it takes ta clear the city, cause anything less might getcha killed.” Virrus takes his bag and slings it over his shoulder, tying its strap to his jacket, then grabs his staff and walks to the mouth of the tent. “You best eat, store some food in your gut. Good chance it may be the last thing ya ever eat.” Virrus turns his head till he can look Locke in the eye, “it might be the only thing that you eat till it’s all over.” With that he exits the tent, and leaves Locke, who wastes no time in feeding his hunger.

Drill is outside the hut, a pair of gold and silver bracer’s and shinguard’s bound to him with symbols and marks on them. He adjusts the band of black material hanging over his right eye, “Hey Virrus, they had only a little armor that isn’t made of wood. I grabbed these, but no one can tell me what magic is on them.” Virrus took his arm, scanning over the runes and engravings, a smile slowly stretching out.

Before he can speak a warrior steps up and slams his wooden staff into the ground at their feet. “It is time, we leave for war stone walkers. Come now, you three will take the lead.” Hearing the commotion Locke fumbles his way out, tossing his coat on with a pear clenched between his teeth. The warrior sneers at Locke, “Try not to die too quickly.” Then the soldier storms off to join the others.

Locke takes a bite and catches the pear as it falls from his mouth, chewing loudly. “He means me doesn’t he, he’s telling me to not die too quickly isn’t he.” Drill grabs Locke by the shoulder in a reassuring manner.

“I’ve taken the time to grab you this belt from their armory, it looks magical—well good luck.” Drill turns and marches towards the assembly of soldiers. Locke stares at the belt and then raises an eyebrow.

“You know, armor from an armory sounds like a better bet,” Locke mumbles to Virrus who eyes the belt.

“It seems that lad now has an eye fer magic.” Virrus lays a hand on Locke’s shoulder, “yer best bet is to put the belt on, it might save yer life.” Virrus walks past Locke, Locke takes another look at the metal belt and then puts it on, following Virrus to the crowd.

Near a warped tree, that seems to twist in on itself, the shaman runs his hands over it, whispering and chanting, the gathering chants one sound over and over again. The wood creaks, its twisting branches bending together, the center of the trunk bowling inward and turning into a dark mass. The shaman shakes, trembling as a light peaks from the center of the darkness, and then the chanting comes to a stop. “It is time,” the shaman speaks and all the Forest Tribe leans in, embracing his words. “Rynarr,” on hearing his name he takes a step forward, “You! You are chosen by him to be the wielder.”

“With great honor,” Rynarr states, while bowing and taking the broken sword, it’s blade broken in half. He loosens the sheathed sword at his side, with a loud thud the giant wooden blade that was nearly the size of Locke fell to the dirt.

Locke was scanning the crowd, for anyone as confused as he was feeling right then. “Um, Virrus? Why is he leaving the big sword and taking the broken one? It’s not even made of wood like all their other ones.”

“Nevermind. Ya no idea how powerful that piece of mangled metal is, I know men who’d kill an entire nation ta hold that relic he’s got right now.” Locke leans towards Virrus to ask another question but Virrus lifts a hand, leaving Locke to sigh in contempt.

Rynarr hoists the relic into the air, the Forest Tribe cheers and he shouts over them all, “Now the portal holds open! Let the stone walkers pass through and lead this army to victory!” Locke takes a big gulp and follows Drill and Virrus to the tree. Without hesitation Drill walks through. Virrus turns his head and nods to Locke, nervously Locke nods back. Virrus passes through the center of the tree and vanishes. Locke takes a deep breath, then checks the army behind him, their bright eyes all burning into him, then turns back and takes a step in. His body feels the tug, his insides lurch forward as he falls towards the center of the tree, slipping towards the portal back home.

End of Part VI

(As a reminder, I’ll be posting every 2-3 weeks from now on.  Again, thank you all for reading, I appreciate every person who takes time to read my stories.  Much love and keep coming back for the next installment or brand new short story.)

Rise of Wolsgret: Part VI

Advertisements

Rise of Wolsgret: Part V

Part V

Locke could hear Virrus growling in anger, then marching off into the woods. Something had stirred Virrus into a frenzy, Locke wasn’t sure what it was, but judging by the look on the Shaman’s face it seems like good news.

Drill takes his arm and wraps it around Locke’s throat. Locke stumbles back, throwing his arms up as Drill drags him away. The soldiers of the Forest Tribe start lining themselves up. The men and women standing firm, each coated in a wood armor that seems to cling to their bodies, a net of enchanted leaves flowing underneath, tightly knit like a mesh of steel beneath a knights breastplate. Locke could see a strength in their eyes, an unyielding determination to stand tall. All of their amber eyes fell on a lone soldier.

This soldier’s wearing a heavier set of wood armor that’s darker then the rest, the wood has wild knots and small stems of budding green life, as if the wood was still a tree in soil. A rich green moss grew on his backside, the enchanted mesh of leaves beneath, is almost invisible since the armor nearly swallows every inch of the soldiers massive form. His helmet mimics the point where a trunk stretches to the crown of the tree. The wood seems alive, twisting over his face and branching out into sharp points behind his head.

Drill comes to a stop, standing at the side of the gathering, his arm still around Locke’s neck. Locke twists around, till he finally finds himself in a comfortable position to watch. The soldier’s in the crowd begin to call a name, then it turns into a chant. “Rynarr!” they shout in unison, raising their swords or bows with each boisterous call to their leader. Rynarr comes to a stop, the voices of the multitude fall into silence.

“Our people,” the crowd begins speaking with Rynarr, echoing his voice, “the shadow beneath the bending trees, the wind cutting through the leaves, soldiers who never forget, the wisdom that is Wolsgret.” Locke’s eyebrow comes up, the chant and rhythm, it’s like a spell he would cast, perhaps it is a spell. The soldiers, following the lead of Rynarr, lay an open hand over their hearts, fingers spread like the branches of a tree. When they let their hands fall, Rynarr begins to pace again. “It is true that this is not our fight! That we owe the stone walkers nothing—but, these stone walkers have fallen to stray wolves, to the perversion of our mighty Wolsgrets power! These wolves have come and slaughtered their people, using the magic of the very things we work so hard to protect and honor to fuel their bloodlust and hatred. We are the people of Wolsgret!” A cheer fills the air, “we create a legacy for the Beast of Wood and Nature!” another cheer shakes the ground, “so we will help the stone walkers.” Locke lets loose a cheer only to find himself alone, every soldier along with Rynarr kept their bright brownish eyes on him. Drill takes his arm back from Locke’s shoulders and clears his throat, taking a step to the away. Locke finds his voice and cuts the awkwardness, “Sorry.”

All of their head’s turn back to Rynarr who allows his gaze to linger on poor Locke for a few more moments. “We leave at sun rise, rest and ready your mind and swords.” The soldiers salute once more with an open hand across their hearts and then disperse. Rynarr walks over to Locke and pulls his helmet free. “You,” Locke lifts a finger and points it to himself, “you are a wordsmith, correct?”

“Yes, I know magic.” Locke looks over Rynarr’s face, a burn scar runs over his neck and up to the side of his head, his remaining hair falling wildly over the unscathed side of his head.

“I wouldn’t turn my back to any of my soldiers, you might not like the outcome—or survive it.” Locke kept his jaw set firmly, nodding his understanding, “I’m sure you understand, especially since you travel with Virrus. I still owe that one.”

Locke stares at his clean skin and bright eyes, and then he looks over the burns, “He did that to you?” Rynarr scowls, pulling his helmet on.

“Do not think you’ll get the chance stone walker, watch your back.” Locke tries to say something, to explain that he wishes them no harm, but Rynarr slips away marching loudly through the fallen leaves. Drill lays a sympathetic hand on Locke’s shoulder.

“Man, do they hate you.” Drill nods along with his statement, all the while Locke nervously looks about. “Get some sleep, we’re all going to need it for tomorrow.” With that Drill pats Locke’s shoulder one last time and walks off to his hut. A bird whistles and Locke spins around with his hands up defensively, only to find empty trees and nothing but the greens of the wild.

“I don’t think I’ll be sleeping tonight.”

 

The night feels unending to Locke, Virrus sits in his hut with a small lantern that seems to spill an unnatural amount of soft blue light. Virrus claims that the lantern can calm those willing, Locke who has been laying in bed with his eyes wide open, turning and staring at every shadow doubts its magical ability. “Virrus,” Locke looks to the roll of sheets that lay at the other end of the hut, “Virrus!”

“To all the hells, what can ya possible want lad?” Locke swallows, aware of the one question that has been swirling through his thoughts.

“Why—no, how could you do it? Burn all those people,” the sheets over Virrus sit still and Locke waits for anything. Finally, when he thinks that Virrus has fallen back asleep, he hears him speak.

“Ya don’t know who I was, the darkness that ah once felt flowing through every inch of me soul. Trained to attack with not a fraction ah mercy, especially if their not royalty or the law. After you’ve smelled ah few burning corpses, they all start to smell the same, they all burn the same. I’ve gone and murdered and slaughtered hundreds upon hundreds of innocent souls and then the king puts his hand on me head and blesses me for fighting on behalf of the righteous. The man has the nerve ta say I’m a hero for killing, so his hands can stay clean.” There was something in Virrus’s voice, it felt like all the life and spirit that Locke had witnessed up to now was draining with each word, “I never knew that darkness till it covered all those bright things I loved in me life, till it hung over every window of my heart. Till ah saw that I was all alone, and the only thing left of me soul—the only proof it ever existed, is ah handful of gold and me final spell ta cast.”

“I…” Locke was fumbling with his thoughts, trying to find the right words to lift Virrus free of the emptiness he seemed to be creeping towards. Virrus doesn’t allow him to speak.

“Aye, you’re right, it’s late an we need ta rest. Good night Locke, tomorrow is going ta be a big day for all of us.” Locke’s heart sinks, the silence filling the air between them, till finally his eyes shut and his busy mind lets him fall away. Escaping into the comfort of another world, one last sweet dream before the war.

 

End of Part V

Rise of Wolsgret: Part IV

Part IV

 

It was as if the tumblers to the mental locks in his mind were finally falling free. Locke sat there outside a small hut, his mind spilling reason into the once carefree corners of his consciousness. How small minded has he been, his attention for all of those years has been on becoming a great wordsmith, to be as powerful as his father. Now that the threat of losing his soul was present he abandoned the thing that kept him proud for so many years. But it took this moment, sitting outside of the shaman’s home, feeling completely helpless to pull himself from his selfish thoughts. His friend Drill is inside the small structure, screaming, fighting one of the demons of Malahaak as cleansing herbs and smoke billow from the top of it, it is now that Locke feels himself waking up to his mindless existence.

Locke feels the sun pressing higher up, his body is aching for rest, but Locke refuses to move, awaiting word on his only friend. Virrus emerges from a small tent, springing to his feet with a renewed vigor. Stretching he let out a long yawn, casually looking over the Forest Tribe women as they began weaving the long leaves from the trees nearby into shields for the possible upcoming battle. “Ya never think somethin as simple as leaves could stop an arrow, that is till ya take a shot at one of em.”

Locke who was nearly frozen since the arrival of the shaman and the cleansing ritual, takes a breath and twists his head to look at Virrus. “Why do they hate you?”

“Aye, I see yer going straight to the point, ah won’t hold ya back then. Long time ago there was ah kidnapping, now the man who was taken was no saint, but his father was a very rich man. I’ve changed ah whole lot since those days, but back then I’d burn a city down fer the right price.” Locke unknowingly wore his shock all over his face, Virrus couldn’t keep his eyes on him when he saw his expression. “Ya know I’m no longer that man, ah left the death and the anger and greed far in me shadows, deep in me past. When I lost me magic I found myself with ah lot of time to see me inner demons.”

A sudden scream brought Locke into a tense position and Virrus to straighten up, those nearby who were guarding the area readied their bows, eyes towards the hut. The flap of dear hide that was acting as a door began to rustle, small bits of smoke wafting out from the gaps. Then there was an old man, his hands shaking as he pulls himself out, his body’s coated with mud and plants, old designs hidden within scars that cover nearly every inch of his face and neck. His eyes fall on Locke, his old body trembling as the fresh air clears his lungs. Locke stands up, grabbing the old man by his elbow. The shaman turns his head to Locke, but it was clear to the both Virrus and Locke that he could not see either one of them, his pupils still dilated from the spiritual journey, his mind still recovering from the burning herbs inside.

It took a few minutes before the shaman could speak, “Your friend is strong.” Locke looks to Virrus who nods his agreement, “I went into his head, but he was no longer there, his passenger had taken the reins.” Locke sat back down, his face twisting into rage as Virrus places a hand on Locke’s shoulder. “But,” Locke and Virrus turn back to the shaman, “like I said, your friend is strong. I traveled down the spiritual path, deep into the realm of the gods—the dark territory. I found your friend Drill standing at the gates to the afterlife, his hands locked with one of those named Malahaak, his fingers interlocked with the demon, fighting. Just a few minutes is like a day or two, I don’t know how long he has been there wrestling with the demon. Your friend is a strong one. I whispered a word, something Wolsgret has shown me the night before. It was a word of power, it took from the demon his strength and gave Drill the advantage to break the demon, to lift him and drive him into the ground. I showed him the way back, he dragged the demon with him.”

Locke was confused, “But why? Why bring the demon into his body again?”

A voice came from inside the hut, “Because now that I’ve got him under control, he owes me for the years he lived inside.” Drill came out, half his head bound by black cloth, a symbol drawn over the cloth covering his right eye. “He’ll help with the fight to come.”

Locke shot up, his arms opening and before he could contain himself, his hold was around his friend. “I didn’t know if you were coming back. I thought you were going to die.”

Drill laughed, “I can’t die yet, we have wolves to kill. Not to mention, we have friends to avenge.” Drill pats his friend Locke, who coughs on impact and lets go of his hug.

“Not going to lie, it’s weird hearing you say more than one word.”

“Really?” Locke stares at his friend waiting, Drill smiles and the two began laughing. Virrus moves to the shaman and clears his throat, drawing the old mans attention, waving him over. Drill and Locke continue to talk and Virrus whispers to the shaman.

“Ya say he’s alright but that ward is to seal ah demon. Why’s it on his head?”

The shaman grabs the back of Virrus’s neck and pulls him closer, “He has willingly taken a god into himself, no…he has beaten a god and now holds him hostage inside his flesh. The other pieces, those demons of Malahaak will search for their brethren. The eyes of the gods will be on the hunt, that seal is the only way to hide him,” the old man took a step back letting Virrus go, “now you travel with an imprisoned god, there will be no peaceful rest, you will never find safe haven.”

“What have ya done? Did ya weaken the demon so he’d drag him back?” Virrus felt his stomach twisting, “ya did, didn’t ya. Ya put some sorta wild thought in his head that he could control the demon.”

The side of the shaman’s mouth began to twist upward. “You, Virrus, you will get your army to take back the city for you stone dwellers. But the demon, I told him that if he ever got free, that he should speak to Wolsgret. Since he’s housing a demon his passenger will know you, he will remember your scent and your name,” Virrus felt the wolf inside him growling for freedom, hungry for a bite of the shaman. “If that demon slips loose, Wolsgret will find you, Malahaak will see to that. I’m sure Malahaak will trade a hundred souls to finally get his fangs into you. Do you think we forgot old friend? All those you killed for a rich man’s son, for a monster. The years we lived in shame that one greedy wordsmith nearly destroyed all of our people for his weight in gold. Well now your demons have come back and you’ll have to keep them in line, your friend has to stay alive and you have to make sure his passenger never breaks free, or your soul is as good as gone.”

 

End of Part IV

Rise of Wolsgret: Part III

Part III

 

If Locke thought it was bad before, he had no label for it now. After an hours run, Locke stopped counting the seconds, right after the wolves began howling again. Before long there was the sight of the sun and the less frequent call of a wolf, but still the three of them kept going. His body is dripping with sweat, legs numb from the nonstop running. Virrus and Drill kept an inhuman pace and Locke, when he could think, could only spend his time questioning if Drill was more than just a man as well. With his breathing turning into desperate gasps and his heart squeezing all the tighter Locke finally let himself go, falling to his knees, his body unable to create enough saliva to coat his tongue and mouth.

Drill came to a stop, turning to acknowledge Locke, who was failing to raise his head. Drill, having always the toughest exterior, couldn’t disguise his fatigue as well. His shoulders were failing to stand firm, his hands were resting on his legs. Drill let himself slouch, taking deep calming breaths as he took in his surroundings. Not noticing anything suspicious, he gave into his urge, falling backwards to rest his aching body. When Locke became aware of Drill, he fell to his side to enjoy the moment of peace.

Virrus came back, his expression empty, with no signs of fatigue. “Nothin like a run in da woods, the shade and cool breeze. Ya cannot find the feeling nowhere.” Locke couldn’t lift his head, much less muster a sneer, although he was wanting nothing more than to show his distaste for Virrus’s luster. Locke’s blister’s had blister’s, he was nearly swimming in a pool of his sweat, the little bits of spit forming in his mouth couldn’t satisfy his insatiable thirst. Virrus takes in his surroundings with a quick look, then nods his approval, “it’s ah short walk, we’re almost there.”

Before Locke could muster a response, Drill spoke his thoughts, “Water?” Virrus began digging through his bag, on removing two small glass containers he nodded.

“It’s water, in ah sense. But I’ve no label for em and I’m no sure which god has gone an bless which vial ah water. So it could taste bad, really bad, but I suppose you all are not having a care at the moment.” Virrus takes a look at the transparent flasks and then switches them into different hands, handing one to each of them. The two of them hold the glass containers reluctantly staring at its contents. “I like to use the blessed water to ease the aching from beast to man, an it does wonders to the skin.” Locke can’t wait another second, he pops the cork and downs the water, the heavy taste of minerals coats his tongue and throat. There’s an almost bitter aftertaste, which lingers for longer than he would care for, but his thirst miraculously fades away. Locke exhales, a feeling of relief coming over him. His fingers grip the bottom of the glass and Locke notices something he hadn’t on first inspection. Etched into the bottom was a symbol, there’s a look of confusion on Locke’s face, yet Virrus isn’t looking at Locke, he’s staring intently at Drill. Drill who still sat there, staring downward at the glass flask of holy water. Drill quickly threw back his head, downing the contents and tossing the glass to Virrus who caught it and kept watching Drill closely. Drill began gritting his teeth and forcing himself to his feet, then he went on ahead of them.

“What’s going on?” Locke whispers to Virrus, now that Drill was far enough. Virrus merely pocketed the flask and gave Locke a hand, who eagerly took it, since his body was still feeling sore.

“Not sure,” Virrus states after a pause. Locke hands him the flask back and walks on ahead. In a few minutes Virrus claps his hands, drawing Locke and Drill towards him. Drill was pale, his normally tan complexion fading away. There was a circular opening within a tall surrounding of tightly knit trees, Virrus walks into the center of this clearing. His movements are slow and he’s telegraphing each thing he does, like he’s putting on a show. Drill and Locke look around, the leaves lightly twitch under the soft breeze rolling through the tall trees. Nothing but the colors of Autumn and the faint scent of flowers, flowers that Locke with all his squinting can’t seem to locate. “Drill, do you smell that?” but Drill seems more distracted by a pain in his abdomen, his hand clutching at his stomach.

Virrus finds a small leaf and with two fingers, holds it to his lips, blowing till a light whistling sound fills the air. The trees sway at the sound, Locke couldn’t believe that Virrus had cast a spell with just a whistle. The answer came in the form of arrows, three landing in the disguise of one thud. One arrow landing at Virrus’s feet, another at Drill’s, and the last one splits the side of Locke’s right shoe as it lands. When Locke raises his eyes skyward, the trees are filled with Forest Tribe. Tribes of men and women who abandoned the cities hundreds of years ago and made a society of people who live in the wilds, who are constantly blessed by the god known as the Beast of Wood and Nature. Their armor is made of wood, that had been shaped by the power of Wolsgret, a net of leaves like a mesh of steel, as strong as anything that a blacksmith could mold in the cities. There are those men in the city that have laughed at those children who carry wooden swords, yet to the Forest Tribe a wooden sword could cut a man in two.

Virrus puts a hand at his waist and bows, “It’s nice ta see ya all as well.”

A voice falls to their ears below, “Virrus, you’re lucky I didn’t put all three of those arrows in your twisted skull.” Locke took a look at the placement of the arrows and began considering the speed at which they all had landed. He suddenly understood just how vulnerable the three of them were, if only one of the Forest Tribe had fired all three arrows.

“Aye, the thought did cross me mind, ah seem to be the lucky type these days.” Virrus rose from his bow and lifts a finger to Drill, “Me associate over there, him not as lucky as me. He’s got a passenger with em.” There was a rustling in the trees, Locke moves his head for a better view, right over Drill was a pack of Forest Tribe sliding down the vines head first. Around their legs are vines, that they use to slow their decent, swords at the ready, while others above adjust their aim to point their bows at Drill.

“Wait!” Locke shouts, the sounds of the forest seem to burst into movement and then silence. Virrus was staring at Locke with his eyes wide, a look of fear on him, probably for Locke’s life. Locke himself was terrified by his outburst, but he couldn’t remain silent. “Please wait. This man is my friend, he’s a good man, I—I don’t know what you mean by a passenger and why that’s got all of you out for blood, but I know Drill.” Locke swallows hard, nervous an arrow would find his heart. “This man is good, I trust him with my life.”

Drill shudders, spitting up something, and gasps for air. He then takes a deep breath and speaks, “I try not to talk too much, he I are fighting some times we talk and it becomes…one.” Drill was shivering, “I am not him, he wants to be in control I am in control, you will give control…” Drill clears his throat, “…that stuff I drank, we digested, it stings and stirs him alive.” Locke turns his attention to Virrus, who shrugs.

“Ya not fer sharing so ah had to test it out me self. One fer Locke and the other fer you, I picked the only two gods who are able to share since they’re made of a group. Malahaal who are the Angels of Wind and Malahaak who are the Demons of Soil and Rock. I wondered why ya made no sound when I seared the flesh on yer back, I just figured you were tough. Then I wondered why you had so little blood pouring out of yer wounds, why the dead werewolves in the room were stabbed ta death, meaning you killed two of em by yerself. The last one was when I saw the werewolf toss you head first into a sharp rock, that stone was like the edge of a sword.” Locke was turning his attention to Drill who shook uncontrollably, “Any normal man would’ve split his head wide open, dead on impact, but you’re more than just ah normal man ain’tcha.” Drill finally found enough strength to lift his head and look Virrus in the eye, Locke could see a change in him, his iris had expanded, it now was covering the whites of his eyes while his pupils were two dots in the middle of them. “The Forest Tribe may be a bunch ah self righteous tree lovers, but their shaman’s are beyond any mage’s I’ve ever encountered. They can do things I’ve no understanding of, and we need to find out if Drill can make it to the war.”

“War?” Locke wasn’t sure what Virrus was talking about.

“Aye, a war, lad. What do you think we’re doing here, if they can help Drill with his personality issues or at least make sure he won’t be a problem, then he can fight with us. The Forest Tribe are just like any other tribe. They might like their god’s ah bit much too much, at least fer my taste, but this ones all about peace an all that nonsense. They don’t like war, but they like it less when someone stronger steps all over someone weaker. It get’s their blood going, makes em want to fight and set it all back to the way it was.” Locke took a good look around, at all the trained warriors with their eyes unwavering, set on them, “we’re not here to die, we’re here to recruit an army. Aren’t you dying to take back the city?”

 

End of Part III

Rise of Wolgret (Magical Locke series) Part 2

Part II

Locke was trying to look as defenseless as he was feeling. Nearly choking on his fear, trying to avert his eyes, trying to avoid those amber rings shining in the deep black spots of Virrus’s face, in the eyes of the wolf. Locke was sitting on his knees, Drill was slowly shaking away the flickering lights, becoming aware of the current dilemma. “Can you understand me? Virrus?” The creature let out a low growl, its sound sent shivers through Locke, even putting Drill on edge.

The werewolf hunches lower, his salt and pepper mane shimmering with a silver shine, shaking it as he turns his attention skyward, letting a nearly deafening howl rip loose. Locke covers his ears, flinching, yet too afraid to look away. This wolf, Virrus, curls his hands into fists. He howls again, this time his voice wavers. His snout then snaps, the sound of cartilage and bones shifting. His muscles tighten and compress, while his fur sheds slowly. The howl shifts from it’s feral call to the sound of a tormented cry of pain and despair. Virrus’s jacket loosens again, his once monstrous form dissipating, till there’s only silence and a worn and weary old man.

“Virrus,” Locke’s voice is a whisper, the form remaining still, frozen. “Virrus, are you alright?” Drill and Locke lean forward, listening closely, checking for any signs of life. Locke jumps, the old man suddenly coughing as he lunges forward, unable to stop. Hacking up globs of blood, and spitting them out into the grass around him.

Virrus hacks up a final time and then wipes the bloody spittle from his chin. “Ya no idea how badly werewolves taste, like grit and grime clinging to the drops ah blood.” Virrus tries to stand but crumples to the ground, his legs trembling under his weight. “Where’d the capsule go, the small thing ah had in me hands before the werewolf attacked me?” Virrus lifts a heavy head and stares at Locke and Drill, “well don’t ya just sit there like rocks on the ground, how about you two make yerselfs useful?”

Locke is on the edge of two thoughts, one is screaming for him to run in any direction as long as it’s away, and the other thought is telling him Virrus just saved his life. Drill walks past Locke, the small glass flask in his hands. Drill kneels down and hands it to Virrus, all the while Locke is stuck, staring at the two. Drill then stands and stares at Virrus, saying one word in an almost demanding tone, “Explain.”

“Aye,” Virrus drinks from the flask and then pours the remainder over his face and hair. “I suppose I should. Magic does two things,” Virrus shakes his head, spraying droplets, “no it’s three actually. Magic acts like fire, it burns away at the soul, in bits. It puts on ah bit show when ya cast it, and the last thing it does is attract the attention ah the god who is hunting ya. Ah fire in the darkness, should I cast another spell Wolsgret can find me soul and rip it from me. So ah hold back, the power of Wolsgret sits inside me, it festers and takes shape as the wolf.” Virrus stood up, finding renewed strength, Drill took a step back from him. “I’m no like the others, this is what ah live with. I’m me, and inside of me is filled with something dark but ah get the feeling that something dark was always there and the wolf lets it out. Normally I can sedate the other side of me with ah bit of drink.” Virrus turns his head, looking to Locke and points at his satchel, which is within arms reach of Locke, “which I could use right now if ya don’t mind.” Locke clears his throat, and pulls the bottle that peaks from the top of his bag. Then he finds the courage to stand and walk over. Locke raises the bottle to Virrus who catches him by the wrist and pulls him closer. Drill tenses up and grabs the corkscrew that’s tucked under his belt. “Ya no reason to fear me, this is ah curse, but ah could hear ya when I was inside that beast.” Virrus took the bottle with his other hand and kept looking at Locke who was nervously looking around, “just don’t expect me ta talk. Me other side, it ain’t as verbose as I am.”

Locke began to physically relax, finally able to speak to Virrus again. “I—it’s hard to believe that you’re a werewolf.” Off in the distance a howl rings out, then two other howls follow in its wake.

Virrus takes a mouthful of the liquor and swallows it back. Then he puts the cork back in and addresses Drill and Locke, “Not meaning to ruining the mood or anything, but by any chance did I howl real loud fer no reason in particular?” Locke and Drill look to each other and then to Virrus, nodding simultaneously. “Then we better start running, that other side of me likes to fight wit other wolves, gives em a call and all trying to get them to come over. Thirsty for more ah that disgusting filth ah blood.” Locke gives Virrus a suspicious look as Virrus picks up his staff, “it’s no me, the crazy wolf inside me wants to fight. Never mind though, we haven’t much time till they show up, so get moving.”

“Virrus, where are we going? I still have questions, I need to know. Is it safe for me and Drill to travel with you?” Drill put a hand on Locke’s shoulder.

“Trust,” Drill said without a second thought or pause.

Locke throws his hands up in a defeated manner. “Trust! Easy for you to say, you can fight a Werewolf with a bleeding corkscrew, while I have my good looks to scare them back.” Drill did something Locke wasn’t ready for, he let out a boisterous laugh. Locke’s eyes went wide, in all the years Locke has never heard Drill laugh till this very moment. Drill was smiling, but as soon as he sees Locke staring at him incredulously, Drill’s expression changes back to his stoic self. “We still don’t know where we’re going.”

Virrus picks up his final piece of equipment and walks over, “If we walk on fer about a days trek I know ah man, an he might actually be able to help us, although he might be in a sour mood. I’d start running though, the wolves will be here in a few.” Without another word, Virrus dives into the brush, not bothering to be silent. The urgency and sheer panic alerts Locke and Drill that they’ve run out of time to waste. Drill and Locke charge into the dark woods trying to follow Virrus’s shadow as he darts away from the howling approach of a wild pack, searching for their kin.

Rise of Wolsgret (Magical Locke series) Part I

Part I

 

Their clothes were still wet, the river had barely stripped the smell of the sewers off of them. Yet Locke was too preoccupied to notice the sloshing rhythm of their march. His nose buried in his father’s book, tripping over every raised root as he blindly followed. The book is half ruined, foreign specks of ill smelling grit still clinging to the pages. The other pages he had attempted to wash nearly erased all traces of the spells recorded on them. “Damn it all.”

Virrus slaps the front of the book shut. “The book means nothin if yer ah wolfs snack, at least ya left with yer throat intact.” It was true, and maybe somewhere deep down Locke knew his focus on the book was just a distraction. Now that Virrus had brought his mind to the present, he felt the shame roll over him. They were survivors, Drill had watched Hammer die, Virrus had lost his whole life’s work, and—dear gods, Zell was murdered by the Wolves and now Locke was whining about his book of spells, spells that he was now too afraid to practice. A book filled with useless magic, and it was taking his attention from the horrors of what everyone had gone through, even taking priority over the loss.

“You’re right,” Locke muttered. Virrus took a long look at Locke, the sad state he was in.

“It’s not ah reason to be ashamed or ta be guilty of. We’re alive, an we breathe an walk, so we can fight another day. Ya follow boy?” Virrus saw the mounting hopelessness, Locke’s face twisting in the agony of it all. He didn’t need to be a scholar to see that Locke was already down on his luck, his clothing obviously handed down, small holes and tattered garments. Now he was walking with both eyes glued to the dirt and fallen leaves, trying to hide the tears that dripped silently free. Virrus knew what Locke saw in his head, he still saw the same thing playing in his mind over and over, Zell being grabbed by the Werewolf. “An I’m sorry fer yer lady friend, there was nothin we could do fer her.”

“I could have ran to her, died trying to save her. I wish I had.” Virrus suddenly went though a change, his face tightening. He let out some air and came to a halt. Drill feeling the pace behind him change, came to a stop, turning around to investigate. Locke almost ran into Virrus, his head came up in time to take a solid cross to the chin, the punch sent Locke ungracefully to the myriad of plants that thickly covered the soil at their feet. The swing was almost faster then Locke could perceive, “what in the hells are you doing?”

“Ya no right ta say those things. I seen lives lost and tossed aside fer gold and fame and no man had made the choice to willingly throw their lives away.” Virrus squats down, his eyes never flinching as Locke stares his way, “when yer hands are pressed half way through ah mans innards trying to keep em alive, an he’s pissin and crying and praying fer any god ta save em, screaming fer another chance to live the life that’s leavin em. When ya know what that feels like, an yer still ready to piss away the life yer lucky ta be livin, I’ll kill ya myself and put ya to peace.” Virrus straightens up giving Locke a final look and then walks away. Drill, seeing Virrus moving towards him, takes a step aside and lets Virrus take the lead. Locke looks to Drill, Drill awkwardly scratches his neck and then follows Virrus. Locke feeling that he has no other choice, decides to keep his mouth shut, trying to compose himself. He gets up and plows on, his jaw aching but his head clear of the busy thoughts that were plaguing him just minutes before.

They walk till the sun dips low. until their feet can carry them no more. Moving through the thin black tree trunks, the leaves all bright yellow with flecks of orange, lightly falling in an almost consistent rainfall of colorful oval drops. A peaceful and stark contrast to the horror of the city they had just put to their backs. No words are exchanged, almost as if they all mutually understood that they need to put the day to an end. Locke with his pride still sore, fights the urge to speak, to comment on his hunger. Drill disappears silently into the brush, no one bothering to try and stop him, while Virrus plants himself down in the pile of soft moss and leaves searching through his bag. Locke’s ego was still a bit bruised by Virrus’s strike earlier, but as he sat there staring at the old man, he became curious. Virrus was unusual, he was strong although he appeared worn and wary, and there was an absorbent amount of magical knowledge buried in his head.

Locke stood up and made his way to Virrus, who was watching him closely. Locke raises his hands, “It’s alright, I just want to talk.” Virrus pulls a bottle out of his bag and pops the cork.

“No man ever talks fully without ah bit ah courage in his gut.”

“You know, I find you very strange.” Virrus takes the bottle he was just about to drink from and corks it.

“Aye, perhaps a bit strange, to those who don’t understand the reasons.” Virrus tightened two hands over the neck of the bottle, “I can feel ya wanting to have some ah those reasons explained to ya, so go ahead and ask.”

Locke eagerly took the opportunity to question him, “You know so much about magic but I’ve never seen you cast a spell without the use of magically imbued items, things that anyone without any knowledge of magic can use—that is, if they know the trigger words or actions.” Virrus put the bottle down against his leg and raised his eyebrows. “Well, I guess what I’m saying is…I mean why do you not cast magic? Is it the thing about the gods claiming a soul when they use too much?”

Virrus put a half smile on, a smile where his mouth is showing one emotion while his eyes spoke another. “All da magic I’ve done in my day boy, it’d put the gods ta shame knowing how much ah squeezed outta them. It’s ah long long road boy, with ah steep slope on tha other side. Aye, the reason has to do with gods claiming their prize, but ya no idea what it really means. Ya ever seen ah tree that looked odd, like its branches were fingers and arms, that the ole knots ah wood almost seemed like ah face?” Locke felt a tingling sensation run through his spine and nodded, “those are the lucky ones that followed Wolsgret, the ones he took without ah—little fun beforehand. He’s the popular one ah the gods, the Beast of Wood and Nature. He’s the one that perverts wolves into the things we saw, before he had his way, wolves were just like dogs.”

“You mean they were that small?”

“Aye, they’d always walk on all fours, and they were afraid ah fire.” Virrus saw the look of skepticism on Locke’s face, chuckling he started back up“Ya no have to believe me, but it’s ah truth. Nevermind it though, ah know what you’re thinking about and what you’re wanting to ask.”

“I just have all these questions. Some about magic and others about…” Drill exploded through the brush. He was panting and trying to talk.

“I…I got a…Wolf following me. I think it’s just one.” Virrus dug into his bag, searching frantically, Locke shot to his feet spinning in slow circles, looking for movement in the shadows of the dying day. Virrus pulls a flask from the bag and rushes to his feet.

As Virrus stood up, a figure darted from the shadows knocking Drill aside like a small child and dashing for Virrus, it’s size equally double that of Drill and Locke combined. There was a growl and a muffled sound as they connected, the two of them sliding through the dirt, the flask had fallen somewhere between where Virrus had been standing and where they struggled now.

Locke didn’t have a weapon, he even knew that any spell he could use would undoubtedly hurt Virrus while barely stunning the Werewolf. He ran to Drill and found him dazed, his head bloody. He had been thrown into a large rock head first. “Come on Drill! I need some muscle here!” Locke heard a cry, so he turns around.

At first Locke was confused, the angle of Virrus’s head, the position of the wolf. Locke looked closer, to verify what he was witnessing. Virrus had his teeth clamped around the Werewolf’s throat, blood oozing from the wolf’s neck, matting the brown fur that hung over the wolf’s chest. The wolf was calling out in pain, a second sound rumbling from the two, the sound of Virrus’s feral growl. Locke’s eyes open wide as Virrus’s mouth and nose stretched into a snout, its texture turning to wood. His slick and pulled back salt and pepper hair stretched out standing on end as patches of similar colored fur began to sprout all over him. The long coat Virrus wore began to tighten, till he filled it out fully, and the armored plates that hung awkwardly on his jacket now sat over his vital spots. Locke’s legs trembled, his body was otherwise frozen to the spot. The Werewolf was nearly hanging limp, blood pouring from his neck and coating Virrus who laid beneath him. Virrus began growling, his jaw snapped shut, severing the werewolf’s head. Virrus opened his maw, spilling hot air into the cold wind, his breath left a train of smoke. Slowly, this creature that was Virrus, stood to his feet. It’s eyes nearly black except for the bright amber ring that made up his iris. These amber rings were glowing in the night, and they were fixed on Locke. Locke slowly raised his hands, every little movement a rattling shake of nerves. Finally, with great effort, Locke spoke up, “Everything is okay Virrus, we’re your friends—please don’t kill us.”

 

End of Part I

Magical Locke: Part IV

Part IV

Virrus didn’t seem too concerned with Locke’s pleas for subtlety, as he lifted and pressed down. The pop sounding louder to Virrus than it did to Locke, as his shoulder was reset into his socket. It could be the grunting or the stomping of his foot, that drowned out his own cries. As soon as Locke quieted, Virrus pulled a small glass capsule from an inner pocket of his black jacket, then he pressing it into the palm of Locke’s hand. Locke quickly twisted it free and without question, swallowed the contents.

His toes curled, teeth clenched as his insides turned to fire, the muscles in his face slowly going numb. “What manner of potion was that? I—I think I’m dying.”

“Aye, it’s whiskey boy, ah fine year, keep it down or I’ll take it personal.” Virrus reached into the satchel he carried, sliding a glove out of the bag and then onto his hand.

“Why are you giving me whiskey?” Locke wondered aloud. Virrus took a stone from his bag and ran it against the inside of the glove. The stone sparked, the glove changing from the brown material it was naturally to a bright orange.

Virrus sighed, “Ya nah wanna be sober for this part son.” Locke followed Virrus’s eyes to the slash down his arm, the blood still slipping through the gaps in his flesh, the intense heat flowing from Virrus’s hand. Locke tensed up, clamping his eyes tight as the smell of his flesh drifted up into his nostrils. His teeth pressed into each other, his throat rattling a suppressed scream. The walls flickered, disappearing in the black that crept along the edges of his vision. Locke’s flesh still simmered, part of the old man wanted to help poor Locke into the bed to rest. But Virrus knew, he couldn’t quite let his sympathy win, they had to leave the city. The wilds were now just as safe and the only option for the two. “Come on lad, no time f’r resting.” Once the glove faded, its magic waning away, he cupped his hand underneath the pit of Locke’s arm and hoisted him up.

Locke was suffering, his hand trembling, his focus dwindling away. “Do ya know any spells that would take ya back to yer senses?” Locke shook his head. “Then lemme apologize in advance,” Virrus slapped the back of Locke’s shoulder, sending him upright and onto his toes. It was obvious that Locke held back his urge to scream in pain, but he still glared at old Virrus. “Ya need the adrenaline, were not for making it out alive if yer half way in an out.”

Locke grit his teeth and hesitantly nodded, though he was in pain, he knew that Virrus was the only thing that could keep him alive. They walked down the stairs, careful and alert, checking for any signs of trouble. When they were certain they were alone the old man spoke up, “And there’s me bar. Made of sturdy wood,” Virrus touched the edge of a counter top, it was scarred by the claws of a werewolf, it broke free with the lightest touch. “Aye, a curse indeed,” Virrus looked to the state of his livelihood, to the ruin that his home had become, “No escape from it.”

Locke was fully alert. Aware that any moment, if his guard slipped, something could come for his throat. “NO!” Locke froze, turning to Virrus who had just screamed. “Me bottle of 80 year old scotch, the damn animals! The damned mindless beasts!”

Locke shouted in a hushed voice, “Virrus!” He looked away from his wall of smashed liquor bottles, his eyes were wild and hair tousled, every strand nearly standing on end. “Are you mad? You’ll bring them all here, they’ll tear us apart!”

“The hells they would.” Virrus stated coldly. Locke’s confidence began to unravel, maybe this old man wasn’t as sane as Locke had assumed. Only the finest warriors working in tandem could hope to survive, let alone kill a wolf. Locke had used a spell of highest power with a direct call to the god Malahaal and the only thing that he had done was hurt the werewolf and toss him out of a window. Virrus ran a hand through his hair, smoothing it flat and returning himself to a more collected state. “I need a moment.” Locke nodded, watching him turn to his liquor bottles and rummage through the debris. Locke looked at the counter top, the candle was still sitting on top, unscathed with its black glistening wax. Quietly he pulled it free and shoved it into his pocket, turning away to keep watch. The old man pulled a few bottles that were dusty but still intact from the wall of broken glass. He pulled free a torn rope that had been hanging from the ceiling, and tied the three bottles around their neck. Then he wrapped it in a strap of leather he found on the floor and tenderly opened his bag, laying the bottles like sleeping children into his satchel.

“We should go Virrus,” Locke whispered.

“Aye, cannot a man mourn his losses nowadays.” Locke wasn’t sure if Virrus was asking a question or just stating some sort of truth. There wasn’t much time for any response, the sounds of howling and packs of wolves running through the streets. “Tread light boy, not a sound. Them dogs’ll have good ears, so watch yer step.”

Locke led the way, slow and steady, avoiding any footfall on glass or broken wood. He turned to ask Virrus something but the old man laid a finger over his own lips, signaling for Locke to hold his tongue. When they exited the tavern, the both of them became aware of how bad the situation truly was. The gutters bled, or they appeared to. Running streams of crimson flowing down the cobblestone roads, filling the gaps with their shine, bodies strewn about the alleys and roads with missing limbs, some weeping softly as the last of their life flowed from their sputtering hearts.

“What…” the words were lost on poor Locke, his eyes turning to Virrus for answers, “…what is happening? I thought a wolf was just an animal—how is this possible?” Virrus swallowed, and turned away, moving into the nearby alleyway. Locke was feeling sick but he was also smart enough to know that this wasn’t the time to fall apart, this is where he fights to live or joins those in the streets.

Virrus led the way. If Locke wasn’t staring at the old man he wouldn’t even know he was there. His steps falling and rising without a trace, quietly sliding from one hidden spot to the next. Occasionally, there were cries for help piercing the silence, which ended in gurgling screams for mercy. It was a twist in Locke’s chest, to ignore people in pain. Where were the Silver Swords, the kings’ guard? If any force could hope to fight back these monsters it would be the kings’ guard. They should be on the streets, pushing them back.

Virrus held up a hand, Locke moved in closer. “Do ye see that lad?” Locke leaned to the side and saw an open door. “I knew a man who snuck outta town here an there, he kept ah tunnel to the sewers in the basement. If we can get to his house o’er there, we only need to follow the sewer out, we can make it, live through this hell.” Locke took a deep breath, trying to calm his heart, then nodded. “Now listen boy, these are no normal wolves. Ah know the difference and ah feel em here,” at those words Locke was filling with questions, but Virrus took one look at him, and interrupted his thoughts, “no sweating the small stuff. Ya follow tight to me heels, they’re everywhere an they’re lookin to take as many as they can. Ya wit me?” Locke rocked slightly on his heels, not scared of Virrus but terrified of the questions that were building inside himself, the doubt of who Virrus was and how he knew so much. Virrus whipped a hand out and caught Locke by the wrist, “I can guarantee ya boy, that there is no other way. Ya follow me to where they won’t go, or ya stay here to die with the city.”

Locke held himself in place, looking Virrus in the eyes, reading the truth in his expression. Locke tapped the old man and leaned forward to ready himself for the run. Virrus let go and turned, finding a moment in the silence. With a signal of two fingers, Virrus burst into action, Locke trying his hardest to keep up and stay as silent as possible. When they reached the door Locke heard his name, a shill cry, coming from the middle of the street. When he turned he called to her.

“Zell!” she was running across the street, her dress a mangled mass of rags covered in mud and blood. “Zell hurry, come over here!” Zell fell over herself, the heel from her shoe snapping, tossing her into the middle of the street. Locke leaned in to run and was caught by Virrus’s strong hold.

“They’re here, we can’t save her,” Virrus whispered.

“Let go, are you mad!” but as Zell kicked her shoes off and lifted herself to her feet, a large fur covered form fell from the rooftops and landed behind her. Zell felt the presence, trapped under a shadow and hot breath, that clung to her flesh with each offensive exhale. Her arm extended, instinctively, wanting someone to save her, Locke returned the gesture although she was too far away and the both of them knew it was pointless. The wolf opened its jaws, snapping them shut over her shoulder. “Zell!” Locke called, but knew she wouldn’t respond, every ounce of energy funneled into her screams of pain. Virrus pulled, trying to get them inside, but Locke fought against it. The werewolf just sat there in the middle of the street, jaws tightening little by little, “let me help her! I can help her!”

“She’s beyond help now son.” Another wolf fell from a nearby building, Zell had lost her strength and hung lifelessly from the werewolf’s mouth. Locke knew it, he knew it with all his heart. If he ran out onto that street, he wouldn’t save her. In fact, Locke knew he’d die with little to no fight, with his nearly useless right arm and almost equally useless magic. He stopped resisting against Virrus’s hold and allowed the old man to pull him into the building and close the door. Knowing he had willing left Zell to die.

Virrus pulled his staff from his back and whispered a word before tapping it to the door. Locke fell to his knees, memories of the many talks, the multitude of moments he had shared with Zell filling up his thoughts. He couldn’t believe he walked away, it was all he could think of. Even as him and Virrus saw a furry form slowly lurch its way around the corner, leading from the living room. The shaggy form twisted lurching up and down, “Locke?” it murmured as it closed in. Virrus pulled something from his belt and reached back to throw it. Then the creature stood straight, shrugging off the body it carried.

Drill was soaked from head to toe in blood. His lean muscular form was covered in multiple lacerations. In his hand was a corkscrew, it was coated and dripping with blood. He was breathing deeply, trying to steady himself. “Drill! You’re alive, what about Hammer?” Drill shook his head, planting his back against the wall to stabilize himself. Then he pointed to a body laying in the middle of the living room, a sledge hammer still locked in his grip, his mouth twisted in a smirk. “He died smiling?” Drill slid down against the wall into a sitting position, a smear of blood trailing with him. Drill took a deep breath and exhaled, answering Locke’s question with a smile and a nod.

Virrus kicked the head of the wolf and watched it lifelessly fall back, “By Malahaal, ya killed a werewolf just between the two ah ya?” Drill nodded, Virrus shook his head in disbelief, “wit ah hammer an ah wine corkscrew?” again he nodded. Virrus pulled his glove out and struck a stone to it, the glow lifted the room from the darkness. He then tossed the stone aside and reached for a flask hanging from his belt. Drill grabbed his wrist and shook his head, Virrus warned him, “it’s gonna hurt like all hells.” Drill shook his head, Virrus didn’t hesitate, dropping the glowing glove down his back and sealing the first wound. When he noticed Drill staring quietly off into the distance he went to work sealing up the other cuts.

Locke couldn’t repress a smile, with all this death in the city, and his friend was alive. Then the smile slowly dissipated, dissolving in his reality, it was all starting to catch up with him now—now that he was standing still. He walked to Hammer and knelt over him, from around his neck hung the charm that was engraved with a magical ward. Locke extended his arm but paused, was it right to take it. He looked back to Virrus who was engrossed with sealing every wound, then to Drill who was staring directly at him, unflinching as Virrus cauterized his wounds. Drill smirked, seeing the hesitation that held Locke in place, then nodded. Locke turned back and pulled the necklace free, tying it inside of his jacket for safe keeping. Then he stood up and explored the home.

As soon as Virrus was done, he helped Drill to his feet, his body now caked in dry blood and burns. Locke returned waving them over, he had found the passage to the sewers. It was exactly what Virrus had described, silent, abandoned, and filthy. The three of them walked silently through the chest high waters, the stench of refuse and rotting objects nearly forcing them to turn back. Their silence was not only from the events of the day, but they all feared that opening their mouths would cause them to fill the already repulsive river with their vomit. It was no wonder the wolves avoided the sewers, if they could smell blood through the forest, then they would choke themselves to death with this nearly edible smell that filled their mouth’s and lung’s with something nearly tangible.

It was about a half days trek through that sludge. Around halfway through Locke had vomited in his mouth and swallowed it, the worst part was by doing so he triggered the others to vomit, they as well held it in, till he vomited a second time about a mile out from the exit. They emerged drenched in the waste of the city, along with the blood that had washed in, from the bodies that would soon rot in the streets. They walked silently till they found a stream and stripped, washing their clothes and bathing. Locke spoke first, “What do we do now?”

Virrus silently threw his clothes over a low hanging branch and ignored the question. They were all beaten, afraid, and now lost in the wilds far from another city. Maybe all they did was delay the inevitable. But from the most unlikely source came the most inspirational response. Drill wrung out his trousers and pulled them on, looking at the two of them after he was done getting dressed, “We survive.” It was only two words, not quite the speech you’d expect, but it was the most straightforward response. There was only one thing they could do, and that was to keep moving, keep pressing forward. After all, this was just the beginning of their story.

The End of -Magical Locke: Invasion-

The Beginning of -Magical Locke: Rise of Wolsgret-