I felt like some more Shadow Wolf this week. This is part of my weekly writing exercise, written raw and rough. The first story arc, Blade Breaker, can be found here. The first story of this arc, Red Fangs, can be found here. The previous week’s post can be found here.
The door thundered, startling me. My hands went to my belt instinctively, seeking the haft of of axe, before reason took hold. Often, after fighting, I find myself starting at even the slightest of threats while the fires of battle cool.
“Calm down, brutes,” said Git.
Berkhilda’s axe was twitching and her eyes were wide. I was not the only one who was drunk on the aftermath of bloodletting, it seemed.
“Its Murith,” continued Git.
“How can you tell?” I asked. Git’s ears were large, but his hearing was not nearly as keen as mine.
“I have a series of mirrors set up to let me see who is outside my shop,” said Git proudly. “She’s alone, interestingly enough. “
The knock came again, louder and more insistent.
“Open up you wee arse, this is serious!” came Murith’s voice.
The note of panic spurred me into action. I met Berkhilda’s eyes, long enough that she grasped my meaning, and then turned to the door.
Murith’s back was to me as I ripped open the heavy door. The tepid air of Burning Hill stank even worse at this late hour, and much of the street was now lost in mist. I could sense movement in the dark, and Murith stank of sweat and blood. A red stain pooled at her feet, but she stood steady as an old ironwood.
“Stay behind me,” she whispered.
A form coalesced in the mist. Scarecrow-like, moving erratically, half-falling, half crawling its way toward us. Murith raised her arbalest, a massive crossbow, and sighted. The form paused, sniffed, and paused again. Then with a hissing growl it came at us. I saw it clearly then, a thin, drug wasted man with a mouth full of razor teeth. Murith’s weapon twanged. The bolt slammed into the vampire-junkie, sending him flying as if he were nothing more than a child’s doll. I stepped around Murith, watching more forms in the mist, knowing what they had to be, but hoping they were not.
“You’re wounded, watch Sargent,” I said. “Git is inside.”
“Ragnar?” said Murith, hissing between her teeth as she stood. “My men–“
“Are dead, or you would not have left them Murith,” I said.
Murith’s brow knotted, a sure sign of a coming tempest, but the storm was forestalled as Berkhilda strode by us, axe in hand, eyes blazing, armour and fangs gleaming in the half-light as she snarled at the forms in the mist.
They came at us, snarling and gnashing their teeth, attacking with the mad ferocity of rabid dogs. Murith dropped another before they reached us, then Berkhilda crashed into them like an avalanche, sending two them sprawling then bringing her axe down in a vicious stroke that painted the cobbles red as it bit into the shoulder of her foe. A pair of jerky, swift-moving figures leapt on her, biting and clawing and she roared, shaking them. Following in her wake I caught the head of one of her assailants with the back-spike on my axe and pulled him, jerking, from her. She grabbed the second and dashed him against the ground.
I heard a sound behind me, and whirled, catching a leering, lamprey-mouthed fiend with my hammer, crushing his skull and dashing him to the ground. A second caught me from the side, incredibly strong despite her emaciated form, taking me off my feet and slamming me into the ground. I rolled back, kicking her off me, then regained my feet swiftly. This time, when she leapt at me, the vampire-junkie caught my axe on the back of her neck as I stepped aside, tripped her, and brought it down.
The night flared into light and heat washed over me. Turning I saw a jet of flame blossoming from a nozzle above Git’s door. Two forms staggered back, screaming, as the flames consumed them.
I looked around. Berkhilda grinned at me in the firelight. Git was tending to Murith’s wounds. Of our assailants I saw none but the dozen corpses littering the streets.