Man, I am frantic to play some X-COM 2. Good game so far. But first…
Shadow Wolf time! 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 warehouse that Cinder’s scent trail led us to was to proper buildings what the hulks of the Jetties were to ships. That is to say that I could recognize it in shape and form as a warehouse, but it did not look like it would keep anything within safe and secure, or even dry.
Of course, being overlooked is a different kind of safety. I would never have guessed to find a woman like Zavra here.
Upon arrival we spread out around the building, trying to gauge what was within. It would not do to rush forth only to find the hidden shadows teeming with more bloodsuckers than we could handle.
My eyes, keen as they were, caught only glimpses of movement within. But my nose was a different matter. Often it is difficult to sort out the scents in a place as busy as the Splinterside docks, but Cinder’s warehouse smelled of blood. It pervaded everything, overpowering the salt of the ocean air, masking the stink of nightsoil and urine in the crowded slums nearby, and even the rot of the warehouse nearby. It smelled like a charnel house.
Berkhilda’s eyes were wide, and her fangs glistened in the dim light of the oil lamps that lit the street. She stared at Cinder’s lair. I did not like the look on her face at all. We were alone, waiting for the others to regroup.
“What is it?”
“Blood. There’s something about the blood Ragnar…” the big Vampire took a half step forward, her eyes gleaming. I put myself between her and the warehouse.
“Do you remember the tale of Furis and the Siren at Lothrock, Berkhilda?”
“Not now… the blood…” said Berkhilda, snarling, hands on her axe.
I am a man of considerable size and strength, but Berkhilda was bigger and possessed of the strength of both Vampire and Clan Bloodaxe. Still, she was a friend, and I could not let her pass.
“Are you not Berkhilda Furisdottir?”
My voice cut through to her. She paused. I continued.
“What of Furis and the Siren at Lothrock, sister?”
“When Furis sought the giant Skagurtr out to repay the death of his adopted Clansmen, the giant fled before his fury. Furis pursued him across the white snow, splitting the skulls of a hundred and one Skraelings that the giant left waiting for him in ambush. The giant fled. Furis followed him into the deep caves, cutting through a boulder the size of a cottage when a cunning trap buried him in the dark. The giant fled. Furis nipped at his heels in the high mountains, braving the ruins of the lost halls and the screaming wraiths that bring death and madness. The giant fled. Furis followed Skagurtr to Lothrock. There the cunning giant lured the scion of Rage and Fire past a singing siren’s pool. The sweet siren’s song lulled his heart and cooled fury’s furnace. The whiteness of her arms was unsurpassed and her eyes were like the sea in a storm, and Furis found himself unable to resist her embrace. When he awoke he was on the shore a distant island, far from Lothrock. Skagurtr was escaped and Furis was half drowned. Beside him sat his brother, Skygge the yellow eyed, and before them sat the siren, an arrow from Skygge’s bow buried in her throat. ‘why did you wait so long to rescue me, brother?” said Furis, tugging at his hair and beard in sorrow for vengeance stayed. ‘what would you have learned if I did, brother?” Furis whirled upon Skygge in anger, letting his thirst for revenge get the better of his gratitude. But Skygge stepped into the shadows and was gone, and Furis did not leave the island until much later.”
As she spoke, Berkhilda’s eyes became clearer and clearer. When she was done, I smiled.
“Thank you Ragnar Skyggesson,” she said.
“You are welcome, sister,” I said. “I can hear the others returning. Perhaps you can explain to us what exactly Cinder is doing here.”