This is my weekly serial, written raw as a writing exercise.
You can find the first post in the series here.
Last week’s post is here.
Blood dripped from our wounds as the Demon of Clan Shadow Wolf faced me.
The people around the fighting pit chanted and shouted. Many of them hated Ulfgorr, which made me surprisingly popular despite my exile.
My sword was steady in my hands despite wounds and fatigue. I felt sharp, almost like I could see better than I ever had before. I was in the moment, as they say in Myrrhn, experiencing that transcendent clarity where time seems to flow like molasses and everything in perfectly clear. Perhaps Skygge was with me, brought by the secret that I now carried; of course it could be that blood loss was making me giddy. Either way, now was a vital moment.
Ulfgorr was watching me warily. I was surprised at his lack of aggression. Then I realized that the cut on his face was rapidly healing, the flesh on either side of the cut pulling together like amorous red worms. I understood his strategy immediately. He was healing and not trying to hide it, which meant that he wanted me to come to him.
But while the flesh of the cut on his face was healing, the cut on his side in the midst of the burn was not. Git’s fire hindered the beast’s regeneration.
He expected me to attack and was waiting for it. But I knew this. Now was the time to turn it to my advantage and break the stalemate.
I stepped back and reached behind my back with my left, grinning savagely at Ulfgorr. I saw the realization flash through his eyes. To him, it looked like I was reaching for an item. Perhaps it was something he feared. Perhaps it was a one of Git’s fire flasks.
With supernatural swiftness, the long-limbed monstrosity lunged at me, wicked claws slashing, eyes flashing with mad hatred.
I was bluffing. As he swept in, I went low, grabbed my blade in both hands and slashed up and into him with all my might. Committed to his attack, Ulfgorr could not dodge. My greatsword connected with shocking force. Blood splashed on my face and I felt a tremor run through the blade as it shattered.
My slash carried me to one side of Ulfgorr’s charge. The beast fell to ground on the other, leaving a smear of blood on the ground as his momentum carried him a few paces closer to the wall.
I was left with a broken sword.
“Still alive Ulfgorr?” I asked, strolling toward the twitching body. I could see that he was, his monstrous frame trying to get up, his flesh trying to mend. I could not let that happen.
I drew my knife and approached, It was unwise to turn him over, but it was the honourable thing to do. I nudged his bulk over and looked the beast in the eye. His chest was a ruin. His eyes were wide, with fear or hate, I cannot say. He grabbed my leg with shocking strength and raised his jaws to bite. But my knife found his heart, my strong hand twisted, and the Demon of Clan Shadow Wolf was no more.
Cheers erupted from above me. I felt exultation, mostly at simply being alive.
At my feet, Ulfgorr’s form shifted back into that of a man. He looked almost pathetic, naked and torn, but my countrymen were expecting a line, I could tell, something that they could recite to end the tale with a flourish when they told it.
“Tis a shame,” I said loudly, looking at the body below me. “I was looking forward to having the ugliest fur cloak in all the North.”
And they cheered. Most of them.