martes, 7 de junio de 2011

El Juego - Sudden Dearth Book IV Chapter 3

First of all an apology and an addition has now been made to the blog post Chapter One. It seems that I forgot to post Part 2 to the Chapter. Now corrected, hope you enjoy it and here below is Chapter Three.

Chapter Three

Prelate’s Light
Geosynchronous Orbit

It was dark inside the crate; cold, dark and distinctly uninviting. She had been waiting for Millennia for the call and yet when she responded, there were none to hear her. Nothing stirred outside the prison and so she began the laborious task of breaking free. One egg tooth was all she had in order to rupture the membrane and wall surrounding her. Once clear of that, she would take whatever further steps necessary to secure her freedom.


Cornelius strode down the corridor, taking small detours whenever he heard the approaching sound of footsteps. He realized that his predicament was less than optimum, in fact so far everything that could hit the fan, had suicidally charged forward to do so. Butt knew that if he could get to the main hanger, there was at least some chance of his finding an escape pod or some small craft, with which he could make good his escape. That was his theory anyway.

At last he found, by more trial and error than knowledge, his way to the main hanger deck, and the sight that faced him, really made him think again about the intelligence of his actions. Skulking forward past the last crates, he came to an open area and two ranks of Clansman, swords drawn, and waiting for him.

He knew that it was him that they were looking for, as their roar of anger and the subsequent charge, really emphasized the point. Being a little short, of weapons that is, he kicked the nearest crate forward, watching it slam into the shins of the first two of the onrushing horde, to subsequently cause a minor traffic jam. With the apparent success of his first attempt, he began to toss some of the smaller crates forwards, anything to buy himself time.

When he had just about run out of ammunition, he looked frantically around for the exit and there above, he saw a walkway which seemed to run around the upper tier of the hanger. Not waiting for further options, he ran up a series of wooden boxes, using them as an improvised stair. Just when he thought he was clear of his followers and about to reach his goal, his lead foot broke through the lid of one of the boxes, unceremoniously dumping him, his makeshift tower and all the surrounding merchandise back onto the hanger floor.

Eager hands tugged the debris free and pulled him, despite his protestations into the centre of the circle of angry men. The whine of a contra-grav chair, told him that his day was complete, as Jenna’s shrill voice caused the sea of men to part before her.

“Now...” she shrieked, “you will p…”

Her voice dwindled away, about the same time as Cornelius felt the scrabbling of claws against his back. Sharp points pierced his skin, as a fairly weighty something dragged its way up him. There was no desire within him to turn and see what abomination was there and he stood rigid as it reached his shoulders and a sinuous tail curled around his neck. Hot breath sawed against his cheek and turning his head slightly he saw a bright red reptilian eye, staring back at him.

Looking towards his would-be enemies he was astounded at the change in them; complete silence, mouths open and some form of stammered salutation. Never one to miss out on an opportunity, Cornelius moved forwards, the creature’s small head butting lovingly against his cheek. This looked like it might be fun.


Jenna was just about to savour the demise of the biggest, relatively speaking, thorn in her side, when her world caved in around her. That which they had searched, killed and tortured for, sat hissing at them from its perch on Butt’s shoulder. Of all of the possible scenes she had replayed in her head of this triumphant moment, never in her wildest dreams had the piggy-eyed and Mohican-topped face before her, played a starring role.

The site of the lop-sided and self-satisfied grin on Cornelius’ face caused something deep inside her to snap. With a screech she dragged a laser pistol free from the belt of the Clansman next to her and aimed directly for the leering countenance in front of her. Her action was met by a scream of rage, and Cornelius newest and, truth be told, only friend launched herself forward. With outstretched neck and her body tautly in line, she appeared as an arrow launched directly from a bow. Straight and true she sped, at the last moment opening her mouth once more as though to cry a challenge. No sound came from her scaled visage, rather a spurt of greenish liquid, whose coruscating force burst directly against Jenna’s snarling lips.

A scream was heard, a shrill protestation of agony as the bright fluid melted its way through skin and bone. No laser fire came forth, the pistol dropped and forgotten as useless hands clawed in desperation at a ravaged and disappearing face. Wings spread, the creature looped round past the dying woman, a haughty stare passing briefly over the shocked and cowering Clansmen, before she lovingly came to rest on Cornelius’ shoulder, her head once more caressing the ugly man’s face.

“Well,” said Cornelius after a few moments of stunned silence, “it really hasn’t been her day, has it?”


Reinstalled back in his stateroom, Cornelius was more than a little confused. In fact, he was approaching the state of incomprehension, usually reserved for a heavy session of drinking in the Forked Tongue. Strangely though, the glass of brandy still sat on the table in front of him, untouched. His new companion lay curled around his neck, like a leathery stole, her chest rising and falling in contentment. She had fed off his dinner plate, eating just about everything placed before her, and then slowly crawled up Cornelius’ chest, until she found her current resting position.

The other extremely disconcerting fact, was the Honour Guard, apparently he had gone in an instant from reviled, to be spat upon, enemy, to some type of revered personage. Two of the Clansman now stood permanently on guard outside the door of his suite. At first he had thought himself a prisoner, but his rebellious stroll around the upper deck had merely seen the men fall into line behind him, hands on swords and eyes alert and protective.

It was all rather galling, his plan to remain unseen in his cabin for the whole journey had now become intolerable, and all because of this strange, scaled and winged creature. Angrily he raised his hand as though to wrench her off him, but as soon as his fingers touched her soft and contented body, he relented. No-one, not even the parents who had sold him to the local Parish Circus, had ever defended him before. She had killed in his defence, and all she wanted was to be with him. That was enough for Cornelius now, and he leaned back in his chair, determined to take advantage of the momentary lull in attempts on his life, to catch up on his rest.

This was not to be, as just as he had closed his eyes, the door chime sounded and shortly after, one of the Clansman ushered in a wrinkled old crone, a supercilious looking suit and the Ship’s Captain. Cornelius grinned as the old woman used her cane to whack the suited man’s hand away, as he tried to help her, and prodded the Ship’s Captain in the backside, causing him to yelp involuntarily.

“Out of my way”, she snapped, “the Dwarf and I have lots to talk about!”


Now, Cornelius knew he was short, had come to terms with his height restrictions and in fact generally played on them, but no-one called him a Dwarf and got away with it.

“What do you want, you old hag!” he snapped, taking his feet off the table.

“Ooh, I think I’m going to like you, Shorty!” she cackled, plumping herself into the chair opposite him, “Not a lot, of course, as I really don’t like anyone!”

Butt stared at her for a moment and then roared with laughter, “Do you want a drink?” he asked sarcastically, as the witch-like creature appropriated and downed his brandy in one.

“That would be nice,” she said, proffering the empty crystal glass to the suited man, “but pour me a proper-sized drink this time”, she ordered the cowering man, “I know they call them Shorts, but come on...”

Again, Cornelius howled with laughter and shambled over to the bar himself, making sure that his drink was every bit as charged with alcohol as hers. He retook his position in his chair once more, gulped down some brandy, smacked his lips and bade the woman continue.

“You!” she snarled, pointing at the Captain, “and you!”, she continued, her finger stabbing weapon-like towards each of them, “are not needed. Begone!”

With that she sank back into her chair and grinned mischievously at Cornelius, who winked back at her, called for his Guards and waited for them to escort the unwanted men out.

“Now,” he said, “How’s about telling me what this is all about?”

The old woman held up her hand, motioning him to wait, poured the brandy down her throat in one, belched in satisfaction and smiled her wicked little smile again.

“Be a good boy and get me another drink, and I’ll tell you how you’re going to save the Universe!”

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