Friday, June 13, 2008

Shannelleran, Day 2

By: Michael Akerman

(Yesterday's installment)

He stood for a moment, letting his body and eyes adjust to the morning. Shaking his breastplate to find a comfortable fit, Kilrick was turning to leave Darl’s Folly when a desperate scream echoed across the expansive court. Drawing his longsword out, he spun to search the square. In a darkened corner, the bulky mass of a man in a brown fur cloak was raising a massive staff above his head. As he tensed himself to bring the weapon to bear upon his hidden target, a feminine voice broke plaintively, “No, please!”

Kilrick rushed across the square, swearing under his breath. He was swift of foot, but the distance was great, and the staff had already begun to fall. As he closed the distance, he grew swiftly certain that he stood no chance of parrying the crushing blow in time. Kilrick shouted in a final effort to distract the attacker, but even as the large man drew back slightly at the noise, the momentum of the staff carried it through its dreadful arc.

Just before striking its prey, however, the staff came to a shuddering halt. A high, short tone, like the striking of a silver bell, shot across the square, while a glow of silvered-blue gauze filled the corner, silhouetting the cloaked man and the halted weapon. Silence filled the breadth of a second, as the stave shuddered in the shocked man’s grasp. Then, with the echo of a deep gong, a sphere of scintillating gold swept outward from the corner, tossing shards of the shattered staff about and lifting the large man from his feet. Kilrick gasped and fell backwards, knocked from his feet like a child’s doll by the rushing sphere. Then, as swiftly as the sphere had formed, it dissipated harmlessly against the walls of the village huts, leaving only a dying echo of the initial clamor.

~Michael Akerman