Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Last Ride of Orik Bloodletter

Orik had gotten careless.

The first rule of assassination is to kill the assassin, or so the saying goes. That's why one deals with The Guild. They offer some degree of anonymity while trying to make a living. But after a few celebratory libations in Sixcarts, it hadn't taken the Elvish Star Knight long to track him down.

Which leads us to the second damnable rule of assassination, never ask why your target deserves to die. Who knew that Sir Runic Rump's assassination would call down a damn Star Knight? Apparently, he was better connected in Talismonde than Orik had figured.

Orik knew the Elf by her reputation as man-hunter, and she was one of the best in all of Arduin; Dajina Thistlewood and her dreaded Starsword. She had used her mind powers to track him, trap him and damn near kill him The Kobbit's Foot Tavern in Sixcarts. He'd managed to slow her down some with a poisoned crossbow bolt - a lucky shot - and a darkbomb he'd bought from a travelling Alchemist.

Now Orik was riding hard and fast over the sun blasted plains, so hard his horse was sweating profusely and wheezing. Still he could see her in the distance behind him, running her horse as hard as he did his. The air was dry and hot and up ahead, it looked like Wizard Weather judging by the dark maroon clouds and hellish lightning. Orik thought only a damned fool would chase him into that kind of storm into The Creep ... only a damned fool would consider riding into The Creep under the sunniest of weather; but Orik would not be brought in to hang over a man named Rump, nor at a Star Knight's hand.
 
The Tanglebrush growing in scattered clumps was the first sigh of reaching The Creep. He spurred his horse onward ... just a little more to draw the Elf in. He had a scroll rolled up in his pack that he'd been looking to trade, but it just might buy him the time he'd need to make a grand escape. Sooner than he expected, she was in the Tanglebrush.

He dismounted and quickly fumbled through his pack, his heart pounding in his dry throat. He could hear her Starsword ignite like the hum of a long forgotten dirge, but with the scroll in hand, he dove under his horse for cover as the energy blade sliced the air just above his head.

Dajina reared her horse back for another pass at the assassin, focusing her meditations into her blade. Orik read the scroll aloud, against the growing winds, and Tanglebrush began entwining about Dajina's mount's legs, inching it's bloodthirsty thorns up the saddle for Elvish dessert.

Orik laughed out loud as he mounted his horse and made his escape deeper into the dust clouds that were forming under the maroon clouds and hellish lightning. With luck, he'd avoid the mutated Deathclaws that hunted these lands. With luck, he might make Watchtown before nightfall. With luck, the Wizard Weather wouldn't suffocate his horse with clouds of irradiated dust ...

But Orik was out of luck by now and he felt the burning sting in his eyes ...

Though they looked harmless enough, one of the primary residents of The Creep had claimed another victim. Orik fell off his horse into the blowing dust storm as the Triffids gathered around their prey.

Yes, Orik had gotten careless and it cost him his life.