Arcane Inkdustries

Magical writings in a Mundane World (Tuesdays and Fridays)

Month: May 2018 (Page 1 of 5)

Adventures in Friendship and Lightning, Part 14

Pidella was correct. The crest was there on all two dozen of the Archiwrecks. The broken arch could be seen clearly as they walked into the clearing.

Archiwrecks. The name inspired fear in Ruby Lawks’ ears. Her Lady had had to deal with the raiders before. They lived for the ways of old, trying to bring forth the greatest magics and powers long lost to history. The members held no mercy for the living, so consumed with a need to live in the past.

They arranged themselves around the Leaves, in no hurry. They outnumbered the group at well over three-to-one, and knew it. They wore grey hooded jackets, gear able to plumb the depths of the mountains while striking fear in the hearts of a half-dozen students on an adventure.

“Turn back,” rasped the leader. He held a pickaxe in his gloved hand, his face hidden beneath the cowl. “Go back to your little Circle, mages.”

Goldmight puffed himself up, and looked at them. “We’re mages with the Circle of Bel Haven…”

“They already know that,” Kleb hissed.

“And if you know that, you know that we’re on an expedition to the Glass Cliffs.” Goldmight pointed at the Archiwrecks. “Let us pass.”

“The Glass Cliffs are ours now.” The leader said. “As is the treasure of Suffrn the Caged.”

Ruby looked at the gnome sisters. They looked back, bewildered. How could they possibly know they were looking for Suffrn?

There was a crack, and the Leaves looked back. The carriage, helmed by that traitorous driver, tore back down the road towards town.

“Coward!” Goldmight called back at him. He looked back to the leader. “How much did you pay him?”

“Nothing.” The leader waved its hand. “There was no need with you brats mouthing off to every tavern in Melody about your excursion.”

Kleb bowed his head. That was probably him.

“I say again,” the leader said. “Turn back.”

“And if we refuse?” Kleb asked. “We are not exactly powerless.”

“But you are outnumbered.” The leader said. “Gather up your belongings, and head back. I say one last time…”

A snore broke his threat. The leader looked down in surprise. What was the source of that sound?

Bin Tract rolled over in his sleep. There was a smile on his face, and good dreams. He had friends, they were off on an adventure. This was going to be great.

The leader looked at Kleb. “Is he yours?”

The troll’s eyes flashed. He growled, reaching into his magic. “Bin’s an ogre, I’m a troll.” He spat. “Racist bastard.”

Bin’s eyes popped open. “Hu-wah?”

The leader cleared his throat. “I say, for the third time…”

“Fourth.” Pidelle said.

“Third.”

“He was interrupted on the fourth, sis,” Pidella explained.

“His intention was already clear. So even if he was interrupted, it counts.”

“Semantically speaking…”

The leader roared. “Thrice I have said, and this time I swear. If you shall not leave by your own hand, we shall make you.”

Bin let out a yawn and looked up from his rest. He stretched out as he stood up. “What’s going on?”

“Bad guys.” Ona pointed at them. “And they want us gone.”

“Cool.” Bin leaped forward. He shot a blast of flame down at the Archiwrecks’ feet. They stepped back hastily.

“Insolent..!”

Bin spun around, sparks gathering around him. He clapped his hands together, and shouted. A bolt of lightning coursed out of him. It struck the leader, sending the Archiwreck flying out into the wilderness.

“Fun time.” Bin said, smiling.

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

Adventures in Friendship and Lightning, Part 13

No one expected Ona to save them all. Ona least of all.

Ona was not a rustic creature. He enjoyed his life in the big city. While he was finding the outdoors to be kind of rad, they were missing some essentials. Like plumbing, or a decent coffee. He was cursed to be morose the entire day without his customary intake of caffeine.

Figuratively cursed, of course.

Regardless, Ona had spent most of the night tossing and turning in his makeshift dwelling. The rain had ended some time after night-fall. The gnome sisters were holed up in the carriage with Ruby Lawks, Nutrose was off in the trees, and Bin had fallen asleep outside. Which left the tattooed dwarf to deal with the snores of a refined troll and their musically dense leader. Just after midnight, Ona stumbled out of the dwelling, promising retribution.

Ona had been having nice dreams too. Of lightning, the relic in his own hands. The power, the legacy…

He tripped over the first enemy, and accidentally knocked out the shadowy figure before he was even aware they were under attack.

Three approaching Archiwrecks froze in place, surprised as well. They had watched the makeshift camp for hours, and had been certain all were asleep. The snores and rumbles from the dwelling must have been from an army, not merely two city folk. To have someone walk up on them, well…no one quite knows exactly who screamed first. Only that it was far higher pitched than it should have been.

“Get!” The first enemy shouted underneath Ona’s bulk. Get he did, and clasped his arm. The dwarf murmured a quick spell. His marks flared to life, light blinding his enemies.

“Attack!” He shouted, and lashed out with his fist. Even half-asleep, the blow knocked a human Archiwreck unconscious. The third enemy blinked the light out of her eyes, and tried to reach for her book in a bag at her side.

The girls stumbled out of the carriage. Ruby pointed a wand at the third. “Hax!” she screamed. White light lanced forth, and sent the enemy back into the trees. The gnome sisters threw their books out, and raced next to the dwelling.

Ona turned, but the other two were gone. Vanished. “What just happened?” he asked.

“That’s what I’d like to know,” Goldmight said. he flit out of the dwelling, followed by a bleary-eyed Kleb. “Who were those?”

“Archiwrecks,” Pidella said. She looked to her sister for confirmation, who nodded. “They were wearing a crest, a temple arch broken in half.”

Ruby looked at them. “Archiwrecks?”

“Outsider mages,” Pidelle said. “A group devoted to tomb raiding and stealing magical artifacts for power. Though they were supposed to be further south…” She trailed off, and looked at her books. “Am I not current?”

“You didn’t read last month’s warnings?” Pidella asked.

“There was a paper in one of Book’s classes, you know how I can get swamped with requests.”

“They said Archiwrecks were sighted near the Glass Cliffs.”

The sisters paled, and looked at each other. “We need to do more joint coffee sessions for regrouping,” Pidelle suggested.

“Agreed.”

“Later.” Goldmight waved his hand. Dust shimmered off his wings, bathing the clearing in a pale golden light.

“They’re coming back, with reinforcements.”

copyright 2018 Jack Holder

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