The world was red and black, the wheat field they stood in so scorched, so drenched in blood, that it would yield no crop but corpses this season.
Aelfgar, too, was drenched, sticky with the stuff, and he'd lost a couple inches of his braid to a gout of flame. No matter. Most of the blood wasn't his, the hair would grow back, and the enemy were all dead or fled.
He stepped back from the carnage as a sinkhole began to form under the largest of the monstrous enemy corpses – thirty feel long, and as big around as he was tall, looking and smelling of old vomit, and soon devoured whole by the growing sinkhole. By the time he reached the boss of this crew of itinerate biker so'jers, all evidence of the bloody fight had been swallowed by the ground, leaving a soft mound of bare earth, a perfect circle in the middle of the wheat field.
He nodded approvingly. It was good that most of the so'jers still kept to the old ways, and didn't rely too heavily on the Blindness of the Gods. A bare patch would cause commentary, yes, but not as much as a stack of corpses.
The boss seemed to read his thoughts. "Some of us still remember," he said solemnly, though the girl on his arm giggled. He held out his hand – as dirty as Aelfgar's own. "It's been an honor fighting with you."
He took the proffered hand and shook it firmly. "Likewise." He nodded politely at the girl.
"You won't stay." She stated it as a truth, not as a question, but he answered anyway.
"Nah, sweetheart, I've got to get getting on. Good fight, though."
"You, too." The boss shook his head. "I've tell you, though, I've never seen a creature just melt the way that one did when you hit it. Transform, sure, but not just fade into the air."
"Me, neither, Joe." He shook his head. "The damn monsters get smarter every year. I wish the same was true of us." He nodded at them both. "Ride well, Joe. Celia."
"Ride well, Aelfgar Godspear."
He walked away before he could say something to the cassandra, with her clouded eyes and her blood-smeared hands, that he'd regret, that Joe would feel the need to make him regret, shaking himself like a dog. The stains of battle slid off his skin and clothes like oil off water and vaporized in the chill night air. As clean as he was going to get, the grizzled warrior took to his giant Harley, and took his Harley to the road.
"I need a girl," he muttered. The pretty little gypsy girl with her mad eyes had gotten his blood stirring again. "Damn… a real girl, too. I wonder what Regine's crew is up to these days?"
Nested deep in one of Aelfgar's saddlebags, Caspian slumbered. The blasted ashanevaei had wounded him nearly unto death, had killed his sister and desecrated her corpse, but Caspian had always been the more pragmatic of the two of them. When the death-stroke had come down, he had shifted from draconic form into something… tidier. More compact. And, while his mouse-form wouldn't pass closer inspection (most rodents' tails were neither scaled nor barbed, for one), it had sufficed to get him into hiding. And his mouse brain may not be big enough for complicated plans, but nothing he needed to think on was complicated.
Hide. Sleep. Heal.
And then, of course, kill Aelfgar.
The Hog rumbled on into the night, Aelfgar reminiscing about the beautiful girls Regine loved to lay out before him, and Caspian dreaming tiny mouse-dreams of revenge.
Copyright © 2009-2010 Lyn Thorne-Alder & Elasmo. All rights reserved.
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