Tales From a Thousand Worlds

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The Sleepers of the Marsh – Part Nine

A low rise looked down over the misty marsh, one upon which the fading sun still shone. Atop it squatted Renkheqen. He had set his smoking brazier down beside him while he leant upon his staff with one clawed hand. With the other he scratched markings into the ground around him, patterns that spiralled outwards, in complex, esoteric designs that pained the eye to gaze upon. As he did so, he whispered words that seemed more sounds than actual phrases.

Follow this link for Part Eight of The Sleepers of the Marsh

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In the Lair of the Bloody Handed – Part Ten

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The gathering in the early light of the following morning was a sombre affair. Traces of mist wove about them, yet to be burned away by the rising sun. Nhaqosa, Abasan, Niati and Lakach carried their kit, ready to depart. Katako and the others who were staying behind had gathered to bid their farewells, and not a few of the villagers attended as well, led by Tolvir.

Follow this link for Part Ten of In the Lair of the Bloody Handed

The Sleepers of the Marsh – Part Eight

The mists once more began to thicken out across the marsh, rolling onwards in waves. Again the silence began to descend over the region as the gloom of the shrouded sun took hold. Peregrine stood atop the small island that Ket and his kin had lived upon, looking out, still half expecting trouble. After a short time Blade joined her, his sword sheathed.

Follow this link for Part Eight of The Sleepers of the Marsh

In the Lair of the Bloody Handed – Part Nine

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A much larger group accompanied them on the return journey than had left two days earlier. While some of those freed had gone their own ways, seeking out family who had been captured and taken to other camps and villages that Keturhi had controlled, most followed Artor, wanting to see Keturhi pay for what she had done to them.

Follow this link for Part Nine of In the Lair of the Bloody Handed

The Sleepers of the Marsh – Part Seven

The band of mercenaries forded forward through the waters of the marsh, following in the wake of the burning footsteps that walked across the surface of it. All around them the mists rolled away, forced back by the dark magics of Renkheqen.

Follow this link for Part Seven of The Sleepers of the Marsh

In the Lair of the Bloody Handed – Part Eight

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The Loyal fell in around Nhaqosa’s band and escorted them back towards the camp and on into the village. They carried themselves with a wary cautiousness, their weapons never straying far from covering the band. Inside, Nhaqosa could see that whoever had once lived in the village had gone and the place contained only Keturhi’s warriors now. There were no women or children, only males of a fighting age. Some of the men had taken to wearing face paint akin to that which decorated the Painted Ones, grotesque images done in ochres. The Painted Ones, for the most, were camped in the village, and close by to the long hall that dominated it. Some of them stood guard at the entrance to it, their eyes cold and inhuman as they stared at the approaching group.

Follow this link for Part Eight of In the Lair of the Bloody Handed

The Sleepers of the Marsh – Part Six

The interior of the tower was one large room room at ground level. Waters covered the floor, lapping up against the walls and the large, central pillar. A set of stairs wound up around the pillar, headed to floors above. The tattered rags of old tapestries clung to the walls, frayed to wisps, the colours in them long since faded away. If there had been anything else in the chamber, it had long since gone, rotten away by the waters.

Follow this link for Part Six of The Sleepers of the Marsh

In the Lair of the Bloody Handed – Part Seven

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When they had finished their lunch, after the snake had departed, and after the day had cooled down marginally, they set off again, along the route that Brelor led them. The journey that they had set out upon was not a short one and that night they camped out in the forest, before continuing on the following day.

Follow this link for Part Seven of In the Lair of the Bloody Handed

The Sleepers of the Marsh – Part Five

Fetid, marshy water filled the streets that Peregrine and Blade splashed there way through. Swirls of reeds and algae curled across the surface of the murky water. When the marsh had overtaken the city, many of the buildings had subsided into the ground. They had not done so evenly and so the whole of it had an uneven appearance, with buildings rising up out of the water at odd angles. Statues stood here and there through the city, overgrown with vines and weeds that crawled up over them. Through the misty air that curled through the streets, shadows loomed up around them, growing sharper into relief as they neared them, of buildings that became more distinct in form.

Follow this link for Part Five of The Sleepers of the Marsh

In the Lair of the Bloody Handed – Part Six

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They didn’t leave the village until a couple of days after the battle, spending time to rest and recover from strains and injuries suffered. Tolvir had done what he could, but his strength was limited and had been strained tending to those most badly wounded, bringing a number back from the brink of death.

Follow this link for Part Six of In the Lair of the Bloody Handed