Wednesday, May 18, 2016

If it had not been for the thing’s smell, the demon would have killed me.

177 B.C.
Nesactium, Istria

If it had not been for the thing’s smell, the demon would have killed me. The wind had shifted unexpectedly, blowing in off the Mediterranean Sea at my back and it was only amid that clean, salt-laden breeze that I caught the whiff of it’s peculiar scent: a stomach-turning combination of ozone, sulfur, and decomposing bodies.

The whistling head of the chain mace barely missed my unprotected skull as I dove headlong over the still smoking ruins of what had once been a family farm. A part of me wished I had taken up Epulon’s offer for a helm, but I knew without doubt that the Illyrian King would have never let hear the end of it if I had done so. I spun, drawing upon the very fires of Creation deep within me. Speaking words of Power to give the Force a Shape and Purpose, I wove a blade and shield of pure holy fire into being.

The flames of Heaven itself ripped through the darkness, revealing my foe. Nearly eight feet tall and covered with corded muscle layered beneath ornate armor, the demon was essentially humanoid: two arms, two legs, a head and a tail. The thing’s torso and arms were that of a man, though powered by far more than the mere muscle, bone, and sinew utilized by the human race. This thing’s power came from death and all the things thereby tied: killing, battles, the dead and the dying, rotting corpses, and all of the lies and manipulations whose harvest was fatality. Its legs were those of a horse and it possessed a long tail that seemed to be equal parts rat and steed. It was the creature’s head that revealed its true nature: a twisted and wicked parody of a dog with a single eye.

“Psoglav”, I spat, the very words drawing a foul taste to my tongue.

The demon laughed, drawing itself up to its full height and unsheathing a five-and-a-half foot long Iberian falcata. The blade flickered red and black with dried blood and hellish power. As the death-eater enjoyed its moment, I saw the horned ram emblem proudly emblazoned upon its breastplate.

My blood ran stone cold.

If this creature was allied with Kherty, the ancient Egyptian “god” of slaughter, the harvest, and death, then that meant bad things for Epulon and his men.

“You are too late, Tenet”, the psoglav growled. “Too late to save yourself, or your pitiful Illyrian King, and his entire nation.”

I waded in, screaming...

Art Source: "Psoglav Sketch" (c)/by Max-Dunbar
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #BrannonHollingsworth, #TenetsTales, #Tenet, #psoglav, #Kherty, #Epulon, #King, #Istria, #Illyria

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