Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bad Decisions

“The razor that sliced Napoleon’s nape was the one that swallowed Ceasar’s grape, but few will see It drawing near as they are consumed by fear,” the rider chanted breathlessly as he drove his steed forward.

He knew he had made a mistake.

It was an honest mistake in his line of work. Steal into the armurerie d’alchimie, lift item #2647, and return to patron. The musty stonework basement, which had been a tower before the centuries piled up the land on top of it, had been simple to access despite the university on top of the dirt. The military was distracted with fighting the Huns, and that meant opportunities opened for his profession. He wasn’t bothered that the assignment involved gold-and-gem-laden eggs the size of large river rocks. The politics of returning them to a country that had deposed the royal family who was responsible for making cheap imitations of these artifacts did not concern him. Rubles still covered his expenses as well as francs or marks. But that hand scrawled note attached to the wood crate he smashed had him in a panic. He had laughed then, but he wasn’t laughing now.

The smell of smoke and the terrible, rhythmic wind stripped all colour and courage from his body.

Stone snapped under his getaway horse’s hooves, flicking sparks behind them. Water splashed every few strides, as he pushed deeper into the Ardennes. Black evergreen’s choked his avenues of escape, making the air feel thick. Maybe it was the smog that descended and deepened each minute since he had ridden out of town with the ancient treasures. Maybe it was the rising scream from the usually silent corners of his mind. The thief didn’t care at this point. He wanted to fly as fast as equinely possible from the source of dread, but he felt it from everywhere.

The panic mounted.

His gut burned with the feeling one gets preceding a storm. His bones cried out, Beware! His wild eyes scanned left and right, forward and behind, and impossibly drew upward every so often. He felt It nearing, whatever the original author menaced about in his words. He only had to make it through the woods and to the shore. The boat would be there. The fence would take the items and he would get his gold. Trade complete. Only a few kilometers and that shadow that darkened the hazy clouds above would be their problem. He willed the horse to flee faster. The tree line thinned and he could smell salt mix into the smoke.

Then something like the sun gleamed high above and he screamed.

Instead of a disc it morphed into a column and rushed mercilessly into the hard ground before him. Water became mist and the stone exploded. His horse bolted and flung him back. His stomach filled as though with burning air as his body drifted above the earth. He locked his gaze on two crimson stars that flamed with an ageless hatred behind the growing fan of flames. He knew he had made a mistake. He couldn’t believe the rows of manor-sized fangs would be his end. But now the collection of symbols at the end of the note made sense. One could be poisoned, burned, rent, and burst by explosion all at once.

If only he could tell himself three hours ago to leave the drache eggs behind.

Art Source: "Dragon's Breath" (c)/by 88grzes
Story and Characters: (c)/by Corey Blankenship

#MMWW, #Makes, #Me, #Wanna, #Write, #CoreyBlankenship, #drache, #race, #thief, #dragon, #Faberge #Eggs #Drache #Alchemy #WW1 #Belgium #France #Russia #Prussia #1918 #TenetsTales


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