Monday, July 18, 2016

"Erlik! Where are you?"

"Erlik! Where are you?"

Frigid water invaded his leather boots and seeped into his wool-wrapped leggings. Ingemar Vekelsson fished about for his sword and the torch he'd been carrying. "Erlik!" He called out again, his voice questing out into the damp darkness. Ingemar had no idea where he was or where his war-leader, Erlik, was. The viking lad's head was pounding and he cursed, trying to remember...

One hand found a stone plinth and Ingemar felt the deep, grooved stone. Fingers tentatively traced the edges of the smooth, perfectly formed cuts, feeling them curve and swoop and join in with one another. The design sparked something in his foggy, pounding skull and he remembered. The Celts! They had been in Iberia, exploring a raised grave--Erlik had called it a barrow--and one moment, he had been side by side with the Erlik Kinslayer and the next moment, he'd been falling.

Now, he had no idea where his Ring-Giver was, or in truth, where he was.

The son of Vekels right hand traced across a conflux in the grooves of the plinth and a blazing blue light filled the chamber. He was in a place unlike anything he had ever seen: part natural cavern and part worked stone chamber. The eerie wytchlight came from everywhere and nowhere at once, illumination without a source. Ingemar blinked, reeling from the sudden stabbing pain in his ice-blue eyes. His footing slipped as he reeled and the he found himself tasting foul, stagnant water.

Ingemar slammed his fist into the water, cursing, "Son of a carrion eating old hag!"

It was at that moment that he heard the laughter. It was less laughter than it was a painful-sounding exhalation of breath, followed by the phrase, spoken in Old Norse. "Stay down, Kinslayer. It will make your death quicker."

The viking lad spun, taking in the thing before him. His foot struck his war wall and his fingers found the wet, leather-wrapped hilt of his blood worm. His eyes, however, did not depart from the...thing...before him. Ingemar had no idea what the thing was that was slowly slogging its way towards him. Ingemar did not fear men. Erlik the Black was Ring-Giver to him, after all. But this thing, this was no man.

The viking lad rose to his feet, slinging his shield into place and whipping his sword before him. "Come, foul fiend. I am not Erlik the Kinslayer, but I will send you to take your place in Nágrindr, the Corpse Fence!"

The creature roared and the battle was joined.

Art Source: "Warriors of Decay" (c)/by spyders
Story and Characters: (c)/by Brannon Hollingsworth, Erilk the Black (c)/by Raulston Hunsinger

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