The Land of Teuhyo
(Inspired by Dungeons and Dragons)
Chapter 11: The Fires Burn at Midnight
Bedivere felt nothing when she hit the floor. The pain came later. Her vision tunneled around Lulu, who held her staff above her head and slammed it into the floor. The ground around her sparked and broke apart, flinging dirt into Bedivere’s face. She covered her eyes and rolled away, trying to pull her axe from where it was hooked on her belt, but the clasp was stuck and she couldn’t get it unstuck.
She heard a scream, and Nedjem flew across the room and landed hard on the ground. She heard a crack and he fell still, and in a panic, Bedivere began to crawl across the shaking dirt toward him.
“Ssstop her.” Misha’s voice echoed in the room, overlayed with the sound of hissing.
“Yes, my lady.” Bedivere heard Lulu’s signature faint lisp, and her heart sank. If this was what had happened, she would have done better to leave her here than have to face down her best friend.
Bedivere scooted to a wall and looked around, trying to get a grip on her surroundings. She couldn’t see Iah; that girl could not defend herself, and Nedjem was already injured. Aeron and Vulcan were still up, even with Vulcan’s injuries he looked like he was handling himself with only a little trouble. For a second she was almost proud of him. Almost.
Then she looked down at herself. She was down too, crawling on her hands and knees in the dirt, unarmed and with no backup. She was a sitting duck.
“Quack quack!” Misha giggled, and Bedivere felt something heavy drop onto her leg. She gasped, the stone that fell from above pinning her to the ground. She struggled back, but the pull on the skin made by the rock’s pressure hurt too much.
She heard footsteps behind her and looked over her shoulder. Abramo was still there, covered in dirt and blood, and walking towards her with what looked like a small, but very sharp, blade.
“What, are you coming to cut my leg off?” She giggled incredulously.
Abramo did not laugh at her irreverence. He kept walking until the blade was raised directly above her head, and lifted it.
Bedivere felt like she was moving through peanut butter. Everything happened in slow motion as the saw came down right where her head used to be. She fell backwards, landing right between Abramo’s legs, rolled over and bit his ankle.
“AGH!” He screamed, shuffling back, but Bedivere held his leg and he slipped, falling over. The blade flew from his hand and Bedivere reached for it, but it was just out of her reach, ever so far away. Abramo was clawing at it too, and sure enough, his scrawny fingers began to tighten around the handle.
“No!” Bedivere bit him again, and he winced but ignored the pain this time. They kept struggling towards the saw, Bedivere still held down by the weight of the stone on her leg, and Abramo’s ankle slipping through her fingers.
A shadow moved in front of her, and Abramo’s grunts turned to gurgles, then to wheezing. Bedivere looked up and…
An unfamiliar man stood before her. He looked human, but in the darkness it was so hard to tell. All she could see was his smirk as he offered her his hand.
He quickly went to roll away the stone. Her shin was scratched and bloody beyond belief, but the bone didn’t feel broken, at least for now. Bedivere stumbled up and was now able to pry free her hatchet from her belt. “LULU!”
She only heard Misha laugh. “You know what to do.”
Bedivere saw Lulu raise her staff again, and this time a beam of violet light shot from the gem on the staff, hurtling toward Bedivere and her savior. She ducked, her short size already aiding her, but the man was hit in the shoulder and staggered back, letting out a low groan that turned into a full on scream in agony. Bedivere smelled rotting skin and dug into her pocket for a healing potion, but another beam hit near her feet.
“Stay there!” She commanded. As much as it pained her, she had to take out her best friend, before she killed them all.
She rushed forward, Lulu and Misha standing in front of the door, blocking their only means of escape. Misha giggled quietly and raised her hand, lifting one finger and blowing. As soon as Bedivere got close, she felt her face begin to sting, and the smell of sour mold hit her nose. She staggered away from Misha’s spray of poison, but it was too late. She felt her throat begin to burn.
“Lulu, please…!” Bedivere took a step closer. “I’ll hurt you. Don’t think I won’t.”
“You don’t have the sssstomach for it.” Lulu sang. “But I do.”
“And so do I!”
A knife flew out of the darkness and hit Lulu in the shoulder. It buried itself into her scales, and the Quetzalcoatl woman dropped her staff, clutching her arm in pain. She yanked out the knife and a spray of blood followed the blade, undoubtedly doing more damage.
Vulcan laughed. “Gotcha!”
“You stupid little-!” Lulu spat. “Your mother never taught you respect!
“My mom ain’t a bitch like you.”
“You fucking take that back.”
Vulcan held up his middle finger and darted back into the dust, disappearing from the eyes of the three women. Misha tried to lift a hand to heal her comrade, but another knife flew out of the darkness and barely missed her.
“ENCARNACION!” Misha raised her arms. “Grant me your shades once again so I may smite them!”
Figures of humanoids rose from the dust around them, long and lanky, and shambled around looking for where the salmon Axolotl had vanished. One of them neared Bedivere, and while she felled it quickly with her axe, more were closing in on her. Her throat was beginning to tighten, both from poison and from fear, and her vision was beginning to blur.
“I was going to tell your college to stay away.” Misha said, smiling with wild, blue-tinted eyes, “but I think sending them your head will get the point across~”
She raised her hand, in a gesture like she was about to cut the poor dwarf in half, but she stopped.
An overwhelming silence suddenly fell over the room. Misha looked around. “What was that?”
Bedivere shook her head.
“Stop it…” Misha dropped her hand. “Whoever you are…you’re not Encarnacion. Stop this.”
Bedivere shut her mouth, gasping through her nose but otherwise silent. She wanted to see how this played out.
“Stop it…!” Misha covered her ears.
“A ka dua…”
As Bedivere heard that sound, the song ringing out from the shades, low and deep, she felt her knees grow weak.
“Tuf ur biu…”
She knew the language. It came from Elvish, but the Dwarves down in Duamutef had picked it up and blended it with their own language. She’d heard it sang in the temple of Neith to her divine son, Geb.
A Dark Elf would know this song by heart.
The shades around Bedivere collapsed, and Iah stepped up beside Bedivere as the Dwarf fell to her knees, her vision fading from the song and lack of oxygen. Misha was recoiling in agony, and Lulu staggered to the side before collapsing, her blood loss too much without healing.
Misha looked up at Iah, fear in her eyes.
“Bi a’a chefu, dudu nur af an nuteru.” Iah smiled as the shades Misha had summoned fell away into dust.
“This cannot stop me…” Misha’s voice wobbled and it looked like she was on the verge of tears.
“It was enough to hurt you.” Iah said.
“Your voice is a-!” She stopped as Iah put a hand to her cheek, and then covered Misha’s lips with her long fingers. Misha’s whole body was shaking but it was beginning to slow as waves of calm washed over her.
“No…” Iah grabbed at her neck as her voice cracked, squeaking a bit. The smoothness was replaced with a crackle of uncertainty and misuse. “No. You know this is wrong, and you’re fighting with yourself.”
Bedivere looked up, now breathing shallow. “Iah…?”
Misha pulled away, shaking Iah’s grasp off. Her eyes were completely blue now, glowing with cold energy and charged like a battery. “No! You have failed! Failed to stop me! Encarnacion will take back this world, and you did nothing to prevent it!”
“I know I didn’t.” Iah looked down at her and smiled. “I’m just the distraction.”
Three beams of yellow light hit Misha square in the chest, knocking her backward. She slammed into the door and it burst open while she bounced off and landed on the stairs, hard.
Before she passed out, Bedivere saw Nedjem approaching from the darkness, his tattoos glowing golden and yellow fire radiating from his hands. She saw Iah in her peripheral as she knelt down by Bedivere, shouting something. Bedivere, though, heard nothing. Her breathing finally caught in her throat and her world went dark.
“Thank you.” The strange man, who Vulcan had introduced as Derek, said as Iah pulled her hands away from his shoulder.
“I-It’ll be itchy for a while.” She said. “But that’s good, it means it’s healing.”
“Necrosis is a hard thing to treat.” Derek nodded. “I am forever thankful.”
Iah nodded, clearing her throat. It felt like any moment she might slip up, and at the same time she wondered if there was any point to keeping it on. People were injured and she needed to save her spells.
“Stop!” She heard Vulcan cry, and saw him slap Nedjem’s hand away.
“I need to pop it back in.”
“You cannot walk around with a dislocated knee.”
“I capped a bitch with a dislocated knee!” he whined.
“Vulcan.” Iah called. The Axolotl looked over at her, turning his eyes away from Nedjem. Nedjem quickly took the hint and with a snap, popped Vulcan’s knee back into place.
“OW!” Vulcan shrieked.
Iah and Nedjem burst out laughing, while Vulcan crawled away and sat in a corner, his arms crossed. “You guys are assholes!”
Iah gave Nedjem a thumbs up and walked past him, to where Aeron was sitting beside Bedivere.
“How’s Ms. Be?” Iah asked.
“She’s, uh…still breathin’.” Aeron nodded. “I ain’t very good at this whole nurse thing.”
“It’s okay. I am.” She knelt beside them. “Are Misha and the Quetzalcoatl tied up?”
“Good as can get.” Aeron nodded.
“He’s…uh…got no need for it.”
Iah averted her eyes. “I wonder if he was brainwashed too.”
“Brainwashed or not…” Derek stood “It does not excuse their actions.”
“Yes it does.” Iah said. “They couldn’t control it.”
“You heard what he said to you.” Derek crossed his arms. “They took me down at least a dozen times for their ‘Encarnacion’ to work her magic on me and not once did I fall. Anyone whose mind is changed so easily believed what he was saying all along.”
“Well that’s good on you, sir…” Aeron said “But most people ain’t that strong. You gotta be the exception that proves the rule.”
“It’s actually the exception that PROBES the rule.” Iah said. “My dad told me.”
Nedjem joined the group, sitting cross-legged laterally from where Bedivere lay. “Your song was beautiful.”
Iah didn’t respond until Derek nedged her, then she blinked in shock. “It was?”
“Yes.” He chuckled. “When I said to distract Misha, I didn’t expect that. How did you cause them such pain?”
Iah looked down, pale skin turning pink. “…Dissonant Whispers.”
Everyone looked confused.
“They call it Dissonant Whispers, I find it works better with songs, especially those from the Dark Elf language.”
“But that only targets one.” Nedjem said. “How did you destroy the shades with it?”
“She broke my concentration.”
The group, except for Bedivere, jumped to their feet. Misha lifted her head, the blue glow in her tired eyes dim, but still very much there.