Chapter Twelve: A Sword for All Occasions

Posted by | June 28, 2009

The chewtoy—an eyeball pickled into a rubbery consistency like a hardboiled egg—hurtled across the chamber, caromed off the back wall, rebounded from the floor, and sailed out the window.

Batsmasher followed, arms a-pendulum with barely contained joy. “Raaaaaggwwggh!” he gurgled as he flew through the window after his favorite toy and promptly vanished from sight in the pristine blue and fog. Plummeting.

“That never gets old,” Hellvetica said.

“He’ll just respawn,” Deathsprocket said.

“Yeah,” she replied, “but it makes him happy.”

The next step in her progress, her necromancer guide explained, would be to etch a rune sword with the Rune Forge—one problem with that outcome: the Rune Forge was currently occupied. It had been occupied for almost an hour now. A queue had formed out one side of the floating necropolis and around the outside.

“It’s like the opening of Star Wars out there,” she remarked.

“You should see the line for the bathroom.”

“Mommy!” The burbling voice of Batsmasher emanated from a particularly corpse-dense section of the room as the ghoul toppled a mound of severed heads then shambled over. It dropped the rubbery eyeball onto the floor at her feet; it bounced with a stomach-turning sqwinch.

“What’s this?”

A glittering light seemed to be connected to Batsmasher’s back like a pair of wings. Unwilling to actually touch him, Hellvetica managed to pantomime enough to get him to turn around and show his back. And there, between his scapula and backbone, was embedded a pristine axe; its twin, an ivory handled, silver bladed weapon protruded from how lower back on the opposite side.

Deathsprocket leaned closer. “Hm. It looks like he encountered some resistance down below.”

“Presents!” Hellvetica exclaimed and removed both axes.

She twirled them around a little. They were surprisingly well balanced for basically stolen loot; the blades sang in the air as she wove them in intricate patterns with timed movements of her wrists and arms. Almost like extensions of her own limbs. She rather liked them, in fact.

“Good ghoul,” she said as she holstered them through loops in her belt.

“Looks like they opened up another Rune Forge,” Deathsprocket said.

“Cool, let’s go.”

“You’ll need a sword.”

“What about my new axes?” she said. “My pet brought them to me special.”

“You’re still going to have to choose a sword. Check the racks of those taken from the dead, we’ll use one of those.”

“Fine,” she said. “Eenie, meenie, minie—ah ha.”

Hellvetica plucked a sword off of the rack, nodded, and presented it to Deathsprocket. He frowned at her.

“Leave it to you to find the only pink, floral print sword in the entire batch,” the gnome griped. “Don’t tell me—does it say something like, ‘My first training sword?’”

“No, but it does have S. Windrunner written in glitter at the bottom.”

“You would just really rather use the axes, wouldn’t you?”

“I’m a simple girl.”

“Fine,” the gnome said. “But we’ll still need to present you with a sword. Let’s just take that one, have it inscribed, and get on with our lives.”

NEXT >> Chapter Thirteen: My Kingdom for Your Horse

The author Helvetica writes the Helvetica Venture and Hellvetica Chronicles for Vox Ex Machina and proudly supports the works of Kyt Dotson, whose writing includes Mill Avenue Vexations (a gothic webserial featuring cab driver Vex Harrow), Black Hat Magick, and Helljammer and invites you to check out the novel, The Specter in the Spectacles by Kyt Dotson.


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