National Novel Writing Month

Sorry for the lack of updates, dear readers. I’ve been busy with NaNoWriMo as my friends badgered me into participation. I’ll get you some new material as I am able; in the meantime, here’s a bit of the novel I’m working on. You can cheer me on here.

 

“Errant”

Ralph’s eyes narrowed, and he raised his hand. Vesprin nickered. The party came to a stop.

Nita started to ask what was going on but was quickly silenced by Ralph. “Bandits.” he whispered, pointing to a nearby hill covered with brush. “You can see the sunlight glinting off their weapons. I’d say six or so. Vesprin and I might be able to handle them, but it’ll be ugly. If we backtrack, they’ll– HEY!”

Nita urged Thunderdoom into a gallop directly at the hill. She released the reins and held her arms over her head while chanting. A ball of black lightning formed in her hands, and just as the bandits stood to charge, she hurled it sizzling into their midst, where it detonated with a loud CRACK. The brush was scorched away, and six bandits lay twitching on the ground, the occasional spark of black lightning arcing from their crude armor.

Nita rode back to Ralph and Vesprin, beaming. “There we go. They’ll be out for a few hours, no blood shed.” Her smile faded as she noticed Ralph glowering. “What?”

“You didn’t kill them.”

“Of course I didn’t kill them. I don’t kill unless I am left with no other choice.”

Vesprin puttered. Ralph spoke. “Nita, Vesprin and I are Knights-errant. We took oaths. Bandits are a mortal threat to the lives of all around them. If we leave them alive, they’ll just attack someone else who cannot defend themselves, or join up with a bigger gang and sack a town. The sentence for banditry is death, and for good reason.” He drew his sword.

“But- but they’re defenseless!”

“Hence my disappointment. I am relieved to not be facing harm, but I take no pleasure in what I am about to do. Still, it is more merciful than what they had planned, I am certain.” Ralph started Vesprin forward.

“Wait.”

“What is it? We’re wasting daylight.”

Nita started digging in her pack. “You don’t have to kill them! I have an idea.”

“What are you going to do? Spank them?”

“No,” Nita emerged from her pack holding a few small bottles. “I’m going to curse them.”

“Are you mad?”

“Hear me out. There’s a simple but powerful curse called a ‘geas.’ It compels its victim to perform, or not perform, a specified action.”

“So you’re going to compel them to become farmhands or something?”

“I thought about that, but they could still be bandits. No, I’m going to give them a psychotic aversion to violence.”

“A what?”

“Just watch.”

Nita walked over to the crumpled bandits as she mixed the contents of the bottles. She stooped and smeared some of the mixture on each bandit’s forehead. She then sat down in the midst of them and began to chant while performing finger sigils. She cried out “PHOBOS” as her chants came to a climax. There was a bright flash of light, and the bandits began to stir and groan. One looked toward Nita, and called out to his fellows as they took to their feet.

“Nita!” Ralph and Vesprin charged toward the hill. Nita didn’t stir. The bandits circled her and one reached out toward her. Then his hand began to shake, and he collapsed, sobbing. One by one, the other bandits started trembling and sobbing, collapsing and rolling around the hill. One started crawling away, and stared up at Ralph as he rode up, sword at the ready. Then the bandit vomited.

“Gods, Nita, what did you do to them?” Ralph watched Nita carefully step between the bandits and their leavings, headed toward Thunderdoom.

“Oh dear, I think I linked them somehow. When one goes, they all go!”

“They ‘went’ all over the hill!”

“Well, you have to admit they won’t be bothering anyone anymore.”