Magician’s Apprentice Chapter XLV

The story so far: The god Ovedisca has tricked Tollon and his friends, taken Tollon’s sister as a sacrifice for transporting Tollon into one of its worlds, and departed to plague Tollon’s world. Now read on . . .

My sister’s dead. That’s the most positive conclusion I can come to. And a god has taken her place and will probably mess up my family for fun. Admittedly, I don’t like much of my family, but, still, they are mine.

My sister Jallia, dead. I knew she shouldn’t have come. It’s my fault. I don’t want to deal with it, or much of anything else. So I sit there and hang my head and cry. The others come over and say stuff, but I don’t care. It doesn’t matter.

And then Katrina raises her voice. “Shut up, everyone. I hear something.” To be followed by a loud oath and, “Snakes! Tollon, get your damn sword out now!”

It’s more Katrina’s tone than her words that get me up, and I automatically draw my sword. And I see them. Hundreds of snakes, all coming toward us. And I’m no herpetologist, but they look like the poisonous kinds.

Katrina doesn’t have to yell. She has a hard voice. “Mia, Alencar, get behind us. Tollon, shoulder to shoulder, three feet apart.”

It occurs to me that I’ve never learned how to fight snakes with a sword. Somehow, that’s just not one of the things that came up. I think I’d be better armed with a shovel.

Katrina says, “Don’t lose it, kid. Just kill them.” And she swings her sword, and kills three of them in one blow.

Me, I stab. I cut. I slice. I do whatever I can to get my sword in position to do before the next snake gets close enough to strike at me. I head a scream from Mia, swing around, and go charging past her to attack the snakes coming from the other direction.

Experience is a great teacher, if it doesn’t kill you. As we are more and more surrounded, I learn how to swing my blade to slice through or scare off more and more snakes. And it’s strange, but I don’t think I’m doing it. I think the sword is. Or maybe I’m just becoming such a good swordsman that the blade and I am one.

It goes on and on. I stop consciously thinking, and just keep killing snakes. There are more behind them.

I keep killing snakes. There are more behind them.

I keep killing snakes. There are more behind them.

When the snakes stop coming, it takes me several moments to realize they’ve stopped. I want to go out and kill more, but Katrina grabs me. “Tollon, TOLLON, get a grip. You’re done. You’re done.”

I’m done. I look around. Katrina has worked up a sweat. Honorable Alencar and Mia are staring at me as if I’ve grown a third eye.

Well, no, they are staring at my sword. I take a look at it. It looks strange. It takes me a few seconds to understand what I’m seeing. There’s a red glow running down the middle of the sword, from the tip to the pommel.

Katrina says, “You didn’t tell me you had a magic sword.”

I look up at her. “I didn’t know. I took this off a highwayman. It’s the Etralstan sword I mentioned.”

“That’s not an Etralstan blade, Tollon,” Katrina replies.

Mia steps over and looks at it carefully. I hold it up so she can see it. She nods. “I’ve heard of such a thing, but I didn’t know any of them still existed. The blade is fae.”

I have a sword with an Etralstan pommel and a fairy-made blade, which I took off a highwayman. This makes no sense.

I sheath the sword and look around. The field is bordered by woods in every direction.

And in between the trees, I catch a fleeting glimpse of my highwayman, before he ducks behind a tree and scurries down a path.

Oh, yes, it does make sense. I turn to the others. “Come on, we have a bit of hiking to do.”

Honorable Alencar asks, “Where are we going?”

“I have no idea,” I tell her. “But it will bring us closer to our goal, that I can tell you.”

(To be continued . . .)


About Brian Bixby

I enjoy history because it helps me understand people. I'm writing fiction for much the same reason.
This entry was posted in Magician's Apprentice, Writing fiction and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Magician’s Apprentice Chapter XLV

  1. You do realise that a few years back I wouldn’t have been able to read this post. But now I look at your graphic and suggest that’s probably a python, and therefore not venomous. Of course. I could be wrong. 🙂

    • Brian Bixby says:

      Southern copperhead. Venomous. That said, copperheads aren’t likely to kill you, just cause necrosis in the flesh near where they stick their fangs in.
      While the northern copperhead is mostly expunged from eastern Massachusetts, there’s a small colony of them in the Blue Hills, just south of Boston, where I’ve gone hiking a few times. Never seen one in the wild, though. They are good at hiding.

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