Howdy! I’m going to be very busy for the next few days, so I couldn’t really put time into making a new quality post. That being said, I figured it would be disrespectful for me to just reblog old posts considering how I did three times in a row last week. So, luck gracing me out of the blue, I recalled that I had an old short story of mine inside of this computer. It’s really nothing impressive, and since it was an older work of mine, there might be a glaring plothole here or there, and the occasional purple prose. But if anything, it should be of mild interest for you to compare this to my more recent works. And who knows? Maybe you think I improved? It’s a basic tail with a barebones plot (if you can call it that) but it ought to be of mild amusement.

Recent Works:

A Disciple of Zarathustra

“A Price for Dead Men” Part 3

Prelude to: “The Swordsinger”

“The Language of the Trees”

“Blood that Reeks of Iron”

Pick your poison 😀

***

   Ocean spray splashed against the jagged edges of the promontory that gazed out with a view of the West Ocean. The black stone had withstood there for many a millennia, its coarse surface never living a year in which the waters had not batted against it. Thunder struck out over the distance and a barrage of rain pelted down from the sky. The dark clouds swirled and mingled with one another, leaving the whole of the sky drained of any color that it may have housed in days past. Among claps of thunder one would be able to hear the gallops of a horse upon the soft turf.

Galik sped along the shoreline with droplets of water sliding down his cloak with unending fury. His horse, a brown mare bred for galloping, was indifferent to the booming that went off in the distance. Galik never took his eyes off the road that stood ahead of him. His mind told him that it would be in his best interest to sneak a careful peek at whatever lay behind him—such advice was to be expected from a wanted man.

The ocean stirred as though some angered god had decided to unleash its holy wrath upon the world. From the side of his eyes he could catch flashes of light blaring off over to both the horizons that sandwiched him. His mare trampled through mud and raced down the crooked road that was laid out by the rocky cliffs of the promontory. His hand always gripping on to the reins of his steed and his legs bucking under the constant motion of hooves, he looked forward to have at least some semblance of respite soon enough. Maybe then he would be able to think of a plan against Brogandan’s sellswords.

In due time, a path opened along the rough stone that his horse had to trek through. It wasn’t the safest of shortcuts, being a sandy trail only slightly longer than the width of his arm, but it was leagues better than being chased through open terrain. Holding on to the leather cords of his reins, Galik shifted his horse’s body towards the trail. The mare whinnied with the swerve and shook off the rain that clung to its mane.

Sand became runny and dense with the drizzle that it absorbed, causing Galik to take his horse’s descent steadily. He leaned over his saddle and slowed down to a walk with his steed, steering it whenever he caught a stray rock in its path. Rain slid down the dark rocks and gave a gleam to their faces, and whenever he rested his palm there for leverage they would slip off without warning. Puddles formed along the path and Galik shivered under the cheap cloak he’d only bought recently. It was made of only the thinnest linen in the region and could just barely scrape through the tough weather. His boots had been clogged up with rainwater that sloshed among his feet with every step that the steed took.

He raised his head and breathed into one cupped hand. He was blessed with a clearer sight of the oceans than the one he’d seen while still traveling along the promontory. He had likened the sea to a disgruntled god earlier but seeing what he did only confirmed that thought.

The white crests of waves crashed in upon one another with no apparent order as the sea succumbed to the merciless storm. Waters that did not glisten as they would in the times of morning, but rather darkened as the grey clouds concealed whatever light they could find. The scant shore was engulfed whenever the waves splattered against it. The water proceeding forwards to the point of covering most of the shoreline—on occasion almost grazing the rock that lined it. Yet there was one thing that caught his fancy more than the raging tempest that now called itself the sea, a tragic tale that one hears, but never sees.

Amidst the screeching thunder and ominous tides, Galik was able to spot scattered black dots floating along the ocean. He could not make them out from the distance but could see how the waves beat them back unto the shore. It was driftwood that floated aimlessly unto the coastline and not so far off he could spot the wrecked mast of a ship.

He had finally made it to the area that folk would often spread rumors of, the area that was used to scare children into sleeping at night, the area that he had refused to believe existed in the past. From the rage of the elements to the broken mast of the ship, Galik knew that he’d stumbled into trouble. Of all the hellholes and dark corners of the earth that I had to end up in, why did it have to be Sunkenskull Shore!?

With a free hand Galik tugged a corner of his cloak that had been slipping down his back and tightened it about himself. The storm had already made the day frigid, but with that bit of news he felt as though his whole body had been usurped by frostbite. There were many stories that surrounded Sunkenskull Shore but they always revolved around the same elements. Some crew from some far-off port like Glanden or Xerta set off over to the seas. The reason would always vary depending on whom told the story. The grizzled sailors would often tell that it was a regiment of troops sailing off to conquer a foreign land, merchants would say it was just a trade vessel, fishers would claim that it went on the hunt for exotic fish, but in the end, none of that mattered. The ship would crash against the bare rock offshore and the whole of their crew would be swept away by the waves or buried under the sand. Yet it was said that every night, when the moon reached its zenith, and the stars exposed themselves under the night sky, the dead would rise from their graves and walk about.

Or so the legends claimed.

His horse made it down the path. He had finally reached the beach and took in the aromas of salt that came whenever the violent ocean would pound upon the rocks that knifed into it. He scanned both of his sides while atop his horse, noting that both horizons stretched out into no end. He could lodge the night within the wrecked ship should he find all around intact, and there might even have been gold to be found! No…that would be unlikely. If the driftwood was as large an amount as he had spotted on his descent he doubted that any part of the ship would have made it. Yet the wood would prove valuable in starting a fire. He thought to himself.

Galik traced his hand along his horse’s dark mane, pondering if the beast had any opinion of the state of affairs “What do you think, buddy?” The horse remained speechless and whickered as rain continued to pelt against it. He could feel the animal shiver, which meant he would have to start a fire before night came.

Galik kept his hood down and tsked. Now he had no choice. For the skeptic he was, he would often have the bad habit of letting his earliest ingrained fears get away from the criticism that he gave to his newer ones. A part of him knew that it was far beyond ironic to think that a man who had been held at sword point more than twice in his life would be afraid of ghouls. Galik felt the hilt of his sword press against his coarse mail and his legs sensed his rounded helm rattle in his saddlebags. He took pride in that that was all the defense he’d ever needed. I am a warrior, I am an adventurer, I am a swordsman, but I will never be a coward. He’d never found a need to repeat such a phrase in his head but additional encouragement never hurt anyone.

He slapped his horse’s hind and sped to a trot down to where the wreckage of the vessel was to be found. Whatever treasures lay inside unbeknownst to Galik.

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