Our newest content partner is a company with quite powerful portfolio. LA-based Stranger Comics hasn't even hit the market with their flagship property The Untamed and Hollywood came knocking, with powerhouses like Lloyd Levin (Watchmen) and Andrew Sugerman (Shopgirl) signing on to adapt. With a richly developed swords and sorcery world populated by a much more diverse cast of elves, dwarves and monsters than your average fantasy fare, they're rolling out a slate of properties including blog-first short fiction called Grimoires. We're proud to present that material here … welcome to the world of Asunda.
A man of wickedness is what they whisper when the day is bright and the sun is violent. But as Zunn takes his ritual slumber and Magga's night wind howls through sin stained alleys none will utter a word. For maybe he is listening.
ASARRA BAY Vorsha, Day 23 PART 2
Jaif Aoisdf sleeps deeply, resting upon a mountain of silk embroidered cushions collected from Yerem and the western cities of Ujoa that were once considered Free states of Zalador. Surrounding the frail boy is a homemade circle of protection. The twelve-year-old must have set his collection of wooden Unglish soldiers in this defensive position after his stepfather left for his nocturnal excursion of whoring and drinking.
Father and son, each with their nightly ritual.
I hear the skipping heartbeat and wonder what adventure has taken root. Perhaps the child is following in his guardian's footsteps of murder and the slavery of my silver people. And yet, his breathing is shallow as small brows furrow. It would seem his slumber is draped in darkness and pain; his dreams a black world of demons and monsters. And Morkai.
Outside, clouds seek to swallow the Moon Dragon, but Magga refuses. She is watching my purpose within this stone human hovel, a hole in the better part of town, where gaudy trinkets dazzle from every nook.
Is this is a test? To see if my time spent with Stonebeard and Niobe has softened my soul? For there was a time when I would have immediately butchered this lone child for being cursed with the sin of humanity. 'Twas only moments ago was I reveling in the pleasure of life's great joys, laughing and dancing to the sound of Lord Edhelm and his slaver kinsman's bloody final hours. Has my black knife cut enough this night?
Suddenly, my musings are severed. Footsteps two hundred feet away stagger closer, stumbling with the awkwardness of one who has been violently buggered. It would appear Soihf Aoisdf has enjoyed himself in a myriad of ways on this, his final hour. And so I wait in the comfort of shadows -– his house, my home. I smell the whore's piss and sex before the door creaks open. The stench would fell an Ugloth. He is lighter than before. Gone is the clatter of coin. He lurches with rotten intent, drool falling from a twisted smile. A heavy grunting and the protrusion from his tunic suggest his night of wanting is far from over. "Come boy, it is your turn to feel some pain, as every good man should once in a while," he spits.
I sink my black knife into his armpit. To the hilt.
Gripping his tongue so he cannot mutter another sound, I summon an ancient Morkai power only offered to the blessed.
"Bello Chuum U Quiel Kath De Magga!"
We vanish into a symphony of black and silver streaking lights – for an instant! – and appear at the place I saw furthest from the hovel's window. The Cliffs of Draefen, second tallest point next to the Lighthouse of Andarrie, where the winds are strong, the heavens are open, and the Andarran sea crashes upon the rocks below.
"The Jdiew potion has kept you hard for the night, Aoisdf. I am guessing, in these your last moments, you will live to regret that decision."
I remove his gaudy jewel-laden dagger. "I wonder if this blade can cut as clean as it boasts. Pray that it does."
The fear in his eyes I have seen before. Long gone is the excitement I once felt at a time such as this, but there is joy and comfort knowing that the offering of his manhood will appease Magga, the Moon Dragon, and there is hope that she will forgive me for letting the boy live.
Not all Morkai are savages.
Asunda Grimoires will enjoy a limited run Mondays at 11:11 AM until Mike Sales Southside Nefertiti returns in February.
[Source: Stranger Comics]
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