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Tuesday, January 5

City Under Siege: Part 1b – Continental Influence

“Dis is intolerable,” echoed Zoltan’s voice in Kham’s mind.

“Shut up, Zoltan, I’ve got it under control.”

“Under control? Look at dem. Your bat friend is blind, your dwarf friend is wearing bunny slippers, and a giant worm is eating dem. Dis is what you call under control?”

A giant, tenebrous worm had torn through the portal. It was massive, smashing its head up against the twenty-foot high ceiling. Beldin gamely held the thing off by hacking at its maw every time it bit at him.

“You should have listened to me, my friend, and stayed in Altheria. De women. De wine! We could have had such happy days!”

“I wasn’t planning on coming back.” Kham felt as if he were floating over his body, observing it but not controlling it. “But now that my friends are in trouble…”

“You want to be de hero! I can get on board with dat. You seem to be having a bit of trouble, let me help you, no?”

“We should go!” Kham shouted to his companions. “I can get you all out of here!”

Semi-solid skeletons, dressed like pirates, slipped out of the rift. Beldin and Sebastian were surrounded.

“No!” Sebastian shouted back. “Emric is the Sea Lord now and we must protect him!”

“I’m not leaving,” said Beldin.

“They are stubborn, I admire dat! Dese powers I have given you, you do not know how to control dem yet. But I do. Let me show you.”

Kham felt Zoltan’s presence in his mind with razor-sharp focus. They concentrated…

And Kham was back on the Divine Fury.

“What ho, Captain?” shouted his first mate. He was on the ocean again. The pirates were routed, their ship naught but burning wreckage.

“Have we succeeded, den?”

The first mate stared quizzically at his captain. His accent was strange. But then, everything about Kham was strange. “Yes, sir. We did find tcho-tcho barbarians among them. It’s odd that they’re working together.”

Kham nodded. “Yes it is. But we don’t have time for dat. Right now, I need three men to fire our biggest cannon.”

“Fire it at what?”

“Just do it. Go!”

The crew scrabbled to do his bidding. In no time, three Altherians were loading and priming a huge cannon, its maw sculpted in the shape of a dragon just like Kham’s pistols.

“Let’s talk about dese women in your life,” said Zoltan in Kham’s mind. “You seem to be having difficulty settling down. You should pick one.”

“I don’t think now is the time,” thought Kham.

“I disagree. You need to find a good woman, like Black Jenny Ramsey. Now dat was a woman…”

“Yeah yeah, sweet as a peach, fiery as a brand, soft as silk, you talk about her all the time.”

“You have no such woman. What of de Countess?”

“Countess d’Ambose? Dead. Beldin killed her in an assassination attempt. I might have killed her myself if I caught up with her.”

“Oh, dat’s too bad. How about this Touldrix?”

“The undir? I haven’t seen her in awhile.”

“Maybe it’s time you reconnected, eh? Life is too short.”

“Aren’t we in the middle of trying to save my friends?”

“Oh, yes, right…” Zoltan turned his attention back to the events at hand. “Fire.” more

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posted by Michael Tresca at 6:52 AM


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