Story Night submission : The Fortress, prelude
“Never wear cheap leather gear in the rain!” Evelyn muttered to herself as she squelched down the muddy path towards the dim light in the distance.
The bright blue armor had seemed like a good purchase at the time.
Hanging there in Vernia market, the sun gleaming off it, the odd flicker of magic rippling from one part to the next – and all for a medium bag of copper coins! Just what a warrior starting to find her way and make her fortune needed! The next couple of hours killing rats at the docks seemed to fly by, and soon her coin purse was bulging.
But now, water ran in from every joint in the suit. The neck was the worst – it felt as if a river was running down her spine. The joints squeaked with every movement -it would be impossible to sneak up on anything except a deaf headless in this outfit!
The light she’d been heading towards came from some torches, protected from the rain by a basic overhead covering. Now that she drew closer, she could see that the whole area was some sort of massive construction site.
Scaffolding was everywhere. Piles of bricks and carved stone lay round-about, and toolkits were carefully tucked under the scaffolding, awaiting their owners return.
A pair of iron gates barred her way. Through them, all she could see was distant, flickering flame, and she thought she heard the faint grinding of iron on iron. From above, snow and ice fell, washed down by the rain, and she could see the outlines of dead trees against the night sky. What was this place?
*ahem* said a strange voice through the dark. It seemed to come from just above her – and the torch light from nearby showed a very strange pair of legs. “You’re not supposed to be here. You’re lucky – I’m just finishing my shift, or I’d have to impale you.”
She looked up into a strange, yellow-ish face. It stared back at her. “Do you like chicken?” it asked. A spear-like hand waved under her nose, with a dead chicken skewered on it. “Um… um…. Cooked?” she managed to reply
“Ugh.” The thing said. “Well, if you insist.” A surge of magic went through the dead bird, incinerating all its feathers. “I’m Brad, by the way. I chisel the blocks. Good work, and they pay me in chickens. It’s not easy for an impaler to get work around these parts, you know.”
Evelyn nodded, and followed the huge creature into the rain. For a feared guardian of Dungeon Doom, it seemed strangely friendly. But what was being built, and by whom? The structure dwarfed Castle Blackthorn – indeed, Britain itself…
The story of the Fortress will be unfolding over the next few months.
We advise you not to eat the chicken.