Woe: A Collaborative Novel

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: The Imaginarium

"Moonlit Shore"

by starsthatfellonrandumgirlatnite

Thanks to starsthatfellonrandumgirlatnite for submitting this stellar chapter, especially since she volunteered to cover for someone else.

Please take some time to check out Stars' other works on her profile @ https://www.booksie.com/users/starsthatfellonrandumgirlatnite-154171

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Chapter 8 (v.1) - Moonlit Shore - by starsthatfellonrandumgirlatnite

Submitted: September 06, 2017

Reads: 196

Comments: 4

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Submitted: September 06, 2017




The darkness was not familiar to him. The silence itself was unsettling, for the docks were often rife with the chatter of maids swinging goods, the honk of seagulls and the dull smell of old fish, the creaking of vessels as the masts stretched their sails.

There was none of that now. The moon hung low, seething under a smothering haze of blue fog. The only sound was the occasional suck of his bare feet through the mud, the gentle glide of water against the shore. The only smell the stench of raw sewage that caked along his calloused feet.

A club, made of light hinderwood, was strapped to his back. He didn’t want to fight, but he was prepared to do so.

His wife hurried along next to him. She wore their only pair of shoes. Her head bowed in hitcloth, her gnarled hands clenched a token. Her skin looked almost blue in the strange lighting between the silver moon, blue fog and black shadows. He’d arranged a small boat with their savings. They were to get to Norvis by morning.

He swallowed, hoping— knowing that this was their only choice. As risky as it was, he knew that a war with the forest, because of an orc, would mean a swift retaliation for any orc.

She hadn’t wanted to come. She’d had enough of him trying to escape. For her to join him, for them to leave their child…

He tried to tweak the thought from his mind. Yes, it was wrong to leave the burial ground of their only child when once their kind had died to keep the right, but these were different times.

Play by the rules and they would be safe from harm… A faulty belief evidenced by her blind eye.

A growl curled in his stomach as the copper ring in her nose glinted in warped puddles. They were once ordained with gold, now pennse copper that soured to green.

His eyes found the ground in his shame. Hers were clenched against tears, but she made no sound as promised.

Did she think he was weak, fleeing in the middle of the night, abandoning their only child, their only home- as afflicted as it was?

“Taradigne,” He barely breathed.

Something flickered white out of the corner of his eye.

He lifted his hand, halting her advance.

She raised her head, one left eye staring blindly white, a victim of false accusation.

She had paused to stare at a display of rubies, the owner quick to take note of her presence after the store was robbed. Twenty seven lashes later had left her eye dull on the seventeenth. Her right eye- a yellow snake eye darts along the shore nestled in darkness. Her vision was better than his- even with one eye- but she could sense nothing out of the ordinary.

That did not mean there was nothing there.

The fog snuffed whatever was once there.

Time bled the floating glint of white into bright teeth.

No face.

Her husband’s square face pulled down into a scowl. Only a coward would hide from a fair fight. His right arm bristled with scars as he reached for his club. The wood, while weak, with his brute force could crush a Dark Gaurd’s skull. Why would the elf be so elusive? Did it fear he was armed?

He doubted it.

The floating mouth emptied, the face- ghastly pale and round, garnished with stiff, matted green hair, blue lips, stiff empty eye sockets. His face recoiled, this monster- hiding behind the face of another. Another he did not recognize.

He took comfort in the idea that strength could beat this creature, but now he was not sure. His teeth grit at his ignorance. He could sense that something was off about this one.

“We do not know what you are fiend, but let us pass.” The orc growled, clenching the bat in his hand.

Its voice, soft, yet persistent, stripped the beach of air.

That this was no elf.

Its sullen eyes were remarkably human, though this monster obviously not. Eyes that slide over the orc to his wife.

“No scars on this one. Why not?”

“Some tortured soul,” Taradigne says, her fingers painfully cramp around the small token. “We must compromise to pass.” She glared at the figure, shrouded in fog, the mist contorting into the face of a hand.

“Are the Orcs not traditionally battle fueled?”

The orc bares his teeth. What could this thing possibly know about orcs? The fog revealed a hand- human,- and another, an elf’s - a bundle of at least ten hands of different species.

The orc huffed, clenching the handle of the club. They had no time to waste.

“Answer meee,” The voice hissed, its teeth flashing. “To that you would betray your kind for the elven way.”

A chill brushed against them, the air suddenly cold. Taradigne murmured under her breath, her words misting into the fog.

“Yes.” the orc grumbled, “I want a long life for her- promised she would never see battle.”

“Afraid of death are we?” The dark human eyes blinked blindly at them. “No. You’re afraid of pain.” The monster continued, the stiff green hair rustling in the harsh wind. Water crashed against the shore, “I can sense it in simply the way you stand, defending her- yourself.” The tide pulled back.

“You shouldn’t be afraid.”











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