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Chuck Wendig’s #FlashFiction Challenge: Demons vs. Assassins

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DemonThis piece of flash comes to you by the way of two sources. The first is Chuck Wendig’s Friday Flash Fiction Challenge. And here is what he says about that:

Way this works is, below you will find two tables — X and Y! — and you will pick (or randomly draw) from those tables. That will leave you with a set of X versus Y — and from there, you will write a piece of flash fiction based on that parameter set. You can even use the match up (SKELETONS VS. SCIENTISTS!) as the title to the work, or come up with a new title.

The second is a contest of sorts held between the writers at Fantasy Writers.org called FWO’s Deadliest Warriors. Here one of our own challenged us to bring out our deadliest warriors and pit them in matches against our fellow writer’s warriors. What started as a D&D style matching of abilities and battle strategies turned into, toward the end, a head to head battle of writing skill, where entries started to assume the form of short stories.

“You realize,” one of my opponents said, “this means war.”

“Yes,” I said gleefully. “Bring it.”

And so it went.

It was fun to watch how we clashed our various characters and wove our world building and stories around each other. Sadly, my ghostwriting career took a sprint about that time and I didn’t check in on the new entries. But from I can see, the contest won over all us.

The characters of Danquor and Lydia come from my entirely unfinished Mor’a’stani 5th, 6th and 7th novels, which I promised I will finish after I finish books one through four. B’yetishen’s Mercenaries are a little piece of world building that never assume a major role in any of the stories in the Mor’a’stani stories.

Okay, I’m cheating a little bit here pulling up a previously written piece, but heck,the contract pieces are calling and I just don’t have the time.

Without further chatter, FWO”s Deadliest Warrior, Round Four.

The Challenge: B’yetishen’s Mercenaries vs. Oneroi in a Sultan’s palace!

The Terms of the Contest

“I do not understand why the Oshijian palace is engaged in this sordid affair,” said Lydia, the first wife of the Chartan, that is, crown prince, of Oshijia. Her pert nose below her bright green eyes was upturned in the arrogant air that Danquor despised about her.

“Darling,” said Danquor, “The owner of A’ven Enterprises made this request of us, to use the palace for this affair since it matches so closely the parameters of this contest. Since we’ve been trying to secure an appointment with her to discuss trade relations with Oshijia, father agreed. But we are nicely protected behind this electronic field.” He spread his hand to indicate the area ahead that shimmered with a force field.

Behind Danquor and Lydia seated on their thrones, the bulk of Danquor’s ninety-nine wives sat, their silk gowns a rainbow spreading across the imperial dais. To the right, many Oshijian courtiers and their many wives stood under the sunlight streaming into the high and long portico supported by the twisting columns so prevalent in old Oshijian architecture. They also were protected by an electronic screen. And while the private apartments of the Charquan, Danquor’s father, were locked and fortified from intruders, the rest of the expansive palace had no such protections. While Oshijian spectators were labeled non-combatants, there were no guarantees of anyone’s safety if they chose to remain in the palace.

Lydia looked at Danquor, his blue eyes shining with excited anticipation, his dark hair flowing past his shoulders, knowing that this entertainment would keep the easily bored prince excited for days. She hoped that would work in her favor later in the evening. He was not called “The Party Prince” for nothing.

A Couple Days Previous

The merc commander sucked in a deep breath as he scanned the instructions for the next engagement. The Oshijian palace! Excrement would hit the fan if any of the rich and important nobles got hurt or injured during this battle. And the Oneroi? He couldn’t believe the intel on these opponents. Legion of Darkness? Turns into mist at will? Magic not allowed? He could not see any tactical advantage to help in the fight against any of these so-called demons of the night. He didn’t believe in demons or magic but he knew there were people in Kyn who did. And there were people who claimed to practice magic. The commander scratched his chin and opened a com channel to headquarters.

“I need to speak to a sorceress,” he said.

The Day of the Battle

“Are you sure this is going to work?” said his captain, standing next to him. His men and women all stood in front of the electronic shields, camouflaged in Oshijian dress, looking for all the world like courtiers unlucky enough not to fit behind the protective shields. The commander thought his captain looking particularly attractive in the off-the-shoulder silk gown that pinched her waist prettily. He smiled at her.

“Yes,” he said with an air of confidence he did not feel.

She shook her head, not fooled by his bravado.

Then the air grew hot, the lights dimmed, and dark figures swirled into to the throne room. The Oshijian courtiers gasped as the formidable warriors gathered in the center of the room, leering at the frightened courtiers that lined the walls.

“Where are our opponents?” said the tallest, with a deathly rasp. “Do they not dare to meet us in battle?”

The commander stepped forward. “Yes, we’re here, but you soon won’t be.”

The Oneroi commander laughed. “Against you, I doubt it.”

“Show them!” barked the commander.

His soldiers drew out their single weapon, a flashlight outfitted with a blacklight shining the beams on the floor underneath the Legion of Death.

The Oneroi commander’s red eyes widened as he sees the black lights display a devil’s trap painted in urine, now dried, glowing on the floor. It was an ancient symbol, a five-pointed star, a pentacle, surrounded by a circle. In each of the corners and within the sections of the pentacle were scribbled with sigils of command and power.

“What is this?”

“Your prison if you don’t concede this match.”

“You are not allowed to use magic!” the Oneroi commander complained.

“Magic? I didn’t use magic. Just painted some symbols on the floor. Not my fault you didn’t see them.”

The Oneroi commander roared, and his minions wailed, the light fixtures in the room shaking from the force of their unholy utterances.

But the commander and his troops stood fast, and finally when the sounds died, the Oneroi commander stared at the mercenary leader.

“Release us!”

“Concede.”

The Oneroi commander made a noise that sounded like a dull roar.

“Fine! We concede.”

“Under oath!” commanded the Merc leader.

The Oneroi leader growled.

“By Hades I give my bondsword that the Oneroi concede this match.”

“And that you withdraw without harming anyone here.”

The ashen-faced demon glared at him with his red eyes.

“By Hades it is so.”

“Then go. I release you.”

The captain moved forward and wiped away a part of the devil’s trap with a handkerchief in her pocket. With a roar and rustle of wings the Oneroi swirled up to ceiling and disappeared in a dark cloud.

But then the Oneroi commander returned in a swirl of black smoke.

“Do not think that this ends this,” he said with malevolence. “You’ve made a mistake in fighting us dishonorably, and I will be there personally to attend to your death!” With that, the Oneroi disappeared in a swirl of black smoke.“Well,” said the captain. “he’s a sore loser.”The merc commander nodded, but he couldn’t help a shiver as if someone walked over his grave.

Aftermath

 
“Well, my lord,” said Lydia to her husband. “What did you think of that?”

“It missed expectations,” said Danquor with a frown.

Lydia poured a glass a wine from wine service on the table between them. “So sorry, my lord,” she said demurely. She handed him the glass.

“Yes,” said Danquor eyeing the merc commander. “We’ll have to think of another diversion.”

Danquor stood, his tall frame and regal bearing commanding the attention of the room.

“Well done, Commander!” he said, his blue eyes boring into the commander’s. “You and your people should be rewarded! You are all invited to a party in my apartment tonight.”

Lydia shut her eyes, disappointed her husband just made other plans for who would share his bed that evening.

Image published under a Creative Commons license issued by Flickr user Winter Jefferson

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