Horns of Doom

Departing the Shrine

The last living creatures at the shrine prepare to journey northward. -c

The Captain peered closer at the mangled body near his bedroll.

“Kobolds. Of course it’s kobolds. Vile little hellspawn.” His reptilian eyes narrowed, spying other, smaller puncture wounds on the body, distinct from the enormous rent in the torso. She turned toward the other corpse, eying the precise decapitation.

“Well, you certainly know how to fight. No one learns a blade like that cutting carrots. Was one of my men teaching you on the sly?” Receiving no response, he glanced aside at the massive sword the girl held aloft.

“And where did you find that ridiculous thing? It’s half again as tall as you are. I have a hard time understanding how you’re even holding it up.” Again he was met with silence.

“I feel like you’re not telling me the whole story,” he muttered wryly. “But as we are in desperate need, I am only too glad to see you can hold your own.” The Captain glanced down at the girl’s blood-drenched frock. “We should see about something to protect your skin though. I suppose a shield is out of the question,” she gestured to the sword, “but perhaps we can find—”

In a single, fluid motion, the girl flicked the sword sharply, juices and bits of kobold flying from the blade, then planted the tip of the sword in the ground. Then she held her arms out neatly to her sides, her head nodding briefly toward the kobold. The Captain and the acolyte both turned to look at the beheaded kobold. He was clad in sooty black leather of surprising quality, and even the metal on buckles and catches was blued dark and unreflective. The Captain eyed the girl doubtfully, but she only flapped her arms once, plaintively. Shrugging, they worked to unfasten the armor from the kobold and lifted it clear, then lowered it onto the waiting girl. It fit snugly around the girl’s diminutive frame, the buckles fastening neatly on the loosest catch.

The captain grinned wryly. “Try not to have a growth spurt or this thing will pop right off,” he said, and to his enormous relief he detected a faint, ghostly smile play across the girl’s lips. The girl then stooped and collected the felled assassin’s daggers and belts, strapping them around her chest, and finally retrieved her massive sword, slipping it deftly into the straps so that it lay across her back.

“Well now, aren’t you quite the messenger of death.”

The acolyte shivered and whispered to the Captain, “I hope whenever we find the bastards who did this, they’re as afraid of her as I am.”

“I won’t look a gift-horse in the mouth,” he replied. “Speaking of which, you two go fetch what provisions you can find from the storehouse. I’ll gather our mounts.”

False dawn greeted the girls as they lugged packs of rations and camping equipment back to the campsite. The dragonborn captain squatted near the ashes of the fire, scowling.

“They slew our horses before they came for us.” He spat into the ashes. “Outsmarted by kobolds. That certainly stings, but it won’t happen again.” He stood and examined the other two. “Well, let’s get moving. We’re not getting any closer to them just standing around.”

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