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Running in the Bear Empire 47: You Will Die

 

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You WILL die.

The soldiers had begun backing up again.  Deline raised her chin in defiance at the enemy commander.

He had clearly had enough.  With an angry grunt, he shoved Teshone in front of him.  “Your turn,” he snarled.

The big man balked and stumbled.  His forward foot barely missed hitting the outer circle.  There was a blade pricking at him, urging him forward. Teshone looked at Carrone; he looked like he was pleading.

“No help in this direction, my ‘friend’.”  Carrone hissed it out quietly. It sounded like final rites for the dying. Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 46: The Nameless Claw

 

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There were twelve soldiers — without uniforms, but Deklegion and Haloran from the looks of them— rushing towards Carrone and Deline.

“Halt!”  The commander – had to be the commander, the way he was talking – pushed forward, pushing Teshone in front of him.  Teshone clearly didn’t want to be moved, and the commander was using a sword and two of his cronies to do the forcing.  “I’m not joking around, Carrone, I will push your friend into whatever trap you have next.” Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 45: By The Numbers

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“So there were fifty of them,” Deline murmured.  They stood ready, weapons drawn, listening to the shouts and screams.  “How many do you think we’ve taken out?”

“Over half,” he murmured back.”  The shouting stopped; they fell silent.

Somewhere on the other side of the boulder there, a whole bunch of people were trying to kill them.  It should have probably frightened Deline. They’d already blooded her here, for one. She found she was smiling.  Carrone’s traps were nasty and amazing. The spell-work she’d been pulling out of nowhere was exhilarating. Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 44: Tricks

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The boulder jutted into the path, cutting it off until someone had carved their own path around it.  From the looks of the trees growing in and around it, it had fallen over a hundred years ago, but Deline could still see how the path had been warped.  It meant that until they came to the sharp edge of the stone, they couldn’t see anything ahead of them.

Carrone stepped ahead of her and she let him, her slingshot ready.  He hissed and took a step back, an arrow flying over his shoulder.

Deline grabbed a handful of components from her hip pack and began a spell under her breath.  Just as she was starting to speak, a voice boomed from the far side of the boulder. Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 43: Trapped

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I did try to kill you.

“It would be nice to not be reminded of that,” Deline muttered.  She held up her hands in his direction. “I suppose it’s hard for you to forget it.”

“The funny thing is, in most situations, it would be easy as anything to forget.  You’d be dead. Your head would have been turned in. The bounty would have been collected, and I would be on to my next job.”  He huffed, almost a laugh. “I didn’t think much about what I was doing – I mean, I thought about the hunt. I learned early on not to think about the deaths.  They come, they go – sometimes they haunted me, but most of them just… they passed on.” Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 42: Home

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“You know, we could probably live here pretty comfortably forever.”  Carrone looked at the door of the cabin and back to Deline before setting his pack on his shoulders.  “I’d get better at hunting eventually.”

“I’m not sure you’d say that in winter.”  Deline smirked at him, although she could guess easily enough what was going on in his head.  They were leaving, which meant they were going to the capital. When they got there, everything could change. Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 41: Discovery

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Carrone was staring at Deline.  She didn’t care; she had a whole pack to go through. “Seriously,” he complained,  “why are we looking for a pebble in our packs? Do you know how long I’ve been carrying this pack?”

“Possibly as long as I’ve been carrying mine?”

“Probably longer!  What are you looking for?”

“Something larger than a pebble that isn’t something you packed,” she reiterated.  “Carrone, I will go through your whole pack myself if I have to.” Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 40: Spies

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Deline shifted, not quite meeting Carrone’s gaze.  “How do you think you know anything about this?” she snarled, the first thing that came to mind. What was she doing, anyway?

“I’m a hunter, Deline, I think I know about being hunted just a little bit.  For starters, let’s get back to the – the place before we finish this argument, shall we?  In case our friend gets loose or someone else is looking for you.”

Deline set her jaw and nodded.  “Back,” she agreed. She stalked towards the cabin, barely minding things like cleaning up her trail.  What did it matter, when the Haloran spy was probably going to tell the Talon exactly where she’d been, anyway?  And then the Talon would put two and two together and- Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 39: Prices and Paranoia

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Previous: Loyalty

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Deline didn’t so much freeze as she tried to strip all tells from her body language and expression.  Where’s your loyalty?  That was a good question.  Did she want the answer?

“My loyalty?”  Carrone sneered at the Haloran spy.  “I’m a bounty hunter. My loyalty is to the highest bidder.”

“Then I’ll pay you more than whoever’s paying you right now!  Come on, you know the Haloran government has deep pockets.”

He turned to look at Deline, raised an eyebrow, and looked back at the bounty hunter.  She held her breath.

“You can’t meet what she’s paying me, I assure you.   And I wouldn’t want you to.”

He turned his back on the woman, who kept shouting.  Deline did not smile.  She held his arm and started walking, hoping he would walk along with her.

You can’t match what she’s paying me. Continue reading

Running in the Bear Empire 38: Loyalty

First: Running in the Bear Empire
Previous: Halorans

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“Like this place?”  Carrone shook his head.  “No, you weren’t. You were going stir-crazy staying in one place.  I can’t imagine what you’re like at — at home. Cooped up in a single building…”

“Well…” She let a smile linger on her lips for a moment. “It has its benefits.”

“I was trying to explain those to our friend here, but she didn’t want to hear it.  I mean, if she’d listened to me telling her it was an Imperial Cabin…”

“Well, then maybe she might have left when she had a chance.  Unless you were offering to show her exactly how nice the Imperial Bed is…?”

The woman squirmed but said nothing.

“Would you be jealous if I did?” Continue reading