Tag Archive | spoils of war

Spoils of War 22: How Long?

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender


She woke feeling refreshed, warm, possibly too warm, and hungry. 

She turned to find that she was being slept on by both of Carrone’s large cats, and that she was alone in the bed. 

One of the cats looked at her, licked her face, and bounded off.  The other one sprawled pointedly over her. 

Nikol looked down at the cat.  It had to weigh at least 25 lbs, and it was making every pound of that known in a surprisingly comfortable manner, its front paws on her chest and its back paws nearly at her knee.  “I take it I’m supposed to stay here for a bit?”

The cat murrowled quietly and started purring.  Continue reading

Spoils of War 21 – Don’t Die, I Hate You

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender

“Wake up. Hey, Mistress.  Bitch. Wake up.” Someone splashed water in her face. 

Nikol blinked.  “Urgh?”

“Say the Words.  Jas — Repair, you know, body.  Come on. I got the rib out. I cleaned everything. Sterilized it.  Now heal it. Come on. Wake up.”

She blinked again.  “Did you just call me Mistress Bitch?”

“Yeah.  Mistress, comma, bitch.  Got a better idea?”

“My name’s Nikol.”

“Great, mine’s Aran.  You don’t answer to Nikol when you’re passed out.  Wonder if I answer to Aran?” Continue reading

Spoils of War 20 – Aftermath

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender

When Aran tapped her on the shoulder, Nikol hadn’t realized that she’d been asleep.  Asleep sitting in the middle of the road in a trapped town. She muttered a couple curses at her stupidity.

“Eat,” he insisted. “I’ve been standing guard.  You — I figure that’s the second time you saved my life.  Oh. And — I found this one. She says you’re an idiot.” He was holding up a cat. 

The cat.  A pressure Nikol had barely noticed lifted.  She took the grumbling cat from Arran and, very carefully, set about petting the beast.  Behind the ears, top of the head, shoulders, spine but not too far back, back to the shoulders.  

“I gave her a magical flea-and-tick treatment as a thank you and fixed her worms and the sore place in her left hip.  I figured that was the best I could do. The ones travelling with us — they’ll tolerate her, but they’re not going to share a saddle with her.”

“This is her home, anyway.”  She petted the cat behind the ears again.  “Thank you for paying my debt to her.” Continue reading

Spoils of War 19 – The Talker

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender

In the front of the room, a man stood, taller than everyone else, taller than people ought to be and made mostly, it seemed, of leg, and he was speaking, but she couldn’t hear him.

He was still speaking, even though the floor was shaking. He looked straight at Nikol and glared.  Even though she had no idea what he was saying, his presence seemed to surge through her. 

She sat down.  She didn’t pay much attention to where, just in the nearest chair.  Clearly he was saying something very interesting.  If only Nikol could hear it.  Continue reading

Spoils of War 18 – Promise

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender

“Look…”  Nikol tried to twist to look at the cat on her shoulders without dislodging it. “Look, I’ve got to get Aran. I’m – I’m kind of fond of him, and, I mean, I have a responsibility to him. And — okay, look, if I promise?”

Why was she negotiating with a cat?  She twisted this way and that, scooped the beast up, and, mindful of its claws, held it so she could look it in the eye.  “I am going to go get my friend. But I promise you – I promise you – I will be back and I will pet you when I get back.” Continue reading

Spoils of War 17 – The Doors

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender

The door.  The door.  Nikol slipped out of bed – Aran wasn’t there anymore; of course he wasn’t there anymore, the door had just closed – and peered out the window.  There he was, walking down the street. Walking, which was odd. She’d imagined if he was going to run away, he’d take a horse. And one, no, both cats were following him, but he didn’t seem to notice them at all.

She ran down the stairs and slipped out the side door, hurrying to follow him. He was moving deliberately, not slowly, but not running. Where was he going?

The remnants of her nightmare stuck with her, making his movement seem sinister. If he was running away, she was going to feel rather stupid about following him. Hadn’t she more or less said that she’d let him get it out of his system? And then she was trailing him like she didn’t trust him.

But it wasn’t that she didn’t trust him, it was that her dream was still screaming in the back of her mind and something seemed off, wrong.   Continue reading

Spoils of War 16 – Quiet

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender

“You have to wonder what happened here.”

“I don’t have to.  I mean, unless you tell me I do.”

Nikol looked around the town.  As far as she could tell, it had been left completely intact, except for the ruined bridge on one end and the broken road on the other.  Someone had laid planks down over the hole in the road. 

But there were no collapsed buildings, no signs of fire, no skeletons – there were quite a few things left in the houses, as if people had packed up and left in a hurry, but they had, it seemed, all left. 

“You don’t have to,” she agreed evenly.  “How about this one? It’s pretty.” She gestured at a house with a Victorian feel, a matching garage, and three-tone paint with relatively intact gingerbreading.  Continue reading