Tag Archive | spoils of war

Spoils of War 11 – Animalia

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
Previous: Out of Hell

Aran left a solid block of the road converted into salt and then, for good measure, the two cross streets.  The slug could move around it, sure, but it would take the thing time.

By that point, hopefully she could figure out how it was trailing them.  She closed her eyes again. Maybe-

“Wait.  It’s an animal, right?  I mean, we hope it’s not a person.  So why don’t you steer and I see if I can figure it out?”  He poked her in the arm and snorted. “Come on, you worked in team.  A troupe. So why are you trying to do everything yourself?” Continue reading

Spoils of War 10 – Out of Hell

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
Previous: Future

It was another hour before they cleaned up the dishes from their dinner, packed up everything in their packs, and lay down together on a bed that was surprisingly comfortable.  Nikol made a soft noise as she settled in. This was – well this was good.

Aran laughed.  “You can’t be surprised that it’s nice.  You were just telling me about putting curtains on your tent, right?  You’re good at making a place feel like home.” Continue reading

Spoils of War 9: Future

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
Previous: Mountains and Rats

Nikol wasn’t going to apologize for ordering him to come back.  Not when he’d already admitted he’d tried to run away. Not when the Mountain might be on their trail.

“Yeah, well.  To be honest, you’ve got the horses and our supplies and there’s a slime-slug out there.  I probably woulda come back anyway.”

She smirked at him.  “Well, supper’s appreciated.  And I bet the cats appreciated it too.” Continue reading

Spoils of War 8: Mountains and Rats

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
Previous: Hostile

Aran was staring at her.  Nikol wished she had a real answer for him, but she didn’t think he’d like knowing that she’d spared his life on a whim.  

She shrugged instead and took a big bite of her own food.  “Yeah. I’d had enough. Me, alone, I’m not enough to take them down, but I might not have been the only one to run, either…. what?”

He was staring at her.  “You want to… take down… the Mountain?”

“Don’t you?”  She took another big bit of her food.  “Not like, today or anything. But yes.  I would like to destroy the Mountain eventually.”

“Is that why you-”  His gesture was unclear, but she had a pretty good idea what he was talking about.

“No.”  She shook her head and finished her bite of food.  “No. I took you because it was that or kill you, and I was sick of killing.” Continue reading

Spoils of War VII: Hostile

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
Previous: Trail

Nikol was beginning to be a little sick of Aran’s attitude.  “I didn’t say, ‘get down there and hunt me some sewer alligator.’  If you don’t want to, we have stores enough that you don’t need to.”

“I didn’t say I didn’t want to!  Just that…” He trailed off, muttering.  “This is stupid.”

“It is,” she agreed.   “We’re not in safe territory.  Let’s save the fight for when we’re off in the countryside again, why don’t we?” Continue reading

Spoils of War VI: Trail

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
Previous: Rest Stop

The horses seemed to be in good shape, well-rested and well-fed, and were willing enough to be loaded up and mounted.  Nikol did a final sweep of the building – someone might be able to tell the place had been occupied, if they looked closely, but they’d shoveled dirt over the coals and put most everything else back where they’d found it.

“You’re really worried, aren’t you?”  Aran was eyeing her sidelong. “I thought it was just, let’s get out of here, that sort of thing, but you’re really worried someone is going to come after you.”

“Us.”  She rubbed her arms and looked off over the destroyed neighborhood.  “Yeah. Yeah. I was fine fighting for money until, well. Until I saw what the Mountain did.  Then I tried to turn in my banner and leave. Merc, you know. You fight when you want to. But they wouldn’t let me.  So running, well. It’s the best option, but I still don’t really believe it will work.” Continue reading

Spoils of War V: Rest Stop

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
Previous: House

Aran came down from the upstairs bathroom scrubbed, looking like another person.  He had even found a razor and cleaned up his scruffy beard to something that reminded her of a goatee.  “Guessing they left in a hurry.” He ran his hand through his hair. “Haven’t used anything like those soaps in a long time.  I smell like a funeral.”

“You smell like flowers.”  She stepped up close and sniffed his hair; he froze but didn’t complain.  “Well, like the chemical equivalent, at least. Not bad.”

He leaned down and sniffed her hair.  “You, too. Like one of those days in spring where everything is going crazy.” Continue reading

Spoils of War IV: House

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
Previous: On the Road

The road was smooth, the horses were smooth, and every step was still jarring into wounds that Nikol hadn’t even realized she had until she mounted.

They traveled for half the day with no good prospects, both of them tight-jawed with pain neither of them were going to admit and not feeling much like talking.  They were moving through what had once been a suburb and was now a burned-out husk; from the looks of things, at least three separate fires had gone through here over the last several decades.  Nothing was left now except half of a convenience store, its plastic sign melted into a lump of green and white.

That wasn’t going to get them any food.  And the tiny gathering of people they found on the outskirts of town didn’t look like the sort that had much to give them, even if Nikol had anything she was willing to trade. Continue reading

Spoils of War III: On the Road

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender
Previous: Spoils of War II: Shelter

Their bed that night was not the most restful, but the horses made the cave plenty warm and exhaustion made the ground soft enough with the addition of stacked bedrolls.  She slept close to her prisoner, not because she was particularly fond of him, but because she would wake if he started to leave. And he was warm, too, the way men seemed to be.

She woke before he did and made a sort of porridge from the rest of the food in the saddlebags.  While the mush was cooking over the fire, her prisoner woke and sat up, groaning.

“You cheat,” he complained.

“What were you going to do if I didn’t order you to sleep?  Aside from sleep badly, I mean.” Continue reading

Spoils of War II: Shelter

First: Spoils of War I: Surrender

Their horses were tired but not injured; they were tired and they both had their share of injuries. They moved at a steady pace rather than rushing, doing their best not to look like they were running away.

Nikol heard Aran mutter Workings two more times.  The second time, the words trailed off into a string of cursing.

“Just a little while longer.”  The man had tried to hamstring her.  Still. “Just hold on a bit longer. It won’t do us any good to have survived that battle if we end up at the Mountain.”

“Aren’t the people running the Mountain your people?” Continue reading