Ithuriel: Inception (Chapter One)

Presenting original fantasy fiction from Robert Roach, this prose series features sword and soul hero Ithuriel in adventures placed in fantasy lands.

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The bronze warrior pivots, draws his broadsword & swipes where his hearing is telling him that his closest adversary is. 

In one, fluid motion, Ithuriel decapitates the assassin. 

Orkus shouts at the three men left as he scurries out of sword-reach, searching for a way to get behind Ithuriel & -- surreptitiously -- attack his back. "Get him! Kill him! He could jeopardize all of our plans!" Orkus screeches. 

The headless man is evidently a Paarsini. His build, face, hair, attire & skin tone all attest this. Plus, he's using a deadly scimitar -- the weapon that Paarsini are reputed to favor. 

Correction: He WAS using a Paarsini scimitar.

Blood gushing from the man's neck is starting to ebb as Ithuriel faces off against the other three assassins. One of these combatants looks similar to the dead man -- but the living man's beard & hair are longer. The other two are definitely Sandeh guerrillas. The parrots' plumage from their home country -- colorfully woven into their armors' designs -- underlines this fact. 

"I'll get you for killing my cousin!" the man from Paarsin hisses as he lunges forward. Ithuriel blocks this attempted attack with a downward/counter-clockwise swipe.

As the Paarsini regains his balance, one of the foes from Sandeh swings at Ithuriel's head. The gigantic warrior blocks this effort. But this activity is drawing Ithuriel away from the bridge's wall. He can't continue to use the structure's topography as another defensive element. 

The other soldier of fortune -- the other man from Sandeh -- moves toward Ithuriel's right flank. 

At nearly the same time, the first fighter from Sandeh again lunges at Ithuriel & misses. 

Silently, Orkus continues to slide toward Ithuriel's now unprotected back. 

The guy on Ithuriel's right flank doesn't think the Kahnuri warrior is paying attention to him. He's wrong. The Sandeh assassin thrusts at Ithuriel. Ithuriel pivots his hips & shifts his weight as his assailant's sword only finds air. 

With a quick, compact backhanded swipe, Ithuriel gouges deeply into the man's bicep. The mercenary screams in pain as he drops his sword & goes to his knees. 

Back in the fight, the enraged Paarsini takes one more undisciplined whack. Ithuriel blocks this. The Paarsini then takes a second wild shot, which throws him off balance again. Ithuriel kicks him in the back of the neck, propelling the Paarsini farther down the bridge. 

However, this action has moved Ithuriel a greater distance from the bridge's wall. His back is now fully exposed. Cowardly Orkus is sneakily sliding toward Ithuriel's rear. The pot-bellied man hopes to strike his opponent from behind. 

Meanwhile, Ithuriel parries a mini-flourish by the uninjured Sandeh warrior. 

Orkus, at his big adversary's aft, is sure that Ithuriel is unaware of his intentions. 

Ithuriel launches his own flourish at the assassin in front of him. 

The man with the injured arm grips his wound, trying to staunch the blood's flow. But he continues to follow the action with his eyes, waiting for an opportunity. 

The angry Paarsini, much more cautious now, is trying to rejoin the battle.

All the while, Orkus covertly gets behind Ithuriel. The yet-to-be accepted son silently pulls his sword out, making this the first time in his life he's ever done so during battle.

Ithuriel's flourish has forced the Sandeh fighter back five or six strides. The big man seems entirely intent on the foreign warrior in front of him. All of Ithuriel's concentration appears to be on this assassin. 

Orkus knows that this is his chance to earn respect among the elite -- to merit his father's recognition. This is the perfect opportunity to kill Ithuriel, who's forgotten all about the weaselly man. 

As he raises his sword & steps forward to strike, Orkus knows that THIS IS THE MOMENT! 

Without looking, Ithuriel simultaneously ducks & pivots, swinging his longsword solidly into Orkus' right thigh. The blade connects with a sickly, meaty "thud!" 

Orkus' sword, which has whiffed above Ithuriel's head, flies from his grasp. The "would-be hero" screams a soundless shriek as he crumples to the ground. 

But it's at this instant that Ithuriel's good fortune turns to bad. 

Ithuriel story elements are the sole property of Robert Roach/Hometown Productions ©2020

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Words and illustrations by Robert Roach