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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Ithuriel's broadsword hits Orkus' bone so solidly that it's momentarily lodged there. Within this moment, Orkus' fall & his involuntary spasms tear the weapon from Ithuriel's grip.

Just then, the man with the injured arm lunges for the large warrior's legs, firmly grasping Ithuriel. This move throws the Ithuriel off-balance, knocking him to the bridge's smooth, stony surface.

Ithuriel is sprawled on his own back—the injured man is clinging to his legs—as the approaching silhouettes of the other two assassins occult the cloudy, gusty sky.

This can't be the end! It mustn't be the end!

The young warrior thrashes & kicks as the injured mercenary holds him tightly.

Ithuriel rarely thinks of faith & such. He's had many thoughtful conversations on these subjects with priests & oracles & monks & abbots, but he's yet to form his own conclusion. He doesn't doubt that higher principalities & other levels of reality probably exist. However, first & foremost, Ithuriel is a warrior. Warriors tend to believe in their skills & their steel.

Nonetheless, in this frustrating second, Ithuriel cries out to the ether—to any being that may hear—for assistance in this moment. This pivotal moment. This moment when the winds gust & nature trembles.

Suddenly, Ithuriel kicks his right leg free.

The dusky Paarsini grins ear-to-ear. In his rage at Ithuriel & his evil glee with the young combatant's plight—being helpless in front of the assassin, the man lifts his scimitar. In his mind, this vengeful death strike will be glorious!

But the bearded assassin is premature. Ithuriel's continuing to battle. He has far from given up. And he's nowhere near as helpless as the infuriated Paarsini imagines. The Kahnuri warrior shifts slightly, avoiding the foreigner's swipe.

Wasting no time, the barbarian then kicks the Paarsini in his kneecap, buckling the man's knee backward. As the bearded man howls in pain, he falls to the bridge's pavement. His scimitar clatters as the weapon falls onto the pathway.

The upright fighter from Sandeh lunges at Ithuriel with a downward sword slice. Sparks crackle as the blade strikes the cobblestone. Ithuriel has rolled away from the lethal swipe, towards his right—swinging his left arm & torso away from immediate harm.

Ithuriel watches the ambulatory soldier of fortune like a wary serpent. His options are extremely limited. As he's watching the man stalking him, Ithuriel still has to deal with the assassin grasping at his legs. Nonetheless, he twists & spins as best he can, using his hands & feet to reposition himself. Unfortunately, all of these efforts may prove pointless, the young man thinks.

So, Ithuriel is shocked a split-second later when, by chance, his left hand encounters the kneecapped man's scimitar. Ithuriel's hand falls precisely on the weapon's hilt.

Ithuriel brings the scimitar to a defensive position with haste, fighting with his "minor hand." He blocks the standing warrior's next strike & turns the man's blade aside.

Ithuriel then addresses the combatant holding his legs. Gaining a good angle, Ithuriel slices off the grappling Sandeh warrior's healthy arm at the mid-forearm, completely freeing himself. The man screams as blood pumps out of his severed limb.

Ithuriel's back on his feet within a second, squaring off with the last standing assassin.

The headless fighter is still headless. The Sandeh on the ground is bleeding out. The Paarsini rolls on the pavement, enwrapped in pain. And Orkus spasms & hemorrhages, Ithuriel's blade still lodged in his femur. Orkus' gasping is metrical. It's doubtful that the aspirational sycophant will make it through the next few hours, tops.

But these thoughts are at Ithuriel's periphery. His primary concentration is on this last assailant.

Both men size each other up. Though Ithuriel hasn't used a scimitar in the past, he's wielding the crescent-shaped sword well. Given their weapons' disparities in size & configuration, the mercenary from Sandeh should be faster with his blade than Ithuriel; but this isn't the case. Ithuriel doesn't feel that this scimitar is as good as his broadsword; however, he's lethal with it.

Very quickly, Ithuriel's adversary realizes that fighting the barbarian by himself, as he is, he's overmatched. The mercenary steadily backs up. His side of the fight becomes more & more defensive. Ithuriel's size, speed & skill have become overbearing. Then, after a feint & a flourish--

--Ithuriel buries his blade in his would-be assassin's sternum

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

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Words and illustrations by Robert Roach