Thursday, March 15, 2018

Flash Fiction #294: Honor Among Thieves/7


No one moved except that I turned to Darkin and gave a little shrug. This was far more than I had expected.  I had the feeling that maybe Lady Yeti had used me to get here and face Kimlin.

No, not Kimlin. She wanted something far more powerful, and I really didn't want to be here when --

Kimlin gave a frantic look to the orcs, but they were backing away.  Lady Yeti took another step closer, and I decided it was probably safest to remain close to her.  Darkin moved with me, but he didn't look happy.

"Shadow demons do not belong in this world," Lady Yeti said.  "Not the demons who can do real harm.  It has been using you, Kimlin.  You know it."

Kimlin nodded agreement, but then he smiled.  "But it also gave me what I wanted.  The Demon isn't interested in ruling the humans, you know.  They will be in my care."

"What about the Guild," I asked.

He laughed.  "Why would I need the Thieves' Guild when everything is mine?"

I oped others heard that one, though I supposed they already knew that Kimlin was more trouble than they'd thought.

Why wasn't Yeti doing anything?

Oh, I knew the answer.  She was waiting for some one -- some thing -- to arrive.  I had the feeling that once that happened, the rest of us wouldn't matter much at all.  I started looking for the best way out, which unfortunately was the other side of Kimlin.  That wouldn't have been much of a problem except for the orcs who had backed up, but not left.

I put a hand on Darkin's shoulder and gave him a nod as though I knew what I was doing.  I can't say he looked relieved, but that might have been because he knew me so well.

Something began to change.  I a tingle and then realized that everything seemed to be going darker -- at least until Lady Yeti's fire and chain blazed brighter.

A shape stood behind Kimlin that hadn't been there before.  Tall, dark -- not a shadow as I would have expected it to be.  This one had form and a face.

"No one told me about you," the demon said.  I couldn't tell a gender if such things had them.

"No one knew," Yeti answered.

"Had you not already come so fully weaponed, we might have made some deal.  Kimlin got me into this realm, but he has not been the best help since then."

I smirked.  Unintentional, but the change drew the Shadow Demon's attention, which I really didn't want.

"I thought you were dead," the thing said.  Not words I liked to hear since they clearly indicated that it knew me.

"Go back to your realm, demon," Lady Yeti said.  Her voice did not betray any emotion.  She might have been talking to a robin sitting on her windowsill.  "You don't really want to face me, do you?"
"I have committed a great deal to this enterprise."

Lady Yeti gave a little flick of her wrist, and the chain and fire symbol moved from the air to the ground and spread out between the two groups.

Kimlin stepped back. The orcs retreated behind the Shadow Demon.  I decided to brave it out and stay with Lady Yeti.  I had the feeling I couldn't get away fast enough, and one step back was not going to help.

I felt bad about Darkin, though -- until I actually looked at him.  He wasn't nearly as upset as I would have expected.  In fact, he appeared far more intrigued than me --

Things happened fast.

Darkness rolled across the room like a wave of ink.  I grabbed hold of Darkin just before the darkness took away all light -- but worse, all air as well.  I had thought it only a shadow, but we were suffocating --

Light sprang up and shoved the black away, at least by a few feet.  Lady Yeti had found us.  I did not expect her bright grin.

"This is going to be more fun than I expected," she said.

"You -- crazy," I replied, still gasping for breath.  Darkin made a sound of warning.  Yeah, maybe I didn't want to annoy the woman who was keeping us alive.

She only laughed, though, and sent a wave of light out through the ink.  The darkness fizzled and smoked with a bit of an acidic scent.  I tried not to breathe too much of it in.  Lady Yeti had already turned back to fight the Shadow Demon, and I wasn't certain what Darkin, and I should do --

Until I saw Kimlin and the orcs trying to get away through a side door.  I nodded that way and Darkin agreed.  We slid along the wall, remaining within Lady Yeti's cleared area.  She and the Demon Lord appeared to be exchanging insults now.  I had the odd impression of enemies who rather enjoyed the occasional bout with each other.

But where did that leave the rest of us?

Kimlin and his companions were something we could at least face, if not defeat.  I'd never fought an orc, but I would rather face it than the Shadow Demon.

We didn't throw ourselves into the room.  The dining hall, which had lots of furniture --

Something huge broke.  I had the feeling the orcs didn't much like the table. That annoyed me.  The thing had been ancient and stolen from a prince's castle -- not exactly an easy feat.  Those orcs were destroying our heritage and history.

I snarled and raced into the room.

Darkin shouted a curse of his own and followed me.  I'm not sure why he joined me in my insanity, except that it was still probably better than facing the darkness on the other side of the door.

The orcs had broken the table in two and tore off two legs, holding them ready to attack.  Kimlin cowered behind them.

And behind him stood another dozen of the guild.

Well, damn.

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