Touched by Death

Tumbor wasn’t the quickest with retrieving the vast quantities of knowledge he had accumulated over his many years, but something the Kender had said set the gears of reasoning into motion as he trudged through the swamp. Suddenly he stopped dead once again.

“Azure poison rusts metal upon contact,” he said, questioning the diminutive figure. “So how can you have it upon your blades?”

There was as uneasy silence, broken only by the splashing of water as the dwarf repositioned himself.

“Bravo dwarf!” The voice of the Kender shifting to a lower tone, whilst becoming more raspy and breathless. Blackish smoke began to swirl and envelope him as his entire physical shape began to change, growing taller but yet not bulkier.

Tumbor grabbed for his axe, but became suddenly aware of boney, decomposed hands clutching at his legs and waist, trying to pull him down under the water. 

Unable to move for an effective swing, and through fear of being drowned, Tumbor dropped his axe so as to fend off the undead attackers. It splashed loudly, and sank reassuringly close to his feet whilst he snapped off fingers and hands from those that grabbed at him.

Once the transformation was complete, an eerie skeletal humanoid hovered above the branches, its cape fluttering somewhat behind it. Raising a hand, Tumbor’s worst fears were realised as it becomes forth the dwarf’s blade from the swampy depth. He tried desperately fending off the clutching hands, whilst foraging below the water for his axe.

He watched in horror as it broke the water and began floating towards the outstretched skeletal hand. Clumsily running forward, breaking free from the clutches of undead hands, the dwarf called the name of his axe,

“Trollcleaver!”

“This shall make for a worthy prize for my queen,” said the entity, gripping tightly the axe whilst admiring the workmanship of the blade. Blackish black smoke once more began to swirl around the creature, before it completely vanished from view.

“Noooo!” screamed Tumbor, sinking to his knees, the water coming up almost to chin height. “I have failed you father,” he said softly, tears forming in his eyes.

Slowly he picked himself up, and without adjustment of clothing, or ringing the water from his beard, Tumbor trudged slowly onward, his head hung as if in shame.

Copyright: authorchrisbrown 

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