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Here’s another scene fragment from Episode 2.  I hope you like it!

Just a note, this is still very rough. I read through it and pulled out a few big mistakes, but you will find typos and things that do not quite make sense.  Just roll with it!

For the entire first Episode and other posts from Episode 2, see this link: https://aaron-brander.com/tag/shattered/

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DARK, MENACING laughter chilled Eli’s spine and stopped him dead in his tracks.  Next to him, Jyri looked deflated. The long years suddenly visible on his countenance.

The swarm of goblins came to a stuttering halt, ranging around the courtyard and trapping Eli and Jyri against the temple. Their wailing cacophony assaulted his ears and drowned out the temple’s still ringing bell.

From the west, the goblin horde parted, and through the gap slid a nightmare.  Goblins were a smelly beast, their sweat, grime, and the juice and grit from past meals combining into a pungent perfume that Eli could smell from where he stood.  But the creature that came forth now was preceded by a stench so foul, it knocked the breath from him.

The laughter came again, and with it, an icy wind of sorrow and despair washed over Eli. His body was unwilling to move and attack or to turn and flee.

The thing was taller than Eli and slender.  It did not so much walk, as glide sinuously over the glittering courtyard toward Eli and Jyri.  Its body was hidden in a billowing, black cloak. The hood cast a deep shadow over its face, but the outline of it’s skeletal face was visible beneath the glow of its red eyes.  It was terrifying.

JYRI STARED uncomprehendingly at the stalking nightmare.  How could a dreadmach have returned?  Surely they had all been wiped out at the Battle of Utand when justice and peace prevailed over the evil of the world.  And yet, the dreadmach was there, as was a horde of goblins the size of which he had only previously seen at the Utand.

His powers had failed him, and he had no more fight in him.  He could trust only to Balim, and hope that he would provide a way out of this predicament, because there was little he could do to fight the dreadmach.

“Benson Jyri,” the thing spoke, its voice as oily and sinuous as its movements, “I have been told much about you.  I have desired to devour your soul and send you to serve my Lord, Memnon, since I was told of my task.”

The dreadmach had crossed most of the tiled, temple floor and was but a few steps from Jyri.  He glared down at the dreadmach, his eyes unwavering as he met the nightmare’s blazing, red eyes. The dreadmach reached out with its hand, the cloak falling back from its hand, uncovering a mangled mockery of a human hand; bent, broken, and gnarled with long, sharp claws.

Jyri grabbed Eli’s hand and took a knee, forcing Eli down with him.  The dreadmach reached forward, the icy blast of sorrow emanating from it pushed Eli towards the welcoming inane of death.

The claws brushed against Jyri’s hand, before caressing his face almost lovingly. Then the air pulsed, a bright white flash seared through Eli’s consciousness, and he knew no more.

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