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Combat Chaos - Story 5
D&D - Combat Chaos, Fantasy Stories of Battle

Story 5



The smell of the crisp early morning dew and freshly baked goods filled his nostrils, to his delight. Stealshade walked through the market, observing the goods for sale there. The small town was bustling with movement. Merchants bargained and sold, children played and laughed and carts and horses moved down the street. Stealshade's long, coal black hair gleamed in the sunlight. He smiled as two young children ran past him, nearly sending him off balance. He wore simple black cloth pants under his black robe, and sandals on his feet.

Over his shoulder rested the strap that held his katana. Stopping at a fruit stand, Stealshade purchased a fresh piece of fruit that he had never seen before. He tossed the merchant a coin and continued about his way, munching on the tasty, juicy fruit. Nearing the edge of town, Stealshade prepared to leave and move on elsewhere, when he heard a scream. The fruit fell to the ground as he jogged over to see what the commotion was. An old skinny man came running out of the forest at the edge of town. His face was white with terror and his hands trembled.

Stealshade stood at a distance and watched for a momentum. The old man frantically looked around behind him, as if something might be following him. Already a crowd was gathering around him. "D-d-demon," he spoke. "In the w-woods." The blacksmith looked at him gripping his hammer in his hand, then bellowed in laughter. "Foolish old man, a demon in the woods. Hahaha, get back to your tankard old man. Go about your business everyone, pay this fool no mind!" Stealshade still watched. "No! Believe me. I watched it get them..." he was now crying.

Stealshade moved forward with urgent haste. He pushed past the crowd, his robes fluttering behind him, no longer in his usual cheerful mood. He gripped the old man's skinny arm. "Get who? What did it do to them?" he asked, his eyes pierced into the old man. "A c-c-caravan... it ate their souls! Over there, in the woods!" he whispered coarsely. "He moved like a shadow, a s-soulshadow..." Stealshade stood there, staring into the man's eyes for a moment, as if he were probing the man's mind... Moving the man aside, Stealshade unslung his katana from his shoulder, but kept it sheathed.

The blacksmith bellowed again. "You fool, it's obvious he's drunk. It's the ale talking!" With that, Stealshade darted into the woods. Stealshade stopped dead in his tracks and dropped into a crouch. Movement had just occurred in the tree above him, about thirty feet up. Slowly, the ninja craned his neck upward. Nothing. Standing, he removed his robe and sandals slowly, so he was just wearing his black cloth trousers. He chose to wear no armor, like most ninja's, for it would hinder his movement. Unsheathing his katana, he lightly placed the wooden sheath on the ground. His blade was glowing a light blue, imbued with powerful magics. It would glow a more potent tone when it tasted blood. He surveyed the area for a few minutes.

After a little while, he saw over a hill the caravan the man spoke of. The wagon was tipped on its side, claw marks ran the length of it. Men lay scattered and dead, some half eaten. The horses too, were dead and seemed to be missing some flesh. A growling noise made the hair on Stealshade's neck raise. Turning around, he noticed something moving his way. Hoping he had not yet been noticed, Stealshade crouched low, then leaped into the tree next to him like a jaguar. The creature moved like an ape, hunched over. A cloak like cloth covered it's mouth and wrapped around is neck, and it's eyes were glowing. The most distinguishing thing about it, Stealshade noticed, was its hands. It only had three fingers. A thumb and two index fingers. And unlike human's with elongated, jointed fingers, this creature had only knuckles, and it's fingers were huge claws.

The creature moved down to the caravan. Taking the cloth off from its face, it bent over one of the bodies. A slurping noise came as it ate the dead. Stealshade couldn't handle it. Taking three shirukens from his belt in his right hand, and his katana in his left, he jumped from the tree. Before he even touched the ground, all three shirukens found their mark in the creatures back. Stealshade touched down with soft gracefulness. His motion didn't seem to stop. He used the momentum from his fall to fuel his run. The creature stood and turned around, seeming not to notice the projectiles buried in its back. It was caught by surprise as Stealshade's blade flashed - once, twice, making huge lacerations in its side. The blade was now glowing with a heavenly light and black blood poured from the thing's side.

The creature roared, and Stealshade saw for the first time it's mouth. Rows of needle teeth layered its mouth. "Demon, let me end your purge of madness." It seemed not to be listening, for it charged at Stealshade full force. Bringing his katana up, the ninja hoped to score a hit. Instead, the demon caught the blade in it's massive clawed hand. Throwing the sword aside, it raised Stealshade into the air. Using its claws like a trap, it stabbed the ninja's left shoulder into the tree. Stealshade screamed as the razor claw entered his flesh. His eyes rolled into the back of his head as he began to summon great powers. The demon too, was summoning powers of his own.

Stealshade could feel his soul lifting from his body. The ninja used his mind as a weapon, and summoning all the energy possible, he released it in one huge burst. The creature went flying backwards, crashing into a fallen tree. Stealshade felt his soul return to his body as he slumped to the ground in pain. His left arm was rendered almost useless, and pain stabbed through the length of it every time his heart beat. The demon was almost on top of him already.

The ninja began to hurl shirukens from his belt. One after another stuck into the creature, stabbing into his chest, stomach, legs and arms. He knew he wasn't causing enough damage, so he drew a small knife. With all the force in his good arm, Stealshade hurled the knife. It imbedded deeply into the creatures eye. The demon didn't even slow. Grabbing for his sword, Stealshade swiped once then ducked low. The sword tasted blood once again, slicing the creatures ear off. It tripped over Stealshade, landing heavily on the earth. Both human and demon took time to stand, both tired and loosing too much blood. Stealshade moved forward, his katana held in front of him.

The foul creature looked at him with its one good eye, and snarled. The ninja swiped upwards, sending the demon's arm into the air, leaving a small opening to its chest. Stealshade took this opening. Slashing his katana across his opponents midsection, Stealshade felt the blade cut through flesh, exoskeleton and bone.

It took the demon several moments to realize he was going to die. Blood was everywhere, and there was a hint of his yellow-gray entrails. Summoning his last bit of power, Stealshade raised his hand and the demon flew backwards through the air. A sharp stick rammed through the demon's head as it hit the ground. Stealshade closed his eyes and grimaced at the crunching noise.

By: Calvin Cockell

* Coat of Arms 1.2a
* Promisance
* World of Phaos 0.9.2
Is Magic Armor Lighter Than Standard Armor of the Same Type?
Yes indeed
No, never!
In 1E yes, in 2E no
Only for encumbrance
Of course it is
Not in my world
* And-Mag.com

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