Excerpt from Setting The Board

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At that moment however, a warning whistle sounded. "What's that alarm?" I demanded of the closest worker. Short-long-short.

"I'm not sure. It started with short, so it's something about security." Right. If it had started with a long, it would've been safety related. The Calmenan operants hadn't really developed auros yet, and telephones hadn't been a priority, so there was nothing for it but to take off as fast as I dared for the main gate.

Some kind of security warning! I'm on my way to the main gate! I informed Asina

Short-long-short is a location sequence, she replied, West Annex - your area! I'll be there soon as I can!

I changed direction, rounding the end of the warehouse just in time to observe two indistinct figures disappear behind the west end of the same building. West end of the new casting-house. I'm coming in behind them to cut off escape.

Tipaym na forton amash boy. Her response in Mindlord indicated she was coming around the building the other way, so we could trap them between us. It was a large building, but the entrances and exits were all on the south side, away from the outer fence and towards the water and the rail spur.

I looked around. Nobody in sight - so I risked a short teleport saving me nearly an ifourth of distance. Without breaking stride I rounded the corner onto the west side of the building. The two figures in front of me looked like they'd dropped to all fours. Likahns, I confirmed to my wife. A thrall race from fractals having more than three dimensions, able to control their projection into a three dimensional instance, they were often used as scouts or reconnaissance because they could look like humans or various animals at a distance. I fired two shots, but wasn't sure I'd hit anything - kored didn't work as well on likahns. If I'd been able to use Imperial weapons, it wouldn't have mattered, but those were off the table in this setting, as three or four of our other workers were approaching from the waterfront or the rail spur.

The fact the intruders were likahns told me that the demons were interested in what was going on. Likahns weren't independent agents. Where there were likahns, there were demons to control them.

The likahns ran faster now they knew I was behind them. That was fine with me - they'd run right into Asina. I was stronger than her in terms of brute mental force, but my wife was more practiced and more deadly in just about everything. Unless they changed course to head straight for the waterfront through the four guards I could now see, they'd run right into someone more deadly than all of them put together. I knew she had just passed the opposite corner of our new casting building. The likahns could outrun humans, but the trap was closed. There was nowhere they could run that they would be safe from one or the other of us.

I passed where the likahns had been when I shot at them. A small trail of ichor drops began at that same point. At least one of them is wounded.

Good. A big slug like that would have done a lot of damage - and they were being forced to run. Their blood would be being pumped out the wound all the faster.

Both perception and Asina warned me as I prepared to round the next corner - one of the likahns, most likely the wounded one, doubled back to attack me. In broad daylight I don't know what he thought he was gaining, but I had plenty of time to draw my sword and slice his apparent chest open and one of his legs off. No instant kill - I wanted a chance at his mind. The likahn made a noise somewhere between a scream and a yelp and collapsed. Yes, he'd been bleeding from a bullet wound already, and his ichor was coming out in a torrent. I paralysed him with auros and began ripping open his mind. Dying and desperate, he tried to fight me but I got the opening I needed when we both heard the three shots of Asina executing his partner, distracting him. It had been only four days since we arrived, but I pulled the confirmation I needed from his dying mind, then held him immobile as he bled out. Neither side took prisoners in this war. Well, the demons might, but when they did it was for food and slaves, not exchange.

They were sent. There's someone on the human side working with them.

Copyright 2019 Dan Melson. All Rights Reserved.

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This page contains a single entry by Dan Melson published on July 31, 2023 7:00 AM.

Excerpt from Building The People was the previous entry in this blog.

Excerpt from Moving The Pieces is the next entry in this blog.

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