To Serve the Goddess

To Serve the Goddess

Status: Finished

Genre: Fantasy

Details

Status: Finished

Genre: Fantasy

Summary

A short prequel to my main series! You can get the whole thing for free here: https://mailchi.mp/941cfce58fbf/freenovelette.

Summary

A short prequel to my main series! You can get the whole thing for free here: https://mailchi.mp/941cfce58fbf/freenovelette.

Chapter1 (v.1) - The Miracle

Author Chapter Note

Mykel and Matthias face down certain death until a miracle shows up.

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 07, 2018

Reads: 389

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: October 07, 2018

A A A

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Mykel scrubbed at the visor of his helmet, trying to wipe enough clotted gore from the slots to see. Beside him, his acolyte Matthias struggled for breath. The boy –man, really, although he wouldn’t see his 18th birthday for four more months– coughed and spat blood. “You alright?”

Matthias grinned weakly. “Been better,” he managed, before turning his attention to the hand pressed to the hole punched through his hacked and scarred breastplate. Murmured words suffused the hand and wound below with a golden light. It was enough to stop the bleeding, but not enough to heal the punctured lung completely. If they lived, he’d need more care.

They probably wouldn’t, though. Not with half a hundred demons streaming down the pass towards them.

Matthias hefted his sword wearily. “So,” he said with a casual, forced bravado. “I’ll take the thirty on the right?”

“Thirty?” Mykel laughed, joining in. “I’ll have to take forty of them, the way you keep slacking on your sword practice.”

Matthias laughed, the sound turning into a choked gasp of pain as he clutched his chest. “Be honest,” he gasped. “We’re going to die here, aren’t we Master?”

“Honestly?” Mykel nodded grimly. “Yes, we are.” He raised his own sword as the horde drew closer. “But make the bastards work for it.”

Matthias spat bloody phlegm and nodded, closing his own visor. “Sure thing.” A pause. “Think the nevin will get away?”

“I hope so,” Mykel answered, no trace of confidence in his voice. “I hope...”

Lift up your hearts and rejoice, My sons,” declared a strange, familiar voice. “I am with you.”

Mykel half-turned and found a young woman addressing them. She was streaked with mud and blood, hair matted and clothes in rags. But she stood tall and erect, and her eyes burned like molten gold. “Goddess...” he whispered.

You will not fall nor fail this day,” proclaimed the goddess Afodisia, through the throat of the woman behind them. “Stand firm, and show that I am the Lady of Love and War both.”

Newfound strength flowed through his limbs. “Thank you, my Lady,” Mykel breathed. “Thank you.”

Matthias stood straighter as well, heedless of the wound that had punched through his chest. Their blades burned bright, radiating with the Goddess’ blessing. The first wave of demons descended upon them, baring claws and fangs. Black blood sprayed as hallowed weapons tore into their flesh, stopping these first fiends in their tracks.

Numbers that would have overwhelmed the paladin and aspirant fell before the might of Afodisia, their swords reflecting her benediction even as clotted ichor clung to the steel. The pass transformed into an infernal abattoir, muddying the soft dirt with the carnage. The demonic onslaught did not abate, not until every last fiend stopped twitching. Until every last demon stopped howling for blood.

An impossible feat, beyond what even divinely gifted paladins could hope to accomplish. The Goddess’ grace granted Her servants greater strength and endurance, and one paladin could fight with the prowess and determination of ten regular humans, or, as they were commonly called, nevin. But even paladin might couldn’t explain the triumph in that pass. The goddess, the presence of the Lady of Love and War was with them. They hadn’t fallen or failed.

They lived.

~*~

After having survived the impossible. Mykel, Matthias and the young woman were left needing a place to sleep for the night. And, even with the enhanced strength and endurance their goddess granted –or, perhaps because of the additional strength and endurance she had granted them, beyond their normal gifts– the battle had left them exhausted. So, gathered around a makeshift camp in a cleared section of the canyon, the three ate a meal of scrounged rabbits.

“Who are you?” Matthias asked, watching the woman as she ate.  It was hard to tell her age, or really any details about her identity.  Her height and build were slim, making her appear young, but despite her injuries, she carried herself with a dignity that generally came only with age.

“I am the Oracle of Afodisia,” she replied, before ripping into a rabbit leg and chewing the roast meat with enthusiasm. “Her voice and Her prophet, sent to bring light and hope in a time of darkness and treachery.”

“All right,” Mykel said, enunciating the syllables and feeling out of his depth. He’d felt the truth of her words, when she’d rallied them against the demons, but he still felt out of his depth. “But, who are you? What’s your name? Where do you come from?”

She turned her head slightly, staring at him with burning golden eyes that seemed to bore into his soul. Within a minute he shifted uncomfortably. “You... do have a name, don’t you?”

She smiled a faint, knowing smile. “Perhaps.”

Matthias snorted. “That’s an unusual name, ‘Perhaps.’” Then he ducked as she playfully threw a gnawed rabbit bone at him.

“Seriously, though,” Mykel said, with a warning look at his acolyte. “Who were you, before you were called as a prophet?”

She stared into the flames, and the flickering light cast long shadows across her features. “It doesn’t matter,” she replied. “Perhaps I was a wealthy landowner. Perhaps a peasant farmer. Perhaps a whore, or a thief, or a bereaved mother forced to live as demons or men like demons had her and her family.” She shrugged. “It doesn’t matter, not now. Not any more than the whore that gave an apprentice to the Temple or the woman that bore her master a daughter.”

Both men looked at one another, an awkward silence filling the space between them. The woman, for her part, tore into a second roast rabbit. “What should we call you, then?” Mykel finally asked.

The response was an unconcerned shrug. “Whoever I was, I am the Oracle of Love and War now. Call me that.”


© Copyright 2019 MM Glenn. All rights reserved.

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