2 - Iron Under Rust

You are reading: Remnants Blade

Written by Burndtree on 21 Dec 2017 00:44.

"Old wizard. Wake up." He was annoyed, this bossy orc.

Merle Innes feigned sleep, snored. Peeked out one lidded eye, grasped his situation. Full night. Three oddly-attired orcs. The ancient grove transformed: now but a grassy patch and the oak and bough beneath him. And a strange town grown up all around.

Plainly an age had passed. The orcs, a stumpy boss and two grunts, wore black suits of jacket and pants, white shirt, a cloth strip knotted round each neck and swinging over the shirtfront.

The orcs grumbled over him.

"Don't look very wizardy, do he, Chevy?"

"Just some old guy sleeping in the park, Ford. Uh…In contravention of civic ordinance."

"Lookit. His pipe's not lit."

"Uh, so his magic's gone, he ain't no use."

"Shut it. He IS the wizard. Where's the car?"

"Circling the block, Boss."

"Circling — Get him here."

"Uh, Beemer can't park, Boss. No parking between 10 PM and 6 AM."

"Not — We're IDLING. Phone Beemer, get him here. What?"

"Uh. Um. Idling's a no-no, Boss."

"Boss, no answer."

"Try. Again. You — Nudge the wizard, wake him."

"Uh, maybe tickling, huh, Boss?"

Merle Innes snapped upright. "BACK YOU. Who dares disturb a slumbering wizard? ANSWER BE QUICK."

The stumpy boss stepped close. Geared in his shiny black suit. And smirking crookedly. "Old wizard. The Blade is broken. We have it. You will re-forge it."

"Haah. Ha Ha Ha." Merle's briar pipe was stone cold between his lips. "HAH, Blade. I know no Blade."

"Protaga…Protagalus, whatever." Boss orc held up something in one fist.

A finger-sized sliver of rusted something.

"Pooh-pooh THIS, old wizard. Yesss, orc kind will rule THIS age."

Merle shut his mouth.

"Beemer's coming, Boss."

Merle swallowed. "THAT is not the Blade."

It was. Its sliver's worth of power warmed his face.

Boss orc sneered. "HAH, I SEE you know this. Your kindred scattered. You snoozed. Now WE have it."

"Granted you hold a sliver of some poor iron. But not the Blade. Sorry. Blade NEVER would choose YOU." Merle shut his eyes, shook his head.

Boss orc snickered. "CHOOSE?"

Chevy and Ford also snickered.

"Wizard. We orc broke your stone. Used magic, yesss. This age gives up its magic to any who will take it. Your age is gone."

"YOU used magic, HAH." Merle shivered, down to the grass underfoot.

"Uh, the C4, tell him, Boss."

"Whatever. THIS is the Blade. THIS is enough. Orc kind now rule."

Both orc grunts rocked about in their black suits. Possibly they were dancing.

"Possibly make you orc a spoon there. If there's iron under the rust." Merle laughed, tears hot in both eyes. "Tell me, Master of this age, this magic, this C4. Did it rot away your brains along with this - this useless iron?"

Chevy and Ford together merrily stomped round and round, shaking the ground.

"Uh, blowed up the stone fantastical. BOOOMMM!"

"Rotten sword, too, huh, Boss?

"Uh, but SHE got the other bits."

"SHUT IT. HERE'S the only bit, see, wizard." Boss orc waggled the rusted shard.

The tears stopped. Merle rocked slightly on both heels. "She?"

"Uh, the witch."

"Got a unicorn. Scary."


Strange moon-bright light swept sidelong over the grass. A machine like a windowed box rumbled closer along the parkside lane, dazzling twin lamps for its eyes.

"The car. FINALLY. Bring him."

The grunts hefted up Merle by his arms one high toe above the ground. He huffed. "Nobody compels a wizard. Not in any age."

Boss orc started over the grass toward the lane and rolling car. "Stop. STOP. HERE."

The car passed, slowly. The orc driving, Beemer, shrugged his shoulders.

"Uh, no can do, Boss," said Chevy. "Not between 10 PM and 6 AM."

"OOH OOH HER." Ford. Freezing in place. Merle wriggled his arm free.

Light swept at them over the grass. A single eye, bright as the morning sun. A beast brayed behind it.

Chevy released Merle and cowered behind him. "Uh, g-g-go away."

"Witch. The wizard is ours." Boss orc waggled the shard at the light. "We have THIS."

"I HAVE THE REMNANTS." She held high a bag, rattled it. The remnants rang out, the song fractured, familiar.



Ford and Chevy crashed together. Merle sprinted toward the light. Toward the helmed one astride her putt-putting wheeled pony.

"Get on." She sat forward in the saddle.

Merle hitched up his robe, sat behind her. He caught hold of her shoulders as the machine pony sprang away.

"STOP HER stop her." Boss orc, from the grove behind them.

She swung the braying machine pony into one dark lane, veered into another. Fearless, and sure. Certainly the blade remnants' Chosen. Its queen.

She drove on through the vast sleeping town. Merle's hair streamed back. He filled himself on the night air, grinning. And caught a bug in his teeth. He thanked the bug, as he hadn't eaten in an age.

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