Rogues and Renegades

The non-competition version (because the non-competition world has no damn WORD LIMITS). So, i'll post the rest of the story here. if I win anything (highly doubting that, btw) i'll transfer the chapters to the other movella. But I don't know. I write stories because I love doing it XD

Cover by Secrets Unfold.


42. 41

The Lord of Brimone grimaced at the Witch-Queen's new... implement. After having her right hand severed, the Witch-Queen had refused to simply burn and seal the wound. The Lord of Brimone reckoned he could understand. For all her ambition, the Witch-Queen was only a cowardly femme fatale. No right hand, meant no magic - which meant no defence when the “Human” (as the Dead Man had described it) came knocking at their door.

The Witch-Queen had substituted her hand with the Dead Man's. It was a painful process, where the hand and forearm of a reanimated corpse had to be forcefully thrust into the living (and conscious) recipient's upper-arm, which then had to be cemented with a boiling-hot magical medium (the Witch-Queen had opted for blood). The magic that emerged from a dead hand was not powerful, but - as the Witch-Queen thought - it was better than nothing.

Now, as the three sat around a table in the Lord of Brimone's study, the Witch-Queen drummed the fingers of her skeletal hand on the table. The flickering light of the candles caught the sheen of the large hook that now covered the stump of the Dead Man's arm.
The Lord of Brimone cleared his throat and said, “So... someone comes to challenge us? After and because of Mariqah's death? Any news on who this might be?”
The Dead Man shook his head, “All I know is that it is a Human, leading or accompanying an elvish horde.”
The Lord regarded the Witch-Queen, “Have you anything, any clue, as to who this person might be?”
“The only person that comes to mind is Mariqah's lieutenant - a Arab man, with great skill and brute strength. But it seems unlikely that he would come for us without the other mercenaries,” the Witch-Queen paused, “though...”

“Flaed had mentioned to me that Mariqah had brought a niece with her. She didn't impart too much information, but apparently this niece was looking for Mariqah while I had her imprisoned. It could be this niece that seeks vengeance after Mariqah's death.”
“And you know nothing of this girl?”
“I'm afraid not.”
“Pity...” the Lord of Brimone sighed, “First Lady Flaed's assassination - by one of your former lackeys, mind - and now this mystery girl coming for you...” he tipped his head to a side, “It would seem our luck has run out. Best we cease while we are ahead.”

The Witch-Queen was aghast, “You want to surrender? Before you even begin the fight?” before the Lord of Brimone could respond, she continued, “What about the plan! Didn't you and Flaed seek to restore the elvish presence on Earth? Command it again, as was your dream? Your right?”
“It was a dream, but a dream we have lost due to your folly!”
“My folly?” spat the Witch-Queen.
“You brought her here-”
“Because she would have proved an obstacle if we brought an army over there!”
The Lord of Brimone glared at the Witch-Queen, “Mariqah proved an obstacle even so!” he snapped, standing up abruptly.

“We haven't the time to argue. Who did what and why can wait!” said the Witch-Queen, “We cannot simply drop the plan, not when we are so close. We'll have to speed the process up.”
“We have not infiltrated the Gateway, and the Eversbian, human-loving Gate-Keeper will not simply let us pass, Witch-Queen,” stated the Lord of Brimone, “and we cannot ignore the Human who comes for us, seeking retribution.”
“Then we will take matters into our own hands,” said the Witch-Queen tersely. She turned to the Dead Man, “I want you to stay here and guard Brimone. Give our uninvited guests a warm welcome, will you, love?”
The Dead Man inclined his head, “By your command, mistress.”
“You know where they come from. Send out ships. Destroy them. Destroy them and make sure that none of them are whole enough to rise again.”
“Of course, mistress.”

She then turned to the Lord of Brimone, “Round up a personal escort of twenty. We ride for the Wild. Our army can follow later.”
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