Legends of Cobalt

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Knight of the Sapphire Flame

We sat in the Gild Hall’s common room with half a dozen strangers. A handful of candles flickered around the ransacked room. Fayaad slunk into a dark corner behind the bar and the twin sea elves leaned against the front of the bar. The strangers followed their movements, hands on their weapons.

“Thank you, friends, for coming here.” Serephina descended the stairs. “You all know our city is in danger and we’ve been powerless to help it.”

“Why are we here Serephina?” A broad-shouldered man in a simple tunic and farmer’s hat demanded. 

“We’ve run out of time. Alone, we haven’t been able to change anything, now we need your help.”

A dwarf, who’s beard clinked when he spoke, slammed his fist on a table. “Git on wit’ it or imma go ‘ome, drink meself t’ bed an ‘ope I don’ wake up tomorrow.”

Serephina waved her hand at us. “These people claim they can help solve our biggest problem.”

“What’s the ‘but’?” A gnome woman in worn, stained leathers scratched the head of a giant wolfhound beside her. “There’s always a but with these kinds of things.”

“We need more manpower. They need a distraction to break into Spinel castle.”

Katsu emerged from the kitchen in full plate armour. He clutched an ornate helmet under one arm and a spear tipped with a sword blade in the other. 

The farmer crossed his arms. “How are we going to do that?”

Aramil flipped a dagger in the air and caught it by the hilt. “An all-out assault on the Iron Cloister.” A wide grin split his face.

The strangers laughed.

“Ye brought us ‘ere to ask us t’ fight an army wit’,” the dwarf paused to count everyone in the room. “Eleven of us?” He slapped his table and spread his arms wide. “Throw in some pipes an’ we’ve got a rebellion. Death ‘as got t’ be better than this sack o’ shit.”

“Ten. Not eleven.” Katsu walked around the bar and bowed low. The various metal pieces of his armour tinked together. “Master, with your permission, I will go to the castle with the others. I feel my talents will be better utilised there and give us the greatest chance of victory.”

Serephina looked back to us and nodded.

“Thank you, master.” 

“More for me.” The dwarf twisted the handle of his great axe. “When are we startin’?”

“We will travel in the parade of phantasms.” Serephina replied, “Until then, you are all welcome to our armoury.”

“Thees ees a bad idea.” Fayaad stepped out of his hiding spot. “We shouldn’t allow these people een our sanctuary.”

“It is my decision,” Serephina chastised. “These are our allies, and we will offer them what we can.”

“I steell do not like eet.”

***

“Are you ready?” Katsu held the door a crack. The eerie glow of the parade of phantasms illuminated the common room.

“Do we still get a choice?” Bucephalus tossed his empty flask away. “Let’s get this suicide over with.”

Katsu pulled the door open the rest of the way. “Remember to stick close together. Follow the flow of the spectres, don’t fight against it.”

Phebes locked her arm in Bucephalus’s. “Come on Ceph, I think we’ll be okay.” 

The two of them vanished into the river of ghosts. Wyanet followed me to the door. She stopped at the threshold, the tip of her spear hovered below Katsu’s throat.

“I do not trust you.” Wyanet moved her spear closer. “If you get in our way, I will kill you.”

Katsu nodded as far as Wyanet’s spear would allow.

Wyanet and I waded into the shifting mass of wraiths together. The ghosts moved around us, driven by an unseen current. The ghosts pushed the five of us together and drove us toward the castle gates. We forced our way out of the ghost river and hid in the shadow of a curtain wall.

“We need to wait for the distraction,” Wyanet whispered.”

Bucephalus whispered back, “How long will that take?”

“It should start soon, they left before us.” Katsu glazed at the wall above us. “Percy and I should scout ahead while we wait.” He cupped his hands and put his back to the wall. “I’ll give you a boost.”

I put my foot in Katsu’s hands and he lifted me halfway up the wall. My fingers latched onto the tide smoothed rocks of the wall face. I took my time scaling the rest of the way across the sallow grips and breathed a sigh of relief as I hauled myself over the crenelations. I rolled across the catwalk and crouched behind a low wooden wall. Nothing moved in the courtyard below and no torches flickered. Katsu clanged onto the catwalk behind me and pressed against the wall beside me.

“Where are all the guards?” I ducked back below the cover of the wall. “I can’t see anyone.”

“I can’t see anyone on the walls either. It shouldn’t be this easy.”

North of us, a deep horn sounded the attack. An alarm bell screamed its metallic warning and green beacon fires burned against the clouded night sky.

I pulled a rope from my bag and tossed one end over the crenelations. “We’ll take the wins while we can.”

We helped the others scale the wall.

“Where to next?” Bucephalus wound up the rope and handed it back to me.

A single plume of blue fire flared at the far end of the courtyard opposite us. The blue fire marched into the centre of the yard. All the braziers and torches in the yard and along the wall ignited with the blue flames. The five of us pressed as close to the wooden wall as we could. The first blue flame flowed from the crown of a great helm seven and a half feet off the ground. A full set plate armour supported the great helm. Two points of roiling blue flame burned deep within the eye holes of the helm.

“This is bad.” Katsu tried to crawl away from the edge of the wall. “They shouldn’t be here.”

Wyanet grabbed Katsu and pulled him back. “Who is that?”

“I know you’re out there,” A voice called. The voice sounded hollow and distant. “The Mistress and I know your plan. If you want to get to her, you must go through me. Come out now, and I will make your deaths quick. If you beg for my mercy, I might even resurrect you to fight in my army.”

“What colour I could make out on Katsu’s face drained. “That’s Ironhelm. We can’t beat them. If they’re here, then we’ve already lost.”

Wyanet grabbed my shoulders and pressed her forehead to mine. “Go finish what we came here to do.” She let go of me and repeated the process with Phebes. “I will hold them here as long as I can.” Wyanet collected her spear and shield. “I love you both. Go free these people.” Wyanet stood up.

Phebes reached for an arrow. “No, we can fight them together.”

Wyanet smiled a sad smile. “Not this time, Phebes.” Wyanet jumped off the wall into the courtyard.

The story will continue, December 3rd,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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Legends of Cobalt

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Lies and Plans

I swam through the frigid waters of Crescent Moon Bay until my hand scraped across smooth pebbles. I walked out of the surf onto the stone covered beach of Dawnsky Wharf. Salty water dripped from every inch of me, pulling what little heat remained in my body with it. Orange and red flames of the burning lighthouse on the cliff above illuminated the sky. Fayaad walked out of the water behind me and flopped down on an overturned rowboat.

“What happened?” Althaea hauled katsu out of the ocean.

“Percy keeled Sypax. One of hees expereements tried to keel us.” Fayaad wrung the water out of his cloak. “I had to eemprovise.”

Kastu hacked half a litre of water onto the beach. “We didn’t come here to kill Masinissa.”

Althaea helped Katsu to his feet. “We shouldn’t linger here.”

“I killed him?!” I rounded on Fayaad. “I’m fairly certain I remember you jumping on his back and ramming a knife through his spine.”

“Does it matter who killed Sypax?” Nellie appeared above us and floated out of our reach. “Whoever did it saved me some time. I should thank you for it. Sypax’s experiments started raising questions I didn’t like.”

I pointed my sword at Nellie and stepped between her and the others.

“No, silly.” Nellie giggled, “I’m not here to kill you and your new friends, not yet anyway. I’ve got all sorts of fun games planned for us.”

Fayaad hurled a knife at Nellie. She caught the knife and threw it back into the ground in front of Fayaad.

“Didn’t Percy tell you what happened to his last group of friends?” Nellie landed by Fayaad and ran a clawed finger along his throat. “Annoying adults brought their mutt and interrupted our playtime.”

I placed the blade on Nellie’s shoulder. “You killed my friends and tried to kill me, but I remember you running away from that fight.”

Nellie brushed my sword away and drifted back into the air out of reach. “Do what you want. I came here to tell you I know you’re hunting me, and I’m going to enjoy destroying that army on its way here.” Nellie locked eyes with me. “No worthless adults will ruin the Paradise I am building.” Nellie transformed into a bat and darted back towards the castle.

“That was Nellie? The adopted child of Sofka and the vampire child you’re scared of?” Katsu spit onto the beach. “She doesn’t seem that tough.” 

“You’ve never seen her rip out a man’s still-beating heart.”

Alarm bells further down the harbour joined the sound of pounding feet and cries of ‘fire’.

“We need to get back to the others.” Fayaad pushed past me and ran for the row-houses.

***

We pulled ourselves through the window into the secret library.

Phebes grabbed my arm and helped pull me up. “What happened?”

“Why is there a fire?” Wyanet asked.

I took a second to catch my breath. “Fayaad killed Masinissa and started the fire so we could get away.”

“Masinissa wasn’t supposed to die,” Serephina replied.

“Meestakes happen when we let the uneenitiated work with us.” Fayaad dropped his cloak and warmed his hands by the fire. “He keeled Sypax. One of Sypax’s creations tried to keel heem. I covered hees back.”

“Sounds like a botched plan to me,” Bucephalus snorted. “Which should all run now while we still have a chance.”

Fayaad unclipped his belt and dropped his weapons on his cloak. “We’ll be better off weethout you.”

Serephina scowled at Fayaad. “There is still more information you have not told us yet.”

Katsu fastened the window latch and sat down at the table. “Yes, Master.”

“She knows we’re here in the city,” I replied. “And she knows William is coming too.”

Wyanet asked, “How do you know this?”

“This Nellie came to us at the harbour.” Althaea shivered, “Master Seraphina, she appeared out of thin air.” 

“She let you live?” Bucephalus asked.

“She’s playing some sort of game with us,” I replied. “She must know we’re unprepared.”

Phebes asked, “Should we wait for William to get here?”

“Unless he’s got a legion from the Isle, bringing more soldiers here isn’t going to do anything.” Bucephalus sank into an armchair.

“We need a new plan.” Althaea stroked her chin.

“We have one,” Serephina replied.

Fayaad argued, “You can’t be serious, master.” 

Aramil cracked his knuckles. “A full-frontal assault. What we should have done in the first place.”

“I will lead my students in a raid on the Iron Cloister. We will spend the day tomorrow gathering what allies we still have in the city. We will move with the parade of phantasms to where we need to go.” Serephina pointed at Wyanet. “You and your company will break into the castle while we fight in the Cloister. You will kill the vampire and end this for all of us.”

Bucephalus rolled his eyes. “Great, another suicide mission.”

Katsu got up from the table and stripped off his wet gear. “Everyone get some rest. Tomorrow will be a long day, and it might be our last.”

***

The latch on my cell door clicked open in the dark. The old heavy door creaked slowly on its hinges. I slid my hand under my pillow, the cold steel of my dagger caressed my fingers.

“Percy,” Phebes asked. “Are you awake?”

I released my dagger and sat up. “I am now.”

“Sorry.” Phebes closed the door. “I couldn’t sleep. I’m nervous about tomorrow. I don’t know what to expect. Part of me feels like we’ll be fine, but a bigger part feels like we won’t. I don’t want you… or Wyanet or Ceph to die. I don’t want to die, and I don’t want others to die for me.”

I sat in silence and listened.

“Please, say something.”

“What do you want Phebes?” I swung my feet over the side of the bed. The stone floor curled my toes.

“I want to get stronger, so I can protect my…” 

“Not why you’re here. What do you want?”

Phebes fell to her knees. “I don’t know. I want to be happy and to feel safe. I want to feel loved, and like I never need to worry about going hungry.” Tears ran down her face. “I want to feel like I won’t be abandoned again.”

I slid to the floor and grabbed her hand. Phebes brushed my hand away and buried her face in my neck. Her cheek felt warm against me. Her tears tickled as they trailed across my skin.

“I can’t say everything will be alright.”

“That’s not helping.”

“I know, but we’re here now and I’m not leaving yet.”

The story will continue, November 26th,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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Legends of Cobalt

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Leap of Faith

“Why did you kill him?” I demanded.

Fayaad pulled his hood down and shrugged. Sypax Masinissa’s blood pooled around his feet. “I saw an opportuneety and I took eet.”

“We were supposed to keep him alive.”

“Oh well,” Fayaad stepped out of the blood pool. “Eet’s too late now.”

“We should regroup with the others. We need to rethink our plan.”

Massinissa reached a limp hand toward the ceiling. A stream of arcane words flowed from his lips. His eyes flared green and faded. His corpse stared back at us with empty, vacant eyes. The vulture on the catwalk screeched and dove for the amalgamation of body parts on the table. The bird smashed into the table and exploded in a puff of green glittering dust.

 The clouds visible through the glass ceiling boiled and churned. Flashes of green lightning lanced through the tumultuous sky. The air buzzed. The hair on my neck and arms snapped to attention. Fayaad stared at the blue glow emanating from his dagger. The ceiling above us shattered. I shielded my head with my arms. Glass showered us, cutting up my arms. A bolt of green lightning pierced through the shattered room and struck the mound of cobbled flesh. The shockwave tossed Fayaad and I like rag dolls. The bubbling cauldrons erupted their contents and clattered to the floor. Innumerable glass vials throughout the room shattered, sprinkling their unknown chemical concoctions onto the floor.

I staggered to my feet. My head throbbed and a high-pitched bell rang in my ears. The smell of ozone and burnt wood filled my nostrils. Dim lights danced through my foggy vision. I closed my eyes and willed my eyes and mind to focus.

“Fayaad? Where are you?”

I opened my eyes again. Despite the dancing lights, I could make out a vaguely human figure braced against the lab table. I took a tentative step in that direction. My legs felt like jelly. The figure pushed off the table and stumbled a step in my direction.

“Percy.”

Wood and glass shifted to my left. I looked in the direction of the noise. The edges of my vision began to sharpen.

“Percy, I’m over here.” Fayaad whimpered.

My vision snapped into focus. Fayaad leaned against a broken drying rack. A spindle as thick as my thumb protruded above his pelvic bone.

“Can you stand?” I crouched at Fayaad’s side.

“Keell me and go, we can’t get captured.” Fayaad tried to push me away.

“That’s not how I do things.” I wrapped Fayaad’s arm around my neck and hoisted him to his feet. “I don’t abandon people.”

“Then you’re a fool.”

I half pushed, half dragged Fayaad to the stairs. “Maybe, but I’m still alive. We can argue about it later.”

A barrel sailed over our heads and exploded against the wall. An angry moan followed the barrel as a sweet-smelling liquid sprayed everywhere. We looked for the source of the barrel.

A towering approximation of human flesh lumbered toward us. The grey flesh around its eyes and teeth pulled taught into a toothy, unblinking grin. The wire sutures holding the abomination’s body together emanated a violet glow. Sparks jumped from the creature’s various metal infusions at random intervals. The abomination moaned again and lumbered toward us with purpose. Its heavy footfalls vibrated the entire floor of the tower.

Fayaad tried to push me off. “Leave me, I’ll buy you time to get away.”

“I’m not doing that. “My eyes darted around the room. “We need another way out.”

“The ladder.” Fayaad pointed at a ladder behind the abomination. “It leads up to the catwalk. You can climb out a window and jump down from there. Go, I’ll try to draw it away.”

“I told you.” I grabbed the spindle protruding from Fayaad’s abdomen. “We’re leaving together.” I yanked the wooden shard out with a quick motion.

Fayaad screamed. The monster screamed louder.

I clapped my hand over Fayaad’s stab wound. He gritted his teeth against the pain. Divine energy flowed through me and healed his wound.

“That’s a neat treeck. Where did you learn eet?”

“Family secret.”

“Look out!” 

Fayaad shoved me backwards. The monster smashed its meaty grey fists into the ground where we had stood. The floorboards splintered and cracked. The monster bellowed in frustration and turned toward me. 

I scrambled to my feet, sword in hand. Fayaad did the same behind the monster. It swung a fist at me. I turned the blow away with my sword. Blue-green liquid spattered the floor.

“Try to get to the ladder.” Fayaad backed further away from the advancing monster. “I’ll see you outside.”

The monster swung its other fist at me. I ducked the swing and punched up toward its trachea. The monster staggered back a step. Slashing at its legs as I passed, I sprinted for the ladder. I launched myself forward and landed halfway up the ladder. 

Fayaad heaved himself onto the catwalk. He pulled an egg from his bag and hurled it in my direction. The egg flew by me and hit the ground. Liquid sprayed from the egg and ignited into flames.

I scrambled the rest of the way up the ladder and chased after Fayaad.

Angry, panicked moans climbed with the fire. The orange glow licked at our heels and the heat tickled our necks. The clay shingles clacked beneath our feet.

I panted, “What was that thing?”

“I don’t know. We need to get out of here.”

“What about Katsu and Althaea?”

“They’ll catch up.”

Fayaad dropped off the roof and grabbed the gutter. He skipped from windowsill to windowsill until he reached the ground. I backed up a step and took a running leap. The ground hurried to meet me. My feet pushed into the gravel. I leaned forward and rolled out of the landing.

“Keep up, we’ve still got another jump.” Fayaad jogged past me toward the cliff.

We ran past the rotten larder beneath the light tower. Katsu and Althaea sprinted out the door. An uncoordinated mess of undead creatures chased the assassins. Althaea sprinted past me. Katsu fell in step beside me. Fayaad’s silhouette ahead of us vanished over the edge of the cliff.

“You’ll need to trust yourself,” Katsu called over the crunch of gravel.

Althaea vanished over the cliff.

“Make a leap of faith and trust that you’ll make it.” Katsu surged ahead and followed the other assassins over the cliff.

I kept my pace. A mound of dread grew in my gut. The edge got closer. I swallowed my fear. I closed my eyes. A warm breeze on my neck pushed me forward.

I jumped.

The story will continue, November 19th,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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http://bit.ly/2tUG9va

Creating original content in an online space is a time-consuming process. If you find it in your heart, please donate a few dollars at the link above. Thank you, you are appreciated!

Show us your fan art at us with the hashtag #CobaltLegends on Instagram and Twitter for the chance to be featured on one of our posts.

Legends of Cobalt

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Decay

We scaled the small cliff below Masinissa’s tower house. The ghastly green beam of the lighthouse passed over our heads every few seconds. We reached the top of the cliff and hauled ourselves over the short brick wall crowning it. The four of us crouched in the bushes against the wall. The scent of wet soil and rot overpowered my senses.

“Fayaad and I will start at the top of the tower and work our way down.” Katsu pointed to the lantern room of the lighthouse. “We’ll take out the watchman up there so you two can enter the main building.”

Althaea and I nodded that we understood. Katsu tapped on Fayaad’s back and the two darted out of the bushes. I watched the two assassins pick their way across the failing garden and scamper up the side of the lighthouse. A dark figure outlined by the spinning green light shuffled around the catwalk. The two assassins slithered onto the catwalk, flanking the guard. The guard brandished a weapon at the assassin he could see. The second assassin stabbed the guard in the back and shoved them over the railing.

Althaea and I slipped from our hiding spot. We followed the stone paths to a door at the base of the tower. Two guards in full-face helms and chainmail stood on either side of the door. They carried long halberds and an axe hung at their hips. A green-flamed lantern hung on a hook above the door.

We laid bellies concealed by a thin wall of tall grasses. “Are they White Guard?” I whispered to Althaea.

“They are. Hit them quiet and hit them quick. We can’t let them raise an alarm yet.” Althaea slid her elven daggers from the scabbards on her back. “You’ve got the left. On my mark. One. Two. mark.”

I sprang from my hiding place. I charged forward and drew my sword. My sword plunged into a guards abdomen with a forward lunge. I pulled back and followed through with a heavy overhand slash. The strike cleaved through several metal rings. I trailed the slash with a spinning kick. My heel landed on the guard’s clavicle. The stutter of breaking bones vibrated through my body. Taking a deep breath, my chi flowed through my body and I unleashed another flurry of attacks. I pushed my foot through the guard’s knee. The guard moaned as his leg snapped and he fell forward. My knee thunked against the visor of their helmet. A dull pain throbbed through my leg. The guard hit the ground while I spun away. I pushed off with my other leg and slammed my sword into the guard’s spine.

“Did you need to be so excessive?” Althaea flicked the black gore from her blade. 

I pulled my sword free and wiped it on a rag tied to my belt. “You said hit them quick. I didn’t want to give them a chance to get back up.”

Althaea shrugged and put her daggers away. “The night’s not over. Try the lock, I’ll keep watch.” She turned her back to me and watched the dark garden.

I shook the door handle, the lock bolt rattled against its box. “It needs to be picked.”

“Switch me spots.”

Althaea knelt down and fiddled with the lock. An icy gust of wind off the bay shook the grasses and flickered the lantern light. The door moaned open on rusty hinges.

“We’re in.”

The smell of salt, rotting flesh and mouldy grain stormed through the open door. We covered our mouths with our hands and forced our way through the stench and hanging bodies.

“What do you think this place is?” The bile climbing from my stomach burned my throat.

Althaea wretched, “It smells like an abandoned larder.”

The door slammed shut leaving us in total darkness. I forced the chunks of my dinner back down.

“One second I can give us some light.”

“Don’t,” Althaea wretched again. “If it smells this bad, I don’t want to see it.” A strong slender hand latched onto mine. “I think I saw the door over here.” Althaea tugged me with her.

We fumbled our way through the dark room. Our hands caressed many slimy corpses and our shins uncovered several crates.

“Found it.” 

Althaea threw open the door. The stale air rushed in and pushed back some of the stench of rot. We tumbled into the kitchen gulping mouthfuls of the cleaner air.

“Do you smell that?” I whispered.

“If it’s death and vinegar, then yes.”

“No,” I took a deep breath. The ever-present scent of decay made me gag. “Incense. It’s faint, but it’s there, below everything else.”

“Whatever it is, it doesn’t matter.” Althaea pointed at a narrow staircase. “You clear this floor, I’ll do the next and meet you in the other tower.”

I left the kitchen through the service door into the dining room. Dust flitted through the air and clung to the box-littered dining table. The smell of sour meat filled the air, undercut by the growing scent of incense. I passed out of the dining room into the entry foyer. Green lamp light silhouetted a pair of guards outside the front door. The wooden floor creaked beneath my feet, but the guards didn’t move. A staircase clung to the wall of the foyer and another door stood opposite the dining room. I turned the handle and eased the door open.

A fresh wave of decaying flesh curled my nose hairs. Pale green light glittered through the cracked door. I held my breath and slipped inside. Pine boxes six to seven feet long sat in ordered rows and stacks. A spiral staircase of wrought iron poked out of the stacks of boxes near the outside wall. Green-flamed candles burned steadily on the walls. I took two more steps into the room. The flap of feathered wings startled me and I dove behind a stack of boxes.

A small vulture glided down the stairs and perched on another stack of boxes. The vulture’s head took in the room, it jumped to another stack and looked again. I watched the vulture repeat its actions four more times before it swooped back to its first stack. The vulture locked eyes with me, cawed once and flew back up the stairs.

I left my hiding spot and followed the vulture up the stairs. The staircase terminated in a library. Magic orbs of sun-bright light bumped against the ceiling. Incense smoke clouded the air and warded off the smell of rot from below. A second spiral staircase between two bookshelves ascended another floor.

I climbed the stairs. My feet made no noise on the heavy iron steps. My head rose above the next floor. A wooden catwalk circled the room halfway to the glass ceiling of the tower. Magical equipment, bubbling cauldrons and racks of spell components covered the floor. The bulky, scaly form of a lizardman hunched over a table. I inched from the stairs and hid behind a rack of drying herbs.

“You can come out. I know you’re there. My familiar sssaw you in my morgue.” The lizardman hissed. He turned and watched me emerge from my hiding spot. “I need a fresssh brain for my exsspiriment.” He patted the mound of stitched-together body parts on the table behind him.

Movement on the catwalk overhead caught my eye. “I’m not giving you anything, Masinissa.” I settled into a defensive stance.

“You act like you have a choicess.” 

Masinissa grabbed a rod off the table and muttered in the language of the arcane. A figure launched itself from the catwalk. It knocked Masinissa to the ground and rammed a blade through his skull.

The story will continue, November 12th,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

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Legends of Cobalt

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Skyway Road

“How do we get to Dawnsky Wharf?” I stood in the assassin’s armoury with Fayaad, Katsu and Althaea.

“We’ll use the skyway road.” Althaea slid a matched set of stilettos into her boots and synched a brace of throwing knives to her waist.

“The streets get dangerous at night,” Fayaad dabbed oil into the joints of a wrist-mounted crossbow. “The skyway road ees just as dangerous eef you don’t know where you are going. Eets not too late to back out.”

Katsu stepped around a rack of spears. A long sword with a gentle curve hung at his hip. “He’ll manage. It’s time to go.”

“You’re only bringing one sword?” Althaea slid two more slender elven blades into scabbards on the small of her back.

I shrugged, “I don’t need more than one.”

“Don’t beg any of us for a spare eef you lose eet.” Fayaad shoulder checked me as he walked out of the armoury.

“He’s upset that you’re coming with us.” Katsu offered me one of the assassin’s blowpipes and a dozen feathered darts. “He spent fifteen years training and he still isn’t allowed out on solo missions. Don’t worry about Fayaad. He’ll get over it.”

I refused the offered weapon. “I don’t want to join your secret society. I’m here to help my friends do what they need to and leave.”

“We know that,” Althaea smiled. “But Fayaad thought Aramil and I should have killed you in Ringtown.”

“That’s not reassuring.” 

I followed the assassins up to the hidden library. My friends and the other assassins sat in near silence attending to personal distractions.

“What are we doing back up here?”

“The skyway road doesn’t run along the ground.” Katsu unlatched the floor to ceiling window. A gust of damp air flickered the fire and the candles. “Fayaad, go.”

Wyanet grabbed my shoulders and pulled my forehead to hers. “Be careful. I will not be there to get you out of trouble.”

Fayaad launched himself out the window.

I winked at Wyanet. “I’ve got a few extra tricks up my sleeve.”

“Althaea, go.” Katsu waved at the sea elf.

Althaea stared at me. “This is the fun part.” She sauntered to the window, crossed her arms and fell backwards out of it.

“Percy, your turn,” Katsu ordered.

I approached the window and stuck my head through it. The flat-topped roof of the next building stretched up from the ground. Fayaad and Althaea waited fifteen feet below on the neighbouring roof.

“Don’t worry,” Katsu clapped me on the back, “The ground will catch you.”

“Not helpful.” I kicked off the window sill. Cool air rushed past me. The roof hurried to meet me. I braced for the landing. My foot connected with something soft. I tucked my head and dropped my shoulder to roll out. I pushed again with my front foot. Whatever I had landed in slid back and I flopped onto my face.

Fayaad snickered. Althaea gasped and offered me her hand.

“Did you think we risk breaking a leg every time we leave?”

I brushed myself off and made sure none of my gear broke. “Hard telling.”

Katsu landed behind me. “I’ve never seen anyone so graceful.”

I rolled my eyes.

“Come on, it’s a half-hour jog to Dawnsky Wharf.” Katsu jogged to the edge of the roof and hopped onto the ledge. “Last one there has cleaning duty.” He jumped to the next roof and continued running.

Fayaad and Althaea chased after Katsu. I chased all three of them south-east along the rooftops. We dodged crumbling chimneys, vaulted over pungent alleys and scaled walls where we had to. The flap of our cloaks, the creek of leather armour, and the slap of our feet marked our passage through the grave silent night. The stench of brine and rotting fish filled the air the farther we ran.

Katsu and Althaea sprinted up the sloped roof of a rowhouse and vanished over its crest. Fayaad wheezed on my heels. I reached the peak and stopped. Wind-tolled bells and ship rigging whispered in the wind. The first two assassins waited on top of a monger’s pavilion thirty feet below. A wide cobblestone road made a chasm between us.

A swift blow blasted into the back of my knee. My legs buckled. I twisted and landed on my back. Clay shingles broke beneath me and dragged me toward the roof’s edge. Fayaad jumped over me, a smile on his face.

My hands scrambled over the clay shingles. I tipped off the roof. Shingles smashed on the dark road that hungered to grab me. I calmed my panicked and racing mind. I focused my chi and fell into the plane of shadows. I ran as far as I could the dark plane and forced myself back into the material plane. I landed in a three-point stance behind the assassins.

Katsu caught Fayaad’s armour and hauled him the rest of the way onto the pavilion. “What happened?”

“Percy tripped.” Fayaad took a few steps further onto the roof. “I tried to catch him, but he fell too far for me to do anything.”

I pushed katsu and Althaea out of my way.

Fayaad’s eyes expanded in the gloom. “Percy! How did you…”

I jabbed my fist into Fayaad’s nose. “I didn’t trip, he pushed me.”

Fayaad staggered back to the precipice. His eyes rolled around and snapped into focus. Tears and snot rolled down Fayaad’s face. He balled his hands into fists and took a meaningful step toward me. Rage burned in his eyes.

I slid my right foot into a fighting stance, narrowing my body.

Katsu stepped between us and put a firm hand on Fayaad’s chest. Althaea wrapped an arm around my abdomen and pulled me back.

“Enough.” Katsu turned his head to look at me. “Whatever issues are between you can wait. Right now we are a team and need to work together. If we don’t, none of us will survive the night.”

“I’m sorry,” Fayaad relaxed. “I did try to catch you.”

I shifted back into a normal stance.

“That’s settled for now.” Katsu pointed at a building to my right. “Masinissa is up there. Let’s move in for a closer look.”

Katsu and Fayaad ran together across the monger pavilions and boat sheds lining the shore. 

“That’s an interesting trick you did.” Althaea ran beside me. “I know magics for teleportation exist, but I thought only wizards, druids, and the arcane gifted could use them. How did you do it?”

“Like I said, I’ve trained for years to fight from and manipulate shadows.”

The story will continue, October 8th,  2020.

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Written by: Sweeney (@oceansoul316 on twitter)

https://ko-fi.com/sweeney

http://bit.ly/2tUG9va

Creating original content in an online space is a time-consuming process. If you find it in your heart, please donate a few dollars at the link above. Thank you, you are appreciated!

Show us your fan art at us with the hashtag #CobaltLegends on Instagram and Twitter for the chance to be featured on one of our posts.