“Well, you look mean.” came a voice.
Cyme felt the needle pierce her skin. Compared to the torments that these dead men had done to her, it was nothing. She could do nothing but whimper as the thought of their touch and the humiliations they would bring upon her disgusted her.
Hippolyta help her, she would do anything for just a sip of water. This is what they had done to the great warrior, they had finally broken her.
As the needle left her bruised skin power the likes she had never know burnt its way through Orian woman. An energy the likes she had never felt before, channelled itself through her blood stream and through her very core. Not even in the lusts of war and battle had Cyma ever felt like this.
She opened her eyes in time to see a flash of light that cut the shackles that bound her strength. “Ahhhhhhhhh.” she screamed in rage and defiance. The gods, as if listening to the roar let out a thunder clap. The horn of war and victory.
Ready to spill blood, Cyme stood and looked to her nearest foe, ready to strangle the life from him with her bare hands if she must.
Another burst of thunder caught the warrior’s attention, there she saw a man holding a sword and a black hand crossbow.
At first Cyme thought about only killing this beast, and imagined her thumbs gorging out his eyes, and her teeth bearing themselves into his neck. Her ears rang as the man’s crossbow exploded, and Cyme was forced back from uncertainty.
Her eyes drifted downward and saw that below the stranger’s feet was one of her captors. The man was at the top of the Orian’s woman’s kill list, he and his friends had hurt and humiliated Cyme over and over again. He had gloated that he would be the one to break her and he almost had.
Now her tormentor lay there, tears dribbling down his cheeks, his kneecaps and arms bleeding on the cage floor.
To Cyme’s surprise the stranger handed her his sword and asked, “Friends?”
Instead of replying, she accepted the sword and got ready to slaughter both men. Only the man pealed himself away from her, displaying his back and calmly exiting the cage.
Fighting between the urge or cutting down the stranger and this man she really wanted to see bleed, Cyme chose to execute the latter. Wanting to enjoy the suffering n the bastard’s face, she put him on his back.
He must have seen what was about to come because he held up his arms, “No. Please. Ahhhhh”
Cyme’s face twisted in bitter pleasure as she drove the blade into her captor’s penis. Enjoying the agony on her molester’s face, she taunted, “Enjoying it? Say that you like it, whore.”
She regretted her actions almost immediately. She had planned for days on her revenge, imagining the horrors that she would inflict upon this monster for his crimes against her. Her eagerness had costed her possibly years of mutilating her prey, now she would have to settle for seeing this pig bleed out.
Another thunder clap drew her attention and she saw the stranger turn his bizarre tool towards a man with an axe. The slaver staggered under the magical blow but he did not stop.
Too fuelled with rage at the loss of both his allies and his precious toys, drew closer. The stranger’s hand crossbow must have needed time to reload before he pocketed and pulled out a second one, this one made of silver that glinted in the low sunlight.
The man with the axe saw his victory and brought down his weapon, his face read with fury.
The stranger simply stepped into his attacker’s strike and then, though Cyme refused to believe it, through the man with the axe over his shoulder and onto the ground without effort.
Winded, the slaver was able to look up into the barrel of the stranger’s hand crossbow.
“You know, I’m starting to get the impression that you don’t like me very much.” The stranger said as he squeezed the crossbow’s trigger.
Cyme jumped as the axeman’s face turned into meaty pulp, his brains being tenderised into the ground.
The stranger with the explosive crossbow looked to Cyme, who moved back, fearing that she would join her tormentor’s fate. “You done?” he asked.
The Orian woman gazed down at her molester who was morning the loss of his most favourite weapon. She sneered and raised her sword to finish him off, but she managed to stop herself. Not out some concept of mercy, such ideals were systematically and brutally removed from the Orian women, but because death would be a mercy to the pig.
Let him bleed out, let him live long enough for his penis to fester, let him live long and miserable existence. Getting free of what had been her home since she got herself captured, Cyme locked the door. If there truly was justice in the world, the man would die of hunger and thirst.
Now she could fully appreciate the battlefield.
While this particular outfit was not large compared to some of the scavenges who followed behind the the shadow of Cyme’s own army, Jagon’s had amassed a sizeable force. However, the slaver’s superior numbers mattered little.
Dozens of body’s now littered the ground. Both men and women were left to rot upon the camp, the leaving the birds a great feast.
While his weapons gave him an unfair advantage, Cyme could not help but appreciate her rescuer’s methods. From the tracks in the muddy ground, he had come in as harsh and as suddenly as a hurricane, carving his way through the slavers.
Keeping her senses on any potential threat, the Orian knelt down to examine one of the man’s victims. She had never seen the wound before. What appeared to be a bolt, no. A bullet. Something round and small, like fired from a sling. Maybe a ball-bearing, but launched as such a velocity that it penetrated the man’s flesh with little damage to the area around it.
Turning the slaver over she saw that whatever had entered him had not exited so cleanly, his back had a sizeable chunk taken out of it.
The stranger viewed the carnage before him, “So. Which one was Jagon?” he asked aloud.
Cyme pointed to the one who had been swinging the axe, “That is the monster there.”
The stranger looked down at the stain that had been his quarry, “Okay then.” he looked up at Cyme, “Right o… Oh. Um, do you want to put something…” he gestured to the half naked woman who he had just saved.
The Orian looked down at her naked body and was further shocked. Her previous hosts had not been kind. They had gone to great lengths to wound and keep the warrior woman from gaining an advantage as well as punish her for knocking out a few of their teeth. Except for some soreness and some blood stains, Cyme was fully healed.
As her tongue rolled around in her mouth, the warrior’s eyes shot open. She touched the insides of her mouth and stepped back in shock. Over her years of being in the Orian army, she had lost a number of teeth in brawls and skirmishes. Examining herself further, the Orian saw that her many scars had vanished, and her tattoos had aged and become warn as if she had aged.
“Did you do this?” Cyme asked, tapping at her newly formed teeth to make sure that they were real and that this was not a dream nor hallucination.
“Yes. If you want, could you help me loot these losers? I’m not exactly getting paid to do this.”
It did not take long for the pair of them to take what goods they could, “Filthy pigs.” Cyme spat as she futilely searched for her belongings. While she found her sword and bow, her armour had been reforged to fit a man’s body and what belongings that she had one her at the time of her capture had been sold.
Needing armour no matter if it fit correctly or not, the Orian put on scout’s leather gear. She moved to the stranger, “I am Cyme of the Red Spears.” she bit her lip, “Former Red Spears. Warrior of Orian. And you have not only saved my life, but I fear many many nights of humiliation. And you stranger?”
“Frank. I was with…” Frank stopped himself, “I’m retired. You wouldn’t recognise the army or the unit I was with. Now I’m just a bartender.”
Cyme could not help but smile. Frank had to be one of the tallest men that she had ever seen, tall enough that she suspected that he might have giant blood in him. And while he had a young face, Cyme had seen the ease in which he had taken life and bested the camp’s mightiest in single combat.
“A solider is a solider, no matter what he says or does to convince himself otherwise.” she viewed the bodies around them, their weapons and purses now Frank’s and Cyme to negotiate for. “You have done me and the world a great service and I seek to make us even. If it is trade or work you seek, go to Penthesilea. Or better yet, find Ajax. He will find you work and hospice.”
“As for me. I must search for my sisters. Not all of the Red Spears would have been captured and sold as slaves.” She placed her hand on her bosom, “I hope to never find you an enemy, Frank.”
“Actually,” Frank gave the woman a cursory glance. Orian, like many of her kind, had darker skin. Not black but more of a light bronze. She wasn’t exactly pretty but she wasn’t hideous either. “I was wondering if I could get you a drink?”
A hard laugh erupted from Cyme, “I am flattered child,” her face turned melancholy, “but it is too soon for me.” she rubbed at her arms at the memory what had happened in that cage. No, Cyme doubted that she could ever enjoy a man’s company ever again.
“Too bad,” Frank said and reached out his hand and grasped at an invisible door knob. In the blink of an eye a wooden door materialised before him. “I make one hell of a drink.”
With a simple pull, Frank opened the door. Beyond the portal, an gob-smacked Cyme was able to see a well lit chamber. An entire room just sitting there, right in the middle of a massacre, and in that room she saw fourteen women, all huddling together, fear in their eyes.
As he began to toss in the mounds of swag that he had captured from the slavers, Cyme began to circle the door like a buzzard on a corpse. She discovered that while she saw the door when she was right in front of it, the construct disappeared when she moved to the side or got behind it.
She watched, open mouthed as Frank threw the better worn weapons into the doorway where it all vanished.
“What is this?” Cyme whispered.
“It’s called a pub,” David said and stepped inside and held his hand to the warrior, “Come on. You look like you could use that drink.”
Mesmerised by the magical doorway, Cyme reached out her hand. Frank’s hand felt as soft as a newborn’s, but despite the lack of calluses there was a hidden strength behind it. He smiled as he guided the Orian inside the Abstract.
Cyme had never seen magic before. Orian was a kingdom that that had been built upon the creed of strength and iron. And while it was rumoured that the queen held court with mystical and spiritual advisors, Orian was a kingdom that no wizard would find safety in. As for the Gods, well that was a different matter. But real magic was something that Cyme had no experience with.
“Why have you brought us here?” a woman with a single arm cried out, brining Cyme back from her wonderment.
It took a second but Orian recognised the woman she shared the room with and she sneered. While Frank had saved her, he had also saved the other slaves, and while Cyme approved, in theory, she would have preferred to have her unit here instead of a cowed lot of simpletons.
“Welcome to the Abstract,” Frank said as he moved to the counter. “Before you ask it is a tavern, slash inn, slash general store. Don’t worry about the price, Jagon politely paid for everything. So what can I get you all?”
The Orian snorted at hearing that the slavers had paid for her drinks. While she had been initially taken off her feet by the sudden show of such potent magic, the Orian, especially the soldiers, were not unbalanced for long.
“If I am to have a drink on that filth monger’s account. I shall have the most expensive wine that you have.” Cyme declared.
Frank moved his down under the counter and pulled out a glass bottle filled with a purplish red liquid. At first Cyme didn’t now what she was looking at until she saw a hunted face appear within the container.
“This is Pleo’Vale’Six soul taker. The wine is made from extracting the dung of a extra dimensional god. The creature feeds on the souls of the most twisted, self-righteous, disillusioned mother fucking priests in the multiverse. Their consciousness is digested in a cosmic thunderstorm. Meaning the creature’s stomach. Their vile essence compressed into a single tear drop which my supplier than bottles.”
“I would recommend that you take your time with it. The hangovers have been known to include headaches and mass genocide.”
Cyme stared at the bottle for a long moment. The ghostly face of the monster inside it stared at her and then smiled as if daring her to try and drink him. Having heard the description of this particular vintage, Cyme was not eager to request a drink.
“Or.” Frank trailed off and pulled out another bottle, “This is a bottle of Merlot. Nothing special about, but it’s generally well liked.”
“I’ll take that one.” Cyme said.
Wine was more of a status symbol among the various peoples of the land. With water from rivers and ponds being known to harbour disease. Cyme, detested the drink, preferring to remain sober and sharp. But, as this was a tavern and her throat was as dry as a desert and having had nothing but piss shoved her maw, the warrior relented.
Overall, she had had worse drinks.
Drawn by the smell of alcohol and thirst, the slaves drew closer. “Don’t, he put a spell on them.” the one armed woman said.
Cyme stopped drinking.
“Oh, for crying out loud.” Frank cried out in exasperation. He was quickly getting sick of this. He looked at the state of the women and calmed down. “Turkish bath, large, festive.” the bartender called out and clapped his hands.
On the other side of the bar, a door appeared. The wizard pointed at the door, “You’re lucky I’m in a good mood.” Not seeing the cowering slaves push each other to enter the new room, Frank let out another sigh. “Why am I doing this again?”