On Life, Death, and All Manner of States in Between (Part 3)

Michael O. Varhola

consider it appropriate for inclusion in the name of any fighting maneuver he could imagine.

Arabasz was fortunate in the extreme for two reasons. Firstly, having forgotten the lady’s sword in an inconsiderate moment, he was neither spitted upon it, nor shortened by it. Arabasz took this very well, and it went far in ensuring the enduring nature of their friendship, which had yet to occur but will become evident in due time. Secondly, Selenius had heard something of the tumult going on no great distance away, and, dropping his chisels and assorted other tools of gravening, he took himself to see what occurred. When he came upon the altercation, of which only an incomplete rendition has been so far described, he quickly grasped a number of particulars that had evaded Arabasz in his haste to remain alive.

Selenius, wizard that he was, was more or less versed in many brands of occult lore, through the reading of forgotten texts in abhorrent languages, such as the one in which he found mention of the Black Emerald now lodged in place of his right eye. Thus, he immediately understood the pallid aura, pale features, shadowed eyes, and blackened lips of the lady’s now un-cowled companion to denote vampirism, rather than particular fashion sense. Selenius, knowing many of the affectations of such terrible creatures for of the reasons previously described, understood that the vampire had dominated the will of the fine young lady in the prominent cuirass. For that reason, she stood meekly as the bloodsucker drew her head aside and bent toward her tender neck. With a pair of simple finger gestures, Selenius lost no time in setting the looming vampire on fire.

Immediately the villain rounded on the source of its discomfort, roared, and flew at the old man. In very short order, several things occurred. The lady, as strong-willed young Amazons will do, instantly shook off the power of the vampire and drove her sword through its back to project from the front of the burning robes, narrowly missing Selenius’s startled face. Arabasz, having completed Frenzied Iron Wheel to his satisfaction and the shamblers' and former crawlers' detriment, leapt at the back of the flaming figure that loomed, arms outstretched, over Selenius, the very body he had been hire to guard, in Falcon Takes the Stoat. Both feet crashed into the ominous figure's back, driving it to the ground,