thighs. His hair was thick, a deep red, and decorated with braids and
finger bones. Scars marked his body, signs of a rough life.
Gulping, I managed to tear my eyes away from his sword. "Kill my kind?"
The warrior laughed heartily, closing the gap between us. "Yes. All
you little Balance-loving pansies. Can't pick a side, think you're
better than the rest of us."
He'd be within striking distance soon, so I took several hurried steps
back. "Balance IS a side," I rebutted, keeping my eyes on him even as
I stumbled through quarrelling hounds.
Kurlog paused, tipping his head. "Go on. I would hear this."
Quelling my nervousness, I did my best to frame my rioting thoughts.
The pain in my shoulder didn't help. "Balance is a combination of
Chaos and Order, not the lack of them. It embodies both forces,
blending them, making them something new."
He stepped forward, and I stepped back. "What about the Gray Lords
who remain neutral? They're all null and void and empty." Firelight
gleamed on his short sword.
I shrugged. "That's the way some handle it. Not every Order Lord is
about strict control and bland similarity. Not every Chaos Lord plays
at destruction and randomness." Kurlog took another step, and I found
my back at a wall. "Even choosing to be neutral is a choice. It is
it's own side to the forces of the universe."
My stomach plunged when Kurlog took two long steps, sword raised,
bearing down on me. The sword plunged into the wooden wall behind me,
and the warrior scooped me up in beefy arms. The movement sent fiery
pain from my spirit wound, blocking anything I might have felt from
the kiss he stole.
I was breathless when he put me down, barely able to stand as he
laughed heartily. "Do you know how long I've waited for someone to
finally say that?"
Kurlog took my hand, guiding me back to his throne. "Every minion of
the Gray Lords I find, I put the same question to them. Most of them
are pathetic little things. They don't realize there is a choice."
"So you kill them?" My shoulder continued to burn, and sweat beaded
on my forehead. "Just for not answering a stupid question?" I wanted
to sit down, take a moment to catch my breath. I thought I could even
relax around the crazy warrior.
"It's more like culling the herd." Kurlog sat, pulling me into his
lap. I was reminded of being a little girl dandled on my father's
knee, but no direct memory rose with it. I ignored the awkwardness,
and let my body sag against his chest.
Kurlog was surprised, stiffening briefly. He touched my face, and I
whimpered slightly as the pain in my shoulder grew. "Are you all
"I was wounded on my way to this dimension," I replied. "My companion
healed the physical damage, but he said my spirit was still broken."
A shudder travelled my spine, and I winced again.
"Doesn't that just suck?" he asked, the humor in his voice subdued for
once. "I'm no healer, but I have some strong liquor. It should keep
the pain at bay."
I nodded, Kurlog's beard tickling my face. "That would be nice." A
wench drifted over with a flagon. Kurlog helped me sit up, an arm
around my waist, and I drank deeply. The liquor was cold, almost icy,
and my teeth ached while I drank. It hit my gut like a fist,
immediately draining the pain from my shoulder.
"Oh, that hit the spot," I said, sagging in his grip. I giggled, my
shoulder not bothering me for the first time since I'd gotten here.
"It's almost as good as being healed."
"But it's not healing you. And it's get you good and drunk." The
warrior kept his arms around me, making me feel safe. "There are
parasites in this region that will latch onto you if they find you.
Broken souls are yummy to them."
"How do you know?" I asked dreamily.
"Because I created them."