Tales of Lore: Erwhindal’s Story Part 1

I…can’t remember anything…

Why cant I remember anything?

I probably owed somebody money. Isn’t that why most people forget things? Is it?

Why am I talking to myself?

My eyes snap open. It is dim, but fire licks and dances in the near distance. The floor beneath me is cold, almost as chilled as the blasted wind the sweeps across me. For a place on fire, it is freezing!

I stand up, my body feeling weak as if I had been laying there a long time. All of my joints creak. Whatever I drank last night must have been amazing. I take a look around.

This is definitely not…er…

What should it be? I have no idea.

And then a voice other than my own comes into my head.

“This way…”

Who said that? I turn in place trying to find the source.

“Come and find me…”

Whoever it was hiding, they were about to get a thrashing. I set off walking into the dim cavern, heading toward the only thing I can see, the fire.

A shaft of light appears, falling onto a stone with a sword sticking out of it. Okay, it’s official. I’m not awake yet. I’m still out and dreaming. I slap myself in the face a few times to snap out of it.

Of course that doesn’t work.

At least a sword feels familiar. If I know one thing, it is that I’ve used a sword before. Fine, subconscious, I’ll play your little game. Give me a sword and I’ll hack this dreamland to pieces. If only there was some way to get it out of the stone.

It slides free on the first pull. Well then, a convenient dream.

The sound of clattering startles me from my investigation of the weapon. Something is moving in the darkness near to the fire. What the heck…?

Are skeletons supposed to just walk around like that? Did their owners just decide to take something off in the morning instead of put something on?

Well, this is my dream. Let’s see what we can do with this sword…

They come apart like butter. Take that you walking anatomy lessons! Soon all that’s left is a pile of miscellaneous human spare parts. Feeling more confident about this dream, I strut forward.

Woah…he’s a skeleton of something a bit bigger than a human. I haven’t the foggiest what, but something.

It’s my dream right? Charge!

This one is a bit more hearty than his smaller peers. Despite my confidence that this is only a dream, I involuntarily flinch to one side to dodge the counter swing. It’s a good thing I did.

The club glances off my forearm and the whole side of my body goes numb. I spin around, mind reeling from the shock of how much that hurt.

In anger, I hack the thing’s shins in two, bringing it crashing to the ground. I try to ignore how badly my arm still hurts as I keep walking.

Oh look, somebody is standing up ahead. Finally, somebody to explain this hallucination. I thought that black robes were acceptable only during funerals or…oh dear.

“You didn’t have to destroy my minions like that,” the creature rasps at me. “Not very nice, considering your situation.”

It was the voice that had summoned me earlier. Sheesh, he could have at least asked politely instead of being so insistent.

“Those were yours?” I say back, massaging my arm. “Sorry about that.” I wasn’t sorry. “Who are you?”

It’s hard to read the expression of a skull.

“You don’t know me?” he asks. “How the…how could you not…” He starts bouncing his scythe up and down. “This is the absolute cliche, woman. Did you really lose that knowledge too?”

“Guess so,” I spit back, annoyed he is talking down to me like he’s somebody special. Newsflash, I’m on a roll today for separating skulls from the rest of the skeletons.

His robe suddenly flares out. “I am Death, master of the souls of the afterlife!” The cold breeze whips up into a hurricane. The fires leap higher. “You will give me the respect I deserve!”

“Death, huh?” I say. The wind dies down to its usual cold breeze. “What does Death want with me?”

Was the skull grinning? “Oh Erwhindal, I hate to break it to you. You’re dead, hun.”

Hold up. I’m what? Isn’t this all some drink-fueled hallucination that I’ll snap out of at any second?

I fold my arms. “Prove it.”

Death shrugs. “Fine.” He snaps his fingers.

And then I die.