(This piece is part of a work in progress, a continuation of a piece I wrote in 2014, where I spent 20 minutes writing what I had brewed in my head so far.
I’ve since wanted to go back and rewrite that piece, make it closer to how I want it to be. I probably will at some point, and make this into something more fully formed, but I wanted to see what ideas had come together so far.)
Razir ran on, tired, sweat on his back drenching his shirt.
He hadn’t slept in two days, having woken screaming. The owner and several guests at the inn had tried unsuccessfully to calm him down. He couldn’t forget the sight of the old, burned warrior lying on the beach, telling him to protect the Queen as he quickly dissolved to dust and disappeared into the sand.
It was all he could think about.
That, and the feeling of the oar handle he had held pressed in a vice-like grip. The icy coldness of it had almost burned against his skin as he’d awoken from the terrible nightmare.
But Razir knew enough about the world to know what happened could happen again, at any time. One doesn’t simply wake up in the Deadrealms without dying. Not unless the Queen had summoned you there.
And she only called you before her for one reason – you had some particular skill, some knack that she needed, some thing that might keep the armies of the Fiend away from the cliffs, away from the beach, away from any and all souls of the dead who he might bind to bolster his forces.
Razir had no intention of becoming a deathless soldier in her war. He would no swear her oath, would not become one of her agents in life or death.
Razir’s mother had always told him that his father was Oathed. He was never told to which of the Ascended the man was sworn, and no one else seemed to know.
He’d always believed it had been a lie to give his mother comfort when the stranger that was his father had gotten bored and moved on. Many had told the same story to countless other lovers. It was a useful lie.
But one that Razir could never bring himself to retell.
And now, on he ran. Perhaps he could find some place of safety, somewhere that the dream couldn’t pull him back. If it could.
Razir didn’t want to take any chances. He kept running, couldn’t let the tiredness take him. He had to reach the old man and ask him. He would know what had happened.
He would know what to do.
(That’s about all I have so far. Short, but something. I have some more but it’s not the bit that comes next. Or after that. Maybe after that, but probably not. More soon.)