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Blood, Steel, and Curses

Lucia Coinin

For as long as Lucia could remember, the Ulven people had been at peace with one another. Sure, there’d been a squabble here and there, but nothing more. Her mother, the infamous Brigh, had made sure she knew how to wield a sword like any true Ulven. But Lucia had never dreamed, not even in her darkest nightmares, that one day she would raise her hand to another Ulven.

As she sat by the fire, still nursing her wounds from that day, her mind drew her back, into the swamp-ridden forest. She’d fallen behind by no fault of her own; cut off from the fleeing group by two of the Greytide warriors. She’d hidden then, much to her shame. But she knew that if she didn’t, they would show her no mercy. She’d thought they were moving on, was almost certain of it, when the last remaining warrior, the leader so it seemed, spotted her through the trees.

She could still hear the bloodlust in his battle cry; still feel her blood run cold as he rushed towards her with murder in his eyes. She’d done it then, used her newly trained powers to push him back into a tree, stunning him and stopping his rush. She’d kept pushing him, over and over again, back into the swamp. But when her mana was finally depleted, she’d felt lost and utterly helpless. Until, as she looked into the eyes of the advancing Greytide, she recalled the words of her mother, “You cannot always be prepared for battle. You can try, but you will eventually fail. In these times of need, look to your mother, look to Gaia, for aid. Let her be your sword & shield. She will protect you in your darkest hour. Never forget, she is always with you.” And Lucia did exactly as her mother had said, moving to put one of the forest’s trees between herself and her enemy. She’d used it, took up Gaia as a shield to protect her from him then. The tree blocked the path of his spear, helped her dodge his repeated attempts to skewer her. Eventually she grew tired and could no longer dodge his blows. It was only then that she cried out for help. But it was too late and the Greytide leader stabbed her, in the stomach, the only time he’d touched her that day. Finally Drifa & the wounded Greytide turncoat, two of her group who had also fallen behind, caught up to her and kept him away from her long enough for her to run, slowly dripping blood onto the forest floor. She’d made it to the village, but just barely ahead of the Greytide attackers.

She’d cursed them that day, screaming to Gaia for vengeance. She’d never done it before, never truly damned anyone before. She didn’t even know if it would work. But she did know one thing for certain; never in her life had Lucia put so much hatred into her words. It burned in her blood at this very moment, her stomach aching in remembrance of the Greytide’s blade. They would pay for what they’d done; they’d pay dearly. She would see to it personally.

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