Post 16: Fair in the Games of Men

If you’re tired of me making short stories in response to Tale Foundry prompts, then that’s just too bad because here’s another one. Like the story from Post 15, this one was also read aloud on the Twitch stream and is available for viewing and listening pleasure on the Tale Foundry Scrapyard Youtube channel. My story pops into the video at the 1:27:57 time stamp or thereabouts but I highly recommend listening to all of the stories from the stream because there are some very talented writers represented. I was just as excited about this one getting read by Benji Cook as I was for the last one. That man has a voice of magic.

Okay, I’ve made you all wait long enough. Buckle up because the prompt for this story was: “A Roll of the Bones.”

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Fair in the Games of Men

The man left the comfort of the tavern’s lanterns and began his trek down the rutted road. The full moon afforded him enough light to see by, even though it was late. Coins he would count again once he was home clinked against their companions in the pouch weighing down his belt. He patted the little leather sack, comforted by its presence.

The town faded as he walked on, anxious to get his winnings home. He was making good time. Already the thick stand of yew marking the halfway point on his journey rose before him, the road disappearing into it. But he knew the way well and had no fear of the trees.

Attention on his weighted purse, he did not see the lupine shadow step onto the path. Only when the creature growled did he realize his danger. Clear and bathed in yew-filtered moonlight only moments ago, the road was now hidden behind thick banks of smoke-like fog. Two burning red eyes fixed on his as the canid shadow took a step forward.

“Dear Shuck, I mean no harm. I am simply going home,” he said, hoping his voice was calmer than he felt. Perhaps the beast would leave him be if he did not sound afraid.

“No harm?” the Black Shuck growled, sparks spilling from its mouth. “You gamble with the lives of children as currency and say you mean no harm?”

The man gripped his purse. “The game was fair,” he said hotly.

Thick smoke swirled closer, bringing with it the hazy form of the Black Shuck. “I care not for what is fair in the games of men,” the creature snarled, more hot sparks flying from between its teeth. “You have traded the souls of children and therefore have forfeit your own.”

Now solid, the Black Shuck leapt at him, bringing its swirling banks of smoke-like fog with it to roll over the man before he managed to take a breath to scream. It continued to stream down the road, leaving behind only a pouch of spilled coins glinting in a patch of moonlight.

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