Secrets in Sulsut – Episode 3

In this episode, Malric escapes the temple and is healed by the wizard Sol.



Malric shinnied out of the window of a squat, black temple. He did not even try to break his fall to the ground. He was barely cognizant of the sensation of falling at all, or the fact that he was lying face down in the dirt.

After several minutes of difficult breathing, Malric unsteadily rose, still living a vivid dream of battle with phantom ships and luminous skeletal warriors.

Waving his imaginary saber and issuing meek battle cries, Malric staggered into the gardens behind the boulevard known as Tin-Ka Tah.


The last thing Malric remembered was stumbling out of the Temple of Tin-Ka Tah, the venom of a giant centipede coursing through his veins and the bitter taste of Galron’s betrayal on his lips . . .

He came to. His eyes swam dizzily for several moments, lost in the golden brilliance of Sol’s robes, and finally came into focus.

“Sol?” Malric cried. “But how—”

“I could sense that you were close to death, Malric. Our destinies are closer than you think. I sent out R. David Fulcher 256 Attis, my best owl, to be my eyes in the city. He led me to you.”

“How long have I slept?” inquired Malric.

“It has been a week since I discovered you in the gardens. You should really consider becoming a mage, Malric. It could really improve your quality of living,” said Sol in his old granite voice.

“Even your ill humor suits me well tonight, Sol. I thought I’d never swallow poison again after leaving the Thieves’ Guild.”

Suddenly Malric began to cough, and his temple grew warm. “One moment,” Sol stated, getting up slowly to retrieve a wooden bowl full of amber liquid. “Drink this,” he commanded.

“What is it?” asked Malric.

“Drink it.” Malric looked uncertainly at Sol, and then at the contents of the bowl. Steam rose gently off of the liquid’s surface, which was like a thick syrup. It smelled faintly of wildflowers.

Malric sighed and drank the warm fluid deeply. His eyelids grew heavy. “Thank you, Sol. I owe you much,” he whispered.

“Rest now,” Sol replied, but Malric was already asleep.

To be continued…

Secrets in Sulsut – Episode 2

In this episode, Marlic learns of Galron’s treachery, and encounters a new horror in the black temple of the Dharin Ki.



“Watch the center tile,” Malric warned. Malric withdrew his blade, Sliver, from its sheath, expecting danger ahead.

The two thieves crept up a narrow spiraling staircase, into a corridor lined with heavy wooden doors and paved with eastern furs and weaves.  They were still several levels beneath the ground.

Malric stepped forward into nothingness. For an agonizing moment he swayed on the lip of the pit, watching the carpet that had covered it fall into the darkness below.

Then he was pushed from behind. Plunging headfirst, Malric attempted to roll his body so that he would land on his hands, but he did not complete the revolution and struck the hard stone with his back.

Through the haze of his pain, Malric could see the square of light above him, and Galron’s bearded, scornful face peering over the side.

Malric could not study the bitter picture for long. Slithering through the bones and old blades that covered the floor of the pit came a much older servant of the temple, a long segmented body with countless legs that clicked over the debris as it advanced. Its hungry red eyes and slick mandibles were visible in the near darkness.

Malric sat up and fished among the garbage for Sliver, which had been knocked from his hand upon impact. The beast was almost upon him.

“By Erahorn, Galron shall pay for this,” Malric promised the dead around him. He removed a rusty short sword from the pile.

The centipede reared up its forebody to strike. Malric dodged its mandibles and thrust at the creature. The hard plates that covered the creature’s underbelly deflected the blow.

The creature whipped its long body around Malric’s legs and toppled him as he was rising.

There was an immense pain in Malric’s ankle, and he shrieked. One of the centipede’s hook-like mandibles had found purchase, and the other was greedily trying to take hold.

Malric’s arm was shaking as he raised the blade. Using both hands, he guided the tip into a groove between the creature’s head and the segment before it. He then threw all of his weight forward and down, and there was a sickening crunch as the centipede’s head tore free from the rest of the body and the sword pierced the soft mush of its brain.

Finally the heavy animal chain around Malric’s legs was still, and Malric heaved the carcass from him. Reaching down, he placed a hand on either side of the creature’s dismembered head and worked the mandible out of his ankle, tossing the eggshell skull against the wall.

The stench of the creature’s body was suffocating. Malric looked up with fire in his eyes, but Galron was gone. Malric removed climbing spikes from his belt and steadied himself against the wall before beginning his ascent. He felt faint, and he vomited into the rubbish as he dug for Sliver. He finally found the dagger and wasted no time in mounting the wall. The creature’s venom was already making his head swim.

To be continued…

Secrets in Sulsut – Episode 1

I’ve decided to try the S&S (“Sword & Sorcery”) Fantasy genre for this month’s series. 

“Secrets in Sulsut” was one of my rare attempts at this genre, and I hope it echoes some of the great S&S tales from Robert E. Howard and Fritz Leiber. 

The protagonist is a thief named Malric living in the medieval harbor city of Sulsut.

I hope you enjoy this brief diversion into S&S!



North of the run-down slums that lined the street known as the Beggars’ Handshake, there is a boulevard of temples and shrines known as Tin-Ka Tah, or “Walk to Stars” in the ancient tongue.

On this boulevard there is a squat, black temple of the Dharin Ki, an elusive sect who walk the streets of Sulsut in grim crimson cloaks, never revealing their features to the light. Their bodies move strangely beneath the folds of their clothing, and their steps are unusually long. In Sulsut, these worshippers and their temple are avoided and disliked by the human residents of the city.

And in this temple, under the composite shades of darkness, stalks a thief named Malric.

Guild-brother Dirk was dying. His body twitched and rocked violently in the flickering torchlight, sick with poison.

Malric and Guild-brother Galron worked feverishly at Dirk’s belt, cutting loose the small pouches of gems that had been pried from the ornaments of the Dharin Ki temple. The murderer lay beside its victim, the black exoskeleton in the region of its thorax crushed and oozing green blood. Its fly-like, multi-faceted eyes stared into an apocalypse it would never witness.

Finally the worshipper’s venom ran its course, and Dirk was still.

Malric wished that the combat had never taken place. He wished that Dirk was still alive. He wished that he was roaming the streets of Sulsut, thieving freely as opposed to being trapped in this black shrine.

Most of all, he wished that the worshipper had not thrown off its cloak before attacking Dirk. The six, many jointed appendages and the weeping antennae of the creature were the product of strong sorcery indeed.

After removing the items from Dirk’s belt, Malric removed a ring with an odd signet from Dirk’s hand.

Galron watched him curiously as he did this.

“I find this signet interesting,” Malric said.

“A minor pilfering of Dirk’s, nothing more,” Galron replied in a disinterested tone.

“Perhaps,” Malric replied, stowing the object into his pouch.

“I think that it is best that we leave this accursed place,” hissed Galron, his beady green eyes madly searching the passageway.

“Aye, brother.”

Their pace was cautious. It was as if the two of them moved within a cloud of silence, so accomplished were they at their craft. Tapestries hung over the doorways of the chambers that were adjacent to the corridor, undulating with the incense-laden draft, each hiding a potential adversary. Jade idols with ruby eyes stared back at them from niches in the wall. They did not stop to pry the gems loose.

Malric stepped forward and froze. The floor beneath his left foot sank just slightly with his weight, and now attempted to push the foot upwards with spring tension. Malric placed his other foot on the tile to hold it down. He motioned for Galron to step back, and then he sprang forward onto his stomach. He felt a rush of air pass by his head, and watched as a huge blade rolled overhead and disappeared into a slot in the wall.

“By the gods of Erahorn, brother, that was close!” whispered Malric.

To be continued…