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!
SECRETS IN SULSUT
THE FIRST SECRET:A SECRET VENGEANCE
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.
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…