Ice and the Fire

Jim Stitzel

I dabble a little in a lot of things — writing, webcomics, gaming, photography, web design, music, and more. I write code full-time and words in the gaps in between.


Malika's rise to consciousness was agonizing. She needed more sleep, but her shoulder was like ice. The deathless' grip, it seemed, had not entirely relented, dragging her from the brief respite of unconsciousness.

She looked for Morduth and panicked momentarily when she couldn't find it. Then her fingers touched the hilt down by her hip, and she sighed with relief. She curled her fingers around it and drew it up where she could feel its comforting shape.

The holy man and his companion were nearby, deep in conversation. Their voices low, Malika couldn't make out what they were saying, but it didn't matter. She knew what needed to be done. Moving slowly, carefully, she shifted Morduth so that it lay across her body, lifting her bad arm to touch the sword's edge.

The holy man's companion looked up at the that moment, a look of alarm of his face. "Young lady, don't-" he began.

"I'm sorry," she interrupted. "This be the only way." And she dragged her arm along the blade, cutting deep and calling forth blood.


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