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Flash Fiction Friday ~ By the Blade of a Barbarian Pt. 4


If you aren’t caught up with Gortha’s adventure, please see my previous posts!

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

Gortha’s first thought, when she awoke, was wondering how the battle had gone. Her next thought, as she opened her eyes to see darkness, was bewilderment at her continued existence.

Her arms were bound behind her; her ankles were restricted, as well. Still, she believed that she could break the thin rope with some effort. Her planning was interrupted by the sound of shuffling nearby.

It was distant, so she knew that it came from outside her dark prison. Holding her breath, Gortha listened intently, trying to determine how many goblins were present and why they had captured her rather than kill her.

She knew that she needed to escape and expose the Griffons as the traitorous scum they were. However, her first task would be to escape her imprisonment, find her sword, and kill as many of the flop-eared creatures as she could on her way out.

The barbarian heard her captors speaking in low voices outside, but she couldn’t make out what they were saying. Even so, the tone and pitch of the voices told her enough.

Those Griffon bastards captured me, not the goblins! Gortha bared her teeth in the darkness, letting out a low growl. Her headache from the knockout blow throbbed as she strained against the bonds. Tempus, grant me strength, she prayed to her god. The ropes around her forearms snapped, then she made quick work of the ones on her ankles.

She crawled carefully on her hands and knees, feeling around in the darkness for a wall, door, or other object she could use to get her bearings. Her outstretched hands finally touched the stretched, animal hide wall. Gortha dug her fingers underneath it, trying to tug it up in order to get a good look at where she was being kept. It took some effort due to the fact that the Griffons had apparently nailed the wall down into the hard-packed earth. Still, with some murmurs to Tempus strengthening her and more than a few curses, the muscular barbarian was able to pry it free enough to see outside.

She could tell that the day was darkening into dusk from what little she could see. The sun was already behind the treeline of Lurkwood. Gortha could also make out Griffon tribesmen, a lot of them, nearby. There wouldn’t be any easy way to get past them, but she was beyond caring about getting out without more than a little bloodshed.

Now, where is… There. She spotted the tribe’s armory where her sword would be kept. It wasn’t far, so she figured that she could find her sword and make a break for it before they were able to get their self-satisfied heads out of their asses.

A sound behind her made her jump up and spin around, only to be thrown to the ground by a pair of burly warriors in thick, layered, leather armor. The door to her prison had been opened while she lay like a fool on the floor.

“We should have a word, Gortha Goblinreaver,” said the silhouette in the doorway.

Flash Fiction Friday ~ By the Blade of a Barbarian, Pt. 3


If you aren’t caught up on Gortha’s tale, you can find previous work here:

Part 1
Part 2

For the first time since anyone present could remember, the Griffons and Black Ravens fought together, side by side.

The swarm of goblins boiled out from amidst the trees of Lurkwood, howling and waving their rusty weapons before them. Gortha’s experience fighting them had given her the ability to understand most of their tongue. She was determined to put her knowledge to the test before the day was done. The loyal Raven would find out the truth of the sudden resurgence of goblin raids.

Her greatsword cleaved through into one creature in front of her, and Gortha used the same movement to slice into another within range. Goblin warriors fell all around her, cut down by both her tribe and the Griffons. She paused for a moment, struck by a sudden realization.

Her kin fought ferociously and without remorse, but they killed cleanly, giving the creatures a quick death. In stark contrast, their “friends” murdered the goblins eagerly and often cruelly, cutting off limbs or dealing nonlethal but extremely painful damage before ending their lives with a thrust to the lungs so they would drown in their own blood or with a long-lasting gut wound.

Her disgust for the actions of the other tribe grew every second she watched. Then, she noticed a pair of shadows just within the treeline. By their small and squat shapes, she assumed they were a cowardly couple of goblins. While she watched, however, one lifted a hand toward a trio of Ravens fighting alongside each other and making quick work of their opponents. Flames erupted from the ground beneath them, setting the yellow grass alight as well as their clothing.

A shaman! Gortha thought, fear making her heart race. Her burning kinsmen screamed and leapt out of the area of effect, rolling in the dirt. Before they could rise again, half a dozen goblins got to them and silenced their cries forever.

Anger drowned out the fear. Lifting her sword, Gortha charged toward the spellcaster, screaming for strength:

“TEMPUS!”

Unfortunately for them, the pair of goblins didn’t see her coming until her sword sliced the head off of the scraggly shaman.

The other goblin shrieked and tried to run, but Gortha’s iron-toed boot cut his legs from under him. He screamed as she loomed over him. Speaking in his tongue, she snarled, “You friend with Griffons?”

He looked confused. She lifted him by the scruff of his neck and pointed at the battling Griffon chief.

“You friend with Griffon chief?”

The goblin shook his head. “He not friend. No way no how.”

Gortha’s disappointment almost overwhelmed her, but the creature continued.

“He chase us and kill us and torture us until we run. We run, and he follow, make us run to your tribe. Then you tribe kill us and chase us.”

A sharp pain at the back of her skull drowned out her sudden excitement with unconsciousness.

Flash Fiction Friday –By the Blade of a Barbarian Pt. 2


(If you haven’t read Part 1 in the Fiction Series, please take a look and get caught up on Gortha’s adventure! By the Blade of a Barbarian, Part 1

“You had something to do with this attack!” her chief was shouting when she jogged up, Jorgran following close behind. Gortha could see that things were getting heated. Her people were restless, responding to the anger in their chief.

The chief of the Griffons stood just across the way with his own people, his arms folded over his bare chest and his expression smug.

“We did not attack you, Raven. We came from our nest to be sure you were well.” The Griffon chief spread his beefy arms wide, grinning.

“Do not pretend. Your tricks are well-known to the Black Ravens,” Gortha’s chief snarled. His followers echoed the sound, slapping blades and blunt weapons against their palms or shields. “Why did you come if not to attempt our destruction while we fight off our foes?”

“Nay, we have come to offer our aid.” Gortha’s mouth fell open, and the rest of her tribe fell silent.

“Your… aid.” Her chief’s voice was flat and disbelieving.

“Indeed.”

“What would you get out of your offer of aid?” Gortha spoke up. Her chief looked sideways at her, promising a lecture on speaking out of turn later, but she had given a valid point, so he let it pass without protest.

“I am sure we can come up with an agreement should you accept.”

Gortha could see her chief considering the proposal, but she had a forboding feeling that their alliance would last only until the ruthless Griffons saw an opening. The hilt of her sword was slick in her palm while she worried for the safety of her people. Something had to be done to mitigate the inevitable clash of clans.

Flash Fiction Friday ~ By the Blade of a Barbarian


Gortha swung her great-sword at the back of the fleeing, bat-eared creature. The huge, five-inch-wide blade sliced easily into the nape of the goblin’s neck, cleaving the thing’s head from its shoulders. The twitching body kept running for a few more feet before it tumbled lifelessly to the yellowed grass.

Around her, muscular men and women wearing various animal hides tore into the ranks of the escaping raiders, tearing through them with double-bladed axes, spiked clubs, war-hammers, and large boulders.

The goblins fell, not one by one but in waves as the bloodthirsty barbarians took out their seething rage on them.

“Gortha!”A familiar voice pierced through the blanket of cries of pain and roars of anger. The barbarian woman turned sharply toward the sound, swinging her massive sword up to rest the blade on her shoulder. A young male trotted up to the bloodied fighter.

“Hail, Jorgren Swiftblade,” she acknowledged. “What news from the chief?”

“The whelps are fleeing back to Lurkwood, and the chief is leading the rout.”

“They are getting bolder,” Gortha growled. “We’ll get trolls coming out of the Evermoors soon if we don’t cut down these raids.” Her companion nodded grimly.

Shouts rang out over the din of battle, and normally the pair of experienced fighters wouldn’t have given the sound a second thought. But the urgent tone caught their attention. Gortha and Jorgren turned toward the noise, bringing their gore-covered weapons to bear.

Jorgren lifted his club into a two-handed grip. The weapon was meticulously cared for, its wood polished so it gleamed where blood did not conceal it and the dozen or so iron spikes embedded into the head whetted to a needle-like sharpness.

Fifteen or so of their tribesmen were running from the west across the River Surbin to join them. The men and women were pointing to the cluster of large hills in the distance behind them.

“Movement in the Griffon’s Nest!” Gortha heard faintly. A bubbling snarl rose in the back of her throat, and it was echoed by the growl from Jorgren.

“I would wager five crowns they had something to do with the raids,” her companion said quietly. Gortha looked over at him sharply and made a negative motion with her head, her thick, blood-soaked braid brushing the middle of her back with the motion.

“That is not a wager I am willing to make. The Griffons are cruel and without honor, but they would not send such creatures at us.”

“The chief sends for your blade, Gortha Goblinreaver. We are to parlay with the Griffon Tribe, but be ready for battle,” said one of the tribesmen. The sword-wielding barbarian knelt down and wiped her blade off on the ragged tunic of a fallen goblin.

Jorgren knelt beside her and murmured grimly so only she could hear, “This is going to be a bloodbath, I am certain.” Gortha nodded, looking to the west where she could see her tribe and the other moving toward each other and hoped that her friend was wrong.

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