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The Fireside Tales - Chapter Forty-Eight
Chapter Forty-Eight: Xanesha

"I have nothing to say other than... ew."

Xanesha. The mere mention of that name brought memories of that letter the heroes found under the Misgivings. Which meant that she was the one that ordered Aldern to attack the people of Sandpoint. And that put the Vinder family in the line of fire.

Kathrine. The woman that had her life taken just because she was too close to the first murder the heroes came across. Shayliss's pain at seeing her sister caught up in the machinery of the lumber mill hurt Valtyra. She could remember the moment clearly. And it made her angry.

That beast roiling around in her chest bashed at the cage of control harder and harder. Valtyra was very tempted to let it out. To let it have free reign and tear that wide smirk off of the creepy snake lady's face. It would even feel great to do so. Seeing her blades enter those scales would be wonderful.

Xanesha seemed to notice Valtyra's inner turmoil and slithered closer, "You want to let loose, don't you?" Her voice was a purr. Or at least as much of a purr as a snake could make, "You came up here to kill me. So, why are you hesitating now?"

Valtyra's grip tightened on her rapiers. All she could see was the blood and hear the soft cries.

"Does my presence not anger you?" Xanesha circled the woman, "Does it not awaken the powerful bloodlust within you?" Her head leaned down as if to whisper in Valtyra's ear, "What of those who died? Would fighting not avenge them?"

Kathrine.

Something snapped. The beast broke through.

Pivoting on the balls of her foot, Valtyra spun in a circle and lashed out at the snake woman. Xanesha had anticipated the attack and flexed back from the rapier. As she did, though, Valtyra completed her turn and leapt forward into the snake. Her blades crossed themselves in an X aimed for the creature's body. Xanesha held her polearm in a diagonal guard that blocked both blades.

Valtyra did not pull back. Planting her feet on the floor she continued pushing. The snake hissed in annoyance and shifted her weapon slightly. That motion forced the rapiers from connecting. Valtyra was not expecting it and her momentum made her stumble. Xanesha helped Valtyra fall to the floor and raised her polearm to stab down.

The half-elf rolled to the side and swept her weapon out. She felt the slight resistance of metal hitting scales and while it was not as good of an attack as she wanted the blade did draw blood. Her teeth clenched in sudden ferocity and she got to her feet just to lunge forward with both rapiers.

Xanesha slithered between both blades and swept her polearm in a horizontal arc. Valtyra barely had enough time to raise her weapons in a block. The force of the attack caused the half-elf to slide a couple of feet across the floor. She sheathed one of her blades, drew a dagger, and flung it in one motion. The snake dodged to one side and the dagger flew past her body.

Only to sink into her tail pinning her to the floor.

Xanesha let out a high pitch scream of pain and pulled the tiny blade out. Valtyra took that time to rush in to deliver a fatal blow both rapiers in hand again. The creature evaded her attack then stabbed the bloody dagger forward. Her shoulder suddenly erupted into agony and stumbled back a couple of steps. The dagger was stuck to the hilt.

She did not have time to pull it out before Xanesha renewed her attack. With the blade stuck in her shoulder, Valtyra had a hard time getting her rapiers up in time to block each strike. Cuts and gashes formed on exposed skin. Her armor kept attacks from being lethal, but she was quickly running out of gas.

A strike from the blunt end of the polearm sent Valtyra to the floor. She tried to rise to her feet but Xanesha quickly slithered up and raised the polearm to stab down.


Do you have any comments, questions or concerns? Please leave a comment or email me at sean.francis@rivalcastmedia.com!

Also, you can follow me on Twitter for updates on The Fireside Tales, or just random statements I may make: @Miggnor23.

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Next Chapter Coming On November 25th!
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