Day 11


They were happy, if not sober.

We came upon them after a day of hard marching and skirmishing. We’d fought off a handful of probing attacks from the Skratti and cut down a few bodies left strung up in the trees for us.

The Skratti, it seemed, had a peculiar delight in hanging women and children from their feet and blooding them like game.

It did not please us.

When we arrived at the small building, I expected some sort of firefight, but I can write with pleasure that this was not the case.

We found a group of ten men gathered in and around a small structure. The building, we soon learned, was the doorway to a fine cellar of beer and brandy, neither of which the men were allowing to go to waste.

Their commanding officer was passed out drunk, and his men were little better.

The common grave behind their building explained why.

From what I could tell, they were the sole survivors out of some two hundred men.

The common grave was not particularly large.

When they saw us, we were greeted and welcomed in, and when the strangers learned we would be establishing camp and setting up watch, they drank themselves into a stupor.

I didn’t blame them.

Pedersen and I walked the grounds of the area, reading the sign for what it was, a great story telling us what happened.

We could see troll prints and Skratti tracks. Obscenely large paw prints spoke of hellhounds, and the sight of a large drag mark sent a shudder along my spine.

Only a dragon left a mark like that, and the thought of fighting one of the great lizards was unpleasant enough to leave me with gooseflesh.

We did what every decent army does: we set up camp, put out our guards, and fortified our positions.

The new men awoke to the smells of food cooking and coffee brewing. We had them eat their fill before telling us anything of their story, and when they finished with their food, we listened.

Six days prior, they’d been attacked by Skratti in traditional garb.

The next day, the goblins were clad in the clothes of the dead.

Each day, the casualties worsened.

“Where to now?” one asked.

I finished my coffee, tossed the grounds out and sighed.

“We go looking for a dragon.”

#Denmark #supernatural #monsters #paranormal

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Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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