by thefourpartland

Fire flickered against the steel, a deep crimson glow in the dark tunnel. Ice rimed the wood and bronze, a counterpoint to the crimson. Lýtling chuckled, and held his axe high, letting light bounce off the worked stone.

He had come here for treasure, like so many before. But he had come better prepared than the others. The thief had seen their corpses scattered about these ruins, some cut apart, others burned, each death a gruesome testament to their folly.

Lýtling would not fall into traps such as had caught them, and indeed, had not. He had survived pits, poison, and even the odd undead. The last one had been a particularly recalcitrant zombie. Now it was a small pile of ash. It really shouldn’t have let itself dry out.

The light revealed a glimmer in the dark, and he strode towards it. The tunnel emptied him out in a spacious room, and around him glittered rack upon rack of arms and armour, all ornate and adorned in filigree. One of those suits was the right one. The rest would kill him.

A clanking sounded from deep in the racks. Lýtling turned to see three armoured figures step forth, each brandishing a claymore. “Well now, life could do with a little excitement, eh?” He hefted his axe and shield, and stared down the foe.

They rushed at him, swords swinging in great horizontal sweeps. He dove left, slashing with the sharpened edge of his shield. Where the rim touched his metal foe, ice sparkled, then engulfed the iron form below the knee. Unable to walk, it died on the following swing of the axe.

The remaining two spread wide, seeking to come at him from both sides. The thief laughed and drove straight forwards, catching in the long thrust of the claymore on his shield and turning it aside. A stab with the spike of the axe sent flames bursting from the joints of the armour, and a countering stroke, brought it about in time to behead the third, charging him from behind.


Lýtling continued his exploration of the racks of armour. He had heard that the armour he wanted had a þrosm marked on the breast, a “dark space”. But all of the armour had designs in black or twilight upon them.

At last he gave up and dropped his weapons, climbing into the nearest suit of armour that would fit him.

“Ahhhh.” The cracking of bones filled Lýtling’s head. “It feels good to be worshipped again.”

Lýtling cursed. “I worship no one but myself.”

“Too late for that, boy. You wear the þrosm, now. And that means I get to feast.” A terrible ripping sound filled the room, and the thief felt strangely empty.

“What have you done?”

“Feasted. If you take the armour off now, you will die. So, death or me, boy?”

“Can you make me rich, powerful, all that claptrap gods promise followers?”

“No. But I can make life interesting.”

“Fair deal. Lead on.”

The suit of armour clanked from the room, a gaping hole where once the heart had lived.


  1. Vandamir on 02.25.2011

    Great twist on a familiar tale. “May you live in interesting times” is a very potent curse, I wonder if the thief will regret accepting the offer & not taking a swift death.

  2. Lara Dunning on 02.25.2011

    Sometimes things of beauty are not what they seem. I like the use of the word “feast” in this, it gives it that creepy shudder.

  3. Ramsey Lyons on 02.25.2011

    Very cool. I love the idea of the suit of armor possessing him…he seems a bit too eager to be possessed though, on the promise of an interesting life. He may live (or unlive) to regret that.

  4. The Four Part Land on 02.26.2011

    @Vandamir I wasn’t really thinking of that curse as I was writing the tale, but you’re right, it does apply here. I’d think the thief likes interesting times though, just the kind of person her is.

    @Lara The god was hungry, he hadn’t been worshipped in a while. Not a very nice god though.

    @Ramsey I always thought of the thief as someone who sought power, and that he’d trade rather a lot to get it. He’ll just have to find out if this bargain is worth it.

  5. Aidan Fritz on 02.27.2011

    Now it was a small pile of ash. It really shouldn’t have let itself dry out. Laughs. Nice voice for the touch and I like how the armor ate away the thief.

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