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Short Story Entry - Zealot Lush


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   *EDIT: I had to edit it to replace some lines of curse words that the forum's auto-correct made sound really weird.*




   When I awoke I instantly tasted my regret. My tongue feels thick and dry with the heat of the air, sticky with that foul hint of bile that lingers in my nostrils by way of my own heavy and labored breath. It’s been awhile since I felt this way and that isn’t through lack of effort.  


   “Groan,” I groan, my voice hoarse and rough, “ow...ugh!”


   My head feels like it was split by an ungelded minotaur and the sound of my voice resonates within it, joining in chorus with the prescient, reliable thumping that starts at the back of my skull like a raindrop and ends in thunder near the front. I dare not open my eyes for fear of the piercing spears of light; instead I squeeze them tighter as if it would somehow assuage the burning sensation lingering behind them.


   I roll over and am surprised when the familiarity of a trodden tavern floor gives way to the harsh stab of dry straw strewn haphazardly in a stall bearing the sweet, sickly aroma of damp and matted cow dung.  


   “Gods dammit” It slips out like habit as I roll on my back, from there unmoving.


   I must have passed out in the stable, again. Ah, Bendoregon Brew. I love me some Bendoregon brew but that stuff is like liquid amnesia.  


   Last time I had a bender like this I woke up in Bishop Everly’s personal quarters, sprawled out nude and drooling on his favorite rug, surrounded by the Bishop himself and few of his faithful cronies. Apparently I had crawled in through the window, the window I broke. I don’t think he’d have been as upset as he was if it weren’t for the fact I was using the ceremonial stole Cardinal Latavius gave him to mark his thousandth confession as a mop for what, prior to my breaking-and-entering, was my stomach’s contents. I’m actually kind of proud of myself that in my wretchedly incoherent state I had the presence of mind to at least attempt to clean up my mess, even if it was with the entirety of my trappings and what happens to be his most prized possession, that stupid scarf. That’s all it is, a stupid murder scarf.


   The Order acts all high and mighty but we’re just a bunch of sick, manipulative arseholes preying on the helpless beliefs of common folk. Got a neighbor who you thinks’ porkin' your wife? Or maybe that jerk down the road is undercutting your barley prices? No need to worry, just make a nice donation to the Order, explain your problem, and your friendly Confessor will publicly immolate them in the name of the gods. It’s pathetic. I’d feel sorry for these poor folks if I didn’t think they were just as rotten as I am. Hells, at least I can see the hypocrisy for what it is. At least I am not lying to myself, unlike these unwashed peasants. If I had any shred of compassion I’d burn them all and save them from their inevitable fate, of which the high point is a glorious lifetime of indentured servitude. Oh well, I’m not their savior and they’re their own pariahs, if they could get along themselves they wouldn’t need us to cull the herd every time some guy finds out old Bob down the road is cuckin’ him.  



   I confessed a bloke last week because his son bet on the wrong Guinecean with the wrong people and didn’t pay up. Those asshats figured ‘lil junior doesn’t have anything to his miserable little name so why not call the Order on ‘ole pops and get him out of the picture so junior will inherit the family farm and then they’ll have something they can take? Poor guy didn’t do anything wrong but raise a loser son. Still, I was paid so a confession was had. I got him on his knees in front of the whole damned village, heard him repenting to gods that could care less about his pleas as I asked him to ‘tell me of his sins’, heard him beg for his life all for naught, it was all a foregone conclusion. He didn’t know any better, none of them do. It doesn’t matter what you say or how you say it, once the Order is paid your life is forfeit and everyone is okay with it because it’s the ‘will of the gods’, ‘Mother Church knows best’...absolute horse-sheit if you ask me. At least, at the very least, there is one thing the Order does well besides taking poor people’s money, that thing is making alcohol.  


   “Sweet nectar of the gods, may you forever bless my lips.” I mumble.


   Don’t let anyone tell you this Confessor never prayed.  


   The whole ordeal with Everly’s scarf was blown out of proportion and it’s why I’m relegated to this task instead of living the good life off plebs attempting to buy atonement. Forced from cloister and out on the roads as a travelling Confessor; just a human meting out the god's' justice on unsuspecting innocents for gold. I guess it’s better than the alternative: Everly actually threatened me with confession, ha, the size of that man’s testicles must be wasted in this profession! It’s not like the Order would ever confess one of their own, it was an empty threat at best...at least I hope it was. Either way, Bishop Everly is an idiot and I’m rid of him.    


   As I lay on my back contemplating how I got here I decide that hazarding a peek as to the time of day is my best option. I deliberately crack my eyes open, the cadence in my head intensifies as if an entire centaur legion were charging through it. The shoddy ceiling allows wide slats of sunlight to penetrate, blinding me as I quickly turn my head in a hazy slew of brightness. From what I can see it’s near midday. I can barely make out the faint chirp of birdsong outside the run-down building’s walls yet there is no audible trace of the town being awake; no general din of commerce, life, or vigor, belying the apparent hour. Struggling like a dwarf up Nordend Abbey’s stairs I manage to sit up, I take a deep breath and sigh before deciding that standing would be my best option to get out of this stinking sheit-house. Managing through much effort to achieve tripod position I struggle to keep my balance and put my hand to my forehead, thinking it might somehow stop the damned earth from its incessant rocking. My hand feels calloused, my forehead clammy. Or is that hairy? I run my hand through my hair and over my hor-  


   “WHAT THE HELLS?” I scream, flabbergasted, stopping myself short to frantically palm the bony protrusions jutting from my skull, my skull? Hairy all over, bovine shaped.


   “Fuuuuuuuuuuuckkkkk-uhh!” I bellow, equal parts helplessness and frustration.


   This time pleading, “Not again, please, c’mon man!”  


   I fall to my hands and knees and all time seems to stop. The birds have ceased to extol their song, not a sound can be heard save for the weight of my breath and the sudden tempo of a pounding heart rushing through my ears. My head no longer hurts, instead it’s full of rushing thoughts, mostly of what I’ve lost, all culminating in a vision of Him.  


   “It’s been 16 years, aren’t we done?” My question comes out weaker than I wanted it to.  


   “We are never done, you know this.” A voice says, seemingly from everywhere but only in my head.  


   I knew he’d say that. This arsehole always states the obvious. It was worth a shot, though.   


   “What do you want this time?” I ask.  


   “What is time to you, immortal?” He retorts.  


   What an arse. I hate when he speaks in riddles like this and he always does. That’s why I hate him. I should have never made that pledge; I knew I’d regret it.  


   “What does Kronos ask of me?” I ask, making no attempt to hide my disinterested exasperation.


   I hear a deafening *snap* followed by ringing ears as my vision flashes white and I lose all feeling in my limbs. I think, hear, feel, and see nothing for an instant, suddenly my body is slammed prostrate into the ground, cowpats extruding slowly up my nostrils. I can’t breathe and I can’t move.  


   “Remember?” The words echo hauntingly in my ears.


   I manage to nod, the dung working its way further into my nose with every motion.


   “Good,” He says, “you know what must be done.”  


   I’m able to move again. Did I mention I hate this guy? I scramble to my feet and blow the sheit out of my nose.  


   “Look at me! Why? Why did you put me in this?” I ask, motioning to my body in all its grotesque, hirsute bulkiness.


   “That last gig you gave me was great, I had command of fire. Fire is hot, Hunger is cold, it was perfect; made my job easier, took me less time to get your job done. Why would you take away tools that help me execute your will, huh?” Now, I don’t consider myself a smart man but when you’ve dealt with this guy for as long as I have, you learn to refine your points.


   No answer.  


   I suppose I forgot to mention I’m also a Champion of the god Kronos. Such details tend to fall by the wayside when you only hear from your God once every century, or in this particular case, 16 years. I really enjoyed that last vessel, man, I had it made! In spite of the whole Bishop Everly thing I was looking forward to seeing that world by way of wanderlust. I thought I had a solid 50 years left there at least, but no, got to do the gods’ will. That also must mean this world is really bad. The worst part is I was two day’s walk from Bendoregon Abbey, so don’t let anyone tell you the gods lack a sick, twisted sense of humor.


   “Damn you, Kronos!” I exclaim, throwing my head back and giving the bird towards the sky. I feel a sharp slap across my face, the origin unseen but known.


   So this is it, my new life. I am a bipedal cow. My head slumps forward and my shoulders sink, I’d say I’m moping if I weren’t millennia old. Or thereabouts, I lost count years ago, either way I’m too old for moping.


   “Holy sheit…” I say, while looking down, noticing I’m ungelded. I’ve heard stories of uncut minotaur, how balls-out crazy they are, able to shrug off blows that would normally kill a human, able to fell a tree with a single cleave. This may not be so bad, after all. That thought vanishes the instant I smell myself. Gods, do I stink!   


   I hear a shrill, piercing scream, the kind that sends shivers up your spine and makes the hairs on your arms stand on end. They are closer than I had hoped.


   I step outside the structure I woke in, which happens to be an isolated and abandoned shack nestled in a quiet copse in gods-know-where. There is no village, no road, no sound to speak of. The sun wears a pale blue veil and a tangible mist enshrouds the trees and clouds my visibility, despite the fact it should be midday. This confirms it; I have been placed on a new world being consumed by Hunger and have been tasked, yet again, to stop it. This means no more Bendoregon Brew, ever, that world is lost to me. It also means no more Bishop Everly, at least I got that goin' for me.   


   “Gods dammit” I sigh as I start to schlep towards the nearby shrieking.


   Behind me the dilapidated building slowly sinks into obscurity under the cold embrace of the dense fog as I wonder to myself what kind of libations this cursed world has to offer…

Edited by chodie




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woooo, I like your writing style - and your OC :D

Let me sing you a song / Of a world that just vanished / Of a story that ended to soon
Let me bring you a cup / Make a toast to the living / And a toast to the legends we share

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I like it too. Solid foundation. It could use a finishing pass, but you've got potential Chodie. GG


Thank you, coolwaters! In hindsight I would have waited a few more days to post it but was afraid I'd forget and miss the deadline. 


Thanks for taking the time to read it :)




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I think thats this competitions theme: 'I could have/ should have waited, but...!' xD

Let me sing you a song / Of a world that just vanished / Of a story that ended to soon
Let me bring you a cup / Make a toast to the living / And a toast to the legends we share

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