Her rapier was drawn, and her eyes barely left Urvine as he stood casually in the hallway, as if he was talking about the weather. She took a few moments glance about the room. This hardly seemed enough space to fight in… not to mention the cramped hallway where he stood. The little rec room wasn’t exactly ideal, what with the game table and piano. She tried to anticipate where people would move to, and with these obstacles in the way, all of it was awkward and none of it was good.

“Are we… are we gonna do this right here?” she finally asked aloud.

Urvine glanced her way, and the look in his eyes made her skin crawl as he looked her up and down. She regretted speaking up and drawing his attention to herself, unsure whether his thoughts were perverted in nature or more along the lines of vivisection… perverted in a whole other way, she supposed. He turned his head, popping a few joints in his neck. “Yeah,” he slithered. “I think we are.”

His eyes stayed on her, and she knew how he expected this to go down: right here in this little room, he was going to brutally murder her and everyone else, and do unspeakable things to their bodies, and if she was very, very lucky, it would be in that order.

And he was so casual about it. It made her retch.

What a long way we’ve come since a few ridiculous ghouls, she thought. Strangely, although they had indeed come such a long way, and grown in ways none of them had expected, she felt very connected to the Mallory of back then, who could only stand in paralyzed fear, screaming in terror as a ghoul had exploded on her, spewing its guts everywhere.

The Mallory back then was sure she was going to die.

The Mallory of today wondered if this was the day she’d been fearing, and if she’d simply been running all this time. In a way, nothing had changed. Urvine wasn’t so different from a ghoul… he was every bit as hideous on the inside, and not much better on the outside.

I was just as scared back then, she told herself. And we prevailed. Maybe history will repeat itself, and he’ll explode in the same way as that ghoul back then. She allowed herself the tiniest of smirks.

Except that damn table was in the way no matter how she pictured this battle going.

Finally, she sighed, lowering her weapon. “Then I don’t guess anyone will mind if I get this table out of the way first.”

Urvine shrugged and gestured as if to say, go ahead. Mallory stepped aside, just out of his view—this was worth it just to be where he couldn’t see her, even if for nothing else—and scooted the large center table aside, near the piano. At least it would be out of the middle. The heavy furniture screeched obnoxiously as she pulled it away awkwardly.

As she returned to her place, she whispered an incantation and subtly laid a hand on Bolke’s shoulder. The dwarf’s axe began to glow with fiery heat. A few moments later, its head fully burst into flame.

Mallory took her place, her eyes focused back on Urvine again. She hated the casualness of their own attack on him, but there was nothing for it. There was no use talking to him, no use preaching at him. He knew exactly what he was. He knew what he was doing to people. He didn’t care. He cared for nothing.

I’ve faced worse than him, she told herself. No matter what the others say. The aboleth scared me worse. Whatever this man can do, he’s still just a man. A lecherous, disgusting excuse for a man.

She tamped down her fear with one final thought.

At the absolute worst… if everything goes wrong here… I’ll finally see my parents again.

With a nod and a quick flourish of her rapier, she took on her fighting stance again and fixed her narrowed eyes on Urvine.

“Bring it, bitch.”

Author Rann
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Game: Pathfinder
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