Mort, Demon Poisoner
It amazed Mort how quickly he’d adapted to being in a combat situation.
It barely took him any time at all to find a suitable hiding place anymore.
He’d found the perfect one, too- an appropriately large rock beneath the shade of a pine tree. A perfect balance of concealment and relative comfort.
It didn’t take long until he heard the unmistakable sound of metal thudding into flesh. Mort peered out from behind his new favorite place as he heard the frantic squawks of the beast slowly fade to quiet.
The grass had been stomped flat in an awkward circle around the combatants. Fiona stood over the slain Cοckatrice, blade held firmly in one hand, shield strapped tightly to the other. The Valkyrie was breathing heavily, hair plastered to her forehead with sweat. Aside from a scratch on her shield and a few flecks of mud on her pristine white skirt, she appeared to have emerged from the fight unscathed.
“You can come out now, coward,” she called over to Mort, a hint of contempt in her voice that she made no effort to hide.
“I will not rise to such childish name-calling!” he sneered. Really, Mort couldn't deny it. He hated fighting. The last time they put a weapon in his hand he’d managed to nick himself and subsequently lose the blasted thing. That was why he chose to specialize in poisons, wasn’t it?
“Whatever. We’re moving on,” The Valkyrie shrugged as she wiped the blade clean. “Keep up, or don’t- I honestly don’t care.”
Ah yes, back to patrol. I cannot wait a moment longer! Let us not dally!
When the angels had arrived in New Howlfang a week before, they found the place in shambles. The once peaceful town had clearly been ravaged by monsters. Sending teams out to patrol the highway had been the angel’s way of showing concern for the humans.
His hands were still trembling slightly as he clambered out from behind the large rock, his collection of vials jingling noisily inside his satchel. Clink, clink.
The false halo shifted uncomfortably on his head, its weight a constant reminder of his servitude.
“Just give me a moment to collect the plumes from this specimen,” Mort said as he made his way over to the fallen beast. His quill scratched the item off his list of ingredients; a roll of parchment he carried with him always. He’d made one for every region, marking off reagents as he found them. Being assigned to patrol duty had been most helpful in this endeavor of his. Call it a hobby.
“You know, the venom in Cοckatrice feathers can be quite fatal if administered directly,” He continued. “I’ll need a minute to-”
If Fiona heard him she gave no indication. When he looked up from his list she had already started halfway down the highway.
“Partnering me with a demon
?” she muttered, practically spitting the word. “Why Lady Selinestia spared that creature I’ll never know.”
Not quite out of earshot, my dear.
Mort found he was frowning. He tried not to think about that day anymore, but it was hard to forget the day you should have died.
It was almost a year now, but the memories of the event haunted him still. The battlements overrun, a spear thrust into his hands. His protests as they shoved him to the frontlines. His surrender to the angelic flight in exchange for his life. He still wondered why the blue-clad angel hadn’t just run him through as he knelt pleading before her. Selinestia, was it?
It would have been so simple, like a god swatting a fly.
In the demon hovels they often told stories of angels to scare good-natured children. In some stories, the angels would come to pluck the horns off of children while they slept if they didn’t misbehave. In others they could look into your eyes and see your most hidden thoughts. Perhaps she had seen something in me worth saving, then? Some redeeming quality in these sad, pathetic little eyes?
Instead now they have me poisoning my kin.
Mort snorted. The path to redemption is honorable indeed.
Mort stepped gingerly around the Cοckatrice’s body, pausing briefly as he marveled at the creature; part-rooster, part-dragon. Magnificent.
Two entities that couldn’t be more diferent, yet exist in one being. He felt the weight of the false halo shift again as he knelt, causing him to chuckle. Not very unlike myself. Hello, my scaly, feathery counterpart.
His eyes fell suddenly on the gaping wound in the beast’s neck where a sword had left its mark. Although it would appear Fiona was no bringer of mercy. Maybe in the next life, you’ll run into Selinestia instead.
Mort grabbed a handful of feathers from the fallen beast and hurried after the Valkyrie.
Note: Had to make a handful of edits because some of the paragraphs didn't line up well. I also had to fix the word "Cοckatrice" to bypass the censor filter.