Free Fiction

This is something I wrote to participate in RAID: Shadow Legends FanFiction contest.
I didn’t win it, but this yearI won Reader’s Choice For 2022 Fiction over at Apex Magazine.
Anyway, here it is.

…and then there were two.

The Arbiter of the High Elves, Scyl Of the Drakes from the Barbarians, even the mighty Trunda of the Dwarves had sacrificed all for this. Their bodies lay about the engine room, bent in dissonant angles, stark reminders of The Venomage’s mission, her duty, to those living, and to Krisk, who stood steadfast at her side.

Krisk was honoured and beloved among the Lizardmen. He was her mentor and her guide. But even he wavered on his feet, his armour, that had earned him the nickname “Turtle” from the Arbiter, was in tatters, one eye burnt shut, spittle drooled from the side of his mouth, yet he looked to her.

He nodded.

“Be ready,” was all he said, and she knew that this was his last stand against the Iron Twins towering before them. Her staff shook in her hand, and she gripped it tightly.

The Iron Twins. Monsters so new and so foreign. The peoples of Teleria had thrown their might, their all against them—their brightest—and failed. Yet the Arbiter and Krisk persevered.

The ground shuddered. The Iron Twins were moving again.

The Venomage wasn’t sure what it was, but something about the alchemy of her poisons seemed to work against them, and sustain her. The behmoths, soldered back-to-back, twirled on their feet, ready to dispense another deadly round of their Ironbrand hex.

With a cry, Krisk flew between the Venomage and the Twins, letting loose a spell of allied protection- and breathed his last.

“No!” Grief tore her soul in two.

An ominous rumble thrummed in her bones. She gasped, looking up. The Iron Twins writhed in pain from her previous poison attacks. Yet, unbelievably, what she heard had to be them… laughing?


It energized her, ground her to the earth as she stood to face them, her magic rallying. Screaming words of power, she ripped from her staff a phantom snake, full of neurotoxin. It was a new spell and concoction, and she had no idea if it would work, but it was all she could do in the haste of Krisk’s summons.

She heard a thundering that made her teeth rattle.

The Iron Twins stumbled on their feet.

It was working!

Move, move you fool! She berated herself.

Trembling to her very core with exhaustion and fear, she raised her arms and summoned a wave of FleshMelter Venom snakes. It crested high, and hundreds attached themselves to the Twins’ hull.

“Die!” Venomage hissed, her eyes like livid ice.

An arm fell off with a boom.

One Twin detached, dead.

The remaining Twin, under the barrage of snakes, stumbled to its knees, screeching; the Venomage clenched her teeth, wincing in pain.

It thundered to the ground, unmoving.

The Iron Twins, terrors from an unknown source, were dead.

The Venomage blinked. She stumbled to her feet, looking about, unbelieving.

She had no comrade-in-arms to celebrate her victory with. Everything felt hollow. She fell to her knees, her staff clattering to the ground before her from numb hands.

From livid ice to limpid pools her eyes went, and she lowered her head in her hands, crying.