• T. Mark Mangum

The Loss

Many a tale flow through the Inns of Velin, like the ale from kegs that never run dry.

Many a tale flow through the Inns of Velin, like the ale from kegs that never run dry. The bowels of the great city are the scene for many of these tales. They all end like the other, “And they were never seen again”.

The other tales, of course, are of the riches that exist in the tunnels of Velin’s foundations which are ages old and have many interesting nooks and crannies where adventure can be found.

All are citizens of Velin and all want to be citizens of Velin. The Capital is a place where all dreams can be achieved, so the tale, tells.

Rot’s story differs from many others, for he and his companions were hired to explore the tunnels of the Temple District. The adventurer’s guild had developed credible evidence that the story of the ancient Temple of Rachlin, being intact, buried, and built over are true. Not only that, the ancient relic, The Staff of Sortel, remains in the treasure vault.

So, Rot and party entered the bowels of the Temple district to retrieve the Relic and what other treasures could be had.

“Rattlings” Witle hissed, “where there is one there is a trash bin full.” His words worked out to be prophetic. The Rattlings came one after the other for what seemed hours. One by one, they all fell around him, then he fell.

Rot woke, his vision blurry but clearing. He was lying in a mixed pool of blood his own, his companions and, the rattlings. He struggled to sit, his weight falling to the stub just below his left elbow rather than on his hand. His almost severed lower arm lay at an odd angle, causing a wave of nausea and phantom pain.

No more blood flowed from his nearly severed arm as he recalled being able to finish the tourniquet just before he passed out. Luck of the Gods he guessed.

The tunnel intersection was slightly lit by several torches lying on the ground. As he moved, his faithful hound stirred, whined, and licked his face. Beast had only one wound, the flow of blood had already ebbed, and began to crust over.

His three companions and twelve Rattlings lay dead scattered about the tunnel. He removed a dagger from his belt and cut the flesh that kept his arm attached. It took some time, before he was on his feet and moving toward the exit, the severed limb secured.

He stopped next to Witel recalling the full money pouch the man carried, bent, and pulled it loose from the belt it hung from. A flash of light twinkled down the corridor, reflecting the torch that lay on the floor, it appeared gold, he smiled.

He would return to search this out, but for now, he must seek healing. He pondered the cost of this excursion and smiled again; he would ensure the reward exceeded the loss. It was his way. ​


Copyright: T. Mark Mangum, 2020. All rights reserved. No part of my story may be copied, reprinted, or published without the written consent of the writer.

T. Mark Mangum, is the product of the 60s and 70s, his imagination, wonder, thoughts, and ponderings, emboldened by Star Trek, Star Wars, Conan the Barbarian, and The Hobbit. He loves a good story and hopes you will love reading his stories. Veteran, Father, TTRPG, and board Game Junkie. He spent 20 years in the United States Army, another 10 working for the government, before realizing he should write.

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