A story for a Terribleminds‘ flash fiction challenge, A Novice Revenges the Rhythm.

For having to use such a strange sentence in a story, I thought it came out pretty well.


“Oh Bollocks!” Ochre cried and threw herself over the crumbling wall. White hot gases seared through the air where her head had been moments before. She breathed hard then cursed again as another blast of heat slammed into the wall. The wall held, but steam still rose up off her ceramic plated shoulders. She scrambled sideways to take shelter behind a stouter looking chunk of masonry. The next blast went wide and she paused to catch her breath.

L’Jestre was being a real pain to take down, like always, but the others had been doing alright and the sides were still even. She figured after Preter’s plummeting Deathstrike on Thy Khut — however he’d pulled that off — they had to have the edge. And with Saferin rallying them back to even by blitzing the “Big R”, if she could drop this bozo they could roll through the rest of them.

“It’s all fun and games until the flaming balls comes out,” she muttered as she peaked her head around the corner. He was stalking toward the far end of the last ruin she’d sheltered behind so this might be her opportunity. She powered up her staff and —

A massive roar exploded from the east accompanied by a hundred foot high plume of dust. It looked like an entire block had gone up. She could see bits of building and other debris arcing outward even from a quarter mile away.

She was so stunned by the sight that she almost didn’t find cover before her opponent turned at the sound as well. As her hiding place wasn’t immediately turned into a much more uncomfortable version of an easy-bake oven she guessed he hadn’t spotted her.

“A Novice revenges The Rythym,” rang The Over’s voice. “Saferin falls. A Novice adds a kill.”

She seethed inwardly, but kept silent as the bobbly headed freak poked through some nearby slabs of concrete. A Novice, such a stupid name! He thought it was so damn hilarious but it was ridiculous the Council put up with such crap. She wanted to drive her fist through his eye socket just seeing it on the opposing roster. Now she wanted to do something much worse to him.

Her current motley clad enemy stalked off into the ruin across the street.

“Shambala!”, she cursed in frustration.

There was a hiss and a pop like frying bacon and a portly, undead, cherub in a speedo appeared at her elbow. Today the speedo was orange.

“You called?” he asked drolly.

She hadn’t actually but that was what happened when you inherited a minion vile enough to be his own curse word. At least today he’s wearing a speedo, she thought, shuddering at the memory of previous non-speedo days.

“Sure,” she said, “why not.” At this point it couldn’t hurt. “Saferin just bit it and I need to know how.”

“Is that all?” he asked boredly.

“Well, A Novice,” ‘that prick’ she didn’t add, “just leveled an entire block doing it. So yeah that is bloody well all.”

Some bit of interest seemed to spark in his eyes, that or one of them was about to fall out again. Either way he snuffed in a general sign of consent and darted off toward the settling cloud of dust.

She shook her head, some things would have to wait, she had a more pressing punchline to apply. That thought made her smile.

Inside the building was a shell of bent girders, broken floorboards, and the occasional chunk of dangling sheet rock. She found only dust in the first room, and a toppled chair in the second. SheΒ  was looking for stairs to check the next floor when a high pitched whine from outside caught her attention. The sound grew louder as she listened. Something about it seemed familiar.

A rapidly moving and even more rapidly screaming Shambala burst through a window beside her and plowed into the floor. He actually bounced once before coming to a stop. He had staggered to his feet by the time Ochre reached him. He stared at her dazedly, well with one eye, the other was dangling. He looked very… black. He was completely singed actually, from head to toe, only the speedo seemed untouched.

He coughed out a lung full of smoke then slurred, “He’s got a Raventor”, before collapsing into a pile of ash on the floor.

He’s going to be pissed when he wakes up from that, she thought before his words struck her. They hit the front of her mind at about the same time that the exploding wall hit the back of her skull. She tried to roll with the impact but it was a haphazard attempt at best and all she really managed to do was skid across the floor and through a couple walls in a tangle of limbs before fetching up against something harder than she was.

She shook her head, and tried to stand, but the entire planet had apparently started doing some sort of sick polka around her. She only got as far as a slumped crouch against the beam that had stopped her progress, and broken a few ribs it felt like. She winced and spat blood.

Across the room the bearded and rotund figure of the always smirking Novice was stepping through the huge hole that just been made in the wall. Right behind him was the dark hulking figure of must be his newest upgrade, and a scary looking one at that. Smoke poured from burning eyes in a black masked face.

A Novice just shook his shaggy head and waved a pudgy hand dismissively in her direction. The Raventor squeezed through the hole and advanced on her.

She didn’t know where her staff was and at this point it probably didn’t matter.

A Novice, what a stupid name! She’d get him for this next season.