warning: rampant profanity in this piece
Aubren raises his swimming head and looks around. He has never felt quite so sick and weak and woozy. That bitch. That fetid, predatory whore. How dare she deposit him here?
He is in the human world, where everything is exactly what it is. The hard-edged shadows of the toothy rocks breaking the ground of the grassy field around him are just so, and they do exist—they truly seem to, in head-pounding way that, stripped of his powers, he can only stare at. They are thick, wholly and deeply there, like the harsh burning of the sunlight on his face. He is used to being able to stick his hand—so to speak—into the giving fabric of reality, twisting and shaping it to suit him.
When he tries it now—slow, exploratory movements—the rigid straits of substance stop him cold. This place is, for him, right now, unalterable.
He hears a groan, and he hears the grinding, ratcheting sound of someone being violently sick. He has heard it before. That would be K.
He had a vision of this long ago—or more rightly, his chosen oracle had, when she cast the bones and laid down the cards, and then she’d stared up at him with haunted eyes that could never replace their scales and he paid up (with his cock), both he and his knight K, of the King’s Right Hand.
But it had not made sense, not in that context, and he was no far-seeing crone to look so far into the yet-to-come (though in retrospect, he would have done well to part with a few bijou and solicit one—he’d certainly not be paying a crone with his cock).
And so he and his knight both had laughed at what amounted to their doom, calling it false and stupidly melodramatic, and had gotten hammered on rum. Now he thinks of it, that was here in the human world, and that oracle was a human girl, and the descendants of the bastard he got on her could be running mad through the world.
“Bones,” K chokes out. Thrashes on the grass of the field they are lying in. “Bones are heavy.” He seems to be done puking for the moment and just breathes arduously.
Far, far too late, Aubren grabs for his sword, which of course is not there. He clutches the empty scabbard in his fist, crushing the velvet under his fingers, truly heartsick for the first time.
“What bones are heavy?”
“My fucking bones. They feel like iron. What has that poisonous slut done to us?” K begins to cough, a wet and broken sound.
Typically, a jest springs to his lips. “That’s my wife you’re talking about.”
“Fuck your wife!” His voice is wounded. He coughs again and spits a gobbet of blood, or snot, or both. Aubren hears it hit the ground with a soggy splutch. “In the ass,” he adds.
Aubren stares at the sky, a wide bowl of bright blue turned over them, for a moment, gathering strength, and then he rocks his body to face the direction of K’s noisy bodily functions. K is on his side, hand splayed in the grass to keep him there, white of face, eyes glassy, blood on his mouth. There is a massive purple bruise on his temple, sending delicate lavender and blue tendrils around one eye.
“Mica fucked you, up, friend.” Aubren gingerly begins to try to push himself into a sitting position.
Aubren laughs, a grating sound. But he, unlike K, is not really in any pain. He feels fuzzy-headed, ears blocked and eyes grainy, and he feels a pressure trying to push him to the ground, but he is not hurt. “He disarmed you, struck you. You laughed in his fucking face.”
K smiles with bloody teeth. “Well, good. Son of a whore pretender. I always hated that putrid fuck.” He closes his eyes for a long moment. “I think he paid me back, though.”
Aubren stares around them, his neck stiff and creaking. Nothing but hills and gray rocks and waving emerald grass. “We are fucked, my very good friend.”