To do list: Escape Kur and resolve relationship problems…without dying.
Chase Ambrose accepted his hundred-year sentence to Kur with the grace of a toddler hearing no for the first time. Brooding over past failures seemed like a productive use of time. Then he found out Joy Santos—his former flame—was on a killing spree. And she calls herself Legion.
Cue the madness...
The foul-mouthed wizard will cut a deal with a death goddess, take on a coven of witches, and avoid a necromancer seeking to collect on an old debt. Will it be enough to stop the power of a biblical menace from being rekindled? Or will Chase become a permanent member of the afterlife?
Love can be a joy. And, in this case, Joy kills.
I’m sure the rest of Kur wasn’t this bleak. The Mesopotamian Underworld was a get-what-you-gave kind of place. The less of a dickbag you were in life, the better your chances of having a decent afterlife. However, I wasn’t dead, nor were the other prisoners in the colony.
The CeC apparently had a deal with the realm’s goddess. Ereshkigal allowed them to use this valley as a penal colony. An archaic city with paths carved into the cliff sides. Caves speckled the cliff sides, primitive housing. Based on the smooth interior walls, Earth Elementals or alchemists had shaped the domiciles. Crude wooden doors allowed everyone to have privacy. An overcast sky provided minimal light during the day. Smothered stars meant torchlight was the only means of visibility at night.
Becoming adept in fire starting was the first thing I did here. Fire provided a means for food, warmth, and protection. I had no desire to be trapped in the dark with my fellow inmates. The food here sucked but was nourishing. Eel and kelp like were the only thing on the menu. The river they came from doubled as a natural barrier, keeping us separate from the realm.
The prisoners had a sensible system in place for the natural water supply. Upriver was for drinking, fishing was further down, then there was the bathing area, with the final was the potty zone. Violating these zones would lead to someone, or several someones, re-educating you with fists and possibly dumping you in the ass-end of the river. I spent the first week venturing up and down its banks, searching for a crossing point. The damn thing seemed endless.
A strong swimmer might make it across. An unforgiving current lived in the center of the river. Jagged rock littered all but the bathing area. I’d witnessed a few failures. Hapless fools swept away and shattered against the rocks. With any luck, they died before reaching the potty zone, because…ew.
Surviving the river didn’t mean you were lucky. You’d still have to survive the Barren Forest. I wasn’t sure how barren it was. A thick fog clung to the place like a cloak. Then there were the gallûs, monstrous creatures that patrolled the forest. Of course, they were just hearsay. I had written it off as a story concocted by the CeC. But a story couldn’t explain the strange sounds that came from the forest.
This place was Destination Fucked.
Just being here made you mundane. No magic. No shifting. No preternatural anything, just human frailty. This was an advantage and a hindrance. My parents’ defense tutelage came in handy. It got me through the try-the-new-guy initiations. Magic would have made healing from those initiations easier.