Courting Chaos

I feel my heart beating, trying to pound its way out of my chest. My breath comes in tearing gasps. My muscles quiver in exhaustion as I stand, swords in hand and wait for the next in line.

“Sheal, it’s done.”

I force breath through my teeth as I turn and look at Rellik. He has a bleeding slash down his right arm and a cut over his left hand. Beyond him I see the dust of retreating horses and my heart starts to slow. Around me bodies bleed into the sand and the sun shines down without mercy. I come back to myself a little more and feel the aches of a hard fight, the sting of cuts and nicks, the sharper stab of true wounds that will need to be stitched or cauterized.

“Sheal, it’s done.”

I raise my eyes to Rellik’s and I can’t stop the sadness in my voice, “I know.”

He grins, an easy expression across a tired face splattered with blood. “The problem with courting chaos is that when the dance is done, it leaves you empty and craving more.”

I nod and bend to wipe my swords clean on a dead man’s shirt. I rise slowly. “This has always been my place. A sword and blood and letting the fire burn me out. But after it does…”

Rellik nods and slings an arm around me, “When it does, that black gaping hole begs to be filled with something. Since we’ve killed everybody we can for the day how about we get drunk and have wild sex in the tent? We’ll get another chance to dance with our demons soon enough.”

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