Purple skin flutters in the wind, stuck to the ribs of a mammoth-sized monster long dead. A vegetable garden circles it, attended by an elder woman wearing a swath of hide cut from the dead beast.
Abel turns from the Endless Road and leads Termie towards the lone lady. The two men shuffle bare feet, making their coarse tunics and pants sound like blades being sharpened as they approach.
Abel raises his hand to show off the chevron tattoo across his wrist. “Hail. We need water, food, and shelter. We offer labor to repay. As proof of trust, I have tattoos of service from seven cities.” Continue reading Around Uroborus, Hide from the Road Hag
Buzzards circle the ruins of bold settlers. With a bare foot, Abel steps on a warm piece of what had been the lone building. Black and shiny under the sun, it is back-breaking granite covered in unbreakable adamantine resin. A treasure from another world, the machined block had fit with thousands of others in a master-craft of stone joinery.
Naked and grim, Abel paces out the foundation of its humble size. No bigger than a small tavern, it nonetheless had the makings to survive the hammering of any battering ram carried by man.
Foot-prints of the monstrous horde have churned the earth like a farmer’s plow. He steps across the tracks to a pile of black stone and crushed bodies.
One wild-haired survivor weeps on his knees, as skin-bare as Abel. Continue reading Around Uroborus, the Only Man to Survive
The monsters come, and the man prepares. The road is endless, and Abel Hart steps to its edge. In the distance, screams and snapping wood echo. His caravan is being torn apart under the setting sun. Nothing he can do with a dancing blade or hardened leather against a horde of wild beasts, so he strips off his armor, weapons, and gear.
Abel continues to strip until only his tattoos cover him. Seven runes mark his flesh, each one the stylized symbol of a city he has served on this endless path.
The woman he loves is at both the finale and the beginning of his journey. The beauty he will marry must be won by looping this world and earning a tattoo from every city along the way.
The screams scatter. Their meager defense must have collapsed and panic set in, dumbing them to the final lesson on Uroborus: strip and surrender to survive. Continue reading Around Uroborus, for Love or for Pride