The only thing the dark elves and the faerie elves ever agreed on was what to do with a coward.
For a coward the choice was between earth or the dark elves’ way.
The first meant to be buried alive in a grave with worms that burrowed and savored their meals as their secretions triggered nightmarish hallucination and paralysis.
Or to choose undeath and become a Draugar.
Meaning every Draugar ever created was made of cowardice.
That was what came to mind when Tegan saw it staring from the mouth of the bridge. In the snow between them was the gore and viscera of a horse and its owner.
The draugar had skin like leather and gaunt fingers that gripped the handle of an ax. There were empty pits where his eyes should have been. It’s chin was a grotesque shade of blood, bile and vile indelicacies that only enraged Tegan.
He knew behind the empty eye sockets was a mind that could only watch and listen. The body belonged to the lord it had betrayed. The one he needed to speak with.
Tegan blinked free of his thought to realize the Draugar was charging him.
With a sigh he continued his strolling pace, calm and ready as the dead man let out an unearthly cry. Tegan watched the ax rise–waiting for his moment.
Then spinning low on his heels he came up to drive his elbow into the Draugar’s sternum. With his back still turned, Tegan wrapped his fingers around its wrists while his ankle did the same to its ankle. After that, all he had to do was roll forward as quickly as he could.
They spun in the air like a wheel and landed with Tegan sitting firmly on its sternum with the ax in hand. Rising swiftly, he drove the bottom of the ax down on its head. Then raising it over his head, Tegan put the coward to rest.
Then he was walking again. He crossed the now unguarded bridge while dusting the snow off his long coat. When he looked up, there was a familiar figure at the end of the bridge.
Miri was leaning against the rail by the time Teagan reached her.
“How is killing a Draugar being discrete?” She asked in a calm, and very even, tone.
“No guard or anyone living for that matter saw me.” Tegan said with a shrug. “And Draugar didn’t raise an alarm.”
“Then why” Miri said as she pointed at a fire burning on top of a hilltop. “did that light up the moment you killed it.”
Tegan scowled, then relaxed his face before bursting into delightful laughter.
“The Draugar was a magical tripwire. Very clever.”
“No.” Said Miri angrily. “It’s actually very basic. I told you to–“
“I did very well thank you.” Tegan said irritably. Then with an angry gesture towards himself he added,
“By the way this is a woman’s coat.”
“You–no it isn’t.” Snapped Miri as her cheeks turned red.
“It absolutely is. I would know remember.” Tegan replied with folded arms and a sly look.
“It was tailored.”
“Yes for a woman.” Laughed Tegan as he went to wrap his arms around Miri’s shoulders.
“No.” she told him with a soft push. Then she pointed at Tegan and then back at herself before adding,
“Not like this…when we have our bodies back. It’s too strange to kiss myself.”
“Really?” Laughed Tegan. “I want to kiss myself all the time.”
He moved in again, only to be rebuffed once again.
“When. We. Have switched back bodies.”
“You lack imagination thief.” Tegan said in a slow sensual voice.
“And you have far too much of it princess.” Miri said with a low growl as she touched her forehead to his.
“Soon…we’ll find the elf…this dark elf king. He will make it so no one can find us. And then…”
“We can be ourselves again.” Finished Tegan with a sad and weary sigh. “In our own bodies…”
“It’s only been a week.” He added as he ran his fingers down the side of her arm. “But I do miss it you know.”
Miri was silent for a moment. Then she raised her eyebrows and said,
“I didn’t know you enjoyed that so much.”
Tegan gave a wicked smile and lunged into kiss her roughly. For a moment time slowed and then Miri pushed him away. Her skin was flushed and her eyes, big and shiny.
“Enough. Soon…Let’s go.”
Miri spun around began stomping away as Tegan burst into unrestrained laughter.