In the next minute the Taskling beat the bile from that demon. Tibi watched, awestruck, as the automaton thrashed the shrieking demon with all the hatred, all the ferocity, paranoid energy and vengeful cleverness that the later era of Schwann of people put into their defenses. Never before had he seen two such hateful creatures fighting, the demon driven by the inner evil and hatred of his kind, the Taskling by the hateful power imbued on him by his creators. The demon's claws screeched vainly against the enchanted steel time and time again. The Taskling fluidly batted away its furious swipes at a dizzying speed, then launched a bloody barrage of violence that pressed the demon against the wall, sliced half the limbs from its body, and knocked it to the floor. When the Taskling had the demon splayed before him, the demon glared over at Tibi with a face twisted with hate. Its snout opened to say something, but the Taskling used the opportunity to slice its greatsword through the roof of its soft mouth and into its brain.

"Done." hummed the Taskling. It tapped the brain matter from its greatsword and returned to its position in the corner, where it then fell into its previous state of stasis.

Tibi poked the demon corpse gingerly with his foot, then sank to the ground in relief, and remained there for some time.

Tibi awoke from his dark, dreamless sleep with his mind set on his prize. It was a book, cumbersomely huge, bound in severely cracked leather. It had no title, but Tibi knew it to be the Table of Things: a massive collection of all the knowledge from the ancient people of the Strangelands, in a time before it was overrun with unchecked magic, monsters and demons. He dared not open it, for he knew the pages would crumble to dust if touched. Amidst the keep's pile of treasure Tibi found an ornately embroidered bag made of red-dyed cloth with valuable gold trim, and he gently laid the book in it, wrapped in soft linens. Before leaving Tibi searched through the keep to find any worthwhile treasure. He packed a good deal of gold and diamonds, to fund his expenditures back home, and also a canister of ink and ancient, crumbling parchment. Finally, Tibi set his eyes on a large sword laying over a kite shield. The sword was about three feet in length, a longsword used for both thrusting and slicing, with a hilt that allowed for two hand use. It was, admittedly, much nicer than his old sword that was now snapped in half.


When he returned to the Gamut he planned to write a treatise on the subject of death. So many philosophers claimed to fear no death, Tibi thought, while living a life scratching out words on paper. Perhaps every philosopher should dangle from the claws of a large demon hundreds of feet above ground before writing of death.

The End

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