Heroes Never Retire

Heroes Never Retire

A Story by errihu

Two friends conspire to return a battle-scarred and traumatized heroine to return from retirement. Challenge fic.


“I’m getting to old for this bullshit.” Zeryda sighed and slouched, watching the steam curl from her latte. The rattan chair creaked under her movements.


“Old? You? Never!” Across the room, Andras leaned against the wall, arms and legs crossed, smirking at her. She wasn’t sure if he was being sarcastic or not. He always had that same damn half-grin.


“It’s still bullshit.”


The smiling half of Andras’ mouth twitched upwards a little higher, and Zery fumed inwardly. How had she ever fallen in love with this lackadaisical farce of a man? Everything he did infuriated her, especially the complete lack of seriousness with which he approached life.


“Zery, you still haven’t answered my question…” Andras’ voice was teasing. Zery huffed, crossed her arms, and looked away. How dare he ask in the first place?


A shadow crossed the table and she caught it with her peripheral vision. Almost against her will, she flicked her gaze, and suppressed the urge to startle at the sight of Andras leaning over the table, bright green eyes fixed on her, one strand of dark hair loose from its binding and dangling near his chin. He looked impish, and she suppressed self loathing at the surge of attraction she felt at the sight. “Zer…y… tell… me…” he drawled in a sing-song voice. Damned rogues and their silent movements.


“Absolutely not!” she snapped. “I retired, I told you. No more gallivanting across the countryside looking for trouble. The damsels can stay distressed. The dragons can have their hoards. And I don’t give a s**t about the undead anymore. I am sick and tired of spending days in half plate, saddle sores, going without soap for weeks, sleeping on rocks, and generally being miserable so that some ungrateful villager can benefit from my muscles. I don’t know how you found me here, and I don’t know how you think you can just waltz in here and expect I’ll toss on my armor and strap on my sword and leave my magic espresso maker and soft bed behind on your say so, but you’re out of luck.” Zery stabbed him with her eyes. “I’m not budging from this home. Go relive the glory days with one of the other residents.” She did not speak of the despair that gripped her when she thought of picking up the sword again, and of the circumstances that caused her to put it down.


Andras smiled a surprisingly easy grin of defeat and shrugged, standing upright once more. “Fine, have it your way babe.” He strode out of her little garden, tossing her one over-the-shoulder smirk before vanishing into the corridor.


Zery sighed. Hild’s death had taken so much out of her. Why couldn’t Andras understand that? Hild had been his friend too. Hell, they’d even been lovers for a time, but then, who hadn’t Andras seduced of their little company. She hadn’t minded sharing Hild any more than Hild had minded sharing her. She reached for her coffee cup and took a sip of the cooling drink.


Oh s**t. S**T! That dirty little b*****d had slipped something into her mug. The world swirled around her. She was no longer sitting, instead, she was standing on cracked, gray clay. Scraggly gray vegetation, dead and withered, languished here and there. The sky was swirling with mist. She felt suddenly cold, a cold that was nothing like the damp autumnal crispness of her garden. Almost involuntarily, her arms came up around her as she huddled close to herself for warmth.


Shapes were moving in the mist, indistinct and impossible to identify. They swirled out of reach, never nearing. Zery tried to suppress fear. Where was she? How the hell was she going to get home?


“Zeryda.” A familiar voice spoke. Zery jumped, the chill forgotten. It sounded so much like Hild! “Zeryda, what are you doing here?”


A form coalesced out of the mist. It WAS Hild. The buxom blonde appeared as Zery had last seen her, only unwounded. She wore the same leather hauberk and skirt, her short sword and dagger were strapped to her hips, and her powerful longbow and quiver were slung across her back. Her golden hair was still draped in two thick braids across her chest.


“Hild…” Zery’s voice was weak with pain and longing. “Hild, how can I be talking to you, you’re dead?” She felt a stab of despair.


Hild’s beautiful blue eyes were sad. “I AM dead, Zery. You’re in the land of lost souls.”


“Why did you have to leave us Hild? Don’t you know I had nothing left with you gone? You were like another part of my soul!” Zery sobbed. She felt empty of all but pain and loneliness. The apparition of her lover and oldest friend walked towards her, stretched out arms that looked solid but felt like a feather touch around Zery.


“Oh love. I had no choice. You rarely have a choice when Death comes for you at last.” Hild said. Zery could hear the sorrow in her voice.


“But we tried to get you brought back. The priests all failed, every one of them. Why didn’t you return to us?” She gazed desperately into her lover’s eyes.


“I couldn’t, Zery. I’m trapped here. Ordeis is… one of the most powerful liches in existence. He has learned how to trap souls here, in this world.” Hild said. “He might not have slain me himself, but he crafted the weapon that killed me. In order for all of us to be free, he must be destroyed.”


Zery froze. Andras had wanted her to go after a lich named Ordeis. She was certain he’d slipped something into her drink. Andras had KNOWN. She looked into Hild’s sorrowful, knowing eyes. She sighed.


“I guess it’s time to come back from retirement.” Zery said.


“You fool,” Hild said affectionately, smiling. “Heroes never retire. They merely rest for a while.”


“I’ll bring you back, Hild. I’ll bring you back, or, soul of my soul, I’ll join you.” Zery met the other woman’s eyes with burning determination. “Ordeis is going down.”

© 2010 errihu

Author's Note

Result of a literary challenge. The result of a theme challenge, I chose from: An angry past lover, Soul Mate, Mug of Lost Souls, Retirement home for heroes, Complete Bliss, Desolation, Court of Cats, Loneliness, Zombie Angel, Thugs / Thieves, Wedding Bells, and Fly on the wall.

My Review

Would you like to review this Story?
Login | Register

Share This
Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Added on April 13, 2010
Last Updated on April 13, 2010



Alberta, Canada