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Then she produced a pair of tweezers. Ruthlessly, she grasped one of the black hairs which was protruding from Vorn's nostrils and



Vorn the Gladiator

(complete text full story - 4,364 words)
(first of three sections)

        Out of the night wind, a voice.
         "Vorn, Vorn."
         "Yes?" said Vorn.
         In response, the shadows shaped themselves to light - the merest glimmering of light, a fragile luminescence suggestive of the decay of cobwebs, the moldering of senile spiders. A beggar lay there in the gutter. A very old beggar, his ragged hair hopelessly intertwined with his tottering rags. He smelt, oddly, as if he had been recently dipped in extremely strong soy sauce.
         "Vorn," said the beggar. "You cannot escape."
         "I cannot?"
         "You cannot escape from your teeth."
         So said the beggar. Then, having delivered himself of this prophetic warning, he slumped into the relaxation of death.
         "I deny prophecy," said Vorn staunchly.
         "How do you know it was prophecy?" said Sharla.
         "Because the crocodiles are coming," said Vorn, pointing.
         It was true. The blood-purple crocodiles of the Unseen River had pierced through the Invisible Veil which separates us from the World Beyond, and were coming to devour the corpse directly, a great honor which is accorded only to the greatest of prophets.
         "And," said Vorn, "only the most merciless of truthtellers could have fallen to such a state of absolute degradation."
         "True," murmered Sharla.
         Then, as the crocodiles began to draw uncomfortably near - though the sacred crocodiles come only for the greatest of the dead, they tend to be promiscuous when it comes to the actual business of devouring - Vorn the Gladiator and Sharla the Swordswoman pushed on to the tavern known as the Blind Eye, hard by the east gate of the city of Chi'ash-lan. It was there that Jon the Ferret found them when he arrived late at night, bearing his warning. By that time, they were deep into their carousing, and were talking about the intimate things which only lovers can properly discuss.
         "How many times must I tell you?" said Sharla. "I don't like it when you do that."
         "But it feels so good," said Vorn.
         What felt so good was gnawing chop bones. And he persisted in this habit even though his teeth complained. Then, unexpectedly, the bone found one of the rotten places, and the swooning pain made him stop.
         Carefully, Vorn laid aside his chop bone and waited for the pain to pass. That was when Jon the Ferret breathed in his ear - which, in the city of Chi'ash-lan, is a sign that one has come bearing secret news.
         "Yes?" said Vorn, turning to him. "Out with it!"



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This story, "Vorn the Gladiator", was first published in Vampire Dan's Story Emporium No. 10, Winter 2000 (ed. Daniel Medici) (Syracuse, United States) (pp 33-43; 4,364 words) (fantasy). Published for a second time (first British publication) in Legend Issue 3 (received June 2001) (ed. Trevor Denyer) (Aldershot, United Kingdom, ISSN 1471-7786) (pp 13-17; unchanged 4,364 words) (fantasy). Copyright © 2000, 2001 Hugh Cook.


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VORN THE GLADIATOR - fantasy - story about Vorn the Gladiator - includes torture - fiction story online - gladiatorstory - fantasystorytorture - fantasyworldstory - VORN THE GLADIATOR - story gladiator story fantasy story torture story pain complete story by Hugh Cook - horror, fantasy. This story opens in the city of Chi'ash-lan


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