Not Ever

It was ten feet tall, assembled from smoothed stone with cunning concealed joints, at least a ton, and covered with large, glowing runes. Awl stared up at it, and it loomed over him without even trying.

“This? This is what we’ve been looking for?”

Doya didn’t look up from where she rummaged in her pack. “Yup.”

“By God Below and all our holy ancestors, why?” Normally, Doya would correct him for mixing unrelated religious concepts, but she seemed preoccupied. Awl ducked under a swing of the thing’s fist. It hit a wall, shattering the stone panelling and discharging arcs of electricity.

“It can shock,” Awl shouted. “Did you know it could shock?”

“No.” Doya paused. “But I suspected.”

“Never again, Doya. Never ag—” Awl held his shield firm against a blow he couldn’t dodge, and his shield snapped in two. “Again,” he finished. On the thing’s fist, a rune flared bright.

“There! That’s it, keep it busy.” Awl wanted to complain, but a glancing swipe knocked the air from him.

“Got it,” Doya said. “We should run now.”

They ran until the pounding footsteps of the rune-golem’s pursuit were distant echoes. Once Awl caught his breath, he muttered, “Never. Again.”

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