The drooling creature was man-shaped, but it smelled worse than the fish market and its bite was worse than being kicked by a horse. Nenshe winced and looked at the ugly wound on his arm with disdain — he’d have to get someone to check it for a curse when he got back to the Order — but only after he put the creature down for good.

The man-thing let out a hideous belch and charged at Nenshe, knocked him from his feet, and sent him crashing to the ground. But Nenshe had been ready for the beast, and as he bounced off the ground, the creature yowled with pain — a welt fast-forming on one of its flailing limbs. He had hoped to break the arm, or maybe a couple ribs, but it was impossible to get a clean hit on the thing, it moved too quickly.

Nenshe rolled to his feet while the creature expressed its pain and anger. “If you were Greek, I’d … well, I doubt you are, so the point is a bit … non-pointed.” The thing was distracted, and in pain — Nenshe swung his club in a wide arc, deliberately missing it, but it reacted predictably to his movement, and failed to see through the feint.

He shifted his weight and swung the heavy, wooden club back around to give the creature a crack on the head. Rather than caving in like a proper skull, it flopped to the side and deformed to a ridiculous degree before snapping back into position with a wet pop, as though Nenshe had batted at it playfully rather than put all his weight behind the blow.

The creature sank to its haunches and began to gibber excitedly.

“That’s just not right.,” said Nenshe. “Time for option three.”

He turned tail and fled from the man-thing before it had a chance to get up and follow him. Better to cut his losses and return in greater strength.