|08 Apr 2007, 22:06||#1 (permalink)|
An Unsettled Debt [FANTASY]
An Unsettled Debt
By King Ulrik Flamebeard
The sun slowly began to dip below the sea as Sir Rinehart wandered into the village, his charger snorted as a fly once more landed on the edge of its nostril. Rinehart patted it's neck gently with a metallic hand as he looked about the small village, little more than fifty houses sat in a semi circle around the small shrine to the Lady. The homes themselves were less of a house and more of a hut, rectangular in shape they were made of either wood or mud; two things the peasants had plenty of. A small hole in the roof was there for the smoke to escape from, otherwise there was only a single window and door on each home. As he slowly rode through the village all activity seemed to stop, children stopped playing and adults stopped talking – looking about him he spoke up,
“I seek shelter for the night. Is there an inn here?” his Bretonnian accent was full of nobility and his words were perfectly formed. One villager sheepishly stepped forward, his hands constantly wringing at the cap he held in his hands;
“Yes sire.” He spoke in a stuttering voice, “That hall there is a travellers stop, though I'm afraid tis nothing fancy” the embarrassment was evident within his voice. Rinehart looked upon the peasant, and without a word he nodded and with a slight touch to the flanks of his horse trotted towards the building. Unlike the other buildings this one was longer with more windows, a crudely daubed sign was nailed to it's front, “The Lady's Tress” it was called. The picture of a light blue tress of a noble woman was splashed upon the wooden board, the name was written in white – it appeared the keeper had hired someone for the job as Sir Rinehart doubted anyone in the village has the skills of literacy. Pulling his horse up he looked for a stable of some sort but could see none, turning in the saddle he was about to shout back to the group of villagers when a cough to his right pulled him up short. Before him was a young man, no more than sixteen; his clothes were dirty and he gave off a slight smell of dung;
“You staying the night sire?” questioned the young man, as he spoke Rinehart could see many of his teeth were rotten or plainly missing giving his words a slight lisp. The knight nodded and the boy continued; “There are stables out back, m'Lord. Shall I house your steed there?” Again Rinehart nodded but this time he dismounted, landing on the hardened earth with a clanging of metal plates. Fishing a copper coin out his purse Rinehart tossed it towards the stable hand and strode towards the inn itself. Pushing open the wooden door he was suddenly plunged into a dimness that the dying light outside failed to match, he stood in a large common room; there were four small tables with three-legged stools sat around them. Three braziers sat in the corners of the room in a feeble attempt to give it more light, on the far side a roaring fire danced and flickered as a man chucked another log onto it. Sir Rinehart's steps thudded loudly on the wooden floorboards as he approached this man, upon hearing them the man turned and bowed his head to the knight;
“G'evening sire. What may my humble abode offer you this night?” asked the man. As Rinehart studied him he could see he was the proprietor, a worn and stained apron was bound around his wide girth. His round face bore a jolly glow, a large and bulbous nose sat in the middle of his face was slightly violet, an indication that he imbibe with his own stock. He wore a thinning head of grey hair that matched the beard upon his face, the facial hair hide his mouth to such a degree that unless it was open the orifice vanished.
“Yes. I require a room for the night, as well as food and wine if you have it.” requested the noble.
“Of course sire. You more forgive me but the rooms are of ill stock and need a quick clean as they are not used often. I will see to one being cleaned, if you'd like to take a seat I'll get your food whilst it's being cleaned. And I do believe I have a bottle of wine somewhere.” the Inn keeper said, his voice soft and welcoming.. Rinehart nodded and took up a seat near one of the braziers. The meal was quick in coming, a lamb stew with hard bread was brought to Rinehart alone with a bottle of wine, the workers of the tavern quickly retreated; unsure of how to act in the presence of a nobleman. Rinehart polished off the stew with relish, the taste was there but it was bland compared what he was use to back at his home. One of the female servants appeared out of the corridor leading towards the rooms, Rinehart sat back and sipped his wine as he appraised her form. She was tall and slender, not too much but she had curves in the correct places. A full locks of golden yellow hair fell to her waist, wisps of it turned golden as the fiery lights caught its movement. Her skin was pale but without blemish, as he turned he saw her face in full. Her oval face was framed by the golden locks, her skin like porcelain held a warm look, her green eyes were bright with youth and a slight naivety. She conversed with the innkeeper before turning and leaving the room once more; Rinehart's eyes followed every movement.
A polite cough drew attention for the second time that night,
“My daughter says the room is ready” the innkeeper told Rinehart, his eyes had narrowed and a slight wariness had crept into them as the knight watched his daughter. Rinehart nodded and rose indicating him to show the way. “Hanna.” he barked, “Show this fair knight to his room., then go to the kitchens; the cook needs a pair of hands.” The young girl appeared once more, curtseyed and indicated for Sir Rinehart to follow. She stopped outside the first door and waved Sir Rinehart inside.
“Could you come inside and help me remove my armour?” said Rinehart as he turned to face her. She stared blackly at him then glancing at the room, then back at Rinehart and finally passed his shoulder; she shook her head then before Rinehart could respond she slipped passed him towards the kitchen. Sighing, he was about to enter the room when the boy come stable entered. Beckoning him over he gestured inside the room and followed the boy in. The room was little larger than six foot square, a bed made of straw or hay lay in one corner whilst another was occupied by a large stood, with a bowl and a towel on top. Removing his sword and tossing it upon the pallet he began to instruct the boy in the removal of his armour, without aid of a mirror he was trusting him to do it purely via his guidance. Slowly, piece by piece he shed the armour like an outer skin, piling it carefully in a spare corner. Instead he donned a simple tunic of green and gold patterns. The tightly fitting garment was designed to show of his highly toned and muscular body, his form was build from years of jousting and armed combat with the sword he carried. Looking into the bowl he gazed at the reflection he cast; a long noble looking face gazed back at him. The slate grey eyes held a dangerous look within them, he highly angular face was framed by longish mousey brown hair. A long thin nose was a contrast to the full lips below, something that gained him a slight ridicule at court, behind the red lips were a perfect set of white teeth; although they were now stained by the red wine from the meal.
“Thank you.” Sir Rinehart rewarded the boy with a flash of a smile, “How is my horse?”
“Fine sire. He seems to have taken to the stable well, he'll be fine tonight.” beamed the young lad with pride. Sir Rinehart rewarded him with another appraising smile before indicating his service was over. Wishing the knight a good knight the boy slipped out the room leaving him alone. Sir Rinehart drew his blade and placed it point down on the wooden floor, kneeling before it he placed his head upon his hands covering the pommel and whispered his prayers to the Lady before retiring for the night.
* * * *
Valnir Bloodroot stood watching the dark blue waves calmly shifting upon the sea as his ship steadily slipped through them, he stand on one of the balconies that led from one of the many rooms within his small ship. The ship itself was less of a sea faring vessel but more of a small castle upon a piece of rock, one of the infamous Druchii Black Arks; formed at the hight of the civil war that split the elven race thousands of years ago. To the unknowing it appeared to be a simple building upon a rock but the truth was that it was much more, much of it was in fact under the oceans waves – much like an iceberg – within this submerged section lives the creatures that were the Ark's mounts. Great beings of the ocean culled and captured from the Boiling Sea were lashed to the small island and pulled the rock about the ocean, answering to the Beastmaster's calls and commands.
Valnir took a deep breath of the salt filled wind, his cloak of sea dragon hide flapped in it's caress behind him. Valnir himself was much like the Druchii race as a whole; he was of slender build, his flesh was taught upon his frame and a pale colour – almost to the colour of pure white. His eyes had no iris and no colour, it was as all others black – two pools of black that gave away little emotion if any. Tied in a single top knot was his long black hair, its length cascaded down his back like a black waterfall; the rest of his head was shaved clean. He wore functional clothing giving him freedom of movement but keeping him warm against the elements, a plate of black ithilmar clung to his chest, sharp bladed pauldrons protected his shoulders and a pair of spiked gloves matched his shoulder guards. Encompassing him he wore a heavy cloak, the material was that of the flayed flesh of a sea dragon – one of the fierce creatures that power the Black Arks. As well as being well armoured he matched this with being well armed, twin swords lay close at hand on his hip, each one was a full four feet in length with small toothy notches within the weapons design – these would cause considerable pain to the occupants who's flesh they were embedded within when it was removed – they hung of opposite sides of his waist in matching human skin sheaths, the handles were made from human bones with a solitary rune of Khaine etched on the pommel. They had previously belonged to the captain before him, but they were now his after his opponents death, such was the Druchii way.
A slight ruffle of clothing behind him caught his attention, without even turning he spoke up – the wind whipping his words back to the being;
“Something I could do for you Lonccia?” he asked. Slowly the person behind him pulled up level, the sorceress Lonccia. Like him she was a noble but even he couldn't command fear like she did but to look at her he could not guess why. She was like him of typical Druchii stock, pale skinned and dark haired. Where he wore his armour and cloak as protection she wore none, in fact she wore very little; a few scraps of cloth acted as a barrier to hide her assets - something it didn't entirely do all that well. Looking at her Valnir could still see her figure, her perfect form could – and had- drive mortals mad with desire, she bore herself with a confidence. When she spoke, even in the harsh Druchii language, it was like music; her voice was a velvet purr and as smooth as silk;
“Good day Lord Valnir. All is prepared for the voyage home I presume?” her words sounded much like an order as it was a question, something that irked Valnir greatly.
“Almost. Once last raid and we'll be done.” he replied
“Is that wise m'Lord? Winter draws near if we were stranded when the winter comes, well I don't suppose I need to explain the problems to yourself do I?”
“Of course I know the implications. As I said, once last raid.” Valnir said with a firm tone. “Now inform the crew, we are nearing our destination.”
“As you wish, m'Lord.” She turned to leave but before she could Valnir spoke up once more;
“Lonccia, don't countermand my orders again.” he said with a slight venom in his voice, she took it in her stride and didn't even turn back to the Corsair captain as she left. As she disappeared Valnir turned back to the sea, the coast of Bretonnia pulling into view once more; a cruel smile slid onto his lips in anticipation.
* * * *
Gerart wandered down towards the beach, the village behind him was abuzz with the knights arrival. Everyone but himself were obsessed with him, even thinking of the man make Gerart's mood more sullen. He began to mutter to himself;
“What's that poncy nobleman got that I haven't? Eh? Nothing.” Stooping he picked up a stone and begin to toss it up and down in the air, he began to pace along the beach; “He comes here thinking we'll bow to his every whim just because he's a noble, thinking he can touch my Hanna. He has some brass..” spinning in anger he flung the stone as hard as he could into the sea. “Oh great.” He muttered as he looked at the great blue divide, a mist had begun to form; and as it came in land it slowly began to thicken. The sight of the mist caused him to mutter more, now he'd have to return to the village and tell the people there. Among the noise of the waves lapping upon the shore he heard something else, a sound that didn't belong; it sounded like the noise an oar makes when it's swept through the water. Stepping forward Gerart strained his eyes staring into the mist, clear patches drifted through the haze and as one patch passed before him swore he saw ships and even a great castle out upon the oceans waves. He now stood at the waters edge; the waves slowly lapping at his feet. Then suddenly out of the mist came two distinct twang's of a crossbow Gerart didn't have time to react, as he breathed in two shafts stuck out from his chest and throat. As his eyes sight faded and the wounds blossomed red and black his slumped to the sandy floor his eyes glazed and a bloody trickle of blood leaked from the corner of his mouth.
“He could have made a good slave” hissed one of the figures leaping out the boats into the surf.
“Or he could have alerted the humans to our presence. I'd take my chances with the loss of one against the loss of them all.” came the curt reply. Valnir followed Lonccia as they waded through the surf, behind them came the corsairs; the fighting force of the raid. Nodding to two of them Valnir indicated they were the scouts, and in an instant they began to track the humans path back to the village and slaves beyond. It was five minutes before they returned and relayed the information; they knew the village was unprotected and housed maybe a hundred humans. “Good. We'll wait for this mist to cover the land then we can move in, best do quickly and silently before the rest awake and run.” Valnir looked at Lonccia as he spoke, seeing her nod her head in agreement he posted two sentries and waited.
It took almost two hours for the fog to drift over the village, obscuring sight to little more than a few feet. The corsairs swiftly moved into the village square, their weapons drawn and bows strung. At least two were situated at each home, more than enough to take the humans within quickly, with one final look at Lonccia Valnir gave the order. With a curt nod the chaos began..
* * * *
Sir Rinehart dragged himself from his dream at the sound of screaming, an acidly stench burnt his nostrils as his eyes flickered open. Rising he stretched, causing many bones to creak within his frame; then noting an orange glow from the window he curiously opened it. As the wooden frame was swung open he was met with a scene of carnage. Homes were alight, this was the cause of the smoke and sat in the centre were most the inhabitants of the village. Guarding them were over fifty tall beings; by their frames he could see they were slim humans, most likely well trained and athletic. Each wore a long cloak of some sort of animal, the scales were large and the humans forms were almost entirely covered by the cloaks. Each bore two large and wickedly shaped swords, a design Rinehart have never seen before. His attention was quickly brought back into his more immediate area as he could hear footsteps outside his door, these were followed by the sound of the other rooms being broken into before the intruders finally broke through his own. Before they did he had time to pick up his sword and stand behind the door; as the first raider stepped forwards he was met with a blow to the chest that knocked him backwards into his companion. Knowing enough about combat Rinehart didn't stop there thinking they were dealt with, quickly he moved forwards and silenced them. Looking down upon the prone forms he swore,
“By the lady!” as he got a good look upon the humans. There were not human as he first thought but elven, nothing like he had read about for these were of paler skin and darker hair. They also bore weapons he had never been told of, curiously he bent over a plucked a crossbow from one of the dead elves; the design was the same to most he had seen – if better in craftsmanship – but where the bolt was placed to be loaded was a box. Looking at it carefully he saw it was in fact full of crossbow bolts. Frowning then sneering he tossed the missile weapon away, removing his sword from the throat of the elf he had killed and then he turned towards the common room. Only to be met with a powerful strike between the eyes, as he fell backwards he looked up and once again received a jabbing blow to the face; this time he was pitched into darkness.
Slowly his thoughts began to congeal and with a groan his eyes fluttered open. Placing a hand to bridge of his nose he gentle rubbed it to try and ease the pain; flakes of dried blood fell from the area as he worked it with his fingers. Looking around him Rinehart could see that he was grouped with the people from the village other than that he could see little else; five baskets of fire hung high up on the walls casting only slight shadows onto the occupants and giving no indication of the rooms size. As he moved he became aware of something else, he was chained. In the near dark he traced the chain until he met the hand of the person at the other end, the same was true of his ankles too. Suddenly a bright light flooded the room.
Does it dangle to and fro?
Can you tie it in a knot?
Can you tie it in a bow?
Can you sling it on your shoulder?
Like a silly manling soldier?
Does your beard hang low?
|08 Apr 2007, 22:07||#2 (permalink)|
Re: An Unsettled Debt [FANTASY]
In the face of the fierce glow the shadows retreated, the being holding it was an elf. Not quite the same as the ones Rinehart had slain but it was close, the main difference was that this one had a thick coil of leather hooked on his waist and various tools of what the uses were for the Bretonnian knight could not tell. The torch in the elf's hand forces black spots behind his sight as Rinehart eyes attempted to adjust quickly to the change of light, seeing the rest of the captives for the first time. There were a lot more than were in the village, in fact to Rinehart it seemed there were at least double that number; they were arranged in a semi circle. Each slave were chained to the person immediately to their left and right, all expect the ones at the far end; instead the palm of one of their hands was nailed directly onto the floor by a foot long metal spike. Their jailer enjoyed testing this spike causing the trapped being to yelp in pain. The elf walked into the centre of the room and lighted the torch high getting a good look at all present and Rinehart realised it was to check that none had been freed; as the jailer turned to leave one of the trapped people leapt forwards towards his captor. The elf barely even bothered to look his way, instead he stepped to the side just outside the range of the humans reach; as the man was cruelly jolted backwards by the chain the elf stepped forwards. Without warning the elf dowsed the fiery touch upon the humans naked torso, the man's screams echoed around the enclosed room as did his torturer's laughter. Rinehart couldn't stand it any longer, standing he shouted at the elf;
“Leave him be you bastard!” And the elf did just that. But now his attention turned towards Rinehart, for a minute it seemed like the elf was going to turn and leave but as quick as an viper he tore the whip from his waist and lashed out at Rinehart. The length of the coiled weapon surprised the knight, even from almost the far end of the room the whip struck him and struck him hard. Rinehart fell to the floor as white hot pain lanced his cheek, placing a manacled hand to his face he could see in the dull light that his fingers came away with a bloody smear and he could taste the coppery flavour of blood in his mouth. By the time he had gotten over the shock and pain he found the elf looming over him, one of the many tools off his belt in his hand;
“You will learn who is the master, slave.” the words were heavily accented but rolled off his tongue like silk, as the last word was spoken the full weight of Rinehart's position struck him like a lance firmly to the chest. The realisation must have registered upon his face as the elf's face cracked in a broad grin as he drank in Rinehart's fear like a fine wine. Slowly the metal appliance, something that resembled a hook but had smaller finer blades or barbs all over it, descended towards his face;
“Ureal.” came a soft purr of spoken words behind the torturer, at the voice the elf stopped dead and stood to face the speaker.
“Lady Lonccia. May I ask what brings you down here?” the elf spoke in a harsh language, the human captives could not understand a single word of it. The druchii sorceress turned her focus from Ureal and instead cast an appraising look upon Rinehart;
“This one is not to be harmed.” a sullen look crossed the face of the jailer, “He is strong, a knight of the humans so I am told. He'll do well as either a slave in the mines or in the blood sport games. Remember Ureal, 'Damaged stock is hard to sell'.” she said with a smile a wolf would have been proud of. Then she noticed that Rinehart was chained to a female, stepping forwards she roughly jerked back the woman's head;
“Hmm” she mused, letting the woman's head drop back down he turned and began to leave but stopped on the threshold of the jail; “Ureal, see that they don't spoil on the journey, Valnir wouldn't be pleased if they do.” then almost as an after thought “Maybe if one or two go missing they won't be missed; just to keep the crew entertained of course.” she purred.
“Of course m'lady. I'll see that they don't.” the jailer said with a wicked grin.
As Lonccia left the jail she quickly headed up towards the captain's cabin, somewhere that she had woken up from that very morning; as it was the corsair lord was inside as she entered. Turning at the intrusion Valnir frowned,
“What is it woman?” he growled.
“I have inspected the slaves, m'lord” she whispered as she slithered across the cabin and sat down upon the bed, leaning backwards slightly exposing her chest she crossed her legs and the dress slipped off the smooth skin to reveal her pale leg. The corsair looked up from the map he was working on and noticed her position;
“What do you want Lonccia?” he asked, his tone more gentle this time but it still held a hint of impatience. His eyes revolved over her near naked form, the memories of the previous night returned unbidden. Willing them away he raised an questioning eyebrow;
“I have seen the slaves, one will do well as a participant in the gladiatorial games or in the mines and the rest well maybe as slaves or probably better as sacrifices.” she whispered seductively.
“Hmm.. tell Ureal to separate them into groups of ten, take the weakest out of each group and they'll be the ones for the temple. The rest I'll take my chances with.” he said and returned to the map once more. Realising he advances had been spurned Lonccia stood and strode towards the door but before leaving she had one last thing to say;
“Oh, there's a female down there I think you may enjoy. Quite beautiful by human standards anyway, shall I send her up? I know you have enquired a taste for their flesh.” Looking back at the captain she saw him nod and spotted the usual greed within his eye. With this she left and relayed the orders to the jail keeper. The chains were released and the slaves moved into groups, Lonccia herself went round and discarded the weakest from each group. Finally the chosen few were separated and the chains were replaced, Lonccia had one last task. Finding the female she had previously she ordered her chains undone and led her up towards the captains cabin.
The woman was led into the cabin, no noise was heard from her. Lonccia left the captain to his enjoyment. As the door closed he moved over to the woman and with a knife blade he cut away her clothing, with a feral smile he walked around her his hand trailing on her flesh he smelled her fear and tasted it like it was tangible. When he shoved her to the bed and disrobed she still had failed to speak, when he lay beside her and began to run his hands along her naked form she still made no noise not even a gasp. And when he began to slice strips of her flesh off with a delicate knife no word did she utter, when he raped her time and time again no sound was made. Finally he had his fill and in an orgy of blood lust he used the most profound ways possible and still no sound escaped her lips.
He awoke in the morning on blood sodden sheets, the body next to him was barely recognisable as being human. He tried to raise himself from the bed but failed and instead toppled upon his back and onto the floor, looking up he could make out someone standing over him; Lonccia. Seductively she knelt beside him and in a purring whisper in his ear she told him what had happened;
“Hurts does it not Valnir? A slow poison I think you'll agree, something you gained from me the other night. I of course had an antidote but unfortunately I've used it all. It appears what was wanted by the convent in return was your heart. Don't look so shocked after the last gift you gave us you should have been expecting it, one last night of blood lust. My what a divine ingredient this will make.” she spoke with relish and the words teetered on laughter. Then picking up the captain's own weapon she set about the gruesome task, in less than a minute he had his heart in a bag and with one last look at the corpses she closed the door and walked out into the cold sea air. Standing outside she watched as the cold shores of Naggaroth pulled into view; raising a bloody finger to her mouth she licked the blood off it;
“Divine.” she breathed as she cleaned the rest of her hands the same way. The debt was settled.
Does it dangle to and fro?
Can you tie it in a knot?
Can you tie it in a bow?
Can you sling it on your shoulder?
Like a silly manling soldier?
Does your beard hang low?
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