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04-13-2008, 01:34 PM #1
Taelric wiped the blood from his face with his tattered cloak. Behind him, a squire moaned as the young acolyte dressed his wound. Taelric realized he did not know the squire's name, and felt a pang of guilt - relieved by anger. Anger at the Goblins who had crossed the borders. Anger at the young Thane, who had ordered them to penetrate the woodlands, and anger at Haelyn, who had allowed the death of so many boys this day. "If this is victory, I'd rather take defeat", he mumbled as he drew his dagger.
He knelt, and in one deft motion, he cut the jugular of his destrier. He knew it had to be done, but it caused his anger to burn even stronger. The poor animal had been hit by a club, and its leg had been broken right above the knee. The blood spilled into the snow, and the air was filled with steam. He wondered idly if the stem was the animal's strength being released into the land. If so, would this gully, soaked by the blood of hundreds of men, animals and goblins, become closer to the gods?
Behind him, another young man he didn't know the name of cleared his throat nervously. "Ser", he said, "what do we do?". The old knight got up, feeling the old wound in his back shooting flaming arrows down his legs. He didn't turn around, knowing he'd scare the boy further if he were to look him in the eyes; there are no boys in these woods, he realized. He also knew that there was only one answer to the question, and in that moment, he also knew with crystal clarity what would happen next.
He alone would come back to the Thane's tent. He alone. Again he cursed the gods, for the long life his blood bestowed upon him had taken from him everything. In a brief moment, he thought he saw his wife standing before him, spectral and cold, like a faded memory. He suddenly felt immensely tired. "Not yet, my darling wife, not yet."
"Rally the men in front of those two sentinels", he said with a rasping voice, pointing with the bloody blade at the tall pines to his right. "Distribute the remaining bolts to those who cannot stand, and see to it that you eat." He started walking through the red and trampled snow towards the place where he would sacrifice another two dozen lives at the altar of Haelyn.
"They will come when the sun sinks into the 'Firth."
He could see it as if it had already happened - another gift from the old gods.-Harald
Today, we were kidnapped by hill folk never to be seen again. It was the best day ever.
04-23-2008, 01:34 PM #2
Nicely done. I'm ready to read more.Servant of the Most High,
Learn to do good; Seek justice, Rebuke the oppressor; Defend the fatherless, Plead for the widow.
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