Thursday 2 October 2014

Start 4

The boy bled from a multitude of wounds. An arrows broken shaft jutted from his chest, the tip buried deep within him. His arms were broken, one of them so badly that the bones stuck out through his skin. His young body was covered in gashes and bruises. Maybe he had been trampled by horses, dragged along by one or just used for sport by some of the raiders. Werteld couldn’t really tell and if honest he didn’t really care. When he looked at the boys broken form all he could see was gold coins.

Werteld’s chief, Eeblin the Grey, had led the bandit raiding party into the small hamlet of Ortholt to attack the merchant caravan that rested there for the night. The slaughter had been glorious and taken the merchants and the residents of the tiny settlement by complete surprise. There was some minor resistance from the merchant’s small contingent of guards but they had all been put to the sword quick enough with hardly a loss counted amongst the raiders. Werteld had been tasked with rounding up the remnants of the hamlets residence whilst Eeblin had some men readied the merchant’s wagons for departure. The boy lay in front of the other 6 that had been rounded up. There were two women who could be used as pleasure girls, an old man that appeared to have no immediate use and the rest were children who would be sold into slavery. The battered form of the boy lay unmoving before them. Werteld would have him delivered to the mage Berinsthor. He had been looking for fresh cadavers to practice his foul magic’s on and by the time this boy reached him Werteld had no doubt he would be dead. Dead but fresh. “You, old man. Come forward”, Werteld pointed at the ground in front of him to emphasise his point. The old man limped forward. He had dried blood on one side of his face and looked worse for wear. “What is your name?” Werteld enquired. “Jacobi Erst my lord”, the old mans voice quivered as he responded. “What is your trade Jacobi Erst? Do you have any skills that may help my band of brothers and I?”. “I was a carpenter of some repute in my day, unfortunately my hands aren’t as steady as they used to be so it has been a while since I have put chisel to wood” Jacobi held his hands up to demonstrate his point. They shook badly, their vibration was constant. Werteld walk around the old man with a hand on his chin as if contemplating something. As he reached Jacobi’s back he unsheathed a dagger and ran the cool steel so deep through the old man’s throat that he hit spine. Jacobi Erst died without a sound but with plenty of mess. He fell to the floor in a heap as his lifeblood pooled dark red on the floor in front of him. Werteld knelt down and wiped his blade clean before returning it to the scabbard at his side. He rose and turned to his captives. “You five, follow that ugly bastard with the big bushy beard over there” and indicated for the woman and children to move with a point of his finger. He shouted orders at his bearded companion he turned and looked at the boy. “You’ll go to old Berinsthor”, he grinned at his declaration, flashing heavily stained teeth as he did so. He nudged the boy with his boot but was greeted with no acknowledgement from the child’s recumbent form. “The boss wouldn’t like it if he knew, so don’t say a word”, Werteld chuckled to himself at his quip as he dragged the boy away by the foot. He would load him onto his horse and offload him before nightfall.

The rain beat down hard as Werteld made his way up the winding path to Berinsthors tower. It was called Crag Spire and sat atop a cliff on a piece of land that jutted out into The Lonely Sea. The winding path was not travelled often, the mage was not one for socialising. Werteld had made this trip several times before with newly deceased victims of his bandit brother’s attacks. It was turning out to be quite lucrative and would remain so as long as nobody found out. The sale of cadavers was punishable by death even in these dire times. Necromancy was rife and not something the ruling power wanted to encourage. He looked up at the spire and a chill passed through him. Crag Spire was a twisted evil looking place and the fading evening light lent it an even darker aspect. Werteld would be in and out as quick as he could be. He dismounted from his horse at the foot of the stairs that led up to the huge double doors at the towers entrance. He pulled the boy from the back of his mount. He had wrapped him in a blanket and bound it with rope to hide the boy’s broken form from prying eyes. The blanket had been soaked through with blood in several places and Werteld wondered how such a small body could contain so much of the stuff. He hoisted the body over his shoulder and made the short climb up to the doors. Before Werteld had reached the last step the heavy doors started swinging inwards. They made no sound as they moved and there was nobody on the other side of them to greet him. Berinsthor loved his little tricks. Werteld moved inside the tower. A familiar sight to Werteld, the room was lit by several braziers that burned with a soft glow. There was a door at either side of the one of which he knew the wizard would be behind. He shrugged the boys body off of his shoulder and dumped him unceremoniously on the floor. Werteld knelt down and untied his package pulling the rope free and unfurling the blanket to reveal the mages prize. A viewing slit in the door on Werteld’s right slid open. The eye’s that gazed out fixed on Werteld and then dropped to the boy on the floor

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