Saturday, March 22, 2014

Chance Encounter

He held the sword halfway out of its sheath a moment longer.  When the young woman stepped out from behind the trees, he let out a breath and secured his weapon back into it's resting spot.

"Don't you know it's dangerous to travel outside the manor's wall  this time of night?" Vox told the young woman with a half grin.

The lady turned away from him, hiding a smile of her own, "isn't it your job to protect careless girls as myself?" She responded with a question, making eye contact at the last word.

Vox smile deepened and he looked past her as if searching for possible danger in the dark woods.

"Isn't there someone at the grand ball that will miss a pretty young woman as yourself?" He asked returning her gaze.

"I'm sure no one noticed my absence, my father is regaling his tale of the  great hunt for the lornok beast, each year on Severance Day I swear the beast gets bigger and bigger.  I'm sure he's telling them, right now, that the creature is bigger than a house, with fangs the size of a man's arms.  I heard it enough times, but it sure captures the attention of the room" she told him, as she slowly circled around Vox.

"well, my fair maiden, the woods are no place for a princess as yourself, as much as I am tasked to keep the riff raff out, I'm to also see that the guests are safely returned back to the manor."  Vox said as he moved forward gently placing a hand on the woman's back, guiding her into the direction of the festivities.

"riff raff?" She asked dodging Vox's touch, "I do believe I have encountered such." She finished with a nod in his direction, implying he was the subject she spoke of.

"Well my lady," Vox countered, returning his hand to her lower back, "be that as it may, this ruffian  is getting coin to make sure wandering sheep as yourself do not stray too far."

The lady batted his hand away this time, taking a quick step back, "sheep?" She squeaked with an expression of shock, "I am a lady and will be referred to as such, not to be compared with a common beast!"

"I apologize my lady, you are but a graceful swan who needs to be with like company, so her beauty can be admired by those who are worthy, and not caught with a swine such as myself"

With this, the lady smiled, allowing Vox to lead her back to the manor.  Vox took great care with his ability to diffuse a situation with his words, in this case winning the respect of an incredible beauty.

They took the path in silence, as they approached the main gate, two of Lord Ginich's personal guard stood on duty.  They quickly recognized Vox and the woman so took no action toward thier approach.

About thirty feet away Vox stood, allowing the lady to move a few feet ahead before she realized he was no longer with her and spun around.

"You don't seem to be from around here, and you don't wear the colors of house Ginich." She said in the form of as statement, meaning for Vox to answer her unspoken question.

"No princess," Vox responded, continuing to use that moniker without knowing the lady's status, "Lord Ginich hires on extra guards during his parties, to discourage the thieves and pickpockets that are attracted to such large affairs."

"Your a sell sword!?" She retorted, almost as if it was meant to be an insult.

"In a way my lady," he replied ignoring her possible disdain for the sort, "I'm more of a 'jack of all trades' in this instance I am tasked as a protector, but I have many other skills."

Once again Vox's choice of words brought a smile to the lady's face, she looked him over as if seeing him for the first time, then turned; making her way back to the manor.

Vox looked after her as she approached the front gate, then silently curse himself for what he was about to do.

"My lady," he called out to the young woman, now four feet from the gate.

She paused and slowly turned around for effect.

"I didn't catch your name?" There he asked, immediately regretting the break in the unspoken protocol of fraternizing with a class well above his own.

The young lady simply smiled and looked down.  Then without a word turned a stepped through the gate.

"Darkot" Vix whispered a curse to himself, then turned away heading back to his post.

"Fauna" a voice called out from his left just before he disappeared back into the woods.

Vox gripped the hilt if his sword and spun around, just to see the lady's head peeking over the manor's east wall.  It had to be at least twenty feet high, that crazy girl somehow climbed to the top, and was barely hanging on.

Releasing the hilt he took a step toward the struggling girl, "Fauna" she repeated.

"Fauna?" Vox asked,  now looking up at this ridiculous sight.

"My name" she paused taking deep breaths, now visibly trying to keep herself up "'s Fauna". She said just before disappearing from sight, followed by a muffled thump.

Concerned Vox stepped up to the wall "I'm okay" she called out before he can asked the question.

He let out a sigh of relief, then realized he never gave his name "I'm Vox!" He called out in a loud whisper.

No response.  Vox stood at the base of the wall, his sword hand resting on its surface.  Why did it bother him so that the lady did not get his name before he was able to give it.  He stood there another few seconds, expectingly.

Shaking his head, he turned away from the wall; why does it matter, I'm not going to see this woman again, he thought to himself.

"Good night, Vox!" The lady called out, followed by the sound of muffled footsteps quickly moving away from the wall.

"Good night Fauna," Vox whispered to himself with a smile, then disappeared back into the darkness of the woods.

  ©2013 Kinse, My Sweet Hero


The men waited quietly amongst the trees that flanked either side of the road.  The sun has already sunk beyond the eastern horizon, the dark swallowing up the remnants of light still lingering from the setting making way for a twilight that will usher in dusk.

Varlain, crouched closer to the tree line, was the first to sense the wagon approaching the roads northern bend.  His instincts were valued amongst the band, with the guards doubled along this route he always anticipated when the soldiers were near or when it was the best to strike.

All in all there were thirteen members in the band, the gang refers to themselves as the Renegades of Sucz, a band of thieves well known for liberating gold from the corrupt politicians and wealthy socialites who prey on the weak and poor of Sucz.

The leader of the band was Felixant, Varlain being his second.  The pair were childhood friends, practically brothers, both orphans they grew up on a farm that took in lost children.  As teens the farm was confiscated by the local magistrate for failure to pay their outrageously high taxes.  Taking in children was tough on the old couple so keeping the kids fed and running the farm they constantly fell short of the increasing tariffs.  The older children were forced into the kings army and the smaller kids were brought to do manual labor for the kingdom.

The best friends kept in line during their time in the royal guard biding their time and remembered their training. During a small squirmish with a group of citizens who were forced out of their homes, Felixant and Varlain turned on their troop by protecting the evicted citizens, then fled the kingdom as traitors to hide in the Whitewynne forest.

Now they gathered an assortment of outcasts and bandits to try what little they can to tip the balance of greed in their kingdom.

as soon as the wagon came into view Varlain sensed something was off.  However their leader was working on good authority that the magistrate was moving newly collected tax gold from Parmond to be delivered to the royal treasury.  It was purposely disguised as a poor transport to ward off possible thieves, but Felixant has a contact within the magistrate that passes along sensitive information for a small cut of the loot.

Varlain ignored his instinct and took his position as the wagon drew near.  Around him the undergrowth shifted as the rest of the team moved in on queue.  As soon as the wagon came within a few feet of Varlain, he leapt onto the side railing as two of the other men in waiting quickly overtook the driver.  They gave him a swift knock on the head, their motto being least violence as possible, a condition strongly implemented by Varlain before forming the band with Felixant.

However as soon as Varlain ducked behind the canopy, one of the other band slide his sword into the gut of the driver and tossed him over the side.  The two men looked at each other briefly then to Felixant, who was slowing the horses, nodding his approval to his men.

Inside the wagon Varlain quickly lit a torch to get at their score, as the light flared on the wagon came to a halt.  Instead of seeing a man guarding the gold, there were two women dressed in white robes, their heads covered with a white shall.  They crouched in the corner of the wagon clutching each other.  One was young and very pretty, the other was a much older but handsome woman.

Quickly recovering from his shock, Varlain held the torch over his shoulder and his free hand out, palm up, to show he meant no harm.  Taking one step forward, the older woman jumped up and put herself between him and the young lady.

"No, wait, I mean you no harm." Varlain said in a soft voice as to not startle the women, "There has been a mistake..."

Before he can finish the sentence one of the men responsible for taking out the wagon's driver, forced himself through the canvas that separated the rider's bench and the front of the wagon.  Now standing behind the old woman, he towered over the younger one still crouched on the floor.  Laughing he plunged his sword into the back of the older nun, Varlain witnessed the business end of the weapon exit the woman's chest.  Words caught in his throat as he made eye contact with her, in that moment he saw forgiveness in her eyes, as she may have understood that the young man before indeed did not mean them harm.  Before she fell, she looked down to her right as if to signal Varlain to protect the other one.  Then she collapsed, dead before she hit the ground.

"NO!" the words finally escaped Varlain's, which was puncuated by a shrill scream from the younger nun.

Ignoring Varlain the other man turned around and stood over the young lady, her voice already lost from her high pitched wailing.  The man laughed as he undid his buckle.  Varlain did not hesitate, he moved to take out the vulgar band member, his hand moving to the hilt of his sword.  However just before he can make his move, two more band members entered the wagon from behind Varlain, they leaned in and grabbed the unsuspecting man by his legs, yanking back sharply.  The sudden tug forced Varlain to fall flat on his face, all too quick to give him time to break his fall.  His chin hit the floor of the wagon taking the full force of the drop.

Stunned the two men dragged him into the already dark night, causing his head to bang on the ground once again.  This time the fall practically knocked him out.  The rest of the events was a muffled blur.  He can just make out the silhouetted of the rest of the band overtaking the wagon.  He heard the loud CLACK as someone broke the lock on the chest, followed by the cheers of several men, then finally the screams of the young nun a she was violated.

He felt himself losing consciences as he was dragged by the feet far away from the wagon.  Every time he forced his eyes open he was several feet further.  The next time he came to he was being rolled into the brush off to the side of the road.  He heard someone call out, and the man handling Varlain paused to listen.

"Make....quick," he heard partly of what the distant voice yelled out, a voice he knew since he was six years old, Felixant made the call to have his long time best friend executed on the side of the road.

Varlain tried to turn over, to plead for his life.  However the other man had the advantage and kept one foot on his back, keeping him from making a move.

Felixant watched from the wagon as Dagon raised his sword and brought it down swiftly.  A tear fell across his cheek, "I’m sorry brother," the leader said to himself, "but your morals is getting in the way." he finished turning away from the sight and backed to the wagon.

Dagon looked over his shoulder as Felixant turned around and climbed into the wagon.  He then yanked his sword out of the dirt inches away from Varlain's neck.  He then crouched onto one knee and leaned in close to his fallen comrade, and whispered in his ear.

"You saved my life once young Moolie," he said in his thick Gorlanian accent, using a nick name he used for Varlain, which meant son or my child in his tongue, "Disappear, for the next time we meet I will kill you."  he finished by knocking Varlain on the head with the hilt of his sword.

Darkness overcame the fallen man as Dagon stood up and made his way back to the remainder of the band.

  ©2013 Kinse, My Sweet Hero