PROLOGUE

PROLOGUE

A Chapter by Bane
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Lord Sixen Kynnon forces his company across the realm to slay an infant and its kin, with threatens to his guardsmen and those who defy him.

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“Here we set camp,” the lordling declared and with a vicious jerk of the reins he halted his destrier, a claybank beast with uncaring, wild eyes that complimented its rider; the man, the rider, was leather scathed by steel and yet the tears did not deprive him of his strong features or handsomeness. His dark face held his knotted brows and furrowed forehead, he wore nothing but a rigid frown as he swung from the back of his destrier and bruised the earth beneath his boots, chainmail jingled with the sweet promise of protection. He wore the insignia of his family upon his chest, the engraved cavelion upon his layered leather armour. As a silent wraith he slithered between his men as they dismounted, with a golden sable cloak floated eerily behind him; he looked to each man, filthy and weary from their travel, some remained foolishly bold and feigned battle readiness with the inflation of their chests as he passed. Lord Sixen Kynnon lost his perpetual glare and allowed a faint smile to expose his crooked, yellowed teeth, “Rest men, for we are close to finding the b*****d child not yet weaned from mother’s milk.”

    “Forgive me, m’lord,” Danyl rasped as he leaned against his ugly sorrel courser, “but we’ve seen hell from the good house of Kynnon to the river Virgin, perchance we are no closer since we began,” he suggested, his courser nervously retreated two strides as the lordling weaved way until he stood before Danyl.

    He was enormous, a head higher than any man the guards had ever beheld; his greasy black hair hung in tight ringlets, as he rumbled curses at the guard, “Osph did merciless damage to your mind, did he not?” Sixen raised one gloved hand, the flat back of his hand struck the guard and dropped the meek man, who promptly moved to kneel before him; he kicked his underling back to the earth and rested his weight upon the man’s chest, a guttural grunt emphasized his satisfaction with his cruelty. “The gods intend you to die this day, what words will summon a deliverance?”

    “Forgive me, m’lord!” Danyl whimpered and relaxed beneath the monstrous boot, “I meant only to--”

    “You forget that you are but a bruiser to my guardsmen, you have no place to hold an opinion,” he said icily, he raised his eyes to the thirty-nine others of his company as if to ask if any other dared to speak against, no response. He sucked in air with evident irritation, “Winter has befallen us, you are cold and sore, as am I,” he admitted to his discomfort but figured it not for a weakness. “Guard your tongue, or I will cut it out and have you eat it,” he snarled, the threat roused cautious whispers from his guards of men he had disabled and castrated in earlier years; he stroked his slight, brunette beard with a wicked grin as he released the man.

    Danyl scrambled away and fumbled for a drink of mead, he shook and trembled as a child with eyes on his lordling master, downing swigs until he no longer felt such wicked apprehension.

    Through the facial hair and wrath, they easily forgot he was a man of only twenty, who had seen more battles than his lordling father and yet had never boasted an extraordinary military accomplishment; the downfall of petty lords. No man had ever laughed at the lordling, but they had fallen to their knees and implored him to be merciful, in his own way, he was. His longsword was the shimmering upon water, as it glistened beneath the lace moonlight, unsheathed to be admired by the weak men he surrounded himself with. Made of skysteel, a metal of questionable quality when ill-handed and often was, for it enticed inexperienced swordsmen with its glorious, milky-water appearance; but it tore victims asunder when an extension of deft hands. The handle was the same material, wrapped in white leather with two tassels that held the tooth of a cavelion and the feather of an eagle: trophies of the first two kills. He had commanded dread as the blade sparkled and whistled as it flew through the air in a mock assault, fighting an invisible enemy, his prowess and strength coupled to the longsword had silenced his company, and the only movement that disturbed the woodland was the ghostly breath of each man.

    “What I would give for a woman,” Eskil mused with a quirky smile, he smelled sinfully of mead and other foul odours; his fellows laughed and cracked delighted grins, he was encouraged to spew such vulgar statements on women that the lordling turned in revulsion, but still his men laughed.

    A bruiser, Cavanos, eight years the junior of his lordling master, held his stomach and laughed until he nearly burst, “No woman would have someone who smells as you do,” he quipped, the forty men roared; the lordling did not even offer a smile, his lips were a straight line and his eyes were cold steel.

    The lordling looked unto each of them, what had sent him from his house had not been clouded by another emotion with the exception of hatred and rage, which he always felt no matter the day; he raised his longsword and glared at Eskil and Cavanos who wore a stupid smile until he realized the trouble he had given himself; the colour drained from their faces. “Raise your tents, but you two--” he paused “--you are exempt from duty,” he said, both men smiled in confusion. “For they are neither permitted to sup with us tonight nor sleep in tents, they are to sleep beneath the sky at the mercy of the weather,” Sixen gestured to the sky, the first snowfall was beginning. Some gasped while the two men gaped stupidly, Cavanos accepted his fate and slunk about to find a place shielded by the boughs of a tree, his head was hung dejectedly. Eskil began to whinge loudly and cursed the gods for the cruelness of his master, as though he had not intended to speak. “Another word and I will feed the earth your blood,” Lord Sixen said halfheartedly, unafraid and not bothered by death; he gestured for Eskil to leave his vicinity; the guardsmen, with some intellect, retreated to the outskirts and pandered to his fellows as they busied themselves to carry out their orders.

As the night droned on, Eskil had downed much of the mead while the lordling sat propped against the trunk of a tree, his sheathed longsword lay across his lap with his hand rested on the hilt with the semblance of readiness. Eskil had drunk his fill and more, the lordling knew, as he watched suspiciously; the guardsman hobbled toward a fellow and laughed obnoxiously before he said anything. Such behaviour annoyed Sixen, he clenched his teeth and bargained with the gods to smite the man.

“I hear he made a b*****d with his sister,” Eskil slurred and chuckled awkwardly, unaware of his volume until the raucous clatter of chainmail and the thunder of the lordling’s footfalls was before him; the skysteel longsword slid from its scabbard with a shriek, but Eskil managed to parry with a rusted broadsword.

The woodland was filled with the roar of metal as blades were drawn simultaneously, and even impaired, Eskil saw his life was forfeited and his death was imminent, he was presented with no other choice but to fight. “What a weak man,” he belched, “to hide behind a boy of men and blades!”

Sixen snapped back his blade and threw it again, it met the broadsword with a horrific twang; the divide of life from death. “Guardsmen! I will kill the traitor,” he snarled and pirouetted away from his adversary, who chased him in a clumsy, humourous manner, only to have the blades clash and rattle, locked by the strength of both men; a battle that Sixen held an advantage as Eskil leaned back to support the weight that was upon his weapon. Sixen bellowed curses, until he released and pulled the blade back and was immediately upon the drunkard, the skysteel brayed alongside the hooting of his men, as it contacted the broadsword and shattered it, its splinters rained upon the ground and bounced off the lordling. A sinister grin grew upon Sixen’s face, as he seized a handful of boiled leather on the collar of his foe and reined him him until Eskil had to crane his neck to raise his eyes to the enormous commander. “See here,” Kynnon barked, his men quieted, “mortal men cannot defeat my kin or I, we shall find the b*****d of Vittorio and empty his throat, for the babe suckling on its mother is not innocent, but born evil--as is this man--let them both be an example of those who dare to impeach me.”

Eskil gasped and trembled, as his former lordling drew the blade about his throat, it stung from its coldness. Sixen unsealed and emptied the craven’s throat; it spewed outward and made his blade and hands sticky with blood, he released the man who spluttered and gurgled, writhing in the dirt until he met death. Sixen retreated to the tent his men had prepared for him, and slumbered.


He opened his eyes and pinched them shut again, first light had sent him a good sting; no man had bothered him with more harlequin words, he rose silently and glided outside, barking orders until each man was up and dispatching the camp.

When Sixen oversaw that every order was fulfilled, he drew his cloak’s hood about his head and mounted the massive destrier, spurring it forward with a good kick and towed his column of guards behind. Each step led them further from the sensation of hope and familiarity, the cold seemed particularly vengeful and light seemed to dissipate; the horses were wrought with restlessness and tossed their heads, but the lordling had but an utterance of prayer and relentlessly pounded the sides of his horse.

“Cavanos,” he hollered and looked over his shoulder, the bruiser sat on his courser attentively. “Toss the body of your fellow to the wolves, it is an ill omen to carry with us,” he insisted, and Cavanos dismounted, dragging the icy corpse with him and laid it on the ground.

All ahorse again, Kynnon kept forward and had little sense of their location or direction; what had been southward now seemed to be another place, and darkness quilted the woodland evermore, like it had never before. “Perhaps the warlord Osph wanted to see the traitor properly buried,” the lordling said softly to himself, with knowledge that all men had the right to respect after death. He grunted and shrugged, his fingers clenched about the reins; he found himself shivering.

“It is quite cold, is it not, child?” a man stood before them, the destrier halted without warning, yet Sixen attempted to urge him on and ride the man down, the animal refused.

“I will cut you down, beggar,” Sixen threatened, clenching his jaws.

The man laughed, “I am no beggar.”

Sixen twisted his face, “I am no child,” he retorted simply.

“You are a child to me, I am millenniums your senior and more. Now, tell me, young Sixen--what have you done?” the man drew his cloak closer and stroked the nose of the destrier, his face shadowed but Sixen saw the glistening of a smile.

“I am Lord Sixen of the house Kynnon, worshippers of the warlord god Osph,” he stated formally, “and if you do not remove yourself from the path, beggar, I will have you slain.

The man cocked his head and crossed his arms, like a mother to scold her child. “I am flattered, worship is the highest form of praise,” his voice was a hollow song, the guards were enchanted but Sixen was less than pleased.

“You figure yourself for a god?”

He shook his head, “I am the high commander of the heaven you dream of, those of blood call me the warlord god, yes. What would my name be if I was the warlord?” he was bemused and utterly pleased, Sixen willed himself to draw steel and cut the stupid smile from the man’s face, but could not muster the courage.

“The warlord god is named Osph, if you were he, how would you not know your own name?” he growled, but his voice faded to a drone.

With a cheery clap of his hands, the man threw back his hood; his eyes were shards of the cerulean sky and his hair was the tone of fresh dirt, and in his skin, he wore youth and wisdom. “In the heaven you dream of, I have a different name, you know,” he said calmly, “Sir Sixen, you and your kinsmen have raised banners against the will of the god you claim to worship. Might I ask why?”

“To safeguard Osph’s brother Asrom,” Sixen was losing his patience, he exposed half of the longsword. “And I shall slay those who bar my path,” with his claim he summoned foolish bravery, his campaign deemed hopelessly faulted and unworthy of consideration by the highlords of the realm, only he and his lordling father saw fit to act against the prophesied tale, the prattle of old fishermen their allies had claimed; Lord Sixen was to prove them wrong, he reined in his horse and pivoted away until he saw fit to charge forward and slay the beggar where he stood. “Prepare to die!” he screamed, and urged his men to battle.

With a discouraging hum some men refused to challenge the beggar and fled as the cravens they were, and others remained to protect their lordling master until life stole away.

The man smiled, his blue eyes swept to each remaining face with a kindly nod of acknowledgement and he drew a magnificent sword from a hidden scabbard; a handle made of gilded steel while the blade was made of a metal unknown, but the wicked sheen on its edge promised demise. “So be it, bloodling,” the man chirped.   



© 2011 Bane


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Bane
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Added on October 29, 2011
Last Updated on October 29, 2011
Tags: immortal, death, gods, knight, guard, crusade, campaign, slaughter, occult, Saint Michael, religious
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Author

Bane
Bane

Caribou, Canada



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I'm in grade 11, I work hard, I love to write and paint, and I ride horses to compete in reining competitions. more..

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Immortal Immortal

A Book by Bane