3# Witness

3# Witness

A Chapter by M.King

Piple isn't the only one who has seen the horror.

As Pipel found out he had gotten quite near to Nelt.  Escorted by the chunky faced man who insisted on gobbling what little meat the chicken leg had remaining; he saw scrap his teeth along the bone and lick the grease until the bone became bare; flinging it over his head once he was done with it, Pipel had watched him eat the whole thing and not once offering him a nibble, ‘greedy fat man’ Pipel thought to himself.
 Leaving the forest was refreshing, the very view of Nelt made Pipel feel better; the busy people wandering the streets, the smell of fish and steam; and the noise, people could be hear arguing, laughing.  It hadn't even been a week since he was last in Nelt but he had missed it. 

Nelt was a village that lived with the river hazy musing; a nickname given to the river by the locals.  The village was big enough to be labelled a town yet it stayed a village.  The village held several streets filled with homes all well build to endure the harsh weather it experienced through the year, at its center was the towns pride and glory; the Jon inn, where travelers could sleep and the people could drink away their problems at the fine price of a tankard of ale.  Closer to the river was Nelt’s market, stalls set up and decorated with many different goods which bellowing hagglers would argue over the price.  Above the swallow water of the hazy musing was the many planks of wood the made its pier; a tiny structure compared to the ferry that docked it, however just as Pipel thought the ferry was sticking to its schedule, it would be days before it would be in Nelt again.  

Pipel had come to a standstill while marveling at Nelt.  

‘Come now, no point dilly dallying around’ Chief Rimsley was right; as nice as Nelt was he wouldn't be staying long.  Hurrying along the pair entered the village via an open street; it was almost empty, all but a moggy cat prancing across their path.  As they walked Rimsley strutted down the street while swinging his arms humming a jolly tone, he seemed like a happy man but why did Pipel feel like a prisoner taking his last walk to the gallows, he was a free man there was no need stay with him.  Thinking over the situation Pipel thought through how telling the Chief about the lechers would go about; denial, panic, chaos; or at the very least a waste of time.  Even if he warned the Chief he would most likely deny every word Pipel spoke, no he would concentrate on getting to the university.  The Chief had led him out from the forest and for that he was grateful.  Just as Pipel was going to announce his leave a roar from his belly reminded him hunger once more.  Rimsley ceased his movement looking very confused, the man paused scanning Pipel over, than himself; the chief must of wondered if it was his stomach calling out, Pipel wondered that himself.  

‘You must be hungry, come with me, we’ll feast’ wrapping his arm around Pipel and pointing onward Chief Rimsley dragged the staving skinny boy in the direction of his finger.  Pipel didn't put up any resistance, he needed to eat and if accompanied by a man with a delight for food, Pipel was bound to receive a meal he would not soon forget.  

Closing the old door shut the two had entered the Jon inn; famously named after the owner, Jon.  The place reeked of booze; the furniture looked unclean and worse for wear.  Tables were spread and scattered across the room, stools surrounded them with a bad case of woodworm.  The residents sat quietly in various locations; some sat alone, others in small groups or three.  Eyes glanced up with a moments interest but quickly retreated. 

 ‘Simply baffling, it’s a wonderful day out there and you terrible lot rather wallow in here, baffling’ The Chief had placed himself onto the edge of a occupied table; his rear in danger of spilling the tankard that belonged to the man he sat near.  It was clean the man was trying to ignore the Chief, he slide his drink further from the fat man and shuffled his seat slightly. 

‘Baffling, but good for business’

Said a foreign but familiar voice; it was Jon the owner.  He was a well build man with dark brown curly hair that fused with his bushy beard that hid his neck line; he wore a stained white vest and apron but was most recognizable by his left hand which had a missing index finger.   

Maneuvering his way from behind the bar Jon opened his arms and gave Rimsley a strong hug.  If Rimsley were the size of Pipel he might have broken a rib, Jon maintained the hug as he lifted the Chief off the table quickly popping him down onto the floor.  ‘How are you my friend?’ Jon said slapping Rimsley on the side of his shoulder.  Taking the hit Rimsley didn't mind Jon’s mannerisms even if his face crunched up briefly ‘Quite well, if a little parched’ ‘Aha! Aren't you always’ receiving a second friendly yet strong slap Chief Rimsley moved on over to the bar rubbing his shoulder.  ‘Oh mister pimple’ ‘It’s Pipel’ Correcting Jon’s error Pipel quickly moved in his hand ready for a gentlemen’s welcome; purposely to avoid the rib crushing hug Jon seemed to welcome must with.  Jon the innkeeper and Pipel had met before along with the professor. 


‘Secretive bookworms’ was what Jon had called Pipel and the professor when they had first arrived in Nelt.  Jon was curious to why a professor and he’s student were out in the country, the Professor had told him they were investigating very disturbing rumours of vanishing people.  No doubt Jon would ask a barrage of questions soon enough, Pipel just had to be ready to answer them.  Jon’s tough grip responded to Pipel’s gesture then made his way back behind the bar.  Chief Rimsley and Pipel rested their elbows on the bar, Rimsley’s eyes was darting at every individual bottle the bar held, Pipel noticed and found himself worried for the people of Nelt.  Not yet noon and the leader of the village guard already considered to drink. 

 ‘So, What’ll it be my friends?’ Jon asked eager to get to work.  ‘Any chance of a roast joint?’ Smiling he replied ‘We have cow’ Rimsley nodded as Jon turned to Pipel ‘I’ll have the same, as Jon disappeared into the kitchen behind the bar Pipel reached into his vest and dug into a small hidden pocket, pulling a small pouch of coins out from it he began to count out bits of silver, making sure he would money for travel.  While waiting for Jon to return with their food Pipel and Rimsley sat in silence, Pipel held one of the silver coins between his thumb and forefinger, tapping repeatedly on the bar’s surface.  Rimsley had begun to jitter; a snigger could be heard that he was trying to hold back until he burst out with a laugh that grabbed the attention of everyone in the inn.  ‘Pimple!’ was the only word the escaped through his laughter.  Pipel turned his head away from him, embarrassed at the mispronunciation of his name. 

Some time later Jon returned and placed down the plates that held the bounty Pipel had been waiting for.  The steam rising from it filled Pipel’s nostrils, his mouth watered just from the sight.  Pushing the silver coins forwards Pipel took hold of fork and knife, he cut clean into it and its fat juices spurting as the knife ripped through it.  The piece Pipel had cut for himself was an end piece of the joint, plenty of gristle, Pipel could see the meat was actually under cooked but he’d gone without food for almost two days, if he were back at the university he might be picky about what he ate.  Without further hesitation Pipel put the fork into his mouth taking the piece of juicy meat; he chewed passed the gristle as fast as his jaw would let him, leaning back he gasped at the heat of the food.  Jon and Rimsley had watched pipel take his first bite and smiled at the satisfaction the meal was giving him.  Pipel went about dispatching the meat as if it were a race, yet being careful enough not to choke.  


Once Pipel had chowed down the joint Jon replaced the empty plate with a cup of water, which Pipel guzzled down with haste coughing immediately after finishing it.  Rimsley still ate his joint much slower than Pipel, taking the time to enjoy every morsel.  Once Pipel had recovered Jon had leaned forward to him; arms crossed and neck stretching over the bar.  ‘Mister Pipel, where is your teacher?’ Pausing and placing the empty cup down Pipel looked him in the eye ‘His in Tambem, still at work’ Jon wriggled his fingers at Pipel and put on a poor attempt to spook him ‘Did you find out the truth about the rumors, vanishing people’ ‘Ever heard about the boy cried wolf, something like that’ Pipel had to lie to hide the truth, he couldn't just go bout saying everyone was in danger, no one would believe him.  

Taking the plates away Jon didn't fault Pipel’s word.  Jon and everyone else would find out eventually but through the empire not him.  After more silence passed the time Pipel backed away from his seat.  ‘I best be on my way, farewell’ Jon waved him goodbye as Pipel left the inn.  

‘That boy’s lying’ Chief Rimsley spoke aloud, Jon had taken to cleaning the cup Pipel had drank from with a dirty cloth but said nothing; looking in Pipel’s eyes as he spoke Jon knew when he was being lied too.  The Chief leaned on one elbow; hand resting against his face while he tapped away at the bar.  ‘He knows what the other knows’. 

 On his way again after a well needed meal Pipel went about his search for transport and after some hours he was left with a few options; wait three days until the ferry docked in Nelt or walk.  The Two conclusions would take near enough the same amount of time, Pipel just had to pick which he preferred. 

 After leaving the Jon inn Pipel had gone straight to the pier, hopeful to find a fisherman with and boat.  He asked twelve men, most refused him and those who didn't wanted more coin than he had, one old man offered to take Pipel up the river but the man had lost his mind with age as he was wearing what appeared to be a dead rat as a hat; its death caused by a boot by the looks of it, he also sat in a damp wooden create at the time of their conversation.  When Pipel couldn't hire a boat he asked around the market if any traders were going his way, none were and after that he resorted to asking anyone and everyone, seemed that no one was leaving Nelt anytime soon and those that were wouldn't deal with Pipel, he was stuck here in Nelt, at least for the time being. 


Pipel had decided to return to the Jon inn to spend the night but the walk back was slow, he was not too far from the place but he plodded along with his hands in his trouser pockets, today had been disappearing for him.  As he wandered the streets of Nelt he looked up to see the sun starting to lower itself, he had spent the whole day in Nelt, not getting any closer to the university. 

 Suddenly Pipel was forcefully span as two burly man rudely pushed passed him; they were in a rush, when Pipel corrected himself and looked ahead it was clean to where the men were headed although he still felt irritated that they didn't just move around him.  A large angry circling mob, fists waving in the were gathered outside a stone building, it appeared to be Nelt’s guardhouse.  Pipel get closer and merged in with the crowd however his fists stayed down, he pushed in front of as many people as he could, aiming to get a front row at whatever was at the mobs center.  Pipel couldn't move much further as the density of the crowd grew thicker, leaning upwards, balancing on his toes Pipel could just see the heads of the select few people at the center of it all, Pipel’s eyes widened as he recognized most the faces he saw.  The first was the chief guard Teplin Rimsley who stood higher than the rest since he stood at the guardhouse’s entrance which was elevated higher then public’s path.  The second was the dark haired man from the forest; he was being held back by two other the guard, the rest of the guard made the circle holding back the crowd. 


‘Let me go!’ the dark haired man sounded like a wounded animal.  Pipel thought back to that morning and tried to recall the man’s name; Pipel whispered the first letter to himself and let the rest of the name fall off his tongue, Ward Kyran. 

 ‘Why won’t you people listen, Blacent and Kruce were attacked, everyone is in danger!’ The man Ward continued to yell out to the crowd.  Pipel ears perked up at the man’s statement, Blacent and Kruce were two of the villages he and the professor had investigated which later they found out that lechers were responsible.  ‘Everyone needs to leave Nelt, head up the river’ a roar of laughter mixed with insults exploded from the crowd.  ‘Shut him up’ Chief Rimsley ordered to one of the guards.  ‘Why can’t you see I’m trying to help you, those…ugh’ Ward’s words were cut short by a strong punch to the abdominal region. 

 As if out of nowhere Pipel yelled at the top of his lungs ‘He’s telling the truth!’ Silence took over everyone; the crowd disbursed allowing Pipel to be seen by all eyes.  Pipel took steps forward to the guard house; Chief Rimsley stared at the skinny blonde haired man with a raised eyebrow.  ‘This man is telling the truth, Blacent, Kruce, Falis and Tambem everyone that lived in those villages are dead and gone’ Pipel’s face was fierce as he slowly began to climb the stone staircase, getting ever closer to Rimsley.  ‘Soon enough Nelt will be attacked to and unless you! Do something about it all these people are dead’ face to face with Rimsley; the fat man was sweating under the pressure of the situation. 


Rimsley with his back against the guardhouse door pushed Pipel back down the staircase, his finger pointing down after him ‘A…Arrest this man, the other as well throw them both into a cell!’ barking orders the guards reacted quickly, Pipel didn't have a chance to pick himself off the ground never mind being dog-piled onto by the guard.  Both Pipel and Ward were dragged inside the guard house; the two of them putting up as much resistance as they could.  Three guards lifted Pipel and carried him into the building; his arms up behind his back and his right leg in an arm lock leaving his left leg to kick wildly in an attempt be loosen the guards grip.  The dark haired man wearing the green tunic was also held by three guards, he gave the guard more of a fight; two held his arms back where the third clung to his neck, they pushed hard trying to force Ward through the entrance but his feet pushed back against the walls either side of the doorway, with the crashing of armor to the ground Ward had pushed back enough the topple them all.  On his knees Ward looked up just in time to see a gauntlet fist connect against his jaw line, falling to the ground his face now bloody the guards tried again, yet Ward still resisted, he kicked a guard hard in the shin bringing him to his level.  The crowd screamed; some tried to pass the guards holding them back to intervene.  After struggling some more the guards had Kyran in their hold again; this time with the aid of two more guards.  They got Ward into the stone building quickly, carrying the elevated man they slammed him down when they reached the open cell, they searched his person for any concealed weapons he may have had; lifting his trouser leg they unstrapped a small sheath which held a steel dagger.  Done with their search four guards left the cell the fifth followed after delivering a harsh kick to Ward’s back.  

Watching the whole scene Pipel sat on a rotting bench inside the opposite cell already locked up.  He lent forwards slightly his back arched, he held his forehead, aching from the impact of being thrown into a hard floored cell.  Listening to the turning of the key the two men who dared to speak out remained hurt and silenced in their cold stone cells.  

Groaning Ward sat himself up holding his rib-cage; his back facing the cell’s iron bars, the adrenaline still pumped through his body; Ward would feel the worst of it the following day.  ‘Hey, you blonde’ Ward beckoned over to the other cell.  ‘Blondie?’  Pipel said with a disturbed look.  ‘Thanks for speaking out’ Ward picked himself up and lay down on the bench, he let his head roll to the side as he closed his eyes.  Pipel didn't move from the spot he sat; when he was thrown in the cell he didn't have much on his person to be removed; only the leather covered flask was taken from him. 


It was night now a guard could be heard snoring from the barracks while Pipel thought his journey had taken such a bright turn.  He was ashamed at himself that he had blurted out that the villages were attack, the people of Nelt must of thought he and Ward to be mad; through his actions Pipel hoped that even one believed them.  

‘So, you saw them? The monsters?’ Pipel gazed across to see Ward awake; back against the wall, holding his rib-cage.  The man continued ‘Names Ward, I’m a..was a guard back in Falis, then those things came and killed everyone’ Ward tilted his head to

face Pipel ‘All lined up like lambs to the slaughter, no one even put up a fight, tch ironic really, I became a guard to protect my village and I couldn't save a dame soul’ ‘You shouldn't do that’ Pipel blurted out leaving Ward with a stunned expression ‘You shouldn't  blame yourself for something that’s out of your control’ Ward gave a frown to Pipel’s reply, maybe he was right but the feeling you’re left with after the one’s you cared about are gone; that emptiness it hurts.  That sense of duty Ward once had to protect those he cared for was now a deep seeded pit of vengeance, the man knew from the day he witnessed the monsters take his entire village that he would be chasing a myth but still refused to turn his back of the people of Falis.  But now after meeting with Pipel, maybe something he knew would help him.  

Ward stretched his neck a little and looked out his cell and down the corridor to where he could see a spot of moon light peering into the guard house ‘So, what’s you part in all of this, I take it you've seen them’ ‘Lechers’ the mention of the word caused Ward to jump up from his bench and grab the iron bars ‘That’s it! You think it’s them too, I wasn't sure but, please tell me what you know’ Pipel didn't move, he just watched the man excite himself, waiting to learn what he knew; the look in his eyes reminded him of himself back at the university eagerly awaiting to absorb the knowledge of the professor. 

As Pipel told Ward of his recent experiences; about when he first saw a lecher, about how afraid he was, he refreshed Ward’s memory of the war forty years ago and what the professor had instructed him to do.  ‘Sounds like your tutor is right, just like before’ Ward had hung onto Pipel’s every word not once interrupting him, by the time Pipel had finished the moon light the beamed through down the corridor was now a hint of sunlight.  Circling his cell with his hand to his chin Ward soon came to a stop.  ‘That settles it I’m coming with you’ Pipel smiled at the idea of it.  ‘I’ll make a deal with you Ward, you get me out of this cell and back to the university I’ll let feed a Puffer mole’ a fiendish smile crept over Ward’s face,  as he turned to face his new ally.  ‘I’ll hold you to that’ As Ward gripped the bars to the cell Pipel’s face dropped worried that the thought of feeding a Puffer mole, Pipel jumped to his feet ‘You can’t be serious?’ Pipel wondered how this man could be so confident with himself, could he really get them out and to the university.  

The clanging of metal bars rung throughout the guard house ‘Hey guards! Guards! Come on get here, Hey!’ Pipel could hardly believe the dark haired man, was he really going to attempt an escape, as bad as the penalty would be Pipel would have protection on the road and more importantly reach his destination much quicker then he would waiting for his release.  A single guard hobbled from around the corner barely awake still rubbing his eyes and only wearing half of his armor.  ‘What?’ the guard said bluntly ‘you wanta spout more lies heathen’ ‘No, but I did want to know which one or your bulkheads kicked my rib last night’ the guard crossed his arms and looked smug ‘That were me, what of it’ Reaching out, Ward put his hand through the gaps of the iron ‘Then I’d like to shake the hand of the man who bested me’ a convincing smile lured the guard in as Pipel watched in anticipation.  Cautious at first the guard firmly gripped Ward’s hand and shook it once and tried to release but Ward didn't allow it, the guard looked down at his hand then to Ward, the guard’s mouth widened ready to bellow for aid but before he could Ward pulled back hard forcing the guard against the cell; with a loud ringing clang the guard fell unconscious.  

Pipel leaned against his cell in shock and awe that Ward’s plan had actually worked.  Ruffling through the guard’s belongings Ward smiled smugly at his audience ‘You better keep up your end of the deal’ flapping his hands about Pipel signaled Ward to hurry up and get them out of their cells before anyone else turned to corner.  Standing up Pipel observed Ward to see he held nothing in his hands, the realization of the situation hitting him a second later, Pipel turned and returned to his bench his hands buried in his face, ‘He doesn't have the keys does he?’ Ward still stood tall struggling to hold his smug smile. ‘Looks that way’ The two remained in silence for the start of the day, the guard asleep throughout the morning, they rested and listened to the busy villagers shout from outside.  After some hours their peace was broken by their keeper ‘Get up, get up’ yelled the chief guard, Rimsley awoke the guard, he stumbled to his feet, immediately explaining the reason for his slumber, however his commanding officer didn't what to hear it and pointed his stubby finger, ordering the guard to leave the premise.  

‘Unreliable unreliable’ Rimsley said with a sigh while shaking his head.  He stood at the end of the corridor with his hands behind his back with a set of keys hanging from his waist mocking Ward’s eyes.  ‘Your sentences have been decided, for the punishment of your crimes you shall both have you tongues and then your necks, cut, vacated, removed, chopped off’ the rounded man seemed to enjoy telling them this.  ‘Impossible we haven’t even received congress from a judge’ Pipel responded quickly, shocked at Rimsley’s word.  A judge was an appointed officer of the empire to decide the sentence of a criminal, they would be sent out from the capital and when meeting the criminal and announcing their sentence would often be the executioner, it was unheard of for a judge to find a defendant innocent.  Rimsley laughed before answering ‘Foolish boy, why would I contact the empire for something so trivial, you spoke blasphemy and now yours personally will carry out your sentence, if I were you I’d be grateful’ Pipel now understood the kind of man Rimsley was; a power hungry coward, jumping at the chance to seem important.  ‘B*****d, you’re a man of the law! Why abuse it!’ Ward roared out while clutching the iron bars.  Rimsley ignored the insult and turned his back on them ‘you’ll be Nelt’s entertainment this evening, hope you’ll be good sports about this’ Rimsley chuckled away leaving the men to think of the coming event.  

 Rapidly jerking his arms, Ward attempted to loosen the iron that held him captive; he was outraged that a man of the same profession would abuse the law for his selfish needs.  Pipel twiddled his thumbs while sat on the cold bench; things were getting worse as every moment passed by, he now regretted speaking out in an attempt to help Ward and warn the villagers.  Every second felt like a minute; the day felt the longest Pipel had ever endured, he hadn't even made it half way to the university and his journey had come to an end, this was not what Pipel saw his life panning out; the witness of a coming of a war and to die before it had even begun, watching Ward Pipel could see he felt the same. 

The long wait was finally over at the opening of their cells, the two men tackled by guards and bounded by chains.  Ten guards escorted them out from the guard house, Chief Rimsley leading them through the doorway; Ward fought and struggled the whole way whereas Pipel dragged his feet.  Through the streets they went, being pointed at by the public and pushed by the guards, the whole village followed them towards the center of the village outside of Jon’s inn; a small platform had been freshly built.  ‘You shouldn't have’ Ward Sarcastically said, the chief had gone all out on their execution; rallying the whole village for this very rare treat, the village folk had built a strong wood frame beneath the platform and at the center of it sat the guillotine; the wooden frame rough and splintered on its edges but functional as a guard tested the large steel blade, the men watched on approach as the blade dropped.  

The two convicted men stood upon the platform, guards either side of them with the device to death at their backs.  Stepping forwards arms spread Rimsley waved his arms about ; rallying the villagers for the coming show.  After some time of cheering and booing the noise settled down letting Rimsley speak once more.  ‘These criminals spoke of blasphemy, causing worry and doubt.  Doubt in ourselves and in the empire, now then people of Nelt do we want these nay-sayers putting fear into our children's minds’ ‘NO!’ roared the crowd ‘Do we want them to continue to terrorize our home’ No!’ the villagers yelled out again ‘So let us begin’ Rimsley turned and nodded to his comrades, the guards grabbed the convicted and moving them to the side.  Rimsley got in close to the two ‘So whose first? Hm?’ Ward lunged forwards in attempt to head butt the shorter man but failed due to the chains and guards that kept him at bay.  ‘We have a volunteer!’ Rimsley bellowed out to the crowd.  The guards began to move him into position; slamming him to his knees then forced his neck against the hard rough wood of the guillotine.  ‘B*****d!’ Ward cried out.  Pipel kicked out trying to get to Ward, it was no use there was nothing he could do; every movement was restricted.  Suddenly Pipel froze; his eyes became stuck to the distant, with his nostrils flaring.  ‘Sulphur’ Pipel said quietly then he began to yell panicked and desperate more fearful of what was coming then of the steel blade that was suspended over Ward’s neck.  ‘Sulphur! It’s sulphur, everyone has to run, get out of Nelt now!’ the crowd responded with a burst of laughter.  It was no use they wouldn't listen ‘A frail and pathetic attempt to save his neck, wouldn't you agree?’ Rimsley said to the crowd, giggling still rumbling within the onlookers.  Soon the crowd settled all eyes on Ward’s neck, Rimsley raised his arms up rallying the village folk, the crowd responded by pounding their fist into their hand and chanting ‘chop!’ repeatedly.  

The chanting continued, sweat dripped from Ward’s brow; his thoughts surrounded what could have been and what once was.  Rimsley turned his back on the audience and placed his hand on the guillotines lever and waved out with the other.  Froze like a statue Pipel did the only thing he could, he turned away and closed his eyes.  

© 2013 M.King

Author's Note

I know, I still need to work on my punctuation.

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Added on May 14, 2013
Last Updated on May 16, 2013
Tags: fantasy, soul, demons, Haskieer, Lechers, monsters



Wolverhampton, West Midlands, United Kingdom

I read, I write. If I like something I'll let you know and I hope to one day have a published book, it's on my bucket list. more..

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