*Warning Graphic content*
The sound of leather and iron jostling from the many straps and terrets of the harness coupled with jerks of the wagon staying true to the ruts pulled me from blissful nothingness. Slowly awareness came in enormous swells slamming into the cliffs of my mind. Pain was the first sensation to explode into existence, everything hurt; from scalp to toes, there was nothing but sight blinding pain. I couldn’t smell anything, nose is probably broken… again. I had trouble breathing, there was pressure on my chest along with a broken rob or three. Small breaths, in and out, quietly. I fought to open my eyes, they were caked shut with something. Finally cracking the seal, the dull grey from an overcast sky rolled by. I let my head roll to the side and stared into Ailen’s dead eyes. I tried to scream, but the pressure and my ribs would not let me. A tiny groan was all I could manage as I stared into my son’s lifeless face. Tears burned in my eyes and I tried to move to stroke his face but again with the blasted pressure. I felt like someone had set a forge on me. Tearing myself away from Ailen I tried to see what held me, part of me deep down knew and was screaming not to look. What was left of Sophia’s face stared with horror, my wife; Victor’s strong features, so much like my own, shown through the blood and gore; Finally, Barrick’s youthful round face, covered in dirt cut into runnels where his tears had streamed. My boys, my wife, my family, my failure weighed upon me the cost of my actions. It was too much, my mind tried to retreat back into the nothingness while the voice in the back of my head jibbered and ranted and screamed. Thud thud, this is a nightmare, thud thud, I’m asleep and will wake soon, thud thud, please wake up, thud thud.
“Do you require recourse?” A voice dry and raspy whispered.
I jerked and tried to see who had said that. There was no one around, certainly not closer enough to… was it a whisper. It felt almost like it came from within. ‘I’ve lost my mind’ I thought.
“Not... yet... but you’re ever so... close. I repeat, do you require recourse?”
That time was clearly in my head, it couldn’t be. Magic? It had died out before my grandfather was born. Who could… with a mental gasp I thought, ‘The God’s?’.
“Winner… winner… well, you know how it goes. I will ask thrice and no more, do you require recourse?”
Why would the gods… no, it doesn’t matter, whatever the cost. All of the old stories warn of dealing with them, tales of twisted promises, and ill-fated results. Anger and rage swelled within me, remembering how this had happened. Our lord, Earl Bullard, loved by everyone, wanted a sword. I smithed the best work of my life for him, yet he spat at it. It wasn’t ornate enough for someone of his caliber he said. Then one night at dinner dozens of men broke in and knocked us. I awoke to Sophia’s screams and watched as lords and ladies made a sport of our torture. Through gritted teeth, I growled ‘Yes, old one, I require recourse’.
There was silence, thud thud, the cart jostled through ruts, thud thud, a crow somewhere close cawed three times, thud thud, suddenly a deep bell resounded within me, Thud Thud, the sound vibrated withing resonating with my soul, Thud Thud, warmth spread from my center flowing to my calloused hands and broken feet. The pain seeped out of me, like pitch washed from the decks. The cart stopped and I heard someone whistling maidens pitcher as the closed in. I closed my eyes as he saddled up the edge and grunted lifted one of my ruined family from the cart. I felt around with my renewed strength trying for anything I could use. I heard the man grunt followed by the sound of a body hitting the ground, the whistle picked up as he came back. I feigned death again as he grabbed my wife and baby boy from my chest, grunting with effort. I tested my muscles, everything seemed in working order. I slowly moved Ailen’s arm from me, said a silent prayer, and moved off the cart.
As lowered to the ground I found a good fist-sized rock and crept behind the man dispatching my family’s remains. As I crept, I noticed I made no sound. As leaves crunched and twigs broke beneath my steps, no sound came. I stood just behind the man as he thoughtlessly dropped my wife and child, he turned, and before he could make a sound I yelled “Fuck you!” and brought the rock down like my hammer to the anvil. His head exploded and my hand holding the rock wedged itself in the man’s chest. Stunned I gaped as his remains made a squelching sound falling off my hand and to the ground. I took a shuddering breath and collected myself. I carefully picked my family from the ground silently sobbing and packed them back into the cart. I found a nice meadow not too far away and buried them, my tears soaking the mounds left behind. I sat for a long while, collecting my thoughts. Finally, I said aloud “Old one, what are the terms?”
“Act as my… agent, bring chaos. Those who wronged you were amusing… for a time, but no longer… are they in favor. Bring Chaos, to them all… then join your heart in death” the dry voice answered
“Chaos you say? Their deaths will bring chaos to all, is this favorable?” I said to the wind rustling the trees.
“Whence chaos is wrought… death is sought” was all that returned.
Earl Bullard snorted with glee as the young woman gasped through the slit in her neck. Chains settled as life left her, her body hung limp as the pig chortled and clapped. As I emerged from the darkness, I called “Here piggy, piggy, pig”. The Earl Screamed and fell with a fat splat on the damp dungeon floor.
“Wh… who are… wait I know you. You’re that worthless fucking blacksmith! Guards! Guards!” He tried his best at a crab imitation trying to get away as I slowly approached.
“You’ll see them soon enough, My Lord.” I said the last with as much disgust and sarcasm as I could. “Now before we get started, I need you to understand what you’ll give me to make it stop”
“I’ll give you nothing you peasant shit!”
“I require all of their names, the ones that join you on these twisted journeys.”
“I I I don’t know what you’re talking about!” The pig spuh spuh sputtered.
“We’ll see about that”
P.S. Sorry about the rough cut, I haven't been on lately just saw the challenge. Any feedback is appreciated!