Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Short Story

The bolt which pierced the head of Urik flew swift, true and straight from the crossbow of Merkus von Fedelam

Merkus was born with the gift of keen eyes and swift hands. This gift did little to benefit him as his nature lent him to foul deeds from a young age. Merkus' father quickly tired of the boys laziness and thieving ways and was sdropped of in a distant city and abandoned to its mean streets. It was not long after that Merkus found himself in shackles in the city main.

As often happens, those wretches who end up on the whipping post or shackled to the pole of despair are purchased and used as slaves or servants or worse. Merkus was purchased by a Kaptane of regiment of crossbowmen. At first, Merkus chaffed under the onerous and perilous tasks given to him. His keen eyes and swift hands, however, allowed for his eventual promotion and then position as an crossbowman. Though armed and armored, the position was, never-the-less, exceedingly dangerous as warfare became his constant companion.

It was at the siege of Irdenheim that Merkus decided to take his life into his own hands again. The siege proved a fruitless endeavor. Both sides came to an agreement and some monies were given over by the Lords of Irdenheim to those who besieged that city. Merkus' take was but a small pittance.Merkus had been saving his coin for a long time, awaiting the moment when he could purchase his freedom from the troop. But he could wait no longer. The fear of dying in combat had begun to overwhelm him and he longed to break free and disappear into the safety of a large city.

One dark night on the march away from Irdenheim, Merkus made good his escape and vanished into the forest of black trees through which they were traveling. Merkus had not spent much time in the forest and the decision to make his way through this particular forest was dreadful.

The area is a maze of lakes and ponds surrounded by massive oaks of the Borenfir stretch high into the sky and the upper canopy blocks the sun and shrouds the ground in gray shadows and orange dappled sunlight on a bright day. Those oft cloudy and rainy days the forest is a blanket of darkness and a morass of shallow pools, rivulets and sodden ground.

Within dwell some terrifying predators - the anderwerken. These predators are rare and a dying breed but they still wander the forests in search of prey. They fear little and stalk the roads and outlying farms in search of food as humans are often easy prey.

Merkus wandered into the wood no more than several miles before making his way back to the road in hopes of traveling opposite of that the troop to which he recently belonged. An anderwerken was trailing the army, having sniffed the blood in the wind. As it had many times in the past, the passing troops discarded the dead and mortally wounded offering an easy meal for the creature.

The two met quite suddenly at a bend in the road. Te snarling animal stood as high at the shoulder, easily as tall as Merkus. Its long, thick body bristled with thick fur. The mouth, like a gargantuan dog, opened to reveal rows of shiny white canines. Before Merkus could pull his sword free the anderwerken leaped upon him and bit deep into Merkus' shoulder and chest and with a grunt, ripped his arm off.

Merkus' last site was of an open mouth closing down upon his head. 

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