Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Chapter 1: Headhunter

“Among others, this would be a man of mystery. Even the raven spies know next to nothing about him. However, he is commonly referred to as -” -“Cut the bullshit!”, the king disrupted the old counselor. He took hold of his cane and put his weight on it to get up. Slowly, he limped along the side of the large table they were sitting at and stopped on the opposite side of the counselor's seat. Hate and disgust reeked in the air, mixed with the smell of decaying wounds on the king's right side and leg. The setting was very uncomfortable, silent and threatening. The king grabbed the chair in front of him and pulled it aside. Leaning across the table with both hands, the other still holding the cane in a closed fist and the left decorated with glistening gold and silver rings. -“I want to know if he’s any good.”
The old counselor swallowed and took his time to answer. Even though he found the new king stupid and arrogant, a risk to the safety of their people, he knew that the king could have his head on display the next morning for the joy of crows, just by pointing his finger. The king himself had made this a sign that every village guard knew and the people also. Since then, pointing someone became an insult like spitting on ones face. -”Well...”, the counselor began. “The songs say he never came back without a head.” The wooden table squeaked as the king leaned further. - ”And how do you get a hold of him?”, he queried. The counselor looked at the king straight in his eyes. The tension between them was unexplainable. Neither of them liked each other, still the counselor stayed true to his devotion to the king, even one so unjust. -”I’ve only heard tales...” Again, someone broke the moments silence, “And the tales are true.” A young woman came forth from the shadows behind the hall pillars. “He needs to be summoned. But it costs.”, She continued as she walked closer to the table, down the four-step stairs and stopped where the guards wouldn’t let her pass. The leather garments of the king creaked as he turned to the woman. -”How much?” The king was now off the table and leaning on his cane with both hands. The woman grabbed the crossed spears of the guards and pulled them wider so she could fit her head through them. Her voice was almost like a whisper, but still loud as any other. She answered, “One head” and pulled the spears tight against her neck. The king looked at her for a moment, then looked back at the counselor with questioning eyes. The old counselor shook his head and lifted his shoulders, like he wouldn’t know. The king lifted off his cane and straightened his back, “Bring him to me woman...”. He began limping away from the table. Before he took the first step on the stairs, he stated that the meeting was over. Finally when he climbed the four steps and before vanishing to the shadows, he turned slightly, and without looking, pointed his finger back.

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