A golden lesson
|Continuation of Prompt 1 (1st paragraph not included in word count)|
Word Count 702
The man standing there’s face went ashen when he saw Sul’hupkaar’s eyes turn a soulless black and sharp fangs grew as two teeth lengthened in the dark elf’s anger. The man wanted to run, to flee, but his body refused to obey him. What was this creature sitting before him?
Sul’hupkaar was on his feet impossibly fast and with such lithe grace that neither the table nor his chair moved. Anger raged through him when he read the missive in his hand, but rose higher when he sensed the man was hiding something from him. Lies. Why did they always think they could deceive him? Didn’t they know they stank of deception.
A low growl was building in his throat when the man’s hand darted to the purse at his side and produced a ring of purple and black onyx, its pale green jade glowing dully.
Sul’hupkaar’s nose bunched in disgust as he took it from the trembling hand. His black soulless eyes drove through the quivering lump of flesh in front of him. He watched as legs began to shake, the man was frozen to the floor by Sul’hupkaar’s icy glare. Paid well for his task and this greedy wretch still tried to keep the ring as well, unaware that doing so would have caused his death. Sul’hupkaar’s gloved hand closed over the ring as the man began to stammer.
Gibberish. Sul’hupkaar’s eye’s slowly returned to their fiery orange glow and his fangs receded.
“D..D..Didn’t mean nuthing by it,” the man was still blathering on.
The back of Sul’hupkaar’s hand smashed across the man’s jaw so hard it sent him reeling across the tavern, crashing into chairs and a table. The loud smack resonated through the air, but nobody stood to offer challenge. With open contempt, he stormed out of the building, placing the ring in a pocket inside his cloak.
He floated down the rotting wooden steps and looked back down the street to the blacksmith’s forge as he made his way to the stable. The man had hoped Sul’hupkaar wouldn’t notice his incompetence, would’ve taken payment from him for it without a word. He couldn’t understand such duplicity. Why stoop to cowardice?
Sul’hupkaar threw the stable door’s open and startled the boy inside, who was desperately trying to tend to King Sauric. The black snorting demon of a horse pawed at the ground and shook his thick mane impatiently. The boy lowered his head and backed away as Sul’hupkaar approached and placed the message in a black leather bag hanging off the saddle.
The child’s low muttering caught his attention and he looked back down on the shabby creature still staring at the straw-strewn floor. “Quit your sniveling, boy. Out with it.”
The dark elf’s voice was so like a song that it startled the boy more than had Sul’hupkaar shouted at him. He watched small trembling eyes look up at him.
“I’m sorry, Master Elf. I tried. I really did,” said the boy with fear welling up in him. Blood left his face when the imposing cloaked figure snarled at him.
Sul’hupkaar crossed his arms across his thick chest and lowered his gaze, staring at the top of the child’s head. What had this imp done? “Well?” he hissed impatiently.
“I couldn’t brush under his saddle, Master Elf.” The boy’s voice was less than a whisper. He flinched as if waiting to be struck. “He wouldn’t let me take it off,” he said meekly.
Sul’hupkaar watched him quietly for a moment and looked back at King Sauric. It was true. The saddle hadn’t been removed. In his haste, Sul’hupkaar would have been long down the road before he had noticed it at all.
He squatted on his haunches to look the boy in the eye. There was still tremendous fear in him. He tilted his head slightly, studying the boy intently; as if he were something Sul'hupkaar hadn’t seen before.
“I’m sorry,” the boy whimpered again.
“You should not be. King Sauric would have killed you had you gotten it off.” Sul’hupkaar reached into his cloak while watching the boy tense reflexively. “You will get nothing for such poor care of my horse,” he said, drawing his hand out with two gold coins between his thumb and finger. It was more wealth than this little creature would see in a year. “But you are rewarded for speaking the truth when all of your elders could not. You will be well served not to follow their example.”