We are walking to The Griffen's Bloody Talons.
|The Contract of Cala
”I don’t like it! I feel something was going to happen tonight! It was something that wasn’t good. I tell you” I warned and pulled my cloak tighter to stay warm as the wind fought to tear the cloak off my very bones. I struggled to keep it on me. I looked at my friends as they walked with me. Stevie fought equally hard to keep her fur-lined cape closed, as it pulled and jostled from her body, beneath that she wore a cloak, wasn’t helping too much in this devil of a windstorm. The rain exploded and fell upon us. Benger did not say so much as a word. He was the one who brought us out in this hellish storm. Why so, he could see Dedraw his love. That is why? Why couldn’t he wait until it was storm free. But no. He had to see her tonight. Why well, you see. Stevie lost a bet with him while playing cards.
If she lost she would provide him and his love with a room for the night. He decided to collect tonight. He knew Dedraw would be there. Stevie was good at handling money. She seldom made a mistake. Benger was busy trying to get to know a woman in the Griffin’s Bloody Talons, a bard there, Dedraw was attractive and carried a tune very well.
I could see Stevie’s breath as she breathed. She held her arms across her breasts to keep her hands and arms warm. The cape she wore was fur-lined, but I knew it did little to protect her from the cold air. The wind threatened to tear it out of her grasp as she struggled to close it. The fabric slipped and slithered through her fingers. Her red hair blew about, there were twigs, leaves and the rain ruined her hair. Stevie glared at Benger and talked having us going out to the woods on this hellish night."Damn you! Benger!"
There was a chill in the air. It was so cold that I had to rub my hands, and grit my teeth together, I shivered as a heavy breeze tore through me. I cursed, How I wished I had worn gloves. I could see my breath, my boots crushed the blades of grass and leaves to powder.
The path was worn down. If we walk off the path the blades of grass are thigh high on me and Stevie. On Benger it was waist-high. My father owned the woods, having woods patrolled by his soldiers to keep the woods free from human dwarve and elven encroachment. or to go through the woods to get to Shal. He declared, "If I catch you there. The punishment is death by being hunted down by my soldiers". He was a land baron.
My leather coat kept the water off of my fine Elven hide. I am five feet tall, mixed blood. My father fell for a woman that was a noble from an Elven house high in the mountains. My father is a lord, but she is a high noble of Elven blood. She still has a great deal of power over her people from the north. Her strength of guidance there was not questioned by the elven folk. The elves accepted her as what she was on the occasion they would still come here to speak to her of their problems within the land. She and I were still close after my father threw me out.
He had died a short time ago. He was killed, by who no one knew. There were rumors that my mother had done this. As he was seeing another woman on the side. He was argumentative with others, they may have an axe to grind with him in the community. Mother. has her own suspicions about this matter.
My ears heard the wolves, still baying That the wolves are nearby, seeing white foam run from their maws, their sharp white fangs tearing into my flesh. Their eyes resting on me, as they tear through my skin leaving Stevie and Benger alone. Where are they? Why shouldn't they be attacking the wolves? What did I do to warrant this attack or the plight I was in? Save me! When I realized where I was, my voice faltered “Don’t you hear the wolves. They are getting closer to us!”
The wind whipped and hurled itself at us. The rain nearly blinded us as did the debris.
“I hear them. They are not near enough for us to worry. We’re closer to the inn than your home! We can’t afford to stop! We are this close to the Griffin's Bloody Talon. We aren’t going back? Are we afraid? Can we? So, close, Can't you see the lights form the tavern aglow there," Benger says as he pointed out in the distance,
Then I heard Stevie as she said, "Yes, I do see them. Can't you? Jack!".She pointed in the same general direction as Benger, I did not want to appear to be as blind as I was in this storm.
As they looked further into the woods toward the road. I see nothing. but thanks to the thick fog that rose from the river to our right and the darkness of the night.
"See its right there! You see it don't you," Benger said. as he lifts my arm and points my hand to t further to the right than where it was pointed.
"You see it don't you?" Stevie asks, She laughed as she continued to walk forward toward the Griffin’s Bloody Talon.
The sky was dark. The wind bellowed and tore into my flesh like a whip’s popper. I felt it drew blood from my skin going through my leather jacket as if it was but a silk blouse. As the hurricane shifted and hurled itself at me foring me to my knees, as though to pray. I prayed to be out of the storm but knew I would not be until I arrived at the Griffin’s Bloody Talons. It was still quite aways away from us.
The chill of the vortex of rain drowned us, chilled the very blood in our veins. The tempest burst upon us. Bark, pieces being ripped, branches off and leaves as the gale and its spray washed over us. Icy wind-driven water fell as we headed toward the Griffin’s Bloody Talon Inn, with my friends, Stevie and Benger.
“Come on, Stevie. You lost. Pay up. Back me up here. Jack. She has to honor her word? Doesn't she? She has to. We all do, why not her?.” Benger asked.
"I believe she lost the bet on purpose. There was no way. She could not have done what he saw her do. She lost the bet. I was there, I witnessed it. Didn't I see her do this? Yes, I did!" said, as I walked further feeling relieved that we were safe from the wolves.
He skipped, clapped his hands delightedly. had a muscular build, wore a heavy black cloak, he was shorter than us. His eyes were better in the night, he could spot anything in it. But there was a thick mist whose tendrils climbed and crawled across the skyline. Doubted it, we were close enough to be seen by our own eyes presently. Its dampness set in our bones.
So I said, ”You lost. So, allow him a room with his love!”
“Quiet Benger or I won’t pay for you and yours,” Stevie replies, with her wide hips swayed as she walked. She lifted her heavy purse.
"We believed what she said she would do with the coin, we had. More accurately, what she had. Get Benger and his girl a room for the night." I agreed.
Benger said, "See?"
She laughed impishly. Winked at him. Said, “I will think about it. Maybe I will or maybe I won’t! We’ll have to see. Have you been good? Really. Really good!” Wagged a finger at him as if to say he was not what she was implying to him..
Benger glared at her. Winced. "I and Dedraw will be very happy with you. I am going to be very happy indeed. I dream of making love to Dedraw every day since Stevie lost the bet. Yes, today's the day. Isn't it!” He laughed enviously. Rubbed his hands together.
Stevie fought to keep her cape closed as the wind fought to tear it open on her, She. said," It involves Dedraw his girl, It also hinged upon me doing this for him." There were tears in her eyes form this hellish cold.
"If you do this. It would be great." Benger said, smiled.
Benger even had his jacket cleaned and even his flaming hair tumbled past his shoulders, and bouncy with curls in it there were twigs, leaves, and bark in his hair as he walked through this woods. He wore gloves. He rubbed his hands, put his hand into his own purse, and lifted his head as he said. “I have something to do tonight! I tell you!” He whistles.
“Really?” I asked as I faced him through the thick shroud of fog enveloping us in itt. I think I sould see his form through the curtain of dense fog, but I could not be sure.
“Yes. It involves Dedraw and me. And something I have? That’s all. I am going to say,” Benger said, smirked. His fingers still hunted frantically for something in his pouch.
“Where was it? I had put it in there? Didn’t I? Yes, I know I did this. There has to be an explanation for it to be missing. Who went into my purse. Who?” Benger screamed, tears ran down his cheeks, we could hear his sobs.
“What were you doing in my purse, Stevie!” Benger accused. Jabbed his pointing finger at Stevie thinking she had done it. Hit her in the breast with it. She grabbed his finger, held it there, and bent his finger back. Benger dropped to his knees to try and relieve the pressure on it. She let his finger go.
“When was I there. Did you see me, go there? Well, did you!” she snared as she turned to grab him by the throat to end this argument. She reached for his throat, if she could find him there.
“No, but, But!” Benger questioned, Benger danced away from her as she tried to grab him.
"Did you see me do this?” Stevie asked she pointed at her chest and then opened her eyes to express what she was feeling.
"It has to be you? Why have you done this?” Benger asked.
“Why did you say I went there? Why would I do this? Jack did I do this?” Stevie exclaimed as Benger ducked her hand going for his throat. He slapped her hands away from there. Her right hand fell on his head, to mess with his hair, there was not a strand of hair out of place. when he left where they started from. This storm ended that. Now, it was a mess. She grinned impishly.
"Damn, you!" he said, glared at her, "It was perfect! I was trying to do this right! I don't have a comb. How am I supposed to repair this?" Forgetting what the storm had already done to it. It was now a mess that could not be denied.
“No! What’s wrong?” I asked.
“It's missing, I know it was here?” Benger said tears ran from his eyes, then his fingers ran through his pouch for quite some time. There were furrows in his forehead. He stopped, A smile appeared on his face, Grinned ear to ear. "I found it! Hear me. I found it! I apologize for doing this to you I am sorry," He returned his hand to his pouch. Slapped his pouch with his hand. He stopped and rechecked his pocket. He proceeded to pull his hand from his pouch but stopped. Said, "If I do this, I will spoil the surprise!"
"Surprise? Who's going to get the surprise, is it me." I blink and said, "Or, is it. Stevie? I don't think so. It would be Dedraw! Do you? Stevie? Think, so.”
"He’s up to something. He bathed last night. It scared me. Too! Never in all my days alive did I expect to see him. Clean! I saw him clean!" Stevie exclaimed, looked at him a few more times here. "Is Benger actually here! Who is this doppelganger! It must be a doppelganger. Benger never smells this good what did you do pour a whole bottle of perfume in the water?"
"I am me?" Benger said and glared at her, "You know, this don't you?"
"Can you believe that? I never thought I would see the day that he would do that. I didn’t know he knew how to use soap and water. Imagine that soap. I didn’t believe it. It must be something very special. He is doing!” Stevie said as she slapped him across his broad shoulders.
He laughed triumphantly, and said, “I know, I hadn’t lost it. Tonight. Yes. Tonight whe Dedraw is with us having our meal. I will give it to her."
"What will she do? Now, I don't have a clue?" Stevie said.
“Why are you so, happy!” I asked as I watched his face light up.
“I am not telling you, ” he grumbled, “I will give you a hint. It hinges on her doing what she said she would do if she lost the bet. And she lost. So, Pay up! You won’t Welsh on your debt would you?”
I ran my hand through my black shoulder-length hair having grass leaves twigs in it. I smiled and said, “You have to pay off that debt. You know that. Stevie!”
“Your green eyes are emeralds, and they are sparkling. I think I see a sparrow's nest in your hair though,“ Stevie suggests, and laughs.
Benger stopped, upon seeing something on the road before us. He stopped as he looked into the mist. He reaches out to touch Stevie's shoulder as she was ahead of him. Benger put his hand on Stevie’s shoulder to have her stop, She declared,” You bastard. We should be in the inn rather than being out here!"
The next thing he knew, she threw him ass over the teakettle. Benger began while this happened,” I think somethings amiss! Jack.”
Over Benger went, crashed most heavily on his back. His belongings spilled from his pack onto the ground. Stevie smiled as he touched down on his back as she wipes her hands clean of the dirt on her skirt, and grinned at me. It made me think of a mouse eying the cat after beating him to her home. Benger said," What the devil do you think you are doing here?"
“What did you see?” I asked as I peered where Benger should arrive as the ground was swallowed in a thick mist. Huge black clouds rolled in to cover the full moon. I could see a faint shadow of a large object on the ground about the size of a royal coach as it rode on the street, and see trees hide what was there. I could not be sure exactly what I saw there.
Benger said, “I think, there’s a royal carriage on the road. it’s stopped!”
“Are you sure? I want to be inside. Out of this deluge. Let's get us inside the Griffen’s Bloody Talon! Move your damn butt!” Stevie grumbled as she tried to peer through the dense fog to see where Benger would, Now, be. Could not see him.
“Yes, I am sure. Where are my specs! There’s a wagon ahead of us thirty feet away. It looked like someone rich would ride in! It stopped along the road,” Benger complained. It took him quite awhile, but we did hear him say, “Found it.” He then let out a cheer. I think I saw him turn about to face us, I imagined that his hands now, held his specs up from the murky quagmire of pea soup and the mud. A thick
fluid ran from his specs. He had to wipe his glasses to clean the lenses.
“This is a carriage. It has stopped along the road,” Benger said.
“Do you think we should check it out?” Stevie said, smirked as she heard his voice come from there. as she reached for her weapon of choice for short-range. Dual handed sword long and very lethal in her hands.
“I suppose, so!” I said as I followed along.
Benger said, “ I think I see a carriage on the road.”
“Shouldn’t we hear the horses pulling it?” Stevie asked as she looked at him, her eyebrows arched. A huge smile appeared on her face, thinking he was joking.
“I think we should. It shouldn’t be too far from here, but I believe it's stopped,” Benger said as he walked toward what he saw in the mist. He reached out, grasped my hand, and drew my hand to the same thing, I felt it too. It was leather and carved wood. I found a carving of a reptilian form. It was sturdy. and cold from the dampness in the air. I looked up and saw a head of a carved dragon looking at me. its maw was wide. I drew back, but Benger held my wrist so, I could not move from where I stood. Benger eyes me in disbelief. He smiled and said, ”There is a coach here, within my hands reach. You can feel it? Can’t you?”
We wait for a few minutes to see if the swirling mist dissipates. It doesn't. When slowly Benger finds enough courage to speak he said, “I see two people fighting beside an open door.”
"Let's go!"I said.
"Go where? I don't see a coach, much less two beings fighting. " Stevie said as she collides with the side of it, and said, "Ouch!" as her nose crashed into it. She walked about the side of the coach to see. She doesn't see anything, she has to rely uon touch to find anything. Walked twelve feet her hands rested on the object that was there in this murky feild. It was flat with carved wood on it at the corners, her hand lifted to feel what she believed to be scales, on a curved object, and found it had a serpentine shape to it. There was a glass surfaces with beveled edges in the shape of a squares running diagonally. reached out and found a handle of a door. She tried the door, it was not locked. She opened the door and entered the coach, her eyes slowly got used to the darkness and the mist.
Stevie whispered, “What did this?”
Benger takes my arm and propels me through the mist. I fall into the fabric. I can see the coach, It was huge, there were dragons carved on the corners of the coach. I was stunned, I have seen noble’s coaches, but nothing as grand as this. It was ten feet across, I slipped over to the side to see what was there. On one side, there was nothing. On the other side, I saw the door to the coach was a good twelve feet from where I was.
I witnessed a being crouching over another figure on its head was a wide-brimmed hat. The lightning further illuminates the noble’s skin. It looked to be white as ivory. There was a dark fluid that trickled and poured from his skin. The eyes are sunken in appearance and have only black in them no cornea or white of the eye there. There were wrinkles on his face. The lips were white. His eyebrows were high and arched. His teeth were fangs, he had a mustache that was tan, no beard, His cheeks had thin strands of flesh that made up its cheeks, some strands thicker than others, grey was where there was no flesh was white or black. Its face looked long and narrow. The nose is large. The scent in the air was putrid like rotten meat left out for days in the dark.
The other figure was similarly dressed, its skin looked dark.
We almost gagged from the scent in the air.
We see the two figures on the ground fighting hand to hand. He was wearing a black coat with a blunderbuss hanging from his belt and a rapier foil. His white blouse with a high collar, and an ascot at the throat. A huge light blossoms out from the reptilian noble’s belly and its right hand lay on his stomach as the body opened the hand there appears a brilliant light. It was so bright we could not see his fingers.. We
believed it had opened.
The being crouched over him did not appear to be frightened upon seeing this occur. it is still alight until the voice ends. We hear, from where the two bodies are, a male voice wailing, “Save me. Protect me. My lady from this plight. Please, no! Protect me! In the lady’s name protect me! Stop this! No! No!” the voice fades away to nothing,
I scream, "No!" As I see the hand lift from the body. Something dripped from the cuff of the noble's shirt to fall into the hole where fluid poured and erupted out of the hole.
The noble laughed, turned to us, clapped his hands together, and said, “You’re afraid!” I freeze. I do not know what has happened here. I do not know if he is talking to me or the body.
The noble's hand emerged for the hole in the body's chest. We see a fluid erupt from the hole. It splashes and washes across the body's chest cavity.
“No! Stop what you are doing?” Benger screams, he rushes toward the kneeling figure. With his war hammer in his hands.
I screamed, ”No! Don’t do that!”
The noble said as he looks in our direction.“You wish to play. Mortal. Come let’s play!” The noble smiled grimly and opened his maw to bite the object. The fluid fills the crevices of his mouth and chin. ran, fell from his face. It sank into its maw, the teeth tore through the object. The fluid fills the crevices of his mouth and chin. ran and fell from his chin and the corners of its mouth. It lifted itself from where it crouched, laughed. It said, “Want some. Come! Let us eat!” It turned to face us, he opened his hands, to offer the object he was eating to us, its eyebrow arched and it chortled. Then it spread its arms to show us his chest.
I said, "Now Stevie. HIt it with a bolt in the chest. It will surely stop it from moving any more." I looked over my shoulder but found I did not see Stevie. Where was she? What happened to her? Did she run off? The coward that she is! What happened to her. She was with us. Wasn't she? I looked about confused, where the devil was she?
Benger almost on top of him as the noble drew himself to his full height. He towered over Benger, good three heads taller in height. He ran toward me. Benger faltered as they looked at each other. He drew his fingers about the pommel more tightly on his war hammer. Grinned. Benger declared, "You will pay for this." Benger charged towards it. It was still twenty feet way on the bank of the river. I threw a dagger catching it in the face, it tore into an eye. It should have stopped but didn’t.
It winked and began to walk toward us. It laughed as it clawed away the dagger that hung there. There dangled a flap of flesh from the wound, the dagger had created. I saw a grey surface with black fluid ran and poured across it. The noble said,” You think you can harm me! You can’t! Foolish elf!” Laughing maniacally. Drew a broad sword from his belt, the sword was raised as a swordsman would hold it.
Why did I not hear it scream? Why didn’t it stop moving, It still came towards us. The dagger came out, there was a black fluid that ran from this wound. The dagger fell to the ground. It laughed maniacally. A black mist rose from the dagger’s blade, the blade turned black.
Its long clawed hands came our way. Benger began to retreat. He drew the noble towards us until it was in reach of his hammer. He swung it and caught the noble in the chest. The noble staggered back. I know, it should have fallen. But it still stood there. It simply stood there. As we had done nothing to it. I know we hit it with the hammer and the dagger.
It glared at us. It swung its sword and caught Benger’s hammer, beneath the head and across the shaft. PInning the hammer there as it lifted. Benger hung from the hammer like a coat on a nail. It waved him about, with its opposing hand it tried to hit me when it did this. I felt the nails sank to tear through my flesh, blood began to surface and spill across my skin. It was warm, I felt this warmth and I was happy. I no longer felt the chill of the wind tear across my frame through the jacket I wore. This is more like it!
I saw a scant opening. I choose to charge forward and drive my sword into its chest cavity. I hit it there. My sword passed through its ribs, I prayed to lacerate its organs. It released Benger fell to the ground. His hammer fell from his hands.
The noble drew its hands to its chest encircling me in its arms. It touched me and closed the gap to crush me like a grape in a wine press. I did not falter I still hung onto the pommel of the sword. It rose to its full height. My feet were no longer on the ground. They dangled beneath it like a fish on a hook being pulled from the water. The muscles of this body was still strong. I was suffocating beneath its grasp. I feared my bones may have snapped. I was unable to feel anything.
Benger lifted his hammer, approached its back, It forgot about him. Benger drove his hammer into its back beneath where I hit it. The blade protruded from its back like a dorsal fin of a shark, It released me. I fell. I could not move so much as a muscle. I lay on the ground. I did not know if I was dead or alive. My sword still lay plunged into its chest.
He lifted his hammer and swung it at the nearest arm. Caught it. The hand was driven back, the arm should have come out of its socket. Didn’t and would no doubt have been broken by the blow. As the blow to its back should have, but didn’t. It looked vaguely human or elven. Benger attacked with his huge war hammer. The hammer caught it in the chest. watched as it sank into the flesh, he knew it broke the ribs there.
It was a certainty. It should have fallen. It refused to do this. It still stood there. It began to walk. As if it hadn't taken any damage from the attack. It giggled. I looked at it incredibly.
A black fluid poured from its chest to stain the blouse he wore. There was an indentation on its chest, there were little holes in the
fabric where the bones collapsed beneath the hammer. Benger held the hammer in his hands, he drew back his hand to attack him. The noble still held the sword. He brought it toward Benger again. Benger grit his teeth. I threw the other dagger caught it in the neck, The noble turned toward where I was.
t staggered back, turned, and ran from it. I felt we had hurt it.
I headed for the other side of coach where I supposed Stevie had gone. I approached the open door to see the other door open to see if I could find Stevie. I saw Stevia as she still stood there looking about. the cabin looking in disbelief.
She asked, " What has happened here? Who were they?" Why were they here? Who sent them here?"