Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Chapter 1a:Night Shift

"The heart and souls of men are linked to the waters of life. Should the waters run dry whence then will men drink. Shall they die of thirst praying to their gods for something that is no more."

~Secret Holy Scriptures of the Waken Book

Drummen’s brow throbbed with each heartbeat as his stomach churned, grumbled and percolated bitter acid up his throat every few minutes. To make matters worse every turn of his head brought nausea, forcing him to take deep breaths and think about anything but vomiting. He didn’t even want to consider what his bowls had to say about his pre-shift escapades.

He was the captain of the dock area city watch, night division. Gods blasted night division! He should be spending his evenings drinking and having a good time, instead he arrested those who were drinking and having a good time. Something just didn't seem right about that. Hell, he would have been arrested twelve hours ago if he hadn't been captain of the city watch. All the guards knew the hell they would pay should any of them ever take it upon themselves to arrest Drummen. He almost wished one of them would try it. Yeah, that would make for an interesting evening.

Drummen smiled to himself as he remembered the previous night. It had been one hell of an evening, and most of the next morning too. The fun started as a bit of rough-housing with some blokes at old Jon Geary's Tavern, which progressed to singing then wenching then…well, after that he wasn't sure, but he must have had a great time to feel so bad.

He reached across the knotty wooden desk and grabbed a mug of tepid water. Normally he would dump it out and get something fresher, but the stale taste of whiskey made his thirst almost unquenchable, and he just didn't have the energy to get anything better. He emptied the mug in three gulps. Liquid trickled down his bearded chin and dripped onto his leather armor. The warm water only made him want more. He needed something better.

He looked around the table and chair filled station, making sure no one hung about. The station was empty except for some loser the day watch had arrested, and he restlessly slept in a cot perched against a cell wall. Drummen reached into the shoulder section of his armor and extracted a metal flask. Taking one last look he tipped the bottle to his lips and took a deep, throat burning gulp. He belched to relieve the biting fumes that rose in his throat as the amber liquid met his molten stomach acids. A little hair of the dog that has bitten you was Drummen’s motto when it came to hang over recovery.

The station doors burst open. One of the night watchmen rushed through. In a 'you aren't going to believe this' tone the guard grinned, "Hey Drummen…Sir." Drummen coughed and spun away, stashing his flask back into his armor.

Glancing over his shoulder he growled "Doesn't anybody stinkin’ knock anymore!"

The guard noticed Drummen's bloodshot eyes, ornerier than usual look, and the faint whiff of strong spirits and his smile disapeared. Drummen liked making smiles vanish. Stiles was a good soldier but Drummen really didn't feel like listening to the guards cheerful yapping at that moment.

Running his large hand over his red bearded face Drummen asked, "What's so bloody important that you gotta come bargin' in here like that?" He spun around in his chair to face the guard.

"Lepers sir. Stinkin' rotters are inside the city gates."

Oh yeah, what a way to start his shift. Drummen sighed, "Who let them in?"

"Don't know sir." Stiles grinned. "Wasn't me."

Drummen would have to work on cowing this one down. The guy just couldn't take a hint.

Shaking his head Drummen replied, "Let's get this crap over with. Show me where the bastards are so we can give them an escort out of town."

With an eager stride the guard strolled out the door. Drummen grabbed his helmet and followed close behind.

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