Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Chapter 4d: Drummen's Feast

Drummen stood in the dark, staring straight ahead as drops of water fell from the ceiling. The dirty water had risen halfway up his thigh in the last half hour, almost over the lip of his worn leather boots. The water didn't concern him; he hardly noticed it. Only food concerned him now. Only flesh could satisfy his hunger, and blood to quench his thirst.

He couldn't eat yet. No, not yet. He had to wait. The Voice told him to wait for the others. They would arrive soon. To calm his hungers the Voice gave him dreams. Glorious visions. In these dreams he could feel his teeth sinking into soft flesh. The taste of warm blood spraying into the air and flowing around his mouth and gums; sliding, like thin honey, down his throat as he chewed and swallowed.

In the visions, his victims screamed as he ate them alive. The noise meant nothing more to him than the sound of the water dripping into the rising liquid around him. The screams were accompanied by a chuckle, the Voice laughing in the background. They struggled ineffectually as he grasped their shoulders, sinking his teeth into the side of their neck. He should have recognized many of the faces, his mother and the girl of his dreams being two of the victims, but they had become nothing more than blank templates, more food to appease his ever-growing hunger.

Perhaps the dreams weren't quite as good as actually feasting. He would know as soon as the others arrived. With the others, his brothers and sisters, he would hunt the warm flesh. He would bask in the red blood, and he would suck on the marrow of bones. His eyes rolled back and he shivered as the dreams continued to give him an ecstasy he had never found in life, a fulfillment greater than drink and more erotic than sex.

It was unfortunate that he really couldn't understand any of it.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007

Chapter 4c: Lunch with Lithor

Piet Lithor sat at the end of a long banquet table, wondering what chef Roboldi had prepared for lunch. He lifted the silver bell and shook it vigorously; the high-pitched tinkling filled the room. Piet Lithor waited.

That damnable wizard had infuriated him. The arrogant fool didn't treat him with the respect he deserved. He was the voice of god, an ordained priest of Vaspar, the Living God of Justice and Righteousness. Not only that, he was the High Priest, for Vaspar's sake!

The black arts had never impressed the Piet. If great Vaspar wished, he could give the priest the power to crush that arrogant wizard. The almighty Vaspar must have some use for the black-hearted man or he would have already struck him down for his insolence. Vaspar's plans and motives were hard to understand sometimes, but everything that happened occurred because of his God's master plan. Piet Lithor just wished he knew what that master plan might entail.

Piet Lithor’s generous stomach growled, scattering his thoughts and reforming them into more immediate concerns. He looked around, but didn't see the chef with his lunch. What could be taking so long? It wasn't like him to keep the Piet waiting. No one, besides the Duke, made him wait.

Piet Lithor thought back to the night before and his confrontation with Wellan. He had gone from the dungeons straight to Duke Renier to announce his complaints concerning the disrespectful wizard. At first the Duke hadn't seem happy to see the angry priest, but as the Piet told him how nonchalantly and arrogantly the wizard had treated him, and how he refused to call him by his proper title, the Duke had smiled and said, "Yes, Wellan is a handful, isn't he? I will make sure he shows you more respect in the future."

When he expressed his concerns about how the wizard wanted to burn a poor leper for running away from the city guard, Duke Renier had seemed shocked. "I will have a talk with Wellan about that! After all, the man should at least get a fair trial. Thank you for bringing that to my attention, Piet Lithor," he had graciously declared.

Yes, the wizard's credibility would be damaged thanks to the Piet's information. Duke Renier would make sure the sorcerer would be properly chastised for his actions. The Duke was a good man, a ruler who knew how to show a fellow leader of men the respect he deserved. He would make sure the wizard treated Piet Lithor with respect from now on. Yes, the Duke was a good man.

"Where's my lunch? That bumbling chef had better hurry and get it out here or there will be consequences." He rattled the bell with more vigor; filling the room with an awful racket.

When no one responded, Piet Lithor screamed at the empty hall. "Chef Raboldi! Chef Raboldi! Where's my dinner! You're late with my dinner, Raboldi!"

A minor priest burst through the kitchen doors, a filthy apron around his waist.

"What is this, Brother Clay? Where is Raboldi?"

Brother Clay bowed his head, his thumb and index fingers forming a triangle over the crown of his skull with his palms facing the high priest. A few respectful moments passed before he dropped his hands and spoke to the angry man, his gaze never leaving the floor. "I am so sorry, Piet Lithor. Chef Raboldi has gone home sick for the day. All of the kitchen staff is gone."

Piet Lithor's nostrils flared. "All of them sick? Oh, come now. They can't all be sick."

The priest raised his head, eyes shifting nervously to those of the high priest. "Yes, Piet Lithor. I am afraid they all started feeling unwell shortly before lunch. As has many of our own clergy."

That didn't sound good. It didn't sound good at all. Now who would prepare lunch? He wasn't about to prepare it himself.

Brother Clay grabbed the edges of the apron and spread the material out in front of Piet Lithor. His face lit up with an awkward smile. "If it meets your approval, Piet Lithor, I will try and prepare you something for lunch. Of coarse I'm not nearly as experienced as Mr. Raboldi with the herbs and seasonings, but I can prepare a fairly good stew if given half the chance."

Piet Lithor curled his upper lip and lifted an eyebrow. "Stew? Oh come now priest, you can do better than that. I am in the mood for grilled quail smothered in a tangy sauce."

The smile fell from the priest face. "Tangy sauce, Piet?"

"Yes. I don't know what it is, but Raboldi makes the sauce all the time. You should be able to make it easily." Piet Lithor smacked his lips in anticipation.

Brother Clay swallowed, knowing that before the day was through he was going to be getting a reprimand that he wouldn't soon forget. Fortunately he remained low enough on the temple hierarchy to avoid being demoted any lower. "Yes, Piet Lithor. I will do my best."

Piet Lithor shooed him away, then sat back into his chair to wait for his lunch.

It was odd that so many of his staff had become ill. Odd, but he could deal with that once his stomach was full of quail. Yes, he would deal with that after he ate.

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