CHAVIAS - A Feral Dread Boy
Marshtown, Grier Country
The Dread boy was now nearly grown. Still several inches shorter than Chavias, he was already much taller than many others. At thirteen the boy was defiant to the end. Utterly fearless.
He still refused to respond to Radix. He’d stand and listen, expressionless. Quiet as Radix gave orders. But he obeys none of them. Unless I tell him to.
Savage takes no orders. The boy listened to Chavias because he chose to. And one day he may choose not to.
Then I’ll have as little power containing his violence as Radix does now. And though Savage didn’t blink when it came to killing, there was an undercurrent of rage in him when he’s told to. His killing was nearly frenzied.
Like killing is a necessity for him.
Everyone sees it. Everyone knows it. Both Radix and Okine had dubbed him Savage. And even Chavias agreed the nickname suited him.
In all his years spent protecting, training, the boy, there was a part of even Chavias that feared him. He’s still a savage little animal.
Unpredictable. Dangerous. There’s something driving him. Possibly a desire to kill more. Possibly resentment he’s directed to kill instead of doing so on his whim.
The food stores in Peak Mountain dwindled and Radix sent Chavias to raze Marshtown in Grier. To take their food stores.
For a dual purpose. Chavias knew. So, his firoque could flourish and eat well while others in the country starved. And to put strain on the village so those desperate souls might respond to Okine’s whisperings and turn over their humanity for cimmerii skin.
Becoming part of Radix’s army.
Chavias barely heard the light step flanking him. Savage.
The boy used his torch to light fires behind him. Igniting Marshtown in blinding light. Dancing oranges and reds.
When a man stepped out to confront Chavias, Savage stepped between them and before Chavias could lift his weapon. Savage drug his sword through him in three different directions. His ferocity nearly chopping the man to pieces.
He’s lethal. Chavias watched the boy turning to him. No pride. No triumph. Nothing at all written over his face. There’s something inhuman in him.
A Dread soul.
Peak Mountain, Black Mountains, Battling Border
Savage had begun doing something Chavias was equally as disturbed about as his quick willingness to massacre.
He’d begun walking the long trek down to the torture chamber to watch Chavias’ suffering. As he has tonight.
Okine took glee in the young man watching. Thinking his artful skills on display.
Utterly oblivious to what Savage is really thinking.
Savage’s eyes flicked to Okine and then to Chavias strung on the hooks. Saturated in blood. And though his face revealed nothing, Chavias knew the boy as much as someone could…Knew his thoughts.
Savage watched Okine. Studying the yellow demon’s length. Eying the width of his biceps assessing the weak points at his knees and ankles.
It was written over the boy’s face. He’s considering a hundred ways to kill the cimmerii Commander.
But exceptional killer that Savage was, he’d be outmanned in these caves.
So, night after night, Chavias looked at him and shook his head. No. Don’t move on him. They’ll kill you.
Savage would lower his in ascent and return to the upper levels. The boy’s eyes, now typically light blue, flashed gold when he was incited.
Though he’s grown better at containing it.
Tonight, he looked at Chavias, waiting. Chavias again shook his head.
He’s considering leaving. And thinks to free me. But if he did, Okine and Radix would rip him apart.
He doesn’t deserve that.
He was only a child once. A child who’d only been taught darkness and cruelty. Outcast from humanity long before he understood it. Chavias sighed.
One of the other demonlings sidled up to Savage to speak to him. “You like to watch the torture. Don’t you, Savage? Like his screams. You enjoy it as he does.” The demonling gestured to Okine. “’Tis why you come down here night after night to watch?”
No. He comes down here wanting to kill all of you. Chavias knew.
As the demonling finished speaking, Savage drew his small knife from his waist and in a smooth motion reached to push it through the soft spot on the bottom of the demonlings jaw. Up through its mouth, and into the bottom of its skull.
The firoque flailed like a fish on a hook. Tossing his arms and gargling but unable to move. Okine’s eyes shot to him. “Savage!”
Releasing the handle, Savage turned his fist sideways and hit the base of it. Driving it in deep and sending the demonling falling backward like a plank. Limp on the stone floor.
“He insulted me.” The boy looked at Okine unflinchingly.
No remorse. There never is.
After a time, Okine’s gaze turned wary. As though he didn’t want to look away. “Little. Savage.” He murmured derisively. Moving to put his weapons tray between him and the terrifying boy, creating a small barrier.
It won’t be enough if he decides to come at you. Chavias’ head rolled on his cut and bruised neck to look at Okine.
He looks petrified. He should be.
“I’m going to kill him.” Savage sat on the wet stone floor on the otherside of Chavias’ cell door. His customary place. He viciously carved a bit of leather. Eyes shining gold in the blackness so he could see the piece he worked.
He means Okine.
“No, you’re not. You’ve no stake in what happens to me.”
They’ll kill you.
“I do.” Savage said tonelessly.
“You do not!” Chavias bit out from where he sat on the otherside of the door. Back propped against the stone wall. Facing the boy opposite him.
Have a care, Boy.
Radix could torture you at a moment’s notice.
Savage tossed the bit of leather aside. “You’re the closest thing I’ve known to family. Mine would have none of me.”
“Why is that?” Chavias asked curious.
I suspect it was more than that.
You’re no mindless creature.
“You’ve been a sort of family to me too.” Chavias grunted the admission.
“A difficult child, perhaps?” There was almost hope on the boy’s face.
Like a son. A broken one.
“You were never difficult.” Chavias said. “If anything, too eager to learn the art of killing.”
“I’ve learned well.”
I’d say a bit beyond that, actually.
“You have.” Chavias agreed.
“You were a good tutor.”
“Thank you. I think…” Chavias rolled it over.
Not exactly a compliment.
Savage laughed coldly.
“I don’t think I’ve ever heard you laugh before.” Chavias said thoughtfully.
I know I haven’t.
“Perhaps only now do I see humor in this sick situation.”
Humor? What humor could there possibly be?
“What humor is that?”
“The most powerful man in these caves sits behind these bars.” Savage gestured. “Drained of blood. Tortured and threatened with the murder of his friends. And these very tools are used to make him kill his friends.”
I don’t find that amusing. Chavias was stung by the fact that Savage thought such things funny.
“What is it you drive at?” His tone hardened.
“You mistake me. I don’t laugh at your predicament.” Savage sobered. “I laugh because, for reasons unknown to me, instead of dwelling on these things you worry for me. A child whom no one has cared for his whole life. A child who could die any moment in these raids or perhaps turning against these stinking animals.” He tossed his head to the surrounding caves.
Chavias’ anger calmed. “I worry because I see no reason for you to die.”
“Do you see a reason for me to live?” Savage lifted his chin and looked at Chavias in his piercing way.
“You’re not evil. Boy.”
“I am not good.”
“You are not good. But you could be.”
Savage tilted his head in interest.
“Just by ensuring you do the things you do well, for the right reasons.”
“Is coin a right reason?” Savage asked. No animosity on his face.
“Depends on your lot in life.” Chavias admitted. Wishing he could give him a more righteous answer.
But people have done worse things for less.
“I wish to free you.” Savage said decisively.
“I don’t wish you to.”
If you try you’ll be killed.
“He holds me here with more than shackles.” Chavias explained. “And there are things I’m learning to do that may help me defeat him from within.”
“You plot against him?” Savage was intrigued.
Every day I’ve been here.
“Always.” He said.
“Then I shall too.”
“I don’t want you to.”
“What is it you do want me to do, Chavias?”
Be safe. Be alive. Actually find happiness, perhaps.
“I want you to get out of here.” Chavias admitted.
“Why?” Savage tilted his head to look at him.
“So, you’ll not always be Savage.”
The boy chuckled. “Who would you have me be?”
“Savage Jaxson.” Chavias sighed. “Part of the boy you once were. Part of the animal you’ve become. Something in-between, with an art for survival.”
“With an art for killing.” Savage corrected.
“If you must kill,” Chavias said. “do so with honor.”
Savage lowered his head in deference. “As you wish. Because you ask it. But if I get word you want out. I’ll return with a vengeance to free you.”
“I know.” Chavias said.
“When will I go?” Savage picked up the bit of leather and began carving again.
Ready to leave today if I told him to.
He the strongest soul I’ve ever seen. Chavias realized for the first time.
“When I tell you it’s time. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe in sennight. Maybe years from now. When I think it’s safe.”
“It’ll never be safe.”
As safe as it can be.
“No, it won’t.” Chavias said. “But you are very good at killing.”
A lethal creature from the first heartbeat, I suspect.
“Yes, I am.”
“I need you to do something for me, though.” Chavias requested.
“What would that be?”
“I need to know I’m not unleashing a wild animal into Ardae.” Chavias explained.
“You are.” Savage said simply. In his incredibly unsettling, matter-of-a-fact way.
The opposite of reassuring.
“Kill with purpose.” Chavias shifted uneasily.
“I always do.” He looked at Chavias as he sawed the leather.
With what purpose?