CHAVIAS - Encountering a Raider
Peak Mountain, Black Mountains, Battling Border
Okine awoke Chavias in his usual brutal fashion. Catching him by the tether in his hair and dragging him from the cot. As Chavias slid off. Okine slammed one of his curved blades into Chavias’ side between his ribs.
Chavias gasped for air as the metal tip dipped into one lung. Chavias drew long breaths. I need to calm. He reminded himself to slow his heart. Draw air slower.
I will kill this yellow son-of-a-bitch one day.
Okine relished yanking the blade free in a burst of blood and meat.
Chavias flinched. Giving an animal grunt as he rolled away from Okine’s reach and moved to a crouch. Ready to defend himself if Okine came after him.
But the point eared wretch only cackled and exited the cell. “Greenway Ville.” It was all he had to say.
Chavias knew he was ordered to raid it. Head for the storehouse.
Chavias huffed a breath through his teeth in challenge but Okine only walked faster down the stone corridor. Too coward to fight me while I’m on my feet and not strung on chains.
Chavias was aware there was a part of Okine that feared him. It’s why he enjoys torturing me so much. Likes to keep me weak.
Changing into his gray leather armor. He pulled a fur cloak up around his shoulders to stave off the winter chill which was already biting into the open gouge on his side. He fought the instinct to keep a hand to it, to protect the injury. It’d be a sign of weakness.
The cimmerii always watched him for signs. A league of them walked with him.
One hungry Targue lapped his drooling jowls.
Nonis scattered around his feet. Biting at his heels and ankles.
A Sarabi flanked a ways behind. Following his descent off Peak Mountain.
Greenway Village, Netherlands
He neared Greenway as the moon fully rose and nightfall descended in a pitch cloak. As they broke through the nameless woods at the base of Peak Mountain, they already saw the orange of scattered fires in the village.
Already on fire? Chavias’ pace slowed. Becoming wary. As he wove onto the main road through the village, he found the first of the fires. Surprised to see it wasn’t a booth or shop. Merely a discarded torch burning in the road. Like a beacon…
Of what? Chavias glanced to his right and saw a few of the seared shops he’d burned before. Like the bakery and the reserve building. They’d been repaired. But the damage is still obvious.
Why’s there a torch burning directly before one I lit nine years ago? Chavias’ slate gray eyes narrowed on the torch at his feet.
He heard Thadeus, his crow squawking from a tree on the hill outside the village. His distinct cry echoing in the silence of the night.
Stay there. Where it’s safe. He willed the bird.
A sneaking suspicion began to build. He found another torch further along and knew before he looked, that on the left was the smaller storehouse he’d burned to cinders seven years ago. A trail.
When he reached the main storehouse in the center of town, he was unsurprised to discover a few scattered torches brightening the front of the structure.
Chavias’ step slowed as he watched the flames dancing along the wide swinging doors of the storehouse. Gaping open.
A smile danced around Chavias’ mouth. Understanding the humor behind this. These signs.
He knew before he entered that storehouse, on such prominent display. It’ll be picked clean.
Not so much as a piece of corn littering the dirt floor. A chuckle burbled up his chest at the confirmation the boy was here.
“Savage.” He shook his head, amused.
“Chavias.” The answer came from the rafters.
What? Chavias turned his head slowly to the side to peer above him. Catching the glint of a metal blade up there and the dark silhouette perched on a thin board.
“I could’ve got you this time.”
You’re good but I don’t think that good…Yet.
“You could’ve tried, Boy.” Chavias’ white teeth flashed in the night.
Both went quiet as they heard the clicking growl of the Sarabi pushing its way through the doors.
Don’t move. He willed the boy. Praying the beast wouldn’t hear Savage in the rafters.
The Sarabi’s back brushed the top of the doorway. It rumbled low in complaint of finding the place empty.
Seeing with Radix’s eyes.
It snuffed. Alerting Radix, through their telepathic link, what it’d found in the storehouse.
Nothing. Chavias blinked dark eyes at the beast. Showing no sign of what lurked above. It circled him, inspecting the dirt as Chavias had. Finding the same thing Chavias had. It’s empty.
The Sarabi rounded on Chavias. Lowering its head to his face. Where its rancid breath eeked onto his cheeks. Nearly seeping into his mouth like a flavor.
Contempt jerked his lips.
After a moment the Sarabi slowly left. Slinking on its spindly front legs and dragging heavy back ones. Back hissing along the door again as it went out.
It never knew he was there. Realizing how invisible the boy could become was somewhat unsettling.
“So, what’s it to be, Boy?” He looked back up. “Do we fight? Or pretend you were never here?”
“Or are you ready to join me? Rejoin the free world of Ardae?” Savage countered.
I can’t. I wish I could be your father out there. But it’s not to be.
Radix would hunt us both. And my brethren would die at the cost of my freedom.
“You couldn’t fight them all. The street is filled with beasts that’d slaughter you.” Chavias gestured in warning. Voice rising.
“I enjoy slaughtering beasts. I’d particularly enjoy slaughtering those.” He said in his bored way, nodding beyond the door. Running a thumb over his blade.
Chavias caught the coppery scent of fresh blood from him nicking his thumb. “They’ll smell that!” He objected.
They’re going to corner him.
“I dearly hope so.” Savage drawled. “I’ve not killed something in so long.”
“Well,” Chavias said dryly. “That’s something...”
“Not that’ll last. Don’t get your hopes up.” He stood and walked the thin rafter. Utterly unafraid of falling.
Despite that he’s not immortal.
He’s more animal then human.
He went far enough to push open a flap on the roof. Walking out.
Chavias heard him sliding down the side and thumping to the ground. So did every Targue out there.
There’ll be blood. Savage never bluffs. Chavias rounded the building and found Savage wreaking a massacre on the demon hounds. Black blood cast all over his legs already. Several dark mounds surrounding his feet. Dead Targue.
Chavias drew a small straight dagger from a sheath under the shoulder of his armor. Tossing the blade to stick in the wall near Savage’s head. The Targue glanced at it. Radix will see through the Targue’s eyes I attempted an attack.
Savage’s blonde head shot up. He gave Chavias a long look. Knowing full well if I wanted to hit him with it, I would’ve.
Savage abruptly jumped a charging Targue and kicked another in the lower jaw as he rushed past. A pack of them took after him into the trees.
Chavias didn’t give chase. Knowing Savage would enjoy leading them away. Then picking them off from the trees. One by one.
One of his favorite games…Killing from the back to the front of the pack.
Just like I taught him... Chavias knew it was twisted he was immensely proud, but it changed nothing.