Monday, 21 May 2012

Into the Asylum: Malmir weighs the odds

The sounds of the footman's expensively booted feet faded into the grimy darkness, their wooden heels clacking against the ancient stone steps that lead to what, perhaps very loosely, could be referred to as street level. The sound reminded Malmir of bells. The heavy, dull bells that droned mournfully alongside the awful plague carts he had seen when travelling through Kofindorf.

Each chime a death knoll. A reminder for the living of their own mortality.

Shivering, he pulled his brightly coloured travelling clothes tightly around his shoulders. They usually made him feel secure- safe even, when in human company... Now they seemed inappropriate alongside the squalor of their surroundings. The walls were wet and glistened in the half light. Irregular puddles of suspicious colour and foul odour scattered the floor. Turning, he saw Wanda step into something best left unmentioned. She peered around fruitlessly for something partially clean to wipe her boot on.

Malmir adjusted his scabbard, testing that the oiled wool within had not dried and his blade could be easily drawn. His mandolin strap had already been pulled tight across his shoulders, so that the instrument would not rattle or impede his movement. These old habits... Older than than his human companions he mused...

He remembered...

A clearing in the forest. The bright lights of the enemy's torches. Burning trees. Blood on the ground. The bestial  stench of the greenskins. The waiting, waiting, waiting. The impact and the surge of combat. His feet slipping on the muddy path, as he desperately fought to remain upright. Steel on steel. The sickening sensation of metal piercing flesh, blue black blood running down his arms as defilers fled. The promise of pursuit... Of revenge...

Being told to stop.

"Not beyond the forest, Malnir! We stay here."

Vengeance was a human trait he was told. He would stay in the forest and he would not run.

But he had...

A wet crunch brought the elf back from his reverie. The sound had been so sudden in the darkness that the more military minded individuals spun around, hands firmly gripped on weapon hilts while the others blundered in the gloom. Was it an ambush? Robbers? Daemons?

"Sorry!" Mumbled Harbull, when all of his companion's eyes suddenly focused on him. His trembling fingers were deep inside a leather bag that looked remarkably like it was stuffed full of pork scratchings. Sheepishly, the halfling smiled apologetically.

How much experience does this little group actually have? Malmir thought? Could they bring themselves to push steel into another man's (or indeed, another woman's) flesh and take a life? Would it even come to that? Would the party disintergrate at the first sign of danger as these weak humans fled back to their easy lives? Malmir had no such option, he could never return... It was this jobm this life, or nothing...

The group relaxed, slightly and stood mutely in the stinking half light, their eyes glistening expectantly in the darkness.

"So then, "Malmir whispered, "what do we do next?"

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