This is a rather short story on a schizophrenic human who thinks a master needs him to obduct a highborn lady in Huskany. It would be awesome to hear some thoughts on this. I'm a bit insecure because I never wrote such a deranged character. I hope it comes accross. Anyway, here are the first couple of chapters ___________ 237 a.d. 12th month - On the Road “Need to find…” The tall man walked the lonely road leisurely. “What is it?” He mumbled to himself with his croaky voice, bracing himself heavily on a wooden staff. He looked very much like an old wizard. Being slim in build, his size made him look fragile. The staff made him look old. His eyes were surrounded by what looked like coal tar. It wasn’t, though. It was his essence trying to leave his body. Imagine how far adrift your soul has to be to scare off your very essence. It was a curse. In the literal sense. A mission gone horribly wrong. But that is another story. The tar around his eyes gave him a weird look. “Need to find.” Not that he wasn’t obviously weird anyways, mumbling about his needs out loud with nobody present to share them with. “Need to… need to FIND!” The volume of his croaking voice rose to light singing. “Need - me needs - need to find.” He didn’t actually know what he needed to find. He had exactly zero coins for food and the only city in a week’s proximity was where he came from. Travelling by foot wasn’t the wisest of ideas either. All that didn’t bother him. He had a purpose. Well, it was more of a vague feeling that his master would need him soon. A feeling that had never betrayed him. For now, he was a tramp, a wanderer, a weirdo. And he had been called those names before. Nobody calls me names twice, though. His long leather robe was as black as the tar around his eyes, though streaked with orpiment threads. A hat. I need a wizard hat. “Find, find, find. Find iiiit.” He didn’t even know where he was going. He was coming from Rothal, the capital city of Yalit. That was all he knew. “Need to fi-” The tall man stopped in the middle of his voice-jam. He had spotted a carriage. Friends. I need walk no more. He straightened himself and approached the strangers, now in a busy stroll. The stuff was no longer needed to brace him. “Ah, fellow travellers.” His voice was full of croaky love. “What are you doing out here without no horse?” Dumb travellers. But at least a ride. The one who had spoken was fairly fat. He led their horse by the bridles. Dressed all in mud. His companion was a young female, dressed in the same colours. Probably his daughter, though it was unlikely that his ugly genes had produced such a fair creature. The only resemblance was their nose. Was it possible the human had mated with a pig and the daughter had her good looks from the pig side? I knew they were experimenting in the far corners of Huskany, but with pigs…? The two of them stopped in front of their unlikely encounter, looking up to him. “I ain’t got no horse.” The cold void that was his eyes met the sceptical gaze of the traveller. “Need company?” The man looked as though he tried to read him. “I’ll work for food. I can sell on a market or do farmer’s work.” He looked deep into the eyes of his shorter counterpart. “I guess we could use some help… but selling won’t do it. You’ll have to get those hands dirty. Lookin’ fragile on that stick.” Stick?! He almost lost his cool there. “Wanna arm wrestle me?” Five minutes later, the tall weirdo was leaned against the back of the carriage. He had to walk no more. He hadn’t even asked the direction they were going. “Where d’you come from?” Nosey bastard. “Rothal.” It wasn’t even a lie. “That’s where we’re headed. We’re coming from Temerit, had some good trade going.” So he had some coin on him. That was good to know. “Name’s Isak. And that’s my daughter Flynna. What a name. His face remained still as a tomb. “What’s your name?” Nosey bastard. “Caligo.” What good was it to lie? “You sure you don’t mind going back the same way, Caligo?” He started to get tired of the meaningless small talk. “I go where’s work.” That was when he felt the calling. A craving from within. A longing. A need. He needs me. His sudden enthusiasm must’ve shown instantly. The daughter spoke for the first time. “Why are you smiling like that? Dad, I… he… there’s something wrong here.” Caligo smiled at her. “To the contrary, stupid girl. To the contrary.” He looked about the carriage. Ah. A knife was fixated at the side. He reached out, drew it from its sheath - it was a fancy knife. Much too valuable for some poor farmers. With a shrug, he slid it through the throat of the farmer. “Thanks for the ride, Isak.” Flynna screamed as tears started to roll down her cheeks in streams. But she didn’t move. She seemed paralysed with terror. Isak made some gurgling sounds as he breathed his life juices and ended like a slaughtered pig. His body fell to the side, which led the horse to run in circles. It was a beautiful day. Not too cold for the time of the year, no snow, no rain, no heavy wind. A good day to start working. “I will surely be punished for killing such a sweat flower. One day…” These words finally released the child from her shock-induced paralysis. She took up his staff, just in time to knock the charging weapon out of his hands. She jumped off the carriage and ran. Run, little girl. And maybe you will live to see another day. He climbed to the front of the carriage, took up the bridles and let the horse pursue the girl in a lazy trot. He would deal with her before turning around and travelling to his newly discovered destination. Buntium. 238 a.d. First Month, Buntium No animals were to be seen around the city. Up in the north of Huskany, winters were tough and all life would leave for the cold season. It was on this cold but dry winter morning, that the man with the leather robe entered Buntium. He had no plan as to what he was going to do here. But he had faith that his master would show him the way. Some ale will be a good start. *** Caligo enjoyed the stink of the crowd. Sweat was rolling down his arms and forehead as he sought the touch with his peers. Ah, company. He had arrived with perfect timing. The king was to arrive today. Surely, his task had something to do with that. He couldn’t wait to figure it out. “Nice, sweet, sweaty.” He moved through the crowd to have a better sight over the approaching convoy. That’s when he spotted a foreign object in the crowd of familiar poverty. It was the way she moved. A woman, young as far as he could tell from her backside. Nobility. Her movements displayed the arrogance of money and power. Instinctively, he knew this was his clue. The woman left the main road toward a narrow alley. Caligo followed at snail’s pace. Just when he turned into the road, the woman came flying down the roof. Always right, Master. Always right. She didn’t strike him as particularly noticeable. Brown hair, fairly short, slim. Nothing special about her at all. On the surface. He increased his pace to keep her in sight. The tall man was curious. What may be her role in his mission? “Beautiful stranger. We shall meet. Shall we mate? No, no, no.” His tongue just briefly touched the left corner of his lips. He followed her up to the castle. Good girl. She had taken a servant’s entrance. Caligo could slip in behind her without risking discovery because the guard was taking a piss right on the castle walls. One would assume that a man of his size was noticed. But the servant’s were all busy preparing for the king’s arrival. He had landed right in the kitchens. “Nice, nice nice. Have myself some food.” *** Caligo pressed himself tightly to the backside of the girl, sniffing at her hair intensely. “Mmh, flowers. Freshly flowered, flower girl?” Her tears rolled over the hand that held her mute. “You are of service to the master today.” Her body was shaking uncontrollable. The girl was huge. Much larger than Caligo himself. Elfish size. He didn’t have particular sentiments toward elves. But her never-ending and yet slim legs certainly played for this maiden. He took another deep breath. That was weirdly arousing. It wasn’t like Caligo enjoyed torturing people. He just liked being close to them. A sentiment nobody ever seemed to share. “Pssht! Don’t you scream, flower girl. Don’t you scream.” His prolonged finger slipped across her throat and ended the juvenile horror. “Don’t you scream. Will be discovered. Serve, serve, you serve the master now.” Her flawless face relaxed as her white dress soaked up her life juice. There was a sort of heroic beauty even in this sight. Caligo took yet another deep breath. “No more flowers, flower girl.” *** The tall maiden had changed her dress and waited eagerly for the king to arrive, carefully staying in the castle’s shadow. She stood there, broad legged, looking about curiously. That was weird. And it did cause some of the other queen’s maidens to eye her up in bewilderment. What was she doing? Maidens were supposed to look sweet and fertile. The tall girl usually had that elfish grace that made them look elegant despite their height. What was wrong with her today? Maybe she was nervous because she was about to meet the king. The young daughter of Lord Thormund Zakari ran up just in time to see the king ride through the gate. “There you are.” Her mother sounded annoyed. But it was a welcome distraction. The royal man was clad all in gold. “Beautiful, friends.” That caused some more bewildered glances. The elfish girl decided it was better to not speak anymore. Sonja Zakari. Nice, nice. The young woman was not impressed by her mother’s chiding voice.“I’m in time, no?” Unruly. We’ll see, we’ll see… And then, everybody focused on smiling at his grace, King Ismaïl. Some court official stepped forward to great the king, but he was cut short. “We meet tomorrow at dawn. In my solar. Dismissed.” The tall maiden smiled broadly. “I like this king.” The maiden took a deep breath, relishing the sweet flowery fragrance of her newly washed hair. “Mmh.” Suddenly, it all went really fast. The king had already disappeared with his wife, so all the maidens followed and the young elf couldn’t watch Sonja Zakari any longer. Lord Thormund approached his daughter - and then the gate barred the sight. *** The tall maiden stuck around the entrance hall, trying to stay unnoticed. That was quite the task given that she was towering over literally everybody else in sight. Come, come my lord, come to your beautiful little maiden. Finally, Lord Thormund lead his wife into the hall. The daughter had not followed. Instinctively, the maiden moved toward them. Come on little lord, do something interesting. Come, come, come on. “Why have you come so early?” Husband and wife were catching up. Come, come, entertain me. Come, little lord, come, come. “Daqin… the situation has become a little more complex. We need to organise a defence, just in case.” The fair maiden made a snorting sound of boredom. That attracted Lady Zakari’s attention. “Enea, come with us and brush my hair.” For an instant, the tall maiden was confused. She touched her left breast impetuously, as she tried to make a sign clarifying whether or not the lady was speaking to her. Lady Thalissa glanced at her breasts for an instant, following the gesture with her eyes. She frowned at the unusual behaviour. “Do you see another Enea?” The girl shook her head. “Come on, then.” Come on, come on, sweet lady, come on. It was a lucky coincidence that she seemed to be Lady Thalissa’s handmaiden. The trio climbed the stairs leading up to the chambers of the lords and ladies whose standing allowed them to reside in close proximity of the king. They entered the chamber. Lady Thalissa approached a chair right away. Comb, comb that hair, flower hair, mmh. The maiden looked about the chamber. So personal. It was intriguing. “Enea!” The girl looked at her mistress. “Over there!” She pointed to a mahogany desk. “Yes, m’lady.” The girl strolled over, picked up the comb, strolled back, and finally started doing her job. “Autsch! Enea!” The girl had forgotten to hold her lady’s hair while combing. “Sorry.” She felt Lord Thormund’s penetrating glance on her. He seemed to have notice something was odd. Or maybe he just liked the sight of the fair young flesh? Flesh, flesh, flesh. Ultimately, they went back to their conversation. “…and there is Sonja’s task.” She was clearly not happy about that. “Can that not wait…” But a short, cruel laugh stopped her. “Wait? She’s 20. If we wait any longer there will be no more need for a task.” She lowered her gaze for a moment, seemingly conceding the discussion. Weak, weak. Flower lady. Weak, weak. “Tell me…” Lord Thormund’s face was a prime example for sternness. He did not seem to enjoy being reunited with his wife. A player, no piece, little lord. Strong, dangerous. She would have to wait until the royal treasurer left the city to snatch his daughter. “There have been raids to and from some village south of Temerit. She will resolve the issue. Just some band of outlaws, nothing more.” His wife lifted her gaze again. “Just some band? Let her figure out some alley stabbing here in Buntium. But sending her to the corner of three countries, investigating raids… while there could be a war - isn’t that dangerous?” Lord Thormund seemed lost in thoughts for a moment. He then replied. “Less dangerous than wrestling a bear!” His wife touched the soft fur of her coat. Black bear. As strong as he looks. Strong lord, have me, savour me. Look, look - I’m a precious flower! The girl gasped in quiet excitement and a strand of straw blond hair fell in her face. She could feel Lord Thormund’s gaze upon her as she slid it back in place. But the flirty gesture was clumsily executed. She lost his attention. Damn. “How many - autsch! Enea!” The girl’s attention had slipped and so she had pulled heavily on her mistress’ hair. “My apologies, m’lady.” Lady Thalissa shook her head but the conversation at hand was more important to her than scolding her handmaiden. “How many guards?” Her husband was quick to answer. “No guards… a squad. She will share the task with Viktor Gallina.” This time it was Lady Thalissa who made an awkward head movement. She yelped as the comb tore on her hair once again. But she didn’t care. “Gallina? Are you mad?” There was anger in her voice, even disgust. Don’t like Gallina, flower lady? “Zaligas will accompany her.” She didn’t care. “He’s an old man! He cannot protect her. Autsch, Enea!” The maiden’s attention had slipped again. She did a terrible job. “I’m sorry, m’lady.” He was not impressed. “She has to protect herself! Enough of this. There will be the two kids, their advisers, and two more companions.” But she didn’t think of leaving it at this. She shook her maiden off her hair, stood up gracefully, and approached her husband. “They need at least two score soldiers!” She said, now in a soft voice. The maiden was impressed by her smoothness. Her hip was swinging to the side provocatively with each step she took. Both the maiden and the husband were staring at her lustily. “Do you want her to lose her status?” Lord Thormund had regained his composure quickly. That made the maiden look up as well. Impressive. Stern lord, lord flower. She compulsively started playing with her hair. Lady Thalissa continued in a voice as sweet as lemon cake. “Ten, give her ten men at least.” She placed his hands on her hip. It finally started to work on him. “Ten in total. Two kids, two advisers, six companions.” He had lowered his voice to a whisper. “No-” “That is my last word.” His arms had wandered to her backside. “I will arrange it with lord Gregorz and have Zaligas pick the companions.” The moment was magical. The maiden could not resist but move closer, closer - until she could smell Lady Thalissa’s hair again. She breathed in appreciatively. A little too appreciatively. “Enea, for beauty’s sake! What are you doing?” She was in some sort of trance. Could not resist taking another deep breath. Mmh. “Sorry”, she whispered, her cheeks had turned red from excitement. “Did you just smell my hair?” The anger relieved the maiden of her trance. “No. Maybe…” She lowered her head submissively. “You are released from my service. Go. Go!” The young maiden hurried out of their sight.