Kraka Draka - Part Three Hundred Eight (308)
Note: continuation form previoust post
“I am Logan Grundbarson.” The prisoner shouted. “The blood of Norscan Dawi kings runs in my veins, I will not be burned at the stake or hung like a common criminal.” The courtroom crowd jeered and even some fellow prisoners for they cared little for Reavers who sailed south across the Sea of Claws to loot and pillage. “Only my Ancestor Gods or your Sigmar may be my judge, and only to them will I submit,” the prisoner yelled as he tugged at the chains, but the bailiff and executioner ensured they were still secure. “As a member of the royal Clan Durazklad and an ally of your own King I invoke my right to a Trial by Combat. Let our Gods decide my fate.” The crowd continued to jeer and threw all matter of noxious filth at him and they only stopped when the Judge and notorious Witch Hunter, Mikari Novosi raised his staff of office. Turning to the bailiff and his henchmen he gave them their orders, “take the prisoner outside” then he faced the obvious mutant for that was surely what he was though he had no obvious stigmata’s upon his body unless overly long hair and beard was a sign of chaos. “You have only two hours to live, if in that time no champion comes forth to defend you, you will burn.”
The people of the city gathered to watch the spectacle and the newcomers joined in as they tossed refuge at him. Logan soon found himself chained to a stone post that is ten feet tall and roughly a foot wide and there is an iron ring fixed at waist high which is where his chains are secured. He noted as they dragged him up to the post that there is four stone steps and it seemed somehow appropriate, four steps, one for each Ancestor Gods. With his wrists locked securely to the post ring the bailiff and his men began pilling f.a.g.o.t.s all around the steps up to his waist. He inhaled and Logan could smell the recent soot that stained the stone steps and granite pillar.
He had two hours and Logan was not just going to wait. He leaned against the post braced his feet and began slowly pushing back and forth against the post in hopes of breaking it loose from the stone steps and abruptly stopped when one of the guards prodded Logan with a spear. He shrugged his shoulders; and as much as he could turns his back on the guards then brought his hands up to his mouth and ran his fingers through his beard. The thieving Umgi had removed all the gold and silver beard rings, and gem stones but perhaps they may have missed something that he could use to open the lock. But they had been thorough. He had less that two hours now and even if he escaped he was still going to be considered dead to hearth and kin. The shame of being captured by Umgi was more than Logan could stand. Logan looked up as the crowd cheered as the courts champion entered the courtyard. He is huge, so huge he is as large and tall as an Ogre only not grotesque. He fought and killed Ogres from the Mountains of Mourn, a Gronti of Norsca, and even a huge Kurgan who followed the Blood God. Everything about this champion, Vladimir Putortin is huge; legs, arms, fee, chest and shoulders all encased in leather and chainmail and as he passed the pillar to which Logan is chained the champion only smiled and evil smile. The crowd began chanting, “Vladimir, Vladimir, Vladimir” and the champion turn his head toward the crowd and nodded and continued stopping only when he was three steps below the judge who stood staff of office in hand talking to the bailiff who held a burning torch.
The Judge, Mikari Novosi, the bailiff, and Vladimir stood listening to the jeering crowd, some taunting the prisoner, some chanting the champion’s name and time is slipping by as the empty hour-glass is turned over, one hour left. Vladimir watched the courtyard gate, naked blade in his hand. It was like everything else on him, larger than other Umgi blades, longer than Logan is tall by nearly a foot.
The sand was slowly disappearing when there is a noise at the gate and the sound of a drum and two files of mounted knights rode through the open gates, the crowd is suddenly silent and the Knights of Erengrad form a circle around the outer rim of courtyard and still the sound of a drum is heard. The through the gates came an armed warrior no taller than the prisoner and there is laugher from the crowd until one of the senior knight calls for silence. The warrior marched across the courtyard looking neither right nor left as he kept his eyes not on the prisoner but on the judge and the champion. Then senior knight dismounts and heads toward the local Boyar, Mikari Novosi who is the judge. The prince wanted a message to be delivered to this stubborn Boyar.
Then Drazhgrund stops before the threesome, and slowly turns in place as he faces the entire courtyard as he spoke, “I am Drazhgrund Kartinson I am also the Ambassador to the court of Igor the Terrible, Prince of Erengrad.” Drazhgrund could see that they cared not a wit of who he is but the mention of the Igor the Terrible is another matter. Perhaps they are intimidated after all for every one knew what happened when the Roppsmann Prince of Erengrad invited the Ungol Prince of Dorogo to join the Confederacy of Kislevite States; Igor’s herald was slain out-of-hand. Since the Ungol Prince of Dorogo refused, Igor’s army marched on the Ungol city-state of Dorogo, and reduced it and then renames it Kislev. Then Igor embarks on a campaign to consolidate the rest of the various minor states and principalities of southern and central Kislev. Yes they are intimidated by Igor the Terrible but not by me, Drazhgrund thought as the three turned their back on him as they conferred with the knight.
Drazhgrund removes a keg from his belt and fills a tankard that he also had at his belt and quietly began drinking. He looked up at the sky, felt the mornings sun’s heat upon his armor. It would be warm he thought to himself, he had yet to say a word to Logan Grundbarson perhaps later after the Trial by Combat if all went well. If not and he gave an internal shrug.
Vladimir turned his head glancing at the Dwarf, if that was to be believed. Everyone knew that Dwarves dwelled in the Worlds Edge Mountains and not Norsca. He would kill this Chaos Dwarf and watch the other burn it was only fitting he thought to him self after all he had been the victor in over twenty Trial by Combats. As the Boyar and the knight argued he stared at the Dwarf trying to ascertain his weakness. That he towered over the Dwarf was to his advantage. The Dwarf stood there quietly drinking all but ignoring him, the light wind brought the heady strong aroma of alcohol and he smiled wickedly. He looked how the Dwarf is armed, his surcoat which is quartered offsetting red and green with a rampant Drakk superimposed over mountain design in the center of the surcoat. From what Vladimir could tell, the Dwarf is wearing a breastplate attached to a chainmail hauberk that hung to the knee, upper arms protected by demi-brassart and elbow guards, lower legs and knees protected by greviere and knee guards. The dark green leather gloves had very small articulated chainmail rings that protected the back of the Dwarves hands and fingers. Even the boots are armored front and back. All the armor looked to be in good repair but old. Even the Dwarf looked old, his long dirty grey and white beard is neatly combed and braided into several plaits and held in place with numerous gold beard rings. The beard is so long that it could have been tread upon if it had not been tucked into the Dwarf’s belt. The Dwarf’s hair that stuck out from beneath the helm is braided into a single plait that hung off the left side. The Dwarf appeared old, looked tired as well as a heavy drinker, just an old warrior that is all but worn out. Even the Dwarf’s weapon scabbard which hung across his back looked worn out, as he observed the stained bone-white-handle of a two handed sword sticking up over the helm. The scabbard is of a dull-green leather that is cracked and peeling and Vladimir wondered if the blade was nicked and rusty. He doubted that this Dwarf even knew how to use a sword for everyone knew Dwarves fought only with warhammers and axes. Vladimir wondered where this Dwarf had found the sword, perhaps on some forgotten battlefield.
It was almost as if the Dwarf had heard his thought for suddenly the Dwarf casually drew the sword with one hand as he drank, it shimmered as Drazhgrund lifted it towards the morning sun, a rainbow of colors played along the blade, sending red, yellow, blue, purple and green fire dancing along its razor sharp edge. Suddenly Vladimir shouted something at him, whether it was Roppsmann or Ungol Drazhgrund had no idea as he continued to drink ignoring Vladimir. Vladimir stalked toward him raising his sword. Drazhgrund watched him over the rim of his tankard. Vladimir swung his sword down but suddenly Drazhgrund was not the there. His hard swung sword rang on the stones of the courtyard sending sparks toward the dry f.a.g.o.t.s stacked against the stone pillar.
Drazhgrund, only a few feet away placed his tankard next to the keg on the first step leading up to the stone pillar and Logan as Vladimir turned quickly and swung another strike at him. Drazhgrund parried and his own sword rang like a Morr temple bell sending forth a sound that reminded the crowd of a death knell. A few in the crowd gasped and clutch what ever religious icon that they thought would protect them.
The gathered spectators noted that neither of the champions carried a shield. Vladimir apparently wanted to swing his sword with both hands as he methodically began to hunt Drazhgrund down. Every time Vladimir struck at Drazhgrund he either missed or his strike is parried. At first, despite his inability to land a blow, Vladimir seemed to have things his own way. He pursued Drazhgrund relentlessly. The crowd and the knights parted to let them pass, some of the crowd, are making wagers to see how long it took for Vladimir to catch and kill the Dwarf.
The fight swayed one way or the other then began moving away from Logan to the other side of the courtyard then back towards Logan as the two fought almost at his feet. Drazhgrund kept making Vladimir miss. The morning’s light breeze stiffened and began to start blowing harder as the sun climbed higher into the sky. Logan watched Drazhgrund his sweat was only a light sheen on his exposed skin where as Vladimir was sweating so heavily he dripped from his chin and hands. As the sun reached its zenith Logan began to see that Drazhgrund appears to be slowing down. Vladimir’s strikes are getting closer and closer. But each time the shimmering Rhun sword turned them, sometimes when Vladimir seemed within a hair of killing or crippling Drazhgrund. Each time Drazhgrund’s sword would aim its ringing cry of death at Vladimir. And each time it spoke, it struck. At first, only a shallow cut or two on Vladimir’s arm nothing really; scratches only on an Umgi Vladimir’s size. But then Logan realized Vladimir is leaving a trail of blood that grew thicker as the fight progressed.
For just a moment Logan took his eyes away from the combatants and looked around. The heat was becoming hotter his thirst unbearable, in part because the sun is beating down on the exposed stone surfaces of the courtyard and in part because of the packed bodies of the crowd watching the battle. The courtyard is packed. Umgi filled every nook and cranny of the flat, open space. Spectators covered the rooftops of every building. All porches and balconies are filled. Street peddlers sold Kvass, bread, pastries of all kind; none was here when the bailiff chained him to the post.
Logan’s attention is jerked away by a loud shout from the crowd. Drazhgrund had been tripped. He saw Drazhgrund falling, Vladimir struck quickly but Drazhgrund rolled into the Umgi that intentionally tripped him. The Umgi fell over Drazhgrund’s back, and Vladimir’s sword cut the Umgi nearly in half.
The crowd scattered, leaving Drazhgrund, Vladimir, and the corpse in the open space. The sun had moved from directly overhead. Clouds began rolling in from the Sea of Claws. They were thick and dark with bright edges and the sky is nearly covered. The wind picked up, causing everyone’s clothing flap. Logan caught the scent of rain on the wind.
Even the most fanatical in the crowd did not have the strength to cheer or scream insults any longer. They followed the fight as silently as the two combatants. Vladimir driving Drazhgrund before him, round, and round the courtyard, trying to exhaust him. Drazhgrund mercilessly inflicting a new wound on each pass metal links from Vladimir’s armor littered the courtyard. At last, they ended where they began, in front of Logan.
The Boyar judge, the bailiff, and the knight stood there. They had waited all day long, and now everyone hopes that the combat has finally reached its conclusion as the sun starts dipping below the horizon. Vladimir is a mass of blood. Logan looking at him could hardly believe he is still living. His clothing is soaked with gore that seeps from his rent armor with every beat of his heart. Everything is smeared with blood. When he pauses, pools of sticky red blood drip from nearly every surface.
The two had been fighting nearly all day long and Logan looks at Drazhgrund and sees that he appears exhausted. His surcoat has been sweat soaked and dried, then soaked again numerous times throughout the day. Dried salt glistens in the fading light. Every time Drazhgrund parries Vladimir’s strikes, his moves seem more slow. Vladimir and Drazhgrund circled each other, both looking almost to weary to attack. In the distance Logan hears a drumbeat or was it thunder and lightening heralding the approaching rain storm. A deep hush filled the square as Vladimir steps back; suddenly he gave a roar like an enraged bear and charges Drazhgrund much like he did at the start of the combat. Only this time when Drazhgrund stepped aside he did not block or parry Vladimir’s strike. Instead he struck the razor sharp edge cleanly severing both of Vladimir’s arms at the elbows and continued on links of chainmail clattering to the courtyard followed by his sword still being tightly clutched. The headless corpse momentarily continues its charge then collapses into a widening pool of blood. There is a sharp cry from the crowd as Vladimir’s severed head bounces across the paving stones to stop at the Judge’s feet. A shocked express on both the Boyar Mikari’s and Vladimir’s face can be plainly seen. Drazhgrund flicks his sword free of blood and sheaths his weapon. He reaches down and picks up the fallen sword, and held it by the pummel and the tip in his armored hands; his arms and shoulders flex and in one quick motion he snapped the dead champion’s sword and drops the two halves to the ground. The crowd is stunned no longer is anyone chanting for Vladimir.
“You could have slain him sooner,” Logan rasped, his throat is dry as he turned his head toward the sky to swallow some rain.
Drazhgrund walked over to the stone pillar reached down and picked up his keg and filled his tankard then drank deeply. “No, I could not, they” and he pointed toward the gate “had not yet arrived.”
A strong wind fills the sky above the courtyard with thick, ebony clouds; lightning flashes illuminates the growing darkness followed by deafening thunder. But it was not all thunder, it had a cadence and a drum beat as over one hundred heavily armored and armed Dawi marched through the gates into the courtyard. The knight turned to the Boyar Mikari Novosi and spoke, “You are under arrest for treason against the Prince of Erengrad and his ally, King Grindol Florinson of Kraka Draka.” The knight looked down at the head of Vladimir, “You will be in need of a champion yourself before this night is over.” Then he turned to the bailiff and ordered the chains removed from the kinsman of the King of Kraka Draka and placed upon the Boyar. Then it began to rain and the heavy down pour soon soaked the dry f.a.g.o.t.s ".
Note: To be continued.... Have a drink on by tab....
On a side note it seems that the censor does not like the old english term of f.a.g.o.t meaning a bundle of wood. It always amazes me how good old fashioned words are corrupted by todays society. I remember when it was all right to B.u.m. a f.a.g.o.t meaning to bum or beg a cigerate.... Anyway please do not take offense to the proper meaning of the words I have used and not the PC words of todays society.
Edited by Skull Krusher, 16 February 2014 - 03:30 AM.