Thursday, 2 February 2017

The follow thru of creation (prologue)

'How much longer do we have to wait, we must be done by now?' moaned Vlad  rubbing his hands together in a vain attempt to bring some life into his frozen fingers. 'It is our duty to wait brother, may i remind you a man of the glorious nation of Tradjev must always be watchful as our enemies are many and our numbers are small' replied Rolph, standing smartly to attention despite the bitter cold. 'We all know the words Rolph' Vlad retorted with a slight sneer,'The proud nation of Tradjev will stand against its enemies as a rock stands before the tide, The great empire of Tradjev will be a light in the darkness that can never be extinguished, The glory of Tradjev is plain and its pride must be evident in the hearts of all its peoples' as he recited the mottos of the royal house he gestured dramatically and put on the deep officious voice of his old Tutor. 'do not mock the greatness of our nation brother' said Rolph testily,' It is our protection against the barbarians and ungodly devils that live outside its borders'. 'yes and  all the peasants are fat the king shits gold Rolph'. Rolph dropped his spear and spun towards his brother in arms before Vlad could react, He grabbed him by scruff of his chain mail hood and pushed him back against the rock behind him 'Do not mock the King brother, you owe him your debt of service and have pledged your life to his, you mock your country and its people and your treason will land you in irons'. Vlad knocked his hand away and wriggled sideways to put space between them. He fixed Rolph with a glare 'Pledged  my life to his, you mean i was born within the borders which apparently is the same thing, i remind you we did not choose this life 'it is our duty to give our lives to further the glory of Tradjev', whos rule is that because i assure you ITS NOT MINE!'. He all but spat the final words into Rolphs face. 'HEY WHATS ALL THE NOISE DOWN THERE? STAND TO ATTENTION SOLDERS OR DO I HAVE TO SEPARATE YOU AS IF YOU WERE CHILDREN?'. At the sound of the Master at arms voice both soldiers stood to attention, 'Shit' whispered Vlad as he hurriedly stooped to grab his spear shaft before the man could see him. Both battle brothers stared straight ahead but they heard the unmistakable sound of their commanders boots in the snow marching double quick time towards them. He was a large grey haired man, broad and grim. He fixed both solders with his cold gaze. 'I have a standing circle to guard and guard it i shall, you two will not cause me to deviate from these orders. Do you think the rest of the men are not tired?, or cold?, or hungry?.....WELL?!'. Rolpf and Vlad answered automatically in perfect unison 'IT IS AS YOU SAY OUR MASTER'. 'YOU WILL STAND, YOU WILL WATCH AND YOU WILL BE SILENT DO YOU HEAR ME?' shouted the master at arms. 'IT WILL BE AS YOU WISH MASTER' replied the brothers together. The commander spun on his heals placed his hands behind his back and trudged off smartly.
They stood, grim faced as the first  snows of winter fell lightly around them. 'I cant feel my feet' ventured Vlad finally. 'Shush, you will get us in trouble again', said Rolph. 'Hope the rocks are still there' Joked Vlad quietly. Rolph smiled despite himself. 'It would help if we knew what we are guarding these blasted rocks from' continued Vlad. 'These are not blasted rocks' whispered Rolph 'you know the stories'. 'Ah yes i almost forgot' replied Vlad his voice thick with sarcasm. ' when the gods farted out this sorry excuse for a world some of the follow through landed here'. 'DONT YOU' Ralph began to shout but caught himself before he attracted attention further down the line. 'Dont you dare', he continued, 'you know that the latent power of creation collects at the stone circles, for them to fall into evil hands could mean the end of life itself'. 'Pah, and i suppose Orcs and Ogres are real and the dead walk too, you have to stop listening and start thinking'. The dead do walk' Said Rolph in a hushed voice. 'When the mists fall and the chill comes the dead will rise and death will walk'. 'Oh save me the folk tales Brother' spat Vlad 'the dead are dead. We have fought many battles and killed many enemies and each time they stay dead. You put a spear in a mans guts he stops fighting.' 'My father swears he saw the dead rise' continued Rolph, paying no attention to his brother in arms. 'Years ago, he was on duty on the southern border. One dark night he swears they were called to scout ahead of the line. He was with two others. As they traveled they noticed the mist rise. It was very cold that night but the mist was colder. It was like it froze them to the spot. And the smell, he said it was the smell that got to him, the stench of death. It washed over them like a wave, He could smell that smell until the day he died, he said once you smelled it you would never get it out of your nose. Then they saw them in the distance, rank upon rank, line upon line of solders marching. They stepped together in perfect order as if guided by another, And the mist, it billowed around them, hugging them. He said it seemed to shimmer, almost as if alive. They should have got back to the rest of the force to warn them but they were so scared they could not move and the mist seemed to almost hold them there. When they finally got back to the camp they were too late. All he saw was bodies. Piles and piles of dead bodies....' Rolphs voice trailed off. 'I mean no disrespect brother' Said Vlad breaking the disquiet, 'but your father was a mad ma..' he never finished his sentence as Rolph spun towards him, his fist connected with his jaw. Vlad fell back against the rock. 'WHATS GOING ON DOWN THERE' came the shout, Again Rolph could hear the familiar crunch of the commanders boots on the snow but he struggled to make out his figure through the mist. And the smell, like dirt and rotten flesh suddenly washed over him. The commanders foot steps stopped. 'TO ARMS, TO ARMS, FORM UP!' he heard through the drawing of swords and blowing of horns. He looked down at Vlad who seemed to be pressed back to the rock, he was pointing into the distance, a look of terror frozen on his face. Slowly, Rolph turned......

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