Monday, September 12, 2011

Hangman's Blues

Tulo watched as the crows picked at the man's eyes and face. One of fifteen men hanging from the tree, most of them had hair and beards of the scavengers, feasting away and croaking at each other. The battle to take these men had been over in a quarter of an hour, Tulo had to send four of his men to chase down 2 of the marauders who had ran. Hired about halfway through the summer, The Brave Companions patrolled a stretch of road, trying to keep travelers safe from the brigands that seemed to be coming out of the woodwork. Tulo eyes drifted from the tree to the grey, overcast sky above, threatening more rain later on in the day.

He heard the clump of hooves from behind him, and turned to watch Belkarall, his dwarven second-in-command, leading both his horse, and the dwarf's pony, to him. Belkarall had started adventuring about six years ago, when Tulo was forming the mercenary group. The quiet dwarf had been an ironsmith by trade, but business was poor and he'd heard many a bard's tale about the riches to be found in adventuring. Over the last half dozen years, Belkarall proved to be a good fighter, and able right hand man.

"Greon, Samson and Grace are headed back to that druid's home we passed two days ago, to round up some supplies," the dwarf said as he handed Tulo's horse's reins over to him.

The man nodded, weariness etched on his face. He knew all too well what the word "supplies" meant; food, water and most importantly, rope. "It's going to be a bloody fall and winter, methinks," Tulo muttered to Belkarall.

The dwarf nodded, and spat. "The merchants are paying us good money. Hopefully it'll be more the worse the weather gets. More highwaymen, more raiders, more money. And the fightin' can help keep us warm."

Tulo looked at his friend, then back at the bodies hanging like ripe fruit from the leafless tree. "But will we have enough trees for the hanging?"

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