Wednesday, November 09, 2011

NaNo WriMo Day 9: Back to Castle Black

Chapter 9: Back to Castle Black

Gurley was surprised when Jacco cut his restraints.  He would have stood if his legs would cooperate, but pain still burned deep within his crippled leg which was now probably broken.  Yet, the feeling of a miniscule freedom of movement washed over him like the cool water of a mountain spring.  His momentary rejuvenation was interrupted by the sudden cracking sound of Jacco’s whip.  In the broken silence, a  stinging sensation across Gurley’s back.

“Get tup.” Jacco’s splintered speech rubbed Gurley’s anger.

“My leg.” Gurley tried not to plead.  “My leg you slant-eyed fucker.”

“You midlanders, always wit ta curses.”  Jacco strutted around Gurley as if he was a prized pig, prodding and examining him.  The look on Jacco’s face seemed to confirm Gurley’s complaint.  The word midlander stuck in Gurley’s mind.  He was tempted to reveal the fact that he was not from the midlands, or the east, or anywhere Jacco would know of, but the moment passed while Gurley reflected on the naivety of Jacco.  Why or how Orten withstood such stupidity was beyond Gurley.

“Tis is tow tis gonna work.”  Jacco went on to explain how Gurley was to act the part of a runaway slave that Jacco had been sent to retrieve.  As those within Castle Black probably did not know of Orten and the boys departure nothing would seem suspicious.  After all, Jacco had made a habit of coming and going unseen from the castle for years.  It would not be the first slave he had returned with.  Maybe the first male slave, but that was not of concern at the moment.  What worried Gurley was why Jacco wished to return to the castle.  Worse, why did he need him when he did return.


Enlil did not know quite what was transpiring.  The days and nights had spiraled about him in a patchwork of flashing colors and a web blurred talk.  He could sense things taking place but his mind lacked control of his physical self.  It was not long before he felt his mental state slipping into the void as well.

So when he opened his eyes and felt the cool roughness of wet beach sand clinging to his cheeks he did not question it.  He felt his fingers first, then his toes.  The directness of the midday sun forced him to squint.  The beach stretched about him in all directions.  He could tell immediately that he was a good distance from the camp as the cliff which Castle Black sat upon loomed over him like an angry god looking upon a damned sinner.  The sheer cliff face that had so tormented him stood clean of it’s normal ropes and pulleys.  He took mental victory of this fact.

However, when an itch came across his nose he realized he couldn’t raise his hand.  Terror struck him as he realized he had been buried up to his neck in the beach sand.  The tide was out, but Enlil knew that was the point. A slow and painful death at the hands of tide awaited him.  Enlil broke into a furious struggle which turned on him as he became further entrenched in the sucking mud.

A cacophony of metal and men brought his attention upwards.  He knew these sounds well from his many days as a soldier.  A siege had set upon the castle above him.  Ladders and orderly lines of men poured over the castle walls.  A crumbled tower could be seen collapsing in on itself.  

What Enlil saw next stunned him.  Thunder slammed through the area as bolts of lightning streaked into the castle.  Generous plumes and wisps of smoke rose from the inner walls, a new one appearing with every bolt.  The Thunderer.  Stories and children’s tales ran through his mind.  Years of service, dozens of bloody battles, and his time at the Academia.  Nothing compared to seeing the truth.  Had these great powers been kept secret from the nation of Alb?  What else had this midlands King held from the eastlanders?

Time passed slowly as a she-crab skittered across the sand before being consumed by the hungry waves.  Enlil had given up following the battle above as the sounds of men dieing trailed off and the sky grew silent.  Enlil surmised that the castle was taken.  Not even the finest cavalry in the land would have survived the force the Thunderer rained from the heavens.

The longer Enlil watched, the slower the waves seemed to encroach.  Death sat an eternity away choosing to punish him slowly.  Enlil slowed his breathing after realizing the harder he breathed the more the sand pinched.  Hope was fading, but his instincts failed to allow his body to quit.  

Enlil was on the verge of fading when the shadowy figures appeared at the range of his blurry vision.  It had seemed hours had passed since the crab, but the distance of the waves told him it had not been long.  

“Dig him up.”  The smooth voice cut through Enlil’s labored breathing.  It wasn’t long before Enlil could feel his body being escorted across the beach.  Wet sand faded into dry sand.  The late afternoon sun became hidden beneath a tent’s roof.  Slight comfort was found as he was propped into a padded chair, yet his vision had not fully returned.

“First the Fravashi and now that bastard Orten.”  Enlil could just make out the one speaking.  Golden brown hair stuck at ear level in knots of sweat.  “We have much more to discuss than I had thought Captain.  Our little ruse here seems to have escaped your minuscule understanding.  Years of planning wasted.”  The man paused.  “Do you know who I am?”  Another pause.  “What I am?”

“The Thunderer” It came out more of a question than an answer.

“Yes, Thunderer.  This is what you eastlanders call me in your stories. Stories no doubt until today you knew as nothing but fiction.  A man who calls upon the power of the gods to strike furious destruction from the heavens.”  The words flowed into Enlil.  “I am no story Captain.  I am the justice of the gods manifested in man.”

“My scouts saw no one leave the castle and only saw two men enter.  From the accounts of your paid man and smith, and those paltry fellows back in town who likened you more to a fart in the wind than a feathered Captain of the winded ranks, no one has left Castle Black in years.”  The Thunderer continued.  “I find it hard to believe a man as fat as Orten Fareen escaped unnoticed.”

“Not all is lost.  We have taken captives, two of interest above the others.  One of those being his brother.  When we have the garrison placed in the castle proper, you and I will be having a very long talk about things.  I suggest if you wish a better fate than the rest of your nation you start remembering some things.”

Word count: 8848

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