[m] i know that everything we did will come around

i take the thought of you and burn it to the ground

POSTED: Sun Sep 15, 2019 8:47 pm

WARNING: This thread contains material exceeding the general board rating of PG-13. It may contain very strong language, drug usage, graphic violence, or graphic sexual content. Reader discretion is advised.

There were times when he could forget.

The dull slicing sound of metal against the whetstone was droning, a repetitive modulation that lulled him to a stupor. In the reflection of dull gray surface he could see himself, his rugged face, his lifeless eyes. But if he turned the axe just right, sometimes he could see more.

He could see a man unbound by chains, one that could travel and roam and as freely as he wanted.

But when he tilted the weapon again, angling it just so, the fleeting image was gone. Again there was a man weathered by combat, by a dismal regularity. Around him swirled idle conversations, unimportant and pining for substance; yet no one had anything substantive to say. Even still they spoke, longing for some semblance of social interaction. At any moment any one of them would be called away for their next task, and it was unknown if they would return again whole as they were now.

Or if they would return at all.

None of them were really living, he thought, just as he had a thousand times over. But it was all they knew.

The axe continued to glide across the whetstone and sharpened handsomely. The dried blood of some poor, unfortunate soul that crossed his master came off with the blunted metal.

...

"Alright, Amon. Let's go."

Before him stood an aging Luperci, graying and hunched over, but there was a certain keenness in his eyes. His armed crossed over his thin chest and he beckoned forth his gladiator with a bony finger.

Amon stood, easily dwarfing the tiny merchant, and gave him a small nod. He had accompanied the man countless times before, so much so that the slave drivers of Rabenuhr knew immediately who to send for when he arrived to the camp. The older man was almost fond of him, treating him with what Amon could only akin to kindness when they traveled to trade his wares.

And so they went.

He did not ask questions; such was not a part of his task. The destination was never important to Amon, only that his master made it there and back safely. And if he didn't, there would be a hefty price to pay.

They traveled for days, with the silent gladiator never speaking a word and the merchant giving him instruction when needed. This job was no different than the last, and Amon imagined their routine would never deviate. His master dabbled in all sorts of various wares, but he specialized in a questionable substance; small green herbs that would render the recipient sluggish and giddy, stranded in a pleasurable high. The merchant once toyed with the idea of letting Amon inhale the alluring smoke, but the slave refused, fearing it would jeopardize his mission. His apprehension didn't stop the older man from using a bit of his stores himself, though.

Many of his customers were from a city in the east. They found them in the outskirts of the concrete jungle or lingering with their bitter drinks in bars; many of them seemed like regular, harmless people, resulting in Amon's services being unnecessary. Only on a choice few occasions did he have to raise his axe.

...

A few weeks prior his master had ordered him to cut off the tail of a girl that tried to steal from them. It was a circumstance that should have been comfortable for Amon, something he shouldn't have questioned or hesitated to do — and yet he felt guilt clouding his judgement, his sense of duty.

She had tried to loot the herbs off of them, there was no denying that. But when they captured her and interrogated her over the fact, she sobbed and sputtered out how she was just going to resell them, for she was in dire straits and completely at nature's mercy; she couldn't hunt from how malnourished and skeletal she had become; selling the hemp was the only reasonable conclusion her compromised mind had come to.

The merchant would hear none of her crying and instead suggested that they take something from her and teach her a lesson. But something in the woman's sad, scared brown eyes gave Amon pause.

He could almost see himself in her, how broken and ravaged she was. All she wanted was to escape.

But in the end he had to follow orders. It was what he was bred to do.

New Caledonia
High Lady of Dawn
User avatar
veldt
'Souls Soldier of Love Luperci Diplomat III, Magister II, Stylist I
• moonwraith •
twilight princess

POSTED: Fri Jan 24, 2020 12:59 am

[+1492]

"I'm not sure you really understand how this kind of thing works," the old merchant said, cloudy eyes narrowing at his potential buyer — or, who was previously his potential buyer. "Payment is up front. I don't take anyone's word, or else I'd be out of business."

Behind him, Amon watched carefully, burly arms crossed over his chest as the stranger frowned deeply at the pair. He had a silver tongue and quite a way with words, roping the seller in with his flowery rhetoric; but unfortunately, mere words could not loose his hand from his product. He had made that sort of mistake before, long ago when he was still a youth; age had hardened him. Very rarely did he stray from his set prices.

The third luperci pinched at his bridge, shaking his head indignantly. "I told you, I have payment," he relented. "Just not right now. It's in the city, I can return with it in the next few days or so — "

"That won't be necessary," the merchant assured him flatly, holding up a hand to stop the young man. "We won't be here in the next few days. I've more reliable business up north to attend to, so if you don't have the pelts here, then..." He chuckled, shrugging indifferently. "I'm not interested."

He seethed, taking in a sharp breath as he was about to let the old man have it; but Amon's tree trunk of a leg stepped between them, separating the now potential problem from his owner. The coyote man's ears folded against his head as his fur bristled and stood on end.

"He isn't interested," the slave reiterated with much less tact, with much more authority. The black raven brand on his chest was eye-level with the other man, taunting and mysterious all the same — and the stranger sighed heavily, irritably, before sharply turning on his heel, stalking off. He muttered under his breath indistinguishably, not that it mattered, anyway.

The merchant tsked, shaking his head. "Ah, well. Could've used a couple of fox pelts, but... eh, I don't know. I didn't have the best feeling from that guy. I mean, as far as I know, he might not even have any fucking pelts, that's the impression I got — Know what I mean?"

Cataract-laced irises sought rusty orange ones, and the gladiator grunted in response. "Yes." It was flat, robotic. An expected answer.

His owner exhaled loudly again, looking back to his cart loaded with goods, mounted to his well-kept brown stallion. "Well, is what it is. It's getting to be dark, so I suppose you can't set up camp around here somewhere..." The horse nickered quietly, shuddering the cart laden with herbs as he shifted.

Amon nodded rigidly, setting aside his axe as he began preparations for the fire, and before too long, the sun dipped beyond the horizon as master and slave shared a quiet, if not strangely comfortable meal together.

...

He expected the night to pass by uneventfully. But as hushed whispers floated around him hurriedly, frantically, he was roused awake.

Their fire had long since fizzled out, leaving on wisps of smoke in its wake. Nearby, the merchant slept soundlessly, curled in on himself. The equine and their valuable cart was still behind him, just as he had left it.

But the feathered stallion was audibly nervous now, snorting and toeing at the dirt incessantly.

The giant rubbed the sleep from his eyes, lurching forward as he tried to look around, reassuring himself that there was nothing; just the wind, maybe. A wild animal, perhaps.

But when he saw the shadowy face of the coyote, surrounded by others that favored him, Amon felt adrenaline surge through his veins.

"God fucking — now, go now!" the man screeched, smacking his cohorts on the arms, spurring them into action. Moonlight, faint though it was, glinted off of their knives as they approached, and Amon growled loudly as he hopped to his feet, grabbing hold of his battle axe as he assessed these soon-to-be-thieves.

Unless he had any say in the matter, that was.

His buyer jolted at the commotion, mumbling lowly as he tried to shake the sleep from his old bones. "What the — Amon, what the fuck is this?" he shouted.

Even with the four of them cautiously inching forward, poking the air with their pitiful daggers, Amon easily outsized all of them. He swung the axe in front of him, reminding them exactly what they were up against; all of them shuddered back, threatening to lose their resolve, but the same stupid coyote boy barked from behind his entourage.

"Just fucking stab him!" he shrieked. And that was when his attention shifted to the old man, keen yellow eyes zeroing in on the defenseless target. Easy prey. "You."

Instinct took over immediately, and the gladiator jerked toward the merchant, wielding the axe to ward off the boy, but he was intercepted; gripped by some newfound, foolish courage, the other coyotes jumped him, all swinging their little blades aimlessly to inflict damage, futile though it was. Amon roared as he careened his weapon into the closest body — a girl, judging by the scream she loosed as soon as the sharp edge bludgeoned into her stomach. But the pinpricks from their knives broke skin, sinking into his dark fur, staining it with thick blood as he swept the axe again and again relentlessly.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw flashes of color, blurs of movement; the merchant was fighting tooth and claw against a brandished blade, but his brittle bones were no match to steel. It was not long before the lanky toothpick of a luperci overpowered him, and Amon threw off another assailant just as he saw the final blow.

Time seemed to stand still for just a moment, just for one long, eternal moment; his mouth fell ajar as he witnessed helplessly the knife plunging into the side of his neck, sending a sputtering of red onto his attacker. The merchant couldn't scream. It was all croaking, wet and gurgling, and the elderly trader grasped uselessly at the air as if it could somehow pull him out.

Those gray, cloudy eyes drifted over to Amon, pleading and vindictive and let down, before they rolled into the back of his head.

A strange feeling gripped the slave after that; he could not quite see straight, nor remember what happened next. Duty demanded he avenge his fallen master; an innate sense of vengeance called for him to keep fighting, if not only to save his own life. In another life, the merchant could have been his friend; in this one, he was the closest thing Amon ever had to one.

And now he lay in a motionless heap of flesh and carnage, gone just like the ones that had crossed them before.

Amon could not let his story end in such a way.

More screaming and viscous blood and pain followed; his sight was blurry, he was seeing red. The horse was neighing and spooked, trying to fight off the ring leader that sought to ride him away with the herbs and goods. Another body fell at his side, felled with the axe, rendered as useless and lifeless as the merchant.

A blow at his side was deep, staggering; he cried out, swatting away the owner of the blade, struggling to raise the axe far over his head. The knife clung to his flesh, twisted deep into the muscle, and it seared with a force unprecedented. He could feel the blood pouring from it, falling in fat droplets in the dirt, staining the earth.

He swung again and again, using the last of his strength. They lay in a haphazard pile around him, drowning in their own fluids, calling out for a leader that had long since left them. The horse and cart were gone, and the coyote with the sickly gold eyes with them — his friends were abandoned to the wayside, left to wrestle with their own fates.

Amon personally made sure each and every one of them was soundly and unequivocally dead before he could finally stop, finally catch his breath and rip the blade from his side. He panted, more crimson dripping from his teeth as the wound blossomed in a terrible display of meat and blood.

He was alone, now. Only corpses around him. He dropped the axe, then dropped to his knees, chest heaving as he gawked at the merchant. His master. His friend.

And then the man of Rabenuhr slumped to the ground, falling amongst the ranks of the deceased.

A communion of the dead, he thought strangely.

Only his body still shuddered with signs of life, scant and fleeting though they were, as he unwillingly fell into darkness again.

New Caledonia
High Lady of Dawn
User avatar
veldt
'Souls Soldier of Love Luperci Diplomat III, Magister II, Stylist I
• moonwraith •
twilight princess

Canon