Friday, January 10, 2014

Bitter Morning

Vorthrid cursed Ajjmae and his ill-fated schemes for the hundredth time since waking-up in a scorched field to the ungentle wailing of a Black Smoke alarm. He hadn't known what it was at first. He supposed it was just some random siren. Then the Wall Guard disabused him of that notion. They lost two of their patrol to the Black Smoke on their way to the North East Guard House. The stuff oozed and bubbled up out of the muck and mud as they crossed through what used to be a garden of some sort. No one had noticed the tiny first wisps, not until after the flame-thrower team finished burning the Red Weeds down to the ground. Then they noticed. There was too much smoke. They ran. Vorthrid stumbled on a root. One of the Wall Guard grabbed him. Prevented him from falling. Shoved him forward. He glanced back. Saw the Black Smoke billow up like a geyser to take his benefactor. The screams ended, eventually.

Technicians in wet-suits sprayed them all down with hoses as they entered the Guard House. A large man in rubberized armor shouted at them. He didn't understand all the words, but Vorthrid recognized a sergeant when he saw one. A quick, no-nonsense pantomime made it clear that they wanted him to strip off his own armor. So he did. Quickly and efficiently. The technicians hosed them all down again. The water was bitter cold. Some cadaverous old man in a long white smock inspected them one after the other, leaving Vorthrid to the last.

His inspection was as abrupt as it was thorough. Very military. Someone handed him a coarse home-spun tunic. If felt like a potato sack. The Sergeant pointed. He moved. They fell into step almost immediately. Vorthrid wasn't sure where they were taking him. But it wasn't as though he had too many other options. Here he was in this gods forsaken place. Cold, hungry and alone. Still slightly wet and marching off to whatever came next. Things would have been different, very different indeed, if they had not gone along with Ajjmae and poisoned all their sergeants.




Vorthrid entered Wermspittle in Bujilli: Episode 48. He is one of the low-caste soldiers who went along with Ajjmae's rebellion against their assigned leader Niobe, much to his regret.

There's no going back for Vorthrid, or any of the rest of his former unit. The Masters of Aman Utal do not forgive. Especially not failed attempts at mutiny.

Perhaps he can make a new life for himself in this place, after all, how bad can it be in Wermspittle?



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