We are now at chapter 3. I hope it doesn’t get too confusing but here you’ll see a new character as the PoV but don’t worry, Rakkel will be back before you know it! For now get to know Brandon!
This story is written with only adults in mind. While not all chapters will contain content that is not suitable for children I strongly advise to be careful when reading this. This should go without saying but any and all writings on this blog are under copyright by law and belong to only to me. No one has any permission to copy or distribute the text on this belong without my sole permission. You do however have my permission to reblog this if you want. All characters in this story are fictional and do not portray anyone. The table of contents will be listed before each post in case you want to go back to a previous chapter. The end of the chapter will be updated with a link to the next chapter when it is posted
“Brandon, wake up!” Richard yelled at him. He still did not move. He was fast asleep with some wench, from one of the local inns no less. “Damn you Brandon. Wake up you fool!” This time he kicked him hard in the ribs.
“Curse you for a fool you idiot!” Brandon yelled at him as he bolted up.
“Is something wrong my sweet stable boy?” The wench still lay there as though it were time to break their fast.
“Go to sleep or leave, this is none of your business.” Brandon looked around for his clothes and quickly got dressed. Some lord or knight wanting a horse most like. Curse them all for fools. “Now tell me Richard. What is it you had to wake me up for in the middle of the night?”
“Ser James is taking a sortie out to teach the local farmers to pay their taxes.” Richard turned around and started to head towards the ladder. “And if I were you, I wouldn’t let him catch you with a wench again.”
Brandon quickly followed Richard down the ladder to ready the horses. It was Ser James along with Merim, Kasis, and Argun. They quickly readied the horses when Brandon went to go climb back up the ladder to lie back down to try and get some more sleep before the night was up.
“I would think twice before I climbed that ladder boy.” Ser James said before he even started. “I see you two readied two horses short.”
“But I only see four of you. Whoever they are can ready their own damn horses. I need sleep.” Brandon started to climb the ladder.
“Perhaps if you weren’t up half the night with that damn wench, you’d have your sleep. You should tell the next one you bring in not to make enough noise to wake the castle. Besides, the horses are for you and Richard. So yes, you can ready your own damn horses.” Ser James mounted his horse and his three men followed after. They were out of the stables before Brandon and Richard got to the saddles for their horses.
“A sortie my bloody ass, Richard.” Brandon whispered. “What kind of sortie does he mean to go on by dragging us along with him? I should have never followed you here. All this place has been for me is hell.”
“If you didn’t get caught in bed with the blacksmiths daughter, you wouldn’t be in this hell as you call it in the first place. Besides, no one is stopping you from leaving” Richard said as he heaved the saddle upon his horse.
“How was I supposed to know the bloody bastard would be in there before daybreak?” He had his horse ready and mounted and waited for Richard to do the same.
“If I hadn’t shown up right then, he would have likely gutted you with that spike in his hand. I’m sure that was his intention. You just be happy he believed me when I told him you were with me and knew no better. Besides, how many boys out there at the age of fifteen go whoring around anyhow?” They began to walk their horses outside.
“That was three years past. What I choose to do is none of your business. Like I’ve said before, you let me do what I do, I let you do what you do, and no one will get hurt. And I stay because it’s as honest a living as I can find at the moment. Better than living on the streets at least.”
“Hurry your bloody asses up or I’ll skin your hides raw.” Ser James had a small group of two hundred men standing outside waiting.
And I’m to slave away for every bloody one of them. Burn them all. All I want is to be back in my bed and get some sleep. As soon as Brandon and Richard reached Ser James, they began to move out. They made their way past the castle gate and into the city. Quator was quite a large port city that lay south. Because of their location, it was easy for them to trade goods with other places.
Once they were through the city and outside of its walls, there were another three thousand men waiting. After they arrived to the campsite Brandon and Richard took the horses to the stables.
“I told you this was no sortie.” Brandon said to Richard.
“How was I supposed to know? You know he doesn’t tell me exactly what he means to do all the time.” Richard and Brandon finished up taking the saddles off the horses.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m going to find a place to rest. Wake me when they are ready to move,” said Brandon.
“Just don’t plan on resting too long. They are already taking down the tents. I’m going to find out exactly what they plan to do. At least some of the men here are men that I know.” Richard ran off towards one of the fires with a group of men around it laughing.
Might be I have about two hours yet to sleep. Let’s hope longer. Brandon was searching for a place to rest and noticed that most of the men around the camp were breaking their fast and decided against it. It will be hell to pay if I don’t get something to eat now, he thought as he started walking towards one of the fires that they were cooking something.
“Here comes Brandon the Dick!” said one of the men as he approached.
“And you best remember that too, Surdius” responded Brandon. “Now give me a bowl with something to eat. I don’t care what so long as it’s not horse shit.”
“If you weren’t such a dick to everyone, perhaps you would be worthy of a bowl of something besides horse shit,” said Surdius. The other men laughed.
“If I weren’t such a dick to everyone, perhaps I wouldn’t be so well liked either.” Brandon grabbed the bowl the cook handed to him and sat down to start eating.
“Aye, I give you that one. I don’t see how Ser James ever puts up with you. If I were him I would have skinned you by now. I think it’s past time you show him your skill with the sword. I tell you, you’ll have no problem becoming one of us. You fit in quite well. I’m sure you’re tired of being his stable boy and besides, at least with us you wouldn’t get in trouble for having a wench in your bed from time to time.” Surdius roared out in laughter along with the men and slapped a hand on Brandon’s shoulder.
Surdius was one of the first men that Brandon met when he first started working at the stables for Ser James. He quickly grew to liking his attitude and taught him the sword in private. Ser James never found out and they made sure that he would not know. Due to the circumstances, Ser James wasn’t completely trusting of Brandon. Surdius always brought a sword for Brandon so he could never practice alone, only when Surdius was around.
“The damn fool only threatens. He hasn’t done anything yet. I hear we are out on a sortie to teach the farmer’s how to pay taxes. Since when does it take this many men to teach them?” Brandon asked Surdius.
“That is part of it Brandon. He means to send three hundred out to collect the taxes and the rest of us are to ride on to Ruhano. It is believed that Merim has more men waiting for us there. I’m not sure what it is they plan, but I’ve heard talk about going to Hatesia and something about the princess there.” Surdius got up and started putting out the fire. “It looks like you best be on your way to ready your horses. It seems we may be moving out soon. Two bloody hours before the sun is up. I love my job Brandon. What say you?”
“Oh I bloody well love it alright. Just as much as I love to saddle horses for Ser James and have Richard kick me in the ribs every time Ser James wants his horse readied in the middle of the night.” Brandon quickly cleaned up the rest of the food in his bowl and ran off to the stables to ready the horses.
Richard was already tending to the horses when Brandon showed up. “I found out that we won’t be going on a sortie today.”
“I know I know. I talked to some men that I know. I couldn’t sleep once I found out there was food to be eaten. I found Surdius with some of his men and they told me all about it. What do you think they plan to do in Hatesia?” Brandon readied Ser James horse first, if he seen Brandon’s horse saddled and his unattended to, it would be hell to pay.
“I have not a clue. Best we keep quite before someone sneaks up on us though. Don’t want to be getting in any trouble before we set off.” Richard gave Brandon a stern look then continued at his work.
After the horses were ready, Ser James and the other three men were seen approaching. “At least we didn’t need to wait for our horses to be readied,” he said as they were close enough. “Don’t just stand there and look stupid. Mount up and let us be on our way. We’ll be riding in the front. No need to keep them waiting. I mean to be in Ruhano swiftly.”
As they rode through the camp, most of the men had already doused all the fires and packed away their tents. They were either mounting their horses or getting them ready. Brandon seen that Surdius and his men were already packed and mounted and quickly fell in behind them. This gave Brandon a good feeling to know he would have someone he knew to keep him company close by. It was a ten day ride to Ruhano and wasn’t about to let it be a boring ride.
By the time the sun was up the city was already off in the distance. Every man had a mount and Ser James said there was no reason to waste time by keeping the horses at a walk. They could replace any horse that was not able to continue when they arrived in Ruhano.
By the talk of it, Merim, or Ser Merim, which hardly anyone had the courtesy to name him so, had another eight thousand men waiting for him. Although, there were only two thousand mounted so after they arrived at Ruhano, it would be a slower journey to Hatesia.
Merim happened to attain his knighthood by accident, so many say. It seemed only his men and other knights acknowledge him as a knight. He was to stop an invasion and couldn’t read the map right and ended up accidentally finding his enemy in the wrong place and slew him there. Brandon often treated him as another soldier that he did not care for, which often put Ser James in a foul mood towards him.
Midday seemed to take a while to get there and when it did, they ate salted meat and stale bread in their saddles. This was going to be a long trip, but Brandon was used to riding horses. Ser James would take him out when they went hunting and sometimes let him shoot the bow. Although he wasn’t as good with the bow as he was with the sword, he had at least killed something with the bow, even if it had been only a few rabbits.
His attitude often times got him into trouble. Sometimes Richard would try to get Brandon to change the way he was, but no matter how often he tried, nothing ever seemed to change. Richard seemed like the better one, always doing what he’s told without question and never talking back to his master, but no matter which way you look at it, Brandon always came out with more friends.
“How old are you now boy?” Merim asked him as they were riding through the countryside.
“It is no more your business of my age than how many whores you slept with in my town,” Brandon spat on the ground towards Merim.
Merim ignored the insult and continued on. “Five and one half feet tall and by the looks of your face, I’d say you have at least seventeen or eighteen years on you. Why do you still page and haven’t taken the sword yet?”
“Perhaps I love my job. Besides, I’m not a page, more like a slave. What is it you care about me being a swordsman anyhow?” Wish he’d just leave me be, Brandon thought as they rode on.
“It’s just a question. Ser James already has Richard as a squire. No need for two. And besides, you’re too old to be a ‘slave’ as you call it anymore. These are bad times and we need more men. Always better to have one more on your side. If you left Ser James of his services and joined mine, I could teach you how to use a sword and pay you better besides. What say you boy?” Merim looked over at him and waited for an answer.
Brandon thought for a while before he said anything. “I’m not to be bought, traded, or sold like I’m some slave. I came to this job freely and I’m free to choose my own path. You best be off with these offers and your questions before I tell Ser James your trying to buy off his men. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled with that. And as for the offer, how about you pay me for some shit for that’s all you’ll get from me. They don’t call me Brandon the Dick for nothing and you best remember that.” When he was done he laughed at the sneer on Merim’s face.
“If that’s how you want it, then so be it. Now that I think about it, I don’t think I’d want a dick in my army anyhow.” Merim rode off before Brandon could say another word.
A few days passed since Merim had last spoken to Brandon and seemed to even do his best to avoid him. When they made camp and before they left, Brandon would often find Surdius and spend his time with him and his men. The more he was around them the more he wanted to leave Ser James and join Surdius and his men as a swordsman and ride alongside them.
On the fifth night from Quator, Brandon was fast asleep in his tent. Someone screamed and it woke him up. A few seconds later he heard someone enter his tent. “Who goes there? Richard, is that you?” Brandon asked as he looked around.
It was too dark to see anything so Brandon wasn’t sure who it was. He felt around for the lantern and seen two red eyes glowing in the darkness. It wasn’t someone in the tent, it was something. He found the lantern and quickly lit it to find a wolf staring at him. At least it looked somewhat like a wolf.
It was at least twice the size of a wolf and had fur that was black as night. Before he had any words out of his mouth, the giant wolf had jumped on him and pinned him down. Bloody thing thinks it’s going to kill me, Brandon thought as he tried to get it off him. The wolf was too heavy for him to move it and growled at him when he grabbed its legs. As the wolf began to go towards his throat, Brandon tried to twist his body and move his head and neck far enough so the wolf couldn’t do any harm. It hadn’t worked quite as well as he had wished, but before the wolf was able to sink his teeth into his flesh, the wolf suddenly dropped dead on top of him.
He looked up and seen Surdius standing at his feet with a bloody sword in his hands. There was too much blood on it from just this one wolf. With one look at Surdius, Brandon knew that they were being attacked by these giant wolves and it’d be better for him to be dressed and on his feet than in his bed.
“What was that thing?” Brandon asked as he started getting dressed.
“People are calling them beasts from the depths of hell come to kill us all. I just think they are beasts.” Surdius glanced over his shoulder to see if Brandon was almost ready to help kill them while standing guard at the door of the tent to make sure no more tried to come in to finish off what the first one failed at doing.
Brandon had finished getting dressed and had a sword in hand. “Then beasts they are. Let’s get rid of them before they do the same to us.”
Upon exiting the tent there were three beasts headed straight towards them. Surdius waited until the first beast was jumping towards him then quickly moved to the side and brought his sword down hard and fast. When the beast hit the ground its head rolled away. Brandon noticed that the eyes were still glowing and did not have a good feeling about that.
Not too far away Brandon heard a man screaming. He looked towards the noise and seen a beast standing in front of the man growling and snarling. The beast had a sword in its side but still attacked as though it was not injured. The man did not stand a chance. His throat was ripped out in seconds and his lifeless body fell to the ground.
The beast then looked at Brandon and started running straight for him. Brandon tried to stay calm and prepared himself for the attack. He quickly looked for Surdius and seen that he was finishing off the third beast that was attacking them when they exited the tent. When he looked back to the beast it was almost on him. He waited for the beast to jump at him. Once the beast was in the air Brandon quickly went down to his knee and brought his sword up hard into the bottom of the beasts jaw slicing all the way through its skull and pushed away causing the beast to flip over as it hit the ground. This was his first kill and it felt exhilarating.
“Looks like you are able to keep your own” said Surdius. “Now let’s finish them off.”
Brandon felt a new sense of alertness. Each beast that went against him did not stand a chance. He felt as one with the sword as he planned each attack carefully watching how the beasts were going to attack. All of his training had prepared him well for this battle. Brandon brought down beast after beast. Time did not seem to matter for all that mattered was that no beast had injured him and died instead.
The battle against the beasts seemed to end as soon as it began. Brandon was looking around and saw what seemed like thousands of beasts lying dead all around the camp. He noticed someone walking towards him and looked to see who it was. Ser James looked at him then at the sword he held in his hand. Brandon quickly dropped the sword and started to back away. James did not look very happy at the moment.
“Since when do you know how to use a sword” James said as he approached Brandon. “Stable boys do not fight with swords but tend to horses.”
“He learned it from me.” Surdius moved to stand next to Brandon to stop James from doing something rash.
“I could use another good soldier now that I’ve lost some from these beasts” James said as he looked around. “Looks like about two hundred have fallen to them. Surdius. Look after Brandon. You are now in charge of him. I’ll let Richard know that you’ll no longer be assisting him. It’s now time to tend to the injured and bury the dead.”
…End of Chapter 2