Revenge – Part II

by Gaston Prereth

Continuation of Revenge – Part I

“He’s paying forty thousand for you and your little girl.” Govannon’s words were buried deep in his gravel like cadence.  Everything he said had such a deep sense of finality that it was hard to continue a conversation with him without a host of awkward pauses rippling out into the room. Blane licked his lips, his hands curling around each other underneath the tavern’s thick oak table.

Around them, a scattering of local merchants drank and laughed.  There was a distant hum in the room, a swell of contentment and pleasure that felt as alien to Blane now as an undiscovered land across the vastness of the ocean. He looked down at his own untouched drink.

“He’s not paid you yet?”

“You’re still alive, ain’t you?”  Govannon’s cheeks, like worn leather, crinkled a little with what could have been a smile, but Blane could not be sure.  He’d only met the assassin once before and could detect no real emotion in his voice or demeanour.  Had it been a smile, or was he simply stating a fact?

The Caumere, Govannon’s people, were fabled to have no emotions.  To have no sense of humour, no love for themselves or others, no anger or desire. Yet, they were also supposed to succumb to blood lust on the battlefield and, when one of their kind died, they supposedly all mourned the loss for a decade.  Like all things Man knew little about, the Caumere were so shrouded in Man’s own myths that what tiny facts may have been discovered were obscured and made incomprehensible by hundred’s of unfounded stories.

“So you will kill me and my daughter when he pays you?” asked Blane when he could stand the silence that had swelled between them no more.

“If he pays me, I shall.”  Blane gripped  the thumb of his right hand under the table and pulled on it as if trying to crack the joint, but it gave him no relief.  The assassin had left a message with Blane’s man servant for him to come to the tavern only twenty minutes earlier and, despite already being in bed, Blane had immediately got dressed and half run down the lone road to the tavern, tucking his shirt in as he went. You never refused a summons from a Caumere.  Not if you valued your life.

The fire crackled and snapped in the grate over Govannon’s shoulder and Blane was sure he saw an arc of blue light leap from the logs towards the assassin.  He felt his arms tingle as if a thousand ants were marching across his skin and his feet were numb and cold.  He was very aware that he might only be one word away from death. The air was thick, as if a nearby oil lamp was burning with an unclean flame.

“Why are you telling me this?” Blane’s voice struggled out of his chest and left a taste of ancient parchment in his mouth.

“Death ripples down the generations like sound bouncing along a ravine. Echoes of one man’s death can be heard for centuries, and with each fresh reminder another life is lost. Yet, if that was all that it was, it would be nothing but an interesting quirk of humanity, but as a species you are short sighted and caught within the here and now.”  Blane shifted uncomfortably in his seat.  The man’s voice dug holes out of the atmosphere around them and caused a tide of unease to pour into Blane’s stomach.

“I don’t think I understand.”

“It doesn’t matter. Just be grateful that I am providing you a way out.  I will kill him for you.  I will put an end to generations of suffering. For a price.”

Blane nodded, he’d been expecting that.  The Caumere were ruthless and powerful.  Their long lives gave them a wider perspective than any human could hope for, but rather than using their powers for their own gain, they chose to sell them to Man’s bidding.  There were a thousand stories about why the Caumere were so mercenary.  They slept on a bed of treasure like a dragon; they ate gold and it gave them their power; their abilities came from extraordinary tribute to an unknown god. Every man in every tavern had their own opinion, but not one of the stories ever explained, if they did need such treasures, why didn’t they ever use their power to take them.  Why did they only sell their powers to others?

“How much would it cost?”

“Twenty.”

“That’s nearly all I have.  I need that for my daughter and I’s travels to the new land.”

“You won’t need it when you’re dead.”  Said Govannon, the possible smile once again flashing across his lips.  “Bring you’re money to the Devil’s eyes at one chime before midnight.  If you are late, you and your daughter will be dead by dawn, but if you are on time I shall kill him for you and the cycle will be stopped.”

Concluded in Revenge – Part III

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5 Responses to “Revenge – Part II”

  1. . . . you can’t really stop cycles . . . you can just start new ones.

    Good reading.

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