Tragedy of the Raven Part 2, Chapter 7
By Prince Nightmare
Raven woke to the sound of wailing. A girl was crying loudly as the large boat carried them all further and further from Guardia. Further from Glenn, Raven realized, and further from hope of a rescue
Raven tried to sit up slowly. His head pounded from where the barbarian had smashed him with the butt of the axe. He gingerly touched his brow. There was a large knot there, and there was blood on his fingertips. Raven tried to look around, but the swaying motion of the ship was making him feel ill. All he could make out in the dim hold was the outline of several others, all huddled and chained. The ship rolled deeply and Raven choked back the urge to vomit. From the sounds of it, a few of the others werent feeling so well either. He sank back to the floor and began to try to think of a way to escape. He went over a few ideas.
He had no way of knowing how long hed been knocked out, so there was no telling if he was ten feet off shore or ten miles. Jumping off and swimming in the rough ocean would be suicide anyway. Maybe he and the other prisoners could rally and take over the ship! The thought excited him more and more. He could fight well enough to defend himself, maybe some of the others could too! He sat back up and squinted hard to see the condition of the others. His hopes faded instantly.
There were a half dozen young children, all crying for their parents. An old man was trying to comfort them while three teenage girls whispered in scared voiced amongst themselves. Not one of them looked like they had ever fought a battle in their life. The old man looked up and saw Raven watching him tend the children. He frowned, his wrinkled old face seeming to collapse upon itself.
I know you! Youre than damned bastard Glenn keeps, arent you? Why didnt they kill you? The ship will probably sink with you onboard, bringing your demons luck! He spat at Ravens feet and turned his back to the boy. Raven looked around to the girls, who were all staring at him wide eyed. Raven shot them a cold look and then drew himself farther into the corner he was huddled in. He was at a loss as to how to escape the barbarians.
His nausea eventually went away, replaced by a raging hunger. He hadnt eaten much the day before and nothing at all before the barbarians captured him. He tried desperately not to think of Glenn but his mind wouldnt stop going down that twisted path. Was he dead? If he wasnt, would he lead Guardias knights to come to save them all? Raven ignored his growling stomach and closed his eyes, trying to envision the Royal Navy catching up to the barbarian ship that very moment. They would storm the decks and kill the savages easily, and Glenn would be in the lead as they broke down into the smelly cargo area where all the prisoners were. Then the Navy would sail them back home, and
Stupid! It was dumb to think like a little kid! He was almost a man now and here he was idiotically hoping his hero Glenn would rescue them. Raven choked back a sob. More likely Glenn had been killed and Guardia not brave enough to chase after savage brutes who had kidnapped a few kids, girls, one old man, and a bastard. The time for being a child was over, Raven decided, and if he wanted to survive and eventually escape he would have to start thinking realistically. Right now he wanted food that would give him the strength to stay alive.
It was not more than ten minutes later that one of his captors came with a bucketful of dried fish. Each prisoner got two small fish and a cup of stale water. Raven nearly choked on the dry, salty fish, but he knew he had to eat it if he wanted to be strong enough to escape. The others whimpered in disgust at the meal, but Raven ignored them. Let them be weak cowards if they want, he thought to himself, I dont need that bunch of fools anyway.
The barbarian nodded at Raven, pleased he was not putting up a fuss like the others were. Little demon, you know where we go? he said in a deep voice, thick with the northern accent. Raven shook his head warily. The barbarian grinned, several teeth missing from a recent raid. We will go North, to the land of the gods! The old one will be a slave. The young girls will be our new wives, the children we will train to be hunters and warriors and you we feed you to the wolf boy.
Raven blinked. Wolf boy? he asked before he realized he had spoken out loud. The barbarian grunted as he picked Raven up by the shoulders. Ravens head swam, he was still dizzy from the blow hed received earlier.
Yes. The wolf boy Vahryiah if we give your bones to him, maybe he wont send his devil wolf to kill us anymore. You think you are something great, being touched by Loki well, Vahryiah is from Loki himself. He will eat your bones.
Raven didnt flinch a bit as his lips curled into a cold sneer. Well see who eats who, he hissed. Inside he was as scared as a helpless babe, but hed never admit it to this brute.
The barbarian laughed loudly and dropped Raven back to the ground. Oh, you will say something different in a few weeks when we turn you out into the woods with no shelter or food. The winds will cut like a knife through your thin clothes, and the frost will be on your breath. And then the wolf boy will find you, and he will feast upon you while you are still kicking in pain.
The old man spoke up, his voice trembling. How many days until we reach the North? Some of these children may get sick if they are kept in this dank place too long.
Children who get sick and die in the boat would never survive in the cold land of the gods. The weak have no place among us, old one. With that, the barbarian turned and left, bolting the heavy door behind him.
The ship sailed on into the night.
Vahryiah wondered where all the warriors had gone. It had been months since they left and they hadnt returned. Not that he cared much any way, he wanted nothing to do with those who would gladly see him dead but he wondered where they had went.
The storms that plagued the northern forests only grew worse, and even Klaveer seemed anxious. The big wolf was curled up in a ball by the edge of the small cave, his ears pricked forward as if waiting for someone. Vahryiah watched him, sighing. He hadnt been outside in two days and he was getting low on food. Besides, it was boring sitting and watching the snow swirl outside. Vahryiah jabbed at his small fire with a stick and chewed on a piece of dried deer meat. There wasnt much else to eat. He and Klaveer would have to go hunting tomorrow, storm or not.
Klaveer got up stiffly and padded over to the boy. He licked the childs cheek with a huge red tongue, whining softly. Vahryiah tilted his head to the side and stroked the wolfs long muzzle. Whats wrong, my brother? Do the voices in the wind give you bad dreams? Klaveer looked at him with his great, golden eyes half closed. Vahryiah buried his face into the bristly fur of the beasts shoulder. I have heard the wind moan before, but not like this. It is talking again to me tonight, Klaveer. It says something is going to happen soon. I hope this winter will be over in a few more weeks
Vahryiah stood up and went to the mouth of the cave, which was half buried in snow. It was the third time this week he had to dig his way out, and it looked like hed have to do it again tomorrow. He kicked at the wall of snow angrily and swore. Klaveer looked at him confused.
I am sick of this! I live here like an animal all because the people say I am touched by the frost gods! I dont think I am so much different than them! Why dont they let me stay with them so I can have someone to talk to? I must be going crazy! Talking to a wolf and listening to the wind whispering things
Vahryiah decided the best thing to do was try to sleep. It would make the time pass faster, and the storm might be over in the morning. He hoped it would be he was sick of listening to the wind.
No one died on the month long journey to Gebenhahn, though none of them felt exactly great after a diet of salty fish and stale water. When the barbarians hauled the prisoners up to the main deck, they had all sat blinking in the bright sunlight.
Raven was amazed. Snow covered everything and was blinding white against the bright afternoon. It was bitterly cold too, he had never felt so cold in his whole life. One of the children started wailing about it and Raven scowled. After being shut up in the hold with that bunch for a week, he was almost looking forward to being abandoned in the wild. They had all constantly complained and moaned, crying themselves to sleep every night. Raven had fought the urge to cry on the first day and had won the battle to control his fear. He thought of how proud Lucca and Glenn would have been, for he had not been a coward like the others. And now he stood looking across the vast plain of snow that stretched for miles, still alive and determined to escape.
The barbarians unloaded the ship and forced their captives to carry most of the load. They were not given warm clothing to protect against the bitter winds. The sun did little to warm them in the northern regions. Ravens teeth chattered as he swung the heavy load of food up onto his shoulders. His legs felt weak as he stepped unto the ground and he almost fell. It took him a minute to regain his balance. Goroth yelled at him to get moving, and Raven began to follow the barbarians across the snowy tundra.
They hiked for miles that day. The old mans legs gave out after three hours and Goroth commanded that he be left for the ravens to pick apart. The old man had wailed and pleaded, but the barbarians paid him no heed. They divided his load up amongst the rest of the slaves, Raven getting most of it. He had overheard the barbarians making bets about how much he could carry and how far. They also took bets on who would be the next to fall. Raven gritted his teeth. It wouldnt be him! He would never give his captors the satisfaction of seeing his knees hit the ground in defeat.
That night he shivered next to the fire and ate his modest meal of dried fish without complaint. The young girls sobbed while the children fought over the food. Raven shivered, tired and chilled to the bone. He blinked several times to keep himself awake, but despite the cold, Raven eventually drifted off into a dreamless sleep. He was weary to the bone.
It seemed like he had just closed his eyes when Goroth was kicking him awake again. One of the children had died from the cold during the night, Goroth said, and they didnt have time to waste because a storm was coming. If they got caught in a storm, they would all die. They had to reach the camp today before nightfall.
They hiked even harder. The barbarians took some of the load of the overburdened prisoners so they could travel faster. Despite that, one of the girls collapsed and refused to budge. Goroth tried to haul her to her feet, but she refused to walk any farther and sat in the snow, crying for her family. The barbarians got disgusted and they left her where she sat.
Perhaps she would have gone on if shed realize that there was only a mere five miles to go until they reached the camp. Though Raven saw no storm clouds in the sky, Goroth pressed them to hurry even faster. He wanted to be safe within the lodge walls when the blizzard hit.
You know how the storms are here, little demon? he asked while Raven puffed behind him, too out of breath to answer. Goroth went on without waiting. They blow in from a clear sky. You dont even see them coming. One moment it is nice and sunny, and the next minute you cannot see your hand in front of your face. Only the wolf boy is not afraid of the storms. It is because his blood is made of ice cold water and he breathes frost instead of air. He can disappear into the snow without leaving a foot print. That is why we can never catch him! He is Shivah reborn for sure! I will tell you this story, so you may know how you are going to die Goroth began to tell the story about the evil warlock Shivah, who had lived in the days of his forefathers.
Raven was only half listening because Goroths story got him to thinking of his father. He wondered where Magus had finally died at maybe it was even it this Light forsaken place. On impulse, though he knew he was risking getting punched in the mouth, Raven asked the self proclaimed leader of the clan, Have you ever heard of the Blood Wizard?
Goroth stopped in his tracks and looked at him. Aye. Maybe I have. They say he was nearly as bad as Shivah though he never came to the land of the gods. And we are thankful for that! One damned warlock is bad enough.
Raven sneered. So, you fear him as you fear this Vahryiah then? You would be afraid if Magus the Black came hurtling down in a bolt of lightning?
Goroth began to get angry. And what if my people would fear that demon? Their kind is unnatural! They drink the blood of children and make pacts with unholy creatures that lurk in the dark only a fool wouldnt fear a warlock or a wizard. Do you mean to mock me boy? Do you mean to say you do not fear the Blood Wizard or the Son of Frost? Goroths face was red with rage . The warrior didnt like to think about what an enraged warlock could do if he was so inclined. They had all heard the tales of Shivah and his evil. Now his soul was reborn in the wolf boy whom no one could capture. His look of rage deepened when he saw the boy smirk in contempt. He raised a heavy fist to clout the boy with, but Raven spoke up first.
Youd better warn this Son of Frost that I am the son of the Blood Wizard, and Im not scared of a few stories of some warlock you all think is reincarnated. My fathers power was no story, it was real. Raven felt his pride boiling in his chest. He never had actually admitted that his father was indeed Magus to anyone but Glenn and Lucca. And here he was bragging about it he almost laughed.
Goroth went pale. You lie, you little frost demon! The barbarian trembled with anger, but his raised fist didnt come crashing down on the boy. Raven had put just enough doubt in his mind to make him reconsider hitting a child that claimed to be the son of Magus, the Savior of Demons. Even in the north it was known that there had been a terrible wizard that had nearly destroyed the world. The wise magicians had seen it while in their trances. The skies had sometimes lit up the color of blood when the wizard was summoning some huge supernatural force there was no telling if the boy was lying or telling the truth. If it was the truth, the tribe had best let the evil warlock deal with it. And good riddance to whomever died in their mage battle!
Goroth lowered his fist slowly. You get to moving. We will reach my lodge in an hour. And then my hunters and I will take you into the woods and leave you there for the wolf boy. Well see if your father can help you then.
Go To Part 2, Chapter 8
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