Solo Two Birds, One Bolt

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While Sylira is by far the most civilized region of Mizahar, countless surprises and encounters await the traveler in its rural wilderness. Called the Wildlands, Syliran's wilderness is comprised of gradual rolling hills in the south that become deep wilderness in the north. Ruins abound throughout the wildlands, and only the well-marked roads are safe.

Two Birds, One Bolt

Postby Konrad Venger on January 26th, 2016, 9:35 pm

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8th Bell - 17th Day of Winter, 515AV - Seven Days West of Sunberth


Fangor knew better than to let the punishment wait.

In his experience, disciplining slaves was the same as with dogs: leave it too long between infraction and punishment, and the dumb beasts might forget what it is they've done wrong. Better to be prompt with the lash, and public about it. Not just a penalty, which effected one or maybe two, but an example to all.

He knew it and he'd stood by it for years and so that was half the reason he was cursing himself that morning. By the time all the excitement had died down yesterday, he'd lost a sellsword and a slave and another one of his guard was injured. They got back the other two runners and a dead wolf for the pot but still, by the time they were ready to move again, Syna was dipping low and the light was fading. He should have taken steps then, but-

No, he thought to himself as he dragged the struggling, spitting chattel along with him. No "but". No excuses. You knew what had to be done, and when it it had to be done, and you slacked off on it. Time to put it right before we head off.

Konrad was helping Three Eyes pack up their small tent when he glimpsed the burly caravan boss go about his business. The steady, serious gait of the man wasn't what caught his eye, so much as the frantic scrambling of the man he was dragging along by a chain. As he loaded his backpack, he saw Fangor finally whirl on her with a snarl and slap and punch downward over and over, curses raining with every blow.

The Sunberth boys were in no mood to be piteous. They usually weren't, anyway, but that was the wild cunt who'd tried to run on them the previous day. Three Eyes snorted and started to tie the rope around their tent.

"Dumb fuck. Fuck did he think would happen?"

"Guessin' he thought he'd die free."

"Aye, free to get eaten by those wolves."


Konrad just shrugged at that. Eyes was right, after all, but some people didn't care about the consequences, just that they were allowed to choose them. Personally, he understood... but that didn't mean he sympathized. They were slaves, after all. No rights, no possessions, no coin. Where the fuck did he that mad bastard think him and his friends were fleeing to? The promised land? Their families? Their homes?

They'd have been dead in a day. Shoulda' waited until we got to where we're goin'.

"What's e' gonna do?"

"Pretty obvious, ain't it?"


As the two of them watched, Three Eyes was proven right. As the sellswords packed up their tents and goods, doused their fires, prepared their horses and loaded the carts, the drivers were doing much the same. Fangor's closest men were packing the slaves back into their wobbling wooden cart-prisons, but that morning, the side facing Fangor and the slave were all stripped of their thick hemp coverings.

Every slave in the caravan could see what would happen through the bars, and Konrad didn't need a mage to tell him what that was.

"Don't reckon I'll stick around for this," Three Eyes said with a sniff, cleaning his nails with a dagger as Fangor punched the slave down to the ground and started chaining him to the side of a cart, arms spread wide. "He'll just whip 'm bloody then cut his throat and have 'im drag in front a' the slave wagons until he's nothin' but meat."

"Kill 'im? Lad's a cunt but he's strong. Fetch a good place."

"Nah-nah-nah,"
Three Eyes said with a shake of his head, trying to sound worldy-wise as he held up a finger. "S'the principle, aye? He didn't just run, he raised his hands to us. Tried to hit you with that branch. Shows to much spirit. Keep that cunt around, he'll try it again or 'spire the others t'do it-"

"Spire? Y'mean inspire?"

"You know wud'I mean! Anyway, to much trouble to keep around."


An idea formed in Konrad's head as he slipped on his coat and then rested his new crossbow over his shoulder. The thick bandage across his hand was the only obvious reminder of the beast he'd killed the previous day; that and the tightness he felt whenever he breathed in too deep. Fucking thing had weighed a ton.

His finger tapped on the carved, scarred wood of the mechanical killing machine as he watched Fangor move down to the man's legs, spreading them nearly as wide as his legs and chaining them to the cartwheels. Still he struggled, and spat, and cursed, calling on gods Konrad didn't even recognize to smite Fangor and all his seed.

The slaves watched with dull, empty eyes. A few moaned and sobbed, those that knew the brave, stupid slave. Some shushed their children and turned their faces, wanting to spare them the horror of a slave's punishment for at least a little while longer. Konrad chewed on the end of the twig in his mouth and thought how long the boy would last...

"Got an idea."

"What? Hey, Kon-?!"


He started t walk over, snatched up his bag of crossbow bolts as he went. Fangor was looking over at the slaves and launching into his preamble, voice the perfect pitch of bass and menace. The tones of a god pronouncing judgement, not just a man maligned.

"When you run, you are whipped! You are caught, and you are broken, and these things will happen! But if you raise your hands, it will not be a swift death! Not a merciful death! Not even a clean death!"

He raised the whip in his hand high over his head... then let it fall loose from its curls... so the sparse Winter Synalight could glint and twinkle off the razors embedded in the leather.

"You will suffer! By the gods, you will suffer! This man ran from his masters and raised his hands against-"

The man who was suddenly at his side, as a matter of fact. Fangor stared in mild shock as his flow was totally demolished, looking into that scared face and growling in irritation.

"What the hells is it, man?"

"Got a favor t'ask. Might serve both our purposes."

"Venger, isn't it?"

"Aye."

"Venger, good job yesterday, but I'm in the middle of something. Don't interrupt!"


Konrad knew an order from an irritable man when he saw it, but he couldn't pass up the opportunity. He let the crossbow swing forwards into both hands and nodded at it.

"Lemme practice on the boy," he said, low enough for just Fangor and he to hear. "I need it, believe me. Barely hit the fuckin' wolf from ten feet away. Boy's dead, anyway, right?"

"Can't you wait until after?"

"We're on the move after, yeah? Besides, I ain't gonna be shootin' at corpses when the time comes, am I? Nah, this is the real thing."


The wrathful god morphed briefly back into a henpecked employer, and he massaged his tired eyes with the hand not holding a bladed whip.

"Venger, we have targets somewhere, I'm sure. Or just use a tree!"

"Aye, could do botha' those,"
Konrad said, leaning forward a touch and letting his natural sadism seep into that thing he called a smile. "But it serves us both, don't it? I get some practice, and you get these rats seein' their boy turned into a fuckin' pincushion. Gimme a bell, s'all I ask. End of it, I'll finish him, if'n I haven't already. Even fasten him onto the cart, like you do when they're dead."

Fngor blinked, surprised that this Sunberth savage who'd never worked the roads with him before would know about how he set his examples. But he mulled it over, pondered it. He was planning to take a bell to take the boy apart; left him free to other things if Venger took over. Like breakfast, and inventory, and-

"A'right," he muttered, then glanced at the slaves watching them idly. "But make it good in a moment, eh?"

"What do you-"

"Youse don't taste the whip today, boy!"
Fangor went from whispering to booming so fast that Konrad nearly fired the fucking crossbow out of surprise. He directed that shout at the chained, helpless slave spread across the side of the cart, then back to the others. "But the man who beat you to the dirt yesterday says he wants to have some more fun with you! Am I right?"

Bugger.

Konrad was not a sodding mummer, and he wasn't used to the stage. But intimidation and terror were hardly unknown to him. He wet his lips and fed of the surprise in those slave eyes, flourishing the crossbow in the air and resting the butt of it against his hip.

"Aye! Not t'worry, boss. Hardly any sport yesterday, was it? Today'll be different. Thanks t'ye for getting my target ready."
He patted the crossbow and grinned, no mummer's farce but true delight, as he heard the livestock's horror in a gasp. "I'll take it from 'ere..."
Last edited by Konrad Venger on January 27th, 2016, 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Note: As of Fall 517AV, Konrad is known only as "Hansel" in Endrykas
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Two Birds, One Bolt

Postby Konrad Venger on January 27th, 2016, 6:24 am

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Konrad was never much one for training. Experience was a better teacher in his opinion, and it was a lot more fun. You got your hands dirty, blood on your blades and, oh yeah, you got paid. Training was just effort for no reward, and he didn't have the patience for it.

But this couldn't be any other way. He didn't want to be standing in a muddy field with sobbing, sniffing slaves at his back, fucking his concentration. He didn't want his arms aching after time after time he'd had to pull back the strings for a fresh bolt. Most of all, he didn't need-

"Want my advice?"

"No."


He lined up his shot and willed his arms to still their trembling. Any more and he'd have to start crouching, or maybe roll something over to rest the crossbow on. Three Eyes smoked in rare silence as his long-time associate breathed in, then held it... finger coaxing on the trigger-

"Mind yer hand."

Fine, so Konrad didn't thank him, but he didn't curse him out, either. Instead he tucked his fingers back properly under the crossbow, instead of gripping around the shaft of it. Then he squinted down the bolt...

Right shoulder. Right shoulder. Rest it right there... and-

TWANG!

The crossbow bucked in his hand, whack of the string hurling the bolt forwards loud enough to make Konrad jump, but by then it was flying out and-

-the slave cried out as the bolt thunked into the cart next to his head, slicing his right ear nearly in two. His sharp, canine bark of pain shot through the air and shuddered among the slaves; those that were still looking, anyway. Konrad scowled at his aim but when he turned, it was with a big ol' grin plastered across the nightmare that was his face.

Remember, got a part to play, too.

"Gettin' better, huh?"

That was debatable, even if he was saying it just to twist the knife with the slaves. He'd aimed and fired more than half a dozen times, and only three had hit the target. Four, counting the last one.

"Nah, doesn't count," Konrad growled at himself as he stood, shoving his foot into the stirrup at the end of the crossbow. "Drew blood, but didn't go in him. This was a fight, he'd be halfway deaf but still dangerous."

Then his scowl melted into a smile. Well. Maybe that was pushing it a little bit...
Last edited by Konrad Venger on January 31st, 2016, 12:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Note: As of Fall 517AV, Konrad is known only as "Hansel" in Endrykas
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Konrad Venger
Long is The Way and Hard
 
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Two Birds, One Bolt

Postby Konrad Venger on January 27th, 2016, 7:16 am

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The slave wasn't standing now; he was hanging from the chains and wishing he'd just die already. One bolt had slammed through his left knee (Konrad had been aiming for his arse), and every time he tried to move it made him scream. Another was sticking out of his side, piercing something vital because whenever he breathed, even a tiny gasp, teeth dug deep into his guts and tore another chunk out.

Should have been his heart. Bugger.

The last was part of the reason he was still upright. Through his left bicep, it went straight through meat and bone and slammed a foot into the cart he was chained to. Every time he tried to relax his good leg and gain some comfort he-

-groaned in agony, breath catching, wounds and muscles pouring blood and pain, unable to die just yet.

"Aw'right," Konrad wetted his dry mouth with a swallow of water before slipping a long, thick projectile into the groove of the crossbow. "Little closer."

"Oh, y'think?"


Konrad glared hit enough to burn a mage at the fucking stake, but Three Eyes just threw up his hands in "surrender". Not that Konrad would give a shit if that had been his mood, but still... hold habits.

"Yeah, and you haven't had a fuckin' shot, have you?"

"No bloody need to, is there? We're blade-boys. When did you care about killin' from a distance, anyway?"


Konrad snorted and patted the big, heavy weapon in his arms. It was a bitch to load and a bastard to aim, but he felt... empowered whenever he fired it. It wasn't just a bolt he was letting loose, but his own will. His desire, capable of punching through flesh and leather and chain-mail and plate and damn near anything but rock if he wanted to.

Pull the trigger, and something dies. That's the dream.

"I ain't so stupid I wanna be in the mix when I can do the job from across the street, knowud'I mean? If you can solve the problem with a bolt in the heart, in a tick, and no risk to yer own skin, why not take it?"

"I dunno,"
Three Eyes said with almost a sigh as Konrad stopped, the two of them no more than forty feet from the bleeding, moaning slave. "Doesn't seem as fun, Kon."

"Fuck 'fun',"
the mercenary said as he raised the crossbow, enough strength in his arms to make this shot, especially from this range. The slave's trembling back was twice as broad now, enough for him to see every inch of faded scars and bruise and streak of blood. "This is business-"

He fired and the bolt flew true, for maybe the first time. He even waited until it smashed into the slave's shoulder, slicing through all that complicated physical artistry like wet clay and pinning the other side of the man into the cart. He screamed again, high and broken, choked and shuddering with sobs, every scrap of defiance gone from him now.

"Much better," Three Eyes said, tapping out his pipe as the slave began to cry. "Arms tired yet?"

"Gettin' there. But I got time for another couple."

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Two Birds, One Bolt

Postby Konrad Venger on January 31st, 2016, 12:21 pm

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"Fuckin' crying's startin' to piss me off."

"Want me to gag him?"

"No time for that, lads."


Konrad and Three Eyes turned to the third voice, a portly sellsword with a shaved head and a bastard sword, chewing on some salted pork. He ran his eyes over the scene and the mutilated, dying slave without his gums stopping for even a moment, then jerked his chin towards Konrad.

"Boss says we're movin' out. Finish up an' chain 'im like y'said."

"Aye."


The big man waddled off and Konrad licked his lips in quick calculation. Moving out, yeah, but right away? This chime? Didn't look like it. The animals were hitched to their wagons and carts and the sellswords were readying up, but right away?

"Think I got time fer two more?"

"Make it quick,"
Three Eyes said, craning his neck around as if they were juvies jimmying a dor lock. "An' it's your dodge if fuckin' Fangor catches ya."

Konrad grunted as he pulled the string back to the catch, shimmying his foot out of the stirrup and raising it up to slide a bolt into place. "Suits me," he said, putting the crossbow to his shoulder. "Kinda like a speed test."

"A what?"

"Dunno, something I heard once about shooting."


He took his aim and crouched down before he shot, resting his elbow on his raised knee to steady himself. The slave's trembling body filled his view over the bolt. Sweat and blood and ugly, leaking wounds. That pitiful, distracting fucking sobbing that he just wanted to fucking end-

TWANG!

The slave screamed but it was strangled off as his body realized exactly where it had been hit. The crossbow bolt stabbed straight through his left lung, exploding out the front of his chest and pinning him anew to the cart. The impact of it threw him forwards, pressing his cheek against it, splinters piercing it feeling like loving kisses compared the the agony elsewhere.

But inside, he rejoiced. The wound had to be mortal. Had to be important. Soon he would guy. Praise the gods, soon this would be over.

"C'mon, c'mon..."

Konrad muttered a suggestion as to what Three Eyes could do with his fucking "encouragement", but otherwise focused on the task at hand. Stirrup, foot, yank, catch... all of it was becoming more familiar to him, he was pleased to see. He'd even felt the calluses develop on his fingers from pulling that damn string over and over.

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Note: As of Fall 517AV, Konrad is known only as "Hansel" in Endrykas
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Konrad Venger
Long is The Way and Hard
 
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Two Birds, One Bolt

Postby Konrad Venger on January 31st, 2016, 12:21 pm

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"Time to finish up."

He strode forwards and decided to follow Three Eyes' advice: have a little fun. He really wanted to see what it looked like when he-

-brought up his crossbow barely ten feet away-

-squared the bolt on the back of the slave's skull and-

TWANG!

"Shyke. Rushed it."

"Worked, though."


Konrad shrugged. He supposed the man was right, but he was still off. Instead of his head, the slave had a bolt through his neck. He stiffened for a moment and then every limb and muscle went slack, body hanging comically from the chains. He didn't lower very much, though: he had a handful of thick bolts holding him in position.

The Sunberth killer sighed and examined his work. Not bad for a first-timer, but still much practice to be had. If he was luck, it'd be a live target again. Much more instructive.

"Help me with these, will ya?"

Three Eyes wandered over and started yanking bolts out, grimacing now and then when he had to pull them out from muscle and flesh. After a few chimes they were all loose and returned to Konrad's quiver, but by that time-

"You sods deaf or what?!"

Fangor advanced on them and Konrad made a show of working on the chains, not his crossbow. He nodded as he worked, unshackling the corpse's feet from the cart wheels just as its driver jumped up into his seat. Then he shifted the ones around his wrists to the very back of the cart, dragging him part of the way.

"Aye, aye, we heard. There." He patted the back of that bloody head, dead eyes staring up at the sky. "Ready to go."

Fangor glared but didn't comment any further. He wasn't a man to frighten easily, from things natural or otherwise, but angering sellswords was never a good idea when there wasn't a fat reward waiting for you. He didn't need to chew the scarred bastard out only for him to hold a grudge and come a-stalking one night.

Besides, appearances...

He strolled over to the corpse that would be dragging behind the cart and made his own show, patting Konrad on the shoulder and grinning at the hollow-eyed slaves. Some had tears glistening on their cheeks. Others had ran out of tears long before that day.

"Fine shooting, didn't you think?!"

Not yet, but it will be, Konrad promised himself.

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Note: As of Fall 517AV, Konrad is known only as "Hansel" in Endrykas
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Konrad Venger
Long is The Way and Hard
 
Posts: 923
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Two Birds, One Bolt

Postby Hwyn on February 9th, 2016, 1:19 am

XP Award!
Rejoice for the magical grading rascal has appeared, and once more he leaves gifts
Name:Konrad XP Award:
  • Weapon: Heavy Crossbow 5
  • Torture 3
  • Negotiation 1
Lore:
  • Crossbow: Mind your hands
  • Crossbow: It makes me feel mighty!
  • Crossbow: Crouching helps
Notes: If there was a skill for general bastardly behavior you would have made expert in it by now, that said as usual good thread!! If I might be so bold to ask have you considered coloring Konrad's words their own color I've had to reread a couple thing to figure out who is saying what.
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Hwyn
Soul endowed plushie
 
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