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Old 12-12-2006, 03:47 AM   #138
Byronic Brand
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: The 1590s
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The giant had followed Sorn with increasing reluctance and confusion. If they ran into the wild now, they were abandoning the farmstead to the intruders. Gurth had wished to stay and to defend the house of the plunderers, the strangers like the golden-headed captain the Master had just killed. But gradually he understood. Somehow, someone had taken the girl. She alone could propell them out into the country like this, through hedgerow, thicket and plain.

He looked about the wood through which they crawled, treading more stealthily, for in sobriety he could stalk well enough, if hampered by hugeness, in response to his Master's order.

Often he looked aside for the wolf-mastiff Grendel, and choked back hunting-calls to it, and at last his memories swung to the beast dying in the dirt, and hot, bitter tears mingled with the blue of his eyes and the red of his flesh, making them damp and vulnerable, relecting the rays of lights that penetrated down to the two woodsmen.

A woodsman; such was the life he had become used to among the throng of bandits. He must now introduce Sorn to it, and they would live amid the trees inviolate from the law of any, and perhaps the girl, too, would dwell in the forests and the harshness of the seasons. Not far off lay the woods of Druadan, and Gurth thought of life amid the strange Woses of rumour. His mind and recall was developing fast after his liberation from the mead's yoke, and he remembered stories of Pukel-men with comparative ease.

But now was the time for hunting, not thinking, and that was the message which the blade's bite brought bloodily back. The dagger's hilt was embedded, lower than the heart, in the flesh of his side, hampered somewhat by his mail. He bit the howl he would have naturally emitted, mauling his tongue, and through the smell of his own blood he caught a familiar scent.

Not the girl's, as yet, but that of the other lackey. The sly one, the bearer of mead.

"Wound from Scyld," he muttered in Sorn's ear. "Smell man. Slay? Smell near ahead..."
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