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Weakening Ties 
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Slave on the Altar

Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2007 4:29 pm
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(('Lo, newcomer to Druchii.net and Druchii in general here. I thought I'd write a little piece to get a handle on them, and I'd like your thoughts on it:) This is intended to be the first part of two, by the way, to get a little feedback before I start on the second. ))

Demothen's every slight movement seemed a calculated expression of contempt; every blink of narrow eyes, every wrinkling of that aristocratic nose, every whispery syllable from that wide, cruel mouth was a miniature sneer.

"Your concern is noted, beastmaster," the captain murmured, soothingly.

"I am not concerned, black guard," Stheno hissed in reply, "I am angry. This army is my charge, and you are here to aid me, not to usurp me!"

"Usurp?" Demothen raised a thin black eyebrow, smirking slightly, "Pray tell me, beastmaster, how I could ever usurp one so lower than I. The King, may He reign a hundred aeons, dispatched me to aid in this legion's attacks. Your own unworthy name never passed His lips."

"These men and women are of Karond Kar, Captain Demothen-"

"These men and women are of Nagarroth, as are we all. I tell you if you continue to play the malcontent the Witch King himself will be informed."

Stheno's temper flared at the Black Captain's petty little way of using formality as his verbal sword and shield. He felt a shudder of rage and was out of the chair in an eyeblink, with just inches between them. With economic efficiency Demothen's dagger was out. Just inches of Hag Graef steel between them.

"Open your eyes, captain. This is you and I, not Karond Kar and Naggaroth," he spat, then a venomous pride rose from the anger, as a new offensive occured to him, "The Witch King is not your own personal protector, Demothen. Invoking His name - His mighty name! - is not an uncounterable way for you to settle your own tiny, your own pathetic tribulations!" Even with his senses dulled by anger, Stheno noticed how the captain's mouth opened, just a fraction, involuntarily. At last, an expression not so calculated. His teeth were pearly white, but the mouth and tongue behind them so red that Stheno wondered if Demothen, who fancied himself so loyal and devout, had taken to drinking blood in the manner of a Hag.

"I," he finally said, coldly, in a manner that made the letter a title, "I am a captain of the Black Guard, you prince of horses and slaves. A captain of the Black Guard, selected by the Witch King Lord Malekith's personal agents, promoted at His personal orders. In this forsaken place so far from our homeland, I see with His eyes, I hear with His ears, I speak with His voice..."

"You think with his mind? You feel with his heart?" Stheno taunted.

"Be sure, Lord Malekith will think and feel as I do once he hears. And then it will be mere days until the warrant for your death arrives."

Once Stheno had found the captain's formal, graceless mannerisms boring, now they stirred his anger up until it was palatable. Where Demothen became ice in his anger, Stheno was boiling venom.

"And you will sharpen your draich and cut off this head that so offends you, will you? Your quarrel is with a Beastmaster of Karond Kar, not with a death-sentenced traitor. As mine is with a captain of the Black Guard, not the Witch King," a moment of silence passed, before his next words came out in an unstoppable rush: "Let it be settled as such."

Demothen didn't smile. Demothen didn't laugh. Demothen didn't dance or gloat or smirk. But the two Druchii's eyes met, and they knew that Demothen had won. Stheno hadn't scored a victory, he'd just changed the game.

"A duel? I should condescend to cross swords with you, horse-master?" The whispery tone gained another level of sneer, and a tint of wicked joy. Stheno had to think fast, had to find a way to get out or turn it to his advantage - the trouble was, he couldn't. His mind became nothing more than a ball of useless weight and gristle, occasionally serenading his mind's ear with the sounds of his own death and disgrace.

"Swords, draichs or daggers," he snapped back. Empty bravo he could manage, always. In the heat of the moment, he decided if he couldn't get out of the oubliette he might as well make it his home.

"The weapon I leave to your own discretion," said Demothen, with demons dancing in his eyes, "The venom?"

"Manbane," Stheno spat, "What else?"

"As you wish," Demothen inclined his head, turning to leave. Stheno could see the beginnings of the sadist's smirk pulling at his face, the savageness that must have been keep a thought's width from the surface by duty and formality for so long. He slumped in his charred chair, under the ruined roof of an animal's home, and slumped there a long time. Demothen must be feeling a hundred times the elf Stheno felt, he knew; he had been given a rare and treasured chance, to let the self-centered brutality within out; to kill for his own honour, in his own name. Yes, if Stheno was any judge, a part of Demothen that had been locked behind doors of duty would be freed, for a while.

It was small comfort to him.


Wed Aug 15, 2007 1:32 pm
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Prophet of Tzeentch
Prophet of Tzeentch
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Joined: Fri May 19, 2006 3:51 pm
Posts: 4641
Location: I am the voice inside your head
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Wow, chalanging a member of the black gaurd, maybe not the best idea. Still your wrting style is good particulaly the descriptions of emotions "boiling venom" for example is one I will remember. What the story lacked was a begining, it seemed to start in the midle of a conversation with no description of where they were or what they were arguing about. Add a paragraph or two to the begining and the story will be improved.

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Tue Aug 21, 2007 4:55 pm
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