Let The Body Hit The Floor



Date: 2011.01.05
Location: Outside of Eastern Weyr and Nabol
Synopsis: Southern's crimelord delivers a message to his northern counterparts - There's a new renegade lord in town and he ain't taking no nonsense.
Rating: PG18 - Violence
Logger: Max

Four times he’d tried to drop by the Weyrlingmaster’s office and four times…he’d found excuse not to. Not quite up to hearing ‘W’red Said’ straight from the runner’s mouth so to speak.

Eventually he’d paid off a lad in the lower caverns to temporarily misplace one of the agenothree tanks from the stores and to conveniently forget, if pressed, who it was that had borrowed the equipment. That had been the easy part. The trickier part was distracting the healer’s aid lurking about the cold storage cavern in the dead of night where Jonavan had stashed his body. To say that he found the thin hollow cheeked teen disturbing would have been the understatement of the turn. Using all his silver tongued abilities, Max finally got the deathly pale teen to leave.

And so it was, under the ghosting light of Timor and Belior that the beast manager rode out of the Weyr late one night, his mount burdened by two oddly shaped rolls of canvas slung behind the saddle. Having chosen the place of ‘execution’ long beforehand, he steered Starflight up the steep rocky incline and around behind an enormous chunk of rock that had come loose from the cliff above.

Hefting the canvas rolled ‘Dax’ over his shoulders with a grunt, he steadied himself as he adjusted his hold on the literal deadweight and moved deeper into the crevice between the fallen rock and the Cliffside, away from the runner that was already nervous and chomping at the bit for some unknown reason.

Having deposited the body he went back for the agenothree tank and spent a few minutes checking the nozzle and flow of gas before igniting a test flame. Starflight reared up in panic at the sudden flash of light and somewhere close overhead the air depressed and sucked back in again, pulling the flame upward as if something big had just taken flight from the narrow ledge above.

Max jerked his head upward, scanning the skies and for a second he thought he saw something akin to a glowbasket lid and unlid before it disappeared. Brows furrowed and a flash of annoyance washed through him. He’d told G’bol to only pick him up when he gave the signal. It annoyed him to think the brown’s dragon might have been lurking nearby, essentially spying on him.

Being out of Weyr at night was dangerous enough given the wild feline population that lurked nearby; however with the presence of bounty hunters in the area, the risk was doubled. And so without further hesitation he headed back into the crevice and unrolled the body from the canvas careful to keep his attention from drifting to the dead man’s face.

Lifting his face to the light evening breeze, the beast manager positioned himself upwind of it, adjusted the shoulder strap of the agenothree tank and aiming the nozzle down toward the body, depressed the trigger, sending out a steady stream of flame.

The man’s clothing hissed and sizzled as the damp from the ice the body had been kept on, dried out and caught fire. Max worked steadily, from the boots upward, leaving the worst for last. He tried not to think about the way the flesh blackened and peeled back from the body’s hands. Tried to watch what he was doing without actually seeing it. And then when he could put it off no longer he aimed the nozzle up toward the body’s head. The wind shifting direction hit him with the strong, hot scent of charred flesh and burnt hair.

He gagged as bile swiftly rose up and the flame stuttered and flared as his hand twitched reflexively at the trigger. Mercifully the wind shifted again and drove the stench away. Swallowing hard, jaw set determinedly, he turned back to the task and judging more or less where the face would be, sent a long steady blast of flame down over it.

Again the wind shifted except that this time it was strong enough to throw the blinding light of fire away from the concentrated direction and reveal the gruesome damage left in its wake. Max’s stomach lurched and this time he couldn’t stifle the heaves that rose up, senses assaulted by the sight and smell of the defaced body. Memories of a brownrider hanging sideways from his straps and scored to the bone in places washed into place behind his eyes causing him to drop the tank and fall to his hands and knees retching until his stomach ached, the almost healed rib complained and his throat burned.

Entirely grateful that he’d taken the decision to carry out the job alone, Southern’s renegade lord was finally able to push himself back up to his feet, gulping in great breaths of fresh air. Wiping his arm across reddened eyes that streamed with tears in reaction to the violent loss of that day’s meals, he reached for the carrysack he’d dropped nearby and took out the hammer, nails and square of hide he’d brought with him.

Every time he approached the charred body, his stomach protested until eventually he ripped his shirt off and dropped it over the garish remains where once recognizable features had been. And then he got to work on the final leg of the task set himself, that being nailing the hide to the corpse’s chest. Upon which was written in bold letters – One Down. Underneath it was drawn the four compass points with the ‘S’ ringed in red.

Satisfied, or as satisfied as one could be given the gruesome nature of the task, Max quickly rolled the body back up in the canvas, tied it with a slip knot, gathered up the agenothree tank and carrysack and climbed up a short piece of the cliff face to where he’d previously set a heap of dry underbrush. Using the tank he set it alight, climbed back down and then urged Starflight into the small cave a short distance away after which he stopped the entrance up with thorn bush and then lit a small fire, (the second signal) in front of it to keep the felines at bay until he returned.

Not a few minutes later the great rush of wings heralded the arrival of G’bol and his brown. No words were exchanged as between the two of them they secured the heavy canvas roll to the brown and then mounted with Max settling himself behind the brownrider.

“Where to?” G’bol broke the silence to ask as his brown unfurled his mighty wings and leapt to the sky.

“Nabol,” Max gave in a grim tone as he secured the buttons of his jacket and re-checked the straps holding the canvas roll.

Five heartbeats later the brown broke out of Between high above Nabol. Furling his wings slightly he swept downward.

Now!” Max shouted above the roar of wind and snapping his wings open just meters above the ground, the brown came to a sudden halt, flicking and adjusting the tips of his wings just enough to ride the thermals and hover in place.

Leaning sideways, Southern’s renegade lord quickly slipped the knot loose holding the canvas in place about the charred corpse and then unbuckled the strap holding it to the brown’s side. Through the air the body fell, arms and legs flopping like a rag doll and landed with a dull thud on the ground of the clearing below.

For a few moments dark eyes held to the message sent to his northern counterparts lying below waiting to be discovered and then he gave G’bol the signal and as quickly as the southern brown had arrived in Nabol’s skies, so it disappeared once again.

Drowning Pool - The Game

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