16 November 2008

Of Demons and Doublecrosses

It looks like my time here in Caercorran draws to a close. Not closed by death but by... escape. In this I have choice, though the machinations of others would seek to deny me as much as possible of this quality.

It is scarcely believable, but Roland - this enigmatic, charismatic stranger - and his travelling companion Berthold claim me to be some kind of... well, different. I am hard pressed to argue with a couple who appeared from nowhere and, in truth, rescued me from the 20 foot tall monstrosity and then claimed to have fought many of its ilk before now! Yet neither can I accept it at face value, and this is one reason I feel I absolutely compelled to accompany them and thus determine the truth or otherwise of Roland's rather bewildering claim.

And to think - the day started with so much banal promise. The hunt was to go ahead precisely as planned, and that old buffoon Triaste even agreed to accompany us to witness my feats. Perhaps I was already thinking of sharing Yvonne's chambers when I called that lovelorn fool Wilhelm to throw first and mark the hunt. The idiot charged too soon, missed his throw and killed a piglet - no wonder all hell broke loose! I was hoping for a clean kill (the lad, not the boar) and an angry pack of pigs for the other hunters to round up satisfactorily. Instead, chaos; even so, it was manageable until that booming from the forest. I shudder to think about it now, and yet I'm drawn to - for apparently there will be more, and worse the vanquished can return! The goat-man thing, if I had held truck with tales and legend then I would have scattered with the rest of the sheep, but I did not and saw the opportunity even the alpha boar did not provide!

My "bravery" was stupid, looking back, but truth be told by the time I realised I would have need to be brave it was too late to turn tail and run. Outpacing a giant that size would have been impossible, even had the horses stayed close enough. Then its words. "Betrayer" it called me though I am utterly lost as to why. Simply that the thing was after me, specifically, at all is terrifying. That it is so bandying around words, nay names, like that... There will be more - they both said. There will be more, and I am "different", "of Amber" - whatever that means. The two, I fear, may be linked, and Roland's words suggest such.

But that is for tomorrow - when I will ride with them to this Amber, wherever that is.

For tonight, I have little time; I must quickly ascertain what happened to Triaste's body and the guards we left with it. I do not want to let that damned brother of mine appear to have sent me packing with whatever smear his liaisons with father have cooked up. No, if I cannot force him to spill on his ruses, I will have to make him pay before I depart. Give him something to remember me by when the time comes for me to return. And knowing the bastard like I do... he is unlikely to yield me a thing. Unless the evidence of Triaste's body and the testimony of the guards and healers can be drummed up, and with Roland's corroboration used to paint him for the weasel he is, my revenge on my scheming sibling will have to take different form. Disfigurement and disgrace - whether social or physical - await my poor brother in the morning I feel.

But only if I lay this aside for now and get to it... I must act on certainties to ensure success, and cannot theorise the wiping of the smug look from his face.

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