Coward's WhispersMature

Terrok - Of the Free People

He stumbled further through the jungle grunting angrily. The wound at his leg hummed with every step; a low, painful tune.

"Coward," A voice inside of him accused. "Craven fool."

He stumbled and landed hard on the wet ground. He was nearing the marshes and his hand sunk into the soft earth. Blood had soaked through the bandage on his left arm again. The stink was worse. The yellow pus foamed through the cloth and made him gag. He needed more maggots or he might lose his arm soon.

No one should have been less surprised when Rellon betrayed the free people. Terrok had always hated that hoity toity little shit. And yet, somehow he was not ready for it. He had fought, but he could not save them. His hammer had taken down a few of the sellswords and guards, but there were too many.

When he saw Garron burst into flames, Terrok's blood lust had evaporated. The scream that split from his lips as his skin began to crackle…it was piercing. It tore into Terrok's skull and found his lizard brain. 'RUN. FLEE!' That part of him had cried.

By then everyone else had been dead. The Roc was surrounded, kicking and biting and stabbing to get free but they brought her down with a club. And so he had given himself over to the coward begging to be let out. He swung his warhammer at the main support beam of the tent and heard some confused cries as the tent collapsed around them. He pushed and clawed his way out and found the world outside was no relief. Rinn's men were crashing into their camp, killing anyone who dared brandish a weapon of any kind.

He had run then. Moving to the forest clearing with all his strength. That was when the slash had come. A horsed swordsman missed his neck just barely cutting deep into his left arm. He had screamed and swung his hammer wildly. It caught the man's mount in the head bringing down beast and rider.

The rider lashed out again with a shallow cut into Terrok's leg, but he brought the hammer down in a controlled strike this time. The helm collapsed and blood sprayed across the ground. He felt the adrenaline of killing return and that was the last he remembered of the battle. It was the next morning when he came to. He had been walking through the trees all night in a trance. He was limping and his left arm was covered in blood.

Many of the Free People would head to the marshes, he knew and so that was where he was headed. He stopped occasionally to search for maggots to bind into his arm wound. The slash to his leg had been shallow, but his arm was deep and smelled of infection. The skin turned pallid and at times the blood oozed black from it.

He found the corpse of an elk that afternoon and his stomach rumbled hungrily. The corpse had been there a few days and was stinking and bloated. With a dagger, he sliced away at some of the meat that had yet been scavenged. He picked out the maggots the best he could before sinking his teeth into the raw meat. He had nothing to start a fire and would not waste the time even if he could have. He was too hungry to wait that long. Blood dribbled down his cheeks and he swallowed greedily.

When he had finished what edible meat he could find and cracked a few of the bones to suck at the marrow, he gathered up the maggots. He unwrapped his bandage and with a grunt, shoved a fistful of the squirming creatures deep into the wound. He bit down hard on the pain, feeling as if his teeth might crack. He reached to a bag on his side where he had created a paste of Icebrush and Stunning Nettles to sooth the pain. He slathered it over the wound and rebound it tight with fresh cloth torn from his underclothes.  He was ready to move on.

The fever came the next day. It slowed his pace and he lost his coordination. He was pulling himself up off the muddy ground after falling for the thirtieth or so time when he collapsed again unable to get up. The chills caused him to convulse and sweat stained through his clothing as his fever spiked again.

'You will die here." The voice came again. It sounded like Garron. "Your cowardice brought you only a few days respite. It lost you the glory of dying in battle. Of dying with honor."

"No." He rasped weakly. They walked quietly from the brush, shadows of hate.

Micah, Quenton, and The Roc were standing around him. Grotesque wounds blossomed across their faces and blood dripped from their fingers. Their eyes still shone bright and accusing. Another figure, Garron, pushed through them. His skin was gone, just a skeleton and hanging entrails with a burned faced, barely recognizable.  

"Take him." He said and turned.

"There was noth-nothing I could do." Terrok begged. His head was pounding and he heard the call of a crow racking his brain. The three of them grabbed at him with Ruined hands. He screamed as they began dragging him towards The Other.

The End

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