CHAPTER FOUR: In the Hands of Evil (8)

     The still shivering servant mustered its courage once sheltered under the umbrella of job security, and Hogwash appeared front and center, excitedly eager to demonstrate its usefulness to Zed. It straightened out, proudly gaining another inch or two in height, (but still severely slouching,) then lifted a gnarled finger and shouted arrogantly in some jumbled up ancient language.

     Shenon, who had been screaming and protesting aloud, “Let me go,” while being carelessly hauled around by the tresses of her hair, was flung rear end into a pearl colored pile of chilling wetness. She skidded upon the slush and halted at the hooves of an animal with a foam-speckled snout and needle sharp teeth. The mounted rider, the human daring enough to saddle himself upon the back of a monster known as a mongrel, had such a treacherous demeanor that she was instantly paralyzed with dread.

     The troll that had successfully apprehended her held aloft a heavy, well-crafted mace as well. It sorely rubbed a red welt as it explained something to Hogwash. Zed noticed that half of a mouthful of teeth was missing from it as it spoke in swollen tones. Then he shifted scrupulous stares at even intervals as he inspected the weapon and the captive concurrently. The mace marked a particular interest in his cold, calculating eyes.

     “He says that eleven of our warriors have fallen, me lord.”

     “Does it say if there are any others?”

     There was a short, hurried debate. “H-he says no – she was alone,” Hogwash answered pathetically. It predicted a harsh reaction and hastily added, “But he says that she swung it around with crippling might. She most probably-”

     Zed studied the mace, ignoring Hogwash as he interrupted by replying rhetorically, “Interesting. Forged from the steel extracted out of the veins of Ryndor . . . it is quite outdated but exquisitely maintained. Although,” he ventured a gaze at Shenon, who was frantically surveying her solemn surroundings, “this one hardly appears old enough to be the true owner.” The end of his staff stroked her cheek, caressing away whatever hair hung over her brow. “Tell me,” he continued as he leaned forward, “what do they call you?”

    She remained silent. Whether or not she was quietly translating his speech was difficult to discern, until she answered him simply by spitting onto his face. Shenon was revolted by the idea of conversing with someone traveling around freely with a retinue of wily menaces. His choice of jewelry gave him an exceedingly untrustworthy quality of appearance, she determined as well.

The End

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