Tales from Forgotten Europa

Shadow and Light

Vasilli’s fate is sealed, nothing can change that now. I have come back to Moskovia for one purpose, and that will be fulfilled tonight. The debt owed to Clan Hardforge will be paid in blood. I go to see that they get every drop they deserve.

The warehouse burns, and all I can do is think of the fight to come. The days of caring for the ebb and flow of commerce and all of the politics and power plays that go with it are long gone for me. Whether this thwarts some larger more sinister plan by Vasilli and his handlers, or whether its just smoking him out of his hiding place is of no consequence.

Sure enough, Kal got word that Vasilli would be meeting with some of his associates, and a small army of sell-swords, after his precious inventory was destroyed. That won’t help him though… tonight his life will end.

The meeting place is easy enough to find, as are the dozens of men surrounding the inn. My comrades come up with a suitable plan of attack… a bit round about if you ask me. I can remember the days in the tunnels with the ‘breakers deep under the karak. A good plan was as important as your axe and your mail. It’s been a long time since any of those tactics seemed useful. Blast through like a vengeful storm and don’t stop until there’s nothing left… this has been the only plan I’ve needed for so long… since the fields of Felkirk.

Eventually everyone is comfortable enough to get underway, and the mage opens a hole in the outside wall. There they are… mercenaries… a dozen or more… most clad in some kind of mail or even plate. I suppose Vassili was willing to break the bank to keep Kal from breaking his neck.

In a split second the internal debate spills out. How to balance the dark and the light? Rage versus righteousness. Can one embody both of these things without betraying one or the other?

The brutality of the fight is abhorred by those around me who don’t understand. It is not ruthlessness for its own sake, it is not the demons that I cage gaining control of my will and feeding on the victims they’re presented. It is passion made fury.

Would the priest call for Thorain’s favor halfheartedly? How would Asgard’s generosity turn if he did? No, he beseeches those blessings with all of his being, why should I do less? Why should Beordun expect less of this child than any other? Why should Kal expect less than total support of his cause? No, every ounce of my spirit is unleashed and those of weaker stock fall broken to the ground. Many try to run, but they are marked as cowards and dispatched as such.

The battle is a blur of silent screams. The Stormhammer blasts apart the bodies of Vasilli’s hirelings. With one vicious stroke the sound of thunder in the distance breaks the imposed quiet of the scene as another body falls to the ground. All of the elements are in concert now, and the wisps of eldritch energy play on the massive stone of the dwarven relic as it claims another. With one final stroke the ring of a breastplate being fractured fills the room… more… but none present themselves… “MORE!”

Let those who cannot recognize cower, let those who dare not comprehend condemn, but let none doubt the fury born of Asgard’s fire!

For a moment the urge to take the fight beyond these walls is almost too much to ignore, then Kal appears at the top of the stairs, covered in sprays of blood most of which are not his own. The look in his eyes says it all… it is done. The look is familiar, justice and vengeance are served, but there is no sense of victory, no satisfaction, only more questions. Too well I have known that feeling and borne the weight of what it represents… I hope he got more from Vasilli than just his worthless life.

Kal’s look snaps me from the wild dream of combat, and all I can do is kneel and let my muscles burn.

As I look around at the aftermath I can only smile to myself as I remember what the wizard told me. There are many eyes watching, hoping to control a bit of Beordun’s power for themselves… I hope they like of what they just saw…



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