Small Time Vengeance
A few weeks ago, I wrote a prequel of sorts to Crimes Against Magic, by the name of Small Time Vengeance. It was a flashfriday piece, my first ever, and since I spoke about it, I’ve been asked by a few people if I plan on posting it on my blog. Well, as I’ve been very busy this week, and haven’t had time to write anything interesting. I figured now was as good a time as any.
So, I present you to you. Small Time Vengeance.
Near Soissons, France 1414.
The only reason the man wasn’t dead was because he hadn’t taken part in the raid. He swung gently from the rope I’d wrapped around his chest and under his arms, before I’d hoisted him off the ground. After gaining the information I’d needed about his friends, a cloth gag ensured he would make no sound, and if he woke up and thought about making problems, the four corpses of his comrades, lying clearly visible below him, would prove I wasn’t someone he wanted pissed off.
The four had died while they slept, their throats cut without a sound by the light of their campfire. They’d deserved no less, but my anger would be saved for the man who truly deserved it, the chief of the bandits I’d decimated.
I sat on the thick branch of the old oak tree, high above the ground, watching the man swing slowly back and forth beneath me.
My patience was rewarded as the moon reached its fullest and the sound of laughter came through the forest. The newcomers called to their friends in the camp, their laughter dying when there was no reply. Weapons were drawn and their leader barked orders, as he realised that there would be no answer from his erstwhile followers.
I stepped off the branch and white glyphs erupted over the backs of my hands and up my arms, as my air magic slowed my descent. When I was just over head height with the bandits, I forced the magic down toward my feet, so that I smashed into the ground with a roar. Leaves and dirt were thrown into the air, causing enough confusion and panic that the two closest bandits died before the leaves had drifted back to the earth. A blade of white-hot fire cut through their throats as I moved past them, out of the clearing and into the darkness of the forest, where the blade vanished from my hand.
Four were left in the circle of their camp, their eyes flickering frantically at the merest hint of movement.
The chief grabbed the nearest minion and pushed him. “Get in their and find him,” he barked.
I used my fire magic to see in the dark, turning my vision into a mixture of reds and oranges without casting any visible light from me.
Two large men crept into the forest, their daggers drawn. I moved behind them and took the first one with a blade of air into the base of his skull, almost decapitating him. He fell forward, alerting his companion who turned toward the noise, only to have a gust of air lift him off his feet and crash him into a nearby tree. The angle of his neck suggested he wouldn’t get back up.
“What are you fucking idiots doing in there?” the chief shouted from the tree line, his voice full of barely concealed anxiety.
I charged out of the forest and caught him in the jaw with a blast of air that threw him onto the ground.
I sprinted to the final bandit and he swiped at me with his sword, but I dodged aside and broke his knee with a swift kick. He screamed in pain and fell back, but I caught him and snapped his neck before he hit the ground.
The chief had gotten back to his feet and drawn a dagger, waving it in my direction. A gust of hardened air removed the danger and a second shattered his arm. He howled in pain and I punched him in the stomach, doubling him up, and then pushed him onto the ground.
“Who are you?” The chief’s voice was raspy with pain.
The noise had woken the hanging man, and he watched wide-eyed as I picked up the dagger and crouched beside his boss.
“You terrorised that village. You went there time and time again to steal and have your fun. And when a boy of twelve stood up to you, you murdered him in front of his parents and maimed the man who tried to stop you.”
I smiled down at the chief as fear oozed out of him. “You did everything in your power to break them. But you know what? When I arrived there two days ago, the first thing they did was offer me hospitality.
“They warned me of you and your bandits. They made sure I was going the other way. They wanted to keep me safe from you. Even though you tortured those people, you couldn’t break them.”
“So?” he groaned as I placed the tip of the dagger against his stomach, drawing blood.
“So, clearly you’re very bad at your job. And someone that terrible needs to be shown how to do it properly. So allow me to educate you on the fine art of breaking someone.”
The chief’s screams and pleas lasted only a short time. I gained no enjoyment from what I did, but it needed doing.
The surviving bandit begged me to spare him as I cut him down and removed his gag.
I nodded. “But you’re going to do something for me in return for your life.”
“Anything,” he said immediately.
“You’re going to gather up every last coin and item of worth from your fellow bandits here, and you’re going to take it back to the village you stole it from. You will do this tonight. You will beg for forgiveness. And if you fail to do any of these things, I will find you.” I dragged him over to the body of his chief.
“And I will make what I did to him appear as a tap on the wrist, are we clear?”
The man nodded repeatedly.
“One more question,” I said. “Have you heard about Soissons?”
“You don’t want to go there. The French army murdered everyone. I’ve heard stories of monsters and demons roaming the city.”
“Monsters and demons?” I smiled. “Sounds like my kind of city.”
I hope you enjoyed it.
There are a few links this week, that I suggest you all go and check out.
The first is actually on my blog. An interview with the very talented Colin F. Barnes. My first ever in fact, although not my last by any stretch of the imagination.
Colin also repaid the favour and interviewed me, which was a lot of fun.
Speaking of fun, Tom Harris had be take the Badger, which I assure you is not some weird euphemism. It has to be read to be believed.
Debra L. Martin also did an interview with me this week.
The fantastic Keri Lake conducted the last interview of the week with me.
And last, but by no means least, Kendall Grey allowed me to steal her blog for the day to talk about the day before I published my book. Something I hope you find both fun and interesting.
As for Crimes Against Magic, well it’s doing okay. A sixth, 5 star review was superb, and i’ve had a few people e-mailing me to tell me how much they loved it. Thanks to all of you who took the time.
That’s it for this week.
And as he proved so popular last time, I’ll leave you with one image.