Thursday, September 20, 2007

The coming of Gajarpan

Bodush retired early to his lodgings after the hanging, the cries of the mob as the wrecker captain was strung up, reminding him too much of the orcs' savage laughter and hooting. He had watched too many helpless captives being murdered at the hands of a merciless orc mob, to ever enjoy the spectacle of execution. No matter how many times he told himself that she had been a ruthless murder, or reminded himself of all the grief and suffering she had left in her wake, it still left a bitter taste in his mouth, and he refused all invitations to the celebrations that followed Erqua's death. Instead he locked himself up in his bedchamber with the ingredients he had purchased earlier, an assortment of herbs and other ingredients, a small cauldron and a cage containing a tiny viper.

Staying up all night, chanting and slowly boiling the contents of the cauldron, he slowly attuned himself to the small animal. Getting dizzy from the noxious fumes and lack of sleep, he cut his finger and let a few drops of his lifeblood fall into the cauldron, where it mixed with the poison he milked from the viper.

As dusk approached again, he opened the small cage, and carefully took out the small snake. He slowly dipped into the cooling liquid of the cauldron, feeling it wriggle in fear as it was held under for a few seconds. Lifting the snake, and still holding it, he knelt and drank from the cauldron.

His mind reeled for a few seconds as the memories and emotions of the snake overwhelmed him, the joy of a hot rock in spring, fear as two legged giants approached, the taste of a small mouse being swallowed, and the drowsy cold of autumn. He could feel the snake coil itself around his wrist, tightening its grip. He stared into the snake's eyes, and for a second, he could not tell if he was a man holding a snake, or a snake coiled around a man. Slowly the sensation passed and the snake let go, falling to the ground, coiling up in front of the heat of the fireplace.

As he knelt and gingerly reached out to stroke its scaly head, he felt waves of well-being radiate from his familiar, mirroring his own sense of relaxation and completion.

Looking down at his familiar, he knew that he never would have to be alone again.

"I think I will call you Gajarpan", he said to the snake, knowing that it did not understand.

The orcish word for snake, comprised of the words for silent and fear, seemed strangely appropriate.

1 comment:

Mendez said...

So in addition to the Riding dog and the Donkey we now have a snake?
Are we adventurers or a travelling zoo?