Tayne’s eyes opened slowly as he awakened, the ability to form coherent thoughts returned despite the great blank holes in his memory. For some unknown reason he had a profound feeling that he had done something incredibly stupid. Three knocks sounded at his bedroom door, his train of thought lost.
“M’Lord?” Dammit Sand.
“Come in.” The door clicked open as his mousey haired manservant pushed into the room with a great smile that beamed annoyingly from his irritating features as he turned and pushed the heavy oak closed behind himself.
“Knew you wasn’t leaving.” He babbled excitedly. “How you knows he was following you?” The Manservant shook his head with disbelief. “You’s the bravest man I knows Lord Tay, how did you knows he would take you down to Thorne an not kill you right there in the street?” Tayne’s jaw hung slack as the boy’s words fumbled forward in staggered torrents. “An when you forced Thorne to let you accompany him to rescue Amelia…” The shine in his eyes grew in intensity as he stared deep into the mud brown of Tayne’s own. “I’m sorry.”
“What?” An incredulous expression played across Tayne’s features. I did what!
“For doubtin you M’Lord.” The lad evidently took the degenerate’s question in query of the apology, rather than “What the fuck did I do?” which is what he actually meant.
Tears welled around the young man’s eyes as he nodded at Tayne with an expression of adoration. “Me loyalty is yours, Me’Lord.” Fuck. Fuck Fuck Fuck. The boy shook his head as if to clear, his gaze still slightly misty quickly returned to “Lord” Tay. “M’lord, the groups watin on your arrival at the stables, Lord Thorne said to take as much time as you needs.” The drug infused memories of the night previous began to seep back into the forefront of Tayne’s mind, accompanied by a mental groan of frustration. Only you could get yourself into a situation like this, you dumb fuck.
With a shake of the head and a grimace Tay pushed himself from his bed. Gingerly the man took a step forward, weight slowly lowered onto his bad leg with his face already set in a prepared grimace. Nothing. No pain at all. With a frown of confusion the degenerate lifted the odd long gown that the surgeon had evidently stuck him in, to expose the upper portion of his thigh, the area he had damaged by running through the wall clearly wrapped with bandages. What the hell? Carelessly Tayne prodded the area with an extended finger. The pain that bloomed almost immediately so excruciatingly painful that Tay found himself flat on his arse as he dropped to the ground with a yelp.
“Probly ain’t a good idea to do that Sir.”
“No shit.” Tayne growled in reply as he returned to his feet. A short while later the pair were dressed and ready, an easy feat due to the fact that Tayne had first arrived at the complex without a single possession to his name, not even the shirt, or lack of – on his back. “I suppose we had better get to the stables.” Muttered the degenerate sourly, to which the manservant nodded with a grin, excited to partake in the noble quest that awaited them. Idiot.
The walk to the stable was not far, the journey at an end way too quickly for likes of Tayne Halmar as the wooden structure of the stable steadily approached at a speed so fast that in no time at all he found himself before the wide threshold, heart racing with fear. A burst of applause greeted the miserable cretin as he stepped on through from a good six men on horseback, each laden with weapons, armour and supplies. The entire group turned to beam at the new arrival as gloved and gauntleted hands smashed together in loud claps, some accompanied by a few cheers of respect. Fuck.
One of the men Tay recognised from the disastrous feast a day or so prior, a slightly rotund Lord named Goswel Boeflum that had sat less than two seats down from his right. From what Tayne remembered the bloke seemed fairly nice, though moderately dismissive… but who could blame him? A few days ago Tayne would have as much intrigue to these men as a dog’s turd after being stepped on, he’d probably smelt as bad too. His gaze returned to inspect the rest of the group – A blonde haired blue eyed youth, no more than eighteen winters of age sat beside Thorne himself, which on closer inspection seemed likely that the two were related, their sharp almost angularly handsome features too close to not be of the same bloodline. The third Noble was not a man that Tayne had seen before, a raven headed young man mounted upon the back of a great black horse, roguishly handsome with a mischievous twinkle in his deep green eyes. His good looks spoiled none by the great shiner he wore like a badge of honour over his left eye. Leather hunters garments ado as black as the coat of his beast adorned his body, accompanied by a voluminous hooded cloak that hung from his shoulders as dark as shadow itself. The boy grinned as he noticed Tayne’s stare.
The other three men that accompanied the Lords appeared to be nothing but manservants, ready to serve their masters even on the field of battle, only The Bloodthorne rode unassisted, his dislike for being waited on well known.
“Lord Tay, I would like you to meet my son, Javid Von’Faygan.” Thorne smiled warmly as he spoke with a nod that indicated the blonde boy beside him. The lad in return beamed at the degenerate as he approached, his own nod of greeting directed at Tay. “Well met my Lord.” The young man’s voice was deceptively deep, seemingly aged beyond what it should be, a voice of power not unlike his uncles back within the complex.
“Well met.” Tayne replied offhandedly and then panicked as realisation hit that his blunt reply may have been misconstrued as rudeness, the posh folk were ever so touchy. Luckily enough Thorne’s boy continued to smile as the Bloodthorne began to speak once more.
“And this blackeyed little scoundrel is Tevin Hawkmoon, an unfortunate requirement of having my son accompany us on our quest due to that fact that the two seem to have been inseparable from birth.” Though his words were insulting his tone made it clear they were obviously meant in jest, the gaze he threw over to young Tevin as loving and warm as the look he had shared with his own son. The moment his introduction was finished the young black haired man dropped from his beast, his black cloak a flurry in the air behind him as he rushed over to Tayne to grasp his hand.
“It is an honour Lord Tay.” The young man grinned with a seemingly permanent look of mischief that made it hard to decipher whether or not the lad was being sincere or sarcastic.
“The honour is mine young man.” Tayne replied politely to play it safe. Getting good at this posh talk Tay old boy. At this, the man shot off back to his horse, remounted at a speed so fast that had Tayne blinked he would have missed it. Thorne chuckled and shook his head as in exasperation.
“You’ll be pleased to know that it appears our worrying was for nothing. The slavers that hold Amelia have sent word asking for a ransom to be paid, or as they call it a “finder’s fee”, for her safe return. We go now to meet their caravan out in the desert.” Both Tevin and Javid frowned apparently in disappointment, evidently this reveal was not intended for Tayne’s ears alone, and by the look on the two boys face’s, it appeared that they had been looking forward to a bit of a scrap. Of course Tayne himself was beyond elated, somehow he had managed to wrangle it that it looked like he was actually going to live another day!
With a grin so wide it hurt, Tayne leaped up into the saddle of the beast provided for his use. The wound on his thigh forgotten until a sudden wince of pain crinkled the degenerates brow before it was once more discarded in place of the fantastic news that Thorne had just informed him of.
The group rode for an hour or so together, the servants at the rear in silence whereas the five, or more realistically four Lords and one pretender, rode up front in jovial conversation. Tayne had amazingly even decided that he was actually enjoying himself, the adoring words of praise spoken by the group of powerful men inflating his ego to the extent that he half believed the things they said to be true. Of course he had meant to get kidnapped so that he could be led to where Hack had stashed Thorne and hopefully Amelia, Come on, what other reason could there be? And yes it was a mystery how the ugly bastard’s trousers had got caught around his ankles! What a lucky break! Tayne chuckled as Tevin began to recount the bar fight he had been in over one girl or another that he couldn’t even remember what she looked like, let alone her name – that had earned him the great black-green bruise that covered one eye, the lad, it turned out, was fantastic company.
“Shhh!” Thorne held up one hand as he indicated toward the group of men stood assembled up on the sandy dune before them. Four males. One of average size headed up the group, his head wrapped in a white turban that trailed with a loose strand down his back as was the fashion of the desert people. A long flowing black robe enveloped the rest of his body in so much fabric that he appeared to float, his arms and feet hidden from view entirely. The illusion was so strong in fact, that the heavy iron belt of the guild of slavers that hung from his waist made it seem that if it wasn’t for the weight of the iconic piece, he would have floated away entirely.
The three monstrous brutes with arms as thick as Tayne’s waist that surrounded him were evidently his “Enforcers”. Brown skin bulged in attempt to cover the huge muscles beneath, each move cause a ripple of power to shudder through their gorilla-like bodies.
“Javid, Tevin and Goswel, stay here and stay silent. Tay, with me. “ Silently Tayne dismounted, his skin began to crawl under the gaze of the brown skinned man, his dark eyes seemingly locked to him as he and Thorne approached slowly across the sands, the youths left behind in their wake. “Hail!” Called Lord Von’Faygan with a raised hand and a stern face, to which the slaver responded with a nod.
“Lord Thorne.” The black robed man smiled in an almost friendly fashion. “It is good to meet you.” His voice thick with a rural desert dweller’s accent.
“And you, -?”
“Tayme Balmar” Tayne’s eyebrows raised. What the fuck are the chances of that. The false Lord’s eyes narrowed suspiciously as he glared at the man before him. Did he know? Was he taunting him?
“A pleasure.” Thorne nodded, “My friend here is Lord Tay of Dagonia.” Thorne clapped Tayne in his overly familiar way on his back, the force of which, as usual, almost knocked him flat on his face.
“An honour.” The slaver replied with a slight bow, seemingly without mockery. Perhaps it really is just is an insane coincidence. Thorne slowly made a show of lifting his cloak to reveal the large sack that hung beneath tied to his belt. The move deliberate to show he was not reaching for a weapon. With a tug the sack tore free with a clink of metal.
“My thanks for your assistance Tayme, we appreciate your help in locating my niece.”
“Anytime my Lord.” He indicated behind him with a gesture, two more men stepped from behind a sandy rise, Amelia held roughly between them, bright blue eyes marred with red as tears steadily leaked down her cheeks, a slight bruise covered one eye. “I must say, it has been a pleasure doing busine-” The brown skinned man’s eyes went wide as a spray of blood left his mouth, a green and blue fletched arrow seemingly materialised before the two’s eyes, embedded in the slavers throat.
Tayne’s eyes opened wide with horror as the blood-spray coated his face with a shiny red sheen.
“Dammit Tevin.” Thorne shouted angrily as he tugged free the great sword that seemed permanently strapped to his back, the three muscled giants already mid charge toward them.