Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Second Person

Now and then, I get slightly off track with my revision, so I write something peripherally related. In this instance, I wrote a short story about one of the main characters in _Wizard Storm_. Nailo Thamior is a character cloaked in mystery as much as he is in darkness. He's a mean son of a gun, but why? This short story illuminates that question a little, while stretching my second person point-of-view muscles a bit.

“My name is Nailo Thamior, and I will have my revenge.” With that, the hooded patron next to you slams down his mug and storms out into the slashing rain.
You take a long draught of your stout, savoring the warmth the beer brings. A female Halfling skitters out the door after the hooded stranger muttering, “I wish he hadn’t done that.” The door swings shut, leaving the rain out in the cold. The tavern resumes the normal hustle and bustle. You hear crockery clank in the backroom. Here and there, patrons call out for another round of the surprisingly good house stout or a platter of stewed meat. You sigh and focus on shaking off the cold. Your mantle drips steadily around the barstool. Why did bar counters always have to be so far from the fireplace? You look into your empty mug, grab your now-missing neighbor’s mug, and walk over to the fire place. A Tiefling looks up at you and scoots over so you can sit. You shrug off your mantle, sling it over the drying line before the fire, and sit. The Tiefling nods at you and resumes polishing his flute.
You gaze into the fire and absentmindedly sip your stolen stout as the Tiefling begins to play. The flames dance to the jig. For a moment, the flames are a woman. She twirls once, blows you a kiss of flame, and then disappears. You blink and turn to the Tiefling. He winks overtly at you. “Tricks o’ the trade, mate.”
You scoot away from the Tiefling slightly and look into your mug. By Olidimarra! This mug is almost empty. You squint. Something floats near the surface. You reach in and pull out a crumpled piece of parchment. You read: “Slam down your mug as you say ‘I am Nailo Thamior, and I will have my revenge.’ Your money is payment is under the tree by the well east of town.”
You look around, crumple the note into your pocket, and grab your mantle. The slashing rain makes your progress to the well soggy and bitterly cold. A strike of lightning illuminates a small lump against the base of the tree. A sack! Perhaps filled with coins? You look around furtively and grab the sack. The sack jingles as you heft it. You grin. It’s your lucky day.
As you open the sack, gold coins sparkle in the lightning. A piece of wood seems to be in the middle of your gains. You gingerly try to pull the wood out, but it threatens to spill your gold into the ankle-deep mud. You set the sack down and scoop gold into your pockets. After a few handfuls, you touch something sticky.
Suddenly, a twig snaps behind you. You bolt, instinctively protecting your gains. As you look over your should you see three torches surround the tree where you got your booty. Thank Olidimarra for the rain! It will take ages for them to follow you through the muck. You look ahead again. A flash of lightning illuminates a body hanging from the tree in front of you. You freeze.
“You really ought to stick to your own mug.” A gravelly voice says behind you. After that you remember only blinding pain and distant shouts.
* * *
You awake with a pounding headache. The smell of filth cloys the air. You push yourself to your feet and look out of the cell.
“Glad to see you’re awake.” The Halfling from the tavern says. “I was afraid the people would be robbed of their hanging.” She paces in front of your cell. “I have to admit, that little ruse of yours back at the Three Horse Tavern really distracted me.”
You blabber something incoherent.
“Ah, yes. The healer said it might take some time for you to regain speech. Got quite a nice bump on the head from a lumberjack, what got lost in the storm. Says he caught you with a pouchful of coin and blood on your hands.” She strikes a match against the stone wall. “Pretty clever altering your appearance to look like a human, Thamior. Advantage of your dubious heritage, I suppose.” She lights an hour candle. “Seeing the judge in two hours. Not much of a trial, just keeping appearances. What with those murders across three territories, and the bard what says you got all acting strange, avoiding talking like. I suppose that gives you about three hours to live.” She cuts a notch at the third line on the candle. “The Gaoler is preparing your last meal as we speak. With extra spit.” She walks out and closes the door, leaving you with only the candle that marks the approach of death as light.
You stalk your cell for almost one notch on the candle. In an effort to slow the approach of death, you kneel and blow out the candle. As you try to get up, a foot pushes you flat. A gravelly voice speaks. “I apologize, kid.” Silence. “If you had known her – my wife,” the voice pause reverently, softly, “you would understand.”
Rages pounds in your ears, loosens your tongue. “Who are you?!” You shout.

“I am Nailo Thamior, and I will have my revenge.”

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