Chapter Six – Moon-sick
He must have blacked out, even though a strong man like him never did such a thing. All around him was black, although it receded a little when he opened his eyes, all he could manage was small slits though, his whole head felt numb and swollen.
He had not been drinking yesterday, he had been in the blasted shack wrongly accused, but he did have a few the day before – that was why he had been incarcerated in the first place after all – but it was not that much, he usually could stomach far more. Or had the barkeep put something in his beer? Had he been set up? The locals did seem not to like outsiders much, that was certain.
He felt the ground under him move a bit, or rather, the planks he was lying on. Where was he, on a ship? He wagered a slight gap with one eye but he closed the eyelid fast, the light was blinding. Where was he kept? Why so bright?
He heard steps coming towards him, no doubt his captors coming to torture and gloat at his misfortune.
“Ah, the wretch have awakened I see”. A female spoke, her voice hard and sharp like the sounds of her boots on the wooden planks.
“No use in hiding it”, a sharp boot-tip poked his ribs to punctuate the words, “I know you’re awake and can hear me. My dear sister didn’t hit you that hard”.
Karl did not try to open his eyes as he replied cautiously and a bit more weak-sounding than he would like – especially in front of a woman.
“Yeah, the little one can be pretty stupid at times, especially considering how much a beast you were towards her, I wouldn’t have bothered to save you, let the mob do with you as they pleased. You could have ended with helping her as a crude atonement for your attempt to take her most sacred place”.
“Her sacred… place?” He was pretty sure where this was headed, but better to play stupid and hope his captors would not be so alert so he could escape.
“You know what I mean you rapist scum”.
She was too clever to fall for such a simple trick, he could see that now. Better wait to see what more she would divulge, he did not know nearly enough about where and how he had ended wherever he was to make a successive escape attempt.
He heard a sound of metal being drawn from a sheath, a small knife of dagger by the sound of it, and now she began cutting something with it.
He was beginning to get a bit scared, clearly this woman did not feel his charm, otherwise he would not be captured like this, and maybe she carried a grudge based on his failed attempt to seduce her sister and would use the knife on something more soft than she was currently cutting.
Karl had to open his eyes again, he had to know what could be coming. He opened his left eye very slowly so he could get accustomed to the light.
The first he saw was the wooden planks, the deck of the ship he was on based on the rocking feeling he had earlier. It seemed like it was in good condition, so at least he should not expect to drown, unless thrown over board of course.
The next thing he saw was the leather boot of his captor, sleek, black with polished buckles and long, covering her leg to about the knee. And what a leg, long, slender and very appetizing he must admit. The main course was covered by a pair of deep red and black puffy pants that, even though they bulged on the sides, accented her slender figure very nicely. The pants combined with her ruffled shirt gave her the look of a privateer, her black curled hair and full lips made her a very attractive one.
“Enough of the ogling, your treatment of my sister must have given you enough view of my family, or?” She placed the hard heel of her boot on his thigh, way too close to his most treasured place.
He gulped hard and nodded.
“I found it stupid to help you, but my sister is such a weakhearted person, she is too kind, especially to strangers like you. It has often brought her trouble, that’s why we haven’t lived the same place for long in several years. I thought the remote village would be the best place for her, far away from things that could upset her”.
“And why is that?” Karl dared to ask.
“Because of her… gift”. The black-haired woman shook her head, “it’s me who asks the questions here and who decides what to do with you, not the other way around”.
Karl gulped again and nodded.
“Because you she let it out, the beast, and so we have to move again. How can you take responsibility for that?”
He had no idea, and to be honest no wish to help two sisters of whom at least one were a lunatic, although pretty and certainly worth a good time.
Before their one-sided talk could continue the door to the cabin of the ship burst open and a large creature came onto the deck. It caught sight of the man slumped on the deck talking to the slender female and let out a deep, rolling greeting of sorts.
“So you’re awake now you lusty dog, that’s good. Glad we got you away from the crazy villagers”.
Karl winced at being called a dog, especially at the memory of what happened in the cottage.
“Are you trying to mock my sister, troll?” His captor spat out those words with almost as much malice as she had been addressing him. She most certainly seemed to have a complex about her sister.
“No Verana”, the trollkin almost chuckled, “you know I have the deepest respect for her and you. Especially after you showed how much you care about other people in the village, even saving the man who pestered your sister after he got caught up in it”.
Caught up in what? Caring about the villagers? What had happened there while he was out?
You know how much I worry about her and despise the curse of hers, especially when she gets moon-sick and cannot control herself. Still, she is such a gentle soul, often too gentle. She shot a venomous glance at Karl who, despite still having no clue at what was going on and still being threatened, felt that things might work out after all as the troll was there, somewhat on his side and seemed to be able to tame the wild valkyrie standing in front of him.
Suddenly a dark puff of smoke came from the door leading under deck, the ship began slowing as if the engine had stopped and a small soot covered face emerged from the door.
“Sorry guys, it seems like the engine and I had a small disagreement, I’ll get it running in no time again” the gobber said before returning to her work.
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