Thursday, June 16, 2011

Information, the hard way

Trask, Brother Michael and the others worked out their plan of campaign in the church that afternoon. The pastor would not participate because he was terrified of the mayor's wife, but Brother Michael persuaded him to contribute the silver candleholders from the altar. He and Bottoni would spend the evening melting them down to fashion musket balls for the hunt. The landlord's daughter would not go with the hunters but she agreed to provide sufficient food and drink for the expedition. Bottoni proposed forming the men of the town into a militia but Brother Michael had already explored that possibility and had found only two reliable men willing to join them.  Trask was sure that the three of them and the two townsmen were more than sufficient to bring a rogue small town mayor and his overbearing wife to heel, but his companions were certain that the mayor and his wife were servants of the devil and more powerful than Trask knew. The captain resisted arguing the point because he was tired of hearing about it. He would find the mayor the next day and put a bullet in him, man or beast. Then he would return to civilization as quickly as possible. All this talk of devils and monsters was fraying his nerves.

 It remained only to determine where the mayor and his band were holed up. Brother Michael agreed to question the pastor and the two reliable men on that point while Magda would return to the Slaughtered Ox. The young admirers of the mayors wife tended to frequent the inn of an evening, drinking and posturing. She would listen to their conversations for clues. Trask decided to loiter in the market square to see what he could learn there. The group agreed to meet back at the church at dawn to share what they had learned.

Trask had not been in the market place very long when he saw the two young men who had been watching him at the inn that morning walk into the square in the company of a third man. The two seemed to defer to this third individual. The captain was in a foul mood with all the talk of bogeymen, the lousy food and the surly bumpkins. On an impulse he decided the third young 'gentleman' was the ringleader who would surely have the information on where the mayor was hiding.
"You, sir!" the captain called out to the bumpkin in his best parade ground voice "Stand fast. I wish to speak to you." The young man stiffened as if he had been slapped, and his hand went to his sword hilt.
"You're a long way from home, stranger. Be glad I have business elsewhere or I would remind you of your manners."
The sneering tone of his voice and the smirking faces of his companions was the wrong side of enough for Trask. His blade was in his hand as if of it's own will. "Draw your steel, sir" he snarled "Defend yourself!"
The ringleader and his two companions all drew, but as the leader moved forward to meet Trask the others hesitated. Trask's instinct told him this young thug would have to die to bring the rest of his gang to heel. He noted the other two trying to gather the courage to join the fight, so he made it quick. His opponent made a ham handed overhead cut, which the captain parried easily. A quick back and forth slash set the ringleader stumbling back and a straight thrust to the chest put him on the ground. With one eye on the other two men Trask pointed his sword at the throat of the dying ringleader. "Where is the mayor hiding?" he said. The wounded man glared back, his face distorted with rage and pain and something else. Something unnatural. "She will avenge me!" he snarled,  and then he died.
Trask looked up at the other two thugs, who hadn't moved to help their leader. "Drop your blades, or defend yourselves!" he said. Both men dropped their swords and stood still, thoroughly cowed. The captain questioned them about where the mayor and his wife had gone and they gave up their location immediately. There was a stream that entered the forest about two miles south of the town. Follow that stream for a mile into the forest and one would come to the mayor's lair. Trask's instinct had been right. The loss of their leader had taken the fight out of them. "See to your friend" he said and walked away toward the inn.


  1. Warning the "pack" of his intentions via his question . . . not the smartest fellow in the world, is he?

    -- Jeff

  2. In truth, Trask wasn't the smartest kid in his class, but he is all the Elector can afford. A brighter spark wouldn't allow himself to be used as werewolf bait.