The King & The Cluxtch: Part 1

The see had taught me a lot. When I had first arrived I had been naive to its ways, the ways of survival. I had learned quickly to use a blade and always carry a torch. The methods I used seemed strange and unorthodox to the natives. In fact, many of them scoffed at me at first saying “his movements are so ugly and jerky.” However, I knew only what the see had taught me and I had become quick and unforgiving with any blade yet with no one to teach me I had not obtained any of the popular and known styles. I saw my way as the absence of style, a flow that carried wherever it was needed and filled all gaps. My movement could not be predicted and so to the other hunters that I met, my ways were strange and dangerous. In the end, many minds would be changed… One way or another.

The day that I met the king I was having a bad day. I had come from a village to the north which was a small place, but they had a strong community and the news from all over the see could be heard in its fold. I was at a local market where many of the village’s hunters and laborers spent free time. I was having an intoxicating beverage and talking to some of the natives. One of them was from a province called Loocodar and as I introduced myself as Salt, his expression turned strange and awkward. “Salt, is that a common name?” I was confused and taken off guard, I did not answer. “Oh Yes, I have heard of you, you are a hunter of the strange creatures, word of your ways has spread.” His face showed a hint of anger now. “What troubles you friend?” I said with a measured restraint. He stood up now knocking his stool to the ground. “Well friend, I have just come from Loocodar and I met Salt there.” Now the sarcasm was thick and laced with detectable contempt, some how I had offended this traveler. “In fact I personally learned the ways of the blade from him, and you are not him!” His tone had grown to a roar and the drink had riled him up. My hand slowly moved to my blade, but I remained calm. I considered the possibility there could there be another Salt, perhaps in Loocodar. “I don’t know who you met but I assure you I am Salt and I have no quarrel with you.” His eyes flashed with rage at my even tone, He pulled his blade and openly challenged me. I started up from the table to leave but he lunged for me before I could stand. I had learned that in the see, when you had to fight it must be with out mercy or hesitation. I caught his blade hand at the wrist as it came down to strike and forced it to drive into the table. My blade followed a split second later and pinned his hand to the table. He let out a shrill cry of disbelief and pain. I spoke to him as I pulled the blade from his hand. “This wound will heal, but you should be sure of who you are dealing with, just because someone says they are doesn’t mean they are, and just because someone is polite it doesn’t mean they’re weak.” I had never been to Loocodar, but there were many in this village that had and after some questioning there was no doubt someone was pretending to be me. They had explained that this Salt had come through Loocodar and shown a group of hunters how to use the torch and blade to hunt new game. He had taken payment and food and even one of the tribe’s daughters, and then he had disappeared.

My anger was intense as I stormed out of town towards Loocodar. My thoughts raced I had been robbed before in the see, but this was different. I was so angry I walked right up on to the gruesome scene without even noticing. Suddenly I was surrounded by the hollowed out shells of what I later learned to be armored guard tails. The atmosphere itself was thick with the tension and the mist from a fresh kill. My awareness snapped back into focus just before I heard the echoing bellow of the Bottom feeder…..