In which you, Fair Reader, meet that Guy guy a-midst swinging his hardware.
(No, not that hardware, fetch your minds out of the gutter…)
Mist had worked itself into a steady rain. Nevertheless, Guy gave no explanation as he led his fellows upon a detour slightly east, passing from forest road into ploughed fields. That it was the end of harvest was evident; those fields were thickly populated, villeins hard at work despite the heavy rain. As they approached Matlock, their horses’ hoofs thudding sodden against bare dirt, it was no different. Every able-bodied worker was in the fields. They picked their way through the nigh deserted village and into the marshy outskirts, moving to the cover of a copse of trees. There, within sight, was a familiar and flea-ridden hut.
Familiar to Guy, anyway.
When John started to slide down, Guy gripped his arm. “Stay here,” he ordered, eyed Siham as well. “Both of you.”
Flinging his off leg over the horse’s neck, Guy handed the rein to John and unbuckled his sword from its scabbard, pulling it free with the hard, sweet rasp of fine-forged metal.
Finally. Something to take the edge off. Action. Righteousness, in its most basic form.
The villein was there, alone on his vermin-infested mattress. Sleeping off the pleasantry of a well-scraped plate beside him, possessed of all his limbs and yet sleeping while his kin worked like dogs in the fields. And….
You handed me a secret you had no rights to, you puling traitor, and of that secret you shall tell none else.
This would be pure pleasure.
Guy toed the mattress, gave a growl. When that didn’t work, he kicked the bony haunch protruding from the tattered blanket. “Up.”
“G-gi’ off me!” Still groggy, at first the villein didn’t recognize him. Then he did. “M-my lord?”
Guy grabbed him by his grubby tunic, dragged him up and out through the squat door of the hut into the rain.
“Milord!” the man howled, staggering along. “What? Please, my lord!”
Guy said nothing, pulled his cowl over his face, and kept dragging the villein by his tunic over the sodden ground. The villein’s howling diminished to a moaning whine, his staggers to resigned stumbles and slips. Guy didn’t stop until they came to another stand of stunted trees and thick eelgrass. He gave a shove; the villein went sprawling in the tall, sharp grass.
It was more than adequate, this place.
“M-milord.” The villein dragged himself over, groveled at Guy’s feet. “Please. I didn’t lie, I didn’t. Please, I didn’t—”
Guy hefted his falchion, a curve of silver glittering in the rain.
“This,” he informed the villein, “is quite personal. I’m sorry.”
The villein didn’t even have time to scream.