Topic: The Leper

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    kou the rogue
    kou the rogue

    The Leper

    A wobbly, old man shuffles through the bustling marketplace, making his way towards a stack of wooden planks lying next to the hangman’s scaffold. The man clumsily climbs up the top of the stack and is now standing no more than fight feet from the ground. Townsfolk and merchants begin to take notice as the wobbly man reveals a metal bell pulled from inside his seemingly limitless layers of musty, unwashed clothing. Shaking the bell to and fro, the bell emits a loud, obnoxious and uncoordinated tune, but nonetheless successfully further grabbing the attention of the entire marketplace. 

    “Hear ye, hear ye! Just in from top o’tha hill. Ser Baliol Von-Hurst, lord of the Von-Hurst estate has been called away from the estate and thus will be unable ta hold court till a further date, which is ta’ be announced at another time.”

    A freckled child from in the crowd quickly responds to the town crier’s announcement. 

    “Oi, but me fadder’s stuck in one o’da cells after a night o’ drinking too much and causing a scene. The guards threw em in a cell for the night till he’d sleep it off. Is me fadder gonna be let out den? He didn’t commit no serious offense.”

    The town crier squints down at the freckled girl while nodding with understanding. He attempts to clear his throat of thick mucus caused by an over consumption of morning dairy. Before succession, the town crier is cut off without a sound emitting from his lips. Another one of the townsfolk, this time a merchant, begins to plead his case. 

    “I also must ask, but vill my brazah be able to be freed from his cell as vell? Zere vas a mishap yesterday, as he vas falsely accused of stealing an apple from ze very stall ve own here in ze marketplace. As ve are foreigners of zis region, ze guards often look upon us vis questions ven anysing seems to occur. Vile inspecting our recent shipment ze guards took my brazah and decided to arrest him rather than to question him. Surely, my brazah vill be removed from his cell?”

    The crowd then erupts as the townsfolk all begin to voice their particular qualms regarding the matter. The town crier aggressively chimes his bell until the crowd settles down once more.

    “I understand your concerns but unfortunately, none may leave their cell unless a member o’tha Von-Hurst family dictates so, such is the law o’da land.”

    A rotten apple is thrown from the aggravated crowd directly into the town crier’s shoulder. Slowly dropping to the floor in wet pieces, the soft and mushy apple retained closer consistency to thick porridge. Upon further inspection, the town crier looks down and notices squirming maggots in the apples pulpy innards. Looking back into the crowd, the town crier found the perpetrator immediately. The freckled girl, with a face red as a beet began screaming at the town crier.

    “My fadder ain’t done nothin wrong! Ya can’t do this to us, we ain’t got enough gold to last us to tha’ week, we’ll starve without me fadder!”

    The town crier continues to nod at the girl just as before while also brushing off the apple’s remnants from his shoulder. The freckled girl, now breathing heavily, reaches for another apple lying on the marketplace ground when she’s met with a heavy, forceful hand on her back. The estate guards pull her off her feet and begin dragging her away from the crowd. The town crier pulls their attention back with a grumbling cough, finally shaking free the mucus entirely.

    “Allow me to use this time to also remind you that interfering with an official announcement o’da estate is considered a crime and any offenders will be sent to sit in one o’da cells till tha next court date is in session.” The town crier states with obvious intention.

    Half a mile leaving the estate, on a rough an narrow dirt road, traveled a horse and carriage rumbling and shaking as it hit each stone and pebble on the road. The man leading the carriage, a scarred man with an obvious glass eye that was sunk deeply into his socket, creating a humorous yet unsettling appearance.

    “You sure ye don’t wanna be taking rest at the next town, won’t be another one for quite a long while, Ser Von-Hurst?”

    A tall, powerful framed man exits from behind the draped carriage. The setting sun sitting on the horizon shines it’s light onto the man’s face, revealing a heavy iron mask clinging to his head. The iron mask allowed no flesh shown, less the man’s jaw and chin.

    “No, my friend. I prefer we refrain from any populated towns or cities. I’ve made certain we’ve been supplied all proper requisitions for our journey. Also, please call me Baliol from here on forward. With this curse of the flesh, I will no longer carry the name of Von-Hurst.” Baliol’s voice proclaimed in a dull, hollowed pitch.

    “As you say, Ser-, I mean Baliol. This hamlet we’re headed to, what makes you so certain of it’s prospects?” The rider said as he poked around his glass eye’s flesh.

    “I was given word by a trusted source, the estate we’re headed towards invites adventurers of all virtues. Perhaps I might find refuge among the rejected, the villainous and the mad?” Baliol said with hope.

    “How do ya think the Von-Hurst estate will handle you’re leaving? Are the people aware the misses has also fled back to her former home with her father?”

    Still poking at his eye, he relieves a yellow fluid trapped within his socket which exits through all four corners. With obvious alleviation, the driver proceeds to wipe the yellow discharge from his fingers onto his shoulder.

    “I was unable to reveal such information as I could not bear the weight of the imaginable let down resulted from her departure. The town truly loves her, as do I. It pains me greatly to think her last memory of my face was one of leaking puss from my malformed flesh.”

    Baliol said as he looked back towards his proud estate, peering through his thin openings from his mask.

    “While a moment of sadness may leave them hindered for a short time, the townsfolk are a strong people. With bonds of iron thicker than this forsaken mask, I could have no more confidence than if God himself were to descend from the Heavens and assure me of the continued prosperity of the Von-Hurst esate.”
    With said words Baliol felt inspired and returned to his carriage.

    A farmer’s stake pierces through the town crier’s chest as his body is lifted high into the air, blood fills into his lungs and he lets out a gargling bellow.

    “One more step and it’s the gallows for the lot of ye!”
    The town guards scream as the townsfolk and merchants line up with dulled lumber axes and kitchen knives. Behind the guards lies the freckled girl’s body, bloodied and trampled. Fires and screams overtake the market square as the townsfolk and merchants continue to slaughter one another.

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