Full Text Edit
Part 1 Edit
Orskaf Donz: Orskaf lay awake in his bed, staring up at the tents ceiling, his eyes wide. He pulled himself up, the mattress creaking as he swung his legs around, getting up. He pulled a robe around his shoulders and marched into another room of the massive military tent. Pushing aside a flab, he walked over to a shelf where a wooden box sat. The walls of the room had slits in it, making frigid cold in the night. Orskaf cautiously approached the box, taking it down and pulling open the lid. The head of Haddock’s cousin stared up at him, her eyes dead and skin grey. Orskaf remembered looking at her as they road in the carriage and feeling…angry. Angry that some stupid woman looked so smug, angry that she had her own agenda outside of his own, angry, angry, angry! …. He remembered how her head had toppled to his feet…and how he didn’t feel angry anymore. Orskaf’s lips pressed together. He had killed that girl for no reason. His shoulders hunched, his fingers digging into the box, and then he snapped it shut, taking it under his arm, and marching out with it.
Part 2 Edit
Orskaf rode on horse back across the countryside, the box secured to his steeds side. He did not wear his armor, only thick, simple cloths meant for fight against the cold weather. The only thing that indicated his rank was the fine cape that billowed behind him. He eased his horse to a halt, dismounted, and took the box in his arms, marching up to undertakers shop. He banged on the door harshly. An old man with curled hands fumbled on the handle from inside, and then pushed it open. “I say sir!” he barked. “It’s past the midnight hour! You’ll have to wait until six!” he pulled the door again to shut it, but Orskaf’s blade shot out, slamming in between the door and the frame. He kicked against the door, forcing himself inside and making the elderly undertaker cower away from him as he held up trembling hands. “Mercy! Mercy!” he stammered. “P-please…what can I do?” he gasped, his eyes widening. His lip trembled in fear as he stared at the blade and cape. “V-V-Valhallan soldier! Oh gods…oh, our town is sworn to you, what more do you want?”
For this entire one sided conversation Orskaf had remained motionless in the doorway. He held up the box. “I want a burial…” he said simply.
The undertaker held up his hands. “Oh please Sir,” he whimpered. “I’v already sent my boys home for the day I have, and my poor hands can’t even hold tools anymore. I-I wouldn’t be able to dig it, oh please sir don’t kill me, I’ll have my boys do it for you first thing, free of charge to, I swear it!”
Orskaf dropped the box to the floor with a loud thud, sheathing his sword. He walked over to the man carefully, his eyes intense as he stood right in front of him. His hand slowly dropped to his belt, and then his other hand flashed out, grabbing the undertakers wrist and jerking it forward, slapping a bag of gold coins into his hand. He leaned down, getting nose to nose with him. “Bring me a shovel,” he said through clenched teeth.
Whiter than a cloud, the frail old man scurried into the back room, bringing out not only a shovel, but pick, a fine polished wood box, burial herbs, a rectangular gravestone, and a grave marker. “H-here good sir,” he stammered. “You generous payment covers all of it, please, it’s yours…take it.”
And Orskaf did, leaving the man in peace.
Part 3 Edit
The wheel barrel squeaked as Orskaf pushed the materials he had taken up the hillside, coming to a stop by a small tree in the middle of the town cemetery. His throat tightened and he grabbed the shovel out of the wheel barrel. When he glanced down at it, a flashback struck his mind. Images and memories of looking up at Stonegit, the murder that was in the boy’s eyes, the painful smack of the shovel breaking in his head, the terror of knowing death had swallowed him up. Orskaf shook his head, heaving a sigh.
The pick and shovel dug into the ground. Again and again it scraped and scooped and dug deeper into the hardened winter earth, carving a hole that was finally deep enough to accommodate the decapitated head. But just enough wasn’t good enough. Orskaf kept digging, and as he did so, his vision began to blur, and small droplets fell from his eyes, moistening the frozen dirt he was digging up. Finally, after adding another foot to the hole, Orskaf, dirty, sore, and tired, knelt down, opening the box again. He slowly pulled up the head, staring into its eyes. His teeth gritted and his eyes squinted as tears began to freely flow down his cheek. His breathing coming out in little hisses, Orskaf gave a choked sob, and then cried pitifully, lowering and shaking his head. “I’m sorry,” he said, barely about to sob out the words. “I’m so, so sorry…I shouldn’t have killed you!” he growled, angered by his own emotion and guilt, his face red with shame. He heaved jerkily as he tried to fill his lungs, but the cries kept forcing his air out. “I-I-I just got so angry,” he pressed his forehead to the decapitate head. “I’m sor-r-ry.” he inhaled rasply, swallowing despite his throats tightness. He exhaled, and then shifted his position.
The polished box was filled with the fine burial herbs and the head was tenderly places inside, Orskaf’s gentle hands closing the still open eyes. He paused, and then looked down at his shoulder. With a hard jerk he snapped off his Valhallan cape, wrapping the head inside before setting it back down. He carefully placed a hand on the cloth wrapped forehead, a tear landing on the material.
The box was snapped shut, placed in the ground, dirt covered it, the large flat stone was set firmly into the ground above, and the grave maker sunk into the earth, a final stomp from Orskaf’s boot ensure it would stay here. Then Orskaf turned away, marching back down the hillside without another word. The only words of his that would ever be known there, was the small inscription he had carved into the wooden grave marker.
"The Haddock lies here. An angel that blessed the Wilderwest."