"The Past Catches Up" is a Season 2 thread written November 21-22, 2014, during which the leader of Port Krum, Tal Donz, demands to kill Stonegit in revenge for Stonegit murdering Tal's father Orskaf.
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Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit broke out in a sweat just thinking about Haddock arranging a sparring match with Akkey. He guided Haddock into the throne room so they would be alone, whispering to him. “Listen, the Warden can sense other spiritual presences, so can I because she’s possessing me. There is something up with Akkey, something so strong it hurt the Warden when she tried to find out who it was. My King…don’t trust whoever it was you spoke to in there.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Slow down Stonegit. That’s a lot of information all at once,” Haddock said. “Are you saying Akkey is possessed?”
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "That’s exactly what I’m saying," Stonegit said. "But I don’t know by what or how much influence it has…but I’m willing to make a bet."
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "It’s a similar question I could ask of you…" Haddock said… "how much influence does the Warden have on you? No, no, I know what you said about the contract… but… well… how can everyone all of a sudden be possessed? You, that man in the prison, Akkey. Who’s next?”
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "The Warden isn’t bending my will. She’s to comfortable to try something dumb like this" Stonegit mumbled, his eyes wide with thought as he rubbed his chin. "And hopefully I’ll be able to widdle that ‘people possessed’ number down in the near future."
The guard from before opened the door to the chambers, calling across the room. “Your majesty there is a village chief here. He says he has traveled very far and wishes to meet with you.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "We’ll talk of this more later," Haddock responded to Stonegit. Resisting the urge to rub his eyebrow wearily from this horribly eventful day, he told the guard, "The chief may enter. Stonegit, stand guard beside me."
Tal Donz: Stonegit nodded understandingly and turns to face the door. Two men entered. One was tall and think, his chin was curly with the hairs of a pitifully attempted beard, and he looked to be in his late thirties. The other was a shorter, stockier man, but looked powerful and muscular, and thick beard and a long main of coarse grey hair complimented his head. The second man, obviously the chief, dipped his head to Haddock once. “Greetings,” he said, his voice surprisingly soft for such a gruff looking man.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Greetings," Haddock responded. He gave a polite bow of his head. "To whom do I have the pleasure speaking?"
Landrester: The bearded man opened his mouth again, laying a hand on his chest, and then hesitated. “I am uh…um…oh damn I’m terrible with introductions, I guess that’s why I wrote one.” he waved a finger to his companion. “Landrester, read him that formal thing why don’t you?”
The taller man sniffed importantly, producing a parchment, beginning to read. -“Salutations to you King Haddock, Lord of the Wilderwest, and conqueror of the Grounded Dungeon: Before you stands, Tal Donz, Chief of Port Krum. Today he hereby extends his hand of friendship to you, in hopes of a mutual alliance and partnership. The chief, unlike many others, sees your leadership legitimate, the title of King suits you as far as any of us our concerned.”
Landrester scrolled down, licking his lips. “However, there is but one thing that keeps our alignment as allies at risk, although I assure you it can be resolved swiftly. There is a criminal in your midst. He was in the Grounded Dungeon at the time of your great revolution and snuck into your ranks. This man is an unstable murder who killed the chief’s beloved, aged father Orskaf. Tal Donz humbly request that you be kind enough to hand this fiend over to us, as he has evaded justice for far too long. A reward of 1000 gold pieces and a small, personal, and beautifully crafted ship will be delivered to your door upon his capture. ” Landrester lowered the scroll, his face serious as he said the last lines of the message. “He is a young man with a broken head and a hideous lazy eye. His name…is Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: How by Heimdall’s overseeing eye have these two men not noticed my bodyguard standing in the corner? Stonegit just ushered them into this Odindarned room!Surreptitiously, hand to his side still, Haddock motioned with his fingertips for Stonegit to shoo away. He could only hope the young man noticed and took precautions.
"This is serious news indeed, tracking down a murder. Regretfully I am not aware of this criminal being amongst us," Haddock responded. "Are you sure you have traced him to this camp in the Wilderwest?"
Tal Donz: The chief’s eyes suddenly became quite sharp, not at all bumbling as he appeared to be before. “That I do,” he said. “A old dragon trader told us he sold a Changewing to him not long ago. And I would recognize him a mile away.” he head snapped over towards Stonegit, his eyes full of fury. “King Haddock, it is my regret to inform you that your bodyguard is such a criminal.”
"Little wench," Landrester said under his breath.
Stonegit stiffened from where he stood beside Haddock, his eyes meeting Tal’s. The chief worked his jaw, turning to face the King again. “I would be more than happy to remove this traitor from your sight.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock said, “Justice shall be given as due, I assure you, but he is in my country, and thus under my laws. I shall deal with him as I see fit.”
Tal Donz: "This man… murdered my father!” Tal said, his eyes wide and imploring. “In cold blood,” he added, his voice breaking slightly. “In my village! My village is in this country your highness, just on the edge.” he reached out a hand. “Please. Not after all these years, let me arrest him.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "I, myself, understand the desires of vengeance, being as my own father was taken from me by another’s arrow - a death that should not have been. But unless you are a well-equipped mage," Haddock stated drily, "then I fear you will be unsuccessful in your quest. He has since grown in power and can work deep magics." Odin damn you, Warden. “My men shall place him into custody right now, and we will take him to you later with our own assisting entourage of magicians to keep him in check.”
Tal Donz: "Your warning is most appreciated and offer fair." Tal said. "…but we can simplify this." he pointed to Stonegit. "Your guard remains rooted, he is loyal to you." he coughed slightly and reached over, taking a small silver hatchet from Landrester’s belt. "Any normal criminal would have run or started protesting by now. But no, for some reason this slimy prick remains at your side." he gave a long, satisfied sigh, motioning to the floor at his feet and smiling. "Order him to kneel at my feet without fight…and I shall put this whole matter behind us once and for all. Then we can talk about more pleasant things…like trade, and sharing festivities."
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock remarked, “You would kill then, wouldn’t you.” It was no question. Haddock understood why Tal wanted Stonegit to kneel - he was no fool. “But I do not allow the bloodshed of vengeance in my land. You cannot carry out your revenge here without breaking my laws, and I regret to say I can make no exception to them without weakening my authority as king. I am sure you understand, fellow ruler. Were you to have him kneel, and then kill him - even if he is a criminal - then I would have to take the unfortunate act of imprisoning and executing you in turn.
"Let us be allies and not go there, kind sir. There are ways in which both of us can work through this situation to our satisfaction without resorting to this immediate end."
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: "This conversation won’t end," Stonegit said suddenly, yet calmly. "My King, Chief Tal knows what the wants and he won’t settle for anything less."
"Did I say YOU COULD SPEAK!?" Tal suddenly exploded. "SHUT UP! You bastard cunt! After everything I did for you! I gave you a chance! I gave you council with the elders, kept you safe! You betray me! The town was calling for your head and I alone saw you secure!"
"What!" Stonegit said, looking absolutely shocked. "Nobody believed Orskaf! No one ever did! The only one who wanted me locked up was you! You want to know why I killed Orskaf? It’s because he bashed by head when I was ten years old!"
"Only because you ATTACKED HIM!" Tal thundered back.
"Yes how do you explain THAT, worm!" Landester sneered, deciding to get in on the action.
"Ten…years…old!" Stonegit said again, his voice raising to a scream as tears came to his wide eyes. "I refused to help him kill his dragon, and he gave me an injury that has made every thinking day of my life Hel! And he was going to do it again! AGAIN!" his teeth gritted tightly, his vision blurred. "SO I KILLED HIM!"
Tal let out an enraged war, turning to Haddock. “Haddock!” he called, pointing a finger at Stonegit. “If you don’t let me have this worthless bitch right now you can forget about any other form of diplomacy!”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock drew his sword. The scrape of metal leaving scabbard echoed through the room as he held the sword out low, extended from his left hand. “This is my answer in regards to your ‘diplomacy’.”
Tal Donz: Tal stared at him, and then straightened to his full height. “I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes this matter must be settled by a dual of honor, for justice to be done for this criminal.”
Stonegit stepped forward. “I accept,” he said grimly.
Tal turned to him, and then slowly walked forward, getting right in his face. “You?” he said after a pause. “A visually impaired… tiny… weak… worthless fuck? What good are you as a bodyguard anyway to a mere crook who shoved an over-sized crown on his head? You have less worth than an infected whore!” he spat at Stonegit’s feet, backing up and shaking his head. “And I would never honor you with such a sacred ritual. No…” he turned to Haddock again. “I challenge YOU! He took the closest person to me. For justice to be done…I have to do the same.”
"No!" Stonegit said, but Landrester stepped forward, backing handing him sharply. Stonegit gasped and grabbed the man’s wrist.
Landrester looked at him in disgust. “Let go of me you slim.” he said, and then yelped, jerking his hand away and looking at the small burn Stonegit had placed on his wrist. His lip curled. “Spiteful child,” he muttered backing up, satisfied that Stonegit was remaining still now.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "You challenge a Viking swordmaster?" Haddock smirked. He bent forward and brought the blade up to a strong defensible position, staring intently at Tal. "Very well then."
Tal Donz: Tal leaned over to Landrester. “Toss away your weapons.” he said and the man comply quickly. Tal pointed to Stonegit. “You to boy, unless you think your King can’t handle himself.”
Stonegit set his jaw. Haddock would never forgive him if he directly insulted his pride…so. He took out his knife and ax, throwing them behind him angrily. He couldn’t believe Haddock was doing this…oh wait. Yes he could.
Tal turned to Haddock, perking his lips and his nodded in thought. “You may be good,” he said, drawing a massive long sword. “But I have been fighting much, much longer than you. I win…I take as much time as I want listening to the bitch scream over your corpse before bashing the other side of his head in. You win…then Landrester here is under strict orders to leave and keep the peace between our lands.” he barked over his shoulder to some of his soldiers who had traveled with him. “Leave!” he said, raising his eyebrows at Haddock. “I trust you’ll send your troops away as well? I want this to be fair, it’s a matter of pride for me.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Absolutely. A fair duel." Haddock nodded for the other men and women guarding him to step aside and leave them.
"Shall we begin?" he asked, once everyone had left and Tal’s pride could not be broken. He spun the sword around his wrist several times, loosening his wrist in a rather… flourishing… manner. The sword spun around elegantly for a moment before returning to its default defensive position. All the time, Haddock maintained his eyes on the other chief. "Your first move, ‘justice’ seeker."
Tal Donz: Tal stepped forward, bringing his massive sword around at Haddock’s head. Of course Haddock blocked it blow the blow sent a jar up his arm. Tal pulled back and then swung again, his feet moving smoothly across the floor and he swung the heavy weapon again and again into Haddock’s.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: First second of duel: Swords clash, Haddock pushes in, tests Tal’s strength with a harsh blow, withdraws.
Second two: Thrusts rapidly, gauges quickness of opponent’s response, finds weakness.
Second three: Drives forward.
Second four: Presses inward, tests footing, notes form.
Second five: Responds to enemy’s offensive swing.
And onward. All senses dedicated to the clashing of metal. Ears attuned to the ringing of blade upon blade, listening in to his own breathing, the breath of Tal, the soft shuffle of feet shifting upon the ground. Eyes forward, catching blurs of movements. Touch. The shift of air as a sword sweeps near his face. Kinesthetics. Rush up, block instinctively, pull out form, withdraw, parry, thrust, duck, sweep, retaliate, return, defend, attack. All the while Haddock maintained a confident, steady form, each swing precisely matching the other’s sword, surety in every response.
Tal Donz: Tal, infuriated that this young buck was so talented, shifted forward, thrusting rapidly. He pivoted, spinning around and cutting low at Haddock leg before whirling his blade around, hoping to force Haddock to bring his sword down so he could lob off his head. His blade sliced the tip of Haddock’s hair. Things seemingly moving in slow motion, Tal’s eyes widened as he saw Haddock’s blade driving forward and he thrust up his knee. The blow hit Haddock in the side of his lowered face, but he was still able to put the blade up, sinking it partially just bellow Tal’s arm. The warrior gasped, pushing Haddock away and holding up a hand. He inhaled raggedly, his side burning with pain. “Respite…” he breathed. “Respite…”
Landrester looked up, pulling out a canteen and hurrying over.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock, breathing lightly, lingered with his sword still withdrawn. He was prepared to kill Tal now, but that would come either now or later. Let the poor fool drink water. The end result of the duel would be the same.
Tal Donz: Tal lowered the canteen, breathing a sigh. “You know…my father always said the better swordsman was the one who always found a way to win. Because then he would never die like a fool.” he said. Gripped the strap of the heavy canteen tightly, Tal hurled it like a sling at Haddock. Not waiting he leaped upon him, his feet kicking at Haddock’s knees and stomach and slashed his sword down at him, intent on beating him down before he could recover.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Tal managed to hit upon Haddock’s weakened right knee, and the king’s leg gave way. Haddock began crashing to the floor, but he allowed himself to roll backward and somersault out of what might have been a very vulnerable position. He then pulled himself back upright - now a bit of a distance from the chief - and regained solid footing.
"A fair duel, is it?" he questioned. Before Tal could respond, he lunged forward again.
Tal Donz: "Don’t even start!" Tal said, swing at Haddock’s neck and then sifting back, swinging again as the young King dodged. "I’v waited nearly a decade! Searched! Planned! I wanted my father avenged!" he caught Haddock in a gridlock, pushing against him. "It’s just you and me, that’s fair! Anything else goes!" He shot his head forward, head butting Haddock harshly.
"Stick him your highness!" Landrester called from the side, his eyes glinting with excitement.
Tal grabbed Haddock’s wrists in one large hand, throwing him off to the side and charging him, placing a foot on his chest. He put tremendous pressure on the King’s torso and Haddock could see the muscles in the chief’s knee straining. Tal angled his sword down, thrusting down a quick stab, intent on piercing the young man’s heart.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: The duel changed in an instant.
He saw something hurling toward his heart.
He remembered another event, another hand stretched out toward that very same place on his chest.
The attack on him late at night.
And his heart felt cold.
He stumbled backward.
Tal Donz: Tal saw his opportunity and threw his foot around, catching Haddock under the legs and sending him on the floor. Swinging the broadsword up and over at Haddock’s head as he fell.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: At the last moment, Haddock reached out, pulled up his sword, and blocked the would-be death blow.
Tal Donz: Tal only had time to marvel at how fast the King’s reflexes were, before his forward motion send him falling over the King. As he tripped his eyes turned fearfully as he saw Haddock’s blade swish back, cutting deep into his shin bone as he toppled to the floor. He let out an agonized cry, rolling onto his back away from Haddock and holding his leg. Landrester scurried over, stepping on Haddock as he went by. “Chief!” he cried, pulling him away further. “Look at what he’s done to you!” he said in dismay.
Stonegit hurried over to his own charge, helping him up and checking on him worriedly.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Gods, what are you doing Stonegit?" Haddock hissed as he rose to his feet. "Let me just finish this. Stay away!"
Tal Donz: "Never!" Landrester called, snapping his fingers. Suddenly the doors burst open, two men bearing massive cross bows with fishing harpoons loaded into them running in. A muscular viking with a long pike stepped in as well. He grabbed Stonegit and shoved him away, keeping his spear pointed at him. The other two crossbow men also trained their sights on the bodyguard, one of them tossing Landrester a crossbow as well. The Chief’s aid pointed it at Haddock, quirking his eyebrows.
Tal slowly sat up. “You should have let me have the bitch when I gave you the chance.” he said, exhausted from the fight and pain. “Don’t try anything with that sword or I’ll have my men shoot a harpoon into one of his useless eyes.” he gulped. “What good was he to you anyway?”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "I have been upholding the laws of my land while you run around like a maniac," Haddock answered. He did not drop his sword, but he did not move it, either. He examined the crossbowmen, trying to seek a way to escape their quarrels. With one pointed directly at him and multiple at Stonegit, it did not seem a very easy - if at all possible - escape. Instead he evenly continued, "Pray tell me how such actions of mine are worthy of criticism."
Tal Donz: Tal waved a hand dismissively. “Your a disowned man who got himself thrown in the Grounded Dungeon. Yeah…I know that, most Chief’s do. You are no more than a criminal yourself…not a King. Not worth humoring, not worth my time.”
"Don’t!" Stonegit called. "Please don’t kill him…Tal…I’m sorry you lost you dad but I-"
"Shut up whore," Tal said quietly, nodding a few times. "It’s time he knew my pain." he motioned to his aid. "Do it."
Landrester smirked over at Stonegit. “Let me show you what happen’s when you mess with a superior opponent.”
Stonegit’s eyes suddenly darken. “No…” he said, stepping forward and causing the guards around him to tense up. “Let ME! Show YOU!”
Landrester sneered at him, turning back to Haddock, and putting a finger on the trigger. The burn mark glowed slightly on the man’s hand, a tiny symbol appearing, and Stonegit clicked his tongue. Landrester suddenly burst into flames with a loud whoosh! He screeched, dropping the crossbow and flailing backwards, causing the others to turn and look.
Stonegit reached forward, pushing one of the crossbowmen’s arms up and over to the triangle of the crossbow was around his neck, pulling the trigger. The hard, metal cable cut deep into the guard’s throat, killing him, and the fired harpoon stuck the other crossbowmen. The pike bearing guard lunged at Stonegit, but Stonegit grabbed the shaft of the weapon, wrenching it away and shoving him back. He whistled, and Snag shot out from her hiding place, seizing the last guard around the neck, tackling him to the ground.
Stonegit marched forward and letting out a yell, swinging the fishermen’s pike around, smashing it into the burning Landrester’s head, smacking him to the ground. He turned around, seeing the shell shocked Tal crawling away in an attempt to escape. The bodyguard growled, marching forward and grabbing him from behind, putting his forearm around the chief’s forehead while his other hand secured the back of his neck. Tal let out a weak cry, reaching up to grasp at Stonegti’s strong arms. His face reddened as the pressure increased. “Wait!” he cried. “Don’t! I have a son! He can’t know what it’s like to loose his father! He’s still waiting for me!”
"He had better not make your mistake!" Stonegit said clearly, and then gritted his teeth, his muscle’s stiffening.
There was crunch, and then the sound of blood spilling on the floor, and Tal’s body was dropped to the ground.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "That," Haddock said slowly, with tinges of gratefulness and embarrassment entering his tone of voice, "is one way to end a hostile confrontation. Thank you. Although…” he glanced around at the carnage “…this might not sit too well with other tribes, do they hear of this.”
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit didn’t face the King for a moment. He just stood with his back to him. Finally, he turned his head, blood flex where on his face and his whole front was soaked. His pupils quivered back and forth, his head jerking slightly. He turned around again, beginning to walk towards to balcony doors. But his steps got jerkier and jerkier, his neck muscles spamming.
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: Haddock rushed forward. Grabbing the young man by the shoulder, he asked, “Stonegit! Gods above! What is it?”
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit’s head wobbled slightly before he met Haddock’s gaze. His eyes were wide and on focused and it was as if his mouth was glued shut. A shaky breath escaped through his nostrils and he coughed slightly, backing away from him and grabbing the doorknob to the balcony. “I have to tell them…” he said, looking as if he was going to be sick. “I have to tell them about the Warden now.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "Who?" Haddock demanded, deeply concerned. "Who are you telling? And why do you need to tell anyone?"
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit pressed his head to the door. “Because…if I keep it a secret, who knows how many more people will attack me.” his words caught in his throat, not intending for them to come out that way. “Dammit I’m sorry…I didn’t mean that.” he moaned, his panicking mind bringing up the memories of when Haddock had shaken him. He swallowed. “They deserve to know…and well…” he motioned at his blood stained shirt. “They also may as well know what anybody who would ever…ever…try to hurt you, will end up on my front.”
Gareth Ragnar Haddock the Second: "We all have our good sides and our… less societally cherished sides," Haddock remarked. "And we all carry secrets. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, by telling people, you might incite a worse reaction and create a less desirable outcome than do you let this event be what it is - simply a bodyguard properly protecting his king.
"Killing others is hard," Haddock said, remembering an old face from his childhood. "It impacts us harmfully. I understand. But… you did what you had to, Stonegit. There’s no need to ‘warn others’. They don’t ‘deserve to know’ something that falls within your line of duty. You shouldn’t be disgusted by yourself, if that’s what’s going on. Go clean yourself up. Put on a new shirt. Walk forward. All will be okay."
Stonegit Brotchurn Elmiss: Stonegit looked up at his King, his hand dropping away from the door. He reached up a sleeve, wiping away some of the blood droplets. “You are good to me…” he said quietly. “Please don’t ever think you’re not.”
He looked down at his shirt once more, and then nodded quietly. “Right away sir. I’ll be back in three minutes.”