A mercenary's story: Part IV
If you missed, here is the previous parts:
A mercenary's story: Part I
A mercenary's story: Part II
A mercenary's story: Part III
It was a middle aged man, in a black armor, he greeted the jailor, and started talking. The outside noise was louder, Conrad didn't heard, what was the talk between the mysterious visitor and the jailor. But after that, the jailer took the key from the wall, and opened the door, then escorted the prisoners up, to the courtyard. It was great to feel the sun again, the fresh air too. They were lined up, Conrad noticed, there are others in black armor too. His thoughts was confirmed, mercenaries... Their leader, started walking front of them, and had a speech.
He came here, to gave them a second chance, to make things right. His habit, to recruit from prisons, so able arms which can wield weapons, don't wasted. And also, the lords of Historica agreed on that, it's always more expensive to keep up prisons, and to send convicts, to battle, then their own mens. The leader offered them the same: remain here, and die on the next day, or he recruit them, but they must follow his rules.
Conrad and some of the criminals accepted the offer, they stepped foward. While they were handcuffed, the leader arranged the paperwork, and they were escorted out from the courtyard.
The mercenary camp wasn't too far, they arrived in the afternoon. They were escorted in a large tent, full with other, new recruits, and other soldiers. Conrad sat down in to a corner, hi was tired, he didn't eat well in the last few days. He fell asleep quickly.
He was wakedby a soldier. He orderd him, to get up, and go outside, cause the leader wanted him too, to see following event. He went out, and saw the others,gathered. The soldier escorted him in to the front of the crowd. Then he understand whats happening here. He saw the leader, a huge sword, and two, who came with him from the prison.
The leader started his speech again:
"- Some people don't deserve second chance. It's a shame there is always some one, who think he can outsmart me... Most of you know me, I can't be outsmarted, and most of you know, what will happened next. This is a lesson, for the new commers.-" Then he walked to the trunk, raisedthe sword, and striked down. The hairy head fell to the ground.
Conrad wasn't prepared for this. As he saw the sword, raised in the air, he quicky turned his head away. A bad memory came in his mind.
A few years ago, he walked in to the barn at the worst time. He saw, as his mother choped down the chickens head. The blood dripped from table and from the blade. On that day he understand it, sometimes where are his favorite chickens...
- You there, boy. Come here
Conrad becomes pale as a dead, the leader pointed at him. He walked out from the crowd, next to him. He was shaking.
- What's your name boy?
- Co ... Conrad. - answered.
- Here, hold this sword. - the leader tossed the sword,in to Conrads hands. - Can you lift it?
Conrad grabed the hilt,and raised it above his head. It was more heavier then the wooden sticks, which served as swords, when he played with his friends.
- Not bad kid! I see you aren't a village boy. Where were you raised?
- On a farm... - answered the boy, as he lowered the sword.
- Tell me, was this your first execution? Your fathr never took you with him to market.
- Yes, but he never allowed us to watch it. Killing is wrong.
- Your father is a smart men. - the leader walked closer to the boy. - Killing, in deed, is wrong. But there are other things that's wrong. Like the thing, what you commited.
The leader stopped, Conrad knowed something bad will happen.
- First of all. - started. - This isn't a punishment. I try to help you with this, cause sooner or late, this deed must be done, to become a mercenary. - the leader puted his hand on Conrads shoulder, lowered his voice. - You must kill him.
The boy become pale as snow. His heart started beating faster, he felt a knot in his stomach. The leader genty pushed him, towards the tied up ruffian.
- Don't worry, only the first one is the hardest. - encouraged him the leader.
Conrad tried to not cry. He was sure, if he had some meal, he would throw it up. He stood next to the trunk, raised the sword. He hesitated.
- What's the matter farm-boy? -asked him the leader with a smile. - If you have trouble removing his head, imagine him, as a chicken! Chop off the head so your mother can make a good chicken soup!
The encouraging words didn't helped him, but caused more discomfort. Bad memories came to his mind.
A week later, after the incident, his mother forced him, to chop off the head of a chicken. She told him, he can't have dinner, if he don't do it. The boy hesitated, like now, hi holded the blade, while his mother holded the chicken.
"- Come on son, let's get over with. Dinner must be ready, when your father comes home"
The situation get even worse, when the other soldiers gets bored, and started taunting him:
- Come on! Let's finish him, and we can go to eat!
- What are you, a chicken? - one of the soldiers asked him, and start mimicing a chicken, and started clucking.
Conrad was wasted. The memory, the words: chicken, soup. The taunting, this situation, all blurred together. He didn't know what is real, and what isn't. His arms was getting tired, holding the sword. He closed his eyes, and start repeating to him:
- Just a chicken... Just a chiken... - his vocie become quiter every time.
He felt the judging look of the leader, like his mothers. He heard clucking the others, like the rest of the chickens in the barn. He felt the hunger, like on that evening... He didn't wanted to starve longer... He striked. He took one last glimps of the ruffian, befor he decapitated him...
- Not bad kid! - the leader patted Conrads back. - A bit messy, but a little practice will help it. - now, he turned to his men: - All of you it's dinner time, eat well, and go to rest. Tomorrow, we de-camp, and travel to the next settlement. - now back to the boy. - I advise you, to take a bath, befor you go eat too. Oh, and welcome...
Conrad didn't heard or felt anything. He was still in the shock. He slowly opened his eyes. The body, head and the blade was already removed from the scene. No one was there either, just he. He felt something warm and wet on his hands. Blood, from the elbows to the tip of his fingers. He look at them, as everything went to black. He fainted...
Let the boy rest, cause his adventures isn't ends here!