Self inflicted abominati.., p.1
Self Inflicted Abomination, p.1D.A. Rogers
Copyright 2014 by D.A. Rogers
Kasus stretched his sore back a little. He didn’t want the battered muscles to lock up, but was wary of stretching so far that the cuts from the lash would open up. There was no way to get comfortable so soon after a flogging, but the irritation drove him to try.
“Sero have you been listening?”
“Will you come with me?”
“Huh? Where are you going?”
Kasus frowned, but was not surprised.
“You shouldn’t let your mind wander like that, it’s not really strong enough to be out on its own,” said Kasus bitterly.
A cool wind puffed across the courtyard, briefly cooling the burning from their welt covered backs.
“I was thinking about where I’d like to stuff Corporal Arsen’s whip,” replied Sero with a vicious grin.
“Wherever you’ve chosen will be too full of sailor’s cocks to accommodate it,” replied Kasus.
“Anyway it’s Lord Jakot who ordered the flogging, or his wife,” added Kasus.
Lady Jakot had lost some of her jewels on a three-day spree of intoxicated lechery and decided that the slaves had pilfered them. As a deterrent against future thieving, they flogged every slave on the estate.
“Although, if Lady Jakot gave the order, I think she would have made an exception for you, she has her eye on you, you’ll be her new favourite once she’s tired of Arko,” said Kasus with a cheeky grin.
“Drit! Don’t even joke about it, have you seen his expression when he stumbles along behind her? I’m not sure if he wants to throw up or cry,” replied Sero looking pained.
“I like the way his hair is always ruffled and messed up at the back, do you think that’s from her firm grip? Or does she lay him down, and sit on his face?”
“Must be the grip, he’s still alive, her weight would kill him!”
“Hellpits, can you imagine it? It’d be like getting your face stuck in a horse collar,” said Kasus with a chuckle.
Sero snickered as he dabbed his shoulders with a damp cloth.
“Please don’t call such images to my mind. I think her womanhood wouldn’t resemble anything so much as a bear after a direct hit from a cannonball.”
Kasus snorted hard and winced as his back punished him for it. A pair of miserable looking stable hands looked askew at them from across the courtyard. High spirits were unexpected from the house slaves after the flogging, despite the mid-summer festival beginning on the morrow.
“Well I’ve seen her eye twinkle when she looks you over, you’ll be the next boy to kiss the bear, mark my words. You’d be better off if you leave with me,” whispered Kasus.
“That’s madness, Jakot is furious enough now, don’t add to that,” whispered Sero, looking nervously for eavesdroppers.
“If I ever return, it will be to give Jakot a good beating,” declared Kasus.
“He’ll order the rest of us beaten if you’re caught trying to escape, and you’ll be fed to his pet demons.”
“True, I’ll kill him on my way, and make it look like another lord paid a free-isle assassin.”
“You’re mad, I’m staying here. I’d rather be flogged when they catch you, than be executed next to you.”
Kasus nodded solemnly.
“I understand, but it will work. I have a way. I’ll be more powerful than Jakot. You’ll see.”
“Hey, you owe me three apples! Don’t go getting executed owing me apples, oh mighty lordling.”
He had hoped Sero would have the courage to join him, even without knowing the exact plan. Fear would keep him cowering in Jakot’s household all his life. The plan would most probably scare him more than the lash however. The plan wasn’t something a less desperate man would dare dream. There was only one question left, one key to the plan that needed attention. Kasus needed only to phrase his question so that Goro would actually answer it.
Master scribe Goro will have the answer; getting it is my one remaining challenge.
Kasus had been Goro’s assistant for three years. The old man was almost unable to read now and relied on Kasus an increasing amount. It was through his position, as Goro’s assistant that Kasus had access to the estate library where he did his research, and it was this research that had led to the plan. Before entering Goro’s study, Kasus worked his face into a look of fake fury. Striding through the door, he slammed it behind him and dropped the scrolls he’d fetched on the table in an obvious huff.
“Go easy with those, boy!” snarled Goro.
Kasus bowed stiffly, muttered a few non-words, and started to prepare Goro’s dinner.
“What’s all this? I won’t have you sulking over a flogging in my chambers.”
“I’m not, it’s those drit brained Havers and Colbworth.”
“Language! And it’s Journeyman Havers to you boy. What have they done to have you in such a state eh?”
“They always argue about alchemy, on and on. But today Hav... Journeyman Havers said they should ask you, you would have the answer. Colbworth called you clueless, and said you wouldn’t know anything about it. He’s so... smug.”
Goro actually looked a little touched. He gave Kasus a condescending but sympathetic little smile.
“Never mind those fools boy, I know more about alchemy then they and their children ever will.”
“Yes Sir, they argue for hours. I bet you do know if a druid spirit is as strong as some meteorite thing. If they asked you then we wouldn’t have to hear their waffle all day in the estate library.”
“A what now? The druids are long dead boy.”
“Ahhh, they talked of curses. A meteorite will block the most powerful curse they say.”
“Meteoric starstone is a flawless ward against a curse, indeed.”
This was the crucial point. Now the real question, the confirmation the plan needed.
“That was it Sir. Journeyman Havers said a beast spirit like those that possessed the druids stopped curses just as well. Colbworth said starstone warded stronger curses.”
“Hmmmmm, No, there is no difference. Colbworth fails to understand the fundamental nature of the curse. The invasive spirit protects the soul entirely, just as the emanations of the stone does. There is no middle ground, no partial protections. Nor are there weaker or stronger curses, not as such. More lethal ones yes, but lethality does not equate to strength.”
A shiver of joy and anticipation tickled Kasus. This was it, the confirmation he needed. The library had denied him this final piece of the puzzle. The plan would work. He could go ahead now. Would it hurt? Would they hunt him down once they knew what he had become?
“Havers was right then?”
“Indeed so, but starstone is true protection, expensive, but desirable. A beast spirit would frequently possess the mind of its host. Therefore adopting such as a defence against curses is a foolish endeavour. Little wonder the druids are no more.”
Kasus could barely concentrate on his tasks for the evening. He blotted ink on two scroll copies, earning himself a sharp clip around the ear from Goro each time. The master scribe attributed these lapses to the impending holiday and wasn’t too surprised. He called an end to their work early to avoid wasting paper and retired for the night.
In his sleeping alcove, Kasus carefully extracted his three special scrolls. He laid two of these out on his cot, rolling them flat, and pinning them down with a few rare possessions. The first contained all the information he could find about black rage fungus, a dangerous relative of the green pla
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