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The Origin of Jorale and Stonebreaker Bloodrage, Part Two
Two weeks before the rescue of Sir Karin and Alissa…
On an icy ledge, age old eyes stared down at the ship. This was not a strange sight. They had seen this ship many times. Stonebreaker Bloodrage growled. He pulled the horn from his hip and sounded the alarm. Barbarians of the Icefall Bay had been watching the ship’s approach for days, as it struggled to cut through the ice around the bay. The last time the slave ship had come, their warriors and mages tried to cross the frozen bay, and the barbarians hurled large rocks down the hills, and that were too heavy for the ice to sustain, and crackled, sending hundreds of armored men and mages, to a freezing death at the bay’s frozen bottom. The slavers had learned their lesson and got their ships as close as they could so that crossing the frozen bay was not such a far distance to land.
The barbarians hid in the snow, waiting for the slavers to struggle against the deep snow, and would tire themselves out before the barbarians launched their attack. When the armored men were in position, near the crest of the frozen hill, Stonebreaker gave the signal and the barbarians sprung up from the snow behind them, cutting down the dangerous mages first, and disorienting the armored soldiers who now had to try and turn in the snow, while wearing heavy metal armor. The barbarians cut through the mages, then pushed whatever warriors they could, over, then sprung on top of them, removed their faceplates and crushed the men’s faces.
“The savages have learned,” Jorale noted with some interest, “since our last visit here.”
“You sound like you admire that,” Captain Bairon looked at her strangely. “They actually present a legitimate threat to us.”
“I do admire them,” Jorale said with a shrug, not an ounce of fear or concern in her voice. “I truly thought these barbarians were simple animals. This is an interesting turn of events…”
“Well, admire this,” Captain Bairon growled. He turned to his left, “Bring the ships into the bay. Load the cannons. We will teach these savages what we come with.”
The boom of cannons rang deafeningly through the air. Frozen ice shattered, and barbarians that were lunging forward, spears and clubs in hand, massacring all who stood in their way, were now being flung far and wide. Death came fast and furious from an unseen enemy as cannon balls decimated all in their path; friend and foe alike.
An hour later, Captain Bairon led his men on land, who rummaged through the bodies; killing those who were too severely wounded to be of any use; whether former members of Captain Bairon’s crew or intended for slavery. He would “mourn” the dead who “died valiantly” against a barbaric horde of savages; which would inspire others to join Captain Bairon’s crew in the name of glory, which would then refill the ranks of those that perished.
Slavery was a ruthless business, and few were more cold and callous than Bairon. But there was one, that even he felt lacked any form of soul – but she was astoundingly beautiful – and knew how to use that beauty – and that was the woman who seemed to glide next to him, Jorale, the alchemist.
Captain Bairon had met Jorale when he docked in Nothampton, and paid a visit to the local alchemist store that had been owned by Arigana. He was surprised when Arigana was not in the store, and this young, striking woman was – who claimed to be the granddaughter of Arigana. Though, through all the years that Captain Bairon had traveled to Nothampton, not once had Arigana ever made mention of a husband, a daughter, or a granddaughter. Captain Bairon was no fool; he knew Jorale was lying. But she was beautiful, and she seduced him; and he discovered, alchemy may be one of her greatest tricks, but paled in comparison to the passion and things she could do in the privacy of a bedroom.
Two of his men broke him out of his reverie he was feeling, thinking of the voyage back and how she would keep him warm on those long, cold nights aboard the ship, as she had done on the way to Icefall Bay. “We’ve captured their chief,” one of the men dropped the massive, nearly eight foot tall barbarian face down in the snow. Around his fallen body, the snow turned a soft shade of pink as the blood seeped out of several of his gaping wounds.
Captain Bairon shook his head. “Shame he’s bleeding out everywhere…”
“He killed sixteen of our men before we could take him down,” the second man said, staring, still shell shocked, at the fallen savage.
“He’s too wounded. He would be dead before the night’s fall. Put the savage out of his misery, but keep his head. I will put it on the bow of the ship,” Captain Bairon sighed.
“No,” Jorale said, whispering, but her voice seemed to reach each of the men in their head. “Allow me to apply some alchemy solutions. I do believe I can save this man’s life. Then he will fetch us a great fortune.”
“Us?” Captain Bairon turned to face Jorale. “You are merely a passenger on this voyage. An observer. And a nice roll in the covers. There is no ‘us.’”
“You misunderstand me,” Jorale bowed slight, “I mean ‘us’ as in the crew. If people hear of our ability to capture the savage’s chief – it will raise your worth, and be a victory for us all.”
She was a snake. Captain Bairon knew it. But the way she smiled. He couldn’t help it. He should kill her now. She was going to prove to be deadly. But… she was so good at what she did… Just one more night he would let her live.
Just like he told himself for the last sixteen nights…