The cage


Klunt was hiding in a dark alley of the Fort. 

It was now several hours since, slipping between crates of supplies on top of a hoist, he entered into the area.

His Guild Master, Lord Trevis, had given him a very important task and Klunt could not risk to be discovered.

Lord Trevis was still upset about his Guild to be badly defeated during the last mission.  

A Dignitary who frequently called on Lord Trevis’ Guild asked him to find an extremely rare Arcane Code Book of the Purification Kabbalah. That rare and powerful book was kept inside an underground cave in the Arcane Tower’s area. 

With the feods he would have earned, the Guild Master would have enlarged the dormitory of the Guild and bought weapons for his most trusted mercenaries.

However, sure to win without difficulties, Lord Trevis hadn’t explored the area and had chosen several novices to be part of Klunt’s group.

The mission was a failure: another Guild had been informed about the Code Book location and in the fight fought in the narrow tunnels of the underground chapel where the book was kept, many mercenaries of Lord Trevis’ Guild were killed. Klunt survived, badly wounded on his shoulder. 

Wanting to have the reward at any cost and to take revenge, Lord Trevis asked him to carry out a mean action, forbidden by the Guild Masters’ code of honor: stealing at the headquarters of another Guild.

It is well known that what could be found in the buildings of a Guild is owned by the Guild itself: the only way to have it is stealing it from the hands of its mercenaries’ corpses. 

Stealing was forbidden, considered the action of the worst coward men.

Klunt had never been an honorable man. He was considered a crook, a thief and a cutthroat man, always in need of breaking the rules. For this reason, as soon as he was able to stand up again, he asked to be chosen for this not very honorable revenge.

As usual, in DemLoc that night the sky was covered by a thick layer of dark clouds with no moon lighting up the empty streets of the city.

Klunt waited hidden in front of the rival Guild’s headquarter until all the lanterns at the windows were off. That was the signal: he took off his cloak to be more agile and he quickly and silently walked to a narrow alley close to the Guild dormitory. 

He climbed a wall and reached a window ajar on the first floor of the building. He entered in the room with a smooth movement.

As expected, he was in the middle of the room where all mercenaries’ possessions were kept. The mercenaries were all deeply sleeping, tired after the strong training. 

Klunt looked everywhere in search of hiding places and moved furtively in the dark corridors of the palace. Then, he finally found the Arcane Library. He forced the old lock and entered in that huge room storing all ancient artifacts of the Guild.

Making sure no one was in the Library, he started wandering around the shelves full of books. His sole objective was finding the Code that Guild had taken weeks before. Half an hour later, he finally found the book. It was open on a study bench. Klunt went closer to take it and put it in his bag. On the pages he could see hundreds of scribbles drawn with violent strokes which seemed to be made with blood. Grotesque eyes on those pages seemed to stare at him.

Disgusted by who spent their life in studying those hogwashes, the mercenary violently closed the big book, put it in his bag and went back to the dormitory to go out from there.

He entered in the room again where the enemy mercenaries were sleeping on straw beds. He got a thrill. He thought again about how his comrades had been massacred. He started sweating and his hands started trembling. He clearly heard a voice whispering in his ear: “Kill them all and avenge yourself“.

Taken by an unnatural frenzy, Klunt pulled out his knife and approached the first bed on his right, where a boy was deeply sleeping. The mercenary abruptly put a hand on his mouth and with the other firmly gripped the knife slashing his throat. The young victim opened her eyes and was shaken by some spasms. He stopped moving within a few seconds, while gushes of warm blood flooded on Klunt’s arms and face.

Not yet sated, the mercenary moved to another bed forgetting his true mission. He killed a second and a third enemy but the latter trying to free himself hit an iron candlestick near the bed, which fell making a loud noise.

Several enemy mercenaries woke up and did not take long to understand what was happening: they quickly jumped on him, disarming him and starting to hit him with kicks and punches. Klunt tried to cover his head with his arms but it was an unequal fight. With many bruises they broke his ribs and with a strong punch they broke his nasal septum. The last thing the man heard before he passed out was an intense and coarse laugh.

Klunt woke up abruptly when a crow was violently pecking him on the shoulder, with an instinctive gesture he tried to push the animal away but his hand hit a metal bar.

As he tried to get up, the man noticed that his legs were dangling in the void and that he was in a narrow cylindrical cage hanging from a tree, too narrow to sit and too low to stand. While he was trying hard to find a comfortable position, Klunt heard people laughing: “You finally woke up, rotter“.

Some men under his cage began to mock and insult him

This is the punishment for those who steal from other Guilds. You will rot and die in that cage”.

Klunt desperately called out the name of his Guild Master

You have been disowned poor Klunt, your Lord Trevis has disowned you and has paid a good amount of feuds to our Guild Master apologizing for your behavior. Now you are ours, filthy rotter”.

Other men arrived and began throwing rotten vegetables, stones and excrement at the cage.

Klunt spent the last weeks of his life in that putrescent creaking cage hanging from one of the oldest trees in the Fort. Dozens of crows tormented him in his last few days, eating his flesh while he was desperately trying to drive them away but with no results.

When the bones remained with shreds of putrid flesh still attached, the cage was lowered.


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