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Guard Duty

by Sean Meaney

Dandor tightened his grip on his oiled and polished sword and looked in the direction of the noise raising his burning torch and pointing its bright inferno behind the corner of his eye putting the light behind the edge of the chainmail coif on which his steel helm rested and strained his ears for any further sound.


Still, it was best not to get relaxed. This tunnel led from Old Tower in the village into the Castle Cellars, and the Old Tower had so recently collapsed leaving it abandoned and exposed. It was only a matter of time before some inquisitive peasant from the village decided to try their luck and see what they could steal. Dandor contemplated whether he should break his position and move toward the source of the sound.

Again Dandor turned and looked down the tunnel into the dark. The noise again? Though it was somewhat more clear than before, It sounded like something being stepped on and then released. A footfall? Dandor moved forward down the tunnel toward the source. The tunnel was a hundred feet each way from where he was standing. The source would be all too quickly revealed.


Dandor stared at the spiral staircase that was filled with collapsed stone and timber beams. Nothing could get through that way... still, the sound was real. He had definitely heard it.

Again, this time from the other end of the tunnel. It can't of slipped past. And now it was between him and the Castle cellars. Dandor walked quickly back toward his post. The sound came again and seemed closer. Almost in front of him... Dandor reached the door, and finding the portal into the castle cellars locked, waved his torch around to see if perhaps there was something he could not percieve hiding in the space between his torch and meeting with no opponent, considered his options.

He was going insane, obviously. Dandor returned to the midpoint.

Du... The sound filled his ears. It was far more distinctive. Far more organic...

Du. It sounded so familiar. So... alive.

Du... It was a heart beat... Du. Dandor smiled at his own childish fear, and waited for the heart beat to come again... his heart beat. It didnt.

Dandor collapsed.

Skuarn stared at the corpse of Dandor, holding a torch above his head. The blood had pooled around the body on the stone of the tunnel, having poured from the eyes of poor Dandor.

Skuarn was careful not to touch the body. The Wolvesbane leaf in Dandor's stew had worked too well. Skuarn looked back at the door to the cellar expecting his fellow guard to return at any moment and pulled his unholy symbol from the pocket where it spent its time concealed from his fellow guardsmen.

"". A momentary aura encompassed the corpse as the neutralize poison eliminated all trace of his poison from the body of Dandor.

"Rondolf" Skuarn looked back toward the door. "Where are you?" "Here." The tall, gangly boy in armour clutching a sword in one hand and a torch in the other appeared. "I'm here."

"About bloody time lad... now make yourself useful and awaken the Captain." Skuarn pointed his sword at the green young guard. "Tell him Dandor is dead." "Yes... yes Sir." Rondolf only now realizing there was a corpse turned and fled.

Skuarn listened as the footfalls of the boy retreated through the Cellars and began rifling Dandor's body for his coin pouch. A lone Thyatian platinum Emperor that had been Dandor's 'lucky piece' emerged and Skuarn pocketed the piece. Dandor had spent the rest of his pay.

"Sorry about this Dandor," Skuarn picked up the smouldering torch and got to his feet as the distant alarm sounded and heavy footfalls alerted Skuarn to the approach of other guards. "You were in the way of my promotion."

"What the bloody Hel happened?" Captain Haas, sword in one hand and burning torch in the other appeared at the door. "Well Skuarn?"

"Its Dandor Captain." Skuarn moved further down the tunnel and crouched on the opposite side of the body while reaching back toward the corpse to illuminate the body while appearing weary of what could possibly be further down the dark tunnel. "Looks like he bled out from the eyes."

"Rondolf, Koehler," Captain Haas looked past Skuarn down the dark tunnel that had Skuarn's divided attention. "Both of you to the end of the tunnel to check the Old Tower."

"Yes Sir." The young Rondolf followed the older and more experienced Koehler past Captain Haas, Skuarn and the corpse in the dark pool of its own blood, making their way forward with haste until they were little more than a distant mix of burning torchlight and shadows.

Captain Haas waited for the two guardsmen to return from the far end before speaking.

"Well?" Captain continued to stare at the guardsmen. "Anything?" "Old Tower is collapsed into the stairwell." Koehler shook his head. "Nothing can get through."

"Right... You three carry the corpse up to the chapel," Captain Haas stood up and with torch raised headed toward the cellars. "The old Priest should be able to question the corpse..."