Well it's finally complete. I've finished Udrath the Cimmerian's story, which brings an end to all my ongoing roleplay stories at the moment. I'm sure I'll get back to writing again soon (especially with a new galaxy to explore in the near future).
In the meantime you can find the final part of Udrath's tale, along with a short epilogue, in the Roleplay Stories section of the site. The rest of the tale is also there. I've also included it after the break.
Collum hummed happily to himself. It had been a good start to the day. The snows in the valley had started to melt and the fishing had been good in the risen waters of the river. He'd seen Niamh again as well and she'd looked even more beautiful in the chill dawn air; the damp fog had formed crystals like diamonds in her hair. Tomorrow he would ask her to accompany him to the market. Yes, it had been a very good start to the day.
He entered the small outhouse and placed his fishing pole back on the hooks with care, then suddenly stopped his humming. There were raised voices in the house. It was true that his mother and father had been arguing a lot recently, ever since she'd announced her pregnancy, but this sounded different to those all-too-familiar sounds.
Sighing to himself Collum started to walk up to the house. He decided that he would sneak in and grab his bow and go out hunting. Let them argue; he'd come back once things had settled down. As he approached he began to make out the words and then the voices. Collum stopped. He could hear his mother's voice clearly, but the other voice wasn't know to him; it certainly wasn't Udrath. He shook his head slightly and carried on, pushing the door open before him.
"Oh, this is just wonderful..." said a very large Cimmerian standing near the hearth. Collum did not recognise the man, but took him in at a glance. He was massive, and looked as strong as an auroch despite his age. He wore furs in the Cimmerian manner, but around his neck and arms hung the sigils of the Vanir. At his belt hung two long knives, and his face was formed into a permanent sneer by the large jagged scar that ran down his left temple and cheek.
"Get out whelp," he growled at Collum. "Your mother and I have things to discuss".
Collum ignored the man and ran to his mother's side. She was seated on a stool, her head in her hands and was crying loudly.
"Leave him alone Draffyd," she sobbed.
Collum paused. Draffyd? Could it be? he'd heard the tale many times of course, but that Draffyd hadn't been seen for years. There had been rumours the Cimmerian had fled the village after the attack on Collum's mother and joined with the Vanir, but there had been nothing more substantial than rumour. Was it him?
"Mother..." he began, but was interrupted as he was grabbed from behind and thrown backwards.
"I said GET OUT!"
"Draffyd, leave him alone!" his mother screamed, getting to her feet. "He's nothing to do with this".
Draffyd ignored her. He drew one of his knives and advanced towards Collum who was cowering in the corner, rubbing his head where it had hit the wall.
"No!" Floraidh shouted as she swung the stool with all the force she could muster. It broke over the back of Draffyd's head, but he hardly seemed to notice. Instead he spun round and plunged the knife into her belly.
Everything seemed to go silent for a moment before the screaming and shouting began.
"Its' my child you're carrying whore!" Draffyd snarled. "If I can't have it then nobody can, least of all that worm of a husband of yours."
Collum looked up and tried to focus, his head still swimming. All he could make out through the screams and the clouds of blood was the hunched form of Draffyd, his arm slicing and hacking and working. Then it was over, and his mother slumped heavily to the floor, her body a bloodied mess of entrails.
Draffyd stared down at her for a moment, panting. He dropped his knife then turned and left the building without a glance back.
Collum broke through the shock by force of will and crawled to his mother, who was still alive and sobbing softly.
"Tell Uddy... I'm... sorry..." she gasped between bloody breaths.
As if waking from a nightmarish dream Collum shook his head. There were tears in his eyes as he looked at his father, who was still bound hand and foot. Udrath stared back at him, eyes wide.
"You're telling me it was Draffyd? That the baby was his..?"
Collum nodded slowly.
"Why father? Why would she lay with him again so many years after what he did to her?"
"I... I don't know... I suspected she was seeing someone else, but Draffyd? The Gods have a cruel sense of humour".
He groaned and flexed his arms, looking round as if searching for answers.
"I don't have any answers son. All I know is that life is far too complicated for simple men to understand. People do strange things for the oddest of reasons... Flora, how could you?"
With that he began to shake and sob, and he cried like he had not done since that day at the Guildmeet so many years ago.
In the distance Udrath could hear the sound of hooves quite clearly. A band of riders was making its way down the valley. They would be passing by his hiding spot soon. it was almost time.
He had parted from Collum several weeks ago now, on friendly if still slightly awkward terms. The boy, no the man now, had promised to return home the following winter once the Imperial Circus had finished its tour of the provinces. They both knew however that they would not meet again.
The riders were getting close now. Udrath flexed his muscles to ensure they had not stiffened during his wait. He smiled to himself. He had lived a good life. He had known the love of a good woman and had a strong and brave son. Yes, it had all been worth it.
The riders rounded the bend and started to pass below. Twenty-five Vanir warriors with a Cimmerian at their head... Draffyd.
It had been a good life.
This would be a good death.
With an ear-piercing shriek Udrath leaped down into the pack of riders and the axe Fuilais started to sing.
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