Friday, July 31, 2009

Revenge (Cont.)

It had been six months since Benam left the relative safety of his former master's home, and already he almost missed it. At least he would, if the pain wasn't so excruciating.

"Hold still boy," the surgeon said as two of Benam's lieutenants grabbed his shoulders. "This is going to hurt like hell."

Before Benam could respond, the surgeon pulled, setting the leg his horse had landed on in the battle. The crunch of the bones and grinding of the meat around him was almost too much, and he threw up the hardtack that had been stewing in his belly since before the fight.

"Well, stay off of it if you can, and if you can't don't complain to me when I have to do that again."

"Are the," Benam asked, gasping, "the tallies in on casualties and an itemization of what we pulled off the bastards?"

"Yessir," said Corman. Benam had picked the man up somewhere along the road in the Principality of Vaegiers, and he had proved a very capable second.


"Three dead, all recruits from our trip down by the coast. Eight wounded, including you and I, but the doctor says we all will live. We also got about ten prisoners who surrendered."

"You are wounded?" Benam asked, looking Cormain over.

"Yessir, three arrows to the body sir. Left arm probably useless for holding a shield for a while."

"You never use a shield anyway."

"That is true sir, but I had considered it in hindsight since had I had the sense to do so in that last battle I would have saved myself and arrow in the arm."

Benam smiled, and laid back down on the table. He was dizzy from blood loss, and his leg was aching through his entire body. But all in all, not a bad day. They had been trailing a mercenary warband for over a month, watching to see who was paying them. As per their orders from High Prince Yekovik, once the information was obtained the enemy mercs became free game for Benam's men. It had been a long time since they had a successful encounter, and moral was running low as rumors spread about the coffers running out.

"Speaking of shields. The spoils?"

"I was hoping you would ask sir. We got a present for you."

"A present?"

"Yessir. Boris! Bring me that present we got for our wounded captain!"

Boris, the unit's smith, lumbered in and filled the doctor's tent with the smell of ash and oil. He was carrying in his arms an oilskin wrapped parcel.

"Well, you busted it up something fierce with your lance, but she held up good and strong. A little buffing and laying in with my hammer took out that problem. Might fit a little off kilter, but she will serve you well," the lumbering hulk said as he unwrapped the oilskin.

What he revealed was the finest suit of plate armor Benam had seen outside of a castle. It was folded Swadian plate steel, fitted for riding and able to set with a lance and unlock to swing a blade.

"That is... that is a rather nice set of armor," Benam said, searching for words to serve him. He had found it easier to martial men than he ever had his own tounge.

"NICE! NICE!" Boris said, flustered, "This is the stuff we made for Lords back in Swadia! We wouldn't even accept an order for lest it was up front twenty thousand Denars!"

"You could make this stuff?" Cormain asked, frustration edging into his voice.

"Not lest you got twenty thousand Denars. Takes me near on four months to make one set, and I have to have a separate set of dips and new hammer's and stakes. Can't risk hurting the metal. Plus the steel itself comes straight from Pravin..."

"I get it, I get it!" Cormain said, holding up his hands.

"Anything else?" Benam asked, smiling.

"Yeah, seized about fifteen thousand Denars in coin, and another forty or so in tradeable equipment," Cormain said, reading off of his scroll.

"Tradeable?" Benam asked.

"Sir, according to the King of Swadia's own smith Boris, these gentlemen were well equipped. Very well equipped. That fifteen thousand we took apparently wasn't all that unusual," Cormain said.

"So who was paying them?" Benam asked, growing annoyed at this point as the shock wore off.

"It is Lord Raichs," said a woman's voice outside the tent flap.

Benam winced, but couldn't help the vicious smile that crept onto his lips.

"Well you might as well come in Caren," Benam said.

She had joined up with Benam as he fled Rhodokius, both travelling on the same road at the same pace in silence. They had gone on like that for a day, and they pitched camp together that night on the Swadian border.

"I too am fleeing Raich's grasp, though not from his house," she said.

"If not his house, then why?" he asked her.

"To prevent having to flee his house, for I was to be his bride. But to be bound to the man who killed my father and known to brag of his goings on with other women would be a fate far greater than any torture."

"I see. Well, if revenge is what you seek, then our missions are the same. Can you fight?"

"Yes, I can use a blade an a lance. I can also ride and shoot, all the thanks to my father and eldest brother. But before I join you, why is that you flee from the safety of Raich's house?"

"Sir," Cormain said, interrupting Benam's memories.


"Are you listening?" Caren asked.

"No. Sorry, I got dizzy from the pain. What were you saying?"

"If Raich is the one funding this mercenaries, then he is pushing this war with our employers even farther than they realize."

Benam sat up and let his leg dangle over the edge. Thoughts ran through his head, and he tried to silence the maelstrom. But standing at the eye of it all was that quiet whisper of "Revenge".

"Marshal the men. We set out tomorrow as soon as possible."

"Destination?" Cormain asked.

"Uaxhal. We take this information directly to the High Prince. Boris, reequip my officers and then the junior officers. Anything left over split up among the squads for their captains to distribute as a reward."

"Yessir," they said in unison and left.

Caren came over and helped Benam up off the table. Six months since they had left Rhodokius. One month since their first battle. Two months since they accepted a contract from the High Prince of the Vaegirs to deal with the mercenary war bands that were looting border towns.

Now, after that, Raich's death had come one day closer, and it couldn't taste sweeter.

Tomorrows Future, Today

I love science on what can probably be described as 'obsessive' level, and anyone who knows me can attest to that (often with a sigh and roll of the eyes).

One thing I love about science is its accessibility and the sheer volume of available information. Especially information on the speculative impacts based on lines of research. This is hard SF gold.

So, before I ramble on until your eyes bleed, please enjoy these lectures by George Church and J. Craig Venter on the synthetic genome, brought to you by Edge.

Lecture 1 is of particular interest to writers, he almost makes it too easy.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Woo fun!

(A note: I updated the stream of consciousness article to include links to everything for the morbidly curious.)

Ok, so I messed up the posting schedule on "Revenge" and then ended up deleting half the posts, so Revenge Pts. 2-5 will be released tomorrow in just one abridged piece. Sorry, having to rebuild things off my notes.

I feel rather stupid for deleting them without checking if I had backups, but senseless seems to be one of my strengths so I will wear it as a badge of honor and register republican.

To entertain in the mean time:

super awesome shirt x2

Extra awesome speculation on the up coming SSA visit to the Creation "Museum" (Read the rest of her stuff while you are there, all good.)

And since reading is something we all love to do: A great SF story for free courtesy of Tor.

(A note

Monday, July 6, 2009


I recently joined the Ficly in order to practice writing shorter fiction and being more careful about word choice. That and it seems like a hoot.

You can find me at

For those of you (if there are any) who are waiting for revenge part 2 and 3, they should drop this weekend after my final.