The pounding of arrows and stones and other projected weapons continued on relentlessly against the wooden walls of the ship’s cabin. Barbaric war cries echoed across the waters, adding a vocal strand to the artillery’s chaotic chorus.
“King! Get me some water!” merchant had already wrapped the old man’s wound with cloth from his robe- the arrow stood out straight from his chest.
Sigmund set the pail down hard next to Donovan. Water spilled over the sides and splashed out from the impact and again as the merchant plunged another torn piece of his robe into the bucket.
Donovan silently gasped for air as his wound was attended. His face was set in intense concentration against the pain, and his brow was soaked with the sweat of his suffering.
“Just heal me Falias! Stop at this game of yours before I die from a foolish wound!”
“I won’t, Donovan.” The merchant continued with his work.
The king was quite confused by this all, adding to the helplessness he felt at the whole situation. He had never before witnessed a wounded man beyond the paintings in the stories of his youth; much less did he know how to help the merchant at his work.
“You would play your game to my death!” Donovan cried out again, his voice was softer and notably more strained.
“It is not just some game, Donovan, but a promise. I will not use my power to interfere.”
“You will hold fast to a promise that you have made in the spirit of a game!” By now the old man had nearly lost his voice, and his last words were a near whisper, “Your justification is foolish, Falias.” So he laid back his head from exhaustion and closed his eyes.
“You can heal him?” Sigmund set down another pail of water next to the first- the pounding continued to hail onto the cabin’s shell.
“It is your job to care for the man now,” the merchant was stern. “The arrows will soon cease to fly and then the rogues will board. If luck is with you, and perhaps a bit of clever thinking, you will be captured instead of killed.”
“And you’ll escape without harm?” the pounding had already subsided and it had become eerily calm.
“I too will be taken captive, but we will be separated at best, so there’s no point in pitying yourself right now.” The merchant stood as sounds of men shouting to each other indicated that the boat had been boarded.
“Care for the old man, king,” the merchant pulled his hood over his head. “He’s not yet lost to the eternal darkness.”
At a sudden, the door crashed in as a horde of wild men came intruding into the cabin. From the little light in the room, it was apparent that the men were large enough to discourage any attempt at escape and the king grabbed onto the old man beside him before a large club met his head. It was black.