The Long Road Home

Meat for the Grinder

War was looming. By all rights, it was not my fight. I had every right to simply walk away. There were a thousand freeholds that I could go to for protection and support. There were countless cities I could disappear in. Damn it, I should have just walked away.

We decided to stay. Kyle, Jarred, and I decided that we could not walk away from these people. If our future was uncertain, though, we knew we would have to band together in support of each other. In names there is Power, so we took the name Knights of Mayhem. If one must live in chaos, one must accept and rejoice in chaos. We swore our oath to the fates.

“Here we stand, joined by fate for the passing of a season. We stand together and will not falter, no matter the forces arrayed against us. Blessed be our harvest, and grant us aid in protecting our brothers should they fall. Let he who holds betrayal in his heart or actions be bound by fate to suffer the fruits of his misdeeds.”

For a moment I felt my breath leave me, like the moment before decent on a roller coaster. Then the world crashed back into me, and I knew that fate had witnessed our oath.

We parted to draw the mystical essence called as Glamor to bolster our own strength and to help sustain our adopted freehold. I had taken a break and was catching a quick drink when I heard a familiar grating voice. “Oh, there he is!” I turned and Tic and Frank were there, and behind them were three more refugees, two supporting a third who was barely alive.

“You’re calling your favor in already? Mine is the Mazda 6 out in the parking lot. Put the injured one in the car, and bring these two to my new place.” I wrote down the address for him and started to the E.R. I called Kyle and he met me at the door. I passed of the injured dog meat, then returned to meet the two more lively ones. Jarrod broke off from his tasks to meet me there.

I got home and the other two, one a snow princess, and the other a Freddy Kruger stunt double, were making themselves at home and eating my grub. Hospitality is great and all, but damn, let a man be the one to open the bag and get the first chip before you eat the whole thing!

Tic looked at me, “So, these guys are political refugees, kind of like you were not too long ago. You think you can help them out? The bladed one and the dragon that you saw earlier are decent fighters. You might be able to use them.”

I looked at his foundlings with care, “Okay, but this makes us square. I’m already up to my neck in trouble.”

He shook his head and toddered momentarily, “Oh yes, yes. We’re even. Thank you.” Soon he was on his way out of the door.

I packed Jarrod and the two foundlings into my car, and swung over to pick up Kyle and his patient the dragon, who looked much better after Kyle worked his magic, and headed to the park. I lead them down the path and soon we were at the freehold.

Stonebeard met us at the door and raised a gravelly eyebrow at the newcomers. I grunted, “Tic’s foundlings. He said they were decent in a fight” That satisfied him and he directed them to food and a place to sit. He returned to me quickly.

His stoney voice reminded me of speaking with a mountain. “Plans are moving forward quickly. We should be able to move out very soon. Your newcomers may be very useful in the upcoming events.”

I asked, “Is there any way we can bring this about peacefully? We don’t need any more bloodshed than has already been spilled.”

“Oh yes, they could surrender to us and then there wouldn’t be any bloodshed. We’ve got more help. They’re making plans in the study if you’d like to join in.” He directed us to a side room.

The door opened revealing the fiend himself, Hound. The rage misted in my eyes and I tasted blood. A hard hand pulling at my shirt collar restrained me, but I didn’t know how long that would hold.



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