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“Of course it’s not legal! Why did you think I was doing it?!” – “Yeah, alright, but it’s still before dawn! Couldn’t we just leave it till the sun is up?” – “No, because by then the guards will have been down here, collecting all the good stuff. Now bring that torch over here, this heap looks promising.” The one with the torch held over head drew closer and the two wreckers walking the tidemark huddled around a particularly larger black mound in the white sands.
It really was early in the day as the sun was still only a halo on the distant horizon in the pitch black night. Our two friends busied themselves with the tangle of seaweed continually hoping that this would prove not to be another piece of whale blubber but a chest laden with jewels. The younger of the two holding the torch kept on trying to stare in the surrounding darkness, weary of what was out there. The roar of the sea was drowning out all other sound so he had decided the looking about was the only way to protect himself from surprises.
“Now riddle me this and call me a haddock: It’s a bloody dog!” The young man stared at what his partner in crime had uncovered. “Blimey! Have you ever seen armour like that on an animal?” he said as the older wrecker pulled more seaweed of the hound’s massive body. “Yes, I have, me laddo!” replied the older one standing up, “And this bodes well for us. Quick, let’s have a look about further up the flood mark.”
Both of them staggered through the sands, torch held aloft, looking at the darker line of seaweed and flotsam and jetsam that had been washed up by the ocean. They did not have to go far: Just about 20 yards down the beach they came upon an even larger mound of tangled debris. This one turned out to be breathing. The torch was stuck in the sand and both of the men started pulling at the weeds. “Now look at this!” exclaimed the older one “A warrior with all his gear and no mistake. Let’s have a look at his face!” Even though this conjured up some unbidden memories in the younger man’s mind, he still obliged and turned the unconscious body over on his back. “My, my, my. Still alive and in one piece. Lucky devil. Usually they just cut the passengers’ throats and haul them overboard. This one seems to have jumped the plank rather than walk it.” babbled the older man while drawing his dagger. “There’s bound to be something of worth on his body.” he said, setting his blade to cut open the strange castaway’s armour.
There was a sudden metallic sound, and the young man looking at his mate’s face was aware of a strained look appearing upon his colleague’s features. “Prey, which shore is this?” said the hitherto unconscious warrior. “I think, I don’t have to mention, that if any of you two gents moves as much as an inch, this man’s family planning will have an incisive moment, yes?” The older one swallowed and slowly nodded. The younger man now saw that the warrior had also drawn a blade, only his was positioned in a way that made any man’s eyes water in sympathy. He slowly drew back. “This is the Virigiya District, Sir! Ogriy, my Lord!” The warrior got up on his elbow and winked at the older man: “Put that blade away, there’s a good chap. I’m sure we don’t want any accidents happening. Oh, and do it slowly please, otherwise my friend behind you might chew your arms off.” On cue came a deep growl from the darkness behind the robber.
The man did not need telling twice. Slowly, very slowly he withdrew his dagger and got to his feet. The warrior likewise stood up and shook the remaining rubble from his clothes and armour. “There, no harm done.” He said smiling at the two intimidated fellows. “No doubt you two gents were combing the beach, ey? Well, I expect there are worse kinds of making a living. My name is Petrok, pleased to meet you.” He reached into his tunic and produced a money pouch, from which he took to golden coins, flipping one to each of the wreckers. “Take this as thanks for not using the blade first and checking my belongings later. And let it stay that way in the future: Take what you may find on this beach but never take a life.” Both men caught their coins and stared at them dumb struck. “So I gather there is a town nearby. Which way?” Both men pointed down the beach, still too surprised to speak. “Well well well. I shall go there shortly. Please inform the guards and tell them to get ready for battle. It seems bad tidings followed me here.” Speaking thus, Petrok pointed out over the sea towards the horizon were the sun was slowly driving away the night. It looked as if a storm was gathering out there. As both robbers were still only staring at him he continued: “Well, don’t let me keep you. Of you go.” With this, a spell seemed broken and both of them ran off into what remained of the night.
Petrok walked down to the surf and washed his face. His dog stood panting beside him, looking at his master quizzically. “There’s a good boy, Furry Midget.” Petrok smiled at his faithful companion. “It seems our journey has taken a sudden turn. “ He looked over the dark waters. By now dawn was breaking and the pale light of the sun illuminated the sky. The wind had picked up and from the west dark turmoil was drawing nearer, thunder rolling on the boom of the surf and lightning stabbing the waves. Petrok reached under his breastplate and pulled out a ring. He held it in his fingers lost in memory as it caught the early morning light. An old memory, a painful one. More or less all that remained now of his old life. He sighed, hid the ring under his clothes, turned and strode off in the direction of the town. The storm out there surely was no ordinary bad weather. He knew what was coming over the waters, had met it out at sea on his crossing. Driven by the strong winds the menace was closing fast:Magmars! He whistled for his hound and went through the motions of adjusting his weapons and armour. Before long it would be time to do battle!